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The best way to prevent an infection is to not rely on just one solution but to use multiple, layered solutions for the best possible protection.

1. Security Awareness Training
It’s easier to prevent malware infections if you know what to look for. If you understand the latest techniques cybercriminals are using, the easier it will be to avoid. Know your enemy! 

2. Internet Security Products
There are many commercial products that will help you avoid all malware infections, but understand that none of them are 100% effective. The cybercriminals are always looking for weaknesses in security products and promptly take advantage of them.

3. Antivirus Software
While antivirus is highly recommended, you should have multiple layers of protection in place. It is not wise to solely rely on antivirus software to keep your PC secure, as it cannot prevent infections from zero-day or newly emerging threats.

The list of antivirus products below was proven the most effective at preventing malware from AV-Test.org 

Avira Antivirus Pro 2015
Kaspersky Internet Security 2015
Bitdefender Internet Security 2015
Norton Security 2014 & 2015
Trend Micro Internet Security 2015

4. AntiMalware Software
Most anti-malware software like MalwareBytes is designed to run alongside Antivirus products, and it’s recommended you have both in place.

5. Whitelisting Software
Whitelisting offers the best protection against malware and virus attacks. Whitelisting software allows only known good software that you approve to run or execute on your system. All other applications are prevented from running or executing.

6. Backup Solutions
In the event of a catastrophic attack or complete system failure, it’s essential to have your data backed up. Many have been able to quickly and fully recover from an attack because their data was backed up and safe.

Ask us about our KnowBe4 resources.

The phone system is the lifeblood of any business. Unfortunately, an unfit system can be a hindrance, making average tasks like conference calling complicated. Getting in touch with team members, customers, and suppliers should be easy, so you should watch out for the following struggles that point to a complete phone system overhaul.

Adding and removing users is tough

Changes can come to your team at the drop of a hat, so are you ready to add or remove a user from your phone system? Assigning a new phone number should be easy, right? Not necessarily.

Traditional phone systems have limitations because of phone line and port capacity, and upgrading can cost you big time. You often have to wait weeks to get new Direct Dial-In (DDI) numbers for each new employee. Sounds like it’s time to compare these upgrade costs to the overall switch to a VoIP system.

You’re forced to use a third party for conference calls

Traditional phone systems limit the number of lines that can be active on a call at one time. If you dread setting up each conference call because the process is cumbersome or if you’re paying extra for your third-party facilitator then you should consider a new VoIP system. Call conferencing comes standard on the VoIP systems offered by ETC ComputerLand.

Trouble with too many locations

Your business should have the capability to grow. As you set up offices at multiple locations, are you setting up an individual phone system for each? There’s an easier way with VoIP. This cost-effective solution will improve communication between team members across multiple locations thus increasing productivity while allowing you to better serve your customers.

Increasing call volume

A growing business is bound to see a year-over-year increase in calls or even seasonal spikes in activity. If so, you might discover that you don’t have enough incoming or outgoing phone lines. Customers might be getting a busy signal when calling in for customer service or sales and you can’t have that. Lost productivity leads to lost revenues.

This problem can force you to add ports to your existing system, but why not consider a VoIP system that makes adding call capacity easier without depending on hardware ports.

Lack of features

Older phone systems don’t offer features that come with VoIP systems. Personal call routing, mobility, enhanced call routing, voicemail to email, auto attendant, directory assistance, conferencing, call recording, call tracking, and more make the VoIP upgrade worth your investment.

How would you like to save up to 70 percent of your current monthly phone bill? Businesses of all sizes are making the switch to VoIP to save money and invest in improved reliability, mobility, and scalability. Call 217-228-6180 for a no-obligation consultation and we’ll show you where you can save money right away!

This month’s security tip is timely information on the Equifax breach from our security training partner KnowBe4.

Cyber criminals have stolen 143 million credit records in the recent hacking scandal at big-three credit bureau Equifax. At this point you have to assume that the bad guys have highly personal information that they can use to trick you. You need to watch out for the following things: 

•   Phishing emails that claim to be from Equifax where you can check if your data was compromised

•   Phishing emails that claim there is a problem with a credit card, your credit record, or other personal financial information

•   Calls from scammers that claim they are from your bank or credit union

•   Fraudulent charges on any credit card because your identity was stolen

Here are 5 things you can do to prevent identity theft: 

•   First sign up for credit monitoring (there are many companies providing that service including Equifax but we cannot recommend that)

•   Next freeze your credit files at the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Remember that generally it is not possible to sign up for credit monitoring services after a freeze is in place. Advice for how to file a freeze is available here on a state-by-state basis: http://consumersunion.org/research/security-freeze/

•   Check your credit reports via the free annualcreditreport.com

•   Check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized activity

•   If you believe you may have been the victim of identity theft, here is a site where you can learn more about how to protect yourself: www.idtheftcenter.org. You can also call the center’s toll-free number (888-400-5530) for advice on how to resolve identify-theft issues. All of the center’s services are free.

And as always, Think Before You Click!

Every so often, a customer asks us something like “I brought my computer in because it had a malware infection. Your charge to fix my machine is $200, but I only paid $400 for it. Your repair is half of what I would pay for a new machine, why is that?”

Malware does not distinguish between high-end and budget computers. It infects all of them in the same way. And, removing the malware involves the same repair activities whether it is a high-end machine or a budget machine. And by the way, this applies similarly to installing new software or connecting your machine to a network or many other activities. The cost of the machine simply has nothing to do with the work you ask our technicians to perform.

When you leave a machine with us, we understand our job is to get your machine running again. Our skilled technicians do everything they can to perform their job in an efficient manner; one that exceeds your expectations. This often requires a significant amount of technician time, which means expense to you. We understand this.

If you have a budget machine and are concerned about the cost of repair, please tell us in advance. Our technicians will communicate with you as they complete your repair, too, so you can decide whether to fix a budget machine or make an informed decision about purchasing a new one.

We understand that navigating security is important these days, so we’ve gathered a few tips to help you protect yourself while using Windows 10.

It’s important to use encrypted connections or VPN whenever possible. Windows 10 does offer a little help when dealing with Internet Service Providers. In your Wi-Fi settings, turn on the “Use random hardware addresses” feature to make it harder for people to track your location when you connect to different Wi-Fi networks.

Go to Settings > Privacy > Location to turn off the master location switch at the top of the page. Here you can turn location service off for your user account, set a city, zip, or region for apps to deliver relevant content, specify a default location for Windows to use when a more precise location isn’t available, and erase your saved history.

Cortana uploads some of your information from your calendar, contacts, browser history, and more to make your experience more personal. Click here to find out how to turn off Cortana completely.

You can save your files to the cloud using OneDrive when using your Microsoft account, but OneDrive is an opt-in service. Don’t sign in and it won’t do anything. If you accidentally sign in, click here to shut down OneDrive completely.

Call 217-228-6180 if you need us to help you with a more specific Windows 10 question!

You might call it a memory stick, flash drive, thumbdrive, jumpdrive or a number of other names. Chances are you’ve got at least one lying around, but what would you do if you found one on the ground that didn’t belong to you?

Two hundred and ninety-seven flash drives were dropped in plain sight on the U of I campus in Champaign, Urbana last year. Forty-five percent of participants opened one or more files on the picked up flash drives and ultimately ninety-eight percent, or 290 of the drives, were removed from their drop locations by the end of the observation period. (Read the paper.)

That open rate is way too high. Our point is that you don’t know where that flash drive has been, so you should probably throw it away. If it has contact information physically on the outside of the drive, you could try to find the owner, but ultimately you shouldn’t just plug it in and see what’s on it.

Even if a flash drive isn’t hiding malware that could compromise your computer, at the very least, sharing drives could have exposed it to such atrocities. Unfortunately, the overall majority of USB vendors don’t build any kind of security into the devices, so you have to look out for yourself.

Call 217-228-6180 if you have a mystery flash drive we can help you with.