04 May 2016

May 2016 – How can I make my PC run faster ?

Welcome to another month of Boffin!

Well the election budget has dropped, and is good news for small business with the definition for a small business increasing from 2million dollars of annual turnover to 10million dollars.

The Budget is also proclaiming to come down hard on overseas companies who pay little tax in Australia. Google has already restructured its business to reflect the revenue it generates in Australia effective Jan1 2016, after it was accused of not paying enough tax.

Hopefully other organisations will now follow suit!

As always though, the devil will be in the detail, which we’ll wait to see what unfolds.

In IT news though, this week Gumtree Australia announced that a data breach has allowed hackers to steal all email addresses / contact names and phone numbers, and are advising all customers to be wary of fake emails that utilise this information in order to trick Gumtree customers. As always, be weary of all E-mail you receive.

Here at EtherTech we get asked all the time ..

“How much memory do I need in my PC?, and how can I make it run faster?”

Most PC’s these days generally come with 4GB of RAM, a mid-range PC comes with 8GB and a high end gaming machine 16GB or more.

But do you need this much memory?

Memory is definitely a LOT cheaper today than it was in the past, but adding more memory to your PC will not make the machine significantly faster, as it’s the actual Processor in the machine that determines how fast it can execute code. Additional memory will allow you to run ‘more instances’ or programs concurrently, and avoid swapping from memory to disk (which is slow and wears hard disks out quicker).

In real world tests, opening several major applications at once, you’re unlikely to see your PC top 4GB of usage, so in a normal situation 4GB of memory is perfect.

If however you need to work on databases, complex large spreadsheets, CAD or 4K video then upgrading to 8GB RAM has a lot of benefits. With general applications though, an upgrade from 4GB to 8GB will see a slight speed improvement of around 3%.

If you’re looking at making your PC run faster though, and its speed you’re after, then upgrading your Hard Disc to an SSD (Solid State Drive) will have a more pronounced effect on the speed your programs load and operate.

For example a normal power-on start to windows on a Notebook took 63seconds, after the SSD upgrade it took 23 seconds!

Normally you’d expect to see an improvement of around 50% (obviously every system is different), by upgrading to an SSD. *all prices below inc GST.

250gb Samsung SSD – $ 145.00

500gb Samsung SSD – $ 249.00

1Tb Samsung SSD – $ 495.00


Installation and imaging of your current PC onto the new SSD so everything is EXACTLY how you left it will cost you $132.00

Call us TODAY on 1300-ETHERTECH to book your PC in for a REAL SPEED UPGRADE!

04 Apr 2016

April 2016 – Windows10 Updating, April Fools Day plus more!

Welcome to another month of Boffin!

With the news that Microsoft’s Windows 10 Operating system now has over 270million users actively using the new software, the time has come to decide whether or not you’re ready for Windows10 in your life.

The biggest issue we’ve found with Windows10 has been compatibility with older programs. Please ensure that if you are considering Windows10 that ALL your applications are supported by  the Windows10 operating system, as downgrading back to Windows7 or Windows8 is possible (at the moment), but is painful to do.

If you have decided not to upgrade to Windows10, there is a nifty utility that once run can turn off the annoying ‘Upgrade to Windows10 now’ feature that pops up all the time and will prevent someone from accidentally upgrading to it if you didn’t want to.

Click on the following link which will automatically run the util https://www.grc.com/files/never10.exe

It’s very Self-Explanatory, and you can turn off (or on) your Windows10 upgrade option.

Remember the final date to get the free Window10 upgrade is 29th July 2016, after which time you’ll have to pay for the upgrade (if you want it).

April Fool’s day 2016 came and went without much hoopla this year. It seems almost every company did ‘something’, I suppose that’s what having too much money in the marketing budget is all about? The biggest FoPa was Gmail who put its foot in its mouth by introducing a ‘feature’ into Gmail that caused many users to lose email, so they abandoned it half way through the day.

Google also announced their new Bluetooth enabled Searchable Socks, to eradicate the missing sock syndrome from washing. Just search for them.

