The Benefits of Switching to Dark Mode

The Benefits of Switching to Dark Mode

According to Google more people are moving from the white screen mode to the dark screen mode on their PCs, phones and tablets.  A simple setup that lets you choose the background color of an app window to black.  Why is this move becoming more popular with PC and phone users?  Here are some reasons why some are moving to the dark screen.

Health and Well-being:

People are spending more time watching videos, browsing social media, on their tablets and smartphones. American adults spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media, according to a new study by market-research group Nielsen. The exposure to brightly lit screens has resulted in more people experiencing what is referred to as Digital Eye Strain. Digital eye strain is painful dry eyes that you get from being exposed to bright white screens.

“Everyone can relate to being in a room where the lights are turned down and you’ve got this white screen blinding you,” said Sameer Samat, Google’s VP of product management for Android and Play, during an interview at Google I/O.

It’s not just Digital Eye Strain, there is more to it a cascade of underlying symptoms that affects the body.  Headaches and blurred vision are just some of the symptoms.  Other symptoms include insomnia due to suppression of melatonin, a hormone needed for sleep.

A Standout Appearance:

After staring at bright white screens for years it may take your eyes some time to acclimate to dark mode.  Once you get use to the dark mode the colors seem to pop out on the dark background. According to the levels of contrast and performance of different color background more colors stand out on dark background than any other color.

Battery Saving:

Google’s VP of product management Sameer Samat also said that it will help conserve battery. He said, “there are few things that get you battery savings for free. Lighting up fewer OLED pixels will get you farther in the day.” For example, at 50% brightness, the Dark Mode interface in the YouTube app saves about 15% screen energy compared to a flat white background. At 100% screen brightness, the dark interface is saving a whopping 60% of screen energy. While OLED screens are mainly used by Android devices.  Apple will drop all LCD screens by 2020 and deliver all future generation devices with OLED screens. As both IOS and Android should get the native dark mode later in the year, it seems to be a promising upgrade to our phones battery life.

Drawbacks of Dark Mode:

The dark theme settings will not replace the bright white daytime screen mode. Bright white screens are apparently easiest to read in daylight and outside sunlight.  This is why an automatic switch from day and night is a must-have feature to eliminate switching manually between the two screens.

Customized Computer Services, Inc.  (CCSI) has served the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 30 years.  Providing Managed IT and other IT related services. Contact us and find out how we can help your company with its information technology needs. 

Rogue Employee At Trend Micro Exposes Customer Data

Rogue Employee At Trend Micro Exposes Customer Data

Cyber-security company Trend Micro says the personal data of thousands of its customers has been exposed by a rogue member of staff.

The company says an employee sold information from its customer-support database, including names and phone numbers, to a third party.

It became suspicious after customers started receiving phone calls from scammers posing as Trend Micro staff.

The company says it has contacted those whose details were exposed.

Trend Micro said it believed approximately 70,000 of its 12 million customers had been affected.

“It’s every security firm’s nightmare for something like this to occur,” cyber-expert and writer Graham Cluley told BBC News.

“You can have all the security in place to prevent external hackers getting in but that doesn’t stop internal staff from taking data and using it for nefarious purposes,” he said.

“If a cyber-security firm like Trend Micro can fall victim to a security breach, it can happen to any company.”

Trend Micro provides cyber-security and anti-virus tools to consumers, businesses and organizations around the world.

In August 2019, it received reports many users of its home security software had been receiving scam phone calls.

The scammers knew so much information about their targets that Trend Micro suspected its customer support database had been breached.

It later found out its systems had not been attacked over the internet and it was instead facing a “malicious insider threat”.

“The suspect was a Trend Micro employee who improperly accessed the data with a clear criminal intent,” the company said in a blog post .

“Our investigation revealed that this employee sold the stolen information to a currently unknown third-party malicious actor.”

The company said it was working with police and the employee in question had been fired.

It said its customer-support staff would never call people “unexpectedly”.

“If a support call is to be made, it will be scheduled in advance. If you receive an unexpected phone call claiming to be from Trend Micro, hang up and report the incident to Trend Micro support using our official contact details below,” the company said.

Liability A UK ruling that suggests companies can be held responsible if their own staff leaks data.

It can be extremely hard on a company’s bottom line and public perception when isolated data breaches lead to litigation and public scrutiny of the company’s policies and procedures for data protection. To avoid being on the receiving end of unwanted litigation and publicity, shrink the window of opportunity for your employees to act maliciously.

Organizations can employ several mechanisms to protect against these and other threats: 1) removing local administrative access so that only enterprise administrators can access sensitive data; and 2) deploying software that locks any unauthorized applications from being introduced to the system; and 3) requiring all administrative actions to be logged; and 4) implementing role-based access controls. Keep in mind that company data and IT administrators and related independent contractors have the most access to data and computer systems, and as a result, represent the most significant threat to data security. 

