COVID-19 Scams

Not long after the COVID-19 crisis began, there was an significant uptick in unwanted phone calls and emails with all kinds of schemes trying to defraud people. It continues today.  Here is some great information that useful in today's environment as well as at all times. Be safe! 

The New York State Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) would like to remind users that malicious actors will use the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to deliver malware, to steal money and/or personal information, or to spy on you through your smartphone’s features. We ask that users remain vigilant to COVID-19 related scams.

As the state with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections, New York is seeing a significant spike in coronavirus scams. These scams are coming in the form of malicious websites, text messages, phone calls, and phishing emails that are being used to infect user’s machines with malware or to  defraud the user.

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Keeping your Computer Technology Clean

We all know now that to keep Covid-19 and other viruses from spreading, keeping surfaces clean and disinfected is as important as not touching your face. Here are Hewlett Packard's guidelines for cleaning its equipment. These guidlines are usable for virtually any piece of office or home equipment. If you're not sure or have questions on how best to clean a particular piece of equipment, call us. 607-257-3524. We also can provide printer inks and toner and deliver them safely to your home or office.

 

HP is dedicated to providing customers with market-leading business solutions that help them be innovative, productive and support their well-being. With public health concerns over the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 disease, also known as Coronavirus, spreading worldwide, HP wants customers to have the information they need to effectively clean HP devices and to assist customers in maintaining a healthy work environment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cleaning surfaces, followed by disinfection, as a best practice for the prevention of Coronavirus and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.

Cleaning Guidance:
HP Business Personal Systems & Office Imaging & Printing Systems

A CDC-recommended disinfectant that is also within HP’s cleaning guidelines is an alcohol solution consisting of 70% isopropyl alcohol and 30% water. Please follow the steps below to use the CDC- recommended alcohol solution to clean high-touch, external surfaces on HP products:

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Keeping You & Your Family Safe

We usually talk about technology in our newsletters. In these unprecented times, keeping yourself and family safe is incredibly important. There is a ton of information from the CDC, WHO, CMC, and other "alphabets" on the practical side of what to do.

We and others have come across the following video for your consideration:

The video was shot at home - it's Facetime or equivalent. It's not professionally done, but the presenter, David Price, is a Weill- Cornell ICU physician who has been in their ICU daily in New York City since this all began and knows precisely how to keep himself safe. He is speaking with his family and friends.  I think he now has over 2Milion friends. The video is 57 minutes long and well worth your time.

 vimeo.com/399733860

 

 

Keeping Your Remote Computing Environments Safe

There are more people working remotely than ever before. Depending on where you are and your connection to the Internet, performance may be an issue. While your connection may be slower than what you are used to in an office, keeping the connection secure is incredibly important. Remember, the bad guys are working from home too and have nothing else better to do than hack vulnerable computers.
 
Here are some suggestions for how best to secure your home systems.  If any of this is gibberish, please call us. 607-257-3524.  We can help you out.
 
  • When connecting to your home WiFi make sure that the router is password protected and not using the default admin password that it came with.

  • We're all working over the phone, via email, or by text. If you get an unexpected tech support phone call, email, or text, DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION including passwords. Verify that every tech support contact (even from us) is from somone you know and can trust. 
  • Make sure you office connections are over a VPN or other secure connection. 

  • Make sure that your home workstations, laptops, and tablets have Anti-Virus software installed and that the "definitions" are up to date.

  • Watch out for fake emails, texts, and phone calls.  Although the Chinese language fake phone calls have stopped (for now), there are plenty more fake ones out there.  Confirm everything. 
 
Like your personal health, keeping your technology safe is more important that ever.

 

Covid-19 Computing Center Update 3/30/2020

The response to the Covid-19 outbreak in the US and around the world has been unprecedented. For practical purposes, nowhere has been spared. For highly dense population centers, such as New York City, the health care issues are daunting with many cases of the virus. And although the percentages of infected, hospitalized, and patients requiring ICUs are not way out-of-line with what has happened elsewhere, the sheer numbers are large and can be frightening.  

Our community, while not spared, has hunkered down, and socially distanced ourselves pretty well. Cayuga Medical Center created a drive-thru Covid-19 testing center at the Shops at Ithaca Mall in coordination with the Tompkins County Health Department. There is capacity to perform about 500 tests each day for those showing symptoms or possible exposure.  The turn-around of test results has sped up somewhat as well. As of this writing only two patients are currently hospitalized and no deaths due to Covid-19 have occurred locally.

The Computing Center is considered an essential business because of our work in supporting essential businesses in our community. We are allowed to maintain in-house operations.

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