Android introduces Fast Pair

 
Android introduces Fast Pair

Android introduces Fast Pair

As seen with Apple’s AirPods, people today are quickly growing accustomed to wireless pairing between their smartphones and headphones. Of course, Google has been working on a solution of its own, and it has just made it to the market.

 

What is Fast Pair?

Fast Pair is Android’s new connectivity solution which uses Bluetooth technology and the smartphone’s proximity to let you connect to Fast Pair-enabled Bluetooth devices with just a single tap.

 

How does it work?

When a Fast Pair-enabled device is nearby, your Android smartphone will automatically retrieve the device’s product image and name from Google’s servers and display it on the screen. After tapping the image, a confirmation message will appear to let you know a pairing has been made successfully.

Fast Pair also comes with useful companion apps. An example would be the equalizer app that comes with certain Bluetooth headphones. It lets users optimize their sound experience whenever using Fast Pair to connect to Bluetooth devices.

Note that Fast Pair only works with Google Play Services version 11.7. And while Google may not have introduced a completely new technology, you can expect a broader range of wireless coverage and faster connectivity as more wireless devices get Bluetooth 5 features.

 

Does it support all existing Bluetooth gadgets?

Not for the time being; Bluetooth device manufacturers will need to adopt Fast Pair by registering with Android first. Currently, the following headphones are Fast Pair compatible: Google’s Pixel Buds, Libratone’s Q Adapt On-Ear, and Plantronics Voyager 8200-series wireless headsets.

Support for Fast Pair extends back to Android Marshmallow. And as more Android phones are losing the headphone jack, Google has made the right move to support the change in demand.

source: TechAdvisory.org 

Beware of sneaky Microsoft Office malware

 

 

Beware of sneaky Microsoft Office malware

Microsoft Office malware

Cybersecurity systems are getting better at identifying and preventing attacks coming from all directions. At the same time, hackers are coming up with new ways to bypass these systems. While online scams are the most common ways to do this, cybercriminals have discovered a new attack method using Microsoft Office.

 

What’s the new Office threat?

The Office exploit takes advantage of Microsoft’s Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), a protocol that sends messages and data between applications. For example, DDE can be used to automatically update a table in a Word document with data collected in an Excel spreadsheet.

The problem with this is hackers can create DDE-enabled documents that link to malicious sources rather than to other Office apps. Theoretically, this allows hackers to launch scripts that download Trojan viruses from the internet and execute it before the user is even aware of the attack.

And unlike most malware-embedded Office files, which are usually blocked by security protocols from Microsoft, DDE exploits are instant. Once a compromised Word file is opened, it automatically executes the hack.

 

Outlook at risk

What’s even more alarming are the DDE vulnerabilities in Outlook. Recent reports found that hackers can embed malicious code in the body of an email or calendar invite, allowing them to perform phishing scams without a file attachment.

Fortunately, Outlook DDE attacks are not as automated as Word or Excel DDE attacks. Two dialog boxes will usually appear when you open the email asking if you want to update a document with data from linked files and start a specific application. Simply clicking ‘No’ on either of these boxes will stop the attack from executing.

 

Defending against DDE attacks

Beyond saying no, you can protect yourself by following these security best practices:

  • Evaluate the authenticity of unsolicited emails before interacting with them and don’t open attachments from unfamiliar contacts.
  • View emails in plain text format to completely stop DDE attacks embedded directly in emails from running. Note that this will also disable all original formatting, colors, images, and buttons.
  • Use a strong email security system that prevents phishing emails, spam, and other unwanted messages from reaching your inbox.
  • Get in the habit of checking for Microsoft updates, as they’re usually quick to release patches after vulnerabilities have been discovered.

Last but not least, consider working with our team. We’re Microsoft Office experts who can keep you safe from the latest threats. Call us today to get started!

source: TechAdvisory.org

Save space with OneDrive’s new feature

 

OneDrive's new feature

 

Good news for OneDrive users: When your local storage has run out of space, you’ll no longer have to waste time and energy going through all your stored files, reorganizing and deleting some of them in order to get a few megabytes back. OneDrive Files On-Demand has a solution for you.

