How to Choose an ISP for Your Small Business

Posted by admin on Mar 29, 2012

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, April 2012 Edition

All Internet connections may seem the same, but you can find some differences – beyond price – between Internet service providers, and between the types of connections that an ISP offers. Here are tips on choosing an ISP and the connection that best suit your small or mid size business.

Internet Connection Types:
DSL – generally the cheapest connection type, uses traditional telephone lines, can support a dozen typical users.
Cable – usually faster than DSL, uses standard television cable, fast enough for a few dozen users.
Fiber – superior performance, can be expensive, great for more than 24 users and VOIP phone systems.

Bandwidth Speed:
ISPs offer different service levels or plans for each connection type. The main point of distinction between levels is the bandwidth speed. Choosing a suitable speed is one of the key decisions that you must make. Generally, the greater the number of people who’ll be using your connection, the more bandwidth you’ll need. In addition, the more performance-intensive your users requirements are (streaming video or VOIP phones) the more bandwidth you will need.

Bandwidth Cap:
Some ISPs have begun to cap data usage. Under a data cap, if you exceed the data transfer limit during a billing cycle, the ISP may automatically throttle back your speeds for the remainder of the cycle, or it may apply a surcharge to your bill.

The Fine Print:
Read the fine print of a service provider’s contract before signing up. The prices most companies post online are conditional: Many require contracts of 1 to 2 years to get the advertised monthly rate.

Equipment/Installation Fees:
Consider the hardware each ISP provides. Some services furnish nothing more than a basic model; others may give you a gateway that includes a router or even built-in WiFi. Some companies provide free installation and activation, but most make waiving the associated fees contingent on accepting a contract.

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Why Desktop Software is so Vital

Posted by admin on Mar 9, 2012

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, March 2012 Edition

Online apps make sense for a lot of people these days, but sometimes desktop software is essential. Here are five advantages of such apps.

Security – Even a seemingly stable company may fold, or change its privacy standards. For important documents, family photos, and business presentations, you may want to use desktop software to ensure that the preservation and confidentiality of that content don’t depend on an outside company’s good behaviour.

Guaranteed Connection – If your Internet connection goes down, or if you can’t pick up a wireless signal on the road, you need on-board software to stay productive. Conveniently, many tools offer a sync button so your online database can catch up with your offline database when you reconnect.

Speed – Web services are sometimes agonizingly slow. Though offline programs may feel sluggish, too, you can take steps to speed them up. Online, you’re powerless.

Built-in Utilities – Web services can’t keep your system up and running the way local file management and cleanup utilities can.

Raw Power – Web-based photo editors are improving, but editing video from a browser is still next to impossible. The better way is to use the resources of your own PC.

Easeus Todo Backup Free

Posted by admin on Mar 6, 2012

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, March 2012 Edition

Already the most competent free backup program, Easeus Todo Backup moved beyond file backup and partition imaging in version 3.0. It schedules and performs incremental and differential backups, images your system partition from within Windows, and doesn’t split files unless you want it to. It integrates well with Windows. Double-click any Todo backup file, and the file will open as if it were a folder, for easy browsing and recovery of files and folders individually via Windows Explorer. The program has a full integrated restore function, too.

Todo Backup Free doesn’t do plain file backup – simply copying files to a backup location – and its file selection dialog box doesn’t allow you to drill down into folders in the right pane or expand them for easier viewing. As a result, selecting files is more difficult than it should be. Still, it will be a rare user who requires more features than Easeus provides.

DNS Changer Malware

Posted by admin on Mar 5, 2012

Recently, the FBI uncovered a network of Domain Name System  (DNS) servers controlled by cyber criminals. The FBI worked in collaboration  with international law enforcement agencies and the cyber security community to  disable these malicious DNS servers. Unfortunately, this malicious  infrastructure has been used for over 3 years to steal personal information  from millions of people around the world. Cyber criminals managed to infect  these users’computers with malicious code that changes the users’ DNS  configurations to forward all their web content requests to a rogue DNS rather  than a legitimate one. As DNS is necessary for most internet activities, the  FBI implemented a plan for a trusted private-sector, non-government entity to  operate and maintain a clean DNS server for the infected victims until they can  be identified and notified.

Cybercriminals use malicious software (malware) called DNSChanger to change the DNS settings in your computer to use one of their DNS servers instead of the ones that your internet provider uses. This malware resides in your computer, but can also affect your home or business network. It may leave your vulnerable to criminal organizations that could misuse and redirect your internet traffic.

To see if your system has been infected, visit – this website checks your computer settings to see if it’s infected with DNSChanger. If the screen is green, you’re not affected. If the screen is red, your computer is infected with the DNSChanger malware. You should do this test on all computer/laptops within your household or business.

If you are infected, then take your system to your local computer repair shop and they will be able to remove the malware and restore the security settings in your system.

Click here for more information.

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How the PwnedList Service Works

Posted by admin on Mar 2, 2012

Taken from PCWorld Magazine, March 2012 Edition

The compromised usernames, email addresses, and passwords that PwnedList collects are protected by an algorithm that creates a unique string of alphanumeric characters for each name and address.  PwnedList then saves the strings in its database before deleting the actual login information. Every time you type a username or email address into the PwnedList search engine, the server runs your request through the same algorithm used to has the compromised accounts, compares the string generated against the strings in its database, and alerts you if it finds a match.

At present, the service can tell you only whether a particular name or email address is on the list, but that may change in its next version… including the name of the site/company that hosts the account, the number of accounts contained in the leak, the date they found the leak, and the name of the hacker/group that published the data. If you’re unlucky enough to find your favourite username or email address on the list, don’t panic! Chances are, your data hasn’t yet been compromised, but to be safe, take a few common-sense steps: Update all your accounts with better passwords, put a fraud alert on your credit report, and monitor your financial statements for a few months.