Krispy Kreme launched their 3Donut Printer which allows consumers to print their own donuts.

Other than that we think it was pretty dull this year.. A quick google search of April Fools Jokes 2016 will show a lot more.

You may have also read this last month about the FBI trying to force Apple to unlock a terrorist’s iPhone, but to no avail. The FBI has now dropped the court case, as they’ve been able to employ a 3rd party to unlock the phone and give them access to the information it contained. This is very interesting, as the FBI has a mandate to share all information between all departments. Currently there are many other cases that are awaiting the unlocking of iPhones to gain access as well. Apple have stated that as soon as they have access to the method they will block it. So don’t fear, your information will be safe.. soon..

The other big news of course is the ongoing Panama Leaks, where over 2.2Tb of data was leaked containing all the information and financial affairs of over 200,000 companies. This is by far the biggest data breach/leak to date (bigger than WikiLeaks and all others), and will be far reaching in terms of tax avoidance scams.. Watch this space..

As always, please drop us a line about anything IT related!

Until next month!

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15 Mar 2016

Telstra NBN woes with VOIP and solution for 3rd party routers !

As you may have heard, once (if) NBN ever rolls out in your area, the objective is to decommission the ageing copper infrastructure used by Telephony / Fax / ADSL / Alarms etc and move/port your existing telephone number over to your NBN carrier.

The following is a case study based on Telstra residential and the issues we faced in using a 3rd party router in place of the Telstra Supplied DLINK DEVG2020 or the Technicolor TG797 or later.

Firstly, you need a working NBN Service. For this example we are using FTTN with no Battery backup. Single PSTN telephone line being ported to VOIP. So connect a Cat5 ethernet cable to the NBN NTU into port UNI-D1 only.

This cable then will connect to the WAN port on your telstra supplied modem.

As we all know the Telstra routers are very basic, and if you wish to retain your existing router setup telstra will not support you with VOIP settings or help. There are many solutions out there regarding Bridge-mode etc, but these will NOT allow you to retain your voice component of the service.

Out of the box if you plug your Telstra supplied Technicolor or DEVG router in, it will auto configure (we assume based on MAC address) and within 10minutes your PSTN land line will be ported to VOIP and you can place and receive calls over your normal handsets. This is good. Now while this is connected, browse to the modem on and disable DHCP and all wireless access. save and reboot. (if you need access in the future manually assign a 10.0.0.x address and plug into a LAN port on the Telstra modem).

Now simply  unplug your telstra modem and connect your own Router WAN port to the NBN Cat5 cable and reconfigure your router for Ethernet over IP. Now connect the Telstra modem WAN port into a LAN port on your router (and make sure DHCP is enabled on your router).

Because the Telstra modem has already registered and setup your telephony, it will now call out to the Telstra SIP Servers and register your phone THROUGH your other modem (disable firewall etc on your equipment first to ensure it all works).

You now have VOIP working BEHIND your own router connected directly to NBN! Congratulations!

We did recently find an interesting amendment for that article. It appears that if you don’t receive a call on your VOIP line for an ‘undetermined amount of time’ (approx. 15mins) the voip service that was registered will drop off. Calls will come in, but wont ring, and go straight to voicemail (you can dial in and collect them from voicemail though no problems), yet you can continue to make outbound calls with no issues.. If however you regularly receive calls (at least 1 every 15mins or so it works fine. Its as if there is a ‘periodic telstra registration’ requirement for phone registration on idle.

What we’ve been doing as a solution to get around this though is migrating our clients with FTTP to use UNI-V1 with battery backup and this eliminates the Supplied Telstra Modem altogether which is a much nicer solution. Plus it gives you battery backup.

For all those people who dont have FTTP (Fibre to the Premise) we needed another solution :

After running some more investigations via wireshark, we have discovered the following NAT’s that you need to open up to get the Telstra Voice to work behind a non-telstra modem.

