Tech Tip of the Month by Alandale Training

Brought to you by Alandale Training a great resource online for tips and on-site computer training courses in Vancouver, BC. Visit their site at www.alandaletraining.com.

Go back to last location in Word

Let’s say you have a large Word document and you are working on page 23.  You scroll up to look at something on page 6 and then want to quickly get back to page 23.  In early versions of Word, you could just press one of the arrow keys on the keyboard and it would take you back to the page where the insertion point was (page 23).  Now pressing the arrow keys moves the insertion point to the page you are looking at (page 6).

So what do you do?  Press Ctrl+Alt+Z.  This takes you back to the page where the insertion point is located.

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Tech Deal of the Month – LED Monitor

Each month we will supply you with a product that we believe is a great deal and may suit your business or personal needs. This is an opportunity for you to save time and energy shopping around for what’s best at the best price, because we have done it for you!

Acer – LED monitor – 23″ – 1920 x 1080 Full HD – IPS – 250 cd/m2 – 6 ms – DVI, VGA – speakers 

Price: $ 180.00
*Tax and Shipping not included
If you are interested please contact the sales team at https://www.itsconsultinginc.ca/contact/

Top 10 Info – Security Blunders of 2013


#10 Yahoo Japan: Yahoo’s Japan site was hacked in 2013 and over 22 million users IDs and associated information was taken. These attacks will only continue to grow as foreign user bases and revenues increase past the once dominant US Internet presence.

#9 UbiSoft: In other non-US news, this major French gaming company announced in July of 2013 that its systems had been breached and attackers made off with an unknown number of user credentials. Details on the attack were limited and the company refused to provide much information on what was stolen other than no payment information was taken and the passwords were encrypted. Still, it made all its users reset their passwords so we are forced to assume that it could have involved their entire user base which is estimated at 50 million registered users. This shows that hackers will continue to hit users where they live and spend, which is increasingly on gaming networks. In addition to taking payment information when they hit these sites, they can also steal gaming profiles and characters which can often be sold on the black market.

#8 Evernote: Users of this popular note taking app were asked to reset their passwords in response to a hacking attempt that may or may not have been successful. Over 50 million users were affected. The hyper growth of some apps can mean that their security processes and protections can often be outstripped by user bases that can exceed 100% monthly growth rates. The security that is appropriate for a few thousand beta users is vastly different than that needed to protect millions. Once your user base reaches these heights, it becomes a lucrative target for professional hacking gangs that are far more sophisticated than the script kiddies that bother smaller sites. This is a cautionary tale for young Turks dreaming of being app millionaires (or billionaires).Have a growth-oriented security plan early on, or you’ll be doing some explaining to your V.C.s and backers later on.

#7 Federal Reserve: In the early days of 2013, The Federal Reserve announced it was hacked, possibly by the group Anonymous, and that IDs and other information on over 4000 top level banking executives was stolen. While they claimed this was a minor internal system and no critical money handling systems were touched, this is troubling. Consider that the Federal Reserve manages the entire US monetary system and also handles most wire transfers of dollars in the United States. Access to those systems would definitely be the holy grail of professional cyber thieves.

#6 Living Social: While the bloom is off this once high flying coupon site, millions still use it every month to get discounts on everything from restaurant meals to yoga lessons. Over 50 million user names, passwords and other personal information were taken from the site’s servers in an April hacking incident. No financial information was taken according to the company, but the user base information could be useful to pre-texters and social engineers, not to mention other less reputable discounting sites.

#5 Adobe: In one of the biggest commercial hacks of the year, Adobe was breached and over 38 million users had their information stolen, including credit card data. Some estimates put the numbers as high as 150 Million. Due to the lack of a strong password policy (common to most Internet sites), users were able to use simple dictionary passwords which were easily recoverable, in spite of being encrypted. Sooner or later, companies are going to have to start forcing their customers to pick complex passwords for their accounts if we are going to trust them with our financial information. It would be nice to see a couple of large e-commerce companies take the lead on this and set an example for smaller sites.

#4 Major retailers: In some good news, US authorities broke up and charged a major Russian based hacking gang with breaking into and stealing over 160 million credit and debit cards from major companies such as J.C. Penny, 7-Eleven and Jet Blue over eight years. The bad news: Poor security at merchants and payment processors such as Heartland Payment systems will allow this to continue to happen. The roll-out of stronger and mandatory PCI standards this year should help but until there are major consequences for firms not complying, they will continue to ignore security, hoping to get lucky in the crap shoot of Internet security, using your identities as their antes.

