Spam, Spam - Go Away

used with permission from Norton by Symantec

Spam. In some ways, it's the electronic equivalent of junk mail and junk phone calls. Spam is not only an unsolicited and annoying nuisance, it's also a pervasive problem that's clogging and overwhelming the Internet's email systems. Spam accounts for approximately 80 percent of worldwide email volume.

In other ways, spam is worse than junk mail or junk phone calls. Although some spam is simply unwanted but legitimate advertising, much of it is worse. It can include everything from scam offers to malicious code--all designed to wreak havoc on your financial well-being or on your computer. Here are some of the most current and prevalent spam threats:


Playing - The Old Computer Hardware Blues

Unlike fine wine, your cyber assets don’t get better with age. Any PC more than four years old is not only costly to keep, but it’s also hack-friendly tech that could pose serious office security risk. Old PCs lack the built-in security triggers needed to repel the thousands of malware threats discovered each hour. With new technology, you could avoid 70–80 percent of the top malware detected.

Down-level hardware could potentially jeopardize your business—and that risk carries a price tag far exceeding an investment in state-of-the-art technology. As Two River Community Bank put it, “The risk just isn’t worth it.” There’s no reason to stick with outdated hardware, especially when computing power is growing exponentially and faster than ever. Older hardware may be costing you precious time, and the longer you delay updating old equipment, the further behind you’ll fall in the skills, knowledge, and technology needed to compete with companies on top of the curve.

Leverage the benefits of more secure hardware

With cybercrime raging over the internet, security best practices demand powerful, security-hardened computers providing:

  • Hardware-enforced, self-healing protection that keeps critical applications and processes running even if malware tries to shut them down
  • Strong identification protocols, including biometrics
  • Privacy screens shielding sensitive information from coffee-shop snoops
  • Advanced features that protect firmware; auto-recover the BIOS from malware, rootkits, and corruption; guard critical OS processes, and keep web-based attacks locked inside an isolated browser tab

Establish floor-to-ceiling security

Cybercrime aside, businesses face many other dangers. A comprehensive office security plan must account for everything from computer theft and bad wiring to earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Physical theft can strike companies of all sizes. You can minimize the likelihood of disappearing assets with low-tech solutions, such as guards, key locks, and invisible tagging to track and retrieve items. Larger-scale operations may require elaborate alarm systems, cameras, or motion sensors. In the event your tech does get stolen, you should employ encryption and remote-wiping capabilities on all your hardware, though many newer devices come with these features built in.

While you can work to stop hackers and theft, there isn’t too much you can do against mother nature. Floods, fires, and other disasters may not be common, but when they happen, they can easily cripple businesses. The same is true for hardware failure, which is a higher risk when you’re using old hardware (see a trend?). That’s why disaster recovery and remote backups are a must for office security that covers all your bases.

Whatever safeguards you choose, the most crucial piece of on-site security is staff awareness and buy-in. Launch a security campaign that includes tips, posters, meetings, and contests. The more you promote physical security best practices, the better the chances your users will take care of their equipment.

Turn to the digital fittest to survive

All aspects of the IT culture—hardware, software, browsers, physical space, etc.—sit in the eye of a hurricane, with changes swirling about furiously fueled by faster, more powerful technology. The exponential rate of change and innovation will have a profound impact on every business operation, and office security will be a huge component of “survival-of-the-digital-fittest” culture.

To keep pace, make sure you try your best to understand megatrends that may affect your business, adopt breakthrough technologies early, and set an aggressive schedule for replacing your IT assets with more secure hardware to meet the needs of all your stakeholders.

Is it time to take a Pass on Passwords?

Passwords are a pain! Way too often we find them on sticky notes, on the bottom of keyboards, or so simple, there's no hacking required! We hate them as much as you do and struggle with managing them properly. But as this article indicates, they are not going anywhere soon. 

You be the judge

Nearly 15 years ago, Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates predicted the demise of passwords. They were too unreliable, he said, noting there were other more secure ways of granting access to computers.

Gates clearly wasn’t correct about the death of the one-time login, but he certainly had it right when it came to calling-out the need for companies to move onto something else.

By now, passwords should have become passé because they are easily one of the worst security tools ever invented. The main problem is that most of us tend to choose passwords we can remember, such as 123456 – the most common password in the world. Others plug in the names of their kids, spouses or friends and add a few numbers, thinking themselves oh-so-clever and secure.


A Thank You Letter to Our Repair Department

For over forty years, The Computing Center has been providing computer and repair services to our clients. In the early days, we repaired terminals and dot matrix printers.  Later on we repaired desktop PCs and the early laser printers.  Today, we repair and maintain all sorts of laptops, desktops, printers, and servers. Although we can work on most computer equipment, we specialize on Hewlett Packard, Apple, and Dell equipment.


As important as the technical training, skills, an experience needed to properly repair computer equipment, so is understanding how clients feel about having their equipment being out of their procession while the repair takes place.


By mid-August each year, we see an influx of new people joining our community, typically to attend or be employed by Cornell, Ithaca College and TC3.  So our repair departments gets quite busy with new people and regulars.  However, in every situation, we work hard to have all clients feel important and special. 


One of those repairs was for a lovely person, Roberta Moudry, who had a couple of Apple MacBook Pro laptops with screen problems. Sara Herman and Rose Christofferson walked through the issues with her and got the equipment quickly scheduled for repair. And one of our certified Apple Technicians, Emily Vannoy did her masterful repair work to get the equipment operating properly.


All, in a day’s work. Well, not quite…


Here’s the email we received from Roberta along with her permission for us to reprint it here.


To all the staff at the Computing Center that helped us:


My son and I had a problem with our MacBook Pro screens. I have a difficult schedule due to elder care responsibilities out of state. You helped us so much, were so kind, professional and efficient….and during a really busy week for you (first week of Cornell classes). We are so grateful to you — you are an oasis of professionalism and respect.


I can write this email and see it through my beautifully clear screen. My 93-year-old dad was amazed — I had to tell him several times this is not a new laptop!


Thanks again for your help. We appreciate you!



Roberta Moudry and Reade Otto-Moudry

Keys to creating a successful website

We've been designing, programming and managing websites since the beginning of the world-wide-web. So have many others. Like a lot of things about the Internet, there are basics. Here are some of the ingredients contained in all successful websites.

A website is an essential element for running a successful business. A business without a website can potentially lose out on great opportunities since potential customers can’t reach you, find you and learn about you online.

Creating a small business website can lead to many different ways to market your business and help it grow much faster than relying on traditional marketing methods alone. If you’re looking for a way to reach more customers, or people to influence, the internet is where your business needs to be.

With over 78% of adult Americans using the Internet and a remarkable 2.2 billion people online worldwide, it’s no surprise that small businesses with websites experience an average of 39% greater revenue per year than those without websites, according to the Small Business Administration.


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