A Primer on Phishing Attacks

December 21st, 2016 by admin

Phishing attacks are a dangerous and devastating method hackers use to steal personal information and accounts—primarily by striking the user instead of the machine. According to the APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report, the first quarter of 2016 saw an explosive 250 percent increase in phishing attacks,...
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The End of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7: Device Explosions Trigger Full Recalls

December 13th, 2016 by admin

In a rare move, Samsung fully recalled and discontinued production on its previously well-reviewed Galaxy Note 7 model following several verified cases of the devices catching fire. This unexpected turn of events has left a vacuum in the large smartphone and phablet product space. Businesses often...
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Antivirus Software: When One Is Better Than Two

December 7th, 2016 by admin

If your company’s antivirus software is letting you down, you should think twice before installing a second one on a computer: It may actually make things worse. Multiple antivirus programs working in conjunction on the same device is not a case of “the sum is greater than the parts” but rather “less...
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Hack of 500 Million Yahoo Accounts Reminds Industry to Increase Security Measures

November 23rd, 2016 by admin

In September 2016, half a billion Yahoo account users received the bad news that their names, email addresses, phone numbers, and security questions were potentially stolen in a 2014 hack. According to CNET, the Yahoo hack is the largest data breach in history. In the wake of a major hack like this...
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The Benefits of Backups

November 16th, 2016 by admin

Even seasoned IT pros have made the mistake of not backing up a device—and panicked after losing countless important files because the device failed. We may know better, yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re perfect. On the flip side, we’ve all breathed a sigh of relief when a recent backup of our computer...
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A Primer on Common, Helpful Device Adapters

November 11th, 2016 by admin

In September 2016, Apple announced that the iPhone 7 will not feature a 3.5mm jack—meaning anyone who wants to use standard headphones (or the credit-card scanning Square Reader) will need an adapter. Only time will tell if removing the century-old socket ends up being a step forward or a huge inconvenience....
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Massive IoT DDoS Attack Causes Widespread Internet Outages. Are Your Devices Secured?

November 1st, 2016 by admin

As you probably know already, the United States experienced its largest Internet blackout in history on October 21, 2016, when Dyn—a service that handles website domain name routing—got hit with a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack from compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices....
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Low Battery Life: Bringing Productivity to a Halt

October 26th, 2016 by admin

Work-disrupting messages like “please connect charger” and “plug in or find another power source” can be a huge source of frustration—not to mention a major productivity killer—for employees on the go. Nobody wants to see their phone battery go belly-up on their commute to the office, or while waiting...
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Think Manually Running Hard Drive Defragmentation Is a Big Deal? Think Again

October 19th, 2016 by admin

Good news: Your IT staff can stop running regular hard drive defragmentation on your office computers. Improvements in technology have rendered this decade-old practice largely irrelevant. One less thing to worry about, as far as we’re concerned. Hard drive defragmentation is a process in which files...
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Troubleshooting Step 1: Reboot

October 12th, 2016 by admin

While modern computers are much more stable than their ancestors, trying to get work done on a slow, malfunctioning computer is still a business world rite of passage. Troubleshooting bad behavior on your work computer can, of course, be a tedious process—so wouldn’t it be nice if there was one magic...
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Overloaded, Weak Signals: Alleviating Common Wi-Fi Bottlenecks

September 28th, 2016 by admin

If your staff is complaining about slow Internet access at your office, it’s time to consider how well the Wi-Fi network is configured. Slow Wi-Fi is best known, after all, for transforming an otherwise ideal work environment into a slow-boiling pot of aggravation. To increase productivity (and decrease...
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IoT Devices to Make Your Office More Efficient

September 21st, 2016 by admin

IoT devices have incredible potential to make your office more efficient. Previously we’ve discussed the caveats IoT devices bring to the workplace a few times, but today we’re going to focus on how these devices can increase productivity. It’s easy to fall back on the old mentality “If it ain’t broke,...
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Water-Resistant Smartphones Are Here: What You Need to Know

September 13th, 2016 by admin

Water-resistance probably isn’t on the feature checklist for your employee smartphones—but judging by how many of these devices meet an untimely end via liquid damage, it should be. It probably doesn't come as a surprise that dropping the device is the number one cause of smartphone damage at 30 percent;...
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Are Chromebooks Right for YOUR Business?

