What Exactly is “The Cloud?”

A big change we are seeing in the industry is to move everything to “the cloud.” But, in your case that may or may not be feasible.

How reliable has your Internet been over the past five (5) years? Would you say it is up 99.0% of the time or less? If your answer is 99.0% of the time, then you may be a good candidate to move your servers to “the cloud.” If we couldn’t move 100% of your stuff to “the cloud” we could at least move your Exchange server to it. This could save you quite of bit of money in the long run since you would never ever have to buy a new Exchange ever again, and your email would be up 99.999% of the time, even if your power and Internet were to be out for an extended time. (There are many other advantages I haven’t mentioned here.) Even if you do not currently have your own Exchange server, there are many other advantages in moving to “the cloud.”

BTW…if you have a full-time I.T. staff of 1 or more, they may be very scared of this idea. But you have to ask yourself, are they scared of the technology or are they protecting “their turf,” and their jobs?

Please be learning what you can about “the cloud” this year and call us when you are ready to learn more.

Here are some resources:

· A Five Minute Video Primer (An excellent introductory video.)

· What Is Cloud Computing? (A very good explanation in PC Magazine and covers Pros and Cons)

· Cloud computing – From Wikipedia (A rather lengthy explanation but you may glean some useful information from it.)

Dennis H. Wilson

270-344-4286 – Voice Mail

Dennis @ TheComputerGuysLLC.com

Google+ Profile: http://tinyurl.com/Dennis-TCG

All quotes for Dell equipment are subject to change daily as Dell changes pricing daily. All hardware/software warranty, if any, is provided by the manufacturer, not The Computer Guys LLC.

Our goal here at The Computer Guys LLC is to exceed your expectations, so please let us know immediately if you feel, at any time, we are not accomplishing our goal. We are continuously striving to be the best and want your experience to be as convenient and enjoyable as possible. We want you to know that we truly appreciate your business.

http://www.facebook.com/TCG.LLC

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How Secure is your Password?

This article is a little long but please take the time to read it and leave a comment or two. We’d love to hear from you.

How do you make your passwords cryptic, hard to crack and yet easy to remember?

Here is one way….

First, most sites give you at least three tries to type your password correctly before they lock your account. So, you need to craft three passwords that you use on various accounts. Use the three passwords in a definite order so that you can make sure you are using all three. That way if someone does guess one, or rather if a password cracking program does guess one, they won’t have the ability to get into all of your accounts.

Secondly, the password should be at least 15 characters long. Some will debate this but the longer the password the harder it is for a password cracking program to get it. (Unfortunately, some systems won’t allow one this long. In such case, make it as long as allowed.)

Thirdly, ideally it should contain UPPER case letters, lower case letters, numbers and at least one symbol, i.e. #,%, etc and no English words.

Here is a sample of a very cryptic long password: AegE6W8@x4GENQ4D (Please do not copy and paste this password since this is on a public site.)

But you may argue, how could I possibly ever memorize that password and isn’t writing it down a mistake? Yes, one should never write down their passwords. (I know many of you reading this have done that very thing and perhaps have it taped to your PC somewhere or under the keyboard!)

Never fear The Computer Guy is here! (Sorry…I just had to do that. My apology to Underdog!)

Here is a way…

Think of your favorite actor and your favorite movie starring that actor. For example, you may like Nicholas Cage. And then you might think Con Air was your favorite of his movies. So, then you use “Nicholas Cage Con Air” as your password. That is 21 characters. But wait… you say. That has no numbers, no odd characters and is all English words. Why you are correct. So, here is what you do:

“Nicholas Cage Con Air” becomes….

“N1ch0las Cag3 C0n A1r”

Above we have substituted a “1” for an “I,” then a “0” for an “o” (Zero for “o”) and a “3” for the “e.”)

If your site doesn’t allow spaces, just leave them out. This would be easy to remember and would eventually become easy to type.

If you want to add one level of complexity to the system, substitute “@” for the letter “a,” or a “$” for the letter “S.”

Using this system you can easily come up with your favorite Actor, Actress, Artist, Group, Teacher etc. and have a very secure password.

