Bruce Schneier, a well-respected expert in the online security industry, discussed the Heartbleed bug on his blog and described the devastating effects of the newly discovered security hole as, “On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11.” Sadly, Schneier was not exaggerating. The extent of the security threat is huge. Netcraft estimates that the bug affects roughly half a million websites, including Dropbox, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo. 

What Is the Heartbleed Bug and Why Is It a Cause for Concern

heartbleed daytona beach First publicized on April 7, 2014, Heartbleed is an OpenSSL flaw, a bad code that may have been inadvertently introduced by the developers of OpenSSL. It has existed since December 2011.

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the encryption protocol used for securing the data transmitted between the browser and the Web server. OpenSSL, on the other hand, is the open-source deployment of SSL and TLS (Transport Layer Security). Popular among web administrators, the OpenSSL implementation can be found running on 66 percent of the web.

The Heartbleed bug wreaks havoc by allowing a remote attacker to read the Web server’s memory, which could likely include the private encryption keys. This means the attacker can simply lift data that is supposed to have been secured via the SSL/TLS encryption protocols. According to the Finland-based software security company, Codenomicon, which first discovered the bug while working with a Google researcher, Heartbleed can leak usernames and passwords, files, instant messages, and email messages.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Personal Data

Don’t scramble to change your passwords–not yet, anyway. Wait until the service provider has successfully patched its website, according to an email sent by Codenomicon’s Ari Takanen to PC World. If you change your password before the patching is completed, you could end up contributing to the leaked server information that can be stolen.

There are online checkers available if you want to check whether or not the website you are using is still infected by the bug. These three Heartbleed checkers can help you: filippo.io/Heartbleed, lastpass.com/heartbleed, and ssllabs.com/ssltest. If the website is still not patched by the server, don’t use it until it’s clear for you to do so. The Heartbleed bug can only expose the information on the Web server’s memory. So, it is best not to introduce new data that can be potentially intercepted, most especially your new password. In case of an attack, your data has to be contained in the Web server’s memory for it to be exposed. Now that the bug’s existence has been widely publicized and attackers may be taking advantage of the websites that have yet to issue patches, changing your password on an unpatched site can be more disastrous than taking no action.

The presence of an encryption error like Heartbleed should make you more security-conscious with your online data. Consider these two effective means to lock down your online accounts: a two-factor authentication and a password manager.

A two-factor authentication necessitates entering a code before gaining access to your online account. This code is normally generated through a smartphone app or an SMS text message. With a two-factor authentication, you add a layer of security to your online account because the extra login step is difficult for an attacker to duplicate.

Another smart way to protect your various online accounts is to use a password manager. Examples of password management services include Dashlane, KeePass, and LastPass. Equipped with secure notes and auto-fill capabilities for completing online forms, a password manager simplifies the task of regularly randomizing your passwords and keeping track of them.

3 Gifts To Get Your Business This Year

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December 20, 2013

3 Gifts To Get Your Business This Year

Finished with your holiday shopping?  Have you even started?  It is fun to shop for the important people in your life; however, what’s on the shopping list for your business?

2013 was another year that social media proved it isn’t a passing fad.  Consider mastering social media marketing.  A social marketing presence is a gift you can give your business that will continue to reward.

Net Works, Inc. recommends 3 gifts to help your business engage and grow in 2014.

  1. Social Media Marketing Strategy

    Businesses are jumping into social media to grow their community, create more brand awareness and more opportunity. You know the need for social media, but do you know how to use it effectively? 

    Decide what your social focus is, what your goals are and how you plan to achieve those goals.  Give your business the gift of developing a social media strategy this holiday season.

  2. Dedicated Social Media Work Station

    Social media is about engaging your community and staying consistent.

    Buy a social media dedicated tablet or smartphone for the office.  Let your community know the people behind your business.  Let them feel like they are part of your business.  Use your dedicated tablet or smartphone to take photos, make updates and have conversations. 

    Use the 80/20 formula for updates. 80% of your updates should be about engagement; fun, relevant, valuable content such as videos, photos, articles, and questions to engage your audience. Only 20% should be about selling. 

  3. Social Media Management

    The gift of social media management will help any business grow in the New Year.

