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Beware – e-mail scamming is becoming more ingenious and dangerous!

We are sending this to warn you of this new scam.

This morning, I received a cleverly composed and very official looking email from Experian telling me that a “Key Change” has been posted to my account.

Many of us have learned to not click links on emails, especially on ones that look fishy. Many also know to hover the mouse pointer over a link to reveal the web address, which usually points to some spurious site.

Well, this email (screenshot below) looked very official. The link looked legit. And the message is psychologically powerful – something important happened to your credit and you need to look into it right away. How? The instructions tells you to click on the attached file. What a clever way to distract and get your guard down.

Pretty sure the attached zip file contains some kind of malware.

By the way, I went to Experian’s website directly and downloaded a free credit report. Nothing unusual was in my account.

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Posted in: Business, E-mail, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Don’t Know What Toll Fraud Is? It Could Be Costing You Money

Cyber criminals are sneaky bunch. Don’t believe us? Just look at the rise in toll fraud, a scary new form of mobile malware that could be siphoning money from your wallet without you even realizing it.

The New York Times’ Brian Chen recently wrote an interesting, and frightening, story about this type of mobile malware. The story provides yet more evidence that though most cyber criminals are still focusing on PCs, a growing, and clever, group of them are turning their evil attentions to the growing smartphone and mobile device markets.

Toll fraud

Toll fraud is, as Chen writes, the most common form of malware targeted at Android devices. In toll fraud, cyber criminals snatch small amounts of money from smartphone owners by making secret charges to their phone bills.

Chen quotes a report published by mobile security company Lookout showing that toll fraud has the potential to trick a large number of smartphone owners. That’s because so many owners don’t carefully study their phone bills each month.

Because of this, they are likely to miss the small charges that toll fraud attacks levy.

A complex process

According to Chen’s story, toll fraud happens when smartphone users first download a malicious app that invisibly sends a text message to a service that uses a middleman service that has an existing relationship to the author of the malware.

A confirmation message is sent to the malware, which blocks it from the view of the smartphone owner. This message, of course, confirms the small charge to the user’s phone bill.

Once this undetected charge goes to the smartphone owner’s bill, the carrier takes its portion of the charge and gives the rest of the money to the service and the middleman. This means that the malware author eventually receives a piece of the charge.

A growing problem

Chen’s story quotes Lookout estimates that from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2013, a total of 18 million users of Android devices might encounter malware. Lookout also reported that about 72 percent of the malware that found this year was of the toll-fraud variety.

What do these numbers mean? Only that smartphone users must be more cautious than ever. Cyber criminals haven’t yet descended on smart phones and mobile devices. But that day may soon arrive.

Read more at the New York Times:http://kbit.co/toll-fraud

Posted in: Business, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Boost Your Windows 8 Experience with These Peripherals

Windows 8 represents a dramatic change for Microsoft’s venerable operating system: It’s designed to work not just with keyboard and mouse but also with a touch screen.

But many users who upgrade to the new operating system will not be running Windows 8 on a touch screen. They’ll be relying on older computers that still operate the old-fashioned way, with keyboard and mouse controls. Then there are tablet users, users who run Windows 8 only on tablets are also not getting the full Windows 8 experience.

There are just some functions that run better with mouse and keyboard control. That doesn’t mean, though, that users who rely either on tablets or traditional computers won’t be able to take advantage of the many features built into the new operating system. They can. They just need to purchase the right peripherals. PC Magazine recently ran a story outlining just what these peripherals are.

Microsoft Wedge mobile keyboard

PC Magazine points out that the Microsoft Wedge isn’t just a portable keyboard. It’s also an essential tool to allow tablet users to get the most of the Windows 8 experience. For one thing, the keyboard offers a better typing experience than your tablet’s onscreen keyboard. Secondly, Windows 8 features are included in the keypad. Even the cover can become a tablet stand, allowing you to approximate the desktop experience.

Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad

Want to access all those touch-screen features included in Windows 8 without having to buy a tablet or other touch-screen device? Try the Logitech T650 Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad. The product works so well that the editors at PC Mag have made it their top choice for Windows 8 computer mice.

Kingston DataTraveler Workspace

It looks like a USB flash drive, but the Kingston DataTraveler Workspace actually contains Windows To Go, a portable and bootable version of Windows 8. This means that you can bring the Windows 8 operating system—or at least the portable version of it—to the PC of your choice. Best news? It has a reputation for being safe and secure.

Read more at PC Magazine:http://kbit.co/windows-peripherals

Posted in: Business, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Technology

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Notable: The App You Need for Team Projects

Collaborating on team projects doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you have the right app. For a growing number of business people that right app is Notable.

