Stolen passwords bait the hook in extortion scam

Extortion scammers have found a new hook to bait Internet users: old passwords. A new wave of messages that began popping up in mid-July has stepped up the ploy by showing passwords in the subject headers as attention-grabbing ‘proof’ that someone has deeply burrowed into your computer and has your personal information.

Top 10 Reasons People Upgrade Their Technology: Considering the Pros and Cons

Sinu blog new tech.png

The decision to make technology upgrades can difficult. Many small businesses and nonprofits may delay buying new software, hardware or equipment because of the cost and perceived disruption, while others jump in and find they purchased some new piece of technology that was well-hyped, but it really does not provide the solution they hoped for.

At Sinu, we hear it all! An article by ZDNet.com columnist David Gewirtz, which offers 23 reasons to upgrade technology, touched on several of the the reasons we hear most from our clients, and inspired us to develop our own article on this topic. 

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 top arguments we hear when people come to us wanting to rethink their technology. Informed by one-on-one conversations with nonprofits and small business owners, as well as from several articles, including Gewirtz’s, we hope that this list generates the questions that will help you develop a cost-effective, long-term IT strategy for your organization.

1. You just really want it

“Gadget lust,” is what Gewirtz calls it, but if that bright, shiny new technology does not solve a problem, then it may not be worth the expense. We write about this in a recent blog about technology rollouts, which can be disruptive and may not always support your goals unless you have a plan in place and a partner that can help implement them correctly

2. Save time and increase productivity

While this seems like a no-brainer, it is important to understand your business goals and and how you get there. For instance, if many of your team members are on the road and work remotely, you may need to select software that provides seamless (and secure) remote access, even if it is a more costly up-front option than other solutions.

3. Remove annoyances

Removing constant annoyances, also known as tolerations, are often worth the investment. Gerwitz agrees, stating, “Tolerations cause stress and sap productivity. Eliminating or reducing tolerations not only helps you get more done, it frees up thinking cycles previously allocated to thoughts of frustration.”

4. Your technology is too slow

We came across a blog by Warranty Master, that estimates the cost of slow workstations and laptops to a company – 5.5 days per year, per employee is lost each year or $5,676 per employee.

5. Ease of use

If your employees can learn the new technology quickly and easily and enjoy using it, you'll have a lot more buy-in and need to provide less support.

6. Old hardware no longer supports updates

This is critical, and should be addressed immediately. When obsolete hardware can no longer support software updates, it is not only inconvenient because you may not be able to run the software you need, but it also puts your data at risk because it won’t take the latest security updates and patches.

7. Reduce operating costs

This is at the core of the Sinu philosophy and our solution. Choose technology that’s appropriate for small business and nonprofits, with an emphasis on reliability and security. Minimize IT infrastructure, because a room full of servers is a cost center that’s no longer a competitive advantage. In fact, by streamlining their technology, many Sinu’s customers save up to 60% on their IT.

8. Shift from CAPEX to OPEX

When you pay using a subscription model, whether it’s SaaS (Software as a Service), HaaS (Hardware as a Service), or Sinu’s all-inclusive subscription pricing model that includes unlimited support, your organization can buy resources as they're needed, scale up or down quickly, and potentially shift much of the IT costs from capital expenses (CAPEX) to operating expenses (OPEX) – or in the case of nonprofits, from administrative costs to programming.

9.  Automation

Whether it is automated backups, security updates, or set-it-and-forget-it email marketing campaigns, when technology provides automated solutions that are currently being done manually, you can often save valuable employee hours and mitigate the risk of errors.

10. Support business continuity

Investing in technology, such as redundant cloud backup or a generator, can keep your organization going during a disaster. During Hurricane Sandy, Sinu’s customers did not lose data and they remained connected to their emails and other mission critical services because it was housed off-site in the cloud. If they could charge their devices and get online, they could continue to function. 

