People are Your Top Security Risk-Get Help Now

Posted by Janet Riley on Oct 16, 2017 in Newsletter

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. ~Amelia Earhart

Definitions, compliments of Wikipedia:
Malware, short for malicious software, is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software, including computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, adware, scareware, and other malicious programs. Malware is defined by its malicious intent, acting against the requirements of the computer user.

Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.
Phishing is typically carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter personal information at a fake website, the look and feel of which are identical to the legitimate one and the only difference is the URL of the website in concern.

An advanced persistent threat is a set of stealthy and continuous computer hacking processes, often orchestrated by a person or persons targeting a specific entity. An APT usually targets either private organizations, states or both for business or political motives. APT processes require a high degree of covertness over a long period of time. The “advanced” process signifies sophisticated techniques using malware to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. The “persistent” process suggests that an external command and control system is continuously monitoring and extracting data from a specific target. The “threat” process indicates human involvement in orchestrating the attack.
APT usually refers to a group, such as a government, with both the capability and the intent to target, persistently and effectively, a specific entity. The term is commonly used to refer to cyber threats, in particular that of Internet-enabled espionage using a variety of intelligence gathering techniques to access sensitive information, but applies equally to other threats such as that of traditional espionage or attacks. The purpose of these attacks is to place custom malicious code on one or multiple computers for specific tasks and to remain undetected for the longest possible period.

Cisco’s 2016 Annual Security Report states: Attacks are Increasing
The frequency, types, and severity of cyberattacks are continuing to rise. The top reported threats include:
* Malware (68 percent)
* Phishing (54 percent)
* Advanced persistent threats (43 percent)

Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report states: Bad Guys Are More Devious Than Ever
* 89 percent of breaches are motivated by financial gain or espionage
* 89 percent of threat actors are organized crime syndicates
* 9 percent are political actors
The top three data targets are: Credentials, Trade secrets, Banking data

Mandiant Consulting reports: Your People Are Your Top Security Risk
* 30 percent of phishing messages are opened by the target.
Assets (Laptops, Cell Phones, Tablets) are lost over 100 times more frequently than they are stolen.

Got Concerns? We Have Answers! Give us a Call Today!

Old News but it still makes me laugh:
Horses watch the Eclipse

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How to Shop for a Computer

Posted by Janet Riley on Sep 6, 2017 in Newsletter

Life is about using the whole box of crayons.

There’s something about September that makes me want new things. Maybe it has something to do with school starting, and years of shopping for new school clothes and supplies. If computers are on your list of things to buy, we would love to help. Call or stop “buy” soon.

~Janet

 

 

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The only way to do great work is to love what you do. ~Steve Jobs

Posted by Janet Riley on Aug 7, 2017 in Newsletter

It’s good to be back in God’s country. I just spent five days traveling to and from Las Vegas for a trade show. I am fairly certain air conditioning is mans greatest invention! I’m also fairly certain my brain has been boiled, my creative processes have all died, I can’t think of anything new or entertaining to write about. So I’m going to cheat. Here are some fun facts from days gone by:

1948: At Manchester University, the world’s first stored-program electronic digital computer successfully executed its first program. It was called the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, but nicknamed “The Baby”.

1979: The first Sony Walkman, the TPS-L2, goes on sale in Japan. The portable, personal cassette player goes on to sell 200 million cumulative units and Janet Graduates from Marshfield!

1981: IBM introduces its Personal Computer (PC), known as the IBM Model 5150. IBM’s first PC ran with a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor and used Microsoft’s MS-DOS operating system.

1983: Microsoft introduces Windows, which featured pull-down menus, tiled windows, mouse support and more. Also the year Janet graduates from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and dual minors in Computer Science and Behavioral Science.

1993: Directors of CERN release the source code of World Wide Web into the public domain, making it freely available to anyone, without licensing fees.

2000: In only six hours, the “ILOVEYOU” computer virus spreads around the world to over 2.5 million personal computers running Windows.

2001: Apple unveils first iPod for $399. The 5 GB digital music player could store 1,000 songs on its hard drive.

