What Is An Andromeda C‑CAT?A C‑CAT (Client-Centric Action Team) is a dedicated team that includes one or more two Remote Service Techs, and one or more IT Field Techs whose activities are curated by a Service Coordinator(SC)—each specifically appointed to service your organization. With cat-like reflexes and precision, your Andromeda C-CAT will pounce on any IT issue, upgrade, or project. It's really the cat's meow for your IT needs!)
Professional IT Services that Andromeda Provides for Bridgeview, IL Businesses:
What A Few Of Our Clients Have To Say
AndroPedia Tech Library
As part of our service, it is important to keep our client-partners well informed on IT developments, news, and best practices. Here is just a sampling of typical items from our AndroPediaSM library archive:
How to Spot Phishing Scams and Stop Cyber-Criminals from Stealing Your Data Apr 27, 2018
Cyber-Security is a big topic in the news. New businesses fall victim to hackers and cyber criminals daily.
Even high quality security programs and protocols can fall victim to cyber-bullies without proper employee training, awareness and attention to detail.
We believe education is one of the best defenses against cyber criminals.
With that in mind, we want to provide some valuable tips for spotting and avoiding one of the most popular scams/tactics cyber-criminals use against you: the Phishing Scam.
Email is essential to your business and every day communication. It is also one of the prime spaces hackers focus on to steal your information and sneak into your network.
This is because it is SO much easier to get a person to click on a link, input account info or download a corrupt file via an email scam than many other hacker strategies.
You’ve probably heard this but it’s true – “There’s one person in every office that will click on anything.”
Hopefully that person isn’t you!
But – with the information below, you’ll learn how to spot these scams and some strategies to avoid them altogether.
Phishing Scams 101
What are some of the Goals of Phishing Scams?
- Steal Sensitive Personal Info – Credit Card Info, Account Login Info, Personally Identifiable Information (SSN, Birth Date etc.)
- Gain control of your computer or network
- Install malware or other computer viruses
How do cyber-criminals convince you to fall for their plans?
- Deliver file attachments with harmful software enclosed – viruses/malware/keystroke loggers
- Trick you into clicking on bad websites that secretly infect your PC with viruses etc.
- Convincing you to give them username info and password info to desired accounts
Things you should look out for to spot and prevent Phishing Scams
- Make sure that the “reply to” email address matches the sent address
- Any message that creates a sense of urgency – especially regarding login info
- Any message that requests sensitive data
- Questionable links or links that don’t match the anticipated site/source
- Random social media messages asking you to click a link to see a video or receive specific info
Keep in mind and remember that legitimate companies won’t email you asking for passwords, sensitive info (social security numbers) or other sensitive data via email.
Sample Phishing Scams Explained:
- The ‘From’ email address is suspicious
- ‘From’ and ‘Reply-To’ are different and both are suspicious again
- When you hover over the ‘Restore Access’ button there is a link that doesn’t match any Microsoft destinations
- Bad sender domain
- Suspicious Subject & Content – generic name and sense of urgency to give up account info
- Bad grammar
- Suspicious link if you hover over the masked link.
- Bad domain in ‘From’ section – email@example.com
- Generic Greeting
- Bad link redirect
- Sense of Urgency in message to get your account info
Response Strategies/Protocols for suspected phishing emails:
In the office it is important to have conversations with employees and make sure everyone knows what to do if they suspect a bad email.
- We recommend alerting your IT partner or IT staff members of the issue.
- NEVER click any links you think are suspicious.
- If you are unsure of an email you can always contact the related company direct. For example, with respect to any of the above emails you can always go directly to their official page, grab contact info and call/contact support to confirm that the email is real.
- NEVER use contact info in a suspicious email to figure out whether it is real or not. Criminals put fake phone numbers and contact info in their messages so of course they will tell you that the email is real.
- Hold regular cyber security and data security training in your office to make sure employees are up to speed on the latest techniques/red flags.
The post How to Spot Phishing Scams and Stop Cyber-Criminals from Stealing Your Data appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You Jan 12, 2018
2017 was a pretty eventful year for tech. Between the WannaCry ransomware virus, the data breach at Equifax and many other less famous incidents – one thing is for certain. 2017 was the year of cybersecurity and 2018 is expected to follow suit.
With cyber attacks on everyone’s mind and radar, businesses are starting to notice a shift in public perception when it comes to the companies they work with when it comes to data security. People want to feel safe – and they want to make sure that their information is safe, even on the web.
So while this has been a growing trend for a few years now, it is safe to say that moving forward, the trend has transformed into an expectation of security and protecting consumer data.
2018 is definitely the year of HTTPs.
What is HTTPs?
To understand what HTTPS means and how it works, you need to know a few definitions.
First – HTTP, HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Without diving too deep into the technical lingo, this is an application layer protocol. Basically, HTTP is the protocol that involves information sent between a browser (like google chrome) and a website itself. So if you were to interrupt that connection and intercept it, you’d see in plain text what was being communicated between the website and the browser.
