JANUARY TECH NEWS                                 630-236-6625
Issue: 1
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How To Keep Your Laptop Secure


You can't beat the convenience of checking e-mail and hopping on the Internet at (Wi-Fi) hotspots found in airports, coffee shops, bookstores, and even in some major parks. For the uninitiated, Wi-Fi hotspots are areas where you can use your wireless laptop to surf the Web and check e-mail.


But the question you have to ask yourself is, just how safe is it to connect? With the proliferation of hackers, viruses and identity theft at an all time high, you are smart to be concerned. Wi-Fi spots are very attractive to hackers because they can use what's called an "evil twin" connection to access your laptop.


An evil twin is a wireless hotspot set up by a hacker to lure people from a nearby, legitimate hotspot. For example, when you log in at your favorite coffee shop, you might actually be logging onto the evil twin Internet connection set up by the innocent-looking person working on a laptop at the next table.


The most dangerous evil twins remain invisible and allow you to do business as usual, but in the background they record everything you are typing. Buy something online and they are recording your credit card information. Log on to your bank account, and they can grab your password. Some hotspots may even feed you a fake Web page after you log on asking you to update your billing information. This is the same tactic used in phishing scams.


So what can you do to make sure you are not giving an evil twin access to your laptop?


First, know the name of the hotspot you're going to use by asking someone who works there. Some businesses will give you printed instructions that include the hotspot name. Again, be careful. Hackers will try to name their evil twin network by a very similar name as the real hotspot, and may even show up as a stronger signal.


The best protection you can have is connecting via your company's VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will protect your online information by encrypting your data and activity even if you're connected through an evil twin.


If you don't have a company VPN, you should assume that someone is looking over your shoulder and recording everything you type in. Therefore, the BEST protection without a VPN is to never type in information such as credit cards, passwords, or social security numbers when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot.


4 Hidden Dangers Electricity Poses To Your Computer Network


Believe it or not, electricity is one of the biggest threats to your computer network and the data it contains. Here are four computer power problems you must know about and how to prevent them.


1.) Transients - Commonly known as surges and spikes, these are caused by lightning storms, wind, squirrels shorting out power lines, auto accidents, etc. Several times each week these spikes can travel up the power cord into your computer damaging everything from power supplies to motherboards. Conventional wisdom says use a power strip with a surge protector and you are safe. As usual, conventional wisdom is dead wrong. After several months, these surge protectors become useless having been zapped by the surges they were designed to protect against.


2.) Blackouts - Whether momentary or prolonged, the sudden loss of power can corrupt your PC to the point of not being able to start up again when the lights come back on.


3.) Sags - This is when the power drops below normal. Have you ever seen the fluorescent lights flicker for a moment? Then you have witnessed a sag. Sags are more common than surges and are caused when equipment like air conditioners, blow dryers, water heaters, laser printers, copy machines and other electrical equipment are turned on or come out of sleep mode. A typical small office will experience 30 or more sags each day. Sags cause many of the weird and unexplained problems computer users complain about every day.


4.) Noise - Ever been watching TV and seen fuzzy pictures and/or white lines or dots when you turn on a blender or vacuum cleaner? This is the result of electrical noise. While a fuzzy TV picture is an annoyance, this electrical noise causes many computer problems including loss of data.


So how do you protect yourself from electrical problems? The most simple and inexpensive solution to all four of these hazards is a battery backup. The battery backup (also known as a UPS or Uninterruptible Power Supply) senses when there are problems with the power and automatically switches to the battery protecting you from computer damage and data loss.

If you want help in determining the right protection for your specific network, give us a call: 630-236-6625.

Use Alt+Tab to Quickly Switch Between Windows 
Have a lot of windows open and need to quickly switch between them while working? Alt+Tab can be your best friend when referencing information on previous windows without having to click through all your open windows. Either hit Alt+Tab once to navigate to the previous window, or hold down the Alt button and continuously hit Tab to find a different window.
In This Issue
How To Keep Your Laptop Secure
4 Hidden Dangers Electricity Poses To Your Computer Network
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First person to submit the correct answers by email to anorton@osgusa.com  will receive a $25 Starbuck gift card!


Entries are judged by date/time received and correctness. Include your name and phone number, the question number and the answer.


1) What famous rider that shouted "The British are coming" was born on January 1st, 1735?


2) January was named after which Roman God?


3) Gold was discovered in California in January, 1848. What NFL football team is named after this famous event?


4) A technologically advanced British army was defeated by numerous Zulu warriors at this famous battle on January 22nd, 1879.




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