Et Tu SSL?
- Wednesday, 11 June 2014 19:52
~~Et tu SSL?
Last month the tech world was filled with stories about the Heartbleed bug. The Heartleed bug was called one of the more serious breaches in security in recent times. What makes is scarier is that the breadth of its impact won’t be exactly known since it went undetected for such a long time and it was in a form of encryption that was thought to be safe and unbreakable: SSL and TLS
At TRA Consulting, we stay on top of the latest Technology trends and security news to help and serve our customers the best we can. Whether you have a big or small office, or are just a home user, we help all our customers achieve peace of mind knowing that their computer and private data is safe from prying eyes. At TRA Consulting we server the Long Beach area, as well as the Southbay, Orange County, and the Greater Los Angeles Area.
SSL Stands for Secure Socket Layer. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. Most people might not be familiar with this, but if you’ve ever bought something online, you’ve used SSL/TLS. SSL/TLS is used to encrypt websites, such as online stores, email accounts, online banking sites, and government websites. The way that you know if you are in an encrypted website using SSL would be to look at the address bar and notice that the URL (Usually starts with an http://) will now start with an https://. Seeing that was a subconscious sigh of relief in a world full of cyber hacking data breaches. The Heartbleed bug was not a problem in SSL, but in fact, it was in the implementation of it in the OpenSSL Project.
With a bug like this that it completely out of your hands, you might think that there is no way to prevent your computer from being vulnerable, and you might be mostly right. However, there are a few things you can do to neutralize the damage wrought by the heartbleed bug.
First of all, change all of your passwords. If your passwords were compromised, the first thing you should do is to replace them and get new ones. This will neutralize most of the damage the bug could have caused you. Even though the bug has been known for some time, there are still websites out there that haven’t patched it and if you are using them, you are exposing yourself to a security risk. One thing you can do to prevent that is to use the Chrome extension called Chromebleed. It lets you know if the site that you are visiting is still being afflicted by the heartbleed bug.
There are many security risks out there, many that you can prevent, others that are out of your hands. The best way to keep your private data private is to never connect to the internet. But in this day and age that is nearly impossible. Next to that, the best way is taking preventative measures to bolster your computer and network security. At TRA Consulting we pride ourselves in doing just that, helping you keep your data secure. Contact us today.
Windows 7 vs Windows 8(.1)
- Tuesday, 10 June 2014 21:20
~~Ever since Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP, there has been some confusion as to which is the better operating system to upgrade to: Windows 7 or Windows 8.
The consensus is that Windows 7 is the most robust operating system Microsoft has released since Windows XP. It’s more aesthetically pleasing due to its simplicity and the Aero look glass-like transparency of windows and task bar; more secure due to the bugs fixed since Windows Vista and the more user-friendly User Account Control; simpler to use since it still has the Windows Start Menu and everything is pretty much where they were in previous iterations of Windows.
At TRA Consulting, we pride ourselves in not only helping you fix your computer and network problems, but also in helping you make the transition to newer technologies. If you need help upgrading your Home or Office computer or network, contact us and we’ll swiftly and gladly help you. We service the Long Beach area, as well as the Southbay, Orange, and Greater Los Angeles area.
The biggest gripe the masses have with Windows 8 is the lack of a Start Button and Menu. I do agree that the lack of a Start Button takes some getting used to, almost like you are learning to use a new operating system. The fact of the matter is, that if you take away the desktop from Windows 8, what you have left is Windows RT, the operating system for Windows tablets like Surface and Surface 2 (and the upcoming Surface 3). Side note, the Pro version of these tablets come with full Windows 8, which include a desktop, so it feels like a regular laptop. What Microsoft took away with the legacy Start Button, they instead added access to their new operating system as well as the windows store and their apps. Microsoft listened to the people who said they missed the legacy start button by including it with the release of their 8.1 update, although it did not bring back the legacy start menu. I believe that was a smart move by Microsoft since the legacy start menu would be redundant and clunky, especially on touchscreen devices.
Last, but not least, is the relative faster speed at which windows 8 runs on a computer compared to Windows 7. There have been benchmark tests done comparing the two and windows 8 comes ahead by a slight margin. Some of the reasons why Windows 8 is slightly faster is because windows 8 was made with tablets in mind. Tablets are smaller and mobile, so they cannot have the same horsepower as desktops or laptops, and they need to be energy efficient to not drain battery life. Windows 8 also doesn’t have the gpu resource-hog of Aero glass. This gives Windows 8 a more flat look, but at the same time helps to make switching from the regular desktop to Windows apps very fast and smooth.
Each version of Windows has their advantages and drawbacks, and choosing one is a matter of preference. Despite what you choose, at TRA Consulting we can help you maintain your computer safe from viruses and your data protected from hackers. We service the Long Beach, Orange, Southbay, and Greater Los Angeles Area. Give us a call today!
- Friday, 02 May 2014 05:16
~~Microsoft is not having a good month security wise. First of all, their stopping support for their very popular Windows XP OS created a security nightmare for a lot of people who have yet to upgrade their windows XP machines. Secondly, there has been a new flaw in Internet Explorer that has yet to be patched. This new bug has been called the scariest in recent times. If a hacker is able to exploit that weakness, they are able to take over your computer and see everything you are doing. The scary thing is that a lot of bank computers, including ATM’s, that use Windows and rely on internet explorer to go to the internet. This means that there are a lot of computers out there that can be hacked by a cyber attacker.
The scariest scenario is the intersection of those two problems; Windows XP computers with Internet Explorer. The reason is that not only Windows XP is vulnerable because it has not received windows updates since the beginning of April, but compounding it with the internet explorer flaw and the fact that since XP is not going to get the patch for this internet explorer bug, this makes XP users with Internet explorer primed to be hacked at almost any moment. If you are one of these people who have not yet upgraded to Windows 7, please give TRA Consulting a call. We can help you figure out the best option for you to upgrade to a more secure operating system at a price that fits your budget. At TRA Consulting we service the Long Beach, Orange County, Southbay, and greater Los Angeles area. TRA Consulting specializes in small business and home users pc and network security. Call us today.
