PayPal User Agreement July 1, 2015 – CAUTION

If you are like us, we get inundated with robocalls just about 2-5 times per day on our business phone.  At one point I seriously considered using an automated phone attendant to answer the calls and let a real person hit the #1 button on their phone to talk to a real person.  This is of course the only way I know of that will keep us from being harassed by these robocalls.  If you don’t know what a “robocall” is, it’s a phone call generated by a robot with a voice recording from a real person.  These calls are often misleading and do not allow you to take your phone number off their list.

Unfortunately, PayPal has decided it wants to get in on this irritating marketing scheme by requiring all PayPal users to accept robocalls from them (and maybe their friends later on) in order to use PayPal.  This new agreement comes out July 1, 2015.  If you don’t think this is a big deal, wait until others follow suit and soon we’ll be getting robocalls from more and more vendors!

Fortunately, our senators are getting involved and asking PayPal to reconsider.  We’ll see what happens next but feel free to email PayPal and let them know your thoughts!

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our website http://www.mcsmetro.com

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc

1-800 Tech Scam

A new tech support scam is running rampant this year as computer users find themselves being advised to call a 1-800 number by a webpage that just won’t close. It is very important not to call this number. The popup can look legitimate with Windows Logos and detailed formatting but it is far from it.
The 1-800 number connects users to an “IT Technician” that tells them their computers are terribly infected or packed with junk files but not to worry because it can be cleaned up for a substantial amount of money.
This is a tech support scam.The person on the other end of the 1-800 number is not a technician and is not looking to help. From what we have found, it appears to primarily affect internet browsers, Google Chrome in particular. The window is very difficult to close but closing the browser from the Task Manager will close the program, and the pop-up with it.
The popup itself is essentially harmless, provided the 1-800 isn’t called, but it could be a sign of a more serious virus infection.
We recommend any computer showing this message be inspected by a legitimate tech support service as soon as possible.

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our websitehttp://www.mcsmetro.com

Nick Chambers

IT Assistant at Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.

New Toys = New Concerns

Many of you have given new Internet enabled toys to your children for Christmas.  While that being exciting, it also can be slightly scary.  With a mis-typed URL, a search for something like “boys” or even just a simple click on an ad, you might find your children looking at something not suitable for them.

Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to helping protect your family from things you don’t wish for them to see.  There are a few tools/services you can utilize that might help bring a little more protection to your family’s Internet surfing.

FREE:

OPEN DNS Family – This service provides filtering for your home on any device.  If it is a mobile device, once you are outside of your home Internet, the protection stops.  This is good for many whose family mostly uses the Internet in the home but not while traveling or visiting others.  Click Here to learn more

Forticlient Lite – Forticlient is an anti-virus protection software with web content filtering (or “Parental Control”).  This is a very good security protection software that we use often in our shop.  This software can be installed on both Windows, MAC, Android and iOS devices.  We have not tested it on the handheld devices but if it works like the windows and MAC versions, you should be pretty satisfied with the results.  Click Here to learn more

 

PAID Software/Services:

OPEN DNS Business – Open DNS Business edition is one of the best tools to protect all your devices from malware, botnets and web content that is not family friendly.  It can be used on Windows, MAC, Android and iOS devices no matter where they are or what Internet service they use.  The price is around $28/user per year so it isn’t a huge amount and if 1 user has 3 devices, it doesn’t increase your cost.  You must purchase a minimum of 5 licenses for this service.  Call us to learn more – 503-980-1026

 

SUMMARY:

Keeping your family safe on the Internet is becoming more and more difficult.  Hopefully you will find the value in investing your time or money into any of these options.  Please feel free to call us for a free consultation relating to family safety on the Internet.

