Latest blog entries | West Virginia | Netranom https://support.netranom.com/blog Thu, 27 Apr 2017 22:12:16 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Tip of the Week: Use Windows Start Menu to Search Your PC and the Web https://support.netranom.com/blog/tip-of-the-week-use-windows-start-menu-to-search-your-pc-and-the-web https://support.netranom.com/blog/tip-of-the-week-use-windows-start-menu-to-search-your-pc-and-the-web

It’s no secret that finding a particular program or file on your computer can be a pain, especially when you don’t have the time to hunt it down by clicking through folders. However, there is a much easier way to locate your desired data. All you need to do is use the search option found in the Start menu, which is the subject of this week’s tip.

As the more recent versions of Windows were developed, the Start menu was given a very useful utility in the built-in Search option. It is able to search not only documents, but also online, to find what the user is looking for, this nifty utility provides an essential function with the convenience that a user should expect from a modern computer.

It’s extremely easy to use. All you have to do is press the Windows key to access your computer’s menu. Then, you can simply start to type the name of what you are looking for. Like most searches, you will be presented with suggested results based on what you have typed. For example, if you were to type in location, your results might include things like Location Privacy settings, as well as a few other options to change settings like change your country or region, default save locations, clear location history, and taskbar location on screen.

Not only that, but you can also use this feature to run a quick web search with just a few keystrokes. However, this does default to opening the Edge browser, so this may or may not be something that interests all users.

Your results can be more focused by making a few simple adjustments to the search filters. For example, if you knew you were looking for a document with a particular word in the title, you could type in that word and then, by clicking into the Filters menu, adjust where the search targets.

For those of you who aren’t too shy to speak directly to your Windows 10 PC, and you have a built-in microphone, you can start by saying “hey Cortana” and perform your search. The latest Creators update pushed out by Microsoft added many new improvements and features to Cortana.

How much faster do you see your browsing becoming thanks to this quick and easy search functionality? Let us know in the comments!

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) How To Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:30:49 -0400
How Do You Feel About ISPs Selling Your Internet Browsing History? https://support.netranom.com/blog/how-do-you-feel-about-isps-selling-your-internet-browsing-history https://support.netranom.com/blog/how-do-you-feel-about-isps-selling-your-internet-browsing-history

In October of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission designed a set of rules known as the Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal. These rules had intended to flip the status quo and require Internet service providers (ISPs) to gain their customers’ permission before they harvested their browsing histories to sell to advertisers. This proposal is now moot with the establishment of a new law that passed through Congress and was signed by President Trump in April 2017.

The huge levels of dissent surrounding this issue boil down to concerns over privacy. While the proposed rules didn’t necessarily prevent ISPs from selling your data for monetary gain, they would have required the ISP to secure permissions from you before they did so. The relationship between ISPs, the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC), and the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) also played a major role. Many politicians who were opposed to these new rules felt that the FCC had no business determining rules for ISPs, as they felt that responsibility for that was better managed by the FTC.

This opinion was shared by the current chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. However, while the FCC no longer has the authority to forbid ISPs from selling their user’s browsing data to advertisers, no power has been given to the FTC to prevent such activity, either.

The government’s actions have provided ISPs with the same abilities as search engines and social media sites, with a few changes. First of all, search engines and social media do not require any sort of purchase, which leads to an implied agreement that in exchange for their free services, they may use your browsing data to personalize the results they show you (although this personalization does allow marketers to target specific demographics of users, which is a very powerful tool for businesses that many users feel is invasive). ISPs, on the other hand, do charge for their services, meaning that this ruling effectively allows ISPs from making twice the profit from you. Furthermore, instead of just tracking your history on select sites and services, an ISP has access to analyze your entire surfing history and profit off of it.

So what does this all mean to you?
Well, that depends. It is possible that ISPs will target online advertisements based on your individual browsing history, emphasizing products and services that you have shown some interest in before. This isn’t new. Amazon, for example, has mastered this through the use of remarketing. While this could presumably lead to an improved browsing experience for many, there is considerable pushback coming from many advocates for privacy.

This is largely due to the fact that your ISP could harvest this data from almost anywhere, including your personal email accounts and any other online activity, in order to sell it, or at least allow marketers to capitalize on it. Depending on the data collected, this could potentially include personally identifiable information or sensitive account credentials--which could then be up for sale to whomever wanted to buy them from the ISP. Even if we weren’t worried about ISPs selling this type of sensitive data, it opens up another potential way for hackers to gather that data, if the ISP is lax on security.

