The Blog

 

24

Aug 2017

Computer Scams and Hackers – What you can do

Posted by /

As a web developer, I am on my computer all day. I have seen an alarming escalation in scams, hack attempts and ransomware cyberattacks. Scams are schemes to con you out of your money. They can arrive by, phone call, text message, or email.
Computer hackers use computer viruses to gain access to your computer details, to steal your money and identity, then scam you.

Prevent Tech Fraud and Hacking
1. Use passwords that contain a combination of upper case, lower and unusual characters. It’s a common misconception that a person is trying to guess your passwords. There are robots scanning the internet with sophisticated algorithms that are attempting to unscramble your passwords. The harder it is, the least likely you will be compromised.
2. Most people cannot remember these passwords: You can install programs for free such as Roboform, lastpass or dashlane. You need only remember the one password and then all are stored. It also good practice to change your most important passwords (banking, shopping) annually.
3. Install anti virus software and set it up for automatic updates.
4. Update your software. Sometimes it’s annoying but they often contain security patches
5. Email is NOT secure. I can’t tell you how many times my customers have send credit card information via email.

Popular Scams
• If you get an email from your bank, or store asking for you to “re enter your password” do not! They will not call you to ask you for security to reveal your password. They sometimes send an alarmingly large “payment due” email with an invoice. Do not open the attachment! And never click on links in any email that may ask for personal information.
• Telltale signs of scam emails are misspellings, or if you hover your cursor over the links in the email, they do not go to legitimate urls.
• You may have typed in a wrong url by mistake and are taken to a scam site (such as twwitter.com) There are almost 9000 scam domain names according to a recent study published in AARP magazine. They look like the real sites, but are not. Then when you log in, they steal your log in info.
• Some scammers call and claim to be computer techs associated with well-known companies like Microsoft or Apple. Other scammers send pop-up messages that warn about computer problems. They say they’ve detected viruses or other malware on your computer. They claim to be “tech support” and will ask you to give them remote access to your computer. Eventually, they’ll diagnose a non-existent problem and ask you to pay for unnecessary – or even harmful – services.

If you get an unexpected pop-up, call, spam email or other urgent message about problems with your computer, stop. Don’t click on any links, don’t give control of your computer and don’t send any money. Many times a pop up will encourage you to download a free item such as a PC cleaner. Do not download, it can be malware installed which will cause you to have pop ups constantly appear and they suggest calling a “technician” to fix.
Malicious ads can be reported to the FTC online at ftc.gov/complaint.

Hacking
A few years ago, Sony was in the news as sensitive emails were hacked and released. HBO was recently hacked by a group called Ourmine Hacking Group. Hackers gain access to sensitive documents, passwords and emails. They blackmail a company that if demands are not met, they release sensitive materials.
Web sites, especially WordPress sites are vulnerable to hacking at the server lever. They are not after your small company per say, nor do they ask for money. They infiltrate and create outbound links and fake home page messages. (haha you’ve been hacked by…) They do it to for fun and they cause major harm to businesses. Unfortunately, sites are vulnerable to hacking. The best you can do is to check that your web host and or provider has updated plugins, secure passwords and regular backups. If your site is hacked, it’s a lot easier to replace the site with the backup then try to clean the code.

Preventing Cyberattacks and Ransomware
Ransomware is a computer virus that you can get from opening a malicious document or email. It can even be from people you know, because their email addresses may be stolen. When you open the malicious file in your pc, your computer will either freeze, or ask to run the app. Files will suddenly become encrypted and ransomware notes will be dropped into every folder. The document goes on to say that unless you have the encryption key, you cannot access your files and if you try to remove the virus on your own, the files will be permanently destroyed. You usually have a few weeks to comply with their instructions to pay for the software and the key. They demand each victim to pay using Bitcoins, with various ransom demands.
Some are forced to pay thousands of dollars but there is no guarantee you will get your files back
It is strongly recommended not to pay the ransom as the activations keys may not decrypt the data entirely.
Cerber -flooded the internet in March 2016. Wanna cry and Peyta infected Microsoft in May 2017; 230,000 computers in over 150 countries.

The warning here – always use Microsoft updates automatic setting.

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

07

Aug 2017

Web Design Trends – What to Look for in Clean Design

Posted by /

Why are design trends important?
For non-website designers, it is nearly impossible to stay on top of the technological advances and countless new design options emerging almost daily. But you know that your website must be user-friendly and engaging on any device. After all, you are in business to sell, not entertain.

ipad-632512_640

The landscape of web design is constantly evolving. Web designers need to understand how users react and tap into their subconscious spending habits; whether or not something appeals to us or even displeases us.

