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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!

Smarter Google Searches

Nowadays we rarely type in a URL into the address bar of our browsers. More often than not we just type in the name of the site or simply what we are looking for into the address bar. Doing this kicks off a Google search for what you are looking for and most of the time you do find exactly what you are looking for. For those times when you just can’t seem to get the correct Google search results, here are several tips to help improve your Google searches. Depending on what you are looking for there are several different characters and strings (words) you can add to your search to pinpoint your results.

By typing “Site:”  into the search bar, Google will search just that particular website. For example, if you search “Site:boston.com Patriots”, Google will search the website www.boston.com for anything about the Patriots.

Entering in a ~ (tilde) character will search words that are related to the word proceeding the tilde. For example if you search “~chairs”, your results will contain things like chairs, stools, seats, benches, etc.

Entering in “___” (quotes) will search for that specific phrase instead of searching each word separately. For example searching for “ring tones” will not return results where the word ring is immediately followed by the word tones.

Entering in a - (minus) character will omit the proceeding word from your search result. For example, if you search for pie recipes -blueberry, your search query will contain all kinds of pies recipes except for blueberry.

Entering in “..” (two periods) in between two dates will search for items of relevance in between those two dates. For example searching for “great books 1900..1950”, will populate results of great books written between 1900 and 1950.

Using all or multiple of these techniques in a search can yield very accurate search results saving you lots of time. For example, if you are searching for Boston Globe articles about test scores in college, but not the SATs, written between  2011 and 2013, you can enter the search, “site:bostonglobe.com ~college “test scores” –SAT 2011..2013”. By using all methods aforementioned you will find exactly what you are looking for. 

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Which Browser is Right for You?

In this day and age of competitive computing, we see a lot software manufacturers coming up with their own versions of existing programs. The web browser is a perfect example of this because not only does each operating system ship with its favorite browser but software manufacturers push and push for consumers to download and install their browser. The three most popular are Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome.

Now most of you know Internet Explorer pretty well. This is the browser that ships standard with all Windows operating systems. Many people know it as the big blue E. But why is this browser so widely used and what makes it so special? Internet Explorer is built and maintained by Microsoft so obviously if they want to roll out an operating system they are going to include they’re own browser. Because Windows is currently the most widely used operating system, Internet Explorer is on the majority of computers in the world. Businesses will often choose to use Internet Explorer because of the fact that many web based applications will only work with that browser. Due to differences in coding it can often be difficult to make everything work in every browser. But on the other hand, some people find that Internet Explorer does not fit their needs basically because of how simple it is. That is where other browsers come in to fill the void.

Mozilla Firefox is another widely used web browser and is shipped with almost all Linux operating systems. Users seem to like Firefox because of how versatile it is. Mozilla offers a wide range of add-ons developed by third parties that can turn a simple web browser into your favorite hacking tool or your best friend when it comes to web development. Firefox also offers an easy to navigate user interface without taking away from its functionality. Tools and options are right at your fingertips and customization is extremely easy. While Internet Explorer restricts itself to only run on Windows machines, Firefox is built to work on just about any platform including mobile devices.  With this kind of versatility how can anyone say no to this amazing tool?

Google Chrome is somewhat new to the market but it seems to be head to head with Firefox. Chrome offers all the same versatility you get with Firefox and some will say it just simply functions better. Chrome has plenty of add-ons to turn your browser into a helpful tool for whatever type of business you do. But what sets it aside from Firefox? Not much at all really. Aside from menu structure and a few user interface related changes chrome functions in much the same way as Firefox.

It seems to come down to how you want your browser to look and function but no one has the right answer for everyone. Each user has their own preferences and will therefore have their own favorite browser. Who’s to say Firefox is better than Internet Explorer or Chrome is better than Firefox. It is a matter of opinion in most cases and that opinion is often based on how the browser looks and feels to that user. If you have any questions about what browser is right for you and your business, give us a call here at Machado Consulting, and let us analyze your work day and see if we can find you a good fit.

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Virus, Malware, and Email Protection

Virus, Malware, and email Protection           

You may have seen advertisements for programs or other services that say they will protect your PC from viruses and malware. You may have also read a previous blog article by us about what exactly malware is and how you can get infected. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to protect your computer from hackers and forms of software that are trying to harm your computer. Some people are often afraid to click links and conduct daily business because they don’t know if what they are clicking is legitimate or not. Imagine being able to use your computer to its full potential without having to worry about all of this. That is exactly what we offer here at Machado Consulting. Let us worry about your security so you don’t have to.

            We offer a comprehensive security suite that will guard every path viruses and malware have to access your computer. By combining our email spam filtering with our anti-virus protection, you will never have to worry about infection. The majority of security threats that come through email are links to downloads that the emails claim you must click on in order to complete some task. Our spam filter will look for these emails and if it finds anything it will quarantine them and notify you of the emails. This allows you to review the emails that were filtered before accepting them and allowing them into your computer. This extra layer of security has deterred many cyber criminals due to the fact that their methods just do not work. If there are spam messages coming through to your email you may want to contact us. Once the filter is in place you will see a considerable decrease in the amount of illegitimate emails you have to wade through on a daily basis. We are able to monitor and alter your email’s black and white lists as well. Feel free to contact us at any time to discuss options for your company.

