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Tag Archives: network security

Time to switch

~~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!
 

Zero-Day Attack

~~Recently, there’s been news that Microsoft has found out that there have been zero-day attacks focused on a vulnerability on Microsoft Word 2010. It was originally spotted in Word 2010, but it also affects other versions, like Word 2003, 2007, 2013, 2013RT, Office for Mac, and Web apps. This happens when an attacker uses a malicious RTF file (or email in Outlook) configured to open with Microsoft Word as the email viewer. Because Word is set to be the default email viewer in Office 2007 through 2013, these are the most likely vulnerable to this threat. Microsoft has not released a path addressing this issue yet, but it has plans to do so by April 8th, which happens to coincide with the last day that they will be supporting Windows XP and Office 2003. Until then, there is a fix-it in their knowledge base, which they recommend people use until the patch is released. What the fix says is to disable opening RTF files with Word.
Wikipedia defines the term Zero-day attack as an “attack or threat…that exploits a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application, one that developers have had no time to address and patch.” In this case, Microsoft found out that this vulnerability was being exploited when it was reported by Office users, which means that Microsoft had no idea of this vulnerability until it was brought to their attention by users who had been already hacked. This exploit allows the hacker to have the same rights as the current user, meaning that if the user is logged in as an administrator, they hacker will have administrator’s rights as well. The attacker can then do as he/she pleases, delete data, uninstall programs, and even create other user accounts, without you knowing until it’s too late. Although there is no patch for this exploit yet, it is important to keep up with news regarding computer security and to apply any fixes regarding this vulnerability and to keep checking updates for all your computer software.
If you don’t want to be vulnerable to such attacks, please contact us right away. TRA consulting is an IT Consulting company that supports Long Beach, OC, and the Greater LA Area. We can help you keep your computer and network safe from intrusion. With our many years of experience in computer repair and pc security, you can be sure that your personal data is secure and that your computer will run optimally.
TRA consulting not only focuses on Home Personal security, but also in SOHO (Small Office/Home Office) security. Our goal is to provide full IT support to growing small businesses who are too small to have a full time IT staff, yet big enough that they need one. We have many highly satisfied customers in the Long Beach, Orange County, Southbay, and Los Angeles area. Contact us today, and let us take care of all of your computer security needs. Our prices are reasonable and our services are top notch.

Security, Security, Security

~~When was the last time that someone said “I hope my network gets attacked by a hacker today”? Unless you have a honeypot, no one is looking forward for that to happen. Unfortunately, there are many people and businesses who not only are not equipped to prevent an intrusion in their systems, but worse yet, they also have no way to detect if their network’s been breached or if their systems have been hacked until it is too late. Taking initiative in your pc and network security is an underrated method to prevent not only loss and compromise of your data, but also saves you the time and headache to try to get yourself back to where you were before. At TRA consulting, our philosophy is to get your network and systems secured so that you don’t have to experience this situation. If you’ve unfortunately have been a victim of hacking, we can help you get peace of mind by securing your network, computers, and data. TRA Consulting has been servicing the Long Beach area, Southbay, Orange County, and the Greater Los Angeles area for years, and we won’t rest until you can fall asleep at night knowing that your data is safe and secure
Cyber-threats come in different shapes and sizes. For example, the stealing of sensitive data from Target servers, in which millions of customer’s credit card information was compromised, was the biggest cyber hacking event in recent memory. The reason why this hit home for a lot of people was because, well, everyone shops at Target. Hearing that hackers made out with millions of people’s sensitive credit card information from the place you did your X-mas shopping, makes you feel vulnerable as when you first found out that that a Russian hacker got your PayPal password and they used it to send themselves $400 worth of clothing.  Yes, that happened to me. Thankfully Paypal refunded me the money this hacker took from my account within a few days. However, dealing with credit card companies and banks regarding money stolen from your credit card and bank account is a much bigger headache. In an age where online banking is ubiquitous, taking care of your sensitive financial information is of the utmost importance. The target breach taught us that there is some things that are out of our control, but at the same time showed us that sometimes its human lack of foresight that puts data in jeopardy. Taking initiative in securing your personal computer can reap many benefits in the long run.
Hindsight may be 20/20, but foresight, especially regarding your computer security, can be a big money saver. Contact us today, and let us take care of your home/office security. Our years of experience and competitive prices makes us one of the best IT consulting companies based in the Long Beach area. We also serve the Orange County, Southbay, and Greater Los Angeles Area. Our years of computer experience can help you fix almost an problem you have at a reasonable price. Contact us today.
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Time For An Upgrade