Notable allows users to capture screenshots and send them to team members. These team members can then make notes right on the screenshots to further the collaboration process. Best of all? Notable is as easy to use as it is effective.

Constant feedback

Regular feedback is the secret to the success of team business projects. Whether you’re building a new Web site, designing a marketing campaign or creating a new company logo, the more input you receive from your fellow team members, the stronger your final project.

Nevertheless, collaborating can be difficult. You are often working with team members who are spread across the country. And team members are as busy as you, juggling several different projects at once. It’s no easy task to gather all team members in the same room at the same time. It’s equally challenging to get all team members to agree on a video conference or audio conference time.

That’s where Notable comes in. With this app, team members can provide feedback on screen captures whenever it is most convenient to them.

Screenshots

How multi-faceted is Notable? You can use it to upload individual screenshots, PDF files, PowerPoint slides, Photoshop pages or live Web sites. And you can set it to upload individual pages or a bulk group of screenshots.

Once team members have their pages, they can circle different sections and then make comments directly on those sections. This eliminates any possible confusion.

Best of all? Notable doesn’t clog your device’s hard drive. It exists on the cloud. Users don’t need software to access it and they can log onto their Notable accounts from any computer.

Pricing

Notable comes in three different versions at three differing price points. The basic version, which is plenty powerful, costs $19 a month, Plus costs $49 a month and Premium runs for $99 a month.

Each version comes with its own quirks. All of them allow you to sign up an unlimited number of team members to your account and all allow you to capture as many screenshots as you want. You also get unlimited sharing with each version.

Check it out:https://www.notableapp.com

Posted in: Business, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Technology

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The Seven Deadly Sins of Web Surfing

Web Surfer
In today’s increasingly digital world, there are many potential threats to the security of your computer systems.  Every PC connected to the Internet can be a target of:

  • Viruses (code that attaches to files)
  • RootKits (malicious software activated each time your PC boots up)
  • Adware (pop-ups; redirects web search results)
  • Phishing (email/fake websites designed to trick you into disclosing personal information)

There are a number of ways for the everyday PC user to end up with one of these problems on his/her system:

  • Visiting an infected website
  • Opening spam email or unfamiliar email attachment
  • Downloading “free” stuff – games, toolbars, media players, and other system utilities
  • Sharing file, music or photos with others
  • Installing mainstream software applications without fully reading the license agreements

Avoiding the above activities is an important first step toward keeping your computer systems secure, but here are seven other red flags you may want to pay attention to:

Have a good hardware firewall router. A good firewall is designed to permit or deny network traffic based on rules that you as the business owner can set according to your preferences. It functions to prevent unauthorized access while permitting legitimate communications to pass. When shopping for a hardware firewall router, look for one with Denial of Service (DoS) protection and that uses Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) to protect your network.

Keep your anti-virus/spyware programs updated. New viruses and spyware come out daily, so it is very important to keep your protection software updated. It should be noted, though, that it can take the software companies some time to respond effectively to the new viruses and spyware, so precaution still needs to be taken with email attachments and websites. Aim to update your anti-virus software daily.

Have an anti-spyware program. Spyware can be just as dangerous as viruses to your computer, as they secretly collect pieces of information about you. This can open you up to identity theft and credit card fraud. When it comes to anti-spyware software, update and run scans at least weekly.

Keep your web browser updated. Patches are coming out much more frequently for web browsers, so it is a good idea to update the software as often as they are available. Familiarize yourself with the built-in safe surfing features and tweak the settings to ensure a high degree of protection. Check for browser updates weekly.

Keep Microsoft Windows updated. Patch management is key to keeping your systems secure. Microsoft sends out security updates once a month on “Patch Tuesday” (2nd Tuesday of the month). These include patches for the operating system, other Windows components, and Microsoft Office, as well as Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender. Aim to run Windows Update every “Patch Tuesday.”

Don’t click on pop-ups. It’s shiny and pretty, and it’s making an enticing promise, but please don’t click on that pop-up! Even if the pop-up is from Adobe, Java, or another software company for some sort of update, don’t do it! Instead, go directly to the website to update your software.

Don’t click on a link in an email. This goes especially for emails from a bank, credit card company, or other financial service such as eBay or PayPal. By clicking on the link, you run the risk of sharing your personal information with the world. Don’t trust email links; instead, go directly to the website by opening a new browser session. The same goes for email from any social media sites.

John Kalli is the CEO of Trinity Worldwide Technologies LLC.  They are a Microsoft Certified Partner and Small Business Specialist serving the New Jersey market since 2002.  To inquire about their services and to see if you qualify for a NO cost, NO obligation assessment of your business’ technology, you can call them at 732-780-8615 or email sales@trinityww.com.

