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What are cookies?

used with permission from Norton by Symantec

Mention “cookies” and most people expect a chocolate chip treat to appear. When talking about computers, however, cookies aren’t on the dropdown menu. In fact, they’re not even physical objects. Yet they do a great deal of the work that makes it more convenient for you to browse the Internet — and they can be troublesome if you don’t know how to clear or delete cookies.

Meet the computer cookie

A computer “cookie” is more formally known as an HTTP cookie, a web cookie, an Internet cookie or a browser cookie. The name is a shorter version of “magic cookie,” which is a term for a packet of data that a computer receives and then sends back without changing or altering it.

No matter what it’s called, a computer cookie consists of information. When you visit a website, the website sends the cookie to your computer. Your computer stores […]

By | 2018-08-03T20:37:34+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on What are cookies?

5 questions every SMB should ask about workstations – but rarely do

used with permission from HP Tech@Work

How can SMB owners determine if workstations are right for them and, if so, how to select the best machines for their particular needs?

Workstations have been around long enough now that it’s safe to start talking about how modern versions of these machines are nothing like the pricey behemoths grandpa used back in the ‘90s.

Today’s workstations are vastly improved with processing, graphics and storage capabilities being enhanced on a continual basis. At the same time, they have become much more compact, mobile, stylish and affordable over the years, with prices on some models starting at less than $1,000.

Considering all these benefits, it should come as little surprise that small- to mid-sized businesses are starting to consider workstations as an alternative to the consumer PCs they’ve traditionally favored.

But how can SMB owners determine if workstations are right for them and, if so, how to select the best machines […]

By | 2018-08-03T20:37:31+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on 5 questions every SMB should ask about workstations – but rarely do

Tackle internet safety today – it might be easier than you think

used with permission from Tektonika (HP)

Information security breaches are becoming so commonplace, they’re seen as the cost of doing business—but they don’t have to be. Promoting internet safety and device security isn’t as hard as it might seem. By making small changes to online behavior, IT professionals and users can do a lot to keep their business safe. And the first way you can start is:

Stop using passwords

Wait, what? You read that right: The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently came out with new guidance on password best practices. According to Mike Garcia, former director of NIST’s Trusted Identities Group, the gist of these guidelines is, “Simply put: Use passphrases, not passwords.”

This is great news for any users who spend a lot of time in “Forgot Your Password?” purgatory. For years, the advice for keeping passwords hacker-proof was to make them more complicated. But that made them user-proof, too. The primary goal of […]

By | 2018-08-03T20:37:24+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Tackle internet safety today – it might be easier than you think

SpireTech makes the list – again!

Last year SpireTech was proud to announce our placement on Channel Futures’ 10th annual MSP 501 ranking list. This year, the 11th annual ranking, SpireTech not only made the list but has moved up in rank as well!

The MSP 501 list seeks to rank the top Managed Service Providers from around the globe. The companies are ranked with metrics that include annual revenue, the number of users supported and much more.

Channel Futures teams with Clarity Channel Advisors to evaluate the MSP contenders, and 2018 had a record number of submissions for inclusion on the list.

The complete 2018 MSP 501 list with rankings is available at Channel Futures Website.

SpireTech is proud of being selected as part of the MSP 501, and will continue its focus on consistently improving our operations and customer support.

By | 2018-07-03T21:01:03+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on SpireTech makes the list – again!

Safety-First Cyber Security Summer

Summer vacations and conferences often involve travel, and when you’re traveling it is best to keep in mind the additional risks and challenges for keeping data safe. Security essentials for your travels should include methods of protecting data online – think of it as SPF 30 for your digital health. Remember, anyone can be the victim of a cyber-attack so it is important to always be aware of the best practices to help keep yourself and your data safe.

When packing remember to bring your own power adapter for your devices, such as your phone and laptop. This will prevent you from needing to use publicly available USB charging stations. Any USB connection could potentially compromise your device, exposing your private data. It is also best to charge your devices in a secure physical location that you trust or can keep an eye on them.

Similarly, it is important not to leave your devices laying […]

By | 2018-07-03T21:16:23+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Safety-First Cyber Security Summer

Windows 10 Tip: Go back and forth in time with Timeline

used with permission from Microsoft, by Elana Pidgeon

Did you know there’s a new feature in the Windows 10 April 2018 Update to help you easily find what matters to you across your devices?

