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Why Weak Passwords Are Harmful: Ashley Madison Hack IT Takeaways | BVA IT Consulting Blog

password_stolen-100577279-primary.idgeAs you may very well be aware, the Ashley Madison debacle revealing account emails of users has also divulged their passwords. A total of 11,716,208 silly, yet remarkably weak passwords were discovered. Passwords such as “password,” “123456,” and “IThinkILoveMyWife?” are a few of the many that were used.  These revelations only reinforce the importance of stronger passwords to keep your information secure. Never use weak passwords, and never underestimate hackers as I’m sure they continue to crack easy passwords like this time and time again. If you do happen to find yourself in a situation where you would use a site such as Ashely Madison create a completely randomized password yourself or use a password manager.

 

Microsoft On Malware and Protecting your Business: How To Protect Your Business From Malicious Software | BVA IT Consulting Blog

Malware is continuing to wreak havoc on devices, notably Android. So what is Microsoft doing to combat such intrusions? Prevention and understanding are key. The definition of malware has extended from the more traditional viruses to the embodiment of varied attack levels including the new, more malicious threats. The Director of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, Dennis Batchelder, says that crime syndicates, malware supply chain, antimalware vendors, and the antimalware ecosystem are the main participants involved. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit and antimalware security software’s purpose is to proactively intercept new strains of malware. They aim to block malware, stop it in its tracks when first discovered, and seek to prosecute those involved.Malware-spy

From a business owners perspective there are a couple things you can do to protect yourself. A layered approach to cybersecurity is important. Protecting your business from various angles and the level at which you invest into an IT Staff make a big difference in your defense.  Security begins from where and how users interact with the data, to how you transmit data past firewalls, and the level of end-to-end encryption that is put in place. Data at rest must be encrypted to protect against high valued attacks on your servers, and you can complement that with the use of intrusion detection measures and data leakage monitors. The decision must be made on what the price of security is for you, depending on the value of which you want protected and what you are willing to spend for it. For big businesses, handling it in-house may seem more appropriate. However, for small businesses a manageable and more cost effective option would reasonably be hiring a managed service provider (MSP) to tend to security needs.

 

Tricky, more Advanced Malware than Ever Before: How To Combat Advance Malware | BVA IT Consulting Blog

As the world continues to exponentially develop through the rapid advancements of technology, experts have observed that innovation and high tech evolution is not without some costs. Malware, a term used to describe a variety of malicious and intrusive software, has consequently become a newer and bigger threat, as they are increasingly more creative and complex than ever before.  Research has shown that desktops are no longer the only domains at risk, but mobile phones as well.

Phishing applications pose as ostensibly harmless entities in popular Android games, often masquerading as a cheat or modification only to steal sensitive information such as your passwords, usernames, and even credit card details.

An even more disturbing malware, the so-called “crypto-ransomware” is a hostile code that holds your phone hostage, locks the screen, encrypts your data, and impels a blackmail payment of up to $500 to undo.  Simplock, a type of crypto-ransomware worms its entry into an Android devices’ administrator rights, spreading its encryption to not only your documents and multimedia, but archived files as well.movile malware

Most targeted devices of advanced attacks such as ransomware reside in the developed world, whereas the underdeveloped countries are subject to the older, well-known malware.  Statistics have shown that 77 percent of Androids affected with this sort of malware are in the United States.

New Intel Processor: 6th Gen Core Skylake Review | BVA IT Consulting Blog

intel processor family

The 6th Generation Intel Core Processor Family has been unveiled by Intel.  It is built on their new Skylake microarchitecture on the company’s 14 nm manufacturing process technology.  Together with the use of the Intel 100 Series and Intel CM 236 chip sets, the new processors promise an enhancement in performance with graphics, power efficiency, and support for a range of device designs including the compute stick, two-in-ones and All-in-One desktops, and new mobile workstations.  The company boasts that these are Intel’s best processors ever, with powerful possibilities and built-in security.  The Intel Core M processor family will include the Intel Core levels m3, m5, and m7 processors.

This generation of processors also contains a mobile “K” SKU, allowing overclocking when unlocked.  Allowing more user control, the advanced quad-core Intel Core i5 processor delivers up to 60 percent improved multitasking and the Intel Xeon E3 now powers mobile workstations.

Visually, the processors integrate the new Intel 500 Series graphics, which incorporate Intel HD graphics, Intel Iris graphics, and Intel Iris Pro graphics.  Additional fundamental features include adaptive performance, modern standby, and key feature integration such as an image signal processor and eMMC memory card interface.  Furthermore, support for DirectX 12 is available, as well as Intel Speed Shift Technology, and Thunderbolt 3 with USB-C.

The new 6th Gen Intel Core-based processors promise to deliver the most significant advancements in computing ever seen. Now, more than ever, these systems are more responsive with enhanced performance, battery life, and security. These new advances by Intel allow for contemporary and advanced new PC experiences such as logging into your computer with your face and even having a digital personal assistant responding to your voice.

