Tech Corner

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Table of Contents (Click on title to jump to article, or scroll down.)

Renew Your Membership On Line
Ransomware – what it is and how to deal with it
An easy and fast way to download photos for many or most laptop users

Renew Your Membership On Line
Online membership renewal is quick, easy, and safe, and allows you to pay with your personal credit card. Here are  Online Renewal Instructions.

“Ransomware”: what it is and what to do if you’re infected
If you turn on your computer one morning to find a message telling you that you no longer have access to your PC or any of the files on it, you’re not alone. In the past year, hundreds of thousands of people across the world ― including at least one member of our branch ― have found themselves victims of a really nasty scam, dubbed “ransomware.”

The messages claim to be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, some 20 other law enforcement agencies across the globe or, most recently, Anonymous, a shadowy group of hackers. The computer users are told that the only way to get their machines back is to pay a steep fine. Essentially, it’s online extortion. A user’s computer is infected with a virus that locks it. The attackers demand money before the computer will be unlocked, but even when someone is silly enough to pay the money, they rarely unlock it.

Victims become infected in many ways. In most cases, people visit compromised Web sites that download the program to their machines without so much as a click. Pornography sites used to be the most popular vehicles, but today thousands of people are getting ransomware through sites hosted by GoDaddy, a popular Web services company.

What should you do if your computer is infected?  Of course, don’t pay anything!  Unplug the computer right away and take it to a service technician who can remove the virus.  But be warned: this often involves wiping the computer clean of all files, so it’s important to have backups.  You are backing up your computer, aren’t you?

For the full text of the New York Times report about this scam, visit

An easy way to download photos to most laptops
First, be sure the software that came with your camera is installed on your computer. Then look at the very front or along the side of your laptop for a slot about an inch wide. Remove the memory card from your camera and push it into this slot. When you get to the photos on the card you’ll be able to simply copy them to a folder in your computer or to a flash drive. This method is much easier and faster than trying to burn DVDs or download using a cable.