Teacher/Class

Author/Book

Producer/Movie

Actor/Movie

Bible Character/Characteristic

We would not suggest one actor and three different movies, etc., but even that may work and is much better than your pet, child, niece, nephew etc.

My last bit of advice, make sure someone you trust with your financial security or someone you trust with your life, knows your login names and passwords, especially your banking password so that should you die or become incapacitated, your stuff isn’t locked up! This applies even to your social network accounts so that your account can be deactivated or removed. Social Networking sites are really strict about this. A few years ago, a dear friend died suddenly and unexpectedly. It took a couple of weeks to get FB to change the account to a Memorial Wall since we did not have the credentials. And, if your social networking account cannot be deactivated or changed to a memorial, then the only way for you to keep that friend’s account from showing up is to UNfriend them. Trust me, it just doesn’t feel right to UNfriend a true friend simply because their journey in this life is over. I have had this happen more than once.

Lastly, you should absolutely turn on a feature called “Multi-factor Authentication,” or “Two-Factor Authentication” for any account you have…even social networking accounts. What is MFA or TFA? It simply tells your provider that any time you attempt to log in to an account on a device you don’t normally use, that it send a unique code to your cell phone via TEXT or to your email account. You are then required to key that code in before the system will let you in. In theory, if someone does obtain your password(s) they still cannot access your accounts without having your phone too. (Yes, if they have your phone this weakens the security but hopefully if your phone is lost or stolen the first thing you do is tell your phone provider to disable your account.)

Dennis “AegE6W8@x4GENQ4D” Wilson

Head Computer Guy

The Computer Guys LLC

Dennis @ TheComputerGuysLLC.com

Google+ Profile: http://tinyurl.com/Dennis-TCG

All quotes for Dell equipment are subject to change daily as Dell changes pricing daily. All hardware/software warranty, if any, is provided by the manufacturer, not The Computer Guys LLC.
Our goal here at The Computer Guys LLC is to exceed your expectations, so please leimage_thumb.pngt us know immediately if you feel, at any time, we are not accomplishing our goal. We are continuously striving to be the best and want your experience to be as convenient and enjoyable as possible. We want you to know that we truly appreciate your business.

http://www.facebook.com/TCG.LLC

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The Computer Guys LLC – Rules for Safer Computing 2016

The Computer Guys LLC

Rules for Safer Computing

Revised Dec 2016

  • If you have children, any age, never put a PC in a private place. Remember, the Internet is NOT a perfectly safe place for your children to “play.” Always place the PC out in the open where it is less of a temptation for older kids to go where they shouldn’t and where you can supervise your younger children.
  • Also, remember, there are all types of crooks patrolling the Internet looking for ways to trick you into providing personal information about yourself so they can “mug” you electronically or lure your children to a meeting! One of their favorite ways these days, Dec 2016, is to set up spoof Facebook profiles.
  • Spoofing is a term used to describe attempts at setting up fake Facebook profiles or fake email accounts that look like they are profiles or email addresses from someone you know and trust. Why? They hope to trick you into revealing personal information or harvesting the personal information of your friends.
  • Never download anything free on the Internet without first emailing us to make sure it is legitimate. Chances are it is not safe unless it is from a huge company with a good reputation, i.e. Disney, ABC, CNN etc.! There are thousands of illegitimate programs that you get when you download so-called “free” stuff. They take control of your PC and can cost you hundreds of dollars to repair! So, in the end, it wasn’t really free.
  • Never download smiley faces or free screensavers! Yes, they are cute, but insidious! Never download Weather Bug. If you want weather displayed call us.
  • Never open any attachments whatsoever without first calling the person who sent it to you to make sure they really did send it. There are crooks out there who can take over your momma’s computer, and make it look like she sent you come cute pictures, when in reality she not only didn’t send them, she doesn’t even know her computer is sending them out. (Think of Little Red Riding Hood!)
  • Never open an “e-card” from a “secret admirer.” This will likely be a piece of software that will steal all your login names and passwords.
  • Never accept files via Instant Messenger of any sort: Facebook, Yahoo IM, AIM, MSN Messenger, etc.
  • Financial Institutions will never ask you to verify your account information via email. So, if you receive email asking you to verify your account information, including your password and SS number, DON’T DO IT!
  • Always remember, the person on the other end of a chat session or instant message may not be who they pretend to be.
  • Make sure you have good Anti-virus software running and set correctly. You must keep it updated daily. And turn on real-time protection.
  • Make sure you have good Anti-Spyware software running and set correctly. You must keep it updated daily. And turn on real-time protection. (Repeated on purpose for emphasis.)
  • Make sure you have your computer set correctly to keep your operating system updated.
  • If you are on Windows XP and have not loaded Service Pack 2, do so today!
  • Do NOT load any Internet search assisting software at all.

