Windows XP – The end is near!!!


Since April 8, 2014 is fast approaching, I’ve had many customers ask me about Windows XP. How dangerous will it be if me or my business continues to run Windows XP after support is terminated.
GFI Software, a well renowned security firm has an answer:

Windows XP end-of-life: Danger or hype?

By Jackie Wake, Product Manager, GFI Software
03.20.14

You are probably aware that official support for Microsoft Windows XP ends on April 8, 2014. After this date, Microsoft will stop sending out security patches for the aging operating system. Support for Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 ends on the same day.

There are plenty of scare stories around about what will happen in the aftermath of this support withdrawal. Undoubtedly, some people won’t manage to migrate their systems in time.

Are the dangers significant or are the risks over-hyped?

Genuine Dangers

Let me get straight to the point: we at GFI Software think the danger is real.

Hackers have a really easy way of finding ways to exploit Windows XP once support patches stop being released. Each time a patch arrives for Windows 7 or 8, they can take the time to reverse-engineer it and see if the vulnerability also applies to Windows XP. If it does, they hit the jackpot.

Microsoft won’t release an XP patch, so the vulnerability sits there ripe for exploitation on all the systems that continue to run XP after the deadline.

The problem gets worse when you consider Outlook and Exchange as well. Many companies use Outlook together with third-party plugins, often as a way to interface with a CRM system. These systems will also become very vulnerable if they’re not quickly moved onto supported platforms.

Compliance

Compliance is also a serious matter. The new Australian Privacy Act requires that organisations take reasonable steps to protect personally identifiable information from misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification and disclosure. The Payment Card Industry Standards (PCI) compliance guidelines state that institutions must use a “manufacturer supported operating system”.

Companies who fail to upgrade could find themselves in serious legal hot water if a breach occurs and they are still be using an operating system that is no longer supported. Companies providing indemnity and liability insurance may refuse to pay out if their clients are in breach of legislation.

The danger surrounding XP’s end of life is NOT just hype. Falling foul of compliance legislation can result in financial ruin and reputational damage for companies of all sizes.

Now is the time to give some serious thought to anywhere that XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 may continue to lurk. Here are some places to start:

  1. Home users who may still have a long forgotten XP laptop.
  2. Control machines running things like access control and CCTV systems.
  3. Old servers that remain on the network to provide access to historical information.

It only takes one unpatched machine to provide hackers with a way in to a network. Now’s the time for a final look around, and a final wave goodbye to Windows XP. If you haven’t started, well…

An easy way to track down those machines or systems still running XP is to use Free Asset Tracking, a no-charge component of the GFI Cloud suite of cloud-based IT management services. GFI Cloud also provides patch management, antivirus and monitoring from the same console.

That could take the hard work out of your inventory process at least.

Jackie Wake is Product Manager at GFI Software

If you have any questions, or any computer problems, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.

Warmest Regards,

Allen Crist
CCW Technology I.T. Services
South Jordan, UT 84095

801-410-0203


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Free Online Games


As an I.T. professional, I see a lot of computers with adware, spyware, malware, viruses, etc. I am often asked by a customer how they got the virus.
Most of the time it’s hard to tell. It could have been from that file attachment ‘Aunt Edna’ sent, or a reputable website which has been hacked. A surprisingly amount of religious websites have been hacked, as scammers have found that people will trust clicking on links more due to the fact it’s a Church / Religious site. They will hijack the site, and inject bad code thereby infecting you.
There is one area that has been growing in popularity recently, free games. Some have estimated that the amount of games with spyware/ad-ware has increased up to 600%.
Maybe you want to download Solitaire, Mahjongg, and more. Some websites that allow you to download these games for free, will attach ad-ware, spyware or tool-bars to the actual game you want.

Recently CCW Technology has conducted a survey of I.T. professionals as to sites they trust to recommend users find games from. This is not an endorsement of the sites, nor is it a guarantee of safety, since as mentioned above, even church websites have been compromised.

