Shopping

Sinister Shopping

Introduction

The holiday season is here, and that means shopping rushes as far as the eye can see. Unfortunately, with so many people out an about, it’s also identity theft season. Identity theft is a problem that holiday shoppers seem to put off, many of them with the “it won’t happen to me mentality.”

THIS MENTALITY IS A TRAP.

Complacency is never an option when it comes to identity theft, and with online shopping becoming more and more popular, it’s easier than ever for the ethically loose to obtain personal information from unsuspecting victims.

How Do I Protect Myself from Identity Theft?

Identity and information theft preys upon the unprepared and uncaring, but can be made much less problematic with a few simple preventative measures we at Micro Systems urge people to take.

  • Never shop on an unsecured network. This is a simple one, but many people don’t realise the inherit danger. Local shops and cafes that offer free public wifi are often unsecured networks. What this means is that anyone using a signal interceptor can obtain any information people on that network type in. Which in the holiday season often includes banking information and email passwords.
  • Never use a Debit Card When Shopping Online. The problem with debit cards versus credit, is that they are directly connected to your bank account, and are more difficult to dispute purchases on. If someone has your debit card, they have your bank account.
  • Keep your Information Close. Information attacks are going to increase during this season, so being a little more careful about who you give your information to is a reasonable precaution.
  • Invest in an RFID Blocker. These can be small cards or sleeves often inserted into your wallet. What these do is they block the scans taken by a skimmer; a device people use to obtain credit and debit card information simply by having it near your pocket. Having one of these can mean much more peace of mind when in busy shopping centers.
  • Keep Informed. Stay up to date about cyber attacks so you can avoid any websites or locales known for being identity theft hotspots.
  • Complex and Often Changing Passwords. This is something people should do year-round but if an excuse is needed, the holiday shopping season will do. A simple change like adding a numerical sequence and random capitalizations can make a password much more difficult to crack. (Ex. “password” -> “12pAsSwOrD34”). Changing your passwords even on a monthly basis can also increase your personal security.

These are just a handful of strategies to protect your personal information and prevent people from obtaining what is most important to you. Remember to be safe this shopping season, and we at Micro Systems Management wish you Happy Holidays!

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Thursday, November 17th, 2016 General No Comments

Maze of Machines

Introduction

It’s November and that means shopping! As we progress in our technological age, so too does the role of technology in our spending habits; and technology is becoming a rapidly larger part of the Holiday shopping season (Cyber Monday is an excellent example). Due to this, a very common question received by IT professionals is this:

What computer should I purchase?”

A daunting question for individuals and businesses alike, finding the right computer is an important step in a large investment. Computers fill an ever increasing role in our society, and (especially for businesses) can greatly influence the amount of accessibility a person has. This in mind, it is important to know how to decide effectively on a new machine.

What Makes Computers Different?

Undoubtedly, you’ve heard of the “Mac V PC” argument when it comes to deciding on a computer purchase, when in reality you have many more options than this. Different machines built by different companies are made to do different things and there are many choices. This means (usually) computers aren’t objectively better or worse than their competitors, they just do different things. For instance, to use the Mac and PC example, Macs traditionally have powerful graphics processors, high-quality speakers, and a more streamlined interface, making them excellent for roles amongst artists, musicians, and entertainment facets. PCs on the other hand will typically have excellent central processors, more efficient batteries, and are a little easier to code, making them the superior choice for technical work such as you might find in an IT environment or law firm. As stated earlier, you have much more than two choices, as there are hundreds of PC and Mac models alone.

Hardware isn’t everything though, so you’ll also need to consider software. This means considering things like “What programs can I run?”, and “Are my programs updated?” After all, not all computers can run the same software. You’d also be considering things like antivirus options, operating systems, word processors, and so on. These can drastically change the experience you have with said hardware, as a new OS can make or break the user experience for new devices.

What Machine Is Right for Me and My Company?

Only you can decide the machine that is right for you, but we at Micro Systems are happy to help with that decision. For businesses, it is common for PCs to be recommended, we frequently suggest Dell Personal Computers to our clients. However, business clients should consider other technology as well to ensure the smoothest experience. Other devices common are telephone systems, web and email filters, and cameras; all of which we are happy to offer our help to find solutions for. When attempting to locate the right solution for your personal or business use, context is truly everything, so if you are looking for an upgrade this holiday season for you are your company, email or call us and we will do our best to locate the best possible equipment for your situation and budget. Also, remember to shop safe!

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Thursday, November 17th, 2016 Back to basics, General No Comments
 

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