2001: Wikipedia, the free Wiki content encyclopedia, goes online. At the end of year one there were 19,700 articles. As of August 2, there are 5,453,475 articles in the English Wikipedia.

2005: Video sharing site YouTube launches. There are now over four billion video views every day.

2007: Google enters the cell phone market by introducing the Android platform, based on a modified version of the Linux operating system.

2012: Stock value of Apple, Inc. surpasses $500 billion.

2015: Apple, Inc. is the first company to reach a stock value of $700 billion.

2016: Only 20 Fortune 500 companies actually engage with their customers on Facebook, while 83% have a presence on Twitter.

2016: Stock value of Apple, Inc. returns to $523 billion.

2017: Comp-U-Talk celebrates 33 years of providing computer support to Coos County Businesses and residents. We love what we do. We hope it shows. We have one request: If you appreciate us, please keep us in business and tell your friends. If not, please tell us, so we can make it right.

Enjoy the dog days of summer and surf safe.

Janet

Because it made me laugh!

cats in order

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Cyber War-Your Worst Nightmare

Posted by Janet Riley on Jul 6, 2017 in Newsletter

your files are encryptedQuestion?: I heard about a virus going around wiping out computers-is this anything I need to worry about?

Answer: YES!!

This question, or some version of it, lands in my in box every week. This past month, the WannaCry Ransomware, made lots of companies cry. And just a few days ago, a variant, Petya, joined the barrage. It was just a matter of hours before NotPetya emerged. The really bad news: NotPetya is consider cyber war. Even the author of Petya doesn’t want to take credit for this attack. This attack doesn’t seem to care about money. It just encrypts your data and throws away the key. It’s sole intent is to cripple.

So how do you protect yourself?

Keeping your system updated is critical. Besides updating Windows, you also need to keep current with your anti-virus software, malware detection software and all utility software.

Making regular backups is a must.

I like to have backups on-site and off-site. When bad things happen, it’s nice to have the speed and ease of an on-site backup. But there are no guarantees the next version of Malware won’t wipe out your local backup. After all, if it is attached to the infected computer then it can become compromised just as easily as the system itself. To protect against that, I also send backups offsite. People will fuss about the added expense saying, “It just doesn’t seem necessary”, or “I can’t afford it”. But you need to change your thinking: Off-site backups are like fire insurance or car insurance. You buy it. You never intend to use it. But if you have ever experienced a house fire or a car collision, you know how thankful you were to have it. Even with a large deductible, it was still a blessing.

So what makes offsite backups different? A quality backup, will include versioning, keeping two or more copies of the same file. This is critical. No one wants the heart ache of discovering their system is encrypted and the backup software replaced good files with encrypted files. That would make you WannaCry!

Cost of infection is always more than just the ransom you pay. There is also the cost of lost production. PLUS the added expense of Anti-Anxiety Meds!

Worried about your antivirus? We recommend Avira. You can purchase on line for $45, or take advantage of our dealer special for $35/each.

Need a quality backup plan with versioning? We can get you started for as little as $20/month.

Want someone to keep tabs on your software patches? Whether you want it done annually, quarterly or monthly, we’ve got you covered. We also offer an affordable monitoring service that will report back anytime something looks suspicious.

If any of these ideas make you tingle, give us a call. It is much more pleasant to prevent chaos than to reverse chaos. And as the above quote says: Survival is not mandatory!!

~Janet

 On a more pleasant note and because I eat kale and coconut oil and this made me laugh!

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Meet Michael

Posted by Janet Riley on Jun 5, 2017 in Newsletter

I have a passion for web developing, so I started out with Comp-U-Talk to bring my services to the world. I’ve been making websites and programming for 3 years, and along the way I’ve found that it’s truly what I enjoy doing in life. It is both my hobby and my job to make your website as amazing as possible.

Meet Michael. Michael is working with Comp-U-Talk this summer thru a state sponsored internship program. He has a passion for creating websites. We are hoping to keep him busy and keep him in the area. If you have been considering building a website, but just haven’t found the time to make it happen, we would love to help.