When considering new technology, consider your business goals. We advise that you take the time to inventory your current IT solutions, understand where they are in their life cycle, and develop a long-term strategy that supports your organizational goals and helps keep your employees productive. For over 15 years, Sinu has been guiding small businesses and nonprofits through the ever-increasing complexities of technology solutions in the marketplace. Contact us to discuss which technologies can best support your organizational goals.

More lessons from Amazon as it expands its brick-and-mortar presence in NYC

In another expansion into the brick-and-mortar realm, Amazon opened a new physical store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood featuring its best sellers. What can small businesses learn from Amazon?Successful retail locations provide benefits and unique customer experiences that online cannot deliver. And, it seems, Amazon is trying to tap into some of the magic you can only get when shopping in person.

Use a stylus? Windows file could store passwords and other personal data

A handwriting-recognition feature in Windows collects data and stores it, which could represent a security threat, according to digital forensics experts. Passwords and emails could be among the data stored. One of the first lines of defense remains strong passwords, as well as where you store them.



Rethinking your SEO: 20 Myths

Chasing the elusive SEO algorithms to keep your site relevant in online searches can be daunting, confusing, and a full-time job. What worked yesterday, may not work the same today. While SEO algorithms continuously change and there is no one definitive resource that will tell you all you need to know about SEO, we found a recent HubSpot article to be a good starting point. We summarized the article to help you make better SEO choices.

Entrepreneur.com: “Seeking out an experienced partner (rather than just a product vendor) can make all the difference”

Technology rollouts can be disruptive and may not always support your goals unless you have a plan in place and a partner that can help implement them correctly. The article provides several tips outlined below that can help you be proactive about a tech plan that supports your organizational goals.

‘Meh’ response to new voicemail feature on Linkedin.com

Linkedin.com has launched a voicemail feature on its mobile app, drawing mixed reactions from the tech community. LinkedIn has been trying to make its business networking platform more like Facebook and is now introducing its own voice messages.

Understanding 5G: Telecom industry poised to overhaul wireless systems

Fifth-generation mobile networks could change the way businesses share data and make transactions while handling a host of other activities, all at blazing speed.

Welcome to the world of 5G, a complete overhaul of wireless technology and infrastructure that’s emerging among the world's telecommunications providers, or “telcos.”

Demise of net neutrality stirs fresh debate over pros, cons

The repeal of net neutrality is official. Now, the debate over this new policy direction’s implications can resume in earnest. What remains unclear is how businesses, particularly small businesses, will fare following the repeal.

Tips to protect your devices from summer heat

With the dog days of summer upon us, devices – and the humans that own them – are often exposed to higher temperatures this time of year. However, there are a number of ways you can protect your devices in spite of the summer heat. We have some tips on how to protect your electronics from overheating and often irreparable damage.

Ransomware: Not dead, just getting a lot sneakier

Ransomware may not claim as many victims as in the past, but earlier this year, the city of Atlanta discovered its potency. Ransomware – a computer attack that holds information hostage — can cause tremendous havoc.

Study: Telecommuting can lower office costs, attract better talent

Telecommuting isn’t the trend of the future – it’s a reality for an increasing number of organizations and employees. If your business or nonprofit is considering the potential benefits of telecommuting, you may want to consider the following tech tips to support your telecommuting employees.

Adobe Flash vulnerability continues to plague Microsoft Office users

Microsoft Office users may find an unpleasant surprise lurking in the form of an infected, remotely embedded Adobe Flash Player bug. Recently Microsoft announced it would block future content that is embedded with Adobe Flash, Shockwave, and even their own Silverlight platform from Office 365 by January 2019. Microsoft cited that malware authors have been exploiting systems through Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files with embedded content.

Participate in Sinu's Nonprofit Tech Survey by July 1

nonprofit blog.jpg

Sinu is conducting a survey of nonprofit employees, board members and volunteers to gather data about nonprofits and their technology. The survey should only take about 5-10 minutes. From the aggregated data, we will develop a free report, The State of Nonprofit Technology: An Insiders Perspective. We believe this report will not only help other nonprofits better plan for and utilize technology, but will also help companies like Sinu who support nonprofits with their IT.

