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    Omguru - Technology

     

    Wednesday
    Feb022011

    How do you –NOT- get your bank account hacked and your money stolen by taking greater precautions

    How do you –NOT- get your bank account hacked and your money stolen by taking greater precautions

    This is a re-post but one I deemed so important I decided to bring it back.

    Everyone has assumed up till now that if you get hacked, your computers gets “owned” by a hacker, and then your money stolen out of your bank account that the bank will automatically put it back and take the loss themselves, much the way a credit card would work if fraudulent charges are put on it. Many of us have simply taken this for granted and not taken the security of our computer systems and maintaining control over them seriously.  As some in the technology community know; if you don’t take the proper precautions to ensure you have good security software installed and a firewall at your internet access entry point installed then your systems are no longer your systems but belong to whoever hacked them.  

     

    Now there is a scary new trend among businesses.  It’s getting so bad that in several cases involving many hundreds of thousands of dollars the banks refused to make the business client whole when they were robbed by internet bandits and it was clear they had not taken the security of their computers seriously. Yes you could be randomly robbed by internet bad guys as a business and if you were careless in your security measures may actually not get your money back.  This is a chilling new reality that businesses must face and deal with before the day of reckoning arrives for them.  In many cases the banks recommend that businesses dedicate a computer to on-line banking and do not use them for anything else except on-line banking, or even email.  Some experts have recommended that businesses actually use personal accounts which still enjoy the full protection but one has to wonder how long banks will pay for careless end users mistakes.  Some people actually feel all business banking should simply be done off-line, but this may not work for many businesses. You may remember I predicted that the day would come when financial institutions would no longer be willing to shoulder the burden of financial losses for careless users who left themselves open and sitting ducks for the bad guys, and that day is now!  So protect yourself by taking these steps:

     

    Either audit your own security to find holes/problems or hire an expert to help you.

    Try the Google Redirect Virus Removal Tool!

     

    Ensure you have good security software installed, my personal favorite is eset.com, and now my company laymantech.com is offering a special free offer!

     

    Ensure you have a good firewall such as Astaro Security Gateway or Juniper installed if you are a business especially.  This can filter out many problems before they even enter your network!

     

    In the old days having proper security measures in place ensured you would not have to reformat your system when it got “owned” by hackers, sadly these days if you don’t take the proper steps as a business, you may actually experience real, hard, painful losses, and perhaps even the demise of your business.

     

    If you have any questions or inquiries feel free to ask them before it’s too late…

     

    PS: I hope at the very least you don't have the same password for every web-site you use as this is one of the easiest ways to get hacked!

     

     

     

    Check out the Creative Blog Poem by Chris [The Emotionally Present Home] 


     

     

    Wednesday
    Jan052011

    The Real Cost of Using an Old Out of Warranty Computer in Your Office

    The Real Cost of Using an Old Out of Warranty Computer in Your Office

    Believe it or not continuing to use an old out of date and out of warranty system in your office or work environment could end up being a disaster waiting to happen for you and your business.

    Well, happy New Year’s everyone first!

    And now back to our topic; I realize there are many folks who feel that their old and trusty computer which has worked for years and years will continue to work and they can rely on it. This thinking could end up being costly as the I have been seeing many situations lately where an old out of date and out of warranty computer has failed in a work situation causing the business downtime, stress and anxiety over when it will be fixed, and lost work and likely lost revenue. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a good warranty in place for the computer and technology equipment that you will use in your production work environment. When you have a problem being able to have confidence that if it turns out to be a hardware failure help is on the way is critical. By using computers which are out of warranty in the front lines of your business you are asking for a disaster and I can pretty much guarantee the failures will happen when you least expect them at the time when they will cause the maximum damage; it’s murphy’s law, and in the technology and computer area it applies in a big way.

