Why we should be taking the “new” malware more seriously.

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You have to LOVE technology today.  Computers have reached lightning speeds (at least for the next few months), pictures are clearer, files are smaller and viruses are smarter…..WAIT..WHAT!!!??

It is a long standing attitude that as humans we must “Take the good with the bad”.  This encompasses all areas of life, love and indeed technology.  Computers have indeed become much smaller, faster more portable etc and with all of these great leaps has come the downside…malware.  Malware is as Wikipedia states:

Malware, short for malicious software, is software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. It can appear in the form of code, scripts, active content, and other software.’Malware’ is a general term used to refer to a variety of forms of hostile or intrusive software.”

The lion’s share of digital baddies were being coded by “deviants” in the basements of homes from South America to Asia for many years.  Since THIS ARTICLE things have changed a bit and Romania is now seen as the world leader in the creation of malware as well as hacking and hacking tools. Make no mistake my little digits..this is big business.  As THIS WHITE PAPER states:

“According to some estimates, cybercriminals who use malware to steal credit card information
and other personal data cost the global economy as much as $1 trillion dollars a
year.  For individual businesses, that boils down to an average cost of $3.8 million
spent responding to, mitigating, and cleaning up after a cyber attack.4 The average
loss for customers affected by malware is estimated to be more than $1,000 per incident…”

One major issue is that because it is so profitable there are more and more coders coming onboard to load up the internet with 1′s and 0′s designed to take your computer out, steal info or lie in waiting to hold it for ransom as has been seen lately with the CryptoLocker virus .  This virus is no joke!! Yes the virus can be removed but the decrypting of your files is the real issue here.  The virus encrypts your files with a RSA 2048 encryption that must be unlocked with a private key.  This is the hardest form of encryption to date meaning impossible ( or next to it) to break.  With the release of CryptoLocker the bar has been raised and in the world of hacking this means someone is gonna attempt a Fosbury Flop to gain back the street cred ( as it were).

I am not going to insult your intelligence by telling you all the things you should do to make sure your computer is protected ie. updates, install anti-virus, don’t visit shady sites etc.  What I WILL do is tell you that even if the virus is caught and removed you should have the computer checked out at least once a year by a professional with tools to make sure there is nothing else lurking below the radar.  In hacking we have a term “honeypot” which is a computer set up to look like it has a bunch of important information to distract hackers.  The same is true for some forms of malware in that your antivirus gets rid of one but there are more that go undetected thanks to the “sacrificial lamb” virus you so proudly cast to the fires of hell.  In short be dilligent and spend the money to make sure you don’t lose all your info worth ( insert cost of all pics and documents lost here not including tears and shrieks of horror after telling your spouse or boss) to something that could have been avoided.

w00t!

 

 

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Posted in Malware

Todays tools of the trade…not your grandfathers old pen and paper!

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Approximately 33 per cent of Canadian adults used a smartphone in 2012, a recent Google report suggests that percentage is up in 2013 by an astounding amount.  In fact eight in ten respondents stated they do not leave the house without their smartphone.  Nearly 80 percent of smartphone users stated they use their device to keep in the loop on some form of social media. Canadians spend more than 41 hours per month online on their PC representing the second highest across the globe, and they rank first in terms of monthly pages and visits per visitor (Source theexchange.ca). All of this should not be lost on a small business trying to find a way to leverage todays technology and create new contacts and hence new clientele.  I don’t believe for a second there is a business person out there that does not understand the value of a smartphone and all it can do…oh wait maybe I DO!!

