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News Brief

  Copiers & Identity Theft 
  PC Defender Pro Warning 
  Cloud Computing 
  Securing Social Networks 
  Networking with Local Businesses 


Copiers & Identity Theft

Have you considered the security risk that your copier poses to your company? What about the risk to your employees and the potential lawsuits by them when their identity is stolen?

For the last several years most copier manufactures have been installing hard drives into these devices. The hard drives contain the impressions of the copies that were made whenever someone made a copy of a document. These images can exist on the copier for as long as the copier is in use and longer.

Many companies today don't own their copiers, they lease them. What happens when that copier is removed from a business and replaced with a new one? All of the companies information has just been rolled out of the business waiting for someone to discover it. In some cases the copier might be shipped to another country.

Have your employees ever used these copiers to make copies of personal medical information? Their information is at risk too. Identity theft is on the rise and your employees might be looking to blame you for allowing their information to be compromised.

CBS News - Copy Machines: A Security Risk?  
If you have additional questions about this situation in your business, please call Firestone Technical Resources. We can help protect you, your business, and your employees from identity theft.

PC Defender Pro Warning

PC Defender Pro is a fake antivirus program. It is a malicious social engineered programs advertised as free. It leads the user into thinking that they have a virus or that their antivirus software needs to be updated. Many have been fooled by this application and it has no doubt created a headache for a number of IT technicians tasked to remove this software from both home and corporate computer systems.

This rogue antivirus program goes by a number of different names. You may see this free application listed as PC Defender Pro, XP Defender Pro, Window s 7 Defender, or some other variation. The unfortunate issue is that there is a legitimate application for sale that uses a similar name, although published testing results don’t give it very high mark.

Although this application claims to protect your computer and will take you through the motions of scanning your system, it will not protect your system from most viruses and malware. What is worse, if you have a legitimate antivirus application installed already that didn’t stop you from installing this one, your legitimate antivirus will be disabled and your computer will be unprotected.

This software is not easily removed. In many cases the removal will require several attempts before it is completely eradicated. There are some situations where an automated process will not work initially and a manual process will have to be performed. Many of the top antivirus applications do a good job of the removal process unless the virus is extremely new. As with most virus infections, if one virus is found others may also exist.

If you find your computer infected with this software, or any other virus for that matters, you should follow these steps immediately:

1. Shutdown your computer.
2. Contact your local IT technician for assistance.
3. Once your computer is clean, change your passwords.

Here are some additional best practices for protecting your computer and your personal information.
  • Use a firewall to block all incoming connections from the Internet.
  • Use complex passwords. This helps to prevent or limit damage should your computer become compromised.
  • Set every day users of the computer with the lowest level of privileges necessary to complete a task, even if this is your home computer.
  • Turn off file sharing if it is not needed, especially with wireless networks. If file sharing is required, use password protection to limit access.
  • Disable anonymous access to shared folders. Grant access only to user accounts with strong passwords to folders that must be shared.
  • Always keep your computer patched with the most recent updates, especially on computers that operate on unsecured networks such as hot spots.
  • Train yourself not to open attachments unless you are expecting them. Also, do not execute software that is downloaded from the Internet unless it has been scanned for viruses. Simply visiting a compromised Web site can cause infection if certain browser vulnerabilities are not patched.
  • If Bluetooth or WIFI is not required during operation of mobile devices, it should be turned off.
If you have additional questions about a virus situation in your business or at home, please call Firestone Technical Resources.

Cloud Computing

We continue to see growth in the technology sector despite the economic conditions. One of those growth areas poised to burst out of its cocoon when the market starts to take off again will be cloud computing.

The OS of choice in this market space seems to be Linux, according to The Linux Foundation. I believe that this will be the next revolution just as Microsoft Windows 95 provided a catalyst for the home computing market, Linux will be the catalyst for the Cloud Revolution.

Linux has been that little talked about operating system that has been quietly taking over. Many data centers have tried to keep Linux at arms length, but times are changing and these data centers are starting to embrace the power of Linux. Perhaps this "flying under the radar" will catch Microsoft off guard creating a more level playing field in all areas of computing.

For more information on this subject, see The Linux Foundation's article:
The Linux Foundation   Linux: The Operating System of the Cloud

Securing Social Networks

If you are using the Internet, more than likely, you have used one of a number of social networks. Electronic social networks have existed since the early days of computers. For those old enough to have used a BBS or bulletin board system back in the early 80’s, you will likely recall some of the latter services such as Quantum Link, Prodigy, and the most popular America Online.

There is nothing inherently wrong with social networking itself. But as with all technology, there is a level of trust that must be maintained in order for these services to function effectively. When this trust is broken, the system starts to break down. When the technology is designed and implemented properly the risk to the members is minimized.

Social networks are a prime source for child abuse, identity theft, and other criminal havoc. Protecting yourself and your family should be one of your highest callings when socializing with friends and family on the Internet. Be sure to check out Trend Micro's white paper on how to secure social networks.

Trend Micro - White Paper 
If you have additional questions about securing your social network or you are concerned about protecting your identity, please call Firestone Technical Resources.

Networking with Local Businesses

A new networking group has started in the Carbon Valley called Wildly Successful Network. The purpose of this group is to allow the small business owners in the area to connect on a regular basis and help each other’s business grow through relationships and referrals.

Brian Wright, the owner of Firestone Technical Resources, sees this as a great opportunity to help the local community. With the economy being so tight and revenue being down for most of the area’s businesses, this group will help promote local services and hopefully keep some of the revenue right here.

To find out more about Wildly Successful Network visit WildlySuccessful.org or e-mail Heather Morgan at

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