Archive for Tech Tips for Business Owners

Scammers Are Using These 10 Popular Brands To Trick You Into Revealing Your Private Data

Cybercriminals know the easiest way to sneak under your radar is to pretend to be a brand you know and trust. These large companies have spent years on marketing, customer service, branding and consistency to build a trustworthy reputation, and hackers leverage this to go after you.

The most common method is to use phishing attacks. These thieves set up URLs that look scarily similar to the real company’s website. To slip by your watchful eye, here are some of the simple switches hackers make that can go unnoticed:

  1. Switching out a zero for the letter “O” or a capital “i” for a lowercase “L.” If you’re quickly reading an e-mail, it might look legit.
  2. Adding in a word that seems like it could be a subdomain of the real company, like “”
  3. Using a different domain extension, like “”

Some criminals will take it a step further and set up a web page that looks identical to that of the real website. When you click the link – via e-mail, SMS or even through social media – several dangerous results can occur.

The first is that malware can be installed on your computer. Clicking a bad link can set off an automatic malware download that contains malicious files with the ability to collect personally identifiable information from your device, like usernames, credit card or bank account numbers and more.

The second is the fake website will have a form to harvest your information. This could be login credentials, passwords and, in some cases, your credit or bank information.

The third most common issue is an open redirect. The link might look legit, but when you click on it, you’re redirected to a malicious website where the intent is to steal your information.

What brand impersonations do you need to look out for? Well, all of them, but according to Check Point’s latest Brand Phishing Report, there are 10 companies that top the chart in overall appearance in brand phishing attempts.

Here Are The Top 10 Most Frequently Impersonated Brands In Phishing Attempts In Q2 Of 2023:

  1. Microsoft (29%)
  2. Google (19.5%)
  3. Apple (5.2%)
  4. Wells Fargo (4.2%)
  5. Amazon (4%)
  6. Walmart (3.9%)
  7. Roblox (3.8%)
  8. LinkedIn (3%)
  9. Home Depot (2.5%)
  10. Facebook (2.1%)

Take a minute and ask yourself how many of the companies on this list send you regular e-mail communications. Even just one puts you at risk.

Cybercriminals go the full mile with these scams. They know what types of messages work best for each company to get your attention.

Here are three common phishing attacks cybercriminals have used under these brands’ good names to gain access to your private information.

1. Unusual Activity – These types of e-mails will suggest that someone gained access to your account and you need to change your password quickly. They leverage fear so people will click without thinking, hurrying to change their password before they’re a victim of the attack.

They usually have buttons that say, “Review Recent Activity” or “Click Here To Change Your Password.”

These e-mails can go as far as to show fake login information detailing the region, IP address, time of sign-in and more, like real messages from the companies do to convince you to click.

2.  Fake Gift Cards – These e-mails suggest that someone sent you an e-gift card. When you open the e-mail, they either redirect you to a website to “claim your gift card” or have a button to “redeem now.”

3.  Account Verification Required – These e-mails suggest that your account has been disconnected, and they need you to verify your information. As soon as you enter your login credentials, the hacker has access.

These scams are happening every single day. You’re a target, but so are the unsuspecting employees in your company. Without proper training, they might not know what to look for, panic and try to resolve these “issues” under the radar, ultimately causing the problem.

There are multiple steps to making sure your network is secure. One would be getting e-mail monitoring to help reduce the likelihood of these phishing e-mails ending up in your inbox. It’s also important to make sure employees know what to look for so that if an e-mail does get by the phishing detection system, they can still keep your company safe. The best thing to do is to start here with your FREE Cybersecurity Risk Assessment. We’ll evaluate your network and provide a full report on areas where you are vulnerable and what to do to fix them. There’s no obligation, but you should know where you’re at risk. Click here to schedule your assessment now

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7 Quick Fixes To Fix SLOW Home Wi-Fi

Nothing is more aggravating than attempting to watch a video or use your PC when the Internet is operating slower than molasses flowing uphill in winter.

