When windows 7 launched in 2009 it was lauded as the successor to XP that Vista should have been but wasn’t.
Windows 7 was in effect a modernized Windows XP that cut back on many of the frivolous features and interactions of Vista. Many of you might even still be on Windows 7 if you’ve been using the computer you’re on for more than a few years.
That said, It’s definitely time to think about moving on.
Microsoft ended extended support for Windows 7 this January, so if something goes wrong with, you’re pretty much on your own. As good as it is, Windows 7 relies heavily on third party tools to monitor system security.
The good news is that Windows 10 is very much a worthy upgrade, especially with its capable inbuilt virus and malware protections. It has the same ease of use as Windows 7 and won’t use vastly more system resources.
You might be able to download, install and activate Windows 10 on your Windows 7 machines using their original licenses, but if you’d rather be safe than sorry, we at Key Comm have experience managing IT for businesses. Just message us.
The recent outbreak and spread of coronavirus has sent shockwaves through world markets and underscores just how interconnected we are in this age of global supply chains and mass travel.
The ASX has shown signs of vulnerability, with major players such as Qantas down as much as 20% since the start of the outbreak, and markets still on edge for further flow-on effects.
So, with travel down, and the supply potentially affected, how much do you need to prepare and make contingency plans for your small business? Major governmental and nongovernment bodies emphasise that the crisis is far from something to panic over, and so far the response and adaptation internationally has been heartening.
Examine your supply chain for direct connections to mainland China, and it may be worth considering how to keep things running if those particular elements are cut off or run low in supply. For most of us with businesses directly relying on Chinese supply, that will be an urgent and specific issue to keep track of. But there’s also the indirect effect of a general slowdown affecting your bottom line, efficiency of delivery and cash reserves.
Back to the news. Some products expected in early 2020 have delayed. Companies, including Apple, have been confirming their supply chain has been affected by Coronavirus, affecting all kinds of tech products. Apple has been the first to officially recognise this impact but you can bet they’re not the only ones.
What should you do about it? Keep your products and systems in good shape, and if your depreciation schedule is telling you it’s time to upgrade, don’t throw out the old ones until the new one’s have arrived! If you have any concerns about the health of your system or devices, we’re here to help you get the most out of them.
Lookout for coronavirus phishing scams!
There are also phishing scams a plenty around Coronavirus. Scammers pose as health officials, asking you to log into other sites. Businesses who host their own email and access it via old school IMAP (or even POP!) are vulnerable to such attacks as their spam filters are less powerful than those used by white label email services such as gmail and outlook 365. Talk to us about modernising your email, but in the meantime, rather than clicking a suspicious link, copy and paste it into your browser’s search bar and see if the domain matches the advertised link.
This event – so far – gives us a good opportunity to examine our systems and prepareness for untoward events, while falling short of worst-case scenarios. Use it to stress-test, and let’s hope it all fizzles out soon.
A significant increase in suspected internet connection scams has occurred as of late, with NBN Co. receiving over 100 calls a day from members of the public about such scams. NBN Co. is currently in the process of rolling out the $50 billion network.
Calls to NBN’s contact centre have reached 9500 over the last three months, representing a significant increase from 6700 between October 2018 and March 2019. This comes as a sizable portion of the network is being completed ahead of the 2020 ETA. Driving awareness to combat these attacks, NBN Co’s chief security officer addressed the cause for concern by having this to say: “As we close in on the end of the network build, scammers are increasing their efforts to take advantage of the NBN brand as a way to steal people’s personal or financial details and using increasingly sophisticated ways to convince people of their legitimacy”.
What You Need to Know
NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls to seek access to your computer, threaten disconnection, or request personal details
This public awareness campaign will involve NBN Co’s community engagement team, hosting a series of information sessions to help Australians discern, avoid and report scammers. The ACCC has previously warned of social engineering attacks where scammers impersonate NBN Co in calls offering to connect them to the NBN for a low price. In some of these cases, impersonators have tricked users into giving remote access to their computers so that they could steal personal information, install malware and demand payment to fix alleged problems. If you run into someone calling you about the NBN remember this: “As NBN Co is a wholesaler, we will never contact residents or businesses to sell phone or internet services”.