If you aren’t sure about any of this, please give us a call 270-344-4286. Or if you like, we can perform a safety audit for you and make recommendations.

December 2016

Dennis H. Wilson

270-344-4286 – Voice Mail

Dennis @ TheComputerGuysLLC.com

Google+ Profile: http://tinyurl.com/Dennis-TCG

All quotes for Dell equipment are subject to change daily as Dell changes pricing daily. All hardware/software warranty, if any, is provided by the manufacturer, not The Computer Guys LLC.

Our goal here at The Computer Guys LLC is to exceed your expectations, so please let us know immediately if you feel, at any time, we are not accomplishing our goal. We are continuously striving to be the best and want your experience to be as convenient and enjoyable as possible. We want you to know that we truly appreciate your business.

http://www.facebook.com/TCG.LLC

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How Secure is your Password?

This article is longer than what I’ve been sharing lately but it is so very important. Please take the time to read it and leave a comment or two. We’d love to hear from you.

I had a friend/client inquire about password issues today and decided to share this little trick.

How do you make your passwords cryptic, hard to crack and yet easy to remember?

Here is one way….

First, most sites give you at least three tries to type your password correctly before they lock your account. So, you need to craft three passwords that you use on various accounts. Use the three passwords in a definite order so that you can make sure you are using all three. That way if someone does guess one, or rather if a password cracking program does guess one, they won’t have the ability to get into all of your accounts.

Secondly, the password should be at least 15 characters long. Some will debate this but the longer the password the harder it is for a password cracking program to get it.

Thirdly, ideally it should contain UPPER case letters, lower case letters, numbers and at least one symbol, i.e. #,%, etc and no English words.

Here is a sample of a very cryptic long password: AegE6W8@x4GENQ4D (Please do not copy and paste this password since this is on a public site.)

But you may argue, how could I possibly ever memorize that password and isn’t writing it down a mistake? Yes, one should never write down their passwords. (I know many of you reading this have done that very thing and perhaps have it taped to your PC somewhere or under the keyboard!)

Never fear The Computer Guy is here! (Sorry…I just had to do that. My apology to Underdog!)

Here is a way…

Think of your favorite actor and your favorite movie starring that actor. For example you may like Nicholas Cage. And then you might think Con Air was your favorite of his movies. So then you use “Nicholas Cage Con Air” as your password. That is 21 characters. But wait.. you say. That has no numbers, no odd characters and is all English words. Why you are correct. So, here is what you do:

“Nicholas Cage Con Air” becomes…..

“N1ch0las Cag3 C0n A1r”

Above we have substituted a “1” for an “I,” then a “0” for an “o” (Zero for “o”) and a “3” for the “e.”)

If your site doesn’t allow spaces, just leave them out. This would be easy to remember and would eventually become easy to type.

If you want to add one level of complexity to the system, substitute “@” for the letter “a,” or a “$” for the letter “S.”

Using this system you can easily come up with your favorite Actor, Actress, Artist, Group, Teacher etc. and have a very secure password.

Teacher/Class

Author/Book

Producer/Movie

Actor/Movie

Bible Character/Characteristic

We would not suggest one actor and three different movies, etc., but even that may work and is much better than your pet, child, niece, nephew etc.

