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15Nov 2018

The Cloud: The Forecast Is Looking CLOUD(Y)

The Cloud

Tech companies love using buzzwords such as Big Data, 5G, and the internet of things. Unfortunately for most customers, these terms are confusing and often don’t make it clear what they actually mean. The “cloud” is one of those terms, and no, I don’t mean the fluffy white stuff in the sky.

When tech companies say your data is in the cloud, they don’t mean in the sky. The cloud refers to the software and services that run on the internet, instead of on your computer. Most cloud services can be accessed through a Web browser. Some companies offer dedicated mobile apps. Some examples include Netflix, Yahoo, Google Drive, Apple Cloud, Dropbox, etc.

The best thing about the cloud is that you can access the information on any device as long as you have an internet connection. You know how you can make edits in Google Docs anywhere on any device? The cloud

Another benefit of the cloud is that because the remote servers handle much of the computing and storage, you don’t necessarily need an expensive, high- end machine to get your work done. In fact, some companies are making a cloud-based computer as a low- cost option for consumers.

The cloud isn’t perfect though. Without an internet connection or with a poor connection, you’re basically locked out of your data and cloud-based programs.

With all your information online, there is also a risk of your information getting into the wrong hands. Even though all cloud companies have security measures in place to protect your data from hackers, they aren’t foolproof. It is always a good idea to be careful what you have stored in the cloud.

Overall, cloud solutions don’t appear to be going away. In fact, quite the opposite. Looks like the future is looking pretty cloudy.

For a complete suite of cloud solutions, contact us today to learn how we can help move you and your business to the “cloud”. 

5Nov 2018

Importance of SEO

Search Engine Optimization

When you do a web search, do you usually click on a link from the first page of results or do you look through a few pages before you click on a result? You probably answered from the first page and you’re not alone. 75% of people will not scroll past the first page of their search results. For any business, it is crucial that their website shows up on the first page of a possible customers web search.

When a possible customer is searching for something your business can provide it is crucial to show up as one of the top links in a search engine. If your website is not on the first page, competing businesses that rank better in search engines will easily steal business away from yours.

If you do rank high on search engines, it is also crucial to have a website that is easy to operate and understand. Sites which are overly informational and less visual will have a hard time holding someone’s attention. You want to keep navigation simple and have lots of pictures and fewer words on your homepage so the viewer remains interested, not overwhelmed.

But what makes a website show up on the first page of someone’s search results? To show up in the top results, a website must be SEO friendly and be optimized for all devices.

What Exactly is SEO?

But what is SEO? SEO or search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website to appear/rank in a search engine.

To fully understand SEO, you need to understand how search engines actually work. We’ll use Google as our example. Google uses pages it already has in its system to find links to websites it does not know of. To follow these links, Google uses crawlers or bots.

Crawlers are programs that search the world wide web in order to create an index of data. The first step in making sure your website is recognized by Google is making sure it is connected to a site that Google already recognizes. This is so “crawlers” can crawl your website and put it into Google’s index.

You also want to make sure your keywords are optimized to your website. To find your website’s keywords, take notice of what words your website uses frequently, defining words in the title, and headers of your website.

Out of these words, think about your target audience and the keywords they might search to find your products or similar products. These specific words can be optimized to be a website’s keywords. Remember though, keywords shouldn’t be flooding the text of your website, but should be around 1-2% of your website’s words.

Make it Appealing

Along with improving the viewing experience, having an easy to use, a visually appealing website can also help improve your websites SEO. If your website is intuitive and operates smoothly, the search engine will usually know.

While we have only scratched the surface of SEO optimization, it is very clear that SEO is vital to getting your website recognized not only by search engines but also by the people that are searching the web. Over the next few weeks be on the lookout for more blogs about SEO and more advanced SEO practices.

Contact Comportz Technologies

For more information on SEO, please reach out to us here at Comportz to see if you and your business could benefit from an SEO audit.

 

12Jul 2018

15 Common Ransomware Scams

Common Ransomware Scams

The goal of this post is to identify the 15 most common ransomware scams. You will learn about each of these scams, how they work and what they target. Knowing is half the battle.

common ransomware scams

 

  1. Locky’s- Locky’s is similar to many other types of ransomware. This common ransomware scam spreads via an email message, that is disguised as an invoice. When the malware is opened, the invoice is scrambled and the victim is instructed to enable macros in order to read the document. However, when macros are enabled, Locky begins encrypting a large number of file types using AES encryption.

2. NotPetya- NotPetya is a malware known as a wiper with a sole purpose of destroying data instead of obtaining a ransom.

3. Petya- Unlike other types of ransomware, Petya encrypts entire computer systems. Petya overwrites the master boot record, rendering the system unbootable.

4. Spider- Spider is spread via spam emails across Europe. Spider is hidden in Microsoft Word documents that install the ransomware on a victim’s computer when downloaded. The Word document is disguised as a debt collection notice, which contains malicious macros. When the macros are executed, the ransomware begins to encrypt the victim’s data.

5. TeslaCrypt- TeslaCrypt is new on the scene. TeslaCrypt uses the AES algorithm to encrypt files. The malicious malware is typically spread via the Angler exploit kit, which specifically attacks Adobe vulnerabilities. Once exploited, TeslaCrypt installs itself in the Microsoft temp folder.