Posted in: Business, Security, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Business Owners: Meet Big Data


Big Data Isn’t Only for Big Companies

Business owners are busy people. You’re hiring staffers, balancing your business’ budget, developing new products and creating marketing campaigns. You’ve even the person responsible for setting your business’ hours and scouting out new locations for expansion.

So you’re probably not thrilled that business experts are now telling you that you have to study big data, too, to gain a competitive edge. You might not even know what big data is—most people don’t. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not important to the success of your small business.

Defining big data

What is big data? John Weathington, writing for TechRepublic, does a good job explaining: Big data, as the name suggests, are massive amounts of fast-moving information. This information is free, but it serves a valuable purpose in the marketplace. Big data, if properly mined and studied, can tell you what your target customers want, what they lack and how much they’ll be willing to pay to get it. In other words, big data can tell you how best to run your small business.

Big data examples

Big data gives businesses, even small ones, a competitive advantage. CIO Magazine provides three examples. The magazine cites a financial firm that uses large financial data sets and data analytics tools to help their clients decide how to best plan their retirements. This, of course, gives this financial firm an edge in attracting new clients.

Using big data in your business

CIO also points to a company called Exmobaby that sells baby pajamas that include built-in biosensors. These sensors send health data from babies to their parents. You can bet that this use of data sets—the health information from the babies themselves—attract parents who want the best for their infants.

Then there’s the start-up Parchment, which analyzes databases of student information—everything from grade point averages to SAT scores to college-acceptance data—to help their clients, students, choose and apply for colleges. The edge that this company provides? It helps students apply to those schools statistically most likely to accept them.

Big data, then, helps both businesses and consumers. It helps consumers make better choices, and it helps those businesses who provide this data gain new customers.

Read more at …

Posted in: Business, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Technology

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Square and Your Business: Match Made in Heaven?

As a small business owner, you want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to pay for your products or services. Square, a credit-card processing service designed for iPhones, iPads and Android-powered devices can help you meet this goal.

But Square, developed by Square, Inc., isn’t free. It will cost you every time you swipe a customer’s credit card through the tiny card reader that attaches to your smartphone or tablet. The question, then, is a big one: Are the benefits of Square worth the extra price you’ll pay on transactions fueled by it?

How it works

The Square reader plugs into the audio port of your smartphone or tablet. When a customer wants to purchase a product or service with a credit card, you simply swipe the card through the reader. Or, you can manually enter the credit-card number on your own. The app that powers this, Square Register, is free. You can download it from the App Store or from the Google Play shop. Once you do, you’re set to start accepting credit-card payments.

The biggest positive of Square

Square is incredibly easy to use. That’s why it’s perfect for overworked small business owners. There is no lengthy instruction book to pore through. There are no complicated installations. This is why Square has become so popular among business owners. A recent story in USA Today reported that more than 800,000 customers are using Square today. The system is also easy for consumers. With it, even the smallest of business owners can accept credit-card transactions. You won’t have to send your customers to the corner ATM for quick cash.

The downside to Square

There are the fees, though. Every time customers swipe their credit cards through your Square Reader, you’ll have to pay 2.75 percent of the transaction cost. If you have to manually enter your customer’s credit-card number, you’ll have to pay Square, Inc. 3.5 percent of the transaction. Entrepreneur Magazine in a recent review of the product also said that human customer support is shaky at best for the product.

Still, even with these cons, it’s hard to deny that Square has the potential to dramatically boost the efficiency of small businesses.

Posted in: Business, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Technology

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Not using LinkedIn to Market Your Business? You’re Missing Out

LinkedIn deserves to be ranked among the big three of social media sites, right alongside Facebook and Twitter. But LinkedIn is actually more important for your small business because unlike its rivals, this social-media site focuses specifically on business.

In other words, you won’t have people on LinkedIn posting about how good their oatmeal tasted this morning.

Stephanie Buck, a writer for Mashable.com, recently wrote an illuminating post about how important it is for businesses to turn to LinkedIn for marketing. Here are some of her key points.

Share your successes

As a small business owner you work hard. You have a right to share your success stories. Besides, promoting your company’s successes will also encourage others to look at your business as a successful, thriving company. That’s good marketing.

Buck recommends that small business owners post regularly about their new product lines, hires, and milestones on LinkedIn. She also recommends that owners include links in these posts to their external websites or to their YouTube channels.

Once business owners post these news bits, their updates will automatically show up on the activity feed on their company overview page and on the homepages of those LinkedIn members who follow them.

Find new workers

If your small business is growing, you’ll undoubtedly need to hire new employees. LinkedIn is a great place to find new workers.

When posting new job announcements on LinkedIn, not only will you be attracting the attention of an ever-growing network of business professionals, you’ll also be telling your fellow business pros that you are, indeed, growing. This, too, is positive marketing for your small business.