For our clients, we have many solutions to make your Internet connection faster, more reliable and secure. But what about at your home? Spotty, unreliable Wi-Fi is almost certain to happen at the most inconvenient time, like when you’re about to watch a great movie on a Friday night.

Here are our top 7 fixes for slow home WiFi signals.

Step 1: Make sure your Internet Service Provider (ISP) isn’t having issues. Most ISPs will have outages published on their website using your phone’s mobile network instead of your home Wi-Fi. If there are no outages or known problems, you can move on to the next steps.

Side Note: If you haven’t talked to your ISP in over a year, you should call and see if they have new plans that will give you more bandwidth for less money. You might also shop other providers to see if they have recently upgraded their network and can offer better, faster service than your current ISP.

Step 2: Update your router, especially if you haven’t done so in the last 2 to 3 months. This will not only reset your router with the latest (and fastest) connection speeds but also ensure you’re up-to-date with security patches and other preventative programs. You might just reboot it as well, powering it off and on again. Sometimes that’s enough to fix the problem.

I would also suggest you get a new router if yours is over 3 years old. Aim for one with Wi-Fi 6 and dual or triple band capabilities, which allows your router to connect with multiple devices without sacrificing any speed or bandwidth.

Step 3: Change the channel. Download the app Network Analyzer to help find the most appropriate channel for your connection. If you’re using the 2.4 GHz frequency, change to another less “noisy” channel. How you do this depends on the brand and model of your router, so refer to your router’s manufacturer for details.

Step 4: Upgrade to a mesh Wi-Fi router. When too many devices connect, Internet speeds decline. One option is to get a mesh router like Google Mesh routers, NETGEAR’s Nighthawk Mesh, or eero Mesh from Amazon.  Unlike a traditional router which broadcasts it’s signal from a single device, a mesh router emits a signal from multiple units strategically placed around your home.  In smaller homes, upgrading to a single, more expensive router like a Nighthawk could help.

Step 5: Turn on QoS, or Quality of Service. This is a router feature that lets you prioritize traffic and apps, such as Zoom or gaming programs. Essentially, your router will prioritize certain uses over others. Of course, how this is done varies by router, so you’ll have to check your router’s manual for details.

Step 6: Check that you haven’t been compromised. If your Wi-Fi network is open without security or is using WEP, WPA or WPA2, change your settings immediately. Go with WPA3 encryption (which is the most secure) and disable any remote management options on your router. Viruses and hacks can suck up resources and may be the reason for your network grinding to a halt.

Step 7: Change your router’s location. The basement might not be the best place to store your router. Try placing it up high and as close to the center of your home as possible, free from obstructions and appliances, mirrors, concrete walls and metal materials that can cause signals to bounce or be blocked. If you put your router on a wall of your house, your signal is only impacting half of your home. If you have a large house, you will probably need to invest in Wi-Fi extenders around the house to boost the signal.

If your business Wi-Fi is slow, spotty and problematic, click here to request a free diagnostic of your office Internet connection to see what’s causing the problems you’re experiencing. Obviously, business Wi-Fi is more important than home Wi-Fi and can cost you in untold frustration and low productivity if not fixed. Contact us today!

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Why Hiring The Cheapest Computer Support Company Will Actually Cost You More

As anybody working in IT will tell you, the most common
question we get isn’t, “Why is my computer running so slowly?” or “Why is my
Internet not working?” It’s, “What do you charge for your services?” With so

IT companies clamoring for your attention, it makes sense
that you’d want to look for the most inexpensive, cost-efficient option, right?

The problem is that this question doesn’t get to the heart
of the issue. Sure, any IT company can offer rock-bottom prices, but as with
anything else, those savings are going to come with fewer, lower-quality IT
services. Also, many cheaper services say they are inexpensive, but they
typically have slow response times and nickel and dime you over
everything.  Instead of asking about
price right off the bat, the better question is, “What will I

get for my money?”