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our website http://www.mcsmetro.com

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc

Our General Cyber Security Philosophy

Today I had an employee of a customer as me to “unblock” a website so they could purchase some snowboard equipment.  I found myself saying, “you know . . . personal computing really ought not be done on a business computer.”  In a nutshell, this is our “general cyber security philosophy”.  If you are an employee, who gets blocked from personal websites, you might simply ask, “what’s wrong with going to MSN or CNN on my own time?”  As we discussed earlier this month in our blogs about Malvertisement, there are more and more people clicking on the wrong links even on trustworthy websites.  Additionally, many people don’t know but Yahoo.com had their homepage hacked a little over a year ago in which people just going to yahoo.com were potentially infected with Malware.

It makes sense that blocking non-business related websites is a simple way to help reduce the potential of having a security incident.  For those who employee family or friends and have a lot of pressure to please, we recommend having an isolated wireless hot-spot that is not part of the office network in which employees or customers can access the internet on their handheld devices or by using an employee shared laptop just for personal surfing on their breaks.

To summarize, those of our customers who have a computer designated solely for business purposes have little to no issues on their computers.  Those who try to mix business with pleasure on their computer see our shop often.

We hope you learn from our posts.

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our website http://www.mcsmetro.com

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc

To Download or Not to Download?

After last week’s post you may find yourself wondering, “How can I tell whether or not the program I am about to download is legitimate and not a malvertisement?” One of the best ways to avoid falling victim to malvertising is to pay close attention to the source of the download.

A google search of many programs (i.e. iTunes, Google Chrome, OpenOffice) will return many pages where a program is available but may be riddled with malware hitchhikers. This is the part where caution is key. The easiest indicator to spot is a little yellow box that says “Ad” under the title of the search result. This will typically appear on the first three results of a search of a commonly downloaded program and, more often than not, will be a site to avoid. The green text under the title of each search result is the website where the download will come from. If the site looks anything like: “www.openoffice.download-spree.com”, “download-iTunes.downloadxy.net”, or “www.programdownload.com/Google-Chrome”, it’s best to steer clear.

The safest way to download a program is to get it directly from the source, for example: http://www.apple.com for iTunes, http://www.google.com/chrome for Google Chrome, and http://www.openoffice.org for OpenOffice. Finding a legitimate source for your program download will ensure you get the program you want and (almost more importantly) none of the ones you don’t.

 

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our websitehttp://www.mcsmetro.com

Nick Chambers

IT Assistant at Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.

The Rise of Malvertising!

5 years ago customers who would come to me to fix their virus infection would ask, “where did this come from or how did I get it?” and my response was easy and straight forward.  I’d say “you either opened a virus in an email, downloaded a free program that contained malware or from visiting unethical websites.  Today we say, “just about anywhere”.  Unfortunately for them, I am not being sarcastic.

This leads me to introduce Malvertising.  Six or so years ago, malware makers decided to use the legal system to help their crooked venture.  They started wrapping their malware in legitimate programs they would offer on the Internet for free or very little cost.  These legitimate programs are called “freeware”.  Not all “freeware” has malware but most do.

This is where customers ask, “why doesn’t my anti-virus product block it?”.  This is where the legal loophole is.  To make it so anti-virus software cannot label it as a virus or malware, they gave you the freeware which while being installed disclosed they were going to install another product.  If you “Agree” to the terms, you just legally said you wanted this product even if you didn’t realize they were installing it.  This is why it has become extremely important to read these terms of agreements on any program you install.

This leads us to Malvertising.  Another crafty yet deceitful way to pay for advertising on really well-known websites such as “New York Times” and even Yahoo.  These criminals create a shell company, buy advertising on websites and then lure you to click on the advertisement which brings you to a malicious website or get’s you to download freeware/malware.  So to answer my customers question, “yes, you can get malware just by going to Yahoo.com!”.

I hope this helps explain why we make it our standard principle to block all non-business domains on business networks.  The era of giving employees free rein to surf the internet on their workstation during their lunch break should have ended.  The new era should be to provide a “dirty Internet” connection that they can use with their tablet, laptop or smart phone to surf as they wish.

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our websitehttp://www.mcsmetro.com

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.