~~As April 8th draws near, there are still many people and companies still using Window XP on their PC’s. If for some reason, you are not aware, Microsoft is going to pull the plug on Windows XP support, meaning that starting on April 9th there won’t be any new windows updates for it.
There are two main reasons why you need to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 by April 8th.
Hackers have been aware of this date since Microsoft announced it. They know how popular XP is still around the country and around the globe, especially in developing countries like China, India, and Taiwan. After April 8th, hackers may use vulnerabilities that they have found in Windows XP, but have not yet been disclosed, to attack the computers that have not upgraded.
Another reason for concern is that there will be new vulnerabilities found in windows XP that Microsoft won’t be patching. Even patches that Microsoft releases for Windows 7 and 8/8.1 can make Windows XP more vulnerable. Hackers can use those patches to figure out what vulnerability they are addressing, and then use that knowledge to try to exploit a similar vulnerability in windows XP, if it exists. This means that the longer you have the 12 year old OS in your computer, the more vulnerable you become and the more likely you are to become a victim of one of the many forms of cybercrime.
If you don’t want to be vulnerable to such attacks, please contact us right away. TRA consulting is an IT Consulting company that supports Long Beach, OC, and the Greater LA Area. We can help you upgrade your PC’s to a new operation system at a very reasonable price.
Recently there was an article that stated Microsoft has been helping the government shift away from Windows XP to Windows 7, and that only 10% of their computers are still running XP. They hope to get the last remaining computers upgrades in the next few months. However, banks are having a more difficult time moving their computers towards windows 7, especially their ATM’s. Just earlier this month, there was a figure on a CNN money article that up to 95% of bank ATM’s are still running windows XP and it doesn’t look like they will be able to make the April deadline. However, banks like JP Morgan have bought a one year extension of service and plan to move all of their ATM’s to Windows 7 as early as July.
What about the average person, or Small Office? Well, TRA Consulting is here for you. We are an IT Consulting and Computer repair company in Long Beach, and we also service the Greater LA Area, Orange County and the Southbay. Not only can we help you migrate away from Windows XP, but also help you with the overall security of your system and network. Like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And at TRA Consulting, we specialize in getting you that ounce of prevention at the best price possible.

Rethinking Security

~~There have been a number of news stories in recent months that highlight a pattern of computer and internet security issues that has slowly emerged as more and more companies rely on internet connections and networks to complete transactions and store customer data. Most of these problems were reported as a single flaw in one layer of security, but the more investigators probed the security breaches and their causes, the more they found that the problems existed in several layers of the security systems that were in place. Though there have been several stories of data being leaked, today we will focus on Target’s breach in network security.
By now, most people have heard of, or been a victim of, the Target point-of-sale breach which happened last November and December over the course of a month and a half in 2013. This breach harvested credit card information from Target’s point-of-sale card swipe machines at their brick and mortar stores and sent that information to hackers. Hackers did this by infecting their POS systems with malware. Though Target had anti-malware data leak prevention software installed on their systems, for some reason, the program did not catch the malware, thereby allowing it to infect Targets credit card machines. But there were more layers of security that were compromised that made it easier for the hackers to get into Target’s system. Investigators believe that the breach was first made through a third-party contractor – possibly maintenance staff – who had remote access to Target’s computer systems. These contractors probably had their own security issues that Target did not check into properly, and thus this third party contractor was more vulnerable to hacking, thus making Target more susceptible. There was no two-factor authentication system in place to make sure it was the third party company logging in and not imposters. Another layer of security that was compromised was the lack of proper segregation in Target’s networks. The third-party contractor, that investigators believe was the point of entry into Target’s systems by hackers, had access to heating and cooling systems, but that also gave the hackers access to the systems handling credit card payments. To make matters worse, Target was warned of these flaws in its security, and the warnings did not get to the right personnel who could have corrected the matter. The failure of communication resulted in a failure of another layer of their security.
It’s easy to see in hind-sight how the different layers of security failed to work together to prevent the infamous breach of Target’s credit card systems. Proper lines of communication and chain of command within the IT branch of Target in addition to proper vetting and over-sight given to third-party contractors, separating the less sensitive networks from the more sensitive credit card point-of-sale networks, and keeping malware up to date and working seamlessly with the other layers of security would have helped to prevent hackers from obtaining sensitive credit card information. TRA Consulting, Inc., in Long Beach can help your business avoid problems like Target’s by working with you to find security solutions for all your computer networks and systems. We can consult with you to help your business expand its layers of security and to make sure they are all working together seamlessly.

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