#3 National Security Agency: While the information stolen wasn’t user’s identities or credit cards, the information taken and later revealed by famous NSA leaker Edward Snowden garnered far more news attention and international intrigue than any cyber breach this year. Whether you agree with his methods and actions, the fact remains this was a simple case of a bad apple, making it through what should have been a rigorous background check process and having access to far more than he needed to do his job. News inquiries after the fact show that even a moderately earnest effort on the front end would have saved the NSA and the US government a whole lot of embarrassment and bad world press. It also proves that no amount of technology, policies and procedures can save you if you hire the wrong people. And this includes contractors, vendors and other partners (Snowden was an employee of a contractor for the NSA), who can do as much damage as an internal employee if they have access to your systems. Vet your people AND your business partners, before they get access or suffer the consequences.

#2 Obamacare/Affordable Care Act: Whether you hate or love this policy or just don’t care, there is no doubt that the website roll-out was a major disaster on every possible level. And while the general dysfunction of the site got most of the news; according to official testimony in front of Congress, little or no security was built into the site. Expect more news on this in 2014, as the fixes and additions to the site after the flawed rollout are sure to have more security holes in them, given the speed at which they were coded and the intense pressure to make the site functional. Tight deadlines and a “get it up at any cost” attitude almost never result in a more secure site.

#1 Target: The last of our “Oops” moments, and possibly the most significant, coming at the height of the Christmas shopping rush to a major retailer goes to Target. Having to announce during this all important period that they had allowed over 40 Million of their shopper’s credit and debit cards to be stolen is hardly good for business. In addition to likely class action law suits from users, states attorney generals and banks who had to reissue credit cards, Target suffered a dip in sales, during a period when their peers were experiencing gains. The exact amount is unclear but it is sure to leave a dent in Targets 2013 financial performance and perhaps for years to come. The only silver lining in this cloud is that due to the high visibility and wide effect, it might wake up consumers and corporate boards to what has been a mostly lax attitude towards information security amongst retailers and other companies that serve the public.

What stands out in this list is the number of incidents involving government or its initiatives. In the past, hacking government sites was only useful as a publicity stunt or to make a political statement. Now that governments of all sizes, federal, state and local are increasing online and taking payments for all types of fees and services, you can be assured that the cybercriminal element will follow the money and stake out its turf there. The mantra for 2014 is to be aware of the sites you visit and use and don’t assume just because it has the imprimatur of Uncle Sam (or whatever government mascot you have), that it is safe.

Google Fun! 7 Things to Pass Time

I am sure most of you know that certain searches in Google can offer you some entertainment. Some are games, some are images, and some are illusions. Here are a few you can try.

  • Image search > ‘atari breakout’
  • ‘google gravity’ > I’m feeling lucky search
  • ‘google pacman’ > I’m feeling lucky search
  • ‘askew’ > Enter
  • ‘do a barrel roll’ > Enter
  • ‘zerg rush’ > enter – with your mouse you can also shot the o’s
  • ‘(sqrt(cos(x))*cos(400*x)+sqrt (abs(x))-0.4)*(4-x*x)^0.1’ > enter – this gives you a plot graph of a heart

 

Security in Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social networks have become an integral part of online lives. Social networks are a great way to stay connected with others, but you should be wary about how much personal information you post.

Have your family follow these tips to safely enjoy social networking:
Privacy and security settings exist for a reason: Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way.

sociallockOnce posted, always posted: Protect your reputation on social networks. What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your friends, parents or future employers to see. Recent research found that 70% of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Your online reputation can be a good thing:  Recent research also found that recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online. So show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the environment.

Keep personal info personal: Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.

Know and manage your friends: Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synched up with your daily life.

Be honest if you’re uncomfortable: If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or you think is inappropriate, let them know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them respect those differences.
Know what action to take: If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friends list, block them, and report them to the site administrator.

Protect Yourself with these STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
Tips:
Keep a clean machine: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Own your online presence: When applicable, set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how you share information.

Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.

Unique account, unique password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.

When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

Post only about others as you have them post about you.

ITS and Vancouver International Wine Festival

VIWF_AD_2014

This month Vancouver welcomes the 36th annual International Wine Festival. On Saturday, February 22nd at the Fairmont hotel the open Gala will be hosted. From the 24th to March 02nd, the Vancouver Convention centre, and other venues across the city, will feature 178 wineries from 14 countries for you to try and enjoy. Take a look here for more information and to get your tickets for Vancouver International Wine Festival

What’s New at ITS in February

Sorry for the delay folks. February has turned out to be a very busy going month for us! We are trying to start featuring some of clients as we are all about helping each other strive forward. In this months news articles we are going to look at ICBA for our feature client. Also, some more tips on being safe online, this one will be about Social Networks that most of us use for a personal and/or business purpose.

What’s in February’s Articles?

