What does Net Neutrality mean to us

Net Neutrality and You By George Lundberg - Computrs Inc IT Consultant If you follow any news network you have probably heard the term “net neutrality” thrown around recently and may have wondered what the recently passed bill is about. However, few new networks have actually discussed what it is and more so how it affects you, the public. Is it good? Is it bad? Hopefully in reading this it will become clearer. First let us take a look at what exactly is net neutrality, what it means and where it came from. Then we will discuss the pros and cons of the recently passed bill. The final part will cover how it affects you and what you can expect to see in the future. Net Neutrality by definition says that “internet service providers should allow access to all content regardless of the source and without favoring or blocking sites they do or do not agree with respectively”. So in summation it is about keeping the internet open for the public to use for whatever means they wish. Now, onto the bill that was passed yesterday, Congress has voted to change how internet service providers (ISP’s) are viewed under the law. Previously they were viewed as “information services” essentially they were seen as an online service such as Facebook or Gmail. This reclassification now says that the ISP’s are “common carriers”, companies that move massive amounts of data. Under the law common carriers must allow open and un-restricted access to all websites regardless of source, intent, or any other motive to discriminate. Now that you know roughly what net neutrality is, it’s time to decipher the good from the bad. There are many who support the new ruling as well as many who are against it, here are some of the major points from each side. First the pros, the most significant point for them is that ISP’s should be required to allow access to any website (most of which already allow anyway) and thus want the government to make sure they are following through on this. This isn’t entirely bad; it would be nice if that was the only rule taking affect. The next item for the supporters is the un-hindered access to websites, or that ISP’s cannot speed up or slow down a connection for any reason, pardon emergency personnel. This is where it can get tricky, services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant Video use this to help you get a more fluid viewing experience. If every piece of data must travel at the same speed that means your twenty megabyte email to your co-worker and the five gigabyte movie you are streaming are moving at the same speed (one gigabyte is one thousand megabytes). So hopefully, you can see that this may cause slower load times and more pauses throughout your movie. Those opposed to this legislation have their main issue with a different aspect of the bill. Moving this into government hands could mean more regulations over time resulting in less internet freedom and inevitably a higher tax on internet service. The FCC has claimed they will not interfere unless one of the new laws is broken, but what happens when a new chairman steps in, there is no telling what they would do with this control. So while in theory net neutrality is a good thing, in practice it may turn out to be a completely different story.   You may already see some ways in which this will affect you, if you have not; here are the main items to lookout for. The most prevalent issue would be taxes. The internet has always been paid for and in recent years it has not been getting any cheaper. With higher tax rates for the ISP’s you can expect to see higher rates for internet services. The next point to keep an eye on is restricted websites. While some ISP’s may have been “throttling” (slowing internet traffic to a site) they were most likely not outright blocking any site that was not affiliated with a terrorist group or a threat to your privacy. With new regulations, the government has the liberty to block any site they do not agree with (though they say otherwise) and this could result in the public not being able to receive all views on an argument. For those that support Net Neutrality, congratulations it was passed into law. Any who feel this is a threat or unjust, fret not there are many calling for a Supreme Court ruling on this and many companies are preparing to file suits against it. Ultimately it is you, the public that has the final say in this battle, make your opinion known.

CRYPTOLOCKER – Worldwide infection

"This was a worldwide infection, but it also had law enforcement worldwide working to combat it and bring to justice the criminal organization behind it," said FBI assistant director Joseph Demarest The Register (http://www.theregister.co.uk/) is reporting that the US State Department and FBI have "stumped" nearly $3,000,000.00 as a reward for the arrest of the perpetrator of the CRYPTOLOCKER encryption infections. It is being reported that over 100 million dollars has stolen with this type of Ransomware. Computrs Inc has been actively contacting cleints to install a batch file to protect computers from this latest round of CRYPTOLOCKER. While there is no reversing the effects of CRYPTOLOCKER the batch file will block the .exe file from running on the computer. There is an issue that we have been addressing this week that is devastating to computer users. An infection call CRYPTOWALL aka CRYPTOLOCKER has been encrypting data on computers and requesting $500.00 on the 1st day to unencrypt the information. This is a serious form of Ransomware with no possibility of being able to be reversed without paying them. The amount doubles daily until it is paid. We have a batch file that can block this infection but there is no way to reverse it once it has infected a computer or network. It also attacks the backup drive and all computers on a network leaving all files unusable. If anyone is looking to protect their computer or network from this please have them contact us immediately. We are installing the Batch File on every client as fast as possible. No antivirus program has been able to stop this yet. A new and improved variant of the CryptoWall ransomware has been infecting computers worldwide in the past few days.  The new CryptoWall 3.0 uses a localized ransom message and passes traffic to a website where the victims can pay for the decryption key needed to unlock their files through Tor and I2P anonymous networks. CryptoWall is a file-encrypting type of threat, which once activated on the infected machine encrypts certain files on it and demands a fine ($500 ) in order to provide the victim with the decryption key. The ransom is to be paid in Bitcoin digital currency in the next 168 hours   The ransom message displayed by CryptoWall 3.0 reads:

Google Security Warning – Red Box

Google Chrome has added an additional feature to their browser to protect you while surfing the internet. The new red flag for Google’s browser warns you when you’re about to visit a site that encourages users to download harmful and unwanted software. Other internet browsers have started including similar features to protect users when visiting questionable websites. Unwanted changes to your internet browsers home page have been a constant annoyance caused by questionable websites installing These Chrome security warnings join other security features, such as warnings about potentially harmful programs you’re about to download and sites known to deliver malware.  For more information please see Ian Pauls article at pcworld.com http://www.pcworld.com/article/2888255/chrome-security-update-warns-against-sneaky-software-downloads-as-well-as-malware.html  

BLOCK RANSOMWARE CRYPTOWALL aka CRYPTOLOCKER

While there is no fix for this once the files are encrypted we have a batch file that will block it from infecting the computers and server. The plan is to prevent Cryptolocker aka Cryptowall from getting into your system registry where it does its damage. There is no known solution to reverse the encryption without paying the Ransom for your code to unlock your files. Therefor it is strongly recommended that the batch file be run on every computer. Call us at 973-248-9500 to schedule your computer for protection or email us at ken@computrsinc.com.

Windows Server 2003 end of life cycle

Computrs Inc will continue migrating clients from Server 2003 to Server 2008 or 2012 to prevent issues caused by the 2003 end of life cycle.   Anyone running a server with 2003 can contact Computrs Inc at 973-248-9500 or email ken@computrsinc.com to schedule a review to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 or higher. There are many reasons it is highly recommend that you update your server software. The main issue that will come from the termination of support is the end of all updates for the operating system. This means that new software is not required to work with Windows Server 2003 and you will not be able to upgrade to newer versions of existing programs. Even more important is the end of updates for the built-in firewall and security application. Meaning that, your server will be at an increased risk for getting viruses and could allow un-authorized personnel to access your data without your knowing.   Another area of conflict is with compliance. If you are in a regulated industry or handling sensitive data on a regular basis you may not be in compliance with the standards. That is to say, you could be fined numerous times depending on the importance of the data transferred through your server. Also, valued partners may feel the need to temporarily or permanently stop service due to the lack of security in your server.   With the end of support you may find that there are programs that are no longer supported by the two more current server operating systems Windows Server 2008 and 2012. Fret not, the technicians at Computrs Inc. are prepared to help move any files or programs that are still able to be used. For those items that are no longer available on the new versions, there are usually updates to the current software or other options that will allow the same actions possibly in an easier way. One way to ease the stress of this part is to list out the vital programs and meet with a technician as soon as possible. This simple act can save many tough hours of trying to get the new server to act like the current one. Other welcome actions are to clear outdated files and back up any important data that you do not want lost.   While it may seem that July is a ways away, it is coming up fast. This can be seen as an opportunity to modernize and gain full support from the newer windows technology. Windows Server 2003 has had a long eleven year life span and with the launch of Windows 10 approaching there will no doubt be great new features and products incorporated into the newer server versions.   Computrs Inc. is currently working with clients to upgrade to one of the two newer versions. If there is a need for your company to move forward please contact us at your earliest convenience to set up a plan of action. Computrs Inc. can be contacted either by phone at 973-248-9500 or by email at ken@computrsinc.com to answer any remaining questions about the end of life cycle including questions about Windows Server 2008 or 2012 and to schedule an upgrade assessment.

Pompton Lakes DPW -THANK YOU

The Management of Computrs Inc would like to thank the Borough of Pompton Lakes and the DPW workers who helped make every business in town better today. At no additional cost to the businesses the DPW workers cleared all of the snow piles and ice off of the sidewalks in the business district. This helps every business and our clients. Thank you for helping us. Kenneth Freedman President Computrs Inc.

OPTIMIZER PRO – How to avoid it

Optimizer Pro has been discovered on thousands of computers recently. This bogus program has been added to computers when downloading other things. It's an add on which comes in if you don't unclick the message when you begin downloading the program you intended to install. It is classified as "Rogueware" Don't believe the claims that your computer will be fixed by running this program. Once it is on your computer it will claim false infections are on your computer. The internet browsers home page may change and you will begin seeing "Pop ups" on your screen while browsing the internet. Once Optimizer Pro is on the computer it allows additional unwanted programs in which become extremely annoying.