With cheapo IT companies, the answer is not much. Maybe
they’ll be there when the server breaks down or if Microsoft Word is acting
weird on your computer. But you can bet they won’t help you implement IT
systems that will prevent real, catastrophic issues from arising – the kinds of
things that determine the success or failure of a company at the most basic

Today, business and technology go hand in hand. It’s an
inescapable fact that good tech forms the pillars upon which successful
companies stand. Many business owners still insist on cutting corners with IT,
hiring cheap and inexperienced “professionals” to protect and support the most
fundamental aspects of their operation. 

Of course, it’s hard to fault them for doing so. Without a
firm grasp of a business’s IT needs, it’s all too easy for a subpar, would-be
IT partner to convince an owner they meet the company’s requirements. That’s
why the

question, “What will I get for my money?” is so important.
IT support coverage needs to be comprehensive, addressing every potential
sink-or-swim crisis before it actually happens. The integrity of your network

infrastructure should support your business, rather than
force you to run around putting out fires.

A downed server or temporarily unreliable network might seem
like minor issues, but even the smallest of IT problems can easily snowball
into an expensive nightmare that threatens your company’s very existence.

Take a company that stores all its data on a central,
networked server, for example. Maybe they’re a content creation firm, with
terabytes of custom-designed client marketing materials stashed away, or a
large law practice with thousands of vital case documents. They were reluctant
to spend much on IT support, so they went with the cheapest option available.
Of course, regular server maintenance wasn’t included in their

package, but they assumed their trusty hardware would keep
kicking for at least a few more years. But when an employee tries to access the
database, an error pops up. Upon further investigation, it turns out the
outdated server has finally broken down, apparently for good. All those
documents, all that data instrumental to the basic

functionality of the company, is irrecoverable – thousands
of hours of work (and thousands of dollars) down the drain, and all because of
an issue that would easily have been caught and prevented by a team of qualified


When technology works, it’s easy to imagine that it’ll
continue working without issue. But the fact is that a computer network
requires constant, behind-the-scenes monitoring and maintenance to ensure it
stays up and

running, not to mention secure.

From hordes of hackers waiting in the wings for you to slip
up, to hardware failure, to natural disasters, rogue employees and a million
other IT threats, it’s important to ensure the stability of your network before

problem comes knocking. Cheap Band-Aid solutions work great
until the day they cost you thousands. It’s better to invest in a team of real
IT experts, and avoid crisis altogether. It’s much cheaper to prevent something

breaking than it is to replace it altogether.

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The Most Common Ways Hackers Access Your Network

You are under attack. Right now, cybercrime rings in China, Russia, and the Ukraine are hacking into small businesses like yours to steal credit cards, client information, and swindle money directly out of your bank account. Some are even being funded by their own government to attack American businesses, and half of all cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that one in five small businesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year. It’s critical that you protect yourself from the following 10 vulnerabilities.

1.  Poorly trained employees are the biggest risk. It’s common for an employee to infect an entire network by opening and clicking a phishing email designed to look like legitimate correspondence from a trusted source. If they don’t know how to spot infected emails or online scams, employees can easily compromise your entire network.

2.  We strongly recommend an acceptable use policy that limits the websites employees can access with work devices as well as work material they access with personal devices. We can easily set up permissions that regulate which websites your employees access and what they do with company-owned devices, even granting certain users more freedom than others. You also need to detail what an employee can or cannot do with personal devices when taking work home.

3.  Weak passwords are bad news; passcodes should be at least eight characters long with both lower and uppercase letters and include symbols and at least one number. On a company cellphone, requiring a passcode makes stolen devices harder to compromise. Again, this can be enforced by your network administrator so employees don’t get lazy and put your organization at risk.

4.  If your networks aren’t patched, new vulnerabilities (which are common in programs you already use, such as Microsoft Office) can be exploited by hackers. It’s critical that you patch and update your systems frequently. If you’re under a managed IT plan, this can be automated so you never miss an important update.