My last bit of advice, make sure someone you trust with your financial security or someone you trust with your life, knows your login names and passwords, especially your banking password so that should you die or become incapacitated, your stuff isn’t locked up! This applies even to your social network accounts so that your account can be deactivated or removed. Social Networking sites are really strict about this. Last year a dear friend died suddenly and unexpectedly. It took a couple of weeks to get FB to change the account to a Memorial Wall since we did not have the credentials. And, if your social networking account cannot be deactivated or changed to a memorial, then the only way for you to keep that friend’s account from showing up is to UNfriend them. Trust me, it just doesn’t feel right to UNfriend a true friend simply because their journey in this life is over. I have had this happen more than once.

Dennis “AegE6W8@x4GENQ4D” Wilson

Head Computer Guy

The Computer Guys LLC

Malware Installed on Travelers’ Laptops Through Software Updates on Hotel Internet Connections

Malware Installed on Travelers’ Laptops Through Software Updates on Hotel Internet Connections

05/08/12—Recent analysis from the FBI and other government agencies demonstrates that malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while they are establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms.

Recently, there have been instances of travelers’ laptops being infected with malicious software while using hotel Internet connections. In these instances, the traveler was attempting to set up the hotel room Internet connection and was presented with a pop-up window notifying the user to update a widely used software product. If the user clicked to accept and install the update, malicious software was installed on the laptop. The pop-up window appeared to be offering a routine update to a legitimate software product for which updates are frequently available.

The FBI recommends that all government, private industry, and academic personnel who travel abroad take extra caution before updating software products through their hotel Internet connection. Checking the author or digital certificate of any prompted update to see if it corresponds to the software vendor may reveal an attempted attack. The FBI also recommends that travelers perform software updates on laptops immediately before traveling, and that they download software updates directly from the software vendor’s website if updates are necessary while abroad.

Anyone who believes they have been a target of this type of attack should immediately contact their local FBI office and promptly report it to the IC3’s website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3’s complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. The complaint information is also used to identify emerging trends and patterns

Source:  http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/e-scams?utm_campaign=email-Immediate&utm_content=96622

Experts sound worm alarm for critical Windows bug

Here is an excerpt from the article at the link below:

Computerworld – Microsoft today released six security updates that patched seven vulnerabilities, including a critical Windows bug that hackers will certainly try to exploit with a network worm, according to researchers.

“This is a pre-authentication, remote code bug,” said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security, referring to MS12-020, the one critical bulletin today and the update that he, other researchers and even Microsoft urged users to patch as soon as possible.

(To see the whole article click on the link below.)

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9225160/Experts_sound_worm_alarm_for_critical_Windows_bug?source=cwfb

Who Do You Trust?

If you were suddenly unable to access all of your accounts, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, bank accounts, e-mail etc., due to disability or death, what would happen to your on-line presence?

Does anyone you know and trust have access to all of your online accounts so that they can “close them” if necessary or withdraw funds or let your online friends and associates know that you are no longer able to access them either because you are permanently disabled or worse…have died?

We realize this doesn’t seem important to you right now but over the years I have had friends with accounts on social networking sites that have died yet their profile remains as though they are still here. Worse yet, what if they have a PayPal account and keep a balance in it? How would anyone withdraw those funds.

Also, you have friends in the virtual world that you do not have in the real world and these friends, scattered all over the world, may not hear that you have passed on…except via social networking and if no one has access to your profile, how will they make sure every one of your contacts know?

Do you have any idea how hard it is to gain access to someone’s account(s) after they have passed on from this life?

Speaking from personal first-hand experience it is extremely difficult if not nearly impossible.

We recommend that you trust someone with all of your login names and passwords before it is too late. If you don’t trust anyone, not even your spouse, please make a list and seal it in an envelope and put it in a fireproof safe. Tell someone you do trust about the envelope and its location. Then every few weeks/months check the envelope to make sure it is still sealed….or have your attorney keep it on file. (Don’t just store it on a floppy or thumb drive…they can melt in a fireproof safe long before paper burns.)

By the way, the author has put his money where his mouth is.  For several years now I have been keeping an updated list for my wife.  We both know each other’s access info for all of our accounts.

Do it today!

Dennis