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Welcome to the Pittsburgh Tech Guy!  Your local source for good, dependable technical support and information!  Keep up with the latest Tech news here!

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Amazon Buys Video Doorbell Maker Ring in Home Security Push

Amazon has added a new asset in its quest to conquer the smart home market. The e-commerce giant has acquired Ring, a vendor of video doorbells and security cameras.

Amazon has agreed to spend over $1 billion on the acquisition, according to Reuters.

In an email, an Amazon spokesman told PCMag: "Ring's home security products and services have delighted customers since day one. We're excited to work with this talented team and help them in their mission to keep homes safe and secure."

A Ring spokeswoman said that the Ring brand will remain.

The acquisition occurs as Amazon has been pushing its smart speaker Echo  products into consumer homes. Powering them is its voice assistant Alexa, which can answer queries and control other smart home devices like light bulbs, door locks, and power plugs.

Amazon and Ring didn't offer details about the deal, but the two companies will probably integrate their products. Video doorbells and security cameras from Ring can let you view incoming visitors or intruders over your smartphone.

Last November, Amazon also launched a new "in-home delivery" service. It works through the help of a smart door lock that delivery workers can use to drop off packages inside your home. The Ring acquisition may very well end up playing a role in that service, too.

However, Amazon is far from the only company in the smart home space. One of its biggest competitors is Google, which is also selling a smart doorbell product through the Nest brand. Like Amazon, Google has been promoting its smart speaker products, which are powered by the company's own virtual assistant software.


How ad-blocking works in Google’s Chrome browser

Google, as promised, has launched the Chrome browser ad-blocking feature it has touted for nearly a year.

Although not the first such effort by a browser maker, Google's decision - effectively a pre-emptive strike against even more users turning to independent add-ons for killing online advertisements - has both import and impact by virtue of Chrome's dominance.

With more than 61% of all browser users running Chrome as of January, according to analytics vendor Net Applications, when Google's browser whispers, the web listens. Sites that instead tune out last week's move do so at their peril.

Just what is Chrome's ad blocking - Google likes to call it "ad filtering" - really all about? How does it work and what's the reasoning behind it?

All good questions. We've got the answers.  Click here for the full article to find out!


Are you using a Pwned Password? Find out

Pwned Passwords are half a billion real world passwords previously exposed in data breaches. This exposure makes them unsuitable for ongoing use as they're at much greater risk of being used to take over other accounts.  Fortunately, there is a legitimate site that you can use to see if your password is one of them.  Simply check here.


How To Enable Ransomware Protection In Windows 10

Ransomware is a nasty, evolved form of computer viruses. As the name implies, it’s going to cost you money to undo the damage it does. Ransomware basically locks your files and asks you to send money if you want them back. If you’re a victim of ransomware, you have two choices; pay up, or pay someone to get rid of the ransomware. There’s no option that doesn’t cost you money and neither one guarantees that you will get your files back which is why it’s a good idea to be more proactive about this particular type of threat. Windows Defender has a built-in feature that, if set-up, will enable ransomware protection. Here’s how it works.

You must have Windows Defender enabled for this to work. You cannot just opt to use some features of Windows Defender and not use others. Ransomware protection in Windows Defender doesn’t go by that name. It’s more what the feature does that makes it useful for staying safe from ransomware. Windows Defender lets you lock down folders so that unauthorized apps cannot make changes to it. You will need administrative rights to enable ransomware protection in Windows 10.

For the complete article, click here.


How To Transfer Photos Over WiFi From Your Phone To Windows 10

If you want to transfer photos from your phone to your desktop, the easiest way to do it is to use a data cable. This holds true for both Android phones and iPhones. There are other methods to import these photos but the most reliable one is the data cable method. If you don’t have a data cable, you’re stuck looking for other alternatives that won’t need your phone to be connected to your desktop. If you have a Windows 10 system though, Microsoft has just made it incredibly simple to transfer photos over WiFi.

Microsoft has released a new app called Photos Companion for both iOS and Android. This app is a companion app for the Photos app on Windows 10. With this app, you can send transfer photos from your phone to your desktop provided both your devices are on the same WiFi network. This app works with an experimental feature in the Photos app so you’re going to have to enable it first.

For more, check out the full article here.


No, Microsoft is not calling you!!

Online crime is taking a step into the real world with a dangerous new technology-themed phone scam.

According to a top security researcher, criminals are targeting victims all over the world with .

Masquerading as employees from the likes of Microsoft, Google or Apple, the scammers are able to persuade victims into installing harmful malware onto their devices without getting their hands dirty - and then making off with your data.

So what do you need to know about this new threat?

Although , recent months have seen a huge rise in tactics using a distinctly technological theme.

Speaking to at the company's Security Analyst Summit in St Maarten, David Jacoby, senior security researcher at , warned that the scammers now have new techniques to try and trick their way in.

Calling the main home number (although Jacoby notes that there has recently been a rise in smartphone calls too), the scammers claim to be from Microsoft or Apple, saying that there has been a problem detected with a user's PC or Mac, often to do with the security of the device.

They then attempt to install a harmful program on the victim’s device, which could do anything from installing a virus to monitoring every key pressed in order to steal passwords.

The calls are normally spammed out in huge numbers, after the scammers largely guess which numbers are being used by specific telephone companies.

The scam normally takes place during the middle of the day, meaning that the elderly or unemployed are often hit hard, especially as they may be not quite as technology-aware.

"This is a global problem," Jacoby warns, "there's a lot of small groups and copycats that are doing this."

"Phone scammers are a huge problem because they're very difficult to stop and to monitor," he notes.

"We don't really have any insight into how they work, how much money they make, which countries are targeted and so on."

"It's kind of an epidemic that's going on."

So how can you stay protected?

Jacoby says that the key to not falling victim is simple - be vigilant.

"It's all about awareness," he says, "you can't really protect yourself with software on this."

"Microsoft, or Apple, or whoever they would never call your house and tell you that you have a virus on your computer - it will never happen!"

Jacoby and his fellow researchers are now conducting further research into the scams to try and understand how they work, but for now it seems that the best thing to do, is just be smart.

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