It’s called Timeline, and it lets you go back in time to past activities you’ve worked on across your devices, so you can jump back into them like you never left. So, if you’re looking for a specific document, image, or video you worked on yesterday or a week ago, Timeline makes it even easier to find what you’re looking for. You can even pick up what you were doing on your iOS or Android device on your Windows 10 PC when you’re ready to get back to it.

Here’s what you can do with Timeline:

  • Go back and forth in time. Easily scroll back in time to find things you were working on earlier today or a few weeks ago.*
  • Find activities […]
By | 2018-07-03T21:19:17+00:00 July 3rd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Windows 10 Tip: Go back and forth in time with Timeline

The effects of VPNFilter on SpireTech customers

At the end of May the Cisco Talos security team released information on a new attack on consumer network infrastructure. The attack affects dozens of models of routers commonly used in home and small business networks. It is estimated that over 500,000 devices have been infected and the threat is significant enough that the FBI released a public service announcement (Read Announcement)

New information on this malware has been released indicating that it has additional functionality for persisting through a reboot, as well as for stealing user data. Disinfecting a device will require a factory reset as well as flashing the latest firmware. SpireTech is scanning the networks of our Managed Services customers (VIP Support Program) to identify any potentially vulnerable devices and perform the necessary remediation. If you are one of our Basic Support customers (which does not include our proactive services) we would be happy to work with you to create a plan to identify if you have any […]

By | 2018-06-13T23:26:17+00:00 June 7th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on The effects of VPNFilter on SpireTech customers

5 mobile threats you should shut down in 2018

used with permission from Tektonika (HP)

Mobile devices are now a staple of the workplace, as ubiquitous as open floor plans and videoconferencing. Enabling employees to work from their mobile devices can even boost satisfaction, productivity, creativity, loyalty, and engagement—that’s quite a list of benefits.

However, embracing these upsides also requires paying attention to the downside: mobile threats. Given the sheer volume and value of sensitive data on employee devices, mobile security needs to be an IT priority. Every time an employee accesses corporate data from a smartphone, they put the entire network at risk—unless proper security measures are in place.

To unlock the full potential of workplace mobility, IT pros need to understand the biggest mobile threats. Here’s an overview of the top five hazards you should look out for in 2018—and beyond.

1. Data leakage

As defined by PCMag, data leakage is “the unauthorized transfer of classified information from a computer or data center to the outside world.” There are […]

By | 2018-06-05T23:43:02+00:00 June 5th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on 5 mobile threats you should shut down in 2018

Build your security immunity with an IT infrastructure checkup

used with permission from Tektonika (HP), by Joe Hewitson

As a species, humans have a natural tendency to overcomplicate things. Take coffee, for example: It’s gone from simple, “good ’til the last drop” black coffee to iced, half-caff, ristretto, venti, four-pump, sugar-free, cinnamon, skinny latte. You’d be hard-pressed to buy a car without a full-blown home theater experience built-in nowadays—and let’s not even get started on those “it’s complicated” social media relationships.

IT infrastructure and office security are no different. People tend to complicate security until they can barely keep track of all the tricks and tools meant to keep their network secure. But it doesn’t have to take Herculean brain power and energy to make sure your environment is secure. Here’s a quick rundown of some practical steps you can take right now to inject some anti-venom into your office’s immune system.

Take a comprehensive roll call

You can’t do much without a working roster […]

By | 2018-06-05T23:42:53+00:00 June 5th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Build your security immunity with an IT infrastructure checkup

Cryptojacking: What it is and how to prevent it

used with the permission of http://thenetwork.cisco.com, by Stephanie Chan

Google announced Monday a ban on all Chrome extensions in the Chrome Web Store used to cryptojack computers. This newer form of hacking uses these extensions to get into a victim’s computer and use its resources to mine cryptocurrency. A blog post from the tech giant states that around 90% of these cryptojacking extensions were ignoring Google’s policies, instead using these extensions to host crypto-mining code.

Cryptojacking is often done without the victim knowing, and can seriously slow down computer performance by draining the Central Processing Unit (CPU) power. With the increase in the popularity of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, many criminals are using cryptojacking to pull in profit. A blog by Cisco’s Harini Pasupuleti carefully outlines the way this malware works: malicious users plant JavaScript on a web browser that uses CPU to mine cryptocurrencies. The crime is deemed dangerous because […]

By | 2018-06-05T23:42:45+00:00 June 5th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Cryptojacking: What it is and how to prevent it