This isn’t the only advantage the ISP gains, either. Under the rules that were scrapped, an ISP would have been required to alert their customers of a data breach. Arguing that this would only lead to ‘notification fatigue,’ the ISPs were also able to remove these rules, meaning that they are no longer obligated to inform you should your data be at risk.

So, how can you prevent your sensitive information from being collected?
Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. While ISPs still have free reign to collect your browsing data as they please, they are not able to do so if you opt out. This is not to say that all ISPs have made opting out easy, so you may have to make a phone call, and you have to take them at their word that they are no longer tracking you.

There are also some ISPs who are opposed to the privacy repeal, but around 80 percent of Americans have only one or two options for broadband in their area.

Utilizing a virtual private network is another option available to you, but this approach isn’t without its drawbacks, either. Just as an ISP can, a third-party VPN can access and sell your browsing data, if they so choose. For a personal user, a VPN can be costly and cumbersome, however businesses do benefit from them every day. Tor browsing is another option, although it is more complicated, slower, and can potentially be unsecure.

In short, there really isn’t an easy, guaranteed way to secure your browsing history against the peeping eyes of your ISP. All you can do is implement some of these methods to defend yourself to the best of your ability.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Miscellaneous Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:30:45 -0400
The Top 3 Ways Cloud Computing Helps Businesses https://support.netranom.com/blog/the-top-3-ways-cloud-computing-helps-businesses https://support.netranom.com/blog/the-top-3-ways-cloud-computing-helps-businesses

Cloud computing has taken the business world by storm, fulfilling so many needs and simplifying as many processes. If you’ve been on the fence about incorporating the cloud into your IT infrastructure, you should know a few of these benefits to help you make your choice.

Cost Efficiency
Let’s face it, when you’re running a business, cost is a factor in every decision you have to make. Leveraging the cloud for any of a variety of purposes can help you to trim some expenses and make some others stretch a little further. A cloud setup provides the ability to scale your resources to match your needs, ensuring that you aren’t paying for more than you need. This simplifies your budget, and may help free up some capital to invest in other business needs.

Multiple Purposes
While the cloud is most famously associated with storage, it has the capability to serve your business in other ways as well. For instance, the cloud can host your software solutions for you as a part of a Software as a Service agreement. In these cases, any time there are improvements made and a new version is available, your solutions will be upgraded immediately.

Alternatively, the cloud can be used to facilitate a backup and disaster recovery strategy. By housing a backup of your data in an offsite cloud environment, it will be safe should some calamity damage your in-house infrastructure. In these cases, you can even virtualize your systems and run them directly from the cloud to preserve productivity while the office is repaired.

Finally, we return to storage, as it relates to the collaborative benefits to be had with the cloud. By storing business files and data in the cloud, you and your employees can share access and work together to achieve your shared company goals--whether or not you’re anywhere near each other.

Security
Your data is undeniably precious to your business, and as a result, it must be protected from threats from all sides, both external cyber crime and internal user error. Using the cloud permits you to keep your most sensitive data accessible on a need-to-know basis, and allows you to wipe a device in the hands of someone who doesn’t need to know, if need be.

If you want to use the cloud to accomplish these things, reach out to Netranom at (304) 562-4700.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:30:39 -0400
Tip of the Week: Here’s an Easy Way to Update Your Hardware Drivers in Windows 10 https://support.netranom.com/blog/tip-of-the-week-here-s-an-easy-way-to-update-your-hardware-drivers-in-windows-10 https://support.netranom.com/blog/tip-of-the-week-here-s-an-easy-way-to-update-your-hardware-drivers-in-windows-10

The average employee and business owner relies on various hardware solutions to go about their day-to-day duties. These hardware devices--think keyboards, wireless mouses, external microphones, and any USB devices--utilize drivers which allow for inter-device compatibility. What happens when these drivers aren’t installed or kept up to date? Your technology suffers, and so does your productivity.

In this week’s tip, we’ll go over how to install drivers and why they are important for getting the most out of your investment.

First of all, drivers are meant to help your device perform better. Windows will usually try to install them the first time you plug in a new piece of equipment. They will frequently need to be updated depending on how often they are patched by the developer. Without these drivers, you run the risk of encountering hardware crashes and decreased performance. All of these issues can be avoided if you make sure that your drivers are always kept up to date.