  • ICBA Benefits
  • Vancouver International Wine Festival
  • Security in Social Media
  • Google Fun
  • Top 10 Info – Security blunders of 2013
  • Deal of the Month
  • Tech Tip of the Month
  • This Month in Tech History
  • February Events

Bits & Bytes Gazette – January 2014

 



ITS Newsletter – Pass IT On

January 2014

Happy New Year! 2014 is upon us, time for those left over dinners, New Year’s resolutions, and brand new technology. In this newsletter we are going to take a look at a few upcoming gadgets/ideas that should be releasing this year. We have also given you a different type of New Year’s Resolution; a few tips to keep your digital privacy safe and secure that most of have gotten out of the habit of doing. Happy reading!!

What’s in January’s Newsletter?:

  • Smartwatches
  • What else is coming in 2014?
  • 7 Tech New Year’s Resolutions that you should keep!
  • 10 tricks for iPad/iPhone users
  • Adobe PDF tip
  • Deal of the Month
  • Tech Tip of the Month
  • This Month in Tech History
  • January Events

Smart watches:

Smart watches have come a long way over the years and 2013 gave them a big boost. I believe 2014 may be the year for smart watches. The majority of consumers have phones that would be compatible with wearable devise, and the components have gotten small and cheap enough to produce. The top 5 smart watches for 2013 came from Pebble, Martian, i’m Watch, Sony, and ConnecteDevice Cookoo. In 2014 the big names should be releasing some watches with a real ‘wow-factor’. No supplier is really ‘in the lead’ as of yet and everyone is looking at Apple for their answer, the iWatch. It was supposed to be released in 2013, but it never happened, some are starting to think it isn’t true. Currently, Samsung and Sony’s release, even though are more advanced and look sleek, haven’t really given consumers a reason to go and get a smart watch, yet. Smart watches may become the best accessory for your smartphone.

What’s new for 2014?

Apple

Other than smart watches, we are looking at Apple for the release of the Apple iTV. The rumours for this new Apple product are getting warmer. It is said to be released by the end of 2014 with no one really confirming the details, we don’t know how much it will be and what it will bring to our homes.

Google

Google has been in the news quite a lot recently. They recently purchased Boston Dynamics, which would make it the 8th robotics company they have purchased in the last 6 months. We aren’t sure what they are doing yet with their robotics research, but some rumours should hopefully slide out quite soon. Google are set to make the Google Glass available to the general public in 2014, expecting to sell several million pairs, although, that will still not make it a common tech gadget for all.

7 Tech New Year’s Resolutions

Every year that passes technology is syncing in with our lives more and more. For some of us, we may have all our bank, emails, passwords, work files; on our phones, home pc, laptop, or just about anywhere. As the good side of technology advances, so do the bad, so virus, hackers, and thieves. Take a look at these easy tech resolutions that you can do to protect your virtual and real identity.

  1. Update Security Software Often
    1. We all emit that groan of despair when our computers need to update their software, but in reality, it’s necessary to keep them running.

If you don’t update your security software frequently, it’s easier to get malware or trojan horses that could steal your information and harm your computer. Most programs will schedule updates, but making it a part of your routine is helpful. Set aside 10 minutes on a less busy day to update the definitions while you wait for that pizza you ordered or before you brush your teeth.

  1. Schedule Back-Ups to an External Hard Drive
    1. Let’s be honest, backing up your hard drive is the last thing on your to-do list. The only thing that seems to jog your memory is when your computer refuses to turn on, and you realize you haven’t backed anything up for six months — too little, too late.

Like the security software update, make it a part of your routine. Set aside some time while watching Netflix or reading news online. If you use services such as Time Machine, you can schedule updates, but otherwise you’ll have to do manually

  1. Stop Reusing Passwords
    1. It’s easy to fall into the habit of using the same generic password for all of your online profiles and pages, especially since writing them down is ill-advised. But having the same password for every account can put your entire online presence at risk, since a person only needs to guess correctly once to access them all.

Create passwords with numbers, letters and symbols to add diversity, and use a random password generator for a unique combination.

  1. Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks
    1. The Wi-Fi from the local coffee shop, public park or bookstore seems safe enough — but if you see a network with a dubious name (like “Free Public Wi-Fi”) that doesn’t require a password, you’re better safe than sorry. Even if you’re using a network you can trust, there are some best practices you should adopt: Use the secure browsing extension, turn off sharing and change your settings so you don’t automatically log into Wi-Fi hotspots.

 

  1. Stay Up-to-Date on Your Privacy Settings
    1. Technology is all about change, so whenever a social network undergoes a major update, the privacy settings may have also changed. This means that your once-hidden and private profile could be out in the open for others to see.

Check your own settings regularly, keep an eye out for major site changes or news of a settings update, and learn how to hide your profile again.

  1. Stop Throwing Out Busted Tech
    1. Not only is trashing your tech terrible for the environment, it’s potentially dangerous for you. Old tech can still retain important information, so whoever picks up your old computer off the curb might able to grab sensitive information you thought you erased ages ago.

