Better Safe Than Sorry – Be Vigilant!

Over the years, our Help Desk gets a fair amount of calls from our clients that had been scammed by someone claiming to be Microsoft or some other competent support entity. It can happen a variety of ways. The most common way is browsing and an image flashes, often with a voice warning you that you have a virus and to call such and such a number to resolve it. It may ask you to click a link, which could deliver a virus to your computer. If you call them, they may ask for a credit card for prepayment, but could also offer to “fix” it for free, but install ransomware to force you to pay later or lose your data. Sometimes, they call you on the phone and say that this is the IT department and to go to a website so they can remote in and fix something. I had one such call on my cell phone a few years ago and I had some fun with them for a while. So when we recently hired a new person at Eagle and he called upon a client whose laptop fell off our antivirus radar, I was elated to hear the conversation just down the hall where our client questioned the authenticity of the call. He asked for our company name and number and said he would check it out and call back. I was so thrilled, I sent an email to his manager and said that this was great to hear. Our Tech even used the name of his manager, who he did check with first to...

Good Advice: “Avoid smothering it with a pillow.”

Windows is updating… And the next thing it says is to not turn off your computer. So here you are putting your life on hold while your computer appears to be doing nothing for quite some time. Maybe you really need to get to work and have deadlines to meet. There isn’t an easy out when the computer is updating the operating system and some of the Windows 10 updates are pretty hefty. It is true that we could install Windows 10 on a new hard drive more quickly than some of these cumulative updates take to install and we have had many calls about this in the last few months. The quickest way to see your friendly Eagle Technician at your desk is to shut it off or unplug it. It will usually damage the operating system and require a reinstall. Yes, we know how it happened. Here at Eagle headquarters, we refer to it as “smothering it with a pillow.” Letting the update run the course might take some time, but it almost always completes eventually. We have seen some updates take up to 2 hours depending on the age and speed of the computer, which is a good reason to refresh your hardware on a regular basis. Time is money, and slow computers cost more and more in the long run. Another scenario is that it’s the end of the day and you want to leave as soon as possible. You click Start and the only option is to “Update and shut down.” How frustrating! If you have a desktop you don’t plan on taking home,...

Are Firewall Subscriptions Really Important or Necessary?

Have you updated your firewall subscription lately? There was a time this was not an option, such as when you bought your first router (right after you canceled your dial-up connection for internet access). There were not as many online threats back then. A virus was more of a nuisance, but now an errant click has the potential to lock your company files and stop your business in its tracks while your files are restored from a backup…if you have one. Backup is the final defense in a disaster recovery or ransomware situation, unless you want to give hard earned bitcoins to a criminal and hope they are honest. Antivirus is another method, but it is more reactive and is not always up to date because antivirus companies have to make an antidote to a threat when it is discovered. Internet threats are in abundance and it’s not very likely that a hacker is singling your company out. Hackers have automated the process by creating harmful apps or attachments that just find their way to you. They compromise a resource, such as a server that someone left vulnerable because they didn’t have a professional IT firm to protect it, and it silently pushes out viruses and ransomware to it covers the tracks of the bad guy. If “Virus A” goes into the wild and causes harm, you can be assured that the original variant of the virus will not look the same a day or two later. I recently watched a presentation put on by SonicWall that showed how a SonicWall firewall with Advanced Threat Protection could identify a...

The “Check Engine” Light of Your Business Network….

You know that you should change your oil in your car when a warning light comes on. The light is an improvement from years ago when you had to keep track of maintenance and mileage yourself. IT systems are no different. They need maintenance too, but there isn’t always a warning light. Maintenance comes in the way of an employee tasked with keeping everything up to date and running smoothly, while also engaging in the more visible busy work of assisting other employees. Some companies outsource their IT to an IT firm like Eagle Network Solutions or a consultant. As companies grow, many still use MSP services such as patching, monitoring and automation so they don’t have to increase IT staff. We can cater a plan to do it all, or just some of your IT tasks to compliment the staff you already have in place. With the fast growing economy, competent IT people may be harder to attract and we can scale with your business depending on your needs. So how do you know that maintenance is being done? At Eagle Network Solutions, we invest in systems that monitor your PC’s, servers and network hardware to look for trends and get ahead of problems before they interrupt your business and stop your associates (and customers) in their tracks. No one knows more than business owners that downtime is costly. Our managed services assure you that someone is “on it” and your systems are patched and up to date which helps prevent failures. If you take advantage of our managed services, you don’t have to worry about your network...

The IoT and How it Can Affect Your Business

Several weeks ago, I attended the Cyber Security Summit in Boston for a long and tight agenda on many aspects of cyber security. There were many great sessions, but I wanted to focus on one because it is living with us every day. It’s the IoT, or “Internet of Things.” IoT refers to gadgets that are in our home or businesses, which usually connect to our WIFI. These gizmos make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Thermostats, mysterious boxes we can ask questions of, refrigerators, smartphones and so many more things require internet access. But are they safe to connect? Remember that the vulnerabilities of each device on your network dictates the overall safety of everything on the network. Just like having one Windows XP machine compromises the entire network, many of these “things” have their own operating systems and they all have a default username and password that is freely available on the internet. Do you remember a year ago last month when the internet went down in the northeast? For some of us, it only slowed down. The cause of it was precisely the IoT, millions of them, that at a certain date and time were programmed to send out so many information packets that it shut the internet down for a few hours. This is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack where certain sites are barraged with information to the point that it is overloaded and can’t handle any request. Here’s one of the news stories about it: http://nhpr.org/post/granite-geek-ddos-attack-dyn-and-internet-things#stream/0 This could have been avoided if a few precautions were taken when the device was...