As a result of the survey, the following websites were suggested.

Addicting Games - www.addictinggames.com

Steam - www.steampowered.com

Yahoo Games - games.yahoo.com

Windows 8/8.1 App Store (For Windows 8 Users)

There is no substitute for good judgement, adequate virus protection, and a good cloud backup, just in case.

CCW Technology is a VIPRE anti-virus / Internet Security provider. Click on the link in this email to get a free trial or to learn more. As for online backup, nothing beats Code 42′s Crashplan (www.crashplan.com). While CCW Technology doesn’t sell Crashplan to residential customers, we recommend it since it’s the right thing to do. We offer Code42′s Crashplan for businesses for our commercial clients.

If you have any questions, or any computer problems, please don’t hesitate to ask us for help.

Warmest Regards,

Allen Crist
CCW Technology I.T. Services
South Jordan, UT 84095

801-410-0203


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Prevention of Data Loss


A serious loss of data is the worst time to figure out how vulnerable and valuable your data is. To protect critical data (photos, videos, spreadsheets), home users and business owners should give serious thought about preventing the disasters that can befall their data.
There are several straightforward ways to protect yourself:
1. Off-site backupsCrashplan Plus is a great option for home users. It provides off-site (Cloud) backup for just pennies a day. Small to medium sized business should take advantage of CrashplanProE, an enterprise grade online backup. CCW Technology Offers this service for only $9.99 per month and it covers UNLIMITEDdata on up to 4 devices (servers or desktops). Contact us for details.
2. External Drive Backups: External drives can be set up to create a system image of your computer at scheduled intervals (Daily, Weekly, Etc.) They can provide a very quick disaster recovery tool to get you back up and running quickly, however the disadvantage to this method is that external drives can fail as well and you may not know it, rendering your backups unusable.
3. Uninterrupted power supplies (UPS Battery Backup) to save data during power outages and safely shut down your system. We can recommend and help configure a UPS to meet your needs.
4. Viruses are becoming a more important threat to data and they can arrive from unexpected sources. Any and all data coming into the network must be scanned, and the system should be scanned regularly. CCW Technology recommends VIPRE Internet Security.
5. RAID (Usually Mirrored) Hard Drives - If one of your hard drives fail, you are not likely to lose your data. We can help set up a solution to best fit your needs.
Drives that sound “funny” should be shut down immediately to prevent complete destruction of data. Any clicking or scraping noise means you have a physical hard drive problem. Shut down the computer immediately. Any further use of the drive can make data recovery difficult if not impossible.

The checklist gets longer but the message is short: if you cannot verify your data is safe today, it may not be around tomorrow. Prevention is much less expensive than recovery from a disaster. If you do need data recovery services, we offer very competitive rates to our customers and can usually recover your lost data.

Call us for help in securing your data. We can help prevent a disaster.

Allen Crist
South Jordan, UT 84095

801-410-0203


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Cryptolocker is a nasty computer virus!


There are a couple new things I wanted to share with you that I believe you will find important.There is a computer virus which started earlier this year, it’s nasty, and I mean NASTY.

It’s spreading fast and is called CryptoLocker. What this virus does is it encrypts
files on your dive so they aren’t accessible, and then demands money to decrypt
them. They use real encryption (called AES) and it’s almost impossible to break
(perhaps the NSA could).It can also infect your back up files, depending on what backup method you are
using. Most often the fix is to format your computer, erasing everything and
start from scratch, losing ALL of your data.

There are a couple of things you can do to help prevent this from happening:

1) Get a good anti-virus. For example VIPRE blocks the CryptoLock virus from
infecting computers. If you are using another anti-virus program, check with
them to see if you are protected.

2) Do backups that have versioning. Multiple versions of your data as it
changes. That way if the file gets infected and even backups get infected, you
can roll back a day and not lose everything. Crashplan PROe has this feature.
CCW Technology offers UNLIMITED backup for up to 4 devices for just $9.99 per
month (when paid on a yearly basis).