Microsoft has launched OneDrive’s new feature called “OneDrive Files On-Demand,” which comes with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. This new feature allows users to transfer files to Microsoft’s cloud storage, thus saving some space on their local hard drive. What’s great about this feature is that you can open and view the online-only files quickly and conveniently as if you’re opening them from your local hard drive.

 

How to get the new feature

When you upgrade to Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, the OneDrive Files On-Demand feature should be enabled by default. But if it’s not, all you need to do is turn it on by:

  • Opening OneDrive
  • Clicking the cloud icon on the right side of your taskbar
  • Selecting Settings and clicking the Setting tab
  • In the Files On-Demand section, make sure the Save space and download files as you use the box is checked.

What do these icons mean?

In the OneDrive folder in File Explorer, you’ll see three types of icons. Here’s what they mean:

  • Blue cloud: files that are stored online only
  • Green checkmark in white circle: files that are stored locally and will be made online-only when you’re running out of space
  • White checkmark in green circle: files that are stored locally even when you’re running out of space

How to download online-only files

You can download files stored online to your local disk by simply opening them, whereupon a green checkmark will appear on the file. You can also make those files always-available offline (white checkmark) by right-clicking the files and selecting Always keep on this device.

How to upload local files to the cloud

Just right click the files — whether they’re files with green or white check marks — and select Free up space.

Microsoft’s OneDrive Files On-Demand feature is another proof of how cloud technology can help optimize your IT resources. For more ways to make the most of your technology investment, talk to our cloud experts today.

source: TechAdvisory.org

New features from Dropbox Professional

 
New features from Dropbox Professional

Dropbox Professional

Have you ever thought how much productivity was lost in the time spent deciding which files to delete and what to keep because your computer’s hard disk ran out of space? With the new Dropbox plan, you will never have to worry about running out of hard disk space again. Keep reading to see why.

 

Don’t worry about storage space

The days have passed since you need to delete, restore or rearrange the files stored on your hard drive because there is not enough space. Dropbox has recently introduced a new plan, Dropbox Professional, which is aimed at professionals and self-employed businessmen. And it comes with a new feature called Smart Sync.

Smart synchronization allows you to select any file or folder saved in your computer’s Dropbox folder and sends it to the cloud to free up your hard disk space.

The good thing about this feature is that all the “online-only” files and folders will still be visible on your desktop, which allows convenient access. You can easily view your files and folders from your computer, rename, delete or view it, just like you can for regular files.

It also comes with many additional features, such as technical sharing controls that include remote device wipe, password-protected shared link and expiration, detailed viewer history and priority support with the Dropbox Support Team.

 

Let’s welcome Showcase

Another exciting feature of Dropbox Professional is Showcase. Instead of organizing your files in a traditional folder, now you can arrange them on a “branded page” with customized layouts, captions, visual preview and show them to the world. This PowerPoint-like page is a great tool for designers, marketers, or any entrepreneurs who want to present their work to potential clients.

You can also see who viewed your file, as well as how they might have interacted with it (e.g., by downloading and/or commenting whatever work your share).

Any type of file can be shown on Showcase except video files which, for now, can be presented only as a static image. Dropbox will roll out a support for this soon. And the good news is: Showcase doesn’t take up your Dropbox space.

 

Pricing

$19.99 a month or $199 a year is the price you have to pay for Dropbox Professional and its extras. The plan comes with 1TB storage and allows you to recover old versions or restore deleted files from the last 120 days.

Let’s see whether the new Dropbox plan can compete with other cloud-storing products in the market, including Box.com, which costs only $15 a month (but has fewer features).

Using productivity apps is one way to help you become more efficient. But there are also many other ways in which technology can help improve your efficiency. Why not contact our IT team today? Our staff knows how to turn technology to your advantage, and they’ll be more than happy to talk to you!