Moreover, NBN Co will never make unsolicited calls or door knock for the purposes of seeking access to a person’s computer, threaten them with disconnection, or request personal details. Despite increasing public awareness, Australians are expected to lose a record amount to scams this year, with the ACCC estimating that projected losses for 2019 will surpass $500 million (an unprecedented figure).”Many people are confident they would never fall for a scam but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target,” the ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard states. “People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable.”
The ACCC reports that investment scams were among the most sophisticated and convincing, with nearly half of the reported cases this year resulting in financial loss. Particularly, cryptocurrency investment scams are a serious cause for concern, with net losses reaching almost $15 million between January and July this year. This represents a significant increase from $6.1 million lost to the same type of scams last year.
You can report any suspected scams you come across here.
4g Failovers for Network Reliability IT Support Brisbane
When is Network Reliability Important?
For many businesses it is highly important that their internet connection remains online with as few interruptions as possible. These businesses include those who perform most of their business activities online and where these activities must be performed in a timely manner. These are not the only businesses who may require reliability, and if you are wondering whether your business is one of these, simply ask yourself the following question. Are you often frustrated with internet outages and do they impact your work? If so, yours is indeed one of these businesses.
Such network reliability depends on reliable hardware (such as routers) as well as internet connections and service providers. Unfortunately, all service providers have the occasional outage, but luckily network hardware can be used to ‘hedge your bets’ as it were. Using a router with Failover capabilities can improve the availability of your business’s network connection.
High Availability Network Setup
A WAN failover (sometimes termed a 4g failover) is suitable for use when a business has one or more networks which require as little interruption as possible. This feature is available with Network Setup from Key Communications.
A business may have both a primary and secondary internet connection. This generally uses one traditional copper line or NBN service and a secondary 3g or 4g dongle as a failover, though just about any second internet connection can be used. This secondary (failover) connection comes into use when the first goes down. For example, a business could have a prepaid 4g modem with no ongoing costs plugged into the router on standby mode. Thus, if the primary link goes down the router is triggered to bring up the backup connection. This can take up to 10 seconds, so there may be a brief interruption, but far less than what could alternatively occur. If you would like even less downtime than this, then you may want to ask us about WAN load-balancing routers.
Additionally, with Multi-WAN routers, you can choose when you want to activate the backup or failover service. An example of these options is shown below. You may failover when either:
Any selected WANs are disconnected.
All WAN’s selected are disconnected.
Need Help Setting Up a Reliable Network
Our IT support staff are able to set up networks with high availability, integrity and confidentiality.
Keeping your phone safe online
IT support Brisbane
A vast abundance of information can be found on our phones. Specifically, they hold an inordinate amount of information about ourselves and the way we live our lives. From banking information, location data, eating and shopping habits, correspondence and, with the emergence of smartwear, even our heart rates are accessible on our phones. Some have even compared them to houses based on the detailed information they contain about us. A 2002 study actually found that when people were shown the rooms of other people who they had never met, they could accurately guess the personality traits of that person (all except neuroticism at least).
It begs the question of what a person may figure out about us if they were given access to our phones. For many of us the thought of this may be as scary, if not more so, than that of a stranger seeing the insides of our houses. This is somewhat unsurprising, based on the seemingly endless slew of news headlines highlighting the prevalence of cybercriminals taking peoples’ private information from phones, computers and cloud storage. It is a pretty clear message really, BE SCARED OF WHAT YOUR PHONE COULD DO, but maybe it should be about what your phone could be made to do. Afterall, smartphone safety would probably be a pretty confusing phrase in a world without hackers. This begs the question, how do you make sure your phone isn’t being made to do something you don’t want it to do?
Well firstly, you’ll never be able to make ‘sure’ of this. Any type of computer is made to be somehow accessible, and people are bound to misuse that access in some way. It’s like driving a car, or owning a house; sometimes cars crash, even when driven by the best drivers, and sometimes houses get broken into, despite having good security. Likewise, there is always a small possibility that your phone will be hacked, or data will be stolen. The trick is to minimise that likelihood, and if a piece of information is too sensitive, don’t keep it on your phone. Luckily, our IT support team have provided some pointers on how to keep your phone safe online. The following 5 pointers could save you a lot of trouble down the road, enjoy:
Smartphone Safety Tips from Keycomm IT Support Brisbane
Adjust your privacy and security settings, or at the very least look at and try to remember them. These settings control what “permisions” apps have on your phone, and what information they have access to. Think of this like the doors inside your house, if you have someone inside like a tradie doing renovations, you’re likely to close any doors that lead into rooms you don’t trust them in. You would, however, leave open the doors they need open in order to complete the work you want them to do.