    Now what can you do to prevent the sad situation outlined above; check every piece of equipment in use in production in your office and find out if the piece of equipment is under warranty a.s.a.p. Once have you have a list of office equipment, and warranty status then rank the importance of each piece to the operations of your business and the cost to the business if the equipment fails and you cannot get it replaced in a timely manner. After you complete this process it’s time to start budgeting for replacement of critical items and planning for installing new equipment at times when it will be least disruptive to your business. Remember you have this luxury if you go through this process before the unit fails in production and during business hours. By doing this warranty inventory and financial planning you can also plan and work with your technology staff or consulting organization on the best replacement proposal and plan and secure a well thought out upgrade/replacement plan. Don’t assume your consultant or IT organization will be available when you have a failure as they may be busy with other open calls or projects and have to schedule your project days or weeks out as opposed to if it’s a planned event you have much more control. The economy is recovering and service professionals are getting busy again.

    I hope this post helps you plan for the most worry and stress free technology experience possible, as always please feel free to ask me any question on your mind.

     

     - Chris

     

    Friday
    Dec242010

    Always convert word documents to PDF format before emailing

    I know many people convert word documents to a PDF (Adobe Acrobat Reader Format) before they send it and this is a very good idea because something many people do not realize is that when you send a .doc file directly without converting it to a PDF you are creating a number of risks:


    1. Your file can be modified directly
    2. Word saves and embeds certain personal information which could be used to attack your organization, computer and you such as name of your organization, your server name, user name, possible names of the computer, and other registration information.

     

    So make sure to convert your word documents to PDF format before you send them out for review and feedback.

     

    Adobe Acrobat will do this for you and many new computers sold in the last few years may even have it on the system and you just have to look for it.

     

    Alternatively here is a free PDF creator which works very much like the full commercial acrobat except with fewer features, you just print from your program and you will have the option to print to a PDF file.


    PDF Creator can be downloaded and installed using the link below:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

     

    I would also like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very happy holiday,fortune and happiness in the new year.

     

    All the best in 2011

    - Chris

    Thursday
    Dec092010

    Can you trust your Domain Name Servers? And What Does this mean?!

    From GRC's Web-Site:

    "DNS Spoofability?  Huh?

    Near the middle of 2008, the world was informed of the existence of a recently discovered, previously unknown and very serious vulnerability that was present within the majority of the Internet's domain name system (DNS) servers. The vulnerability was considered critical because, if exploited, it could be used to redirect unsuspecting Internet users to malicious web sites without detection."

    Here is the Gibson Research Corporation link that has the full information and test:

    https://www.grc.com/dns/dns.htm

    Let me know what you think!


    - Chris

     

    Tuesday
    Nov232010

    Are your DNS nameservers impeding your Internet experience?

    Domain Name Speed Benchmark is an awesome program by Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation which can be used in determining if your DNS servers [which are the servers which turn when you type domain name in to your browser in to the web-site, slow DNS servers can make even a fast internet connection seem slow!

    TRY IT NOW!

     

    I quote from Steve directly:

    “People use alphabetic domain names (www.grc.com), but Internet data packets require numerical Internet IP addresses (4.79.142.202). So the first step required before anything can be done on the Internet is to lookup the site's or service's domain name to determine its associated Internet IP address.

    www.grc.com      [4.79.142.202]

    Since nothing can happen until IP addresses are known, the use of slow, overloaded or unreliable DNS servers will get in the way, noticeably slowing down virtually all of your use of the Internet.

    Unless you have taken over manual control of the DNS servers your system is using (which, as you'll see, is not difficult to do), your system will be using the DNS servers that were automatically assigned by your Internet connection provider (your ISP). Since they are likely located close to you on the Internet (since they are provided by your own ISP) they may already be the fastest DNS servers available to you. But they might be in the wrong order (the second one being faster than the first one, and that matters) or, who knows? Many people have discovered that their own ISP's DNS servers are slower than other publicly available alternatives on the Internet, which are faster and/or more reliable.

    This DNS Benchmark will give you visibility into what's going on with your system's currently assigned DNS servers by automatically comparing their performance with many well known publicly available alternatives.”

    Download this also utility right here:

    http://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm

     

    Give it try and tell us what you think!

     

    -          Chris