When we see an old or outdated website, we may assume the company is itself old- fashioned, or maybe out of touch with technology. This can prove dangerous for a technology company or even a manufacturer, who claims to use state of the art technology for its customers. Websites that still use Adobe Flash, pop- up windows, or even old scripts will not work on an Apple device, (iphones and tablets) You just lost more than half your audience. Google also will soon ignore your site if it is not mobile friendly. Colors and readability play a large part in our decision to buy. Our eyes shouldn’t have to work that hard to process small text, long paragraphs or light text. We also have shorter attention spans which cause us to walk away from a site that has these flaws.

Okay! So what is Trending?

The arrangement of design elements within a given structure should allow the reader to easily focus on the message, without slowing down the speed of his reading.

  • Long page scrolls (people would rather scroll than click)
  • Responsive design – adapts to a user’s devise (desktop, phone, tablet)
  • Big bold type, Stronger use of typography. Capture my attention!
  • Aesthetic movement- the gentle flow of type on a page. The rotation of images to keep ones attention is also known as parallax scrolling.  Moving different parts of a website page at different speeds (parallax scrolling) increases visitor engagement.
  • Use of interesting mouseover effects when I put my mouse over elements. Make me want to poke around!
  • Brighter colors
  • High quality videos

 

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

08

Nov 2016

Google Creating New Mobile Search Index

Posted by /

google-sm

Google is working to create a separate search index specifically for mobile within the next couple of months. The mobile search will eventually become its primary one. The desktop index will remain, but may not be updated as often.

While no specific date has been given, the change was confirmed by Google’s search analyst Gary Illyes at the Pubcon digital marketing conference in Las Vegas this October, the world’s leading marketing conference. Illyes stated that more than 85% of Google’s search results are now mobile friendly.

What does this mean to you?

 The news has potentially huge concerns for businesses that depend on google rankings, especially those who have been slow to adopt a mobile-friendly site.

Anyone with a site which isn’t fully optimized for mobile will likely suffer in the search results. The good news is that the change appears to be a few months off so there is time yet to get your mobile presence in order.

Now is the time to consider a mobile friendly (“responsive”) website face lift if you have not already done so.

We are experienced in optimized web design and development, always keeping up with the latest trends in design and search engine optimization that will help you gain your market share.

Take advantage of this 30 day free offer: Get a detailed search analysis report of your current site. Contact us today to see how we can help you!

Please select the social network you want to share this page with:

29

Aug 2016

Ransom ware: It can happen to you!

Posted by /

It happened to me and I’m pretty computer savvy 😐

 

ransomeimageThere is a new form of malicious ransom ware out there that is plaguing the business industry. Ransomware is a computer virus that you get from opening a malicious document or email. It can even be from someone you know because they are stealing email addresses.

When you open the malicious file in your pc, your computer will either freeze or ask to run the app. Files will suddenly become encrypted and documents from the ransomware will be dropped into to every folder.

The message is something like this:

Cannot find the files you need? That is because the files have become encrypted. Great! You are now part of a community, Cerber Ransomware

It goes on to say that unless you have the encryption key, you cannot access your files and if you try to remove on your own, the files will be permanently destroyed. You usually have a few weeks to comply with their instructions to pay for the software and the key.
They demand each victim to pay 1.25 in BitCoins, which is approximately $512 USD.

In February, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center handed over $17,000.
In June of this year, 57% of Microsoft Office users (source: SCMagazine) were hit.
Prime Healthcare, which runs a few hospitals, and Kansas Heart Hospital were forced to pay to retrieve thousands of patient files. But Kansas Heart paid and didn’t get their files back.

It is strongly recommended not to pay the ransom as the Cerber key may not decrypt the data entirely. Also, it helps to perpetuate this nasty business. Security experts recommend removing the Cerber virus as soon as the victim notices that the computer has been compromised by it.

Luckily, I did not pay and I did not lose data. I had two backups, one on an external hard drive, and one in the cloud called Carbonite. I did not pay the ransom but called upon my trusted Computer Troubleshooters (in Brookfield,CT) who immediately scanned my computer using malware and AVG cleaners.

Tips to Avoid:

Cyber criminals mostly distribute this virus via spam emails, so make sure you do not open any suspicious emails that come from unknown senders. Even though most of such malicious correspondence comes up as “Spam”, there is no guarantee that a virus-carrying email will not slip to your regular Inbox as well. You should be particularly careful about opening any attachments that come from unknown sources and are accompanied by suspicious emails. They may pose as representatives of governmental or law enforcement institutions, so it is recommended that you always check the legitimacy of such emails.

Make sure you have a good backup in place. If you back up to an external hard drive, remove it during the day and back up at night once all is okay.

Have a trusted IT professional make sure your malware protection is up-to-date. This is not foolproof but can help avoid a costly problem.

 

Please select the social network you want to share this page with: