fbpx

Cyber Hygiene is Important for your Business's Overall Security

Oh hello there! I am currently taking care of some personal hygiene! That’s better, Hello this is Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support with another Video Blog! This week we will be talking about Cyber Hygiene!

Let’s Get Started!

Everyone understands what it means to use personal hygiene and why we do it. Let’s take a quick peak at Typhoid Mary

In the early 1900’s Mary Mallon worked as a cook for many wealthy NYC families. In 1906 she took a position with an Oyster Bay family and within 2 weeks 10 family members were hospitalized with Typhoid. She changed jobs and in three more households similar occurrences.

In late 1906 one of the families hired a Typhoid researcher named George Soper to investigate. What he discovered Mary Mallon was present at each and every outbreak from NYC all the way to Oyster Bay. She went on to infect several more people before she was captured and confined to quartantine for the rest of her lift.

It was discovered by washing hands with soap before touching and preparing food. Washing dishes with soap and water. Frequently bathing with soap and water and clean clothes were all ways to reduce the risk of typhoid. They developed personal hygiene habits that not only protected you from typhoid but lowered your risk of then spreading a virus that caused death to others.

How does that relate to Cyber Hygiene? Cyber Hygiene is a good practice to keeping your computer systems clean which will reduce the risk of you being hacked, getting Viruses and spreading viruses to others. So what is considered Good Cyber Hygiene?

  • Patched Systems, a system that has all their security updates, software holes patched, drivers up to date. Make it much harder for hackers to find a way into your system

  • Computer Monitoring and event monitoring – a consistent watching of logs and behaviors of your computer can help you predict when something is not normal

  • Next Gen Business Class Antivirus. Antivirus is good but it’s your fathers antivirus and most are signature based antivirus which is an old and ineffective way of staying secure. Next Gen Antivirus uses machine learning to predict when something is a virus

  • Next Gen Business Class firewalls. All firewalls are not made equally, there are consumer grade firewalls that are not built to handle sensitive business traffic. Next Gen firewalls like the antivirus uses machine learning and go hand in hand with the antivirus to predict unwanted traffic and thus turning it away

This is just a start to good cyber hygiene, if you are not an IT professional you can’t possibly dedicate the time necessary to making sure you have good cyber hygiene. This is not a once and done practice, it needs to be done constantly. You need to have a professional that understands and practices Good Cyber Hygiene.

I hear all the time; we have “throw away computers” everything we do is in the cloud so the computers don’t really do anything. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is your computer is the weakest link. If your computer is not up to date with everything hackers can compromise your system get in and then have an open door to your cloud based system.

Furthermore if you have customer data or worst if you connect directly with customers system you are in fact opening them up to risk.

I just recently heard the story of the Target store crash. They determined the root cause of the problem was their HVAC vendor had a compromised system and when he connected to their network he infected them. He basically became Typhoid Mary!

 

Cyber Threats need to be taken seriously especially in the day of “Throw away computers” and cloud based systems. You need a Cyber Security Partner that not only understands but practices good Cyber Hygiene.

Underdog Computer and Network Support is such a partner and as the areas only Managed CIO we specialize in CyberSecurity.

Don’t be Typhoid Mary, call Underdog Today and Never Fear, We Fix I.T. Here!

The Future of Big Data and the Legal Industry

Is your Law Firm ready for the future?

There’s no doubt that Big Data, Data Mining, and Machine Learning have changed every industry on the planet. Recent political campaigns were won by experts who knew how to use all data available regarding key factors. Many were surprised to learn how certain types of information could guide a political campaign down the pathway to a big win.

Data analytics now used in many industries

Data analytics has been used in the field of sports for many years. This is perhaps one of the first industries to fully embrace this concept. All professional sports organizations use volumes of data to understand past performances of rival teams. They analyze every bit of the information available to discover a competing team’s weaknesses. Then they use that information to build an arsenal of both offensive and defensive strategies.

It’s natural that the legal profession would want to gain the upper hand in this same manner. And, that is exactly what’s taken place in the last few years. Now we have teams who are experts in both technology and the law. Using the most sophisticated tools available, they decipher every morsel of legal information, including trial outcomes, court decisions, witness testimony, precedents and much more. This gives their side the competitive advantage.

However, the issues that the legal system faces differ a great deal from those of other industries. A sports team analyzes things like various plays and the results of those actions. In the legal field, every trial generates huge amounts of data. From the trial transcripts to the expert witnesses, the sheer volume of data sets the legal field apart from most other industries.

How legal data differs

Last year, in the US alone, there were over 350,000 cases brought to court. And legal data is highly complex. It contains legal nuances that are hard to explain to most people, much less a computer program. Trial outcomes typically occur as a result of hard evidence, but sometimes they are a result of emotional juries. Since juries are made up of human beings, it’s very hard to predict with accuracy what they will do in any given situation. That’s the goal of trial science.

In the past, America has held very public trials for popular athletes accused of crimes like assault or even murder. All the evidence might point to the suspect being guilty. And yet, the jury had a previous emotional connection with the athlete because they enjoyed watching him play sports. Even with overwhelming evidence of guilt, the jury ruled that he was innocent.

How do you explain that type of irrational thinking to a computer? How will artificial intelligence deal with anomalies like this? These are just a few of the questions facing today’s data-driven attorneys. Though big data offers a world of opportunities, it also represents a substantial challenge even to the best legal researchers.

How to produce the richest data

Today’s legal technology experts are continuously adding new information to their databases. Every trial and verdict is a new piece of information that the AI will use to build its intelligence platform. In fact, millions of pieces of data are added daily to the repository. These massive blocks of data require high-speed processors. Much of this is accomplished using data-parsing technology.

This process cleans raw data, refines and enhances it, and structures the data so it offers maximum insight to users. For instance, one program allows searchers to look at the decisions specific judges made in the past. This helps them build a profile of that judge’s legal philosophies. With great accuracy, these programs can predict how a judge will rule in a certain type of court case. Imagine being able to know with some degree of certainty, how a judge might rule on a specific case before the trial even begins.

Endless possibilities

The possibilities this technology provides are endless and offer a wealth of valuable information to attorneys. As the future unfolds for the legal field, experts believe that advanced technology will be used in every part of the law.

Of course, today it’s being used primarily by legal teams that want to win cases. There are often substantial financial reasons for wanting to win a big case. Today’s attorneys understand that clients are looking for the best team of lawyers. They want to work with the brightest people–winners. But, there’s more than just money on the line; a law firm is building its reputation as well. They want to build their brand to the place where their name is a byword in the legal world.

Refining the legal world

These are natural reasons for wanting to win at anything. However, many experts believe the future of legal technology holds much more than this. They believe the legal field can evolve into a much more fair, accurate and profitable industry. As a society, we can begin to get things right when it comes to verdicts in big cases. We can move past the place where known murderers are freed over a technicality. This is not a pipe dream for many in the legal field, it’s a destiny that must be achieved for our legal system to continue moving forward.

Perfecting a complex legal system

From making new laws to enforcing old ones, data mining and machine learning have the potential to show us where our society’s legal system has failed in the past. We can clearly see what has worked and what hasn’t. We can use this knowledge to move forward in a better direction. Unfair laws could be changed, and unfair verdicts could be a thing of the past.

That’s the hope of every reputable attorney. Today, we may use data mining and AI to gain a better advantage in a trial. Tomorrow, we may use them to mold our legal system into a fine-tuned instrument that delivers correct verdicts every time, and at a third of the cost

Call Underdog Computer and Network Support LLC. Today for a No Strings Attached Business Technology Assessment. 570-634-5350










Not Feeling the Love from my Current IT ProviderBeing Billed Too Much for what they are providingJust an Honest Second OpinionWe Want you to take over our Service



Please prove you are human by selecting the Car.




Want to Know More?

Free E-Book Download Lawyers Guide to Preventing Technology Headaches

Email Wrapped in Bacon(Security)

Yes you are seeing this correctly it is Office 365 wrapped with Bacon. Why? Bacon makes everything better and here at Underdog, all our services are wrapped around security so what better way to illustrate this.

OK, Everyone knows you can buy Office 365 for roughly the same price where ever you go – the price is set by Microsoft. In fact you can purchase directly from Microsoft.

Then why don’t you do that? Well some places do those that do not want to deal with an I.T. company. But if you have ever tried to compare Microsoft plans you nearly go blind looking at all the fine print. So how do you know if you got the right plan for your business? Well if I want email I pick office 365 essentials, if I want desktop apps I can pick Office 365 Premium. If I want Email Security maybe I pick e3 or e1 or on and on and on and you get the Idea.

When starting Underdog Computer and Network Support my main goal was that every service we provide will be wrapped in security. Why? I don’t want my customers to choose a plan because it was cheaper and the reason it was cheaper was because it didn’t include any security options. The internet is a scary enough place already and everything we do these days involve the internet in some way. I want my clients protected! After 25+ years of doing this I hate the 12 am or 5 am panic calls.

We put together a pricing structure that is built around Office 365 Email. Even if you have Office 365 already or you have professional email addresses the @yourdomain.com) that is fine you can still take advantage of these packages. We can convert them over to our system. However if you are still doing business as @ptd.net @gmail.com @yahoo.com @comcast.net or any other public email provider. You should seriously consider changing. 

You can purchase these bundles in increments of 1 pack or 5 pack. So how does it work? If you have 15 employees you would purchase (3) 5 packs. This gives you 15 email addresses. If you have 16 employees you could purchase (4) 5 packs or (3) 5 packs and (1) 1 pack. We would advise you what is best for your business.