5.  Are you backed up in multiple places? Aggressive ransomware attacks, where a hacker holds files for ransom until you pay a fee, can be foiled by backing up your data. You won’t have to pay a crook to get them back. A good backup will also protect you against accidental deletion and natural disasters, and it should be automated.

6.  One of the fastest ways cybercriminals access networks is by duping employees to download malicious software by embedding it within downloadable files, games, or other innocent-looking apps. This can largely be prevented with a secure firewall and employee training and monitoring.

7. Not all firewalls are created equal. A firewall blocks everything you haven’t specifically allowed to enter or leave your network. But all firewalls need monitoring and maintenance, just like all devices on your network, and a weak one does you little good. This, too, should be done by your IT person or company as part of their regular, routine maintenance.

8.  Many hackers exploit your devices when you connect to public Wi-Fi, getting you to connect to their Wi-Fi instead of the legitimate public one. Always check with a store or restaurant employee to verify the name of the Wi-Fi they are providing. And never access financial or medical data or enter your credit card information when surfing public Wi-Fi.

9. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but phishing emails still work. The  goal is to get you to download a virus by clicking a link or getting you to enter your login information on a clone of a legitimate website.

10 In 2009, social engineers posed as Coca-Cola’s CEO, persuading an executive to open an email with software that infiltrated the network. Social engineering is another old-school tactic, but, like phishing, it works well. Hackers pretend to be you, and people often fall for it.

If you are concerned about cybercriminals gaining access to your network, then call us to learn more about implementing a managed security plan for your business. You’ve spent a lifetime working hard to get where you are and have earned every penny and every client. Why risk losing it all? Get the facts and be certain your business, reputation, and data are protected.

You can reach out to us at 305-600-5459 or at


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4 E-mails You Should NEVER Open

No matter how “bomb-proof” we make your network, you and your employees can still invite a hacker in if you click on a link or open an attachment in an e-mail sent by a cybercriminal. Some spam is obvious (can you say, “Viagra at a discount”?) but others are VERY cleverly designed to sneak past all the filters and trick the recipient into opening the door. Known as a “phishing” e-mail, this still is the #1 way hackers circumvent firewalls, filters and antivirus, so it’s critical that you and your employees know how to spot a threatening e-mail. Here are four types of e-mail ploys you should be on high alert for.


The Authority E-mail. The most common phishing e-mails are ones impersonating your bank, the IRS or some authority figure. The rule of thumb is this: ANY e-mail that comes in where 1) you don’t PERSONALLY know the sender, including e-mails from the IRS, Microsoft or your “bank,” and 2) asks you to “verify” your account should be deleted. Remember, ANY important notification will be sent via old-fashioned snail mail. If it’s important, they can call you.


The “Account Verification” E-mail. Any e-mail that asks you to verify your password, bank information or login credentials, OR to update your account information, should be ignored. No legitimate vendor sends e-mails asking for this; they will simply ask you upon logging in to update or verify your information if that’s necessary.


The Typo E-mail. Another big warning sign is typos. E-mails coming from overseas (which is where most of these attacks come from) are written by people who do not speak or write English well. Therefore, if there are obvious typos or grammar mistakes, delete it.


The Zip File, PDF Or Invoice Attachment. Unless you specifically KNOW the sender of an e-mail, never, ever open an attachment. That includes PDFs, zip files, music and video files and anything referencing an unpaid invoice or accounting file (many hackers use this to get people in accounting departments to open e-mails). Of course, ANY file can carry a virus, so better to delete it than be sorry.

For additional information or User Awareness/Prevention Training, reach out to us at  Complete the contact form and one of our specialists will contact you as quickly as possible.  Or, call us at 305-600-5459.