Customized Computer Services, Inc. has served the DFW for over 30 years. we have help many of our clients et up protocol system to help companies protect their data from outside threats as well as internal threats.

Warning Signs It’s Time for A Server Upgrade

Warning Signs It’s Time for A Server Upgrade

IT departments are always under constant constraints to do more with less when it comes to the budget allotted to them. When it comes to server upgrades, businesses often side with keeping their servers running as long as they can. Sometimes even risk keeping an outdated server going for longer than it should.  The older a server is, the more likely it is to fail resulting in loss of productivity.

With new technology and new advancement new servers are more reliable, help increase productivity, reduce running costs and are more admin friendly.  New servers might be more cost friendly than keeping an old server going over the long run.

When should a business consider upgrading their servers? Here are some reasons to consider when upgrading the server.

1.  Speed of the server: If the server is running very slow, and downloads are painfully slow, opening files takes what seems to be forever to open. When the server slows down to a crawl this can become time consuming for the business and as a result the server now affects the productivity. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the processor and disk usage if it exceeds 75% it is time to consider an upgrade.

2.  An attention seeking server: There is nothing worse than a needy server which requires you to continuously put out fires and troubleshoot issues all in an effort to just keep the server going. If time that should be spent elsewhere is being spent on the server all in the sake of keep the server running than it might be a good time to upgrade the server.

3.  Server is making excessive noise: A noisy server is a good indicator of impending failure.  Usually noise is attributed to the wear and tear of the moving parts of the server.  If the noise has increased over time it may be a good idea to start looking for replacement parts or think about replacing the server.

4.  Server is running out of space: When you start running low on free disk space or RAM, there is only one solution to this and that is when you will need to upgrade the server. Taking on more staff, installing more applications or a software upgrade will all require more storage and memory capacity. Depending on your server’s specifications, you may be able to simply upgrade the server’s existing RAM and hard drives. If this isn’t an option or if it would only be an interim solution, it might be wiser to upgrade to a server that can provide the capacity you need to accommodate future growth instead.

5.  The warrant has expired on the server: You no longer have the protection of the original manufacturer warranty which means that someone else needs to step in and help should a problem arise with the server’s hardware or software. If you don’t have qualified support staff in-house, there’s the expense of calling someone in to troubleshoot server problems. Even if you do, chances are you’ll need to replace or upgrade failed parts. Either that or you might consider upgrading the server’s warranty if they still offer that option for the server. 

6.  Server end of life: There is a good chance the option of extending the warranty may not be an option if the server is at the end of life. End of life means updates, services and extended warranty for that particular server will no longer be available as it will be deemed obsolete by the manufacturer.  Without the necessary updates if you continue to use the server will leave the server susceptible to possible security issues.  Without services you will have to find a tech to service the server and that can get costly and there is no warranty either for your protection.

7.  Cost of keeping the server running: With new technology and advancements servers are become more efficient to run.  Keeping an older server running may not feasible. The old servers tend to use more electricity to power it.  Keeping the room cooler to prevent overheating uses more energy, and maintenance cost to keep the server working increase as well.  If the server is using up man power and constantly requiring parts to keep it going then it may be time to consider upgrading.

8.  How critical is the server for your operation: This might be the most important reason to upgrade your server. If your business relies on the server to host critical functions, then there is no way you can afford to let the server go down. Business continuity is important and it might be a good idea to look to upgrade the server every three to four years because server failure is not an option afforded to the business at hand. 

Upgrading a Server can be costly but it has its benefits as well.  If you are in the market for an upgrade or want an assessment of the current server or servers that you have contact Customized Computer Services, Inc (CCSI) at (817) 459-4000. CCSI has been providing services to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for over 30 years.

Training Employees to Detect Potential Cyber Security Threats

Training Employees to Detect Potential Cyber Security Threats

Cybersecurity is a vital aspect of business.  Cyberattacks happen in many different ways it can be some hacker forcing their way through a security wall or exploiting a piece of software, many cybersecurity breaches occur when employees inadvertently allow an attacker in. In most cases, the employee is oblivious of their part in the attack. Employees can be a company’s weakest link in cyber security and yet can also be the biggest asset.  The best way to keep your company’s data safe is to teach your staff to avoid potentially risky behaviors and to know what to do in case of an attack.

Educate Employees on Data Security

If employees know how to recognize data threats, scams and other malicious cyber menaces, they are better employees. Ongoing cyber education helps to build a more responsible organization and gives employees the insight to know how to avoid potential security threats.

Consistent Training is Key

Cybersecurity training and information should be shared on a consistent basis. Monthly emails or videos are a great way to keep the training going. Occasional training, including informal trainings before shifts, can keep the awareness up without requiring you to subject your employees to long, tedious seminars about cyber security.

Additionally, keeping a line of communication open is important. Having a phone number that people can call with questions or if there’s an incident can reduce problems and improve response time.