            What about the viruses and malware that are all over the internet? This is where our virus/malware software comes in to play. We employ a piece of software that will constantly monitor your systems and block intrusions over all protocols. If the software finds something, it first attempts to block it, which in most cases it will without requiring any intervention from you. If the software can not immediately remove the threat it will quarantine it and notify you that in order to completely remove it you must reboot your system. The software will also notify our team if an intrusion was detected. So not only do we have software looking out for you but our entire team forms a barrier against malware and viruses.

            If you’re sitting there worried about what you can and can’t click, we can assure you, you are not working as efficiently as you could be. With our security suite in place we take the worry off of you and put it on ourselves so that you can work at peak performance. Let us be your watchdog so you can concentrate on the important things in your business. Give us a call at 508-453-4700 or shoot us an email at so we can explore your options and get you the security you need.

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A Better Way to Protect your Kids

Qustodio - A Better Way to Protect your KidsIn today’s digital age, keeping track of your children’s browsing habits can be a tough task to handle. Qustodio is a software program that makes it easy to protect your kids while on the web. It helps you understand and manage how and when your kids use the internet while protecting against bad things online. You can understand which websites are visited, block dangerous or adult content, see who they talk to while online, protect their identity, and manage how and when they can be online.

There are plenty of software applications out there that have some type of parental control and each one sports a different set of feature sets. Qustodio is great because it involves almost no effort once you set it up. It may take 30 minutes or so to install and set up the rules, but once it’s configured, the system is ready to safely protect all members of the family. The program goes beyond its ease of use and has one advantage over most: free of cost. While there is a “Premium” option, many of the features can be configured with the free version but not everything is reported back to you in the summary.

Qustodio easily installs on any device you want to protect or monitor with a simple install package. It is fully functional for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. The monitoring dashboard is intuitive and easily gives you the information you need at a glance. This dashboard is where most of the changes you make are made. You can specify which account to modify and individually change blocked keywords, websites, or applications. Another awesome feature is the time management schedule. As a parent, you can specify when the internet is available using a simple weekly grid schedule. Times that are highlighted are when the child can browse online.

Most software programs have webpage protection that blocks access to a certain site. The problem with that is that sometimes only the main or homepage is blocked and not the content within it. Qustodio’s technology inspects all pages viewed in real time so nothing escapes supervision. When it comes to social networking or chat applications, most products again only offer black and white protection on certain keywords or phrases, block specific applications, and fail to tell you what happens inside. Qustodio is able to tell you who your kids are friends with, who they are talking to most, what kind of content they share, and even alerts against suspicious conversations: cyberbullying, sexting, online predators, etc.

Easy, superior, and free, Qustodio is the best product to protect and safely instill good practices and browsing habits online.

 

http://www.qustodio.com/

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How Can Mal-Ware Infect Your PC?

How can Malware Infect your PC?

In this day and age of business and home computing, there are bound to be people who try to use technology as a weapon. With the internet available to a large amount of the world, the possibility of someone trying to steal information is quite high. But how do they do it? There are many different types of software that can accomplish this task for cyber criminals. They will often write viruses, spyware, or mal-ware to infect your computer with and send information back to them. The internet is full of pieces of software like this that users will often download and install without knowing what risk they are putting themselves in.

But how can you avoid installing these applications? They are often installed directly by the user without them knowing what they are installing. Installing screensavers, toolbars, and other nifty things from untrusted sources can often cause an infection. It is important to make sure you have not only some type of anti-virus software on your computer but an anti-malware software for further protection. These will both constantly scan your computer and warn you if they notice anything out of the ordinary. You must also make sure that this anti-virus software is of good quality, otherwise it may miss something and you will get infected anyway.

Mal-ware can also be included in reputable applications. For instance, when you install an internet browser, during the install it may ask you if you would also like to install a toolbar or some other type of software. This is called bundleware and you can avoid installing it by simply reading the prompt when installing software and not just clicking next, next, next. Once mal-ware has infected your PC it can cause a more disastrous infection by downloading and installing malicious software all by itself. So if you think you are infected it is imperative that you have a professional look at your PC to make sure you are safe from threats.

Another type of mal-ware you will want to be aware of is called scareware. Have you ever gone to website and seen “Your computer may be infected with a virus click here to remove it now”? Clicking links such as this will download and install software that you might think will remove the virus but in reality your computer was never infected and this program is a virus itself. Scareware can also trick you into compromising your system by deleting files it needs to operate properly.

According to an article on How-To-Geek they purchased a brand new PC with no type of antivirus software or anything to protect it and they started surfing the web and installing application and tools that looked legitimate. After only two and a half hours of normal use the computer was already significantly infected. This shows that not only is it possible for a PC to be infected, but it can also happen very quickly.

Keep all this in mind while you are using your computer in the future so as to avoid being infected. Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your PC. Such as McAfee, Symantec, or Microsoft Security Essentials. Lastly if you think you are infected contact a professional to take a look and remove any malicious software and to make sure you are protected against the new threats that are coming out every day.

Machado Consulting offers anti-virus and anti-malware protection at a very low monthly cost. You can also bundle these products with our email spam protection to cover all of the desktops and laptops in your office. Call us anytime for further details!

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