We will only use the information in aggregate and will keep an organization's specific information anonymous. We will also automatically include qualified nonprofits into a random drawing for a $500 donation for those who fill out the survey by July 1, 2018.  Sorry, current Sinu clients can fill out the survey but are not qualified to win the $500 donation. See official contest rules.

If you are a nonprofit, please share your knowledge so we can serve nonprofits better! If you know of a nonprofit, please share this link to the survey with them! 

Take the survey today! Click here to get started!

Unwanted Profiles Pop Up in iOS Devices, Inviting Spam and Malware

Provisioning Profiles are unwanted inboxes, profiles and apps appearing in iOS devices and to date, users are having difficulty deleting these unwanted items on their phones. Concerned that this was some sort of malware, we did a bit of research to learn more about these embedded provisioning profiles. This article outlines what we discovered.

EU online privacy rules prompt sweeping changes in US

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Strava and Soundcloud are among the major online companies that announced plans to update their terms and conditions to comply with a new privacy law out of the European Union (EU). How will the new regulations work?

What is AR and how can it help my business?

Augmented reality (AR), the lesser known cousin to virtual reality (VR) that became famous – or infamous – for creating Pokemon Go zombies, is rapidly expanding into business applications, however, there is a big difference between the two, especially when considering their business applications.

Tribeca Film Festival explores tech with virtual reality, immersive screenings

 DRAW ME CLOSE, a 2017 Tribeca Storyscapes selection. Photo credit: Tribeca Film Festival.

DRAW ME CLOSE, a 2017 Tribeca Storyscapes selection. Photo credit: Tribeca Film Festival.

 

From virtual reality experiments to social media misadventures, the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival tackled technology as a key theme, winning high marks for its ambition and scope. 

The 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) welcomed visitors for the first time into Tribeca Cinema360, a VR theater featuring four curated screening programs of 360-degree mobile content. The new VR theater and the TFF programming brought a futuristic vibe to lower Manhattan during its 11-day run in late April.

The festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

One of the first festivals to champion virtual reality “as a dynamic form of storytelling,” this year’s installment included 33 innovative virtual reality exhibitions and experiences.

Forbes found that several offerings delved into the metaphysical, reporting that a post-apocalyptic vision anchored several of the festival’s virtual reality projects.

“From coming-of-age dramas such as ‘Battlescar’ that tells the story of a Puerto Rican runaway, to ‘Campfire Creepers,’ a VR look at sadistic camp counselors, the Festival curated a number of rich pieces.”

“But perhaps one of the most compelling items to come out of the Festival, in terms of technology, was a provocative talk that was part of the IBM salon series during the TFF,” Forbes reported. “Entitled ‘Blockchain: Can Blockchain Breed Blockbusters?’ the panel included such professionals as Mitzi Peirone writer/director “Braid,” the first-ever feature funded entirely by cryptocurrency, and CTO for IBM’s Media and Entertainment industry Peter Guglielmino, where they discussed the disruptive power of blockchain as applied directly to the business of filmmaking and the entire industry.”

Other programming created virtual worlds where viewers could swim with sharks (“Into the Now”), care for a baby elephant (“My Africa”) or experience first hand the bombing raid of a town square (“Hero”), reported press materials for the Tribeca Film Festival.

"Each year, we're seeing creators push boundaries and explore new ways to tell stories through VR,” said Ingrid Kopp, co-curator of Tribeca Immersive. “As the technology improves, so does the storytelling, and with that we are able to use VR to tackle new issues, experiences and narratives and invite new audiences to experience these projects."

For more about VR, read our article: What is AR and how can it help my business?

(Note: Tribeca Enterprises is a long-time customer of Sinu and we are proud to share the recent national news coverage they have earned for their use of new technologies at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.)