Macs: Hardly Malware-proof

Security firms and experts are finding out that since people tend to be more complacent security-wise when using a Mac, they make for pretty ripe pickings for unscrupulous online scammers, fraudsters, and thieves. Macs are famous for a lot of things – some true, some false. For instance, many people believe that Macs are virus- and malware-proof – but unfortunately that’s not true. Just because many of the malware and viruses out there are targeted toward the Windows OS, Macs are not impervious to attack as well. And the operative word is “targeted”. Security firms and experts are learning that since people tend to be more complacent security-wise when using a Mac, they make for pretty ripe pickings for unscrupulous online scammers, fraudsters, and thieves. Not only are more security flaws being discovered on the Mac OS and programs, but also more viruses are being created that specifically target those vulnerabilities. Of course, the scale of the threat can be debated – but while it is true that more viruses and malware are designed for Windows, it’s also true that some of these viruses can be applicable to Macs as well, in addition to those specifically designed to attack the Mac OS platforms. If you aren’t convinced, then this video might just turn you into a believer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTeSYmQS820&feature=player_embedded . Here, a Mac anti-virus program catches a would-be Trojan. And that’s just one of the many hundreds of thousands of Mac viruses and malware out there. Is it sound business practice to take risks with your system security? Whether you use Windows or Mac, you need malware protection – because too often all it takes is a single incident to bring your whole system on its knees. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options with you and offer a tailor-made security solution that is guaranteed to keep you safe, regardless of which OS you’re using.

A Peek into the Windows Phone 7 OS

It’s sometimes difficult to choose which smartphone to get – not only because of hardware specs, but also the OS it uses. One new promising option worth trying out is Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7. A growing tech trend these days is the steady increase of smartphone use, as more and more people discover the value – both business and personal – of constant connection to the internet and the ability to remain productive even on the go. There are many options to choose from, and one very viable and promising smartphone platform/OS that’s making waves recently is the new Windows Phone 7 OS, released late last year. A successor of sorts to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, WP7 has been rebuilt from the ground up and is packed with new features designed to make it perform at par (or better in some cases) than the competition. One major improvement in Windows Phone 7 is the new user interface, which is much more fluid and easy to navigate. It also allows for more customization and organization according to user preferences. Another plus for the platform is the generally faster performance, as well as the smooth response of the virtual keyboard. The WP7 OS will also be available in different smartphones, so you need not worry about it being locked to a single device. A downside of Windows Phone 7 is the lack of applications at this time, though this is largely due to the relative newness of the platform. However, reviews of Windows Phone 7 have been largely positive, and more apps are expected to become available as the platform gains steam in the market. So if you are in the market for a new smartphone, in addition to checking out the standard leaders such as iPhone, Blackberry, and the Google Android-based smartphones, you might want to consider giving the Windows Phone 7 a look as well.

Recognizing Phishing Messages

What’s phishing? How does it work? Keep yourself aware of basic phishing techniques and you might just save yourself from becoming yet another victim of these unscrupulous fraudsters. Online oracle Wikipedia defines phishing as: “the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.” We probably don’t need to tell you what kind of damage unscrupulous people can do with that kind of data in their hands. This is why it’s important to identify phishing messages from the get go and prevent becoming a victim. What makes a phishing message tick? How are they different from spam? What makes phishing different from spam is that phishing messages masquerade as official correspondence from a trusted source. While spam can be filtered, many phishing messages manage to bypass these filters precisely because they seem to be legitimate messages. They can be disguised as communication from your bank, your credit card company, or even from a large company such as Microsoft or Google, or social networking sites like Facebook, or MySpace. These messages come complete with official-sounding content and even logos stolen from the legit websites. The website links in the message, however, direct you to a fraudulent but official-looking website where you are asked to divulge personal information. You can check these links by simply hovering your mouse pointer over them – watch out for misspelled or faked / masked websites. Sometimes a telephone number is posted, and when called, you are asked for personal information. Remember, legitimate companies never ask for your password or similar data. Another identifying factor: phishers bait people with everything from ultimatums (such as a deadline or expiry date) to shocking statements (such as, “you’ve won a hundred thousand dollars!”). These kinds of phrases are designed to create a sense of urgency, making users fill out forms and click on links without fully considering the consequences. If you want to know more about phishing and how you can safeguard yourself against it, we’ll be happy to fill you in and discuss a customized security plan to keep you fully protected.

Protecting Your Business From Disaster

You'd have to be living under a rock to have not heard about, or experienced personally, the recent tragedies that have been hitting Australians. Floods, cyclones, heavy rains, power outages, bush fires, extreme heat - even though these are all part of living in this amazing country, they don't necessarily need to spell disaster for your business.