So what is included with your Business Bundle:

Professional Email addresses @yourdomain.com

1 Email Address for every user with unlimited aliases and groups

1 subscription to Microsoft Office which includes Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, One Note and Access for every user

Ok so far that is not any different than anyone else offers. Here is where it gets interesting

We add email SPAM filtering both inbound and outbound

For added security 2 form authentication

Email Encryption (Email Encryption is when you want to send sensitive information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers etc. You encrypt with a special lock that only the intended recipient will have the key)

If that wasn’t enough we added Office Protect which includes security policies for email, monitoring and alerts of suspicious mailbox activity like logons or questionable messages being sent or received. If your email is being forwarded which is a sign of someone hijacking your email account.

Email Archiving, Web access so you can access your account from anywhere and also Mobile email so you can send and receive email from your phone with all the protections you get from a desktop. Remember I said all our services include security. This is no exception on top of the email security we have built in we are adding in desktop security. We have included Patch Management which applies critical and security updates to your computer 1 per user . We have included PC Antimalware/Antivirus and PC Remote Monitoring and Remote Remediation 1 per user. And to round it all off we have provided up to 1 GB shared space online and 1 GB of pooled backup space.

Ok so if you were to price this all out separately

Office 365 with Desktop Apps is $18.95

Office Protections which includes the monitoring and threat protection of the mailbox is $15.00

Total Protection Gold which includes Antimalware/Antivirus, Website Protections, Unlimited Remote Support is $50.00.

These items alone would come to $83.95 – for a single bundle its $65 23% savings and if you purchase the 5 pack bundle it is $50/user which is a 41% savings.

Call Today 570-634-5350 to get started!

 

Underdog Computer and Network Support – Never Fear, We Fix I.T. Here.
















Please prove you are human by selecting the Plane.




We all like to save money in our homes. An entire industry revolves around the “Do It Yourselfer” the weekend warrior. Some of us are good at working on cars, we fix our own and as a favor for a pal and maybe a little cash we do it on the side. Lots of people have Side Gigs because they are better at certain things that aren’t their main vocation. Of course there are people who fix computers on the side. 

As Humans we must know when we are over our heads, when a particular project might need the touch of an expert. When it comes to businesses that rely heavy on computers you need to think twice when letting your cousins son work on your computer because “He built a gaming computer” or The guy who works for UPS during the day but moonlights working on computers because he knows a few things. 

I know on the surface computers appear to have gotten easier to work with. Everything has moved to the cloud, networks and networking has gotten a lot less complicated. The couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is things have gotten more complicated and dangerous. There are more hackers, viruses, and cyber crimes then ever before. Every day you hear about a companies data breach. At the time of this writing Wells Fargo one of the biggest banks had a major outages. 

If you are saying well those are big businesses what does that have to do with my small business. Consider this Example. Small Fictitious company Jones and Sons a construction company with about 15 employees. Jones and Sons has a file server, uses cloud based emails and has 15 computers networked together and some networked printers. Jones Sr used to use a dedicated IT company for all their computer needs but since retiring and leaving the business to Jones Jr. they do a lot more themselves. Jones Jr grew up with computers so he knows a lot about them. He maintains the computer network. 

But now he is running the company and he doesn’t have a lot of time to put into the computers. But they seem to be running ok so he isn’t concerned. 

One day they get hit with a Crypto Virus which encrypts all their data! How did it happen, well their commercial grade firewall went bad so Jones Jr went to Staples and bought a residential firewall. All the commercial grade antivirus expired so he installed one of those free antivirus solutions(The ones that say it is illegal to install in businesses). 

Most of the computers are still windows xp “Because it doesn’t matter, all their stuff is in the cloud so these are just dumb machines” and the more modern computers are running the home version of the operating system and have never been patched. 

Ok what about backups? Someone has been swapping out the tapes everyday surely we can restore from those. NOPE, they havent been working in 3 years. All the financial data, documents are all gone.

For Jones and Sons the cost of downtime is going to be HUGE! Of course this is an exaggeration but it is not uncommon. 

Similarly there are business that still engage with I.T. companies on a Time and Material Basis(Break/Fix). They only call when somethings broken to get it fixed. While these companies are a bit smarter because they at least recognize they need a professional(sometimes) – they still waste time and money. Because they anticipate having a unexpected cost they try to do whatever they can to avoid it. They may have an “Internal I.T. person because they know more then everyone else” . Because they don’t have an ongoing relationship with an I.T. company it may take a while to get someone to respond meaning if the problem is effecting your entire business you are out of business until someone responds. 

Managed I.T. Services is more than paying a monthly fee. It is about letting you get back to the business of your business. Letting us handle your Technology. Your are an expert in what you do, we are an expert in Technology. 

  • Because you pay a monthly fee there are no unexpected costs.
  •  Because you have ongoing relationship downtime is actually reduced 
  • Because we have an active ongoing role in your business we can advise you on how to steer your technology
  • Reduce Downtime, Reduce Wasted Employees Time – Save Money!

