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You’ve Got Mail…Oh Wait, It’s Spam

You’ve Got Mail…Oh Wait, It’s Spam

From emails to web forms on your website, Spam is bombarding your feedback pathways. You may be wondering, what is Spam? The basic definition is junk mail or comments that, in some cases, try to solicit the user to buy products and services, or provide confidential information such as Social Security Numbers, credit card numbers, and passwords to obtain user identities for nefarious purposes.

Popular software, particularly WordPress, has great tools for preventing Spam. These tools can help prevent Spam from appearing on your WordPress website:

Akismet:
The most used Spam prevention plug-in for WordPress users is Akismet, developed by Automattic (parenting company of WordPress). This particular plug-in continuously detects Spam on website forms. The current versions of Akismet are installed by default for WordPress users, but are available for over 20 plug-ins and libraries. A list of these other plug-ins can be found here.

Spam Destroyer:
Another reliable anti-Spam plug-in for WordPress users is the Spam Destroyer plug-in. It can be used in conjunction with Akismet for an added layer of protection. It works with gravity forms, comments, and other feedback forms on your website.

Other:
Anti-Spam plug-ins are not the only way to help protect against Spam comments and feedback. Other methods also can go a long way. For example, restricting your comment list to a select group of people (members or your own personal list) can help eliminate Spam. Moderating and approving comments before they are posted onto your website can help filter through actual posts and Spam. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with how Spam is presented:

  • Generalized or foreign languages
  • Misspelled words
  • Non-matching material
  • Long comments loaded with links

All of these are good indicators of Spam comments.

All the plug-ins in the world won’t be much help if they aren’t updated. Make sure you are updating your plug-ins regularly, keeping up with new features that help prevent Spam from taking over your feedback section.

Do you follow internet blogs and news? Both are helpful tools of knowledge against Spam. Research of known Spam, Spam plug-ins, and potential threats can be effective for protecting your site against Spam. Alert systems, such as AtNetPlus’ alerts on Twitter (for more information, click here ) can also be useful in keeping up-to-date on new threats.

As with many things on the Internet, nothing is perfect. Spam may slip through the cracks of your plug-ins or restricted lists. That’s to be expected. You may not be able to eliminate it completely, but you can dramatically reduce it so it is more manageable. As Spam evolves, plug-ins and prevention techniques will involve with it, which is why updating regularly and keeping up with security trends is so important.

Post your favorite Spam prevention tools on our Facebook page or Tweet us @atnetplus

 

New Microsoft Internet Explorer Vulnerability

There is a recently discovered problem that can allow an attacker to take control of your computer when you visit web sites using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) versions 6 through 11.  Microsoft has reported that they are continuing to work on a fix, however it isn’t available yet.  When the fix is released, it will not correct the issue on Windows XP.

 

Official Link (Homeland Security Bulletin)

http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/222929

 

What should you do?

 

We recommend not using Internet Explorer until this issue is addressed.  If you currently have a free alternate browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox installed, use either of those browsers unless a website requires the use of Internet Explorer.  You will know a site must be viewed in IE when you try to access the site via an alternate browser and receive an alert that it will not work unless the user is in IE.  Unfortunately, some sites may not warn you that they are not compatible with browsers other than IE.  If you have sites that must be accessed from Internet Explorer, we can assist in making some changes to increase the security of it.

 

If you must use IE, be very aware of any links you click on.  Remember, it is ALWAYS best to type in a site address rather than click a link.  A link may look like it will redirect to the correct website however it can be coded to send you to an infected site.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to help.

The Hazards of Tape Backups

Imagine walking into your business tomorrow morning only to discover your server has crashed.  “No worries” you think to yourself, “we back up our server on the tapes every night.”  Unfortunately, when you try to recover data from your tapes you discover they have become old and unusable.

 

Investing in an online backup solution can seem to be a more costly option per megabyte of storage when compared to using tapes.  The difference is the reliability of the backup when the moment strikes and the backup is needed to restore your entire business; it could be the difference to keep you from going out-of-business.  It’s also important to get your business back up and running quickly.  Restoring from a server failure would most likely take several days to potentially weeks to restore.  Not to mention the labor costs to re-build the environment.

 

We often see clients using the tape backup option run into trouble. They thought they were backing up every night, and were even getting a verification of the backup, but when the server drives failed, they learned that the old, worn out tapes had not been backing up their server for months.  Unfortunately, these clients have had to pay a lot of money to send their hard drives to recovery experts with the hope that the data can be restored.  For clients we manage, we take an image of their entire system allowing them to recover their business in a matter of hours rather than days or even weeks.  Local file restores also are performed to test data integrity of the backups.

 

Imagine your business suddenly without your client list, inventory levels, payroll information… anything.  It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to maintain your business. Statics show that 70% of small businesses that suffer a major data loss are out of business within eighteen months.

 

Visit www.stayopenforbusiness.com and watch Bob discover the many pitfalls awaiting any small business without a reliable backup and a disaster recovery plan.

Jay Interview in Crain’s Cleveland Business

Security awareness is popping up everywhere. Recently Jay Mellon, CEO of AtNetPlus, was interviewed for a couple of articles about Security Awareness in Crain’s Cleveland Business.

To read the articles:

Hackers are getting smarter, which means businesses must be more vigilant, experts say

‘Cal’ and friends seem to have a lot in common
 

2014 – Technology to Embrace or Leave Behind.

2014 embrace or leave behind (5)

The Technology to leave in 2013

  • CD-Roms – Software, music, movies, and more are now being streamed and downloaded. Many laptops today do not include an optical drive.
  • Cloud-Less Network – Whether you have an onsite server or not, some connectivity to the cloud is beneficial. At a minimum you’ll want cloud backup capabilities.
  • Windows XP – Coming April 21st, 2014 Windows XP will reach its ‘end of life’ which means no updates and no security.
  • Complacency – In the fast evolving tech world being complacent can be costly and give your competitors a competition edge.

Technology to Embrace in 2014

  • The cloud – Store and access data from anywhere.
  • Office 365/Google Apps for Business – And other tools to Improve communication, efficiency, and collaboration in the office.
  • Big Data – Will bring businesses of any size insights that they never thought imaginable.
  • Mobility – Completely reliant hardwired connections and desktops are on the decline. Having your work and information accessible on the go is a must. More and more people expect to be able to work from anywhere.
  • Touch interface – Windows 8.1 and the touch interface improve usability while traveling
  • Enterprise Social – The tools for collaboration and communication with in a business. These programs can range from internal social media to instant message services.

This year will should be full of a lot of interesting innovations for business Technology, tell us in our poll below what you are looking forward to he most.

Social Media and television integration is a trend to watch for in 2014

Social Media and television integration is a trend to watch for in 2014

Over the last couple of years we have seen more and more TV shows broadcasting live tweets or asking you to follow them on twitter. Learn more about this trend: The New Take on TV and Social Media Integration

Sony has embraced this trend and integrated it into their new Sony Bravia TV. Learn more about enhancing your TV viewing experience with Twitter

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