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The Monthly “Steal” by David Steele

The Monthly “Steal” is a bit of relevant technology information intertwined with personal thoughts, opinions and some real life experiences. It is written by David “Steele” and is free, hence a “steal” from a “Steele”.

Fish and Hook ScamsOver the last 2 months, Intrada has seen a huge increase in email scams designed to steal individual identity, access online accounts or control computers. In the IT industry, we call these Phishing Scams because they are fishing for information. It is largely known not to plug in any device or USB drive or insert a disk into your computer if you don’t know where it came from. But, phishing scams are delivered mainly through email, not by plugging in an external device. These email scams many times look harmless or even like legitimate emails. But, once you click on the attachment or the link in the URL, the scammers usually try to install malware, ransomware or other backdoor applications that cause loss in data and a violation of your privacy.

Phishing Scams are not new. Phishing was first recognized in the mid 1990’s by a hacker named Khan Smith. Smith used the arrow symbols <>< that resemble a fish and commonly used in online chat communications, making it hard for AOL to filter the communications. This same symbol is associated with Christians and was used as a secret Christian symbol long before Smith. Combine this symbol with stolen or hacked email accounts to see why most credit Smith with leading the phishing epidemic.

So how do you keep from getting caught by Phishing Scams? If you receive an email that you are not expecting or from a sender you do not recognize, it’s best not to open it. I suggest you think of it as junk mail and trash it.

But, maybe your curiosity lured you to open the email. Here are some additional ‘red flag’ checks:

Email Link

LINKS IN THE EMAIL: links in the body of an email might look valid, but when you click on the link it takes you to a totally different address. If you hover over the “baited” link, most browsers will display the actual link you would be directed to in the bottom left corner.

At Symbol

EMAIL ADDRESS: Spammers use what is called “Spoofing” to present you with an email address that looks convincing, but it’s actually hiding the bogus email account. Common scams include emails stating there is a package waiting at the post office or there has been a questionable charge on your credit card and you must sign in to confirm the charge. I, personally, don’t click on any links in emails that relate to financial accounts such as credit cards or utilities. If I get an email – I open a browser and go to the site directly to verify account status or I call the company customer service line.

Grammar

GRAMMAR: Most scams have incomplete sentences, poor grammar, and lack of customer brand and contact information. If it does not seem right, there is a good chance it is not valid.

Email Attachment

ATTACHMENTS: Scammers will attach files that, when opened, will try to install malware and infect the computer. The best protection is not to open any attachments that you didn’t expect or were not sent from a valid source. Do not enable any macros or approve the installation of software.

Cloud Download

FREE SITES: Avoid websites that require you to install an application to access free files including fonts, music, videos, games or other applications. Validate the site is safe before downloading and installing any applications.

Why doesn’t most virus protection software catch phishing scams? This is because the email does not actually contain a virus. The email contains a link to a website that tricks users into providing access information or to download and install an application to protect their computer. But, in reality, the person just infected their machine. Virus protection does not stop a user from loading software unless it is identified as malicious. Also, if the email has an attachment that is zipped; virus scanners can’t scan zipped files. Other attachments include Microsoft Word documents, that, when opened, require micros. When the user hits enable, the virus installs the malware that can infect the computer.

The latest lure in phishing scams is ransomware. The user is tricked into running a program or accessing a website that runs a program that will encrypt and lock all your data. The sender, who is usually in another country, holds your data hostage then requires a payment from you to purchase the password that will unencrypt your data. In a corporate setting, this can be a real sinker because it will normally encrypt all data across a corporate network, including network drives. When you have been a victim of ransomware, you are presented with two options:

  1. Pay the ransom to get your password, which is not guaranteed, to unlock your files and reload the infected computer.
  2. Reload the infected computer and restore files from backup.

Bottom line – it’s just ugly and nothing is worse than having your privacy violated or someone holding your personal data hostage. The best protection from phishing scams is:

  1. Educating yourself and your staff to not be click happy.
  2. Have good virus and spam filtering solutions in place to help prevent the temptation of hitting the inbox.
  3. Backups.

If you are a customer of Intrada and received a questionable email, contact tech support and have emails and websites verified before opening or installing any software. If you would be interested in learning more about Intrada or our scanning services, give me a call or email me today.

WarningUser Notice Document - AVOID GETTING CAUGHT IN A PHISHING SCAM
Short version of article to be distributed to all employees. (click here)

 

David Steele, Partner / Webmaster

djsteele@intradatech.com
570-321-7370
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David Murdocca

David Murdocca, is an account executive for Atlantic Exhibits who actively engages with his clients to embrace an owner’s or executive manager’s perspective. As a Trade Show Specialist, David’s work ethic sets him apart from other marketing professionals who cannot relate as well to the financial aspects. David has a passion for the trade show industry that provides him with knowledge and relationships required to build upon his expertise. This passion drives him to simplify his client’s trade show experience, strengthen their brand, encourage more meaningful customer engagement and generate more quality sales leads.