    Partner with a professional social media company to help develop and implement your social media strategy.  Net Works, Inc. is proud to partner with Social Coaches to help our clients succeed with social media.  Services are available from one-time coaching sessions to complete social media management.

This holiday season, make sure to give your business a gift that will generate interest and qualified leads throughout the year.

Tips to secure your computer from virus infection

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November 19, 2013

daytona_beach_virus_removalThe sinking feeling of recognition when you realize that your computer has been infected is as familiar as it is unwelcome. But it’s important to remember that there is no way to avoid viruses and other malware completely. Like a good doctor working with a patient, you can only give your computer the tools to avoid bad health by following good habits and using the right set of products.

1. Anti-virus and anti-malware

The last line of defense against viral annihilation is a good anti-virus program. Anti-virus programs scan downloaded files for viruses and monitor your machine for infection. Paid anti-virus programs are available, but there are also many free options as well. Make sure you know every anti-virus and anti-malware program you have on your computer. Fake anti-virus programs known as rogue programs have become prevalent in recent years. If you don’t recognize a supposed anti-virus program on your computer, it may be a sign of infection.

2. Block those scripts

A large amount of infections come from malicious scripts being run when a user goes to an infected website. These so-called cross-site scripting attacks can be blocked by disabling scripts from running on non-trusted websites. Script blockers are available for most browsers. Firefox users rely on NoScript, while fans of Chrome use NotScripts or ScriptSafe. These script blockers allow users to block suspicious scripts and allow safe ones to run, preventing infection to their machines.

3. Keep up-to-date

Popular products are a huge attraction for people who profit from viruses and other malware. The more people that use a product, the more people they can infect when they exploit the holes in said product. Programs like Java, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Flash Player are the most commonly exploited applications. It is absolutely vital to keep them up-to-date. Several free programs like Secunia and File Hippo Update Checker will automatically check for outdated versions of these products. In addition to applications, it is especially important to make sure that you maintain current updates to your operating system. Avoid the temptation to close the window when that annoying Windows update notification pops up.

4. Avoid risky behavior

One of the easiest ways to prevent infection is to avoid risky online behavior. Sites for cracks, warez and keygens are notoriously dangerous. Other sites to avoid are those offering free porn. Torrents are also hazardous to the health of your machine. Once the malware is on your computer, it can be very difficult to remove. However, don’t assume that a trusted site will be completely secure. Reputable sites are sometimes infected. Websites for both “The New York Times” and The London Stock Exchange have served up malware to unsuspecting visitors.

 5. Don’t be dumb

In the fight against infection, the greatest enemy is yourself. Phishing schemes are designed to exploit your inattention and ignorance. Phishing attacks have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. It’s best to rely on your instincts. If a doubt about that strange Facebook link is in the back of your mind, don’t click on it. If you can’t remember shipping anything recently, do not open fishy e-mails from UPS. Google is your friend. If you feel doubtful about the origins of an e-mail or instant message, do a quick Google search. Most phishing schemes have been tried on thousands, if not millions, of people before, and the victims talk about them online in great detail. It only takes a second to verify a vague uneasy feeling, while it could take days and a large amount of money to rid your machine of a virus.

Dell Computer Repair

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September 10, 2013

Daytona Net Works is your #1 resource for all of your Dell laptop and Desktop Repairs. If you are having any problems with your Dell computer, be sure to contact us via e-mail or directly at 386-248-0000 to repair your Dell PC. Diagnosing your computer problem is the first step to finding a respective solution. Let the professionals at Net Works Computer Repair Center diagnose and repair your Dell computer system quickly and efficiently!

Dell is a leading manufacturer of computers and computer related hardware. Net Works Daytona Computer Repair Center can help you diagnose your Dell laptop or desktop issues.

4 Common Windows 8 Annoyances and How to Fix Them

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September 5, 2013

windows-8-logo-originalAs with any other major overhaul of an extremely popular product such as Windows, Windows 8 comes with its fair share of controversies. Windows 8 has been accused by numerous people for being heavily biased towards touchscreen computers such as tablet devices. For desktop and laptop users, the new interface can take a bit of getting used to. However, while the new interface is by far the most talked about annoyance with Windows 8, there are a number of others too. This article takes a look at some of the most common gripes that people have with Microsoft’s latest operating system.

1 – The Start Menu Has Gone

Replacing the start menu entirely is the new start screen, a full-screen, touch-friendly interface that might look good on tablet computers, but not so much on the traditional desktop or laptop computer. It was possible in some of the earlier pre-release versions to get the start button and menu back through a simple registry tweak. However, the start menu and button was completely removed shortly before the launch of Windows 8, and there is now no way to get it back without using third-party software. There are a number of free third-party programs available to restore this feature, including Start8 and Pokki. An upcoming update for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, will put the start button back, but clicking on it will still only take you to the start screen.

2 – Hidden Shutdown and Restart Functions

Have you just started up Windows 8 for the first time and found yourself wondering how on Earth you are supposed to shut down or restart the computer safely? You are not the only one – in a highly frustrating oversight by Microsoft, they have effectively hidden these two critical functions in the Settings menu of the Charms Bar. Even once you have found it, it is still a longwinded way of switching off or resetting your computer. To overcome this, you can create your own shutdown and restart shortcuts in File Explorer and pin them to the start screen. To do this, create shortcuts with the commands ‘shutdown /s /t 0′ (without quotes) and ‘shutdown /r /t 0′ for shutdown and restart respectively.

3 – Windows Mail Doesn’t Support POP Email Accounts

POP (Post Office Protocol) is a common protocol used by email accounts. However, the built-in Windows Mail app in Windows 8 does not provide support for this protocol. The only way around this is to reconfigure any email accounts which use this protocol to use the IMAP protocol instead. Fortunately, the vast majority of webmail services provide support for both protocols, and you should be able to change between the two in the settings page of your email account.

4 – Longer Login Process

When you lock your computer, you cannot simply enter a password to get back in again. First, you need to slide the screen upwards to reveal the password entry box. Many people find this to be a major annoyance. Fortunately, there is a quick fix available for this. Start the Local Group Policy Editor by pressing the Windows key and ‘R,’ entering gpedit.msc and pressing Enter. Navigate to Computer Configuration, Administrative Tools, Control Panel, Personalization and enable the “Do not display lock screen” feature.

Why Your Business Needs a Proxy Server

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August 2, 2013

iStock_000009559918XSmallWe all know the internet is a dangerous place, full of viruses, malware and hackers. Often overlooked in a small business is one of the most costly issues, social media, and the loss of productivity while your employees are entranced in it. We’ve all been guilty of wasting too much time on the internet, getting sidetracked by one link or another. But when your staff is surfing and socializing on the clock, it is costing your business money.

What is a Proxy Server?

Think of a proxy server as the guardian of your network. All traffic outgoing and incoming flows through this device and it has the ability to allow or block any content you choose. It typically sits between your internet connection (cable modem, dsl, etc.) and your network switch. Proxy Servers perform the following tasks :

  • Privacy – When an internal user requests a Web page, the request goes through the proxy server so that it appears to the Internet to be coming from the server – from its IP address (or one of them) – and not the user’s device. This anonymity provides an important measure of security by reducing the amount of information about a network and its users easily accessible to hackers on the Internet.
  • Caching – If your users frequently need to access certain pages on the Internet, the server can download and store copies on its hard drive. It will also continuously monitor the page for changes and download them, so the cached page is always up to date. If another user requests the content, the proxy server will send it directly to the user, without ever needing to access the internet. This can dramatically increase internet speeds and decrease bandwidth usage.
  • Content Filtering / Blocking – Requests from inside your network to different content can be managed. Different policies can be defined for this purpose so that the access to the data is according to the authority of the user. All users access the Internet from the proxy server, so network administrators can block certain pages and limit the amount of accessible websites. This type of filtering is usually done to limit websites either individually or through categories. For instance, some proxy server software blocks whole categories such as entertainment, pornography or gaming sites.
  • Monitoring – Whether for legal compliance or for sales and customer service improvement, sometimes it is necessary for management to monitor employee internet access (emails, instant messaging, website usage). A proxy server will give you this ability. You will be able to watch incoming and outgoing communication on your network, all in one place.
  • Malware / Virus Protection –  A proxy server protects the network from malware, which is installed on users’ computers when they access an infected website. When the malware is installed on the user’s machine, it can spread to other machines on the network. This is a security risk for the company. Documents can be stolen and passwords can be compromised, giving others unauthorized access to the network. Proxy servers can block and monitor web traffic, so the administrator detects suspicious activity even if the user is unaware of the problem.