I often find myself (usually as an afterthought on the client’s end) explaining some new app or facet of a smartphone at the end of a visit with a client.  Some clients just don’t understand what the smartphone actually is and others just want a phone with text capability and all that is well and good except they are truly missing the point of their smartphone altogether. The smart/super phone of today is the result of demands placed on the manufacturers by their customers who openly state one way or another what they WANT and NEED in their portable devices (let us not forget the tablet market as well).  If you are like a large number of smartphone users you likely do the most common things with it:

* Phone

* Email

* Text

* Web access

* Pictures

 Here is what I have used my smartphone for in the last 6 months:

* Phone

* Email

* Text

* Web access

* Pictures

* Faxed a document

* Live video feed stream (from my phone to a website with a private channel)

* Skype to United States (free call)

* Move files from one PC to another

* Upload PDF (created on smartphone) to webstorage for “anywhere” access

* TV remote

* Stream video and pictures to television

* Created and emailed a grocery list (using only product barcodes)

* Traffic tracking tool (used an app to tell me where accidents and slowdowns were)

* Paid for my Starbucks ™

* Found the name of a song after an annoying earworm ( by playing the song into the smartphone)

* Turned a document into an updatable QR code

* A flashlight

* Viewed the wireless cameras set up in my home

* Controlled my office computer over the internet

* Language Translator and thesaurus

* Voice Recorder ( for translation to text and to make verbal notes)

* Wifi analyzer

* URL shortener  (for my Twitter postings)

* Print documents to my office printer while on a train

 This list is indeed exhaustive, my point however is that I am utilizing so much more of the smartphones capabilities to help my clients as well as myself do the necessary day to day activities as well as some extraneous goodies.  There is a world of other apps and capabilities I discover almost on a daily basis and these I relay to my clients if I know they would benefit from them.  Taking into consideration that my area of business and expertise does demand I keep up with current technology, this notwithstanding many of the uses I just mentioned could translate into anyone’s business and personal life.

 Meeting a client for the first time in a sushi restaurant, then brush up with SuShi.  Need to know what traffic is like a few km ahead..then open up Waze.  These and many more pure productivity tools are available (most for free) for Android, iPhone and Windows smartphones and tablets.  Keep in mind you don’t have to be a huge corporation to have your own app for these smartphones.  There are many resources out there to help you write your own as well as programmers ( like myself) that can write the app for you for less than you may think.

Take the leap!  Release yourself from the shackles of complacency!  Talk to myself or someone in the know about what your smartphone capabilities are and have them help you figure out what apps and widgets will help you get the most out of your day as well as your smartphone.  In the coming months I will be hosting several workshops on smart/superphone use with the goal of showing people how to utilize these wonders of modern technology. Bookmark my webpage or follow me on twitter @Parametech to stay informed of new technology, apps and business technology updates.

w00t!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Todays Technology

Parametech Remastered

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Welcome to the newly remastered Parametech I.T. Solutions website (formerly Parametech OnSite Computer Technicians).  If you are one of the clients we have serviced over the last 11 years then you are no doubt surprised by the changes that have taken place.  My name is Chris Marlatt and I am the owner of Parametech.  I am quite proud of what Parametech has grown to become in the last 11 years through hard work, dedication and a client-centered attitude.  I have seen my company grow from my first client to the hundreds we now satisfy.  So let me tell you a little about myself.

I was born and raised in Toronto and even at a young age knew I had an aptitude for technology.  From my first time using a PET computer to the time I graduated from Sheridan College as a Programmer Analyst I was sure I would find my way into the technology arena.  I have worked in several different industries where client service and trust were of utmost importance and the computer/technology industry is no different.  If anything I have found that in the technology arena you have to keep your wits about you, make informed decisions and be able to work under enormous pressure when necessary….I LOVE MY JOB!!

I am accomplished in several areas of I.T. such as:

geekglasses Computer Repair/Maintenance

geekglasses Networking

geekglasses Network security (white hat hacking)

geekglasses Trouble shooting Windows Operating System

geekglasses Training for Microsoft Office, Windows, SmartPhone and more..(just ask)

Well these are a good start to the many areas Parametech can help a home user, SOHO or small business with.

In 11 years Parametech has done just about everything a small business or SOHO would need from setting up an office to helping a business find COST EFFECTIVE technology solutions to run that office as efficiently as possible.  Need to print your documents in Windsor when your office is in Toronto…no problem, need to make sure you can access your office computers and/or data from anywhere in the world…no problem, we have done it all!  With a Parametech as your I.T. admin you know you are getting the best most efficient solution introduced into your operation at the lowest cost possible.

Contact me at 519.823.3777, if nothing else you get to say you talked to THE UberGeek!

Posted in Our Site