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97% Of Business Owners Cannot Spot This Threat To Their Business

The most common ways businesses get hacked isn’t some elaborate scheme, it’s as simple as clicking a link. Phishing, where hackers trick employees of a business into clicking a link containing malicious software (often masquerading as a regular email from internal staff), is on the rise. Even more troubling is recent data from company Inspired eLearning that shows that as much as 97% of individuals can’t identify a typical phishing email. To avoid this, train your employees to keep an eye out for these sneaky emails. If staff receives an email that requests sensitive or personal information, such as passwords, they are typically phishing emails. Employees should never click a link from a source that seems even remotely suspicious or strange, regardless of who it’s coming from. 8/18/17

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Over $25 Million In “Ransoms” Paid Out In Just The Last Two Years Due To Ransomware Attacks

According to a study presented by Google last July, ransomware victims have paid out more than $25 million in ransoms over the last two years. Ransomware is a viral program that, after infecting a system, encrypts all the local files, making them unlockable only with a private key held by the attackers. Attackers then demand exorbitant sums of Bitcoin in order to recover the data — or threaten to make it inaccessible forever. The strategy has proven highly profitable for cybercriminals, who have adopted it in droves. Just this summer, San Francisco’s largest public radio station was hit by ransomware, forcing employees to rely on mechanical stopwatches and paper scripts in the aftermath. Additionally, it’s clear from the data that ransomware designers are constantly developing more and more ways to penetrate antivirus software. When antivirus identifies a specific malware program, the system usually scans for matching binaries. But modern ransomware is able to change its binary once it has been detected, allowing it to skate past many outdated defense systems. 7/25/2017

Are you protected?  You aren’t or you’re not sure – email us at or call us at 305-600-5459.  Let us help ensure you and your valuable company data is VERY WELL PROTECTED.

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If You’re Not A Fan Of Human Interaction When It Comes To Your Insurance Claims – This Is Good News?

The increasingly digitized world means a growing number of interactions between people and machines. According to a 2017 survey by LexisNexis, insurance companies have been looking into virtual or “touchless” methods of handling claims. A full 38% of insurers said they won’t be sending human employees for physical inspections at all in the future, instead using drones or apps. 8/8/2017

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Are Your Clients Sucking The Life Out Of You?

Bad clients aren’t just a nuisance, they’re bad for business. They can take an inordinate amount of time to service. They may complain about irrelevant details, avoid paying their bills or drag payments out forever. They can be a huge emotional drain. Or, more often than we care to know, they can do all of the above.

Firing these bad apples can be an attractive option. But what if that client is buying a profitable product from you? What if they’re 60% of your revenue? Firing them will eliminate a big headache, but it may also put you out of business.

Not all clients are created equal. When you’re considering a “keep ‘em or kill ‘em” approach, take these steps first.

Assess your problem clients, considering factors like their historical revenue, projected future revenue, their core values and other indicators. Keep in mind, if a client was the ideal client before, you may be able to nudge them gently back to their former selves.

To you, a problem client is nothing more than a pain in the neck. But to them, your business obviously has redeeming qualities that keep them working with you. Schedule a meeting with the client and explain the challenges you are facing with them. Ask them if they’ll make the commitment to improve. It may be an awkward situation, and they may say no, but either way, the conversation can’t make things worse.

Sometimes, business difficulties are nothing more than a personality mismatch. If you’re consistently having trouble with the same employee, ask the client if they can assign a new liaison from the company. Even if you’re dealing with the boss, they may be willing to let you work with one of their employees or colleagues instead.

This is one of the toughest parts of being a vendor, but it’s critically important. You need to clearly outline the rules of what is or isn’t acceptable. Meet with the client and tell them exactly what is wrong, exactly what they need to do to fix it and exactly what the consequences will be if they don’t.

Once you’ve tried addressing the issues you’re having with the client, put a deadline by which your suggested changes must be implemented. Plan and commit to the action you will take at that time, depending on what the client does.

If nothing fixes the problem, yet you decide to continue the relationship, you need to realize the problem is not the client’s, but yours. There is something in your actions that indicates you are willing to be treated the way they are treating you. It’s unlikely that they’ll stop. At this point, your best bet is probably to bite the bullet and fire the client once and for all.