Windows 7 and 8.1 Activation Issues

Windows 10

Things you should know:

  • A Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 product key cannot activate Windows 10. Windows 10 uses its own unique product key.
  • By default, Windows 10 builds are pre-keyed, meaning, you do not have to enter a product key and should not be prompted to enter one as long as you upgraded from an activated Windows 7 or Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 license or Windows 10 Preview build.
  • If you perform a clean install on first attempt, you will have to start over from an activated Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 installation.
  • If you are prompted to enter a product key, click Do this later and give it a few days, Windows 10 will activate automatically.
  • Activation servers are being overwhelmed at the moment because of the volume of upgrades, so give it some time if you get an error message such as (0XC004E003, ,0x8007000D, 0x8007232b or 0x8007007B) Windows 10 will eventually activate as long as you upgrade using the appropriate method.
  • There is no need to know your Windows 10 product key, read the following ‘Understanding Product Activation in Windows 10
  • “Windows 10 handles keys differently. When you upgrade to Windows 10 via Windows Update from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, the process registers your computers hardware, and qualifying OS with a Microsoft Product Activation Server. The device is then considered a Windows 10 device.
  • Subsequently anytime you re-install (or clean install) the installation checks with those servers, finds the unique installation ID and produces the validation”

Windows 10 Desktop Wallpaper Uncovered | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT – Scottsdale 85251

As some know this already, Microsoft is getting ready to release Windows 10 on July 29th which includes a brand new operating system that of course comes with a brand new desktop wallpaper image. Of course Microsoft wasn’t going to settle for no basic Windows logo.

Microsoft created a team of artists to create this new special logo. They used lasers and light to create this new desktop wallpaper.

New Windows 10 Logo

Graphics designer Bradley G Munkowitz and the team built two installations in the photography studio in San Francisco to create the light coming from the windows.

Munkowitz said “It’s very exciting to be an artist in these times where your medium is constantly changing.” “I love the idea of delivering one prefect, pristine still.”

Chrome 36 vs. Firefox 31 vs. Internet Explorer 11: Internet Browser Review | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT – Scottsdale, AZ 85251

 

Firefox 31:

Firefox is the leader in security and privacy. It also had a major interface redesign. Along with this they have made huge strides in the memory consumption. What have won over millions of users is Firefox is the customization possibilities that you are allowed to do. With this customization tool, you are in control of the browser toolbars. Don’t forget the fast performance either that everyone loves.

Chrome 36:

Although Chrome might not be the ideal browser for privacy, they have a leading HTML5 support and fast JavaScript performance. This means it is ready for the highly interactive application-like websites. Chrome does have a competition in graphics hardware acceleration.

Internet Explorer 11:

IE11 is now available for Windows 7 and 8, unfortunately not for Vista or XP. This latest version is faster, trimmer and far more compliant with HTML5. This is a huge improvement for Microsoft. IE includes tab-pinning and leading hardware acceleration and supports WebGL and SPDY but not WebRTC. A great privacy tool includes Do Not Track enabled by default and Tracking Protection feature.

5 Hidden Chrome Features That Will Come In Handy | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT –

  1. Drag multiple tabs at once: Majority of people already know that you are capable of mix and matches the tabs together but while holding down Ctrl key and click on all the tabs you’d like to move, you can move them as one. For Mac users, hold the command key.
  2. Omnibox = Calculator: Some may or may not know that you are able to out a basic math problem into the search bar and get the answer. Without actually going to Google.com, you can access s similar math function in your omnibox. Doing this will give you the answer in the suggestions below the omnibox without having to push enter. To do this Google.com will have to be your default browser or you will not get an answer. It also does not work if you are typing into an incognito window, no matter the default browser.
  3. Omnibox = Unit converter: Just like your omnibox can be a calculator, it can also be a unit converter. It is very similar to the calculator just type into the search bar without pushing enter and you’ll get your answer below. Again, Google.com will have to be your default browser.
  4. Simple Image Browser: If you are ever cleaning or organizing your computer and come across an unknown jpeg and have no idea when or how it got placed on your computer? Simply drag it directly into your Chrome browser window and there you have it.
  5. Drag to Search: To some this might be fairly new. If you ever wanted to find out what a word or phrase meant, highlight the word and drag it to the omnibox and there you have it, your answer.

Hidden Messages in Tech Logos: Beats, Amazon, Jelly | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT – Scottsdale, AZ 85251

  • Beats Logo:
    • Beats logo is a lower case b which is also a profile of someone wearing a pair of headphones.
  • Amazon:
    • There is that little bright yellow arrow underneath has multiple meanings. Some of those meanings are just an arrow moving things forward, a sly smile and most of all its connecting A to Z which is “everything is available on Amazon, from A to Z”
  • Jelly:
    • If you notice the jelly’s tentacles they are little J’s and the top looks like a brain.
  • GameCube:
    • Some might be familiar with this one already, but it’s a square in a square that makes a G with a little cube in the middle.
  • Microsoft 1987-2012:
    • The space between the “o” and “s” were to emphasize “convey motion and speed.”

5 Must-Have Windows Phone App | BVA INC. emPowering Your IT –

 

  • Skype:
    • Video chat for people who don’t belong to an iPhone but a Windows phone or who even have an iPhone but would choose Skype over FaceTime. Skype is available for and Android, iPhone, Mac, or Windows PCs. Along with the video chat, you can also send instant messages, make calls, and SMS texts to regular cell phone.
  • Yelp:
    • Yelp is great for when you are on the go looking for the nearest pizza place, Starbucks, and gas station. Not only is it a helping hand, but you can also check in and get specials deals and add your own reviews.
  • The Weather Channel:
    • Who wouldn’t want to see how the weather will be like for the week or for your next weeks’ vacation in Miami? It offers far more detailed weather information and with a tolerable weather app pre-loaded. Don’t forget about the ten-day forecasts. This is all great for when you do not know what to expect when it comes to the weather.
  • Netflix:
    • Do you ever get caught in the doctor’s office waiting for your name to be called and have been addicted to watching your favorite show but couldn’t watch it because you can’t take you TV with you? That is why you can Netflix, choose from over 100 movies and TV shows you can’t get enough of. It’s a great go to source of entertainment when you aren’t home and Windows Phone Netflix app is up for the task.
  • Pandora:
    • Take all your favorite stations and music genes with you on your Windows phone. Although you only have 6 skips allowed, it lets your pin your favorite stations and block out explicit songs if a child’s account is using the mobile.