Tips from the Help Desk: GodMode Management Feature

Omnipotent Windows 10 Management Featureapplication-icons-computer-technology

Millions of people have now taken advantage of Microsoft’s free upgrade and are running the Windows 10 OS. Windows has some new features that make management an easier process. Windows now has a hidden feature called “GodMode” that allows for easier management. In GodMode a user can view and manage over 262 different settings all in one view. Add printers, uninstall programs, schedule de-frags, customize your layout and restore to a backup all in one place.

To set up this folder for yourself just right click the desktop and select “new folder” and rename the folder GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}. The folder will take on the appearance of the control panel icon and you can now manage your PC from a central location. Enjoy the easy access to all of the built in management tools in one view.

Contact ITDATA today if you need help managing your Windows environment.

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.

Tips from the Helpdesk – The Good, The Bad and the Browser Extension

The Good, The Bad and the Browser Extension

GHOSTERY

When downloading files from the internet, many of us have a healthy suspicion of what we are downloading. We can check the file name and run scans on downloads to ensure integrity of the download. However, these healthy habits do not translate over to browser extensions for many of us. Extensions are very easy to add on, and seem safe enough. Unfortunately many companies have been exposed to be pre-loading their extensions with tracking software. These companies then sell your browsing history to the highest bidder. The website “How to Geek” exposed multiple extensions and add-ons that have known trackers built in, check out the somewhat outdated list here. If you are using an extension that is on the list, delete it.

If you would like to download a beneficial add on that lists and blocks all trackers on any website you visit, join the 2 million people already using Ghostery. Ghostery will show you every tracker, including Google, attempting to mine your data. Keep your browsing history and personal data safe and secure with these quick solutions.

Contact ITDATA today if you are in need of higher level internet security.

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.

Tips from the Helpdesk: Flash Problems in Internet Explorer

Having Trouble Viewing Streams in Internet Explorer?flash_player_11_icon_rgb

If you have experienced issues with streaming video in Internet Explorer 11 in Youtube or elsewhere on the internet, you are not alone. If you have to be in Internet Explorer to run a certain application for work, this can be a frustrating issue to deal with. One quick fix is to enable ActiveX Filtering. This will block certain apps and content from loading in the browser. By default ActiveX filtering is turned off. Enable it by going to tools- scroll down to the ActiveX filtering tab and release to enable. Restart Internet Explorer and hopefully your stream now works.

If you can pinpoint when the issue started occurring you may be able to narrow it down to an Adobe Flash upgrade. Before you revert back to an older version of Flash that you know worked, first make sure there is not a newer update that you need to install first. Adobe usually catches these issues and will release a patched version so check to make sure before you revert back. If you end up needing to revert back, check out Adobe’s guide here.  To see which version you have installed click the gear icon a the top right and scroll down to “Manage Add-ons”. Click on “ Toolbar and Extensions and click on “Shockwave Flash Object”. You should be able to see the version listed at the bottom.

Another solution is to turn off Enhanced protected Mode in Internet Options. Go to the gear icon in the upper right hand corner and click on Internet options. Click on the Advanced tab and then scroll down to the Enable Enhanced protected Mode check box.

The last option is to add the website you are having problems with to the Compatibility View Settings list. To do this go back to the gear icon and choose Compatibility view settings. Add the website you are using. If you are stuck using IE for a specific application and are not able to use it, try these solutions to be able to view your stream.

For more information about how we setup networks to avoid small glitches like this  Contact ITDATA today.

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.

 

Tips from the Helpdesk – Ensure File Integrity by Comparing Hashes

Ensure File Integrity by Comparing Hashes

Buying-Tips-for-Performance-Appraisal-Software

Downloading a program off of the internet these days is all too easy. Often times you may go through two or more websites trying to find a good file that is not corrupt, or has not been altered in any way from the original. Saving documents onto a shared drive at work may feel a little less secure than you would like. How do you know that the file was not altered while you may have been away? Luckily most files and programs have what is called a “digital signature”. When someone wants to ensure that a file is not altered from when they last utilize it, they can input a hash algorithm to the file which will generate a unique key of different characters. You can then compare this key with the digital signature of the file or program when you come back to it to make sure that nothing has been altered. If the file has been altered in any way, the hash value will be completely different, no matter how small or large the change might be. This ensures file integrity, a key concept in IT security.

Many companies already offer their hash values so that users are not fooled into downloading files that may contain malware. Microsoft offers their hash values to be compared with the file downloaded.hashtools-1

If you are using  a windows machine and want to start generating some hash values for your documents and programs, you need to download a third party software to generate and compare hash values. There are many options on the market, a very easy one to use is called “Hash my files” and can be downloaded here https://www.raymond.cc/blog/download/did/1823/. You can also generate hash values for your own files at home or work, to make sure that no one is altering important documents without your approval. Many times you can find a hash value of a program or file and copy and past it into a browser like Google. If it is a common file, the search results may be able to tell you that the file is known to have malware attached to it. Spending a few minutes researching a hash value before you click the download button may save you hours of battling a Trojan virus or other malware. You don’t have to be an IT forensics specialist to utilize this great tool to keep your files safe.

For more information about file hashing and data secure, contact ITDATA today.

