If you have looked at social media, read or watched the news, or talked with some of your friends in the last few days you may have heard about this new Heartbleed Bug. Everyone is talking about this new bug and there is a lot of information out there about what you should do. Below is an explanation and what we recommend you do to protect yourself.
The heartbleed bug is a security flaw within internet communications that may have allowed hackers to gain access to your online accounts for Social Media, Online Banking, and other websites. This security flaw has been available to attackers for 2 years and lots of companies are affected. Below is a short list of some of the companies you will want to change your password with if you use any of these websites or any others. Changing your online passwords regularly is always recommended at least 2-4 times per year. Please refer to our previous article about password security and how to choose a good password.
- Bank of America
- Capital One
- H&R Block
- Intuit (Turbo Tax)
- Spark Networks (JDate, Christian Mingle)
- TD Ameritrde
- TD Bank
- U.S. Bank
- Wells Fargo
- Yahoo Mail
This is just a list of known websites affected compiled from different sources on the internet. If you have passwords to websites not mentioned above you should still consider changing them as well.
References: Mashable, CBSNews, King5
Cyber-criminals are becoming more and more creative these days and you need to make sure you information is secure and that you do not fall victim to one of these scams. We have been receiving phone calls from customers recently stating they have received these calls and we have gathered some information we want to share with you on how to identify these calls and what to do about them.
Cyber-criminals have begun calling phone numbers and advising people they are from Microsoft or other big name technical support companies and using Social Engineering as a means to scam you. When a cyber-criminal contacts you they may do one or more of the following:
- Say they are from Microsoft, Windows Help Desk, Windows Service Center, Microsoft Tech Support, Microsoft Research and Development
- Request your username
- Say you have a virus infection
- Ask for your password
- Ask you to download software
- Ask if they can remote into your computer
- Ask for credit card information to charge for their services
What you need to know
These cyber-criminals will try and guess what operating system you are using. They will try and say you have an virus infection and they need to remote in to clean it up, and they may try and persuade you to do what they are requesting. If you receive a call from someone indicating any of the above scenarios do not do what they request, simply hang up. If you provided them any credit card information immediately contact your financial institution. If you provided them any passwords immediately change your passwords.
Microsoft will never directly contact you and request any of the information above. They will also never contact you and ask for a credit card or try and sell you a service.
What you need to do
If you receive one of these calls, simply hang up the phone. You may also choose to file a complaint. For more information please click the following link to visit the Federal Trade Commission website and file a claim.
The following software and operating systems are now expired effective 04/08/2014 by Microsoft.
- Windows XP
- Microsoft Office 2003
What does this mean for you?
If you are still running Windows XP or Office 2003 in your home or business it is time to consider an upgrade or replacement. Some anti-virus solutions are also expired or no longer being supported for Windows XP which can leave your computer and the information on it very vulnerable to an attack or virus.
If you bring the computer to us we can determine if the hardware meets the requirements for Windows 7 or Windows 8. If your computer does not support Windows 7 or Windows 8 then we can show you the options we have available in stock for a new Desktop, Laptop, or even All-In-One system.
If you are a business user the risks can be greater if you have any regulatory or compliance requirements that are required for your network. Come speak with one of our professionals today so we can help you develop a plan to get your machines upgraded and/or compliant with any regulations that may be required for your business.
More Information can be found here.
When it comes to changing or creating a password it can be difficult. Below are some helpful tips on how to pick and choose a good password along with a few examples. The initial password example below starts as “acctech” and after following the recommendations for a good password it becomes “20Acc*T3ch03″ to provide a 12 character password utilizing all of the recommendations below. Please note this is an example only and we do not recommend using this as your actual password.
- Combine a mix of Upper and Lower case letters (Ex. AccTech)
- Include some sort of symbol into your password. (Ex. Acc*Tech)
- Include a number into the password and try to avoid just using a 1 at the end. (Ex. Acc*T3ch)
- Try to think of a password that you do not use for another account already.
- Keep a minimum of 8 characters, preferably 12 or more characters. (Ex. 20Acc*T3ch03)
- Think of something like an uncommon phrase or random words (Ex. Josh_Candles_16*)
- Think of something easy to remember, yet hard for someone else to learn by watching you type it.
- Ensure you change your password at least every 6 months if not sooner.
- If your computer ever becomes infected with a virus, change all passwords for online accounts such as Social Media sites, Online Banking, and any other sites you log into.
Things to avoid:
- Avoid using any repeating numbers in the password (Ex. AccTech44444)
- Avoid using any incremental numbers (ex. AccTech12345)
- Avoid using a set of keys directly next to each other on the keyboard (Ex. qwerty or asdfg)
Remembering all of these passwords can be difficult. We all know how hard it can be if you forget a password and have to try and recover it. We recommend looking at some secure password management applications that will keep all of your passwords in an encrypted program that you can easily access and retrieve your password. Some of these may include KeyPass, LastPass, and many others.
Some of the most common passwords over the years are listed below.
Microsoft announced last year that the support for Windows XP and Office 2003 will be expiring in April of 2014. If you are still using a system that is running Microsoft Windows XP you will want to upgrade prior to April 8th, 2014 when support will end. Here at ACC-Tech, we will still work on computers running this operating system and provide our same services. What matters to you is that Microsoft will not release security fixes for Windows XP after this date. If a new system bug is found that increases your chances for getting viruses, Microsoft will no longer fix these bugs. The same goes for Office 2003.
If you don’t know what operating system you are using, look at the image below. The image indicates of the Start button on your computer. If your start button matches the image below, you will want to contact us so we can go over your options for Upgrade or Replacement. If you replace the computer we can help move over your files, if you upgrade most of your files will remain in place.
Office 2003 support is also ending at the same time. This includes programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. This only applies to Version 2003 and not any of the newer versions such as Office 2007, Office 2010, and Office 2013. To determine if you have Office 2003, Open the Word program on your computer and compare it to the image below. If it matches, come talk to us about upgrading to the latest version of Office.
More Information from Microsoft on this can be found here.
Along with our Holiday Desktop Bundle we are offering a bundle with our laptops.
Buy any laptop and get a free Logitech wireless mouse!
We currently have 2 in stock to choose from.
For a limited time only we are offering a holiday bundle on our Basix desktop computer for just $699!
This offer includes our standard Basix system with a few upgrades!
- Intel i3 Processor
- Upgraded hard drive for more storage
- Upgraded memory for faster processing
- 20″ ViewSonic monitor
- Your choice of Logitech Wireless Mouse and Keyboard OR Logitech Desktop Speakers*
- 1 – Year warranty provided by ACC Tech.
This is perfect to give as a gift as it comes with everything you need to have a full computer setup at an unbelievable price!
*Standard mouse and keyboard will come free when choosing Logitech Desktop Speakers instead of Logitech Wireless Mouse and Keyboard.
We invite you to join us on Social Networking. Below are some links to some of the social networking sites we participate in and you can connect with us even more by liking or following us on social media!
By connecting with us through Social Media you can get computer tips and tricks, computer news, computer safety concerns, and other company information.
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+Acc-techNet
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/company/acc-tech
For Thanksgiving Holiday we will be observing different hours of operation. On Wednesday 11/27 we will be open from 9AM – 12PM. We will be closed on Thursday 11/28 and Friday 11/29. We will re-open on 12/02 at 9AM.
If you have Facebook, connect with us for news and information as well as the ability to communicate with our technical staff regarding any questions that you may have.