Hackers are targeting your business right now

This is 100% true because they are targeting all businesses, all of the time.

Whereas once hacking was something done for the challenge and the bragging rights, these days it’s a form of organised crime.

Hackers use automated tools that are constantly looking for vulnerabilities they can exploit.

This is why it takes just one click on a dodgy email to let someone into your entire network.

To know what you’re up against, download our brand new guide: The 9 cyber threats you need to know about now.

We’re TKNOWIT LIMITED, looking after businesses in Malton, Ryedale and beyond. And we’re on a mission to educate thousands more businesses around here about how to keep themselves safe from hackers.

Cyber crime is the fastest growing crime to affect businesses. When you see what you’re up against, you’ll be better prepared.

Contact Us discuss in more detail.

5 terrifying password stats

Are poor password practices putting your business at risk?

Our brand new guide tells you the shocking passwords statistics you need to know about, right now.

Read it here

5 ways OneNote will help you have a more organised life

To get more done in your business, you and your team need to be highly organised, and have systems to leverage information.

There’s a perfect tool for this – and you probably already have it.

OneNote from Microsoft is part of the powerful and popular Office 365 suite.

We’re big fans here at tKnowIT, local IT support and data security experts. And we’ve put together a got a brand new educational video on OneNote. So you can see the top five features your business will benefit from.

Click on the image below to watch the video now. you can also view a range of other videos in out Make Sense video section.

OneNote
5 ways OneNote will help you have a more organised life
the 2020 problem

Do you use Windows 7? Office 2010? Exchange 2010?

Millennium Bug, GDPR and now the 2020 Problem.

A number of Microsoft titles are going ‘end of life’ in 2020. Previously many people didn’t care about these things until the computer needed replacing and then buying the new version of Office, Windows, etc but, for businesses, GDPR now has to be considered and using unsupported software is frowned upon.

If you’re on an earlier version of window 7 and it’s the 32 bit edition you may need to spend longer making sure any programs you run are 64 bit compatible.

Office and Exchange can be replaced by Office 365 cloud version in most cases without too many problems

 

We’ve written a guide for you to download please check out our Make Sense of IT section on the website .

 

The end for Windows XP

On 8th April 2014 Microsoft will end support for both Windows XP and Office 2003. Anyone running their business network with Windows Server 2003 servers should be already planning for end of support for this in 2015.

Windows XPWindows XP has been around for a long time and has been so popular that many users have stuck with it rather than moving to newer operating systems, probably because it was much more reliable than Windows 95, 98, Me (who remembers that one) and 2000 but also better received than its successor, MS Vista. Designed with internet and email access built-in, Windows XP connected with ease to printers, cameras and other peripherals and brought in new security measures for PCs.

If for no other reason, security should be why you replace your machine before April 2014. You will be familiar with the weekly updates your machine receives from Microsoft and many of these updates are to resolve security ‘holes’ found in the operating system. If you are running some internet security software this is unlikely to offer protection for Windows XP from April 2014 or shortly afterwards. This makes online banking and purchasing a very unsafe thing to be doing on a Windows XP machine.

Since the very unpopular MS Vista, and after listening to customers, Microsoft’s Windows 7 software worked with a much wider range of hardware, peripherals and software. Now Windows 7 has been superseded by Windows 8, designed to be easy to use on touch screens. This has not always gone down well with laptop and desktop users who have found it ‘long-winded’ to shut-down and some are annoyed by the ’tiles’.

Over the years Microsoft have released service packs to Windows operating systems which are typically a collection of bug and security fixes. Microsoft has recently released Windows 8.1 which could be taken as the first service pack for Windows 8 and reintroduced the Start button to make it easier to showdown desktops and laptops. Windows 8 also introduces and integrates more ‘cloud’ services.

So if you’re a Windows XP user where should you go next?

Jump ship from Microsoft-based PCs to Apple-based Macs.

Typically at the high-end of the price range of computers but users typically complain less about problems. You can also still get a version of MS Office for Macs if you need to create documents, spreadsheets and prefer MS Outlook as the email client.

Move to a Linux machine.

More difficult to source and more typically built by someone who is familiar with PCs and operating systems. They can work out to be fast and cheap.

Move to a Chrome machine.

Typically you will store everything in the cloud and rely upon a decent internet connection at all times.

Purchase a new Windows 8 PC.

Most computers in the high-street stores and online stores are still Windows based machines. Many of your programs can be reinstalled but also your data (documents, photographs, etc.) will be easy to transfer.

 

What if you’re an Office 2003 user?