MIKE MICHALOWICZ (pronounced mi-KAL- o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford-a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings, he systematically bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the
next E-Myth!” For more information, visit

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Skimp On Data Protection And Pay The Price

We’ve said it time and again: Today’s cybercriminals are using more advanced technology than ever. And those malicious tools are becoming even more sophisticated at a breakneck pace. To top it all off, new software developments are enabling these criminals to cast wider and wider nets, targeting businesses that, before, would have flown under their radar. Companies small and large, of every type, are being infiltrated by vicious cyber-attacks across the world each and every day.

Even knowing this, business owners are tempted to cut costs and corners. When you’ve never had a breach, data security can seem like a distant concern, especially for a limited budget. But regardless of which digital barriers you put in place to protect your business, you can bet on one thing: One day, your security will be tested by an attack. Whether or not the hackers punch through could mean the difference between your company shutting down for good — as 60% of small businesses do in the six months following a cyber-attack, according to the Denver Post — and remaining solvent and secure in your position.

When you’re struggling to stay afloat or simply wanting to be a savvy spender, you may think the best way to lock down your data is to put one of your staff on the task or to do it yourself.

And sure, your team can conduct hours of research searching for inexpensive security. And you’ll almost certainly find something cheap with good reviews and a decent track record. You’ll figure out how to install the software across your system, complete with firewalls, server protection, antivirus and maybe a bell and a whistle or two. Perhaps you’ll even hold a meeting to educate your staff on the do’s and don’ts of cyber security.

“Use intricately constructed passwords,” you’ll tell them. “Don’t click suspicious links in your email.”

Then, after a few days of fiddling with settings and ensuring the security software is properly in place, you’ll forget about it altogether. After all, it’s already installed, and you’ve checked to make sure there aren’t any gaps in the system. It’s not something you need to constantly monitor.

A year later, your business has — miraculously — doubled in size. You’re finally reaping profits. Best of all, a recent news story has brought your company into the public eye, and brand-new leads are contacting you every day. For the first time since the company’s inception, you can breathe easy.

Then, one Monday morning, you log into your computer. For a second, everything seems to be normal, until an innocent-looking pop-up fills your screen. “Attention!” an eerie robotic voice barks from your speakers, “Your documents, photos, databases and other important files have been encrypted!”

Thinking it’s a hoax, you click into your server drive. To your dismay, you really are locked out of everything. So, palms sweating, you read the rest of the pop-up. It provides instructions to install the deep web browser Tor as well as an address for you to visit. When you go there, you learn that in order to recover all your data, including the credit card information of your customers, you’ll need to dish out $50,000 in bitcoin.

A year ago, you couldn’t afford adequate cyber security. Can you afford $50,000 in cash today?

Identical situations are unfolding every day, with people exactly like you. Back in April, CNBC reported that across the previous 12 months, half of all small businesses had been infiltrated by malicious hackers. “Cyber security is clearly a concern that the entire business community shares, but it represents an especially pernicious threat to smaller businesses,” wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission in a 2015 report. “The reason is simple: small and midsize businesses are not just targets of cybercrime; they are its principal target.” Cheapo security solutions might be fine for a lone browser surfing the web at home, but they are shockingly inadequate resources on which to base the entire success of your company, your livelihood and the livelihood of your employees.

Frankly, it’s irresponsible to lock your data behind a flimsy $5 firewall. Invest in robust cyber security solutions and secure the future of your company.

Free Report: What Every Small-Business Owner Must Know About Protecting And Preserving Their Company’s Critical Data And Computer Systems

This report will outline in plain nontechnical English common mistakes that many small-business owners make with their computer network that cost them thousands in lost sales, productivity and computer repair bills, as well as providing an easy, proven way to reduce or completely eliminate the financial expense and frustration caused by these oversights.

Download your FREE copy today at or call our office at (305) 600-5459.

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