September 7th, 2016 by admin

Google’s Chromebook platform has the potential to replace traditional laptops and increase productivity for businesses, much like it has in the consumer market at large. For the uninitiated, Chromebooks are Cloud-oriented laptops that run most operations through the Google Chrome web browser instead...
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Are Comatose Servers Draining Your Wallet and Leaving You Vulnerable?

August 30th, 2016 by admin

Those old servers your business no longer uses—and keeps running anyway—are more than just a security risk: They’re hurting your firm’s bottom line. The term comatose server describes a functional server, connected to a network, that sits idle virtually all of the time. If your business is running...
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How To Select a Second Monitor

August 24th, 2016 by admin

Secondary monitors have incredible potential to increase productivity in the workplace. It might not seem like much, but minimizing, maximizing, and arranging application windows on a single computer monitor can take up a significant amount of time. Adding a secondary monitor increases the screen...
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Password Managers and Recovery Strategies

August 16th, 2016 by admin

Secure passwords and recovery strategies are an essential part of doing business in the digital age—and password manager programs can help streamline the process. Password managers store and, often, automate login credentials for individuals across all secured online platforms for easy, secure, and...
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Don’t Forget About Printer Security

August 9th, 2016 by admin

There was a time when printers—in your office or home—were considered relatively "simple" office equipment: plug it in, connect it to the local network, and keep the ink fresh, and there wasn't much else to worry about. But times have changed. Today's business printers—enterprise-level equipment...
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Looking at Data Storage Longevity

August 2nd, 2016 by admin

Not all storage devices were built to stand the test of time, so it’s important for every business to ensure its data is backed up on a reliable platform. If you’ve ever needed to reference financial records or court cases from a decade ago, you’ll know how much easy, reliable access to data can boost...
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Are “Bandwidth Hogs” Slowing Your Network?

July 26th, 2016 by admin

Last time, we talked about several handy do-it-yourself online tools to measure your office broadband speed. If your online connections aren't quite as fast as you expected from your service provider, don't be afraid to show them the "hard numbers" and ask for a solution. But what if those speed tests...
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Is Your Broadband Fast Enough? Here’s How to Check

July 19th, 2016 by admin

How fast is your company's broadband Internet speed compared to ten years ago? Chances are that while your online connection at work back then was faster than your first home Internet service (think of that annoying dial-up modem noise), if you tried using that "primitive" DSL at work today the relatively...
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Defend Your Network Against Advanced Persistent Threats

July 12th, 2016 by admin

If you've looked over our previous posts since we've started our blog, you know how serious we are about protecting your company from everyday cyber-threats—mainly phishing, ransomware, and various other malware. Today we'd like to discuss a different form of cyber-threat plaguing businesses over the...
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The “Wearable Revolution”: Is Your Company Prepared?

July 7th, 2016 by admin

It's a fair bet that one of your employees has already shown off a trendy new wearable gadget around the office. What began with Bluetooth earpieces would branch off into smartwatches, smart glasses, wrist-worn fitness trackers, and even smart clothing (including a smart bra!) Research firm Gartner...
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The “Seven Deadly Sins” of Ransomware

June 29th, 2016 by admin

  Readers of our blog over the past few years know we were among the first in the Bay Area to warn our customers about the growing threats of ransomware—from the emergence of CryptoLocker and CryptoWall to our federal government's startling admission that they're virtually powerless to stop it....
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Is It Time to Switch to Flash Storage?