Cyber Security is Everybody’s Responsibility

Making sure that everyone who has access to the company network is in on the cyber security training will help to ensure that each employee recognizes their responsibility. Everyone in the company is vulnerable, but everyone is also capable of improving cyber security as well, simply by being trained and vigilant.

With new cyber threats occurring on daily basis it is easy to lose sight of cyber security as a company goal. It is important that management reinforce consistently the message of data security and keep the employees vigil to threats. Employees should know and be made aware of the following.

Breach fatigue:

Breach fatigue is the slow cultural acceptance and normalization of data breaches. This isn’t surprising, given the almost daily news reports of new data breaches. Data breach fatigue is a real and dangerous problem because it could lead to your employees being less inclined to follow the right protocols. Luckily, there are steps you can take to fight breach fatigue. Work to change workplace attitudes around data security by frequently reminding employees about the potential dangers.

Passwords best practices:

Although having strong passwords is a relatively low-tech method of security, it is one of the most fundamental and practical ways to enhance cybersecurity. Unfortunately, this is also one of the least practiced security measures according to the Center for Internet Security.

The good news is that creating good passwords isn’t difficult and they can go a long way in securing your system. With a few quick guidelines, your employees can make sure their passwords are good enough to protect your business from the risk of a data breach.

Phishing:

Phishing is a malicious attack that tries to trick individuals into providing sensitive information like passwords or account details. These attacks usually come via email enticing you to click external links which contain malware. They can also occur via social media, text messaging and even through phone calls.

What makes phishing so dangerous is that most people don’t realize they’re being attacked. The large volume of messages sent usually leads to somebody getting caught.

Spear phishing:

Spear phishing is a more dangerous form of regular phishing because it targets a specific user. These emails use private information to pose as someone in your email list or as an organization you may be familiar with. This way they seem more trustworthy. To avoid these attacks, train your employees to always be suspicious of emails that ask you to click a link or provide specific information. Be aware of emails that have poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

Ransomware:

Ransomware is a form of malware that blocks access to your computer or data until a ransom is paid. These types of attacks tend to make headlines for extracting billions of dollars from businesses. Department of Homeland Security reports an increase in ransomware attacks and notes that data recovery isn’t always guaranteed. The best ways to reduce your risk of ransomware attacks is to train your employees to recognize the signs of a ransomware attack such as files that won’t open, missing file extensions or lock screens.

Training employees on cybersecurity is essential in todays business world, according to The State of IT Security for 2019, found that email security training and employee training were heart of the problems faced by IT security professionals. Over 30% of the employees were not aware of what phishing or malware was according to survey done by Wombat Securities Technologies.  According to the FBI June 14, 2016, Business Email Compromise has accounted for over $3 billion of loss.

Take the first step in protecting your business against cyber threats contact Customized Computer Services Inc. (CCSI), we work with our clients to develop protocols for best practice and educate their employees on possible cyber threats.  CCSI has been serving the DFW area for 30 years.

Office 365 Phishing Scam Targeting Admins

Office 365 Phishing Scam Targeting Admins

There has been a recent phishing scam that is out there that is geared to compromise Administrators.  Usually when we think of phishing scams, we think it is to get employees to enter or divulge information that sets the system to be infiltrated by scammers.  The recent Microsoft 365 phishing scam targets at the administrator level.  Phishers targeting admins are becoming more popular due to the greater range of attacks that can be conducted through an admin account. With admin credentials, attackers can potentially create new accounts under an organization’s domain, send mail as other users, and read others user’s email.

How does the Office 365 phishing scam work?  To gain access to an administrator’s account, phishers have started creating campaigns that are disguised as Office 365 admin alerts. These alerts will typically be about a time-sensitive issues that requires an admins immediate attention such as an issue with the mail service or unauthorized access being discovered.

An example of a fake alert found by BleepingComputer is one that states an organization’s Office 365 licenses have expired. The mail then proceeds to tell the user to login to the Office 365 Admin Center in order to check their payment information.

How to avoid this type of phishing scams: Most Administrators are wise to any Phishing scams and usually the Administrators that are well aware won’t fall for this scam so easily. If the administrator is a novice or if there is an unqualified administrator the chances of the phishing scam working are increased.  Some Businesses have an administrator who knows a little bit about computers taking care of their IT and that can be a dangerous scenario for the business. Her are some ways to avoid Office 365 phishing scams according to Help Net Security;

  1. Enable multi factor authentication on all accounts.
  2. Disable the IMAP protocol on all mailboxes in your environment.
  3. Provide administrators two different Office365 accounts, one for daily use associated with their user account that does NOT have administrator privileges and one specifically for performing administrator functions.
  4. Do not have a mailbox associated with any administrator accounts.
  5. Be aware that the actual Office365 portal domain is microsoftonline.com not windows.net.

 Contact us at Customized Computer Services, Inc. (CCSI).  CCSI has been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area for 30 years.  We specialize in helping our clients deal with possible phishing scams and other IT issues that may come their way.