Buying from an IT Professional can protect your business

Published on March 12, 2015 in ITnews

How can buying your computers from an IT Professional protect your business?

Gone as the days when all you needed to deal with was Microsoft reloading applications on your system to entice you to use other feature or products from the Microsoft suite.

For years computer manufacturers have been pre-loading third party software on the systems you buy as a way of making some extra revenue or in some cases allowing them to compete on price and just make a profit, this is especially true for consumer grade systems.

This practice has earned names such as “Bloatware” and “crapware”, Software developers have found this a lucrative way to get their products in front of end-users, with the end goal of having them extend  trial offer.  OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are paid to load this software on to their computers.

The latest fiasco is from Lenovo which has elevated contempt and ridicule for this crapware to outrage.  Superfish Visual Discovery, a pre-loaded adware program billed as an image search tool that would “help customers potentially discover interesting products while shipping” was actually a security threat.

Lenovo reported in a statement last Thursday “We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns,” and subsequently dropped that line.

By the end of the Lenovo had backtracked, with its CTO, Peter Hortensius, admitting to IDG News Service that the company had “messed up badly.”

Hortensius said that Lenovo wasn’t aware of Superfish’s vulnerability to abuse by cyber criminals until it was publicly disclosed by security researchers.  Google security engineer Chris Palmer launched a vigorous Twitter discussion on Wednesday after buying a new Lenovo laptop, and Robert Graham, CTO of Errata Security, outline how he cracked the certificate’s password in a Thursday blog post.

So how bad is it?  It allows the adware to hijack all Secure HTTPS connections on all affected computers.  If you have it installed do not use it for banking or other sites which have sensitive information.

Superfish has been installed on a large range of Lenovo consumer-grade systems from September through December 2014.  The number of affected computers is not known, but the model numbers include those in the E, G, S, U, Y and Z series, as well as ones in the Flex, MIIX and Yoga lines.

Lenovo stopped installing Superfish on its hardware last month, and disabled the software on all the devices it had in stock, however that still leaves lots of affected computers.

Lenovo had published manual instructions on how to remove Superfish, since then Microsoft and McAfee have also come to the party by updating their security products and the built in Microsoft Windows Defender to detect and remove this threat.

The way to protect yourself and your business is to buy your computer systems from a reputable IT Professional who recognizes these threats and cleans up the computer before delivering it to you.

If you own a Lenovo and are not sure if this affects you then please contact us we are here to help.

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Electric shock fears – NetComm have recalled some wireless products

Published on March 3, 2015 in ITnews

NetComm – Recall notices have been issued by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for two NetComm wireless products due to electric shock fears.

NetcComm NP204NetComm np204

The affected products are Netcomm’s NP 204 and NP504 adapters which allow your existing mains electrical wiring to be converted into a high speed network, these units suffer from a “deformed” connection to the earth pin.

“In some circumstances, the fault could result in electric shock,” according to the ACCC notice.

David Stewart from NetComm Wireless has called it a “preventative recall.”

Stewart said they were reaching out to customers by placing advertisements in select newspapers throughout Australia and New Zealand.  Thank-fully other forms of media have picked up the story to help get the word out.  “There’s a quantity of units that may have some faults with them.  The maximum number of 2,329 pairs.  The good news is there hasn’t been a reported incident.”

They are sending affected customers a reply-paid satchel for the faulty product to be sent back and will issue them with replacements.

NetComm NP504NetComm NP504

The NP204 was on sale between June 2013 and December 2013.  Products with serial numbers between 1502131800001 and 1502131801329 are affected.

The NP504 has been on sale between January and December 2013.  Those with serial numbers reading from 0518125000001 to 0518125001000 have been affected.

Customers with these affected units should contact NetComm Wireless to arrange a replacement by either calling 1800 110 168 or emailing recall@netcommwireless.com

Here are some relevant links:

http://www.netcommwireless.com/information/press-releases/netcomm-wireless-recalls-small-number-of-powerline-adapters

https://www.recalls.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/1054516

 

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Power Protection – Is it all the same?

Published on August 29, 2014 in ITnews

Many people assume that any UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) will protect their tech gear. This is not the case, not all UPS’s are the same.

This information is accurate for CyberPower products, other manufacturers types may vary.