You can upgrade to MS Office 2013 or one of the new MS Office subscription options.
Alternatively consider the free LibreOffice/OpenOffice Suites if you’re not bothered about Outlook for email and don’t need all the MS Office features but still need to edit Word/ Excel documents.

If you are a business user then feel free to try out one of the Microsoft Office365 options on a free 30 day trial or call tKnowIT to assist you.

Linux: Revitalise your old computer for free

Not everyone can afford the latest Microsoft Windows 7 PC or Apple Mac and not everyone needs the speed they give to everything. Many people want something that can surf the web, let them email people and do ‘a few other things every now and again’ – all faster and with less crashing/freezing than their current system.

For a number of years there has been an alternative to Windows and Mac OS called Linux. There are a number of providers for this but the one I have used most often is Ubuntu. It’s free and has become easier to install, use and maintain.

Tux – The Linux Penguin

By default, it uses Mozilla Firefox as its Internet browser which will be familiar to people who use this on their PCs in preference to Internet Explorer. Evolution is an easy to use email and calendar program or you can use MozillaThunderbird instead and LibreOffice, also available for windows, offers the word-processing and spread-sheeting experience.

My test machine is a 5 year old Lenovo running a CoreDuo 1.8Ghz dual processor and 2GB RAM. With Internet Security and all the rubbish I had installed and uninstalled on this Windows XP machine it took over 5 minutes to start-up although it ‘wasn’t too bad’ once it was ready.

The same machine has been transformed by Linux. Less than a minute to start and fast response times when browsing, etc. I have no internet security installed to be fair and, although ubuntu is more secure, there are still benefits to having some added protection.

Ubuntu can be downloaded from www.ubuntu.comand burnt to a CD. You can then run it from the CD to decide if you like it – be aware that it will be slower running from the CD rather than the PC disk – then you can install it instead of, or alongside, your current windows system if there’s room on the disk. It will even copy your documents and photos across if you choose.

As always, make sure you have backed up everything important before you start.

Tablets: A long-term test

As with most new things, tablets have become the shiny must-have technology but are they practical for day-to-day use and can you replace your aging laptop or PC with one? Could you use one whilst out of the office instead of dragging around that cumbersome laptop? Could you use one at home or in the office instead of a PC or laptop?

For the last few months I have been working with an ASUS Transformer 101 (android) with optional keyboard/battery pack and an Acer Iconia W500 windows 7 tablet in addition to setting up other Android models and iPads for home and business users and also asking for their feedback and impressions.

For the hard-core gamer then, as with laptops, they are not going to replace the big tin box and even bigger monitor(s) you currently have.

They have proved popular with home users who want to check their emails quickly, browse and even buy from the internet. With near instant on then they are better than waiting for the PC to fire up. Free and low priced Apps mean that other tasks have also been made easier.

For businesses, like with their smartphones, users can check their central calendars, address book and emails quickly. It is even possible to work on office documents, intranets, SAGE, etc from Win7, android and iPad platforms – without spending a fortune.

Having used both the windows 7 tablet and android tablets I would say that, at the moment, the android is a better buy. Windows 8, out later this year, may change things but unless you must run software that only runs on a windows platform then it will be cheaper with an Android device.

Both the iPad and Android touchscreen keyboards are easier to use than the windows version but I couldn’t use one all day if I had a report to write. The ASUS with the optional keyboard is slightly quicker to use but still slightly cramped like a NetBook.

So, good for short spells but not a replacement for the main laptop yet.

We are calling to tell you that your computer is infected

Have you had this call?

A growing number of people are receiving calls from companies claiming that they can tell your computer is infected and that, for a fee, they will fix it for you. Sometimes they will claim to be your Internet Provider, Microsoft or BT amongst others and will even give you UK based phone numbers.

I now get one or two calls a week from the public telling me they have had the call and asking ‘Is it true?’

It’s a scam and one of the new ways that people are trying to extort money from you.

They will often try to convince you by asking you to click some options on your machine that will typically display your event logs – which can look like the end of the world is nigh – if you have never seen them before. They will then ask for your credit card details and ask you to visit a website or send you an email with a link in it. Clicking this WILL give them remote access to your machine and likely lead to infections been installed – not removed.

What do they gain from all this? They get £60-£100 from you, access to your machine to attack other machines from, to scan your disk for personal information (identity theft) and, remember, they have your card details so ring the card company ASAP.

What should you do? I recommend you say thank you but you don’t believe them and put the phone down. Then run your own virus scanning software. It is possible that your machine is infected and is reporting back to them using something like the other annoying scam that is ‘Fake AntiVirus’.

If you don’t have any antivirus or you are still not sure then get your machine professionally scanned by a company such as tKnowIT or any of the other local IT companies you already use or can find in The Handy Mag.