Set your apps to update over Wi-Fi automatically. Apps that are not up to date become more of a risk, the longer they are not updated. Yes, we all get fed up with updates from time to time, but many times app developers will update their app when a security vulnerability is found so that people on the latest version are safe. There is no protection for old versions of software. It’s like changing your locks if your keys and wallet get lost or stolen. You wouldn’t feel safe if someone out there knew where you lived and how to get in, and it really should not be any different with a smartphone.
Whenever the app or service allows it, try to use 2 factor or multi-factor authentication. Basically, this stops people getting into your account by having them enter a code that displays on your phone or having a notification show up on your phone that asks you to verify the log in request. On mobile apps, it is more likely that the verification will be a text message with a code you can then enter into the app. Thus verifying that your it is your phone (or a phone with your phone number) signing in. This is like having a lock and an alarm with a code at the entrance to your house. You not only have to know something (the password or alarm), you need to have something (the key or phone) in order to gain access, and those notifications to verify requests, like alarms, can tip you off that your password could be at risk.
Fun fact, other multi-factor authentication systems can actually go further than this. Some using such features as the pattern of your iris (the colored part of the eye) or facial structure to add a further step of verification. Thus, to access the account, you’d have to know something, have something and be something, making security breaches highly unlikely.
All of our online apps and accounts require passwords, but we all forget these from time to time. We’ve all had to reset a password, generally by sending a link to our email. Just make sure you use a strong password for this email. It should be unique (different from your other passwords), seemingly random (not using easily guessable components like your place of birth, birthday, favourite pet or another well known personal detail), and relatively long (although it is just as good to make it more random and involving special characters, as long as it has around 10 characters minimum).
We’re all human, and naturally we have fallible memories. So if you want to avoid constantly having to reset passwords (and if you’re like me, realising what the old password was because that’s what you tried to set the new one as), using a password manager might be for you. Do bare in mind however that your password manager holds the proverbial “keys to the kingdom” and should be protected accordingly. That means, a long seemingly random password, and 2 factor authentication are good ideas for this. One helpful password manager service that allows 2 factor authentication and helps you create a strong password is called LastPass. I would reccomend it to those who have trouble remembering all their passwords.
IT Support Brisbane: Latest Windows 10 Update Lets You Do More
A lot of the time, from the end-user perspective, windows updates can be a bit of a hassle. Taking time out of your busy schedule to change… something. A lot of the time, however, the computer seems pretty much the same as it was before. Well, this time is a little different if you know what to look for. Here’s an overview from the Key Communications Brisbane IT support team.
Paste from Cloud Clipboard
Personally, I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. The cloud clipboard allows you to copy and paste text and images between computers. To set it up:
Go to System > Clipboard
Turn on both Clipboard history and Sync across devices
Press CTRL + V to test out the paste
Use emojis from the keyboard
Your favourite emojis from smartphones and social media are moving more and more into the mainstream. In line with this Windows has imported them into their latest Windows 10 release. This makes friendly emails and informal documents a little more fun to write! Simply press Windows + . to use them.
Autosave files as you edit them!
Go to OneDrive > More > Settings. On the AutoSave tab, select Update folders and specify which folders you’d like to automatically sync.
Use the Microsoft UI on Android
If you install the Microsoft Launcher from Google Play, you can have a cool Microsoft style homescreen for your phone.
Customize the mouse pointer
You can now make your pointer bigger or change the colour. Access Windows Settings > Ease of Access > Cursor & pointer.
Make text and other things bigger
Change the text size by going to Settings > Ease of Access > display.
Snip images and take screenshots
The old screenshot keyboard shortcut (Windows + Shift + S) now allows you to snip and copy images and text to the clipboard.
The new-look light theme allows you to switch between colours. Switch to dark mode to make your apps stand out. Go to Settings > Personalisation > Colours to select your colour mode.
Remove pre-installed apps
Reduce the bloat of your system by removing unused apps such as 3D Viewer, Calculator, Groove Music, Mail, Calendar, Movies & TV, Paint 3D, Snip & Sketch, Sticky Notes, and Voice Recorder. To uninstall go to Settings > Apps.
Now you have even more control over updates with the ability to pause for up to seven days. To delay updates, go to Settings > Update & Security.