This can be very dangerous in certain situations. For example, if you are purchasing goods on a website with a basic HTTP (basic meaning unsecured), your personal information like your address, credit card info and whatever else you submit can be intercepted and stolen.
Nobody wants this to occur – except the thieves – so HTTPs was introduced as a secure option.
Like HTTP, HTTPs stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol but it has an additional Security component; hence the “S”.
By adding additional security components, the language being transmitted between website and browser is encrypted and kept from being read by evil doers and criminals.
Another term you might hear thrown around regarding this security protocol is an SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certificate. Again, this is just another way of saying that your site has the technology in place to securely encrypt transactions between the website and browsers etc.
The types of SSL Certificates may vary, but their basic coding provides security and encryption.
You can always tell if a website is secure in a few different ways.
- https:// precedes the URL destination i.e. https://www.google.com
- A lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
- A green lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
Sounds pretty good, right?
There was a time when this added security feature was mainly used on websites that transfer personal information such as ecommerce, financial, medical, legal etc. but these days the added security of an SSL or HTTPs on your site is more of a standard.
It is something that savvy consumers look for to avoid vulnerability.
Now that we’ve gone through what this feature is and how it operates in respect to your website you might have some additional questions about whether this feature would benefit you. We’ve touched on a few of the most common topics below.
I’m Just A Small Business Website,
Why Should HTTPs Matter to Me?
An SSL Shows Your Customer Base You Care About Their Security
By adding an SSL certificate to your website, and turning it from HTTP to HTTPs, you are providing an extra level of security for your users. They know right away that your website is secure- that nothing they are viewing or how they are interacting on your website is being monitored or watched by a malicious entity. It shows that you care about your customer’s user experience – and that reflects highly upon your company brand.
It Actually Provides Additional Security Against Hackers
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website also helps protect your website from a possible breach or hacking attempt. The extra level of encryption provides an external wall that is harder for hackers to break and infect. So while you might not necessarily need one for the type of website your business uses – it does help you protect yourself against would-be attackers and saves you money on potential cleanup and patches once a website does get infected or breached.
HTTPs Help Improve Website Search Engine Rankings and Traffic
Having this added security installed on your website shows popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! that you take your user’s experience and security seriously. So seriously that they award your website with increased rankings.
And we all know higher rankings lead to more traffic which you hope leads to more clients/customers.
Google has been favoring websites with HTTPs for a few years now; however, after recent technology-related world events, they have doubled-down.
Starting this past October, websites that use a form or search tool on their website will not have a Not Secure warning when viewed on Google Chrome browser. The last thing you want your prospective clients to see when visiting your site is a message about poor security.
Google also has been blatantly favoring websites with HTTPs over HTTP. About have of all 1st page results on Google are websites with HTTPs, up over 30% since the end of 2016.
Failure to increase security on your site risks lower search rankings and even increases bounce rates. It is also proven that HTTP sites load slower, causing Google to penalize them for site speed as well. Overall, the industry is punishing sites that do not value security.
So, what should you take away from all of this?
An SSL does incur extra costs (but they are minimal) but failure to secure your website can cost you potential new customers, reduce website traffic and impact overall user experience.
Your IT partner or web hosting provider should have the necessary tools to help you with your website security. It should be fairly simple and won’t break your budget either.
Want to take the next step and convert to HTTPs but not sure how?
Andromeda has trained technicians and developers that are more than happy to help you with the conversion. Just give us a call to get started today!
The post To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Microsoft Allowing More Time For Major Windows 10 Updates Sep 19, 2018
Microsoft has been making two major Windows 10 releases every year, giving businesses 18 months before they need to move to the next update. This plan and schedule is part of the company's "Windows as a service" paradigm, designed to ensure that Windows 10 gets new features, as opposed to the company's former practice of a new Windows release every three years.
In most respects, the new paradigm has to be regarded as the superior approach, but unfortunately, the pace is a bit too fast for some businesses. High level executives have pushed back, asking for more time and flexibility to update the OS, so they can be sure that business critical apps work with the latest update.
Microsoft has heard, and more importantly, they've listened. However, business owners didn't get everything they wanted. Here's the scoop:
The company is planning to release a series of cloud-based tools that will make app compatibility testing easier, and has agreed to give IT admins more time to update. As things stand now, all currently supported feature updates of Windows 10 (Enterprise and Education editions) are supported for 18 months. The company is expanding that to 30 months, but only for their September release. The March updates will still only be supported for 18 months.
While not a perfect solution, it does give everyone some of what they wanted. Businesses will have an extra year to apply the latest features if they stick to the September cycle, while firms that don't need the extra time can simply continue on as they are.
Jared Spataro, the Corporate VP of Microsoft 365 summarized the changes this way:
"You've been talking, and we've been listening. We recognize that it takes time to both upgrade devices and operationalize new update processes. Today's announcements are designed to respond to your feedback and make it easier, faster, and cheaper to deploy a modern desktop."
On the whole, this is very good news indeed.