Alternatives to Office 365

The day has finally come where you are graduating from UW. Unfortunately, that means you will lose access to your Office 365 subscription. While most jobs do typically provide an Office 365 subscription, there may be a period where you’re hanging dry. Here are some of the best free office suite programs!

Google Docs

I actually have used this more during my time here at UW than I have MS Word. Google has a full office suite that is incredibly fleshed out. You and a buddy can collaborate on the same document and leave comments and sharing is a snap. Word online does the same thing, don’t get me wrong. But from my experience it’s not as easy to set up.

 

Apache Open Office.

While I personally have never used this software, It still gets the job done by having word processing, spreadsheet and the usual office products as well as a few additions.

 

Libre Office

Some of you Linux fans might recognize this one right away. Libre office is another open-source office suite that is quite popular with the Linux crowd. It’s very similar to Apache office, just a matter of preference for this one.

There you have it! These are some of the best free office suites out there you can find! Hope this helps anyone out there when it comes to finding a quick free solution to not having office!

Cloud Backups: Why they really are a good idea

backup

You can never be too careful with your files these days. Har drives fail, things get spilled, and we drop things. It’s always good to have multiple backups. As someone who does wedding videography and photography, I can’t afford to rely on the original file. Hence the reason why I usually backup my work to three places.  An external hard drive, my second hard drive on my PC and finally, my Google Drive account. I can’t tell you how many times I have sorted my files and began editing and suddenly a file becomes corrupted. So I simply pull from one of my backups and were good. Now I may just be a little over the top with my backups, but you can never be too careful.

I know that some of you might already be thinking that cloud-based storage costs a lot. It can depend on what you want or need. But typically you can get anywhere from 15-20 Gigs for free and if you want more, each service has their own breakdown and pricing which you will need to decide for yourself and what you want. So whether you’re a student, professor, researcher or an editor, it never hurts to keep backups and organize them. You’ll always thank yourself later.

PSA: Don’t download programs to your Android phone that say they’re Super Mario Run. They’re fake

Recently Super Mario Run just came out for the iPhone and it’s left Android users looking for the game. Here’s the thing, it only came out for iPhone with no garantee that it’s coming to Android. But that’s given hackers an opening and have been putting out fake APK’s and other downloads that claim to be the game. Do a simple google search and it’s one of the top suggestions.

A website claiming to have the APK to download. It's fake though and most likely malware.

A website claiming to have the APK to download. It’s fake though and most likely malware.

So if you come across a site that claims that it has the Super Mario Run APK, don’t buy into it. It’s just a scam and if you have already downloaded it and found out it was fake, you might want to download Malwarebytes for your phone and come into the service center. Most likely you will need to wipe your phone and restore using a backup which they can assist you with. But if they are not available, you might need to see if google has a backup and revert to it.

Hopefully, this will be a warning before you download a fake APK and can prevent a world of hassle for you and your phone.

Scare ware: What it is and how to avoid it

Sometimes while we are browsing the internet whether it be watching YouTube or perhaps doing research for a school project. At some point, you will come across Scare Ware.

An example of scareware you might see.

An example of scareware you might see.

Simply put, Scare Ware is an attempt to gain your trust and cause anxiety and make you believe your computer is infected. It will say something like: “Warning your PC is infected! Hard drive is crashing in 10 seconds and will be deleted! call this number!” or something else to cause fear. Don’t panic, don’t click on the prompt or anywhere on the page and don’t call that number. Your computer is perfectly fine.

They want you to call the number and if you click on the prompt it will begin to download a virus or a trojan of some kind and infect your computer. What the guys on the phone will do is run a fake scan on your computer and tell you your computer is “infected” which if you clicked on the prompt it will be at that point but if not you will be fine.

They will “clean” your PC and then charge you a handsome fee for security protection known as “vaporware” which means it’s a fake program that actually does nothing on your PC.

So how do you prevent this mess from happening? When one of this things pops up and hijacks your browsing session, simply close out of your browser completely and when you start it back up, clear your cache in your browser and move on. There is nothing to fear because your PC is not infected if you didn’t click on the “free download” button if there was one or something like it.

Throwback Thursday: Tamagotchi

throwback

Remember that annoying beep? That sound that interrupted everything you were doing because your Tamagotchi was begging to be fed? We do. Most of my friends back in the day had one of these little guys and goodness was it fun but annoying at times.

Feeding and playing games with it to see what it would turn into was incredibly fun for all ages and annoying for all parents too.

Bobbing For Credentials: What An Suspicious Email Could Mean

Let’s play a little situation out here today. So you’re getting ready for the day and you decide to check your email. Then you see something that catches your eye. “IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR UW STUDENTS!!!” It reads, so you open it because it’s in bold and begging for your attention. It reads something along the lines of your account has a problem with it and you need to sign in to fix the error. There’s a link highlighted in blue, you click on it and it brings you to a sign in page that looks 100% identical to any old UWYO sign in page. But you notice that the URL in the search bar doesn’t look right at all. There’s no .edu in it at all. It looks like a garbled mess of characters and symbols. But you figure this is a special occasion right? So you enter your credentials just like normal but to your surprise, you get a 404 error or something similar to it.

You’ve become a victim of what is called a Phishing email. That basically means that your account credentials have been stolen. Luckily for you, our UWIT Security Team has put some safe guards in place to know when someone is logging in that isn’t you. But that doesn’t guarantee the safety of your account. So if this happens to you and even if you’re not sure if you gave your credentials out or not, Call the Help Desk anyways at 307-766-4357 option 1 and we can help you protect your account and make sure it’s safe!

Malware: You Don’t Wanna Catch Em’ All

sad chu Pikachu doesn’t like finding malware on his computer…

Malware, it’s all over the internet and has grown rapidly recently. Something that seems so easy to avoid is still finding it’s way on a lot of computers recently. Why is that? Because a lot of installations have become VERY sneak y with the tactics they implore. Also, it depends on what your downloading and from who. This is where you need to use your best judgement and if you get a funny feeling about a site, Don’t risk it.

One method they like to use is while you’re trying to install some innocent program that is legitimately not malware, in the installation screen it will have multiple check boxes that are auto check them. So you click  through and before you know it, you have random pop-up boxes on your home screen and your computer begins to move PAINFULLY slow. It’s a very dirty trick, but can be avoided if you simply pay attention to everything in the install process.

But let’s say you do accidentally install some malware. luckily there is a very nice and effective program out there called Malwarebytes. It’s a free program that clears out any and all malware on your system. It may ask you to pay for the premium but I wouldn’t. You can use it unlimited times and all the paid version does is it stays up to date automatically and runs daily scans in the background.

Hopefully this helps everyone out there stay a little safer and avoid traps like these! Have a great day everyone!