Conclusion

From our years of experience servicing business computer systems, the biggest 2 costs employers are worried about are wasted manhours (employees on facebook, youtube, pinterest, craigslist, twitter, etc) and repairing / removing viruses and malware from their computers. As a simplified example, if you consider each employee spends at least an hour each day surfing non-productive content at an average salary of 30k/year. Each employee is wasting 250 hours a year * $15/hr = $3750. Now multiply that by the number of employees you have and the cost to setup a proxy server and yearly antivirus/malware subscription is a no brainer. Imagine how much work would get done if each employee had an extra 200 hours each year to work.

Proxy Servers come in all different sizes with different feature sets. Give us a call today to get a free estimate on setting one up in your business.

An Overview of Windows 8 Tablets

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June 20, 2013

win8_tabletWindows 8 is a completely redesigned version of Microsoft’s popular operating system. The first thing that anyone upgrading to Windows 8 will notice is the new user interface and its vastly improved support for touchscreen input, full-screen interactive apps and mobility in general. While this has made the release of Windows 8 somewhat controversial among traditional desktop and laptop users, the new operating system is particularly well-suited to tablet devices and other touchscreen computers. Although the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems continue to hold the majority of the market share, Windows 8 is rapidly catching up as a viable and popular alternative.

Most tablet computers running Windows 8 run the Windows RT version of the operating system. This operating system is only available preinstalled on mobile devices which use the ARM processor architecture. Although in many ways, Windows RT is the same as Windows 8, particularly with regards to its appearance, there are some important differences to consider.  

Windows RT

The most significant difference between Windows RT and Windows 8 for desktop and laptop computers is that third-party desktop applications are not supported by the former. The only desktop applications which are available for Windows RT are those which are included natively with the operating system. This means that you will not be able to install any software designed for Windows 7 and earlier. Instead, you will only be able to install apps from the Windows Store.

Windows 8

win8_tablet2Some Windows tablets, particularly higher-end ones and those which also double up as laptop computers, come with the desktop version of Windows 8 preinstalled. This presents the advantage of being able to use your tablet rather like you use a desktop or laptop computer, since you can install the same software such as programs which were designed for older versions of Windows or the Desktop Mode of Windows 8. Be aware, however, that the 32-bit version of Windows 8 is usually the one found on Windows 8 tablets.

Other Considerations

Windows 8 was largely a result of Microsoft’s determination to penetrate the mobile market and compete with other popular mobile operating systems such as Google Android or Apple iOS. Due to the fact that it is relatively new on the scene, however, there are relatively few apps available through the Windows Store when compared to the selection available through the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. However, the list of both free and paid apps is constantly increasing as Windows 8 rapidly catches up. If you want to enjoy complete compatibility with other devices running Windows 8, however, a Windows 8 tablet is a must. This way, you will also be able to synchronize your settings, files and other features between your devices.

There are many types of applications that can consume an inordinate amount of bandwidth. Your corporate network could be suffering from any one, or indeed a combination of them. Slower speeds, more frequent freezes, and other IT headaches can occur when these bandwidth-hungry applications consume more than their fair share. Identify these applications and take steps to negate their acquisition of your precious bandwidth – or suffer the consequences.

What are the consequences? Primarily, your low-bandwidth applications experience a slower response time, your network becomes less efficient, and that costs the company money. Sluggish networks are one common cause of increased IT help desk calls. This in turn causes a loss of productivity where employees are spending time calling the IT department, and IT staff are wasting time troubleshooting these basic issues that could be avoided.