UPS Systems are available in three different types:
•    Standby
•    Line-Interactive
•    Double-Conversion (aka Online)

CyberPower UPS Topology

CyberPower UPS Topology

Standby Topology

Standby is the most basic UPS technology. When there is a brown/blackout, the UPS simply resorts to the internal battery to provide electricity to the equipment. These UPS systems are designed for consumer electronics, PCs, POS/security systems, and other basic equipment.

CyberPower models Standby Series and Ecologic Series.

Line-Interactive Topology

Line-Interactive systems incorporate technology that allows the UPS to correct minor power fluctuations (brownouts, over voltages, etc.) without switching to battery. This extends the life of the battery and is an essential feature in areas where power fluctuations occur on a regular basis. Typical applications are consumer electronics, PCs, and mid-range servers.

CyberPower models AVR Series, PFC Sinewave Series, Intelligent LCD Series, Smart App Sinewave, Smart App LCD.

Double-Conversion Topology

Online systems provide consistent, clean, and near perfect 240V power regardless of the condition of the incoming power. These systems operate on isolated battery supplied power 100% of the time and have a zero transfer time because they never have to “switch” to battery. Online UPS systems are designed for high-end system components, corporate servers, lab equipment, and other sensitive electronic equipment.

CyberPower models Online UPS.

NOVA iT can help you determine which UPS solution is right for your needs, please give us a call contact us.

 
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Risks of unauthorised software use

Published on July 28, 2014 in ITnews

Melbourne settlement highlights risks of unauthorised software use

BSA | The Software Alliance (BSA) has settled a copyright breach claim with a Melbourne based recruitment firm for the use of illegal software programs owned by BSA member Microsoft.

Under the settlement, the firm paid $11,190 in damages for the unlicensed use of software product Microsoft Office 2007 Enterprise.
In addition to paying $11,190 in damages, the recruitment firm is now required to purchase legitimate software licenses to legalise its ongoing software deployments.

BSA Australia Committee Chair, Clayton Noble, said, “This recent settlement highlights the financial risks businesses take if they use unlicensed, non-genuine software. As well as exposing themselves to potential financial penalties, businesses using unlicensed, non-genuine software are also at greater risk of security threats from malware, leaving their systems and data open to threat.”

Noble continued, “The recent BSA Global Software Study revealed ‘security threats’, including access by hackers and loss of data, are the chief reasons computer users around the world cite for avoiding using unlicensed, non-genuine software. At BSA, we are committed to helping businesses understand these real risks, and to implement simple software asset management (SAM) steps to ensure they use software legally and minimise security risks.”

reference: BSA

 
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NOVA MediConnect

Published on July 17, 2014 in ITnews

NOVA iT’s MediConnect is an internet connection and remote access service designed to suit the internet requirements of medical practices.

  • Fast speeds up to 100Mbps
  • Highly reliable technologies with a guaranteed 99.95% uptime
  • Peace of mind with our industry grade Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • Static IP addresses
  • Dedicated Account Manager
  • Professional 24 x 7 Australian based help desk
  • Fast and easy roaming access for mobile doctors and staff

To discover how MediConnect can work in your practice contact NOVA iT now.

 
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Not all domain name registrars are equal

Published on July 29, 2013 in ITnews

When you’re looking to register a domain name, you’ll soon find there a lot of  different deals on offer. There are a large number of domain name registrars available to you world wide, each capable of registering your chosen domain for a fee. These fees vary greatly for a .com.au.

So why do domain name registrars vary so much, and how can you choose the best domain name deal? The registration fee for the actual domain name forms only part of the final fee charged to you by the registrar. The registrar adds their own fees for service on top to create the final price. It is hear that the price differences come in.
Here are some things you might ask…

  • Sometimes it is not the best idea to have your hosting with your registrar.
  • What level and style of additional services will you need? DNS redirection, Email only, Website hosting – what are their costs?
  • What type of hosting do you require; Windows or Linux?
  • What is their procedure if you need help? Do they offer phone support?
  • If the domain name is initially free, what is the fee when the free period runs out – remember very little is truly free!
  • Does the company have a good on-line reputation? Do some research on the .au Domain Administration (auDA) website.
  • Read about a recent example of action taken by auDA re Crazy Domains Pty Ltd’s breach of Registrar Agreement.

… or if that sounds like it’s  just too hard or confusing, ask us at the  NOVA iT Group.

 
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