Category Archives for Tech News

Equifax Breach Announced

The Chairman of Equifax, one of the "Big Three" credit bureaus, announced yesterday that Equifax had discovered a data breach that could jeopardize the credit card numbers of up to 209,000 consumers.  You can watch the press release below.

In response, Equifax has setup a site where you can check to see if your information may have been affected by the breach and sign up for free credit monitoring. To do so, you can follow the link here:

https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

There have been some reports of this site not working or people doubting the legitimacy of the site. But I tested it myself and the main Equifax page as well as the above press release reference it. So I believe it is legit.

But whether you decide to take Equifax up on their offer or not, this is a good reminder that no one is immune to cyber threats and credit and identity monitoring is becoming just as important and common as health insurance.

UPDATE 9/11/2017***It turns out that the site that Equifax setup to tell you if you've been affected by the breach tells you that you have no matter what information you put in.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/we-tested-equifax-data-breach-checker-it-is-basically-useless/

There's a helpful article that recommends freezing your credit file. You can click the link below to view it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/your-money/identity-theft/equifaxs-instructions-are-confusing-heres-what-to-do-now.html

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Android Now Has its Own Security System

It's called "Play Protect". Android began making it available to Android phones and tablets and mid May. It's built into the Android system and is meant to be a security system for your phone and tablet so you don't have to go on the app store and find a good third party one.
Here's how it works:

•It scans all apps on the app store before they're downloaded to make sure they're legit. It also periodically, scans apps that are already on your phone for viruses or malicious activity.
•It also monitors apps downloaded from third party sources. If it detects that an app is malicious, it will disable it or alert the user about it.
•It uses an anti-theft feature called "Find My Device". It will allow you to locate your lost or stolen device and if you're unable to recover it, you can perform a remote wipe for all data on that device.
•It has a safe browsing feature that prevents users from browsing to harmful websites on their mobile devices.

You can find out if you have this feature on your version of Android by going to:
Settings>Google>Security>Verify Apps

Mobile devices are quickly becoming the most insecure part of a companies security profile.
If you don't have a mobile device policy enforced through either Office 365 or G Suite, I would highly recommend making sure any phones that have company data on them have these features enabled.

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RIP, Windows Vista


As of April 11th, Microsoft has officially declared Windows Vista "end of life". What does this mean? Well, it means that Microsoft will no longer release security updates for that version of Windows. And new versions of software will no longer be compatible with Vista. It presents a security and productivity risk.

Because Windows Vista and Windows 7 are so visually similar, you can follow these instructions to confirm if you are running Windows Vista.

  • 1
    Click the Start button, and then type winver in the search box.
  • 2
    Double-click winver in the list of results to open the About Windows dialog box, where you'll see the version of Windows that your PC is running.

If you find out you are running Windows Vista still, my recommendation would be to replace the whole PC. Chances are that PC is pushing 5 years or more, and usually at that age a PC isn't worth putting a lot of money into. If you have any questions or would like any recommendations feel free to reach out to us by going to our contact page. That's what we're here for!

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Microsoft Office 2007 End of Life

All Microsoft products must come to an end. Microsoft's term for that is called "End of Life". When a product reaches it's "Extended Support End Date". That means that Microsoft will no longer release security updates for that product and any new products that are released will not be supported to work with the older one.

So based on those two factors, it can be costly to continue to run software that is no longer supported by Microsoft.

Microsoft has announced that Microsoft Office 2007 will reach it's End of Life on October of 2017.
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That means that Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook 2007 will no longer be supported or receive security updates from Microsoft.

If you're a contract business customer with us you should be receiving an email from us soon to start making plans to migrate away from that software. If you do not have a contract with us you'll certainly want to make arrangements to update that software before October. Cheers!

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Windows 10 Upgrade Guide

In an article I posted back in June, I advised not upgrading to Windows 10 at the time. Nine months have gone by since then, and Microsoft has released a lot of patches and fixed a bunch of bugs.


With the offer to upgrade to Windows 10 ending in 4 months, if you have any interest in moving to Windows 10 now is the time to do so. Below you’ll find the extensive guide to all things Windows 10 upgrade:


How much longer will Windows 10 be available for free?
The offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free will end July 29th, 2016.


Who’s eligible for the free upgrade?
Anyone running the latest version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is eligible.

What do I need to do before I upgrade?

  • 1
    Be sure to run the compatibility test to make sure there will be no hardware or software issues. For instructions you can click here.
  • 2
    If you run any proprietary software that is important to your business you’ll want to call their technical support to make sure there are no issues with Windows 10.
  • 3
    Backup your important files just in case an issue comes up with the upgrade.

How do I upgrade?
The easiest way to upgrade is to use the Windows 10 app in the lower right hand corner of your desktop. If you do not have the app you can click this link to troubleshoot.


