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Network Upgrade Project

Server Room Before and AfterCheck out the great work our Network Engineers did at this client location.  This great before and after picture that shows off our fine work!  Do you have an upcoming network upgrade?  Need a server closed tamed?  Want to make your infrastructure equipment more secure?  We can do that!  Call today and speak to one of our knowledgeable Technology Consultants and they will have a Certified Network Engineer at your doorstep in no time at all!  A call to 877-NET-KING is all that it takes!


4 Tools That Provide Your Employees With Greater Flexibility

Employees working on PCsFlexibility is an important part of the modern work environment, especially as technology has made it much easier to work anytime, anywhere. Employees understand that this flexibility exists in many industries, and they want to reap the benefits of a flexible work environment. However, it’s not that easy; there are quite a few pitfalls that can easily take a stab at your business’s productivity.

On the plus side, flexible work hours allow your team to flourish as people, rather than employees. Your employees no-doubt have families and personal interests of their own that they would like to devote time to. However, the biggest argument for workplace flexibility comes in the form of mobile technology becoming practically omnipresent in today’s environment. In the context of society, mobility is, more or less, a primary concern. Everyone carries a smartphone with them in order to stay up-to-date on email, and to receive important phone calls or to dial into a conference call.

Then there’s the problem of achieving a work-life balance. If an employee is constantly tethered to the office, even while at home, it can feel somewhat invasive to that employee’s domestic life, which can lead to dissatisfaction, and in some cases, disruption. Nobody likes to receive a phone call in the middle of the night, or at the dinner table, about something that can easily be handled the following morning.

Whether or not you want to implement a flexible workplace environment is ultimately up to you, but if you do choose to go all-in on this investment, you’ll need the proper technology solutions to ensure maximum communication and productivity.

  • Voice over Internet Protocol: A VoIP phone system uses your Internet connection to send your voice to the call’s recipient. It’s basically like a traditional phone system without the complex wiring. VoIP systems also come equipped with your standard phone line functions, like transferring, conference calling, etc, and some even have video conferencing technology.
  • Virtual Private Network: A VPN encrypts data that’s sent to and from your business’s infrastructure. They’re great for keeping sensitive data secure from hackers who would steal information while it’s in transit. The reason you’ll want this is because hackers may be lurking on public Wi-Fi connections, just waiting for someone like you to access the network.
  • Cloud Computing: Your business’s data and applications are available to those who are hooked up to your on-site network, but what about those who choose to work remotely? Cloud computing lets you host information and applications in an online environment, where anyone who has access to an Internet connection can utilize it.
  • Mobile Device Management: If your team is using their own devices to access your company’s sensitive information, you need to make sure that they comply with your BYOD policy. A mobile device management solution can be used to limit access to data on a per user and per device basis, as well as allowing you to remotely wipe devices that are potentially compromised.

If your business is ready and willing to invest in a flexible, modern workforce and workplace, Excalibur Technology can help. Our solutions are designed to give you maximum control over your data, while allowing your team to work anytime, anywhere. To learn more, give us a call at (877) NET – KING.


31 Models Of Netgear Router Allows Hackers Turn It Into Botnet

There is a serious security flaw going around on Netgear routers that allows a hacker to bypass the security on the router and take full administrative control of it.  If you have a Netgear router in your home or business, you need to potentially update the firmware on it to keep hackers out!  There are at least 31 different routers affected by this security lapse that affects up over 1 million devices in the world.  The full article can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

Netgear Router Vulnerability to Hackers

If you own a Netgear router, please update it or call the security experts at Excalibur Technology at 877-NET-KING for advice and support.


Hollywood Is Captivated By Fictional Hackers, But Real Hackers Aren’t Entertaining

Hackers and HollywoodIt’s not an understatement to suggest that hackers are a hindrance to business. They take what doesn’t belong to them, and worse than that, they use that stolen information to make off with money, misrepresent individual actions, and ultimately, just cause a degree of added entropy that any business simply doesn’t need. Recently, with the hacker group Anonymous consistently in the news and dozens of corporate hacks resulting in millions of people’s personal information being compromised, hackers have been an increased part of the public consciousness.