3) Don’t fall victim to clicking on links in email you don’t recognize. Don’t
allow anyone who calls you and you don’t know, to have access to your computer.
There are several scams going on where people will call you from “Microsoft” or
another company and tell you your computer is running slow or has errors.

If you want to purchase VIPRE Internet Security, or get a 30 day trial, here is
the link: VIPRE Trial/Purchase

If you would like to get on-board with on-line (Cloud) backup, call 801-410-0203
x 2

Click this link for a more detailed explanation of CryptoLocker.

Until next time, I wish you all the best. As always, if there is ever anything I
can do to assist, please give me a call. 801-410-0203 x 2 or drop me an email at allen@ccwtech.com.

Regards,

Allen Crist
Owner – CCW Technology

Like us on FACEBOOK  : facebook.com/ccwtech

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New! Audio and Video Editing Services now available.


Video, Photo, and Audio Editing Services

CCW Technology can provide video editing and production services for: Weddings, Birthday’s, Anniversary’s, Retirement, Graduation, Vacations, Funeral’s, and more. Let us provide you with a professionally edited video that looks and plays great. Professional art design is available at a very reasonable price:

 

Clarify Business Card Hurst Business Card
Divine Business Card Test Auto Business Card

We can also provide DVD restoration, CD/DVD/Blu-Ray Duplication, VHS to DVD conversions and more.

Need photo designs for business cards, flyers, posters? We can help. Even if you aren’t in the South Jordan or Salt Lake County area, we can still help.

Call Matt at 801-410-0203 x3 for more details.

http://www.ccwtech.com/video-audio.html


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Our team of skilled computer technicians


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Computer Services Offered


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Hard Drive Clicking And Crash Tips


For common problems like a hard drive clicking noise, or something of that nature, we offer these safety tips:

Fully evaluate the problem you are experiencing. This advice will help you safely get your drive working again.

If your hard drive emits unusual noises such as clicking, scraping or grinding, turn off your computer immediately. Typically this denotes a protective head failure that threatens to destroy your data. Hard drives spin with extreme speed (7,200 to 15,000 revolutions per minute) and without the head in place damage can occur almost immediately.

Clicking noises are signs of physical hard drive failure: contact us here for a free evaluation.

In this situation the best thing to do is to contact us for a data recovery assessment. Your hard drive may need to be serviced in a clean room data recovery lab.

CCW Technology Computer Services
http://www.ccwtech.com/data-recovery-services.html
801-410-0203


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Malware Spreading – CryptoLocker


There are a couple new things I wanted to share with you that I believe you will find important.There is a computer virus which started earlier this year, it’s nasty, and I mean NASTY.

It’s spreading fast and is called CryptoLocker. What this virus does is it encrypts
files on your dive so they aren’t accessible, and then demands money to decrypt
them. They use real encryption (called AES) and it’s almost impossible to break
(perhaps the NSA could).It can also infect your back up files, depending on what backup method you are
using. Most often the fix is to format your computer, erasing everything and
start from scratch, losing ALL of your data.

There are a couple of things you can do to help prevent this from happening:

1) Get a good anti-virus. For example VIPRE blocks the CryptoLock virus from
infecting computers. If you are using another anti-virus program, check with
them to see if you are protected.

2) Do backups that have versioning. Multiple versions of your data as it
changes. That way if the file gets infected and even backups get infected, you
can roll back a day and not lose everything. Crashplan PROe has this feature.
CCW Technology offers UNLIMITED backup for up to 4 devices for just $9.99 per
month (when paid on a yearly basis).

3) Don’t fall victim to clicking on links in email you don’t recognize. Don’t
allow anyone who calls you and you don’t know, to have access to your computer.
There are several scams going on where people will call you from “Microsoft” or
another company and tell you your computer is running slow or has errors.