Contact us Today for a Free No Strings Business Technology Assessment Valued at $950.00










Not Feeling the Love from my Current IT ProviderBeing Billed Too Much for what they are providingJust an Honest Second OpinionWe Want you to take over our Service



Please prove you are human by selecting the Truck.




Understand the Difference Between
Firewalls and Modems

Hello Everyone! Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support. Back with another Video Blog!

We will be discussing Firewalls, Routers and Modems, Let’s get started!

Ok so these days there is a big blur between Routers, Modems and Firewalls. Understandably so, Many ISP(Internet Service Providers) provide a modem with both router and firewall capabilities to make things easier for the end user. However, easier doesn’t mean safer. Let me explain.

In the early days of the Internet, the Modem was the interface or the handoff from your internet provider. It carried the signal from the provider and that was it. What you did with it from there was your responsibility.

The next device after the modem was the Router. Its job was to take the signal from the ISP in this case the modem and “ROUTE” the traffic to the local network translating to whatever language the local network could speak. Sometimes it would “Route” to multiple networks. It would then use rules setup to determine where and how the traffic is sent and received.

Ok so think of it this way, the road you live on is the internet. The driveway is your router. Your house then becomes the local network. Back in those days, your house would not have any doors or windows in other words no privacy. Therefore, everyone was able to see you and as a result, nothing was secure.

Firewall were created to provide a level of security similar to how industrial building firewalls prevent the spread of fire or damage to a building. A firewall added not only windows and doors but also curtains to your proverbial home. The role of the firewall has evolved but for the purpose of this video let just say firewalls at the basic level provide a masquerade of your network or NAT (network Address Translation). In using my original analogy. From the outside, all someone knows is your home address but it does not know which person inside the house is actually communicating. In addition, there are access rules for traffic inside going out and outside coming in. Most firewalls have restrictive ruleset coming in then they do going out.

Today the modern modem you get for your home or small business combines the modem, router and the most basic firewall component NAT. When ISP first started doing this, businesses were advised by their IT provider to purchase firewalls because it was understood they needed more than just masquerading how data was sent. Over the last few years I have seen a shift in this trend and many small business usually ones without a dedicated IT team will use what the ISP provided modem. It worries me because they are under a false sense of being secure.

For one I would never consider ISP modem a business class device. This device used for both residential users and commercial accounts and provides a simplicity level of setup that the nonprofessional can use. Because of this, many controls are hidden or not available to the end user. Many security risks like UPNP and WPS among them are open by default. The ability to remote operate your modem is open and EVERYONE KNOWS many times the default username and password for your modem!  In short, it is easy to compromise it.

Business Grade Firewalls have levels of controls you can granularly control what comes in and goes out of your network added services such as intrusion detection and prevention, application control and even antivirus are growing as key service of these devices.

Yes, it is true most modern computers come with software firewalls, the problem I have with them is simple. The software firewall is dependent on your computer operating in an uncompromised state. Meaning it has all the proper patches. You are free of malware and your system is running normally. We have all seen where a patch screws up a computer. Good time to compromise your firewall. You download a malware, good time to compromise your firewall.

With a hardware firewall, this is a bit harder to accomplish. Underdog Computer and Network Support provides quality services, patch management and business class firewalls to all our clients. Give me a call today 570-634-5350. Don’t forget to ask about our Network Assessment valued at $950.00 but is yours free. Remember Never Fear, We Fix I.T. Here!

I would like a Free Assessment of my Network, Here are my Details!










Not Feeling the Love from my Current IT ProviderBeing Billed Too Much for what they are providingJust an Honest Second OpinionWe Want you to take over our Service



Please prove you are human by selecting the Key.




Bots turning your Computer into a Zombie

Hello Everyone! Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support! Back with another video blog. This week I will be teaching you about BOTS! Turning your computer into a Zombie! This is part 3 of my 3 part educational series on keeping safe on the internet.

Let’s get started!

BOTS! You may have heard of Bots before or this may be your first time but Bots are just as dangerous as malware and phishing if not more than because, it makes you unwillingly involved in criminal acts!

So what is a BOT? A bot is a piece of software that performs automated tasks by running scripts over the internet. It performs these simple and repetitive tasks much more quickly than a human sort of like a roBOT. I am sure this is where the term comes from. Most bots are harmless and crucial for making the internet useful like chat bots, auction bots, web crawlers or spiders. Like anything else, Bots can be “weaponized” or turned malignant and destructive when deployed by cyber criminals.

I am a history buff and I use history to see how something evolved.  You know the old saying if you don’t know your history you are doomed to repeat it. I love to look back and see how certain technology came to be and how it evolved in this case into something bad.

Some say Bots began all the way back with Greek Mythology. But we are not going that far back. Lets go to 1950’s.

In 1950, computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing developed the Turing Test, also known as the imitation game It’s most primitive format required three players — A, B, and C.