On January 10, 2016, television producer Sam Esmail stood on the stage at The Beverly Hilton and accepted the award for Best Dramatic Television Series for the show he serves as showrunner on, “Mr. Robot”. The Hollywood foreign press had chosen the series for this award, despite the show’s non-traditional plot, which centers on an anti-social (and hopelessly schizophrenic) network administrator that spends his nights as a seemingly benevolent hacker. Earlier in the evening the show’s co-star, veteran actor Christian Slater, took home the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

With the success of “Mr. Robot”, and other high-profile films and shows that tell the stories of hackers, there has been a suggestion that the entertainment industry unwillingly romanticizes hacker culture (not that sitting alone in a dark room, having a bad haircut, and wearing giant black army boots are actions that people would normally emulate). Take 2015’s Blackhat, a drama directed by Michael Mann. The movie stars one of the more bankable stars in the world at present, Chris Hemsworth, as a federal inmate (convicted of hacking) that is given a furlough to help his college roommate (and Chinese cyber warfare officer) solve a series of high-profile hacking attacks that cause destruction and chaos. In the movie, Hemsworth plays the role of anti-hero; a character that would be a villain in society, and makes good by doing the very thing he has been incarcerated for.

The representation of hackers as the good guys, or the popular anti-hero, is something that Hollywood has embraced for some time. Hackers are most prominent in movies about hacking, obviously, but they also show up in heist movies, and any other movie in which the story has a computer system standing in the way of resolving their goals. If the villain of the story is a hacker or computer, rest assured that the man or woman coming to save the day is a hacker; one of the only types of characters that can overcome a rogue hacker or computing system.

In reality, however, hackers aren’t as interesting or benevolent. Many of them will break down the barriers guarding your client’s and employee’s most sensitive information if they think they can squeeze a buck out of it. That kind of dedicated opportunism, and, to a lesser extent, schadenfreude, make hackers a deplorable result of computer systems’ prevalence throughout the culture. In Hollywood’s defense, hacking makes for a pretty boring movie, but human oppression or destruction, themes that you’ll find in nearly every good hacker movie, aren’t.

There have been dozens of movies about hackers that have been produced over 30 years. Some of them, like “Tron” and “The Matrix,” are science-fiction films that as a design, play with the concept of reality, while movies like “War Games” and “Hackers” present hackers as cognizant wrong-doers, but again present the act of hacking as a means to a heroic end.

Some of the most noteworthy “hacker” movies include:

  • Tron (1982)
  • War Games (1983)
  • Sneakers (1992)
  • The Net (1995)
  • Hackers (1995)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • Swordfish (2001)
  • Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
  • BlackHat (2015)

How many of these titles have you seen? Do you think that hackers have been fairly represented in film, or do you think Hollywood has glorified hacking? Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section beneath the blog.

At Excalibur Technology, we don’t glorify hackers. We fight them with proactive monitoring and management to ensure that, if someone that doesn’t belong there does try to get into your network, we are there to ensure your network remains safe. For more information about the steps we can take to keep hackers out of your network, call us today at (877) NET – KING.


HP Announces Battery Safety Recall and Replacement Program

HP Battery RecallHP has announced a battery safety recall and replacement program affecting batteries that were shipped with specific HP, Compaq, HP ProBook, HP ENVY, Compaq Presario, and HP Pavilion Notebook Computers sold worldwide from March 2013 through October 2016, and/or were sold as accessories or spares, or provided as replacements through Support.

Please visit this page on HP’s website for additional information and for a free utility to run to check if your laptop has a battery that is affected by the recall.

CLICK HERE: https://h30686.www3.hp.com/?lang=en-US#tab=id1

If you need any additional help or cannot determine if you have an affected product, please call the Excalibur Technology support team for assistance.


Microsoft: Windows 7 In 2017 Is So Outdated That Patches Can’t Keep It Secure

Windows 7 DesktopAre you still running Windows 7 on any of your devices?  Or worse yet, Windows Vista or Windows XP?  If so, then our friends at ZDNet say that it is definitely time to upgrade as the security in Windows 7 is completely out of date and unable to keep up with modern security threats.  Windows 7 went into extended support in 2015 and all support ends in January of 2020, but don’t wait that long to upgrade!  Many types of hacks, viruses and spyware can get into Windows 7 easily and are stopped dead in their tracks by Windows 10.  Check out the full article from ZDNet by CLICKING HERE.

Still running Windows 7?  Call the experts at Excalibur Technology today to discuss securing your network for the future before a costly security breech hits your company!