Things we are available to help with include registering the domain name if you haven’t already secured one plus domain hosting on fast, secure and reasonably priced servers for your website and company email.

All web sites are designed to be responsive. That means they are just as readable on a smart phone or tablet as they are on a full sized computer monitor.

The contact email address used on your website is protected from spam generating robots with the use of email forms and an optional Captcha algorithm. Captchas are those horrible “Enter these random, barely readable letters and numbers” before submitting your form procedures. While no one like to use a captcha, they have proven to be very valuable at keeping spammers at bay.

We can design a website to include a blog, or not. We can link to your social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or not. They can include an opt in for Email Newsletters and Marketing. And we can create sites to handle various styles of ecommerce with links to PayPal or a merchant service provider of choice. Need a merchant service provider? We can make recommends there too!

Take a look at some of the sites we are working on.
http://comp-u-talk.com/
http://medical-outfitters.com/
http://wildfood.farm/
http://www.shouldnotbe.com/
http://mounttemmaus.com/

If you would like your name added to this list, give us a call today. (541.756.8770)

 – Janet

 

 

Because it made me laugh and I hate camping!

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What’s New In The Computer World

Posted by Janet Riley on May 4, 2017 in Newsletter

“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.”
Dr. Gramme Edwards

People are constantly asking me: “What’s new in the computer world Janet?” As of April 11, I can say the Creators Update is new!

Pray tell, what is the Creators Update? It’s the second major update to Windows 10 and it has some new & updated features that might be of interest if you are running Windows 10.

First up is the new 3D Paint program (named 3D Builder). It’s an amazing program that reminds me of my college roommate, an engineering student, who had to draw 3D images for a class. She spent hours drawing cylinders. The 3D Builder can do it in a matter of seconds. Once finished, it can print the 3D object on a 3D printer, not that I have a 3D printer. I suspect I will own a 3D printer when it is capable of printing an edible dinner.

Next up is a deep dive into Virtual Reality and improved gaming experiences. Who knew they could improve Solitaire? Oh wait. My bad! That’s not the style of gaming they are improving.

There are some features I do find admirable. For instance, the Edge browser has been redesigned to be more stable, more responsive, can now support 3D content, and includes a preview of open tabs when you hover on the tab. To improve security, Edge now blocks Flash content by default. Embedded Flash from web pages can be a source of malware.

Sticky notes, one of my favorite windows utilities, now comes with a feature called “Insights”. Insights will auto detect phone numbers, web addresses, email addresses, flight numbers, street addresses, and will offer to dial, open a web page, start an email, check if a flight is on time or get driving directions. While it wasn’t able to give me driving directions to my house, it is pretty intuitive.   In its defense, I do live off the beaten path. Which brings me to a much appreciated feature: changes to Windows Updates.

Because I live in the sticks, my only source of internet is Satellite Dish. Satellite dishes are metered connections. Once I’ve consumed my allotted 20 Gigabytes of data for the month, I’m stuck. My choices are to purchase more Gigabytes or suffer with speeds reminiscent of dial-up days. Originally, Windows 10 automatically downloaded critical updates. That became a huge problem when the critical updates consumed all of my data for the month. There was an option to set a time to download if you were on a metered connection, but the metered connection only worked with wireless connections. (My house is wired for networking.) With the new Creators update, I can turn on the metered feature for wired or wireless internet connections. And, because I’m running Windows 10 Pro, I can pause installation of updates up to 35 days. (Home version can pause up to 3 days.) That’s definitely worth the price of the upgrade (which is free).

Free does come with some caveats. Free means view advertisements or figure out how to turn them off. To find the magic OFF switches,


Click on the Windows Menu

Choose Settings and then System and then Notifications and Actions. This page will list a variety of options that can be turned off or on.

It would also be a good idea to review your privacy settings found at Settings->Privacy->Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization info (a hyperlink at bottom of page)

And that’s what’s new in the computer world!

Enjoy and Surf Safe,

~Janet

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