Player A was a machine and player B was a human. Player C, also a human was the interrogator, by asking a series of questions would try to determine who the human was. However, there was a problem. At the time, databases were highly limited, and could therefore only store a certain amount of human phrases. That meant that the computer would eventually run out of answers to give Player C, eliminating the challenge and prematurely ending the test.

One of the most significant AI developments of the 1960s was the development of ELIZA — a bot, named in part for the Pygmalion character, whose purpose was to simulate a psychotherapist. Created in 1966 by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum, the technology was limited, to say the least, as was ELIZA’s vocabulary. AI continued advancing in the 80’s and 90’s but most of it for scientific and government focused.

In the 90’s the shift began towards the consumer market, if you remember some of the games from the 90’s Simon Says, I took a lickin from a chicken and others. Then in the late 90’s around 1996, Tamagotchi a computerized handheld pet hit the market, which required digital care to keep it alive.

As the internet became popular so did the use of bots. As I mentioned earlier you had internet bots called crawlers or spiders that went and “crawled” through a website and harvested all the links to categorize in a search directory(remember those).

So that doesn’t sound so bad, when did it go wrong? Remember I said earlier – Most bots are harmless and crucial for making the internet useful like chat bots, auction bots, web crawlers or spiders. Like anything else, Bots can be “weaponized” or turned malignant and destructive when deployed by cyber criminals. Something called the BOTNET was developed. What the heck is that? Botnets are nothing more than an army of infected computers, which grow by infecting other computers. How that happens is the reason this is part of my 3 part series. It happens through Trojan horses, infected emails, viruses, etc.. who controls them, how do they get their instructions?

So how does it work? First it starts with an infection generally called a Trojan horse. It is called a Trojan horse because it was let in by YOU! That’s right I said you. A free download from a website, Freeware installation of some software. Your reboot your computer and boom you are infected! Your antivirus usually does not pick it up because it is made to install before the av has a chance to start and is not smart enough to know it is a malicious program. Once on your computer it begins reporting to a C2C or a command to control center for instructions. That is it your computer is a zombie now reporting to a Botmaster for instructions and mindlessly infecting other computers. Most of the times you will not know it is happening it doesn’t take a super amount of resources to get done. Most of the times it is only when alerted by your ISP that a Honeypot has flagged your network.

A C2C is one way that a botnet is created a second way and most recent way is a peer to peer. So rather than each zombie communicating back to the botmaster, each computer becomes both the master and the slave, Woooo! Think Skynet! As you can imagine the Peer to Peer method is much harder to kill.

 

How to prevent! Prevention becomes 2 parts education 1 part technology and a good Technology Partner!

Underdog Computer and Network Support will educate you and your staff on good surfing habits and the warning signs. Using proven technology securing your network and making sure your computers are up to date with the latest patches. Our professionals have been doing this for 26 years. Give us a call today 570-634-5350 for a free review of your network. And….. Never Fear, We Fix I.T.

 

 

Hello Everyone! Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support! Back with another video blog. This week I will be teaching you about BOTS! Turning your computer into a Zombie! This is part 3 of my 3 part educational series on keeping safe on the internet.

Let’s get started!

BOTS! You may have heard of Bots before or this may be your first time but Bots are just as dangerous as malware and phishing if not more than because, it makes you unwillingly involved in criminal acts!

So what is a BOT? A bot is a piece of software that performs automated tasks by running scripts over the internet. It performs these simple and repetitive tasks much more quickly than a human sort of like a roBOT. I am sure this is where the term comes from. Most bots are harmless and crucial for making the internet useful like chat bots, auction bots, web crawlers or spiders. Like anything else, Bots can be “weaponized” or turned malignant and destructive when deployed by cyber criminals.

I am a history buff and I use history to see how something evolved.  You know the old saying if you don’t know your history you are doomed to repeat it. I love to look back and see how certain technology came to be and how it evolved in this case into something bad.

Some say Bots began all the way back with Greek Mythology. But we are not going that far back. Lets go to 1950’s.

In 1950, computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing developed the Turing Test, also known as the imitation game It’s most primitive format required three players — A, B, and C.

Player A was a machine and player B was a human. Player C, also a human was the interrogator, by asking a series of questions would try to determine who the human was. However, there was a problem. At the time, databases were highly limited, and could therefore only store a certain amount of human phrases. That meant that the computer would eventually run out of answers to give Player C, eliminating the challenge and prematurely ending the test.

One of the most significant AI developments of the 1960s was the development of ELIZA — a bot, named in part for the Pygmalion character, whose purpose was to simulate a psychotherapist. Created in 1966 by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum, the technology was limited, to say the least, as was ELIZA’s vocabulary. AI continued advancing in the 80’s and 90’s but most of it for scientific and government focused.

In the 90’s the shift began towards the consumer market, if you remember some of the games from the 90’s Simon Says, I took a lickin from a chicken and others. Then in the late 90’s around 1996, Tamagotchi a computerized handheld pet hit the market, which required digital care to keep it alive.