David Murdocca has been assisting businesses in the trade show field to successfully and profitably market and sell their products and services for over twenty years. From prior positions as a general manager for a mid-sized company and an owner/president of a small business, David understands the importance of events. He has attended over 500 major trade shows, domestically and internationally and brings exhibit industry passion and expertise to any organization. His functional background has ranged from design consultant to trade show coordinator to senior exhibit consultant to director of sales to general manager and to president and owner of an exhibit house. David regularly attends shows to discover new industries and trends. He has presented hundreds of exhibit and event marketing seminars and interactive strategic planning workshops at venues ranging from board rooms to conference centers.

David Steele and Nichole Keiner from Intrada meet with David Murdocca in December of 2015 to discuss his idea to present himself as a Trade Show Consultant. This level of service and title was not fully developed in the industry and we needed to develop content that would support searches to present this to company owners and marketing managers. Trade shows are expensive and companies are looking to increase the return on this investment.

Intrada was asked to research and create a website presentation that would validate this level of services and provide continual support to build ranking and organic placement throughout key trade show searches online. David is using this new website to communicate with clients on a regular basic with articles, reviews from shows and continual improvement processes. David is also using Twitter at shows to meet new prospects and linking his activities with national and international events.

Website: www.DavidMurdocca.com

Launch: March 2016

Address: 4605 Brookfield Corporate Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151

Phone: 443-473-7696

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b2ap3_thumbnail_QuickTime.jpgThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently released a statement informing those who use the Windows Operating System of security vulnerabilities related to Apple’s QuickTime application for Windows. While no threats or infections have been reported in relation to this vulnerability, it has been recommended by the DHS that any QuickTime application be removed from a Windows environment. If you have a Mac PC or Apple device with QuickTime installed there is no risk and no need to remove it. Apple chose NOT to release critical security updates to the QuickTime for Windows application, resulting in the vulnerabilities originally reported by Trend Micro. If you are unsure if you have QuickTime for Windows or would like to speak with a technician regarding this threat call (570) 321-7370 or visit our office at 31 Ashler Manor Drive in Muncy, PA and we would be happy to look over the PC for you.

As always, diagnostics are free at Intrada! Virus/Malware Removals start at just $69.95!

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Tagged in: News scam Technology
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You’ve created a Facebook fan page. Your company finally has a Twitter and now you’ve even set up a free HootSuite account to schedule out posts. Sometimes. When someone at your office thinks about it.

b2ap3_thumbnail_staring-at-phone.jpgAccording to statistics, 73% of Americans have a social network profile. That is 233.6 million people with just one social profile. One. Personally, I use Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram multiple times a day. I get on Pinterest and LinkedIn a few times a week. My generation, and those younger than myself, are glued to social media. Think of how easy it would be to send one tweet and reach hundreds of people.

Not right away, mind you. Gaining social media followers may take some hard work, but the payoff is worth it. It’s a free way to interact with your consumer. How can you beat that?

Still not sold? Here are five reasons why having social media is a benefit to your business:

  1. Interaction – Other than speaking in person, there is no better way to interact with your consumers than through social media. While there is a certain negative stigma that comes with making yourself available 24/7 (not all of your employees may happy about it), you have the advantage of being able to reach consumers 24/7. A customer could tweet at you, asking a question about your product and, if someone is watching diligently, they could have an almost instantaneous response. Talk about helpful customer service! Speaking of customer service – someone leaves a nasty message on your Facebook page? Offer a response by giving them your office phone number. Put the ball back in their court and show everyone that you care. Start a weekly poll about something fun! Be entertaining and make people want to want to tweet at you, post on your timeline or send you a message on LinkedIn.
  2. Transparency – Being direct and not having a hidden agenda is the best (in my personal opinion) part about social media. It’s about having fun and interacting with your audience. Not trying to sell something. If people like you and your brand via social media, that will translate to your sales. Made a mistake that needs to be addressed? Put out a press release and then address it on social media. Whether you believe it or not, this generation of young adults – your future consumers – are willing to let mistakes go a lot more easily if you’re honest and upfront about them. Let the newspapers and your blog take care of the press release, but get your apology on social media as soon as possible. This generation, my generation, respects that. You messed up. Everyone does. Don’t hide it - that will only make the situation that more newsworthy when it comes out later. Show your audience that you are doing the best you can, no matter the circumstance.
  3. Humanize your Brand – The great thing about social media is that you can give your service or product human qualities. Do you pride your brand as being eco-friendly? Are you geared towards the modern business person or the weekend warrior? What would your brand be like if it was a person – take that and run with it in your social media plan. Say your brand produces sporting gear and equipment. You may want to focus on the words courage or determination. Your messages should always be crafted to insinuate those ideals. Has it been really snowy in your area lately? Throw up a post about thermal workout gear and never giving up. A sports star has done something bold and really great? Wow, they must embody your brand. Use those words and add them to your marketing campaign.
  4. b2ap3_thumbnail_tacobell-impresses.pngCreativity – There are so many directions you can take your social media presence. I’m a huge fan of Taco Bell on Twitter (they’re funny and I love tacos). And honestly, what is Denny’s even doing with their social media? Does anyone know? Not really – but it’s entertaining and hysterical. According to this post on the Social Times, Denny’s “embracing the weird” has put them in the #1 spot for “Brands Doing an Amazing Job on Social Media”. Having a unique social media strategy and being different just might garner you some attention. People like funny. People like different. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb and try something new. Who knows? It might turn into the Thing that your brand is known for.
  5. Bragging Rights – Want to show how fun your office is? Take a picture at your staff meeting and put it on Instagram. Share that to Twitter and Facebook. Someone on your team won an award in their field? Copy the article URL and make a post on your company’s LinkedIn. Taking a company team-building retreat? Write a post about all of the great skills you’ve learned! Don’t misconstrue this. I’m not implying you need to post a status every time someone uses the microwave without complication or you recycle a piece of paper. That would be out of hand. But social media outlets are notorious for people posting their accomplishments. Take advantage and do what your audience expects – show them how awesome your brand is.

b2ap3_thumbnail_SM-buttons.jpgSocial media is happening now. Your consumers are online. Right now. They’re out there, waiting for you. Why wouldn’t you want to use free outlets to reach them?

Right! Mailing lists.

I’m not saying they don’t work. All I’m saying is that the only mail I open is what I’m expecting (I’m looking at you - books I’ve ordered online and my dreaded student loan statements). But take that as you will.

If this has sold you on create social media and dutifully updating on a regular basis, great! Now is the time to get started. Make sure that your pictures are high resolution and if you’re using more than one medium, that you keep a cohesive look. (Like using the same cover photo for Facebook and Twitter).

Happy posting!

Worried about the time it takes to set up all of your accounts and monitoring everything to make sure you’re posting on a regular basis? Here at Intrada Technologies, we offer education and services to help improve presence and develop a positive online reputation.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_AHCFlogo.jpgThe Army Heritage Center Foundation, in cooperation with the U.S. Army and our other partners, serves as the lead agency supporting the development and expansion of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC). The Center is being developed to preserve the memories of Soldiers and their Families, honor their service, and help educate the American public about the Army and its’ Soldiers’ contributions to the Nation.

The Foundation was incorporated in 1999 as the Military Heritage Foundation after Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera committed the Army to, “the establishment of an Academic Research Facility and Army Museum at the United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.” Since its establishment, the Foundation has been the catalyst in forging the unique public-private partnership that has advanced the Center. Then, after Secretary of the Army Thomas White announced the creation of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center in October 2001, the Foundation assumed doing business in the name of the Army Heritage Center Foundation. The intent of the name change was to more closely align the Foundation’s efforts to the development of the Center.

Intrada took over site management and support in 2008, when the site was not maintained correctly causing some security concerns. Working with the staff to stabilize and update different functions, allowed Intrada to learn more about the Army Heritage Center Foundation. A tour of the facility, including the education center and museum, was amazing.

Intrada was asked to research and create a solution to address the high bounce rate the site was receiving. Intrada also took this as an opportunity to upgrade the webstore and site to a responsive template supporting mobile friendly standards. The site launched in early December and staff is pleased with the new look and functions.

Website: www.armyheritage.org

Launch: December 2015

Address: 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA 17013

Phone: 717-258-1102

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Contact Information: 
    31 Ashler Manor Drive
    Muncy, PA 17756

Hours of Operation:
    Monday to Friday 8 AM > 6 PM EST
 
 800-858-5745

Mission Statement

Intrada is built on the premise that the management of information technology for business is like legal advice or accounting. It is not a do-it-yourself job.

Smart business people who are not technically savvy need quality resources for reliable hardware, software, service, and support. Businesses rely on these vendors as trusted friends or partners in their business.

Intrada serves its clients as that trusted partner. We make sure that our clients have what they need to run their businesses, with maximum efficiency and reliability.

Many of our client's needs are mission critical. Intrada gives them the assurance that we will be there when they need us.