Setup NAT’s in your internet facing router pointing to the telstra modem using :

TCP/UDP 5060
TCP/UDP 5061
TCP/UDP 3478
UDP 5004

Due to the HUGE number of phone calls and emails to us regarding this article there seems to be some confusion on how to connect up your devices in order to use the above information.

NBN coming into your premises -> (WAN) Your Router (ethernet 1) -> Telstra Router (WAN 1) -> Phones
NBN coming into your premises -> (WAN) Your Router (ethernet 2) -> Switch -> Rest of your network


If you found this information valuable. Just hit the link below and hit the 5 star review to help us out!


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02 Mar 2016

March 2016 – beware the new cryptolocker targeting web sites!

Welcome to another quick Boffin update!

This month saw our favourite anti-virus/malware application Trend Micro become the #1 product according to the Gartner Group, just proving to us all once again that we’ve made the right choice in choosing TrendMicro to protect our PCs and Server data! Well done! If you’re not using Trend Micro, please call us and let us set you on the right path!


However the latest in Cryptolocker attack news is that there is a ‘new’ threat on the landscape. Hackers have now started targeting web servers and websites as well as PC’s. In a similar fashion to the original cryptolocker which encrypted all the files on PC’s and connected servers/ storage this new variant encrypts all the website pages and data and displays a public facing message informing everyone you have been hacked and that to get your website back it’d cost anywhere from .4 bitcoins ($250 ish AUD) upwards.

The method being employed to hack websites is simple. Prey on the companies that have an online presence but haven’t done any patches or upgrades to the underlying software that drives their site.

WordPress and Joomla are favourites as there have been a LOT of security patches and upgrades to fix issues over the last couple of years, and unless you are paying your web developer or hosting partner to maintain and upgrade your website software then you too will be vulnerable.

For the hundreds of websites hosted with EtherTech, we are currently undergoing an audit and will be in contact with all our clients over the next few months with an overview of their site and what needs to happens to A) secure it, and B) upgrade it and keep it current.

Please feel free to employ your web developer to maintain your website with regular updates, or perform the upgrades yourself.

It’s a lot like Windows updates. There are always flaws discovered in applications, the difference is that your website is publically available to anyone in the world, and if its vulnerable to attack, so too will you and your organisation be.

A typical ‘hacked ransomware web page’ has instructions on what happened and how to pay the hackers.

They’re even cheeky enough to have a ‘chat’ option now so you can type directly with the hacker (theoretically so they can help you in paying them).. Abusing them however probably wouldn’t help.

Rest assured that Trend Micro will protect your PC’s and servers from Cryptolocker attacks, but unfortunately it won’t work on your website. The only thing to help that is regular patching and maintenance.

Please contact us if you need any more information, or stay tuned for more updates.

Until next month!

01 Feb 2016

February 2016 – Apple’s recall, new Ransomware & more…

Another busy month to kick off the year here @ EtherTech, and lots of news for you too!

You may have heard that Google has added ‘Aussie’ slang and twang to google maps! Due to the number of complaints from Australia about Google maps not understanding our ‘lingo’. It’s always been a source of amusement for us when a US voice says ‘Kilomeeteeers’ no longer.. as more and more people are talking to their phones now, it makes sense that there would be more customised voice recognition.

Just what we needed.. a new ransomware known as “7ev3n” is the most expensive yet!

A report published recently cautioned readers of this nasty new malware, which encrypts victims’ files and demands 13 bitcoins for the key. Thirteen bitcoins is the equivalent of just over AU$6,800, making it the most expensive ransomware to date. 7ev3n is also highly destructive — it installs a batch file that disables the infected machine’s bootup and recovery capabilities.

There is no cure for the ransomware at this time, and even you pay up, the task of making the system usable again is painstaking, the report warns. Fortunately, 7ev3n is not known to have significantly spread. Backup Backup Backup!, and Trend Trend Trend! Call us today to get this done!

Apple last Friday announced it is recalling AC Wall Plug adapters designed for Australia.

In rare cases (12 worldwide cases in 12 years!) the plug pack could split and create a risk of electric shock if touched. The plug packs were included with most apple devices between 2003 and 2015.