As the internet became popular so did the use of bots. As I mentioned earlier you had internet bots called crawlers or spiders that went and “crawled” through a website and harvested all the links to categorize in a search directory(remember those).

So that doesn’t sound so bad, when did it go wrong? Remember I said earlier – Most bots are harmless and crucial for making the internet useful like chat bots, auction bots, web crawlers or spiders. Like anything else, Bots can be “weaponized” or turned malignant and destructive when deployed by cyber criminals. Something called the BOTNET was developed. What the heck is that? Botnets are nothing more than an army of infected computers, which grow by infecting other computers. How that happens is the reason this is part of my 3 part series. It happens through Trojan horses, infected emails, viruses, etc.. who controls them, how do they get their instructions?

So how does it work? First it starts with an infection generally called a Trojan horse. It is called a Trojan horse because it was let in by YOU! That’s right I said you. A free download from a website, Freeware installation of some software. Your reboot your computer and boom you are infected! Your antivirus usually does not pick it up because it is made to install before the av has a chance to start and is not smart enough to know it is a malicious program. Once on your computer it begins reporting to a C2C or a command to control center for instructions. That is it your computer is a zombie now reporting to a Botmaster for instructions and mindlessly infecting other computers. Most of the times you will not know it is happening it doesn’t take a super amount of resources to get done. Most of the times it is only when alerted by your ISP that a Honeypot has flagged your network.

A C2C is one way that a botnet is created a second way and most recent way is a peer to peer. So rather than each zombie communicating back to the botmaster, each computer becomes both the master and the slave, Woooo! Think Skynet! As you can imagine the Peer to Peer method is much harder to kill.

 

How to prevent! Prevention becomes 2 parts education 1 part technology and a good Technology Partner!

Underdog Computer and Network Support will educate you and your staff on good surfing habits and the warning signs. Using proven technology securing your network and making sure your computers are up to date with the latest patches. Our professionals have been doing this for 26 years. Give us a call today 570-634-5350 for a free review of your network. And….. Never Fear, We Fix I.T.

 

 

 

Viruses or Malware, What is the Difference?

There has been a Computer Virus Outbreak! Hello I’m Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support here to talk to you about Viruses or Malware, what is the Difference?

 Let’s get started. Malware, Spyware, Viruses, hijackers, junkware, Trojans and Worms What are the difference between these classifications? Well believe it or not malware and viruses are not different things but instead viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, hijackers and spyware are all different types of Malware. Malware is a broad term of software that is used cause malicious harm to a computer. Viruses is a type of malicious software that is meant to replicate and spread like an actual human virus. Because viruses are more popular especially early on in the computer age. Companies concentrated and coming up with “Antivirus” software it wasn’t until recently that other types of malware has shown up and viruses are now a minority.

So let start with a little history, when was the first computer virus? Computer viruses date back all the way to 1949 when John von Neumann, who is known to be the “Father of Cybernetics”, wrote an article on the “Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata” that was published in 1966.

Later in 1971 Bob Thomas developed an experimental self-replicating program. It accessed through ARPANET (The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) and copied to a remote host system with TENEX operating system. A message displayed that “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!”. Later the first antivirus called the “REAPER” was created to seek out and delete the creeper.

In 1974 Wabbit was an infectious program developed to make multiple copies of itself on a computer clogging the system reducing the performance of the computer. In 1981, A program called the “Elk Cloner” was developed by Richard Skrenta for the Apple II Systems. This was created to infect Apple DOS 3.3. These programs started to spread through files and folders that are transferred to other computers by floppy disk.

In 1983 Virus was first coined by Frederick Cohen for the computer programs that are infectious as it has the tendency to replicate. But it really wasn’t until mid to late 80’s the first antivirus program was made.

So now that we know Viruses are just a type of Malware. The question becomes what should you use antivirus or antimalware? Do they really work? Who do I trust?

Like the Reaper from 1971 it specifically was designed to detect the creeper and eliminate it. IF there was a different type of malware back then it wouldn’t have been able to find and remove it only the one it was targeted to eliminate. That is similar to how vaccines are made that fight human viruses. So antivirus programs contain many signatures or vaccines of known viruses. The traditional antivirus programs used signature based detection. It is hard to remember the world before the internet but early on the big names of the time all subscribed to a bbs mailing list where they tracked and detected new malware. They essentially would reverse engineer the virus and come up with a way to stop them.

Many “ANTI” programs detect all kinds of malware. They now deploy different scanning techniques in addition to signature based. There is heuristic which detects variants of malware, behavioral base detection which looks at the behavior of a program and it if acts like a virus it will isolate the program.