Expert advice

Buck also points out another benefit of posting regularly on LinkedIn: You can uncover great advice on both marketing and running a successful business from other pros who’ve already done this.

LinkedIn attracts some of the most successful owners of small businesses in the world, and many of these business pros are happy to share their advice and tips with others. Don’t be shy: Ask your fellow LinkedIn professionals for their tips on how to keep a small business bustling in today’s challenging economy.

Learn more at Mashable.

Posted in: Business, Social Media Marketing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Need Some Brain Food? Follow These People on Twitter

Admit it: Your Twitter friends just aren’t that engaging. They’re wasting your time tweeting about what they ate for breakfast or what happened to their favorite character on their favorite reality show.

You crave more from Twitter. You actually want to learn something.

You’re in luck. Mashable recently ran a list of 25 Twitter accounts that will make you smarter. Need some brain food? Then follow some of these mentally enriching Twitter accounts.

Trivia that matters

Mashable lists Mental Floss first in its list of 25 must-follow Twitter accounts. The @mental_floss account is actually an extension of Mental Floss magazine. The magazine publishes esoteric trivia on a wide range of topics. For instance, the Mental Floss Twitter example published by Mashable states that for several years fine-art competitions were part of the Olympics. Did you know that?

In the same vein is the @GoogleFacts Twitter account. Though this account isn’t actually affiliated with Google, it does provide plenty of offbeat facts to help make you at least seem smarter. Mashable’s example? “You can’t snore and dream at the same time.”

Some words from the experts

Of course, the best Twitter feeds are often from individuals. Fortunately, Mashable found plenty of smart people using Twitter to share their knowledge with the rest of us. One is Neil deGrasse Tyson. He’s an astrophysicist who answers some often strange questions. Again, Mashable provides a great example: Did you know that a fly adds weight to an airplane even if the fly never lands during the plane’s trip?

Elon Musk is plenty interesting, too. He’s the CEO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Motors. He usually tweets about science and statistics. For instance, Mashable points to a recent tweet in which Musk pokes fun at the tobacco industry for saying 30 years ago that scientists still disagree on whether smoking causes cancer even though 98 percent of those scientists said that it did.

The big brains

You can also find plenty of stimulating tweets from the biggest brains at the most important scientific and research organizations across the country. Mashable cited NASA as a prime example. NASA’s tweets were especially relevant during the Mars Curiosity rover landing. You might also be interested in following the Twitter account of DARPA, part of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for developing new military technology.

Read more at Mashable.

Posted in: Business, Social Media Marketing, Tech Tips for Business Owners

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Facing an Emergency? Turn to These Apps

These are dangerous times. Mother Nature is unleashing droughts and record-setting high temperatures. It seems a new tornado is ripping through the Midwest every day. And those are just the big emergencies. What if you lock yourself out of your car when your toddler’s stuck inside it?

Fortunately, there’s a whole class of apps that can help you deal with emergencies big and small.

Here is a closer look at three of these apps that might be able to bail you out in case of an emergency.

AroundMe

AroundMe has been around for a while, but it remains a top locator app. With it, you can find everything from the nearest gas station to the nearest bank.

It’s easy, too, to see how AroundMe might help in case of an emergency.

Say your toddler is sick, you’re in a strange city, and you need to find a hospital as soon as possible. Just log onto the app, click the category that you need — in this case, “Hospital” — and find the nearest medical provider to you.

It’s little surprise that many consumers consider AroundMe to be a must-have app.

CPR & Choking

The name of this app says it all: CPR & Choking will give you tips and full-fledged lessons on how to deal with a person who is choking or who is not breathing. It can be especially handy if you’ve never taken CPR classes or have forgotten what you’ve learned.

This app, which is free, was developed by the University of Washington and King County EMS to save lives. It contains a variety of videos that tell you exactly what to do if someone you know is in the middle of a medical emergency or cardiac event.

There aren’t too many apps that can save a life. CPR & Choking is one of them.

Emergency Radio Free

What if there’s an armed criminal on the loose in your community? What if a tornado has been spotted?

You can stay informed with Emergency Radio Free, an app that lets you access hundreds of police, fire, weather, and other live emergency radio feeds from around the country.

It’s easy, too, to identify and tune into radio feeds in your specific community. You can also save radio feeds to a favorites area so that you can access them quickly should an emergency strike.

Of course, no app, no matter how impressive, will be able to protect you completely from harm should danger arise. These apps, though, will give you the chance to be better prepared should an emergency strike.

Read more at CNET.

Posted in: Business, Disaster Recovery, Mobile Computing, Tech Tips for Business Owners, Technology

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