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Watch out for card skimming at the gas pump

used with permission from FTC.gov, by Colleen Tressler

With the summer travel season in high gear, the FTC is warning drivers about skimming scams at the pump.

Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals.  These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up:

  • Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void.”
    Photo credit: National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Conexxus
  • Look at the card reader itself. […]
By | 2018-09-11T17:51:37+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Watch out for card skimming at the gas pump

Office 365 and Outlook on the web dropping support for connected accounts

Microsoft will soon be disabling the ability to add new connected accounts to Office 365 and Outlook Online. This update will only affect Office365 Business accounts. This change will prevent you from being able to read or send mail from any email addresses that are not controlled by Office 365. New accounts will no longer be able to be connected starting September 15th. On October 30th all connected email accounts will stop syncing. This only affects the Outlook online web application and will not affect your ability to use the Outlook application installed on your computer.

While this change may be alarming Microsoft has a few suggestions, which can be in found in this article which will allow you to continue to see your other emails: link

By | 2018-09-11T17:51:32+00:00 September 6th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Office 365 and Outlook on the web dropping support for connected accounts

SpireTech will be using our .net domain as well as our .com domain

SpireTech continues to change and grow. As such we have added a new domain to our emails, Spiretech.net. Within the coming month SpireTech employees will start sending emails from our spiretech.net domain as well as from our spiretech.com domain. Our support email addresses and employee email addresses will continue to receive mail at spiretech.com so there is no need to update your contacts, and there will be no change to any customer email addresses. Please make sure to note that some emails from us will now be from spiretech.net and are not spam attempts. If any emails claiming to be from us alarm you or cause you to question the validity of the email, please feel free to call our main office line and we’ll be happy to discuss the email with you.

By | 2018-09-11T17:51:30+00:00 September 5th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on SpireTech will be using our .net domain as well as our .com domain

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