2 Free Tools That Will Read Your Text For You

Audiobook Utilities for your ComputerFor the busy business owner, audiobooks are a godsend. They’re the perfect way to intake information while performing a must-do task that doesn’t require you to think, like commuting or folding laundry. But what’s an audiobook aficionado to do if they’ve got a book or document that they want to listen to that hasn’t been made into an audiobook?

Well, if you’re able to obtain the digital text of the content, then you can use a few software solutions for reading the text back to you. Of course, the quality won’t be anything like what you’ll get from an official audiobook read by the likes of Morgan I’d-narrate-that Freeman, but it’ll make do for when you’re in a productivity pinch.

SpeakIt!
SpeakIt! is a text reading extension for Chrome that’s fairly easy to use. After downloading it, you will see a speaker icon on the upper-right corner of Chrome. With the webpage loaded that you want read to you, go ahead and highlight the specific sentences and paragraphs that you want played back and then click the SpeakIt! icon, and just like that, you’ll hear the text read back to you.

A few advantages of SpeakIt! are that its playback is smooth, and you can adjust the playback speed. The standard speed is 330 words/minute, but you can increase or decrease that speed by ten. SpeakIt! is also capable of reading back several different languages, and it can even translate text while it reads.

The disadvantage of SpeakIt! is that it doesn’t work well with Chrome extensions that you use for writing and editing text, like Google Drive, Gmail, Adobe Reader, etc. Also, several users have reported that SpeakIt! has a tendency to stop working after a minute or two of use, depending on the nature and complexity of the website you’re on. Reloading the web page will often take care of this issue, but this easy fix doesn’t make the issue any less annoying.

@Voice Aloud Reader
If you’re looking for a text-reading mobile app, then @Voice Aloud Reader is a popular option for Android. It’s available for free on the Google Play Store. Also available in the Play Store, are plugins made to enhance @Voice Aloud Reader, like @Voice PDF Crop Plugin which provides increased functionality for reading PDF files.

@Voice Aloud Reader works by uploading the text to its app, then, with the app open, all you have to do is select play and it will be read back to you. The text displayed in the app will retain the original formatting, and @Voice Aloud Reader will even highlight each sentence that’s being read so that you can easily follow along. You can also skip ahead by scrolling down or by clicking the >> button. You can even adjust the pitch and speed of the voice to suit your listening needs.

The advantage of this mobile app is that it’s compatible with a variety of different text formats, like the articles found on web pages, and files like PDF, DOC, TXT, EPUB, FB2, and more. Plus, whenever you upload the text from the webpage, it will upload only the text from the article itself and not any irrelevant content from other parts of the page.

Overall, it’s a highly-rated app with few complaints. The only downside may be the advertisements, but that’s to be expected with a free app. Keep in mind that, for a small fee, you can upgrade to a pro version without advertisements if you prefer.

There you have it. No more excuses for not getting around to reading that book or report, even if you can’t find an official audiobook!

Do you use any tools to knock out reading while you’re working on something else? If so, share them with us in the comments.


6 Tips To Avoid Getting Scammed This Holiday Season

Do not get scammed this holiday seasonThe ingenuity of criminals knows no bounds, especially when it comes to the holidays. You’d think that scammers would be merciful during this time of peace on Earth and goodwill to man. Nope. This is when they step up their scamming efforts, which means you need to be ever vigilant.


Here are six scams to be mindful of this holiday season.

Be Careful Where You Donate
The holidays are a great time to make end-of-the-year donations that you can deduct from your taxes. Unfortunately, scammers know how to play on people’s heartstrings and they’ll set up fake charities with slick online websites in order to scam you out of money that should be going to help others.

To make sure you’re giving to a legitimate charity, AARP recommends, “Before donating to a charity, make sure it is registered with the Secretary of State and ask how much of the money goes to the charitable fundraiser and how much goes to the charitable purpose.”

Be Wary of Fake Gift Cards
Often used as a gift for the person who “has everything” or as a small supplement to be given besides a larger gift, gift cards are a very popular gift to give. However, gift cards are also a vehicle for scammers to use. For example, how often do you see great deals on gift cards on online auction sites? As it turns out, those “great deals” are very likely for stolen, worthless cards.

The easiest way to avoid this sort of scam is to only purchase gift cards from a trusted, licensed merchant. Also, if you’re purchasing the card at the store it’s for, ask the cashier to check the balance of the card so you don’t get scammed into buying a bogus card placed on the rack by the thief.