6. TorrentLocker- TorrentLocker is distributed through spam emails and is geographically targeted to specific regions. TorrentLocker is often referred to as CryptoLocker and uses the AES algorithm to encrypt files while also encoding files.TorrentLocker collects email addresses from the victim’s address book to spread the malware beyond the initially infected computer.

7. WannaCry- WannaCry is becoming an epidemic and has affected organizations all over the globe. The ransomware has hit over 125,000 organizations in 150 countries. The Wanna cry strain is also known as WCry or WanaCrypt0r and currently affects Windows machines through a Microsoft exploit known as EternalBlue.

8. ZCryptor- ZCryptor is a self-propagating malware strain that acts like a worm. The malware encrypts files while also infecting external drives and flash drives so it can be distributed to other computers.

9. Bad Rabbit- Bad Rabbit is a sort of ransomware that has infected organizations in Russia and Eastern Europe. Bad Rabbit is spread through a fake Adobe Flash update on compromised websites. When the ransomware infects a machine, the users are taken to a payment page demanding .05 bitcoin (around $285).

10. Le Chiffre- “Le Chiffre”, which in French means “encryption”. Unlike other ransomware, LeChiffre is run manually on the compromised system. Cybercriminals automatically scan networks in search of poorly secured remote desktops, logging into them remotely and manually running an instance of the virus.

11. Jigsaw- Jigsaw encrypts and progressively deletes files until a ransom is paid. The ransomware deletes a single file after the first hour, then deletes more per hour until the 72-hour mark, when all the files that are left are deleted.

12. CryptoLocker- The original CryptoLocker botnet was shut down mid-2014, but not before the hackers behind it extorted $3 million from victims. Since then, hackers have copied the CryptoLocker approach, although the variants in operation today are not linked to the original.

13. CTB-Locker- The criminals behind CTB-Locker used a different approach to spreading malware. Taking a page from the playbooks of Girl Scout Cookies these hackers outsource the infection process to partners in exchange for a cut of the profits. This is a proven strategy for achieving large volumes of malware infections at a faster rate.

14. KeRanger- KeRanger is a common ransomware scam that was discovered on a popular BitTorrent client. It’s known as the first fully functioning ransomware designed to lock Mac OS X applications.

15. Cerber- Cerber targets cloud-based Office 365 users and has impacted millions of users using an elaborate phishing campaign. This type of malware emphasizes the growing need for SaaS backup in addition to on-premises.

If you have any questions about these common ransomware scams or about cyber security in general, please contact us and read our blog on How Ransomware Attacks your Business or our FREE E-Book: The Small Business’ Guide to Ransomware

14Jun 2018

IT Services & Principles That Are Here To Stay

IT Services

IT Services that aren’t going anywhere.

The world of information technology services (IT Services) is constantly evolving due to new best practices, improved technology, and market efficiencies. However, there are certain tried and true methods and ideas that have always and will always be here to stay.

  • It’s not just about how good the technology is

Of course, you want to make sure that you have good high-quality equipment that runs for a long time and benefits your business. However, if the technology is not implemented correctly or doesn’t fit what your business goals are, the technology can become a hindrance and drain on financial resources. A good IT service provider will recommend the technology that makes sense for you and implements it correctly. Good technology is only as good as the people implementing it.

  • Good physical security and information security goes hand in hand

A good source of physical security is limiting the number of people that have access to your data center. Employees with badges should be the only ones to have access. This decreases the risks of data theft. A good security system and the use of strategically placed cameras can provide a deterrent to crime and misuse of company property. On top of that, good information security includes proper firewalls, passwords, and email security is in place to keep hackers at bay.

  • Know the possible threats

With PCs came a lot more possible threats from hackers. Trying to eliminate though, IT professionals are locking down desktops and putting firewalls up. Though locking down information is a great way to avoid the risks of data theft, it isn’t always practical. We should be looking to implement new ideas on how to avoid theft without having to lock everything down. This is where us IT professionals use innovation to create a safer space for data and secure your information.

  • Test software

IT uses regression testing to make sure the new equipment does not break the old equipment. Stress testing is making sure that everything is performing well when things are being worked on. The testing is done in three stages- development, test, and production.

  • Control changes the production environment

There is a process that needs to be gone through making sure that the changes don’t interrupt production. And if there is an interruption back up plans are a must have.

  • Relationships outlive transactions

Maintaining good relationships throughout your business is crucial. Without maintaining good relationships your business will NOT be successful. When a member of the IT service provider interacts with you and your team, you are building a relationship that includes trust and yIT providers want to ensure that you can rely on them to provide great and efficient work. With good relationships come business growth and respect.

  • Integrate

There are many interfaces in today’s age that it sometimes becomes hard to maintain. IT providers are coming up with new ways on how to integrate systems and maintain all these interfaces so they do not pile up on one another.

  • IT is here to support a business

IT leadership supports managers and users that are ready to buy technology, bring technology into their business and maintain the running technology. IT helps everyone in the business. They are what helps the business succeed.

Comportz is proud to provide these tried and true methods in their everyday approach to providing high-quality IT services to businesses of all sizes. Relationships and customer service are at the core of our values along with trust and respect. Keeping up with technology for your business is hard and that’s why Comportz exists- to help businesses grow through sound advice and affordable solutions.