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How To Protect Your Children Online
Now that the school holidays have finally started, children have all the time in the world to spend with their best friend: Technology.
Waking early to sneak in a couple hours of Minecraft, Roblox, YouTube or Xbox…grabbing their ‘educational’ iPad and Facetiming a friend…sending emails and texts…it’s open season during school holidays!
Not just the younger children, but teenagers too.
To be honest, as an adult, we really have no idea what’s cool or what they’ve been introduced to at school. They’re digital natives and use it in ways we would never dream of.
All we know is that they’re going to using their devices and we won’t be able to watch them every second of the day. Plus of course, no matter how many Cyber-Safety talks they’ve had, how many times they can parrot the rules back, they’re children and they don’t always stop to think.
A Parental Control Software (PCS) package is essentially an internet filter for children. It takes all the icky, inappropriate things online and blocks your child from accessing them, seeing them or even knowing they exist.
Adults can override and disable the software easily, so their own experience is unchanged and unmonitored.
As an added bonus, Parental Control Software can also be used to put time limits on internet usage, or even log all online activity. While you may not feel the need to review the logs on a daily basis, they can be vital in identifying cyber bullying, sexting, or inappropriate relationships. Parents around the world credit these logs with saving their child’s mental health, and occasionally, their life.
The best time to install Parental Control Software is now, before your children become comfortable with unrestricted access, and before they see things they shouldn’t.
Give us a call to set your computer up with Parental Control Software today.
Should You REALLY Click That Upgrade?
That pop up just won’t leave. It’s been hounding you to upgrade your software and clearly, it has zero intention of giving you a moment’s rest. That software wants to be upgraded and it wants it now.
With a grudging sigh, you click and let it upgrade in the background. Maybe now it will let you get some work done. Except instead of grabbing a competitive advantage by having the latest and greatest edition, you quickly discover it’s given you the exact opposite. Your essential hardware no longer works, you’ve got errors all over the place, and that application no longer runs at all.
Your urgent upgrade was more of an instant downgrade.
Before you click that nagging upgrade button, consider the following:
Is the upgrade going to work with your current systems?
If your project management software no longer talks to your scheduling software, you’ve got a problem. It’s reasonable to expect the upgrade to have gone through robust testing and bug fixes, but even the mega corporations are caught out in an instant.
Is your current solution still an option?
Developers cease support of older software versions after a certain date. In these cases, continuing to use an outdated version leaves your system vulnerable, without patches and security updates. If your software is at the end of its cycle, you’ll need to upgrade regardless. This, however, gives you the perfect opportunity to revise your selection and make some experienced decisions – upgrade or replace.
Will this upgrade benefit your business?
Some upgrades are purely cosmetic. They look great and the developers pitch them as the latest and greatest, but without additional innovation on offer, you’re better to wait.
On the other hand, if the upgrade is going to have a positive effect on productivity, efficiency or customer satisfaction, definitely put it on your to-do list. Hold off for just a few moments though, while your IT technicians research any conflicts that might arise.
Being an early adopter isn’t always the best idea. Sometimes you need to let your other software packages catch up, and compatibility issues will always be relevant. It’s more important than ever before to take your time and research the upgrade to see how others have fared – before things come crashing down.
Call us for a quick compatibility check before you click
So how do you balance being social with staying safe?
People happily share their private information online, building robust libraries that can easily become a one-stop goldmine for fraudsters.
It’s not exactly the intention everyone has when they sign up, as the whole point of Facebook is to share your life with your friends. It hooks us into a global community and the experience does depend on us making certain privacy sacrifices.
So how do you balance being social with staying safe?
On Facebook alone, the average person shares 13 pieces of personal information ranging from a fairly innocent name/email combo, all the way to mothers maiden name and home address.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but those 13 pieces have the power to unravel your life within minutes.
Even checking in at home has become the norm, helping to create a multi-dimensional online identity. The details are available to anyone who cares to look, whether they’re a friend keeping in the loop, or someone with a much darker agenda.
The problem is, you just don’t know who’s looking at your profile or why.
For example, someone could try accessing your email account by clicking the ‘Forgot password’ link. The email service follows its security rules and asks identifying questions like ‘which high school did you go to? What is your pet’s name?’ Unfortunately, the most common identifying checks and answers are probably available on Facebook.
Once your email address is compromised, hackers can use that to break into other services and go through, clicking ‘Reset Password’ on site after site, account after account – they have full access to your email, so there’s nothing stopping them from emptying your bank accounts – or worse.
7 Ways To Secure Your Facebook Without Missing Out on the Fun
“Downtime costs money.”