Ransomware in the News! Explained here in easy terms…

How did you fare with what is known as the biggest ransomware attack in history? The good news is that none of our clients have reported any infections. FedEx, government entities, hospitals, cloud environments that affect thousands of users right down to home users had their files locked up recently with a ransom note on them. Some articles say it was an XP vulnerability, an email attachment, an infected website, unpatched computers and servers, or a port used for Windows servers to communicate to network computers. For clarification, this virus does not just affect XP. And, if you are on XP, you should phase it out quickly because it’s an electronic petri dish waiting to attract a bug to infect everything else on your network. The common theme seems to be that once it infects a computer on a network that it goes from computer to computer if it is able to. This is what classifies this virus as a worm which is pretty serious. It tries to manifest though networks from an infected computer or server, but also tries to do the same thing on the internet by scanning IP addresses and looking for a way in. The vulnerability has been around for quite some time and was known by the NSA before it was leaked into the wild. Once that occurred a few weeks ago, Microsoft released a patch to fix the problem so that any attempts to exploit it would be benign. If you update your Windows patches regularly, then there was no need to worry. I know it’s hard to believe, but some people prefer...

Traveling to China?

We know many of our clients travel to China regularly on business. Careful consideration should be paid to the security of your data and devices while there and extra steps before, during and after your trip are highly recommended. The attached article sheds further light on why this is so important. As always, your team at Eagle Network Solutions is here to help. Kaleb Jacob and the Eagle Team...

Next-generation Wi-Fi provides advanced capabilities

From the Desk of Kaleb- As I read this article about the advanced capabilities of WIFI and what it means to businesses, it seemed like a whitepaper on our MoJo wireless product. We became a MoJo Parnter, formerly Airtight Networks, over two years ago and at first it seemed a bit high end for our clients. Over time, it has been our go-to product for WIFI to keep our clients safer and to offer much better reliability and total network segregation for guest access. If you have an open guest WIFI, there is a good chance that your guests are not the only ones connected to it. Where are they going and what are they downloading? Did you know that if an employee or guest goes to a site to illegally download a movie that you may considered responsible? ISP’s have compliance departments that look for this and notify their customers of violations as a warning the first time. Also, if you have a family in your lobby on your WIFI and one or two are on iPad’s watching a Netflix movie, how does that affect the rest of your corporate internet speed? We “throttle” guest WIFI to make sure your staff are not slowed down for the sake of “free” WIFI. Although separated, it all comes in on one pipe. – Kaleb Jacob...

What happened to the Internet?

Last Friday October 22, the information superhighway hit a few potholes by way of a DDoS attack. Some of you might be thinking “DOS,” or “Disk Operating System,” but this is a Denial of Service attack. Officially, it is a DDoS attack – just put the word “distributed” in front of the acronym. Some of our clients were impacted by this, but mostly because they could not reliably access certain websites. This only appeared to affect the United States. This maneuver was pretty well thought out. For years there have been reports that malware and viruses can attach to a phone or any other internet-connected device, but if you don’t see a virus warning then how do you know that there is a problem? If you don’t have an antivirus application looking for viruses, then you probably would not know. Can you install antivirus on a network connected printer? Despite best efforts, some malicious programs evade mitigating mechanisms anyway because they are not displaying signatures that the antivirus or firewalls are programmed to look for. So what really happened last week? Gizmodo.com reported “today a massive DDoS attack took out a major piece of the internet infrastructure.” That paints the picture of crews of workers gathering smoking piles of internet and hauling it away in dump trucks while other crews install new pieces of internet. First, it helps to have an understanding of how the internet works. It’s basically a bunch of wires that connect devices together. I describe it as a highway and road system. You leave your house and drive onto your street. You see road signs...

Is Your Business Being Offered Faster Internet Speeds? Read On Before Deciding…

We have all seen the offers to boost our internet speed for a special rate from our current Internet Service Provider (ISP) or a competitor. I see them in my inbox, in the mail and even by phone now. As an IT company, we have a 10 x 50 connection. We are in “the business”, so we should be leading the pack, right? I got a call from our ISP a few weeks ago and, for a 3 year contract, they would boost it to 20 x 75 at the click of a button on their end and would give us the same rate we are currently paying for the next year. After that, it goes to around $20 more a month. Overall, not a bad deal. I declined because it is as fast as we need. In fact, we don’t even need it to be 50mbps for downloads, but it does come in handy when downloading some DVD ISO’s for operating systems. With some things, you should only pay for what you need. The representative pushed a little more and I said that I was happy not being under contract with them, giving us the freedom to look elsewhere should the service decline. This reminded me of a few instances where clients have upgraded to a faster speed over the phone with their ISP for not much more than they are currently paying. The upgrade is usually a process that takes under 5 minutes with a modem reboot, so it is easy and usually not very invasive. However, do you know what your firewall can handle for bandwidth?...