Press Releases

Sinu Blog: Playing with Sand

  • Tuesday

    Sinu beats national average for customer satisfaction!

    Thanks to our customers providing ongoing feedback about our service and our dedicated team of expert technicians, Sinu has exceeded the competition for customer satisfaction four quarters in a row!

    In the quarter that ended September 2015, the Sinu team returned its best-ever survey scores for IT remote support, with an average score of 4.89 out of 5.0 compared to the competition’s 4.73.

    “We strive to provide the best customer experience possible,” said John Christie, Sinu COO. “We really appreciate the time our customers take to complete our customer service survey and we take it seriously when we don’t see a top rating. Over the years, we have built our customer support infrastructure in response to what our customers need, and we are so pleased to see we are beating the competition. However, we will keep trying to improve, striving for a rating of 5 out of 5!”



    What are spoof emails? How do you avoid them?

    From holiday scams and data leaks to CEO phishing, we have covered quite a bit of topics on how to protect yourself, your employees and your business against scammers trying to steal your identity and hard-earned money. Some scams are new and innovative while others, like spoofing, are tried and true tools that prey on human nature to gain unauthorized access to your workstation, data, or personal and financial information.

    According to a study by McAfee Labs, 80% of business users failed to spot a malicious email. Recently, we’ve heard from several customers about “spoofing” attempts. E-mail spoofing is a technique commonly used for spam e-mail and phishing to hide the origin of an e-mail message. By changing certain properties of the e-mail, such as the From, Return-Path and Reply-To fields (which can be found in the message header), ill-intentioned users can make the e-mail appear to be from someone other than the actual sender. In fact, scammers “spoof” because they know you are more likely to welcome and take action on an email from a familiar party (family, friend, vendors like PayPal, Amazon, Quickbooks, etc.).

    Spoofing is possible because email was structured to allow for many systems (your primary mail system, your accounting system, your CRM system, your website, etc.) to send your mail. This flexibility also produces the vulnerability to spoofing.

    Part of the threat related to spoofing is that it is not executed using malware or a virus, meaning that there is very little to detect, and so software and hardware protections are not entirely effective in filtering out this kind of email.

    How to identify a spoofed email

    There are a number of ways in which you can quickly and proactively identify a spoofed email before taking action on the email in your possession. Here are some things to look out for:

    1. Absence of company logos and letterheads.

    2. Poor grammar and/or spelling.

    3. The body of the message is an image rather than true text.

    4. File attachments ending in: .exe, .zip, .bat or any other container-type of file.

    5. Check the origin web site of the email. Often, it will have the name of the familiar company in it, but it will have extraneous information in the web address. For example, instead of an email coming from, it might come from meaning they simply added the Amazon part to make it look familiar to you, but the web site it came from was really

    6. Do you have a bad “gut feeling” about the email? Our instincts are honed to subconsciously detect slight aberrations, so trust the gut and check with our support team before you click any links or give up any information.

    How to avoid malicious emails

    1. Be aware of email requests with high urgency and quick action. If you are ever in doubt, double check the request with the sender either by phone or by composing a new email—never reply to the email itself.

    2. Never give personal or financial information over email. Trusted parties will never ask you for personal information through email.

    3. Don’t click on links from messages that contain misspellings. If an email from a well-known company is formatted badly, has obvious misspellings or is unrelated to the product or company, this is a red flag.

    4. Think about whether you initiated the action. Always be suspicious of unsolicited email, if you didn’t prompt a password reset — don’t click the link.

    If you ever have a question about an email you receive, don’t hesitate to give us a call. With cybersecurity threats on the rise, it really is better to be safe than sorry – and we are here to help!

    Note: Thanks to our friends at Intermedia for providing several tips on how to avoid phishing. They have published an informative e-book, Harpooning Executives: how phishing evolved into the C-suite.

    Microsoft releases its first laptop

    Competition heats up between Microsoft, Apple and traditional hardware manufacturers

    Microsoft launches its first laptop, the Surface Book.Microsoft’s first laptop, the Surface Book, is creating quite a buzz because the company is not only taking a page out of the Apple playbook by trying to control the tablet-laptop customer experience from software to hardware, but it is also stepping on the toes of traditional hardware manufacturers like HP, Lenovo, Toshiba and Dell. With this move, Microsoft is further blurring the lines between traditional software and hardware companies and creating more competition in a crowded manufacturing market.

    This new hybrid laptop/tablet device may well have the muscle to appeal to Apple MacBook Pro users, a decidedly loyal consumer group. In fact, Microsoft claimed their first laptop, the Surface Book, is twice as fast as the Apple MacBook Pro. Designed to take the best of the tablet and laptop worlds, the Surface Book combines them into one potentially disruptive piece of technology.

    Microsoft took what it learned from Surface Pro tablets to develop the Surface Book. But it has a decidedly different design and is more robust than the Surface Pro – even the new Surface Pro 4, Microsoft’s latest tablet which goes right up against the iPad Plus which Apple recently developed to compete with the Surface Pro because Apple has been trying to appeal to the business segment of the market… and so it goes! 

    So how do the two machines really compare? Gizmodo reviewed the Surface Book and 13" Macbook Pro and here is what they report, summarized below:

    The weight, size, battery lives and costs are very similar. The display resolution is better with a larger screen and more pixels in the Surface Book, and Microsoft claims their processing is twice the speed of the MacBook Pro. According to Gizmodo, the design is the biggest difference: "The Surface Book, on the other hand, is a radically new concept for a laptop, owing to a clever new hinge that lets you adjust the display bend however you see fit. You can use it like a regular laptop, or remove the screen from the keyboard base and use it like a tablet. The Surface Book design is conceptually cool and has potential, but this design may have some stability issues." 

    The Surface Book also comes with a Surface Pen, which can magnetically attach to its exterior, allowing you to use the device like a portable clipboard or a creative canvas. The device is available for pre-order at the Microsoft web site with most models to start shipping in early December.

    According to CRN, "The Surface Book launch is just one more sign of technology vendors' increasingly encroaching on one another's turf in the cloud era, blurring the once-clear lines between hardware and software makers."  

    The question is how will traditional hardware manufactures react to Microsoft’s continued focus on developing devices? Many of these manufacturers have been channels for Microsoft’s software and now the companies are competing. CRN reports, “The channel conflict issues are even more troubling for Dell and HP, which just one month ago inked a deal to resell Microsoft's Surface Pro, putting them in direct competition with partners selling HP and Dell tablets.” 

    Will Dell pursue Apple with more business-to-consumer options and try to control the tablet-laptop experience? Will Microsoft retreat a bit and shrink their line to a handful of choices abandoning their build-to-order manufacturing approach? Will Lenovo develop a Thinkpad “Plus-Plus” to compete with Apple and Microsoft? And who can tell with Hewlett-Packard after their recent split into two separate companies, HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise?

    Whatever these companies do in response to this “throwdown” (CRN) from Microsoft, it certainly looks like there will be more options for mobile, powerful machines in the enterprise marketplace.