Though it is imperative that you migrate out of XP into an operating system that is more secure, there are a few things that can be done as a band-aid solution to mitigate this massive security vulnerability.
First, make sure that you have an antivirus program installed and that it had the definitions updated. Make sure to also run a full scan at least once a week
Secondly, use a browser other than Internet Explorer to browse the internet. There are many options out there, like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari, Dolphin Browser, etc. Many of these are much safer than Internet Explorer, and some like Google Chrome have java and flash already installed when you download them.
Thirdly, be careful when opening emails, especially if they have attachments. The most popular way for hackers to infect and take over your computer is to send you and email with either an infected attachment that will help them take over your computer when you open it, or it will contain a link that when you click on it, it will send you to a fake website that will ask you for your personal information (phishing). This is more common with elderly and less experienced computer users.
If you need help strengthening your computer and network security, TRA Consulting is here for you.
Paths To Upgrade
- Tuesday, 22 April 2014 07:47
~~Incredibly there are still many people who have yet to migrate away from the outdated and no longer secure Windows XP. It is no surprise that I have been receiving more spam and phishing emails coming to my personal inbox from people in my contact list. You’ve probably seen them; it’s the one where the email subject says “NEWS!!” and the body of the email contains a shady looking link. I know better than to open that email, much less to click on that link. It seems like a coincidence that the increase of these spam and phishing emails happened just the week after Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP. The more time passes, the more of a security risk XP becomes.
There are different paths to upgrading your XP Computer. At TRA Consulting we can help you figure out the best solutions for your needs and budget.
The most common path I’ve seen people go is to upgrade their windows XP machine to Windows 7, since Windows 7 is a more polished and refined operating system from Microsoft than Windows 8 or Vista. In fact, I recommend to NOT upgrade to Vista if you have XP. Even if you already have Vista in your computer, I recommend to upgrade out of it, possibly to windows 7.
Upgrading to a newer operating system is not as easy as point and click. It is a very destructive process that should only be done after a complete and thorough data backup. Also, you need to make sure that your computer’s hardware can run a newer operating system. The System specifications for Windows XP and Windows 7 are very different. A computer running XP might not be able to run Windows 7, or if it does, it might do so at a reduced capacity. In that case, a hardware upgrade might be necessary. Most of the time, upgrading the memory (RAM) or the hard drive will solve that problem. If that is not enough, then it would be wiser to upgrade the motherboard, or simply just buy a new computer. At TRA Consulting, we have many years’ experience upgrading computers hardware and Operating systems. We can help you figure out and implement the fastest, easiest, and economical solutions for your much needed upgrade.
Another option is upgrading to Windows 8. Windows 8 is the newest operating system by Microsoft, and includes some major changes from previous Operating Systems. First of all, it includes the Metro interface. This replaced the typical Start menu in Windows, and it is composed of a tiled screen where you can see all your desktop applications as well as Windows Store apps. Microsoft made Windows 8 to be more Touchscreen friendly than keyboard friendly. However, with the past couple of major updates, windows 8.1 has now become more of a regular pc friendly Operating system.
We know that there are a lot of options out there when it comes to computers. Let TRA Consulting help you decide what the best option for you is. Whether you are upgrading your operating system, your computer, or even your network, we can help make that transition easier for you.
Time to switch
- Wednesday, 09 April 2014 08:33
~~If you are reading this in a windows XP computer (hopefully not), then the time has ran out. Today Microsoft officially ends support for the 13 year old operating system, making this once popular operating system a security risk. There are many people who don’t know about this or are choosing to ignore it, but this is a real threat to the security of your pc and your data.
There are many reasons why people are unwilling to move to a newer operating system than Windows XP. Some of them are Time, Money, and Knowledge. Upgrading your computer to a newer operating system takes time to do. People are busy to do it for themselves. Offices don’t have the manpower to do it themselves, so they fall behind in keeping up with Security. This leads me to the second reason why some people still have not upgraded from Windows XP, knowledge. Some people are not aware of Windows XP no longer receiving support starting today. They have no idea what it means. If their computer works and they can still use it, why fix it if it’s not broke? Honestly, they are right in some sense, but having an outdated Operating System with no support is like a ticking time bomb; it is bound to hurt you if you do not do something about it soon. If you are still running windows XP and you don’t have the time to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8, give us a call and we can take care of that for you. We server the Long Beach, Southbay, Orange County, and the Greater Los Angeles Area.
In my IT career, I’ve seen numerous home users ignore Windows Updates, thinking that they are a nuisance. I’ve had to explain to them how important they are and that a computer that does not stay up to date is more likely to and be infected with malware and viruses. A computer with Malware and Viruses is a slow computer, and that it something everyone wants to avoid. It seems that for home users, speed is more of a concern than security. It is a more measurable quality of a computer than security, so that angle hits home with home users (pun intended).
Businesses need the most secure network as possible since they are bigger targets for hackers and cyber attackers. Just like a chain, a network is just as strong as its weakest link. Having Windows XP in any computer in an office is not only weakening your network security, but it is almost like inviting a cyber-attacker to exploit such vulnerability. Having and keeping secure multiple computers in an office is hard work to maintain. Upgrading them out of Windows XP can get expensive. Fortunately, TRA Consulting is here to help you make that transition as fast, seamless and economical as possible. We have many years of not only upgrading computers, but also repairing and maintaining them. We serve the Long Beach, Orange County, South Bay and Los Angeles Area. Contact us today!