There are a lot of antivirus/antimalware and they are not all the same, some do a better job than others. None claim to be 100%. Over the years I have seen my fair share of antivirus applications and when I was starting Underdog I wanted to make sure the antimalware application we deploy can be trusted and is reliable. After careful consideration, we decided to offer Webroot Secure Anywhere Cloud Antivirus. Webroot uses Machine learning to detect malware. Machine learning is the next level of detection and Webroot has been doing it longer than most. If you remember me saying signature based detection requires a human to get a malware, dissect it and then come up with an “antibody”. Machine learning removes the human from the equation thus making it faster and more precise to create “antibodies”.  To keep your computer safe and your company safe you need to have a antimalware program that deploys machine learning like our Cloud Based Solution using Webroot. Cybersecurity is more important today and will be in the next decade. Call me today 570-634-5350. Stay tune for Part 3 BOTS turning your computer into a Zombie! Underdog Computer and Network Support. Never Fear, We Fix I.T. here!

Learn What Phishing is and
How to avoid being Scammed

Part 1 of a 3 part Series on How to keep your Computer Safe

Hello Everyone! Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support! Back with another video blog. This week I will be teaching you about PHISHING! This is part 1 of my 3 part educational series on keeping safe on the internet.

Let’s get started!

Oh you thought I meant actual fishing, well close! Lets start with what is Phishing, as the homonym implies it is a way for a hacker to “Fish” for information using social engineering and human behavior to get information about you that allows the hacker to gain access to something. Most of the Times it is bank account information, passwords, credit card information, etc..

So how does it work, how do they fool you so easily? Don’t feel bad about phishing, 76% of organizations say they were effected by some kind of phishing scam in 2017 and that number is rising. That is why it is important for you to be aware of how to recognize phishing and how to avoid it.

A Phishing attach can occur in different formats, the earliest of the phishing scams were those emails coming from the famous Nigerian Prince. There were several of them but the concept was always the same, it included a large sum of money he had but for some reason needed your help to transfer funds into your bank account, so all he needed was your banking information. Straightforward right?

That wasn’t too sophisticated but it was early on in the age of the internet so it was easier to fool people. People became wise, so hackers changed up their play. Now Phishing comes in all different types of emails. There is my favorite you get an email from your boss or supervisor they need you to run to the store for them and pick up hundreds of dollars of Itunes gift cards for some reason and then when you get back email the card numbers. But don’t bother confirming this in person with me because I am in a meeting. For this type of phishing scam. Its vague enough because it probably has your boss or supervisors email address or name, and it lends to credibility because they probably are in a meeting. Once you email those gift card numbers that’s it your money is gone.

Then there are the straight up emails from trusted sources like Amazon, Apple, UPS, Microsoft, Google, Fed Ex and my favorite IRS.

They will use the very accessible and famous logos of the company they are trying to impersonate, make it sound as official as possible with just enough social engineering to convince you. Either there is an attached document or in most cases a link that takes you to a website in an attempt to further harm your computer. Some will ask you for credit card or banking information.

Ok, so what do you do? Well it takes some careful habits and common sense. Don’t just respond to the email or click links or open attachments and good god don’t go out and buy those gift cards! Then think about it did you send out a package recently that fedex or ups is contacting you? Do you have a Microsoft or Google account? The IRS and I repeat the IRS will never email you. Second look closely at the email, something will be off about it. Look at the return email address is it the same domain as where it is coming from. For instance is it from Microsoft.com or IRS.gov or ups.com, chances are it is some random generated email account name. Hover your mouse over the name it will reveal the full email address. You can also click reply, which usually will reveal the name. If there is a hyperlink it wants you to click on, again hover your mouse over it and you will see where it wants you to go. Does it make sense is it the companies domain or again some random domain address. Last but not least if you get an email with some kind of attachment be it from someone you know or a trusted company. Ask yourself if you are expecting it. If you are not sure and that person is reachable by phone. Call them or sometimes I will send a fresh email to that person asking them if they meant to send the questionable email.

When in doubt, ask your I.T. professional. Here at Underdog we have trained our customers on these techniques and when in doubt they will reach out to me when they have a questionable email and I will instruct them on what is best to do and sometimes I will reach out to the source myself to follow up. At Underdog Computer and Network Support we believe an educated customer is our strongest ally in combating viruses and malware and keeping everyone safe. If your I.T. provider isn’t doing this for you give us a call.

Underdog Computer and Network Support! Never Fear, We Fix I.T. here! And come back next week for part 2 Viruses and Malware

Managed I.T. Services, what is it good for? Is it a scam?

Hello everyone – Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support, here again with another Video Blog.  This time we are discussing Managed Services, What it is and what it isn’t!

 

So let’s dive in! The term Managed Services is one of those overused techie terms and trends that most I.T. companies are pushing these days. Before I dive into that, let me explain what I.T. is for those that don’t know or understand that acronym. I.T. simply means Information Technology it is similar to Computer Support, Tech Support, your Computer Guy or Computer People. Typically a computer company that does I.T. basically supports everything computer related, some may not do repairs while others still do. Underdog still offers computer repairs.

Back to the main point. So the term Managed Services is different also depending on the computer support firm you talk to, treats managed services differently. But the general consensus it is a set monthly fee usually based on the amount of devices or computers the company has and it includes certain features like Remote Monitoring, Patch Management, Antivirus – and what usually varies is the added support, unlimited phone and remote support or unlimited or limited hours of onsite support.