Lost Your Gadget? These Apps Can Help

No need to panic if you lose your cell phone. Just make use of these apps that help secure your gadget from loss or theft. Check out which app supports your gadget. Technology has become part of mankind’s daily existence. Everywhere you look, somebody is sporting a new gadget or two, and sometimes even more. In fact, many use a cell phone, laptop computer, iPod, and even an iPad as part of their daily routines. With multiple gadgets being used by a single person, one is bound get misplaced occasionally – or worse, stolen. This can be very annoying and even devastating, especially if the gadget contains sensitive information. Fortunately, with ongoing improvements in technology, manufacturers of many gadgets have also developed apps that can help locate a lost or stolen gadget. 1.       Find My iPhone, Find My iPad, and Find My iPod touch These three apps work the same way, featuring MobileMe, and now they’re free on every iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod touch 4 th generation with iOS 4.2. If you misplace your gadget, you just sign in to me.com using any computer web browser (or use the Find My iPhone, iPad or IPod touch app on another device) to display the misplaced gagdet’s approximate location on a map. Another option is to write a message and display it on the screen of your gadget. Your message will appear even if the screen is locked. Also, if your gadget is nearby but you can’t find it because it’s under a pile of papers or your bed, you can tell Find My iPhone to play a sound that will override the gadget’s volume or silent setting. 2.       Lookout The Lookout app supports Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile. With this app, you can locate your missing phone on a map from your PC or from another smartphone. If your phone is nearby and you still can’t find it, you can sound an alarm which will play even if your phone is on silent. 3.       BlueRetriever The BlueRetriever app supports Apple (iPhone original, iPhone 3G/3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch), Blackberry (Curve, Storm, Bold, Pearl), Palm (Pre), and Google (G1). This app enables you to create a wallpaper for your phone that includes a site URL and ID number on it. When someone finds your phone, they just go to the website and type in the ID number to learn who owns the phone. With this app, you have the option to offer a reward, which you can set up to $100 in gift cards from Amazon, Target, or Starbucks, or you can give donations with Kiva. 4.       iTag The iTag app supports the Android phone. If you misplace your Android, you can view its location using the website, and you can also make it ring even if it is in silent mode or vibrate. So there’s no longer need to need to panic if you lose your cell phone. Just make use of these apps to help secure your phone or other gadget from loss or theft.

Newly Found Windows Bug Allows Hackers to Control your PC

By just viewing a file or opening a folder, some Windows users may be opening up their PCs to hackers A new vulnerability found in Microsoft’s Windows operating system can potentially open up your PC to remote attackers. On top of compromising the data within your PC, hackers can also introduce malware into the vulnerable machines to possibly enlist them unwittingly in criminal botnet rings. The newly found bug is particularly dangerous as it can be triggered by just viewing a folder containing a specially crafted image thumbnail, or opening up a malicious graphic file which can be embedded in any Office document. The bug exists in the Windows graphics rendering engine, and although Microsoft has acknowledged the issue, no fix has yet been released. Users of Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008 are affected by the bug. Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, the latest versions of Windows for PCs and servers respectively, are not affected. Users are advised to be vigilant in monitoring patches or fixes from Microsoft and make sure to install a fix when one does become available. No time or resources to do so? We offer services that can help automate the process of monitoring, updating, and managing your systems for you. Get in touch with us today.

Prevent Hackers from Getting into Your Email Account

Most hackers just like the thrill of breaking through a computer security system, but there are others who may not be as harmless. Some will get into email accounts and use all the sensitive information that they can access, for their own benefit. Email hacking is becoming a common problem of web users. As more people have become dependent on the internet for almost everything they need, a vast amount of sensitive information is now within reach of unscrupulous individuals known as hackers. Cybertopcops.com defines a hacker as “someone who gains unauthorized access to a computer system.” Most hackers just like the thrill of breaking through a computer security system, but there are others who may not be as harmless. Some hack into email accounts and use all the sensitive information that they can access, for own their benefit. How can you tell if your email was hacked? You can’t log into your email account. Your sent folder contains messages that you never sent. Your email contacts inform you that they have been receiving spam messages from your account. What can you do if your email has been hacked? Change your password. If you learn that your email has been hacked, change your password immediately. Choose one that won’t be guessed easily. Check all your other accounts: email, social networks, blogs, etc. Many people use one password for all their accounts because it’s easier to remember. While this may be more convenient, think of the major losses you could suffer if a hacker gets into all your accounts. Delete all accounts that you have not been using for a long time. Hackers love to get into email accounts that you don’t use anymore, since it takes a longer time for you to realize that you’ve been hacked – giving the hacker more time to do damage. Send an apology to all your email contacts. While most internet users are aware that email hackers are the ones sending the spam, some may not understand and may be angry with you. So, it is best to send all your email contacts an explanation and an apology. How can you prevent hackers from getting into your email account? Choose a password that cannot be easily guessed. Many people use easy-to-guess passwords such as their own names with their birthdates at the end, which is very easy for hackers to crack. It’s best to combine upper case and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols such as the ampersand, dollar or percent sign. Change your password at regular intervals. To make it more difficult for email hackers to crack your password, change your password every one to three months. Avoid giving your email address to every website that asks for it. Give your email address only to people and organizations that you trust. Some websites exist only to sending out malware or spyware. Think twice before you provide your email address to websites that you browse. The internet has certainly made life a lot more convenient but unfortunately, it’s also made it easier for hackers so you must be vigilant. Take all necessary precautions so that your email account is always secure.