That’s no secret, but it doesn’t quite capture the whole experience…you arrive to work in the morning, grab your coffee knowing you’ve got a hectic day ahead, and are ready to dive in.
For some reason the computer can’t access the database and neither can anyone else’s. You restart the server while fielding calls left, right and center, but are unable to answer any client queries. Your hands are completely tied…and now the server is beeping furiously…what’s going on??!
You’re not just in crisis mode, you’re on damage control as you call every tech you can think of, trying to find one who can come NOW.
Not exactly the day you had planned.
Previously, businesses only addressed their IT needs when something broke. A few hours down meant little in the scope of things. In today’s fast world, businesses rely heavily on IT and downtime just isn’t an option. Even the legalities of simply restoring financial, legal or medical files after a breach raises issues.
The cost of break/fix is now too high, both financially and emotionally.
Simply put, your IT services are remotely monitored and proactively managed by a professional, external business. Your Managed Service Provider (MSP) runs regular diagnostics on equipment to identify impending failure and resolves problems before they happen.
Small to medium businesses in particular benefit from managed services, because they don’t usually have an on-site technician to oversee the multiple systems in use. By subscribing to a managed service provider, businesses can have reduced labor costs, access to a knowledge base, future-pacing, better data security and reduced downtime. Businesses can also know exactly what their upcoming costs are and plan accordingly.
Some of the managed services we can provide are:
How much down time can your business afford? Give us a call.
Every employee shares one inescapable flaw that is putting your business at risk.
59% of data breaches can be traced back to something an employee did (or didn’t do), which invited a cyber-attack.
To lock hackers out, build security awareness and respect into your company culture, so that maintaining digital security becomes as routine as making coffee.
Use complex passwords: Every employee, including management, needs to use an alphanumeric password that they haven’t used before. Password managers can assist with making sure they’re never forgotten.
Verify unknown identities: Not familiar with ‘Jenny from Accounting’ who has called to ask for sensitive information? Double check caller identity and access permissions before releasing any information. Hackers love to play on our desire to be helpful.
Encrypt by default: People regularly transfer data to a laptop or smartphone so they can work more efficiently. Unfortunately, this equipment can be easily stolen. Set operating systems to encrypt data by default, so that it becomes useless in the wrong hands.
Protect portable devices: Laptops and mobile phones should always require a password and be set to auto-lock after a short period of time. Never leave them unattended in cars, buses, restrooms etc, and take them as carry-on luggage.
Set personal usage rules: While you may have blocked productivity-vacuums such as Facebook, what are the rules regarding games, video streaming or shopping? Can they install their own software? When business computers are used for personal usage, security vigilance tends to slide, resulting in unintentional malware installation.
Educate often: Digital security threats change regularly, and people become comfortable with a certain level of danger, thinking ‘it will never happen to me’. A 5-minute discussion once a month may be the barrier that keeps hackers out.
If you need help implementing better security practices in your business, give us a call.
There’s one thing all teens can do better than adults – and it’s not Snapchat. They’ve become experts at quickly locating information on the internet.
That’s Google Fu, the ability to use search engines to whip up answers and research faster than a contestant on a radio quiz.
Google is smart and can understand “conversational searches”. Let’s say you came across a great recipe online, but the measurements were imperial. Google has you covered.
Simply tell it what you want to convert, and what into.
[number] [unit] into [unit]
Enter “6 ounces into cups”…and hit enter. Google presents the answer, already calculated – AND it includes a handy drop down to change those measurements for your next ingredient.
With one additional click, you can tell Google that you only want images. Or videos. Or News, maps, shopping, books or apps. Your initial results are presented as a combination of all types – you can see the ALL tab highlighted up the top. Just click the tab to indicate which result type you’re looking for.
One of the most popular Google Fu moves is to limit results to sites from a particular country. This is great for locating bargains or local businesses. Click SEARCH TOOLS to drop down a second menu. You’ll see the option to limit Country and even Time. 2 extra clicks and my search is now limited to my home country and items from the past 7 days only.
Your final level of mastery, often used as a last resort when you’re just beginning to doubt whether the internet has the answer you’re seeking.
Finally, enclosing your search terms in “quotation marks” binds the term together so Google can’t break it up. E.G. “Project Management”
Your Google Fu will soon be very strong.
Before your important files become corrupted, you lose your photos and your digital life is essentially destroyed. Even thinking about it is terrifying.
Tech scammers know we’d be lost without our computers, and that we don’t always know what’s going on behind the screen – which is why they’ve been able to swindle millions from every day people across the world.
The scam goes like this:
You receive a random phone call from someone with a heavy accent (usually Indian) saying they’re from Microsoft, or an alarming pop-up appears on the screen, saying it looks like your system has been infected with a virus.