Can I go back to my old operating system?


Yes. For the first month you can roll back to your original operating system. If you don’t see the option in Windows 10, you can use the recovery media that came with your PC.

How can I make the Windows 10 notifications disappear?

  • 1
    Right-click (or press and hold) the Taskbar, and then select Properties.
  • 2
    On the Taskbar tab, select Customize… for the Notification area.
  • 3
    In the Notification Area Icons window, for the GWX (Get Windows 10) icon, select Hide icon and notifications.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to let us know. We're here to help.

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Windows 10, For People Who Don’t Care

There's loads of content out there for folks who are fascinated in Microsoft's newest Windows OS. Rumors flying around and tech news round ups are in abundant supply. But most people don't care. All they care about is that their computer gets the job done. That's where I come in. I make sure people know enough so their computer gets the job done. Prepare yourself computer minimalists, here's all you need to know about Windows 10.


SLXLM​​


​If you're running Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 then you may have noticed a new icon in the bottom right of your windows desktop that looks like the image above. This is Microsoft peaking your interest in Windows 10. Microsoft has decided that Windows 10 will be released on July 29th, and for the first year, will be offered free to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users.


If you click on the icon pictured above then a Window will come up asking if you want to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. if you put your email address in it will notify you when Windows is downloaded and ready to install(after July 29th).


My advice is not to sign up for this yet! I have signed up for it and will do the update as soon as it comes out. Especially if we're talking about your business computer, I would wait a few months before you take advantage of Microsoft's generosity. With any upgrade there comes unknown side effects with your hardware and other software that you have installed on your computer.


Windows 10 is looking good, but as with any upgrade, strategy is important. I'll be sure to release another update once I've made the move to Windows 10 and have tested every aspect. Until then, my suggestion is to let the icon sit silently for now.

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Security Newsletter: The End for Server 2003

​Like Windows XP, Server 2003 was one of those ole' faithful systems that just ran great. Chances are you may even have a server in your office running Server 2003 and you don't even know it because you don't have to mess with it. But alas, the powers that be at Microsoft have decreed that July 2015 is the "End of Life" for Server 2003.


So what does End of Life mean?

It means that Microsoft will no longer provide support or security updates for Server 2003 starting in July. Your server will continue to run like it always has, just without the most recent updates.


So what does that have to do with you and your faithful server?

Really, two main things:

1.  Security.  As certain viruses and security vulnerabilities are discovered, Microsoft will release updates to it's Windows operating systems to protect them in the form of Windows Updates.  But starting in July, Server 2003 won't be getting those anymore.  For some, this is just a security risk.  For others, that are regulated by governing parties like HIPAA or ALTA, you could be in legal trouble for running Server 2003 after July.


2.  Scalability.  If you just use your Server 2003 server to share files, then after July it's going to keep on sharing files like it used to.  If you use your server to share a CRM database or Quickbooks and you want to update to the newest version, then you won't be able to put it on your old server.  New server software won't be compatible with Server 2003, mostly for the reasons listed above for security and these tech companies don't want to be liable


So what are my options then?


1.  Upgrade.  If you have a lot of specific needs that are being met by your server, then you probably just need to bite the bullet and get a Server 2012 server.  And that is going to be a full overhaul, new hardware and everything.  But if your business runs off this server, then it will be worth it


2.  Go to "the Cloud".  A lot of services are now available on the Cloud for a monthly subscription.  For cost purposes, it's usually very affordable until you get to a certain number of users.  Some people also understand that "the Cloud" is fancy terms for "my data on someone elses stuff" and have trust issues with that.  Both of those points are valid and worth considering which is why the Cloud isn't a good choice for everyone.


3.  Server alternatives.  I see a lot of folks get ready to throw down several thousand on a file server that's going to serve 5 people in an office and have only 20 GB of data on it.  I then recommend a network hard drive instead and save them a bundle.  There's tons of alternate solutions to a server, depending on your need and situation.


Should I be scared?

No, but you should be informed. And I love informing people. Let me know if I can help.

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Lenovo Malware Scare

Good morning everyone. The Japanese computer company, Lenovo, made the news in a big way this week. It was revealed that several models of laptops they released last year were bundled with a software called Superfish. 


Superfish was intended to be a shopping aid that helped you find items online even if you didn't know what they were called. But it backfired when hackers discovered they could use this software to hijack peoples web activity and traffic. Needless to say if you have this software on your computer it needs to be removed immediately!


If you're not sure if this applies to you, you can go to to this website on your Lenovo and it will check your computer and let you know if you are safe or not. If it detects that you are not safe it will give you detailed instructions on how to remove it.


As always the purpose of these newsletters is to inform and to empower so feel free to forward this to anyone that you know(especially if they recently bought a Lenovo). Feel free to reply with any questions or concerns.

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