A much better alternative is to recycle your products. It’s less convenient, but there are plenty of resources to help you (such as ERA who were featured in our last newsletter).

  1. Keep the Clutter Off Your Computer
    1. It’s common to let emails accumulate in your inbox or leave files on your desktop. But there will come a point in time when you’ll have to find key content hidden among the mess, and it will be significantly harder to find.

With some good, old-fashioned organization skills, it’s possible to maintain a clutter-free digital life. For emails, answer or delete messages as soon as you can, sort them so you can find important ones faster and download productivity plugins. Save files to appropriate folders when you first create them, and delete duplicates or old files whenever you see them.

10 Tricks for iPad/iPhone users:

Here are some nifty little tips and tricks that you may not have known that you can do with your iPad/iPhone:

  1. (iPad)- Switch Key board to thumb mode for comfortable typing. – You can do this a few ways. Quickest way is to just ‘pull the keyboard apart with your fingers.
  2. (iPhone) – Need a fast charge? – If you put your phone on airplane mode, it will charge twice as fast.
  3. (both) – Offline map usage – Make use of offline Google Maps when travelling abroad. While you still have internet access, go to the area you want to save. In the search bar, type ‘ok maps’ and the map will be cached for offline use.
  4. (both)- Calculator app – remove an accidental extra zero by swiping left to right. This is helpful if you are in the middle of a bunch of expenses, you don’t have to start over if you accidentally typed in too many numbers.
  5. (both)- Guided Access– Once guided access is turned on, it keeps users from errantly clicking or tapping within an app and ending up someplace they’re not supposed to be, or deleting something accidentally. Especially great for when a child is playing with your device. First, you need to go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access and turn it on. You’ll also want to turn on the Accessibility Shortcut. Triple-click the home button in whichever app you want to turn it on for. From here, you can select any buttons that you don’t want clicked. Or you can also disable the home button while keeping the touchscreen on.
  6. (both) – Headphone selfies – you can take selfies without have your arm in the way. On your Apple headphones, while in the camera app, just click the volume + button to click and shoot, or the middle button while in video mode.
  7. (both)- Compass app- There is a built in level gauge in the compass app. This little trick is helpful if you need to hang a photo. Open up the Compass app and swipe to the left and you’ll be at the level screen.
  8. (both) – Back to top- Tap the top bar of any app to scroll back to the top. No more tedious thumb scrolling when you are way down the list
  9. (both) – Better nighttime browsing- Inverting your colors will turn the screen black and the text white for less eye strain.  Go to Settings > General > Accessibility. Turn on “Invert Colors.”
  10. (both) – Outsmart autocorrect- When typing contractions, add an extra letter. i.e- weree (we’re) – welll (we’ll)

Adobe PDF tip:

Here is a tip from one of our techs for all those who use Adobe:

If you use the Windows 7 preview feature to view a PDF and have it open in your explorer window, the file is then open according to the server you are browsing the file from.  The offshoot of this is that if you then open the PDF and make changes and then try to save, Adobe will give you an error that the file is already open and to save the file somewhere else.  The solution is to close the preview in Windows 7 explorer.

Deal of the Month:

Each month we will supply you with a product that we believe is a great deal and may suit your business or personal needs. This is an opportunity for you to save time and energy shopping around for what’s best at the best price, because we have done it for you!

Logitech TK820 Wireless All-in-One Keyboard w/Built –in Touch Pad Incurve & Customizable Hot Keys

Price: $ 99.00

*Tax and Shipping not included

If you are interested please contact the sales team at https://www.itsconsultinginc.ca/contact/

Tech Tip of the Month:

Brought to you by Alandale Training a great resource online for tips and on-site computer training courses in Vancouver, BC. Visit their site at www.alandaletraining.com.

Cycling through all your windows

In response to last week’s tip, several subscribers mentioned that you can also use Alt+Tab to cycle through your open windows.  Alt+Tab has been around since the days of Windows 3.1 and used to be the only way we had of switching between windows.  I’m sure that like me, some of you worked with Windows 3.1.

When the Taskbar came along in Windows 95, Alt+Tab became less prominent but it can still be useful as a quick way of switching between windows.

So what is the difference between Alt+Tab and Ctrl+F6?  Let’s say you have seven windows open, including three Word documents, and you are currently looking at one of the Word windows.  Ctrl+F6 will cycle between the three Word windows while Alt+Tab will cycle between all seven windows.

As with Ctrl+F6, Shift reverses the order of moving through the windows.  So a mouse-free way to repetitively switch between a couple of windows is to use Alt+Tab, followed by Shift+Alt+Tab.

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This Month in Tech History:

January Events:

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