If your plug pack has a 4 or 5 digit number as shown in the pic, you can take it to any apple store and have it replaced free of charge. There are literally millions of these plug packs out there.

Speaking of Apple vulnerabilities, there is a ‘prank’ circulating at the moment on Twitter / Facebook etc that can crash your Iphone, Ipad or even Mac’s completely.

If you come across a link to crashsafari.com DON’T OPEN IT! The link you click generates an extremely long URL and then causes your safari browser to overload, heat up, crash your device due to excessive temperatures and reboot. Not good for your device’s longevity! Apparently over 150,000 people have fallen victim to it so far.

Windows 10 is now six months old, and over 200million users have taken up the free upgrade offer from Microsoft.

Don’t forget, the free upgrade applies only to Windows 7 SP1 and Windows 8.1. You have one year from July 29 to upgrade your PC to Windows 10 for free. After that year is up, you’ll have to purchase Windows 10 yourself.

Until Next Month !

05 Jan 2016

January 2016 – Wheres my NBN ?!

2016 already.. Amazing we’re back at work already for another year!

We hope everyone had a merry Christmas and a safe new year, I know everyone here at EtherTech did, but it all seems a distant memory already…

NBN.. what is going on and why don’t I have it yet?!

The Abbott, now Turnbull, coalition government came to power over two years ago with a promise to change Labor’s fibre to the premises (FTTP) National Broadband Network (NBN) to one using less-expensive fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technologies, spruiking its network with their three word slogan: “Fast. Affordable. Sooner.”

It is now clear that the Coalition’s broadband network will not provide adequate bandwidth, will be no more affordable than Labor’s FTTP network and will take almost as long to roll out.

The Coalition’s original target was to bring at least 25 Mbps to all 13 million Australian premises by 2016. That target has now been quietly dropped and replaced with a target of more than 50 Mbps to 90 percent of premises by 2020.


At the end of July 2015, almost two years after the 2013 election, only 67 premises had been served by multi-technology-mix technologies. In the meantime, as shown (in the graph above), the roll-out of FTTP has continued, albeit at a lower rate than Labor originally intended.

Australia’s broadband capabilities are falling behind its international peers. According to internet companies Ookla and Akamai, Australia’s broadband speed lags well behind other advanced and even emerging economies.

In 2009, Australia’s average broadband download speed was ranked 39th in the world. Since then, our international ranking has steadily declined and slipped to 59th place earlier this year.

What’s worse, comparisons and trends of internet speed in Australia and in a range of developed and developing countries show that FTTN technology – a key part of the Coalition’s plan – will not be enough to meet the needs of Australian broadband customers.

In short, FTTN technology will cement Australia’s place as an internet backwater. Our world ranking could fall as low as 100th by 2020.

In many forward-looking nations, FTTN technology has never been entertained as an option. In some countries where it has been installed, network operators are planning to move away from FTTN in favour of more advanced broadband technologies like FTTP. In doing the opposite, Australia is moving backwards in our opinion.

Parts of this article first appeared on The Conversation.

So, when are you getting NBN ? well maybe by 2019.. if you’re lucky.

If you have any questions about the NBN or are already on NBN and want to move to EtherTech data plans, please give us a call on 1300-ETHERTECH

03 Dec 2015

December 2015 – Windows 10 and Office 2016 making an impact!

Merry Christmas to all!

We’re on the down-hill slope now to Christmas, and with not many days to go we’re sure there are a lot of you that haven’t even thought about Christmas presents let alone bought anything!..

This month saw Microsoft release the first Windows 10 major update (1511), which has included many ‘visual updates’ and bug fixes.

Microsoft has also released a message for business saying that “If you are following the traditional policy of waiting for the first Service Pack or Major update to Windows before deploying it, then this is it; time to take the plunge.”

The update though is about 3Gb to download, so bear this in mind if you are planning to do a mass upgrade of multiple PC’s!