June 21st, 2016 by admin

More and more businesses are switching their storage solutions from hard disk drives (HDDs) to solid state drives (SSDs) for one simple reason: the appeal of faster loading times and increased productivity. However, HDDs can still be the better choice in cases where maximum capacity is more important...
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Where's Your Company's WISP? Why You Need One NOW

June 14th, 2016 by admin

A WISP is one of the most important documents for any company doing business over the Internet—which, in this day and age, is pretty much everybody. Who's responsible for drafting and maintaining your company's WISP? Or are you even sure what a WISP is? If not, your company is already at serious risk...
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Data Sanitization: Are You Erasing Your Old PCs COMPLETELY?

June 7th, 2016 by admin

One of our pet peeves with some of our new customers is that once we come in to upgrade their IT network, they're careless about disposing their old hardware—specifically, their PC hard drives. They think that by simply deleting their existing files—email, customer records, and other sensitive or proprietary...
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Data Breaches: Dark Times in the Golden State?

June 1st, 2016 by admin

Being the cyber-security geeks we are, we took great interest in combing through this year's California Data Breach Report, released by the Attorney General's office this past February. The report tabulates data collected from breach incidents which expose confidential information of 500 or more individuals,...
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Windows 10 Free Upgrade Window Comes to an End

May 24th, 2016 by admin

Those “Upgrade to Windows 10” notifications seem to be showing up everywhere, even in the middle of a weather forecast on Iowa television. What would’ve otherwise been an embarrassing interruption turned into a watercooler moment that anyone who used Windows 7 and 8 over the previous year can relate...
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How To Choose a Desktop Monitor

May 17th, 2016 by admin

Let’s talk about desktop monitors. In many companies, large or small, an onboarding employee gets whatever display hardware might already reside in their assigned cube—no matter how old it is. But like most computer products, the technology is always improving, while costs for newer models are dropping....
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New Threat Targets Older Android Devices

May 11th, 2016 by admin

Smartphone users can be broken down into two camps: those who can't live without lining up to buy the latest and greatest model the day it hits the stores, and those who hold on to their tried-and-true phone until it suddenly dies one morning. There's nothing wrong with sticking with "obsolete" hardware...
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URGENT: Uninstall QuickTime for Windows NOW

May 3rd, 2016 by admin

Today we'd like to pass along a critical security advisory to all our customers: If any of your company's Windows systems still retain Apple's QuickTime for Windows software, uninstall it immediately—as soon as you finish reading this post (if not before!). QuickTime was Apple's original media viewer,...
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Are Your Smartphones Properly “Containerized”?

April 26th, 2016 by admin

Earlier today the cashier at the local drive-thru miskeyed the amount of cash I gave him into his register. Somewhat sheepishly, he asked if I had a smartphone so I could verify the correct amount of change. Fortunately, I never leave home without it. In fact, how well could you function today without...
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Cybercrime Begins Over the Phone, Too—Don't Let Your Employees Forget

April 19th, 2016 by admin

If you've been a regular reader of our blog, you know we've spent plenty of time discussing phishing, malware, and other cybercrime. It's all part of our modern online world, and we know it will never really go away. We've talked about the tricks scammers use, from links in bogus emails to simply...
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The Best Way to Check Your PCs for Malware—Fast and FREE

April 12th, 2016 by admin

A couple months back, we touched on the story of our normally tech-savvy friend who got tricked into allowing his desktop PC to be infected with obvious malware. At first, he had the sickening feeling that comes with a virus-infected computer—but thanks to some quick thinking and online research, he...
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Prepare Now or Pay Later: More Ransomware Attacks in the News

April 7th, 2016 by admin

We're only a few months into 2016, but we've already seen two high-profile ransomware attacks—where cyber-crooks heavily encrypt a victim's computer files before demanding payment for a decryption key only they can provide. Two notable incidents grabbed headlines: In January, Israel's Electricity...
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The Latest Big Cyber-Threat: Are Your Servers “DROWN-proof”?