To fix the problem, they need to you to download some support software, which they’ll give you a special link for.
A technician then uses that software to gain access to your system and make it appear your system is riddled with viruses. Flashing screens, mysterious diagnostics whizzing by, fabricated errors…they’ll do or say anything to make you panic. They’ll even go as far as claiming your system has been infected with illegal content and if not corrected, you’ll face criminal charges.
Demands for credit card information follow immediately after. Once paid, they simply stop fiddling with your system to make it seem the problem is fixed. To continue the scam, they’ll soon access your system to recreate the problem, this time offering a subscription for ongoing protection.
1. Don’t taunt them. Just hang up. Right now you’re only a phone number in their system and they’ll move onto the next – if you give them cause to target you personally, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.
The real Microsoft will never randomly call people like this. Ever.
2. If a pop-up appears, immediately run an anti-virus scan. Don’t click the pop-up or call the number.
It’s okay. It feels horrible, but you’re not alone and the situation can be corrected.
Call your financial institution and have the charges reversed and your card reissued. It’s easier than you might think and helps the authorities locate the scammers.
Then give us a call and we’ll make sure they no longer have access to your computer.
More and more businesses and organizations are getting stung by ransomware demands. Hospitals, schools, social networks…some days it seems like an epidemic that leaps around arbitrarily, and hackers are raking in millions.
Tallied across the word…billions.
Ransomware attacks are devious in their simplicity. A user in the target business is tricked into opening a file, usually through a phishing email or download. The file contains malware which instantly encrypts your data and demands money in exchange for the password.
No payment = no password = no data.
All of the target businesses should have backups, which they could simply revert to without paying any money, but the FBI reports more than $209 million was sent to hackers in the first quarter of this year alone. Keep in mind, this was just payments within the US, and only counts those who came forward.
Last year it was only $25million.
Aren’t backups helping?
Sometimes the backup solution fails and the data can’t be retrieved. This is particularly true in cases where the solution has been in use for years and something failed along the way. In other instances, the target business has a backup that can be restored, but it doesn’t include everything they need for full recovery.
Finally, and the most common reason so many businesses are forced to pay the ransom: the ransomware attack affects the entire system – including attached and synchronized backups. If the backup is also caught in the ransomware encryption, it becomes useless as a recovery method and the only options are to pay or lose the data forever.
Each day spent trying to recover the data is a drain on valuable business resources and in many cases, results in massive revenue loss.
The only defense is to block the malware before it can infect the first workstation, and then continue the protection with a comprehensive backup strategy for all workstations and servers. Give us a call to discuss how we can help secure your business against ransomware today.
Remember the days when doctors made house calls and milk was delivered to your doorstep? (Actually, I don’t… that was way before my time… but…) When it comes to computer repair, NEPA Geeks is bringing those days back with on-site computer repair appointments — and you can book them online!
We all know that businesses change and evolve over time. As a client base grows, being in more than one place at a time becomes more difficult — but not impossible! NEPA Geeks is finding new ways to be in more places, helping more people. By using remote services, scheduled drop-offs and on-site computer repair appointments, NEPA Geeks can be wherever and whenever you need them!
Right now, you can schedule an on-site appointment to have a tech make a housecall for whatever computer issue you might be having. Scheduling is easy to do online, and you can even chat with a tech online in real time! This will allow us to focus on quality, giving you — our clients — the best, personalized, one-on-one service you can get. Book an appointment right now.
Here at NEPA Geeks, we recognize that we have certain clientele who have mobility issues. For some folks, picking up a heavy desktop might be extremely difficult. For others, they worry that, once they take everything apart, they won’t be able to put it back together again. For these, and a variety of other reasons, it’s best to schedule a house call for your computer repair and have our tech come in for an on-site appointment.
We also understand that there are certain conditions which can cause a computer to fail. For example, you might have a problem that can only be replicated at your home or office. By going to the environment where the computer is, we can get a better picture of what’s happening, and how to fix it. Printers, for example, can be very finicky. You shouldn’t have to take your entire system apart just to have new drivers installed — let us come out and do that, for you.
For some computer repairs, a remote service might be more practical. Why have someone come into your home when they can fix the problem over the internet? No need for the inconvenience of tearing down and setting up a system or waiting for the tech to arrive — we’ll just fix it for you, online. And best of all, if you need a remote service call, you can schedule that online, as well.
However, for those times when a single house call won’t be enough, use the online form to schedule a drop-off. For repairs that can only be done in-shop, we recommend dropping the computer off, as well. Simply set up a time and a technician will be available to secure the equipment from you.
So, why wait? Schedule an on-site computer repair appointment, right now. The good ol’ days are back. It’s that easy!