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Machado Consulting's News You Can Use

Welcome to our blog where you can find everything from tech-tips to keeping your data secure. Have any questions? We'd love to hear from you!

USB Connectors - Change is Upon Us

USB Connectors - Change is Upon Us

The future of connectors is finally seeing the light of day. How many times have you had to inspect your laptop or smartphone’s connection port to make sure you are plugging in a cord the correct way? These days are numbered. A new connector is hitting the market and it goes by the name USB Type-C, and you guessed it, it’s reversible.

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Warning! For all those using Internet Explorer!

For anyone using Internet Explorer, please be aware of the security flaw just acknowledged by Microsoft. This Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution. According to Microsoft, the attacks have been launched against IE users tricked into visiting malicious websites. Such attacks, dubbed "drive-bys," are among the most dangerous because a vulnerable browser can be hacked as soon as its user surfs to the URL.

Please visit the links below for more information to protect yourself.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247940/Hackers_find_first_post_retirement_Windows_XP_related_vulnerability

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/2963983.aspx

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Windows XP Support to be Discontinued

Hardware and Security Support for Windows XP will be ending April 8, 2014. If you are running XP, you will no longer receive security updates which will leave your Windows system susceptible to threats. Support and security updates for Office 2003 will also be discontinued. Machado Consulting has conducted an operating system audit on behalf of all of our clients and will be contacting each of them to discuss their options. In some cases, only an upgrade to either Windows 7 or 8.1 is required, in other cases we will suggest purchasing new hardware. We have included Microsoft’s response to the discontinuation of Windows XP and Office 2003 below. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to give Machado Consulting a call at 508-453-4700 or email us at

What is end of support?

After 12 years, support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014. There will be no more security updates or technical support for the Windows XP operating system. It is very important that customers and partners migrate to a modern operating system such as Windows 8.1. Customers moving to a modern operating system will benefit from dramatically enhanced security, broad device choice for a mobile workforce, higher user productivity, and a lower total cost of ownership through improved management capabilities.

Support for Office 2003 also ends on April 8, 2014.

What does this mean?

It means you should take action. After April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for Windows XP. Security updates fix vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware and help keep users and their data safer. PCs running Windows XP after April 8, 2014, should not be considered to be protected, and it is important that you migrate to a current supported operating system – such as Windows 8.1 – so you can receive regular security updates to protect their computer from malicious attacks.

Read the Windows lifecycle fact sheet to learn more.

Potential risks of staying with Windows XP

Running Windows XP SP3 in your environment after April 8, 2104 may expose you to potential risks, such as:

Security:
Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported.

Compliance:
Businesses that are governed by regulatory obligations such as HIPAA may find that they are no longer able to satisfy compliance requirements. More information on HHS’s view on the security requirements for information systems that contain electronic protected health information (e-PHI) can be found here (HHS HIPAA FAQ - Security Rule).

Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Support:
Many software vendors will no longer support their products running on Windows XP as they are unable to receive Windows XP updates. For example, the new Office takes advantage of the modern Windows and will not run on Windows XP.

Hardware Manufacturer support:
Most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on existing and new hardware. This will also mean that drivers required to run Windows XP on new hardware may not be available.

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A Lesson on WiFi Security from the Sochi Winter Olympics

As thousands of athletes descended upon Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics, they were not only competing against each other for the gold, but they were also competing against hackers for the security of their personal data. What can we learn about network security from the Winter Olympics?

At the start of the games, NBC did an investigation on the prominence of hacking in Russia. What they found was startling. Basically, as soon as a device is connected to public WiFi, it is hacked. This isn't your garden-variety hack that we're dealing with. No, this is KGB-level intelligence that has the capabilities to steal secrets of even the most well-guarded figure skating routine. That's right: the Russian hackers knew exactly how many triple axels you had planned, Ms. Ashley Wagner. Visitors to the winter games needed to take as much care with the security of their mobile devices as figure skaters do with sequin.

If you don't believe us, then listen to the mahogany-rich voice of NBC golden boy Brian Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXihFawHXBkYikes!

Russia isn't the only place that a mobile device user is at risk when logging onto public WiFi. Essentially, any WiFi network has the potential for a hacker to be lurking on the other end and this risk dramatically increases at high-profile events like the Olympics, or even a busy shopping center in Upstate New York. Unless you really trust the place or the people around you, you are best served to only use secured WiFi connections.

One option a traveling smartphone user has that will let them still use the basic tools of the device, while at a risky location, is to go to settings and put the device on "airplane mode". This will allow a user to use all of their phone's functions that aren't dependent upon an Internet connection.

You likely have a network security solution in place for your company's IT infrastructure. You will also want to install a security solution on your mobile device to prevent hackers from accessing your personal data. Preferably, you will want a strong mobile security solution that can stay in front of the hacker's attacks.

However, as is the nature with digital security, even the best solution will fail if a user is uneducated about how to protect themselves from the tricks of hackers like public WiFi traps. To learn more about how to protect your mobile device from threats and to equip your mobile device with a strong security solution give Machado Consulting a call at 508-453-4700.

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Technology I’m grateful for

It’s amazing to think that almost 15 years ago now the first DVR (digital video recorder) came into the world of television and changed everything we knew about it. I can remember waiting to go to the bathroom while watching the big game with my dad or rushing over to a friend’s house to watch our favorite shows. Now it’s exactly that, a memory. DVR’s have become an integral part of everyone’s lives. Setting a certain show to record automatically so you never miss it, pause the TV, rewind all the good parts, or to simply record to skip right through the commercials are all now considered the norm when approaching television.

TiVo and ReplayTV were the commercial pioneers to path the way for this way of life all the way back in 1999. Essentially, a DVR is a glorified hard drive specifically used to capture video from your device and store it for you viewing pleasure whenever you want. Once the trend started to ignite, it almost instantly made other media viewing platform obsolete. The DVR adoption has rapidly accelerated in recent years: in January 2006, ACNielsen recorded 1.2% of U.S. households having a DVR but by February 2011, this number had grown to 42.2% of viewers in the United States (taken from Wiki). This number will only continue to grow until the next big thing comes along. With companies already putting out SmartTV’s, that day could be right around the corner.

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