If you want to purchase VIPRE Internet Security, or get a 30 day trial, here is
the link: VIPRE Trial/Purchase

If you would like to get on-board with on-line (Cloud) backup, call 801-410-0203
x 2

Click this link for a more detailed explanation of CryptoLocker.

Until next time, I wish you all the best. As always, if there is ever anything I
can do to assist, please give me a call. 801-410-0203 x 2 or drop me an email at allen@ccwtech.com.

Regards,

Allen Crist
Owner – CCW Technology

801-410-0203

Posted in Data Security, Virus & Spyware | Comments Off

Hard Drive Recovery


There is a difference between an operating system crash and a hard drive crash.  If your operating system crashes, whether you are using Windows, Linux or Mac, that is a Logical Failure.  If the hard drive itself malfunctions, that is a Physical failure.  Either way your data is not readily accessible but it is still there.  Of course, you should have a backup plan and an image of your computer just in case but if you do not; there is still hope for your precious Gigabytes of data you may have stored on your computer through a data recovery solution.

The best way to prevent damage from a hard disk crash is to take a proactive approach and back up the data stored on the drive.

Determine what is Causing the Crash

The first thing you need to do is figure out if the crash is caused by a physical or logical failure.  You can get the same errors if the crash is caused by a physical or logical failure.  If your computer will not boot and you hear a grinding, clicking or whirring noise, that is a good sign that it is caused by a physical drive failure.  At this point you should stop trying to boot the computer and do not try to reload the operating system.

Physical Hard Drive Failure

If your hard drive crash is caused by a malfunction of the hard drive itself, there is still a very good possibility that the data is still intact and accessible.  You will know if it is a physical failure by the noise the drive will make.  You will hear a clicking, clunking, grinding or whirring sound coming from the hard drive.  Do not mistake the sounds for a malfunctioning cooling fan.  Carefully open the case and listen close to the drive.

If it sounds something like this, it is more than likely a physical hard drive failure.  This drive is still functioning but by the way it sounds, its days are very limited.  Notice the grinding, pinging, clicking and whirring sounds the drive is making.

If you can still boot the computer but the drive is making a lot of noise, you could still get an image of the drive or clone it to a new hard drive but that is risky.  Do not try to start the computer and copy the files to an external drive because that may be too much stress on the failing hardware.  The best bet is to remove the hard drive and put it into a different system to retrieve the important data from the drive with a Data Recovery Solution.

If you can retrieve the data, great – problem solved right?  Now all you have to do is buy a new hard drive and reinstall your operating system and all of the applications.  That is not a fun task.   If you were able to retrieve the data, you may still be able to take an image or clone of the drive and transfer the image to a new drive using Acronis True Image Home or Norton Ghost.  It is worth a try unless you like reloading Windows.

It is true that today’s hard drives are much more reliable than they were 25 years ago when the personal computers hit the market, hard drives are still one of the weakest components in your system.

If the physical hard drive crash is so bad that the computer will not boot or another system cannot see the hard drive, then you may need to send the drive out to a data recovery solution. It is not cheap but how much is your data worth?

Logical Hard Drive Failure

A logical failure occurs when the hard drive is healthy but you cannot boot into the operating system.  This can be caused by many different factors.  A virus, system driver conflict, human error or a software malfunction can cause a logical hard drive crash.  When this type of failure happens, imaging or cloning the computer will do no good.  Do not try to reinstall Windows or run the useless operating system tools like CHKDSK because those tools can just make matters worse.

Just because you cannot access your data on a crashed hard drive does not mean that it is not still present on the drive.  What you do from here depends on the importance of the data that is stored on your computer.  If you are like most people in this technological age, part of your life is stored on your computer and that data is important.  I hope that if you have a hard drive crash you can retrieve your precious data.  Hard drives do crash and the best way to protect your data is with a proactive approach that is to backup, image and backup some more.

Hard Drive Recovery – CCW Technology Computer Services
http://www.ccwtech.com/data-recovery-services.html
801-410-0203


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