Kaspersky – An Anti-Virus Product or Potential Backdoor

I’d like to start off saying this is all opinion based on reason and probability.  We have enjoyed using Kaspersky for the past 5+ years and think the product in-of-itself is a great security product.

The facts are, Eugene Kaspersky (the founder and owner of Kaspersky), has a great relationship with the current Russian government.  “wired.com” wrote a very thorough article about Kaspersky back in July of 2012 which you can find here http://www.wired.com/2012/07/ff_kaspersky/all/

Due to the rise of cyber terrorism and the recent illegal/questionable actions of the Russian government, we have decided that it was in the best interest of security to no longer use kaspersky products.  If the Russian government either covertly or openly took over this largest anti-virus software company in the world, it wouldn’t take them long to utilize Kaspersky’s built in auto-updater to update itself with a malicious code that could do damage to your computer or use it for illegal or unethical use.

I understand that just about any anti-virus company could be in a similar predicament but if it was a US owned and operated company, at least we wouldn’t be assisting a potential enemy.

What are your thoughts?

 

 

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our websitehttp://www.mcsmetro.com

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.

 

Do I Need To Worry About This Update?

I often get asked, “do I need to worry about this update?”.  I figured it was asked enough that I should just post the answer as this is what our Blog is for!  This question arises typically after a customer receives an email alerting them to the latest vulnerability and telling them to make sure they have their Windows up-to-date.

To answer this question quickly and basically, YES, as a standard rule of thumb you should keep your Windows operating system and Internet Explorer up-to-date with the latest updates provided by Microsoft.

If you want my detailed answer keep reading.  On average, there are about 3-4 “critical” security vulnerabilities found in Microsoft products each month.  A “Critical” update typically indicates that your computer could be easily compromised under the right circumstances and the update to fix it should be installed ASAP.  It’s important to note the phrase “under the right circumstances”.  For those who are connected at home behind a private router or wireless access point, you’re most likely not considered one of those at risk.  If you connect to a public wi-fi or are connected directly to the Internet with no firewall/router then you are more at risk.  For the standard users I would say update as soon as possible.

For businesses or those who need reliability over quick security, continue reading.

Our company generally balances patching quickly with patching quality.  On rare occasions the update can cause system performance or instability issues which are more problematic to the end-user than the potential for a security risk.  If you look at the whole idea of how the vulnerability patch and fix system works you’ll see that there is no method to know how long a vulnerability has been known or even used on the Internet.  Once Microsoft finds out about it they create a patch to fix it.  So even though a new vulnerability is made known and Microsoft releases a patch, there is no way to know if it has been known by someone for over a year or just a few weeks.  Having this understanding puts perspective to the “urgency” of installing these patches.

All this to say it is important to weigh the need for security with the need for stability.  Waiting about 1 week usually is long enough to let everyone else test out the patch in order for you to know if it is stable enough for your production use.

Learn more about our products and services by visiting our website http://www.mcsmetro.com

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.

Beginnings

Hello blog readers.  This is officially my first blog.  I’ve decided that trying to mass email my thousands of customers is not that simple and with the growing amounts of unwanted spam it makes sense for me to just post it and let those who are interested find and read it.

In my blogs we will cover some informative steps and tools, security alerts, things we think you should know and responses to the most commonly asked questions we get from month to month.  If you have a topic you’d like to see us talk about, please let us know and we’ll see if it is something everyone else is interested in too.  If it is, we’ll blog it!

Since this is new to us, we would really appreciate the feedback of our blog, on our blog.  This lets us and our other readers know if this is of interest to you or not.

With our new blog, we also have a new name, logo and website.  Our new name is Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.  For short, we just say MCS or when calling “MCS computers” as some of our customers don’t have a clue what MCS is yet.  If you haven’t gotten around to checking out our new website, please visit us at http://www.mcsmetro.com

We hope to keep you busy reading our blog as we attempt to updated it every 7-10 days.

Thank you for checking out our new blog.

Daniel Multop

IT/IS Specialist & Owner of Multiple Computer Solutions, Inc.