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.

Tips from the Helpdesk – Reduce the attack surface of your computer through system hardening

Reduce the attack surface of your computer through system hardening

Internet security.Laptop and opening safe deposit box's door.

Computers are capable of performing a seeming infinite amount of tasks. They are made to be adaptable and capable to open and execute many different programs and applications. Unfortunately this is also the reason why your machine may be susceptible to a malicious attack. Every application that is installed on your machine is door to your data and the network it resides on. If these applications are not kept up to date with patches, hot fixes and new versions, then these doors may be wide open to anyone strolling along the internet. Keeping up with the bad guys is a constant process.

Ever wonder why Adobe needs to be updated so much? In most cases it is not because there are new features to the application, but because they are trying to fix vulnerabilities in their code so that hackers do not take advantage of an application that is installed in nearly every organization. On April 5, 2016 Adobe released a security advisory citing a critical vulnerability in their latest version of Flash Player 21.0.0.197 and any version previous to version 21.0.0.182.  If you have been ignoring an adobe update for the past few weeks, make sure to update it now. This is not a new issue for Adobe’s Flash player. If you do not use Adobe Flash, delete it from your system. Don’t just delete Adobe though, delete anything that you don’t use frequently.

A large part of system hardening is deciding what applications that you use and what you can delete. If your computer is for work purposes, this may already be done for you by your system admin. If not, you should go through your programs under “Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Programs and Features” and uninstall anything you don’t use frequently. If you need to use the application you can always install the latest version which will be safer than falling behind on patches and updates. Watch out for add-ons when you install a new browser such as Adobe or Chrome. Often times you must remove the check mark on a box if you do not want a Yahoo toolbar or some other program installed along with what you were intending on installing. This is another good reason to skim through your installed programs, you never know what piggybacked onto your latest installed program that needs to be removed.

By removing unwanted programs, you are decreasing the “attack surface” of your machine. By removing these programs you are making it very difficult for a hacker to find a vulnerability in your system. System hardening and regular virus scans can help to ensure that your data and your company’s data stays secure.

For more information about our system hardening procedures and keeping your companies data secure, Contact ITDATA today.

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.

Tips from the Helpdesk – Increase system performance and security with Malwarebytes

Increase system performance and security with MalwarebytesUnderstanding-Computer-Security-Jobs

Do you remember the days when your computer operated more efficiently? Applications ran smoothly, emails opened quickly in Outlook and opening a web browser was not an event that required a bathroom break to perform. If you are someone reminiscing about the good old days, hold on to your office chairs because there is one program that can bring those good times back. “Malwarebytes” is a program that scans your system for malicious objects and gets rid of them. Malicious objects can not only bog down your processor speed by taking up essential resources, but can also be dangerous to your precious files.

The now infamous “cryptolocker” ransom-ware virus has wreaked havoc on many systems. In its first 100 days of being released in 2013, the virus netted 30 million dollars to the creators. A virus on your system can travel to the servers or other workstations, and bring all work to a standstill. Running a scan with Malwarebytes is easy, you can work while it runs in the background and when it is complete you will have the peace of mind that your system is not infected.

One important tip to keep in mind once the program is installed, is that the databases need to be kept up to date by running updates when prompted or about once a week. These databases tell the program which files to eliminate so keeping them updated is very important. Malwarebytes will let you know if the database is out of date with a sad face, if you are up to date and have performed weekly scans, a happy face will be displayed.

You can download a free version of Malwarebytes here https://www.malwarebytes.org/. There are some nice perks to having an enterprise version of Malwarebytes running on every system in the company.

If you would like an ITData technician to help you install Malwarebytes on your system, or would like to hear more about setting up the enterprise version on all of your workstations and servers, please Contact ITDATA today.

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.

Tips from the Helpdesk – Keeping up with changing passwords

keyboard_image

Forgetting a password can be a frustrating way to start your day at any job. After you have changed it multiple times, it becomes harder and harder to keep up with your new passwords. However, it is important that you are not tempted to come up with weak passwords! Last year weak passwords accounted for 70% of all system and internet breaches.

So how do you keep all of your passwords strong and still remember them all? The answer is not to write them down. What is the point of a complex password if someone can just open a desk drawer and find them all written down? We have even seen users write passwords on sticky notes and attach them to their monitors. If this is you, please take those down and shred them. What do you do before you shred all of the passwords you have written down? Type you passwords into a password keeper.

Password keepers are software that you can download to your computer, phone or tablet. You only have to remember one strong password to access all of your passwords, which are encrypted and very secure. There are many different programs available for download that will perform this function. The software that I prefer is called Keepass, and is totally free, you can download it here http://keepass.info/download.html.

Keepass has a lot of great features. It’s open-source which is generally better for security reasons, you can sync it through Dropbox which some may find useful and provides another layer of security. Keepass is also available for any operating system, Windows, Mac and Linux. Try and make your passwords at least 8 characters long including a capital letter, a symbol and a number. Once you have a password keeper installed, you can make your passwords very complex and never have to call the help-desk for a password reset again!

Contact ITDATA today if you are in need of higher level network security. We can help!

Zachery Albeitawi
Help Desk Technician, ITDATA, Inc.