To put it a much simpler way, Managed Services is a subscription service for technical support. As a society we have been trending to subscription based ways of paying for conveyances and then later for big ticketed items. So when you first think of Subscriptions you think of newspapers and magazines, later evolving to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime. Then software manufactures like Microsoft and Google, subscription services for their email packages instead of buying expensive email server, software and consultation it allowed the smaller companies that didn’t have the money to invest in that infrastructure to get it on-demand and as much as it needed. As your need grew you could purchase more. Microsoft took it a noch up and expanded to their office suite so instead of plunking down 300-400 every few years you are paying 11/month – the advantage is as soon as a new version came out you received it. The advantage for Microsoft is they had a steadier stream of revenue. Then computer support companies started offering Managed Services contracts which allowed a piece of software to live on your computer(s) provide some automated remediation services, managing patches(software updates) and managing antivirus. Bundled with that is a familiarity with your business, ability to “predict or prevent problems by providing proactive support” added to that some kind of tangible technical support service. The benefit to the client was a budget friendly, predictable expense. The benefit to the managed it provider is predictable income.  

Now remember I said, the benefit of Managed Services for the client is prevent problems and being proactive, essentially fixing issues or alerting the customer of issues before they become a big problem. Unfortunately, many Managed IT service providers do not do this. I would guess they had the best intentions but either bringing on too many clients or the sheer volume of errors, alerts coming in or not enough staff for the amount of work overwhelms them. Many Managed IT providers still react in “Fire Fighting Mode” and by that, I mean address an issue only once it has become a problem, which defeats the purpose.

Now remember I also said, another benefit is patch management. So Microsoft releases patches every Tuesday for every supported operating system as well as software vendors release updates and hardware vendors release firmware. Patch Management allows the Managed IT company to release approved patches to your computer instead of everything that comes out. In other words, it is not something that can be automated if it were your computer already does that. Someone has to look at the patches being released and determine their safeness before releasing to you. Unfortunately many Managed IT service providers do not do this. Again I would guess they had the best intentions but for the reasons stated above.

Not All managed IT Providers include antivirus as part of their offering but from my experience I have seen this not distributed as promise, in other words you are under the assumption you are protected and you are not. I have seen clients that have been promised all 3 of the things I mentioned for several years they thought they had it but sadly they did not!

 

So what Am I telling you, is Managed Services a scam? Is it not a good thing to do? Is it right for my company? Who can I trust?

Managed Services when developed and deployed correctly is absolutely not a scam. There are many Managed IT companies that are doing it right, they took the time to understand how run a managed service business, they took the time to understand their clients needs and they took the time to make sure the solution was right for the client.

Underdog Computer and Network Support LLC. Is that company, Our goal is to grow slowly so we are careful when taking on new clients. We take the time to understand your needs; Managed Services is not a good fit for every business and if not we are upfront about that too. Maybe you are an every once in a while need for IT services that’s ok, we can still support you maybe a retainer or hourly works for you. So how do you know, give us a call Today 570-634-5350 or leave a message on one of our social media platforms we are offering a free no strings attached Assessment of your network, so if you are a managed service client for a competitor and you are concerned or you don’t understand your bill – give me a call and I will be happy to stop down and give you some good ol’ free advice  

I’m Carmine Corridore; President Underdog Computer and Network Support, LLC. Never Fear, We Fix I.T.

Hello Everyone Carmine Corridore; Underdog Computer and Network Support – Here again! Let’s discuss Annual Reviews!

Do you notice once a year, we get a physical exam by your Doctor. Every year our Car inspected by your Mechanic, At least once a year we are reviewing our books with accountants, finances with our financial advisor.  And yes every year we are reviewing taxes we paid and filing the forms!

But I bet you have never done a review on your computer network? The most important part of your business the computers and network infrastructure. If you are like most businesses, none of it was planned it was put together and upgraded as your company grew. Have you ever just took a step back and made sure it is adequate for your business now and will be for your business moving forward?

If you are an Underdog Client – the answer is yes. Everyone one of our clients, gets an annual review on their business infrastructure. We take time to understand the clients business and make recommendations based on where they are and where they need to be.

This year I am offering for a limited time only a Comprehensive, No Strings Attached, noninvasive and Impartial Review of your Computer and Network Infrastructure. I normally charge $299.99 for this assessment but it’s my New Year’s gift to you, Start 2019 off right. Now Even if you have an IT person or team think of this as a Report Card to see how well they are doing. We will spotlight the weaknesses if any and highlight strengths. You can take this review to your IT people.

If you are a small business with 15 computers or less call me at 570-634-5350 or drop me an email support@underdog-development.com or message me thru facebook.

This offer will not last so reach out to me today!

Underdog Computer and Network Support, Never Fear We Fix I.T. Here!