Be Sure to Track Your Packages
The holidays are crunch time for parcel delivery services. For thieves that may lack hacking and technical skills, simply walking up to a front porch and stealing a package is an easy way to make some fast cash. They may even have zero use for what’s in the box, but that won’t keep them from walking off with your goods, just in case there’s a chance that it contains an item of value.

To prevent this risk, when you order a package make sure that your signature is required in order to receive it. This will prevent the package from being left on your steps for a thief to easily grab. Also, remember that you can have the package delivered to your work address if nobody will be at your house to sign off for your package.

Watch for Credit Card Skimmers
Some thieves even have the know-how to steal data from your credit card using skimming devices at ATMs and other POS devices. Therefore, it’s preferable to shop with a credit card over a debit card, and there’s a lot to be said for cash being a secure way to pay for things. Also, look closely at the device before scanning your card. If it looks like it’s been tampered with, then you’ll want to alert store management.

Don’t Fall for Bogus Deals
Finally, it never hurts to rely on some relatively timeless shopping advice: if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before completing any purchase that seems like the deal of a lifetime, make sure you at least familiarize yourself with all of the terms, and consider the ones that probably aren’t mentioned. No deal is worth risking your financial future for.

Be Safe Online
Finally, there are plenty of scams to be found online. The best way to avoid getting taken by an online Grinch is to follow best security practices. These include:

  • Before submitting any sensitive information, look for the padlock icon in the address bar, along with HTTPS at the beginning of the URL.
  • Only shop on websites that have a good reputation.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi when shopping online.
  • Avoid using your debit card online. Instead, use credit cards and gift cards.
  • Be skeptical of unsolicited emails in your inbox, especially when it comes to fake invoices and bogus shipping orders.

By avoiding these six scams you can shop with confidence this holiday season. It’s also important to keep in mind that these scams are utilized by thieves all year round, so you’ll want to always be looking out for them.

Have you fallen for any of these scams or encountered any of them while shopping? If so, share with us your scam story in the comments.  For help with your security needs to to implement additional safety measures, be sure to call one of our friendly Technology Consultants at 877-NET-KING.


What’s The Main Difference Between Office 365 And The Traditional Office Suite?

Office 365 VersionsEven if you already have Microsoft Office, did you know that there are multiple ways to use Office which could potentially save you money? It’s the difference between using the traditional Office apps, versus the subscription-based model provided by Office 365.

Users and business professionals need to know that Office 365 is a subscription-based model, while the traditional Office 2016 suite is a one-time purchase. Yet, there are a few other notable differences between the two. Here are three reasons why it’s beneficial to choose Office 365 over the more traditional Office suite.

Office 365 is Cost-Effective
Small monthly payments fit into budgets much better than big up-front costs. This is a staple of software as a service, and it applies to Office 365. When purchased through Microsoft, Office 365 can provide users with a discount when paying for 12 months ahead of time, allowing for even more cost savings.

Office 365 Stays Up-to-Date
The traditional Office suite gives you the most recent version at the time of your download. For example, if you downloaded today, you would get Microsoft Office 2016. The problem here is that several years might pass and you’ll eventually have to upgrade to a more recent version of the software, like Office 2018–which can be another major expense in itself. It’s one big investment after another, which makes the subscription-based model more economically reliable, efficient, and easy to budget around. With Office 365, you’ll always have the latest version of Microsoft Office, without the hassle of purchasing new software.

Office 365 is More Flexible
Office 2016 is a one-time download, unlike its subscription-based counterpart. Office 365 allows organizations to achieve varied levels of service as per their user requirements or device thresholds. This helps your business get exactly the kind of functionality you need out of Office 365, as it helps to better accommodate growth.

Have additional questions regarding Office 365 or want to try it out? If so, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING. We’d be happy to help your business get started with your new Office 365 solution and handle all of the transition details that go along with the project.


Yahoo Hacked Again – A Billion Accounts Stolen

Yahoo Hacked AgainYahoo has been hacked again and over a billion accounts might have been compromised.  For complete details, see the ZDNet article by CLICKING HERE.  If you use any Yahoo service, be sure to reset your passwords.

How secure is your network?  If companies such as Yahoo, Sony, Home Depot and Target can get hacked with the amount of money they spend on IT, so can your company!

Make sure that your security is as strong as possible, have a security audit run at least once a year and make sure that all of your data is backed up to multiple locations.

Have questions?  Call the experts at Excalibur Technology today!



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