March 30th, 2016 by admin

If you think there's a new cyber-threat to worry about every week, you're probably right. The latest vulnerability to send shockwaves through the enterprise security community has been given a rather ominous acronym: DROWN, short for Decrypting RSA with Obsolete and Weakened eNcryption. Publicized...
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Are Macs “Ransomware-Proof”? Not Anymore

March 23rd, 2016 by admin

Since Apple famously introduced the Macintosh over three decades ago, Mac users have been confident that their computers are virtually immune to ransomware and other malware threats which plague their Windows counterparts. But those days are over. On March 4, researchers at security firm Palo Alto...
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IoT Devices: Security Holes?

March 15th, 2016 by admin

Hackers can take advantage of a newer technology prevalent throughout your business to break into your network and compromise security: Internet of Things devices. Your business may have never considered that the handy new Smart Thermostats throughout the building or the Smart TV in the conference...
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iPhone “Backdoor”? It Already Exists! Why Your Company Needs It

March 8th, 2016 by admin

February's big story in the tech world was the conflict between Apple and the FBI over the creation of a "backdoor" to retrieve encrypted data on iPhones. The government is looking for any clue as to what—or, more specifically, who—motivated Syed Farook, along with his wife, to gun down his San Bernardino...
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The Death (and Second Life) of a Replaced Business Smartphone

March 2nd, 2016 by admin

When it’s time to upgrade employee smartphones, your business needs to worry about backing up data, clearing the memory, and figuring out the best way to get rid of the old devices. According to Business Insider, the average smartphone upgrade cycle reached 22 months in 2012. This time frame could...
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Internet Explorer: Upgrade Your Relationship or Break Up?

February 25th, 2016 by admin

The end is here for all versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer outside of the most recent version. If your business is still using older versions of the browser, it’s important to switch to a different browser—or upgrade to maintain the latest in security and support. According to Microsoft, support...
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New Ransomware Good Reminder to Practice Thorough Data Backup

February 17th, 2016 by admin

A new combination of a sophisticated password-stealing Trojan, powerful exploit kit, and content-encrypting ransomware is making its way around the Internet infecting Windows users. If it hits your business, you’re looking at a considerable loss of time and finances. It’s estimated that businesses...
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Upgrading to Windows 10: Why You Should (Still) Wait

February 11th, 2016 by admin

We were as optimistic as anyone about Microsoft's long-awaited release of the Windows 10 operating system. As we discussed last May, we looked forward to real improvements—chiefly a better desktop interface—over its widely unloved predecessor, Windows 8.1. At the same time, we hoped Microsoft had learned...
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The Dangers of Free Public Wi-Fi: How To Protect Your Network

February 2nd, 2016 by admin

How dependent have you and your employees become on public Wi-Fi outside the office? Mobile hotspots are almost everywhere now—from coffee houses and fast-food restaurants to hotels and airports (and even aboard most planes). Without Wi-Fi access, many of us feel alarmingly "disconnected"—as if we've...
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Transitioning to the Cloud? “Know Before You Go”

January 26th, 2016 by admin

The Cloud is here to stay—and growing before our eyes. Even the customer segment that the marketing world terms late adopters—the last people to "get on the boat" of tech trends—are finally taking a hard look at migrating at least some of their IT to Cloud-based apps. One big reason is that their...
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Ransomware Is Getting Even Worse... and The Feds Can't Stop It

January 21st, 2016 by admin

As chaos reigns across much of the Middle East, our government steadfastly insists that "the United States does not negotiate with terrorists—because it will only encourage them in the future." Meanwhile, visitors to our National Parks are warned never to feed bears and other wildlife—because those...
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Standing Desks: Could They Improve Your Workplace?

January 12th, 2016 by admin

It's been talked about everywhere from the New York Times to Men's Health and Women's Health: Sitting at a desk all day may be dangerously unhealthy. Medical studies conducted around the world support the same conclusion: When a human body remains seated and inactive, it quickly enters its own "power-saving...
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Fake Phishing: The Ultimate Security Training?

January 5th, 2016 by admin

What is the current state of your company's IT security training program—if you have one? Many companies settle for an annual group training session to broadly review the major types of cyber-threats—viruses, malware, and phishing. The problem with once-a-year "standardized" training is that once...
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