What you should know about cell phone viruses

By now, just about everyone is familiar with viruses, malware and phishing attacks that can crash your computer and compromise your identity. Most people know to keep their anti-virus and security software up to date, not to click on unknown links or attachments in emails and never to give out personal information without knowing where it’s going. Now, the bad guys out there are moving to the mobile world and you need to be sure your cell phones and smart phones are protected. First of all, you’ve got to know the dangers and the warning signs. If your phone is moving slowly or getting a large amount of spam texts, a virus might be at fault. These viruses are often spread through free download offers, such as a free ringtone. Your best protection is to never install any unknown software attached to incoming messages you receive. Another way a cell phone viruses spread is through Bluetooth technology. The Cabir virus uses Bluetooth to find cell phones within 100 feet, sends itself to those devices and drain the batteries of those devices through continual Bluetooth scans. Protect your phone by setting your Bluetooth mode to “hidden.” Also, keep Bluetooth off when you’re not using it. Finally, lock your phone according to manufacturer instructions and use a strong password to protect access to your contacts, emails and calendar. Smartphones, ( iPhone , Android , Windows Mobile , BlackBerry ) are in less danger from viruses for now, since viruses can’t be spread between these different operating systems. However, you’re not out of the mobile security woods. Since these smartphones are like computers in that they can install and run software applications, your biggest danger comes in the form of malicious programs. Be sure to set your smartphone not to allow installation of any applications from sources other than the official source ( iPhone’s App Store , Android Market , BlackBerry AppWorld ). Also, install a program such as Lookout Mobile Security for your Android, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile phone. Just like in nature, Viruses are always evolving and hackers are always working to find new ways to steal and cause trouble. But if you use common sense security practices, you can protect your mobile device from cell phone viruses and malicious apps.

Four “must have” free tools for Windows

Since the Holidays are right around the corner, why not give yourself and your Windows PC a few early presents? These four programs are free and are some of the best tools you can get for your computer. Dropbox ( www.dropbox.com ) Want to move, share, backup and sync files across computers, phones and the Web? Dropbox allows you to sync any size or type files online and across your Windows, Mac and Linux computers and iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android mobile devices. Dropbox backs up your files online, since a copy of your files is stored on Dropbox’s secure servers. You can access your files from any computer or mobile device and even share files with others by allowing them access to just the files you want to share. It’s easy to install and extremely easy to use. Dropbox is free up to 2GB, $10/month for 50GB and $20/month for 100GB. CCleaner ( www.piriform.com/ccleaner ) When your computer is running slow, running CCleaner is the thing to do. The C stands for a word that rhymes with “trap” and this tool cleans that stuff off of your Windows PC. CCleaner makes your computer faster and more secure. It’s very easy to use, a fast download and it’s 100% free. Recuva ( www.piriform.com/recuva ) Have you ever deleted a file, emptied the Windows Recycle Bin and then wanted to get that file back? The best file undelete tool also comes from the same people who bring you CCleaner. It’s called Recuva, it’s free, easy to use and can be downloaded and installed in less than a minute. You can even use it to undelete data on a USB drive, a camera’s memory card or an MP3 player. Paint.NET ( www.getpaint.net ) Paint.NET is a free image and photo editing software for Windows computers. It’s got many of the same tools and much of the same functionality (layers, plug-ins, special effects, etc.) as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, but it’s free, more intuitive and easier to use. It’s frequently updated and there’s also an active online community to go to for help, tutorials and plug-ins. Although it is free, it does require that you download and install the Windows .NET Framework.

Chamber Top 10 Celebration and Open House

Our Chamber Top 10 Celebration and Open House party was a huge success! On April 30th, The Purple Guys had more than 150 of their closest clients, friends, and family at their new office space in the Crossroads District. They had Purple Cowboy wine from Somerset Ridge Vineyard & Winery, Purple Cupcakes, and food from LEVEL V. Right before the party got under way; we had the Chamber Top 10 Small Business Judges come for their site visit. It was great to be able to present what The Purple Guys have done this past year, and where we are headed to in the future. It was also fun to have the Chamber’s video crew here producing the video to be shown at the Chamber Top 10 Luncheon tomorrow. The night turn our great because even Mother Nature was on our side for the party as the dark and cloudy skies cleared out right before the party started. Everyone was able to enjoy the wonderful view of the city on the rooftop patio. The Purple Guys celebrated in style with bottles of wine, beer from the Boulevard Brewery, and some Stogies on the rooftop watching the sun set over Kansas City. To see pictures from the event, visit facebook.com/thepurpleguys