Here are the chief culprits:

1.       Video – including conferencing, downloading, and streaming

2.       Wi-Fi – when employees piggyback using their personal mobile devices

3.       Audio – internet radio or other music, news and information streaming

4.       Gadgets – desktop apps such as weather, calendars, clocks, etc.

5.       Files – sharing, transferring, downloading, archiving

6.       Cloud apps – collectively, these apps can ravish bandwidth

In these days when every dollar counts and corporations are expending great efforts to reduce costs, it seems a foregone conclusion that employee time-wasting would be eliminated as a function of corporate policy.

computer-hardware-and-networkingRestrict Employee Bandwidth Drain

When the time-wasting applications are also bandwidth wasters, then it is even more compelling that the company regains control over its employee base, its IT network, and the losses generated in productivity, time, and money.

Allowing unrestricted Wi-Fi access, video, audio, and other applications outside the scope of daily work activities is a huge drain on resources. It is also an invitation to security issues and degradation in the integrity of the network.

High Definition (HD) video has amplified the amount of bandwidth required to handle everyday applications such as streaming, conferencing, and downloading. Restricting the access of non-work related use will help curb the consumption. Where video is a part of the workload, reducing definition, and scheduling downloads for off-peak hours will help reduce the load placed on the network.

Ensuring that your corporate Wi-Fi network is secure is also paramount to ensuring only the right people are using your precious network resources. Unauthorized individuals, whether guests or low-ranking employees, should not have access to your corporate network, as it represents an unwarranted drain on resources, not to mention a security risk.

Audio, gadgets, and cloud apps not directly related to the job function should also be restricted.

Benefits of LAN Segmentation

High bandwidth file handling that is work-related be split or segmented using bridges, routers and/or switches. This effectively alleviates the bandwidth drain on the network and also reduces overall traffic congestion, makes network problems easier to identify, and enhances security.

Using LAN segmentation helps to isolate problems by reducing the problem of overflow. LAN segmentation can tackle the bandwidth consumption problem for any application or group on the network.

One important role of the IT department is to measure and monitor network utilization. This is essentially the amount of traffic across the network, compared to how much the network can support. There are certain times of business where network utilization will be higher than others. There will also be points in the network which are under greater stress, and diagnosing these early can point to how to avoid infrastructure bottlenecks.

Proper measuring and monitoring, coupled with network segmentation, will also greatly enhance the effectiveness of the IT staff when it becomes necessary to track down a network problem. This increased efficiency translates into less downtime, fewer help desk calls, and a significant reduction in time and money otherwise lost.

High bandwidth applications need not be a problem for any perceptive IT department.

Daytona Search Engine (SEO) Services

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May 15, 2013

daytona seo services

Our long-term strategy for “on-site” SEO begins with fundamentals. No shortcuts. Unethical SEO companies exploit short term loopholes in Google, resulting in search engine penalties against your website.

At Net Works, Inc, your SEO Consultants, we align our goals with the goals of Google and other search engines. Professional and search engine friendly, we play by the rules, we get you on top of the search, and we keep you there. Our business is your success.

We offer a comprehensive solution comprised  only of ethical web marketing and programming activities.

All our activities are top notch and adhere to the mandates of Search Engines. We will never do anything that could potentially jeopardize your rankings.

Daytona SEO Experts!

 

Business Computer Services

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March 14, 2013

daytona_beach_business_computer_services2

Daytona Computer Services

Net Works, Inc is the leading Daytona Beach area computer support and network consulting firm.  For more than a decade, we have provided computer service to over 600 businesses. We specialize in on-site network support and computer service for Daytona Beach area businesses. Net Works, Inc offers you everything needed to fulfill all of your computer support and network service needs. 

Our Florida office provides computer services and computer support for Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange and the surrounding communities.

Net Works Inc. offers clients: 

Net Works, Inc will be onsite within hours to keep your networks properly working. Oftentimes, we can provide instant problem resolution via remote access to servers and workstations. 

Ready to Find Out What Our Team Can Do for You?

 Whether you are looking for a specific solution or need help assessing your business IT needs, we’re here to help. Our Daytona Beach technical experts will provide computer service, act as your support team to help you decide a direction and set up a plan that makes sense for your business.

Please call us for custom IT solutions at 386-248-0000, send us an email at info@daytonanetworks.com, or fill out the contact request form to the left.

 

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Heartbleed Bug Aftermath: How You Can Protect Your Online Accounts

Bruce Schneier, a well-respected expert in the online security industry, discussed the Heartbleed bug on his blog and described the [...] more

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