To get started with managing your hardware drivers in Windows 10, open the Windows 10 Device Manager. To do this, right-click on the Start menu or press the Windows Key + X.

Once you’ve opened the Device Manager, you’ll can see all of the details about the various drivers you’ve installed for your hardware solutions. Just use the categorized list to look for your device. Double-click the device and you’ll be shown the version of the driver, as well as how recent the driver was issued.

If the drivers need to be updated, click on Update Driver. If the Search automatically for updated driver software box is checked, Windows will search for the new version. The new driver will automatically install if it’s available.

Keep in mind, some drivers can be updated by Windows automatically, and other devices have their own tools and utilities to update drivers and patch software. Some developers will provide direct download links to drivers on their websites, so if Windows can’t find what you need, it’s worthwhile to check with the manufacturer.

One more thing to consider--a new version of a driver may cause an issue or incompatibility with something else running on your computer. While it’s important to stay up-to-date, you may want a professional to handle your updates. When we manage computers for businesses, we handle software updates, security patches, and hardware driver updates to make sure your technology is running as smooth as possible.

If your business has questions on how to handle drivers, reach out to us at (304) 562-4700.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:30:43 -0400
How a Single Hacker Stole $100 Million From Two Major Tech Companies https://support.netranom.com/blog/how-a-single-hacker-stole-100-million-from-two-major-tech-companies https://support.netranom.com/blog/how-a-single-hacker-stole-100-million-from-two-major-tech-companies

An unfortunate fact about the modern business world is that any organization that utilizes technology is playing with fire. Cyber attacks can circumvent even the most well-protected networks through the company’s users. This is, unfortunately, something that business owners often don’t learn until they’re on the receiving end of an attack; just like the two companies that fell victim to phishing attempts that were supposedly operated by Evaldas Rimasauskas, a Lithuanian hacker who has been accused of stealing $100 million from them.

According to acting United States Attorney Joon H. Kim, “This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies--even the most sophisticated--that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cyber criminals.” These words apply to the business world for one major reason: the public doesn’t know who, specifically, the two affected companies are. All that we know is that one of them is a “multinational online social media company” and the other a “multinational technology company.”

Rimasauskas is facing charges of orchestrating a phishing attack that was supposed to convince the victims to wire transfer funds into accounts in Latvia and Cyprus. The U.S. Department of Justice explains that this feat was accomplished by building a company in Latvia with the same name as a computer manufacturer in Asia. The fake company then used its new identity to reach out to companies that had a known relationship with the Asian manufacturer or its services, claiming that there were balances that had yet to be paid. Following the wire transfer, Rimasauskas would then divvy up the funds for transfer to various global bank accounts.

These allegations have brought wire fraud charges against Rimasauskas that could potentially land him in prison for up to 20 years, as well as three more counts of money laundering, each also worth a maximum of 20 years each. To top it all off, he has a single count of aggravated identity theft with a minimum of two years in prison.

So, what can your business learn from this incident? Well, the first is that these victims were described as “multinational,” meaning that they are large countries that are easily recognizable. Companies as large as these certainly have the means to protect themselves from the odd phishing scammer, but the perpetrator was able to bypass these security standards by targeting the users directly.

The old adage, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, still holds strong; and, in situations like these, that link is painfully clear. For smaller organizations, the need is only more important, as it becomes more critical to shore up this particular weakness. Larger organizations have more difficulty ensuring these high standards for all employees. It’s important that each and every member of your staff understand company security policies.

The second lesson that you can learn from this event comes from the process used by hackers to defraud businesses. Considering that many hackers will only want to put in the minimum amount of effort to hit their targets, it’s logical to assume they would rather go after an easier target than invest more effort with no possibility for a return. It’s simply a matter of how much work it is to get around enterprise-level security.

What happens when all it takes to collect data is writing a couple of emails and setting up bank accounts? A hacker can then communicate with the target and take whatever they can get, and do the same thing to any other companies foolish enough to fall for the trick.

The biggest takeaway from this event is that you can’t ignore the basics. Training, in combination with powerful enterprise-level security, can be a great way to ward off potential attacks. In fact, companies are quite rarely breached due to advanced threats, and are often brought down due to something small that was overlooked, like a spam email or access log discrepancy.

You won’t catch Netranom ignoring important details that could threaten your business. For more information about what we can do for your network’s security, reach out to us at (304) 562-4700.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Mon, 17 Apr 2017 08:30:28 -0400