If you haven’t upgraded to Windows 10 yet, and you’re currently running full versions of either Windows 7 or Windows 8, remember you have until 29th July 2016 to take up the ‘free Windows 10 upgrade offer”. (Remember it’s also a 3gb download too). But even if you haven’t decided to do it by then, rest assured you can still purchase Windows 10 (approx. $160 per PC) after this date.

In other Microsoft news, Office 2016 is now being rolled out and the older Office 2013 is being made ‘End of Life’. Office 2016 is bringing with it a myriad of ‘challenges’ as well, including the requirement to create an individual Microsoft .live email address in order to activate the product. As well as this Microsoft are no longer providing any DVD media for installations, so yet another massive download. (Hope your internet plans have big download limits!).

If you want to remain on Office 2013 though, and think you may need more machines or copies of Office 2013 (so that you remain consistent throughout your organisation), you’d better buy them up quickly, as Microsoft has already stopped supplying distributors with Office 2013, and once current stock runs out, there will be no more and you’ll be forced to move to Office 2016.

In more positive tech news, all our Trend Micro subscription clients will be pleased to hear of the major update that was done at the start of November to prevent Cryptolocker infections from occurring.

Last month we had a user who received a fraudulent email from the ATO – Tax refund, and even though they tried to open it 4 x times! Trend successfully prevented their network from being infected and losing their data! . Piece of mind for only $5.50 a month per PC!

In good news for everyone, EtherTech will only be closed on the main public holidays over the Christmas/ New Year period! and we’re always available on our 1300-ETHERTECH number.

From everyone at EtherTech we wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Safe and Happy New Year!  Bring on 2016!!

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06 Oct 2015

October 2015 – Office 2016 released.

Welcome to Boffin!

Well, with Steve back from a 3 week holiday in central Australia, The MIGHTY Hawks winning another AFL grand final!, and no cryptolocker for the whole of last month (touch wood that continues!) things are getting back to normal at EtherTech !

That hasn’t meant though that the IT world has stopped.. Far from it.

Volkswagen is facing fines of over US$18 Billion for cheating emissions tests by reprogramming their on-board computers to detect when the vehicle is being tested by EPA authorities and change all their parameters in order to pass the tests.

This is not new though, Samsung and HTC have been doing this for years with different smartphones detecting when benchmark software is being run and ramping up their CPU to 100% in order to appear faster.

The problem for Volkswagon of course is the 500,000 vehicles in the US that have already been recalled and then there’s the other 11million in the rest of the world that many people have purchased for the stated environmental benefits. Very damaging.

Back to IT though, Winrar has a new problem as well, a new flaw has been found that affects all Winrar SFX versions including v5.21 (with over 500million users installed) allowing hackers to compromise a machine with a specially designed .SFX archive.

The way to avoid this. Simple, Don’t open archives / ZIP files from people you don’t know and trust!

Windows 10 has been grabbing most of the headlines of late, but Microsoft also have released their new Office 2016 on September 22nd this year (end of last month). In terms of upgrades though, they’ve been a bit stingy this time around, with purchasers of Office 2013 between Aug 22 and Dec 31 2015 being eligible for either a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal edition ($70), or a $40 discount on purchasing the new Office 2016.

Changes in Office 2016 include the new styling (Giving it the Windows 10 look and feel). The new version isn’t so much based on how much more you can do with it, but more so on how you can become more productive and effective. Collaboration, document sharing, and greater OneDrive integration.

Finally Excel has been given a real update for the first time in years, with better document security, new chart types, forecasting module, better BI integration, Power query improvements plus many other fixes and enhancements to make using Excel easier and more effective. Outlook 2016 gets a refresh with it now being a lot faster to attach recent files to emails which saves a lot of time. One of the best new features though we think is the new ‘Tell Me’ feature across all applications, which allows you to get tutorials on the fly on how to do things.

How much does it cost ?

Office 2016 Home & Student – $183.00 inc GST

Office 2016 Home & Business – $296.00 inc GST

All products are in stock now.

CYA next month ! (GO HAWKS!)

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