 

source: TechAdvisory.org

Top productivity hacks for computer users

 

     

We’re all obsessed with finding new ways to become more productive. Business gurus often emphasize the importance of time management and taking breaks to avoid burnout. But aside from motivating yourself to work more efficiently, there are plenty of tools that increase your daily output. If you use a computer all day, check out these productivity hacks.

Monitor productivity levels

Start by tracking how much work you complete on an average day. Google Chrome Extensions like RescueTime record your most frequently visited sites, and track how much time you spend away from your computer. Running the app will provide you with a productivity rating and a detailed log of how you spend an average day.

If you find out you’re wasting a huge portion of your time on social networking, you’re more likely to make conscious adjustments on how you manage your time.

Get rid of clutter

Another way to increase output is by deleting old files, uninstalling unused programs, and organizing documents into appropriately labeled folders. This makes your work easier to find and improves your computer’s performance.

As for the clutter in your email inbox, Gmail and Outlook both have features that filter out unimportant messages. Simply enable Priority Inbox on Gmail or Clutter in Outlook to get a clean, spam-free inbox.

Block time-wasting sites

Visiting non-work-related websites is a surefire way to hinder productivity. A quick, five-minute break to check your Facebook feed or watch a YouTube clip may not seem like much, but a few of those per day add up to a lot of time.

If you and your employees have trouble staying away from sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s a good idea to block access to them using URL filters.

Of course, if you want your employees to take occasional breaks during the day, you could use apps like StayFocusd or Strict Workflow. These allow you to set a limit on how long and how many times users can visit non-work-related sites.

Stay on track with to-do lists

To-do lists help you break down large projects into manageable, bite-sized tasks. And perhaps the most satisfying aspect is crossing things off the list, giving you and your employees a sense of accomplishment and total visibility of your progress.

There are a wide variety of digital to-do lists available today like Google Tasks or Trello. These platforms allow you to set deadlines for small tasks and write clear instructions for each item on the list. What’s more, they’re incredibly easy to use and are great for keeping track of your workflow.

Use keyboard shortcuts

Last but not least, mastering keyboard shortcuts will make it easier to perform simple functions than if you’re stuck looking for them in the toolbar. There are more than a hundred useful shortcuts, but some that you should always keep in mind are:

    • Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, Ctrl + X – to copy, paste, and cut selected items
    • Ctrl + Z – to undo changes
    • Ctrl + T – to open a new tab on your web browser
    • Alt + Tab – to switch between open windows
    • Alt + F4 – to close the program

For much more like these, take a look at Windows’ list of advanced shortcuts.

These are just some of the tips every user should know to stay productive.

source: TechAdvisory.org

Watch out for the huge KRACK in WiFi security!

 

A fundamental flaw with WiFi networks has recently been discovered by two security researchers. According to their reports, the KRACK vulnerability renders advanced encryption protocols useless and affects nearly every wireless device. Read on to find out more about KRACK hacks and how you can defend against them.

What is KRACK?

Simply put, KRACK, short for ‘key reinstallation attack,’ allows hackers to bypass WPA2 — a security protocol used by routers and devices to encrypt activity — and intercepts sensitive data passing between the mobile device and the wireless router, including login details, credit card numbers, private emails, and photos.

In extreme cases, KRACKed devices can be remotely controlled. For example, hackers can log in to your surveillance systems and shut them down.

What’s worse, Internet of Things devices — like smart thermostats and IP cameras — rarely receive security fixes, and even if some are available, applying patches are difficult, as these devices tend to have complex user interfaces.

The good news, however, is you can do several things to mitigate the risks.

Download patches immediately

According to recent reports, security patches have already been released for major platforms, including iOS, Windows, and Android. Router manufacturers such as Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, Meraki, and Fortinet have also issued firmware updates, so make sure to install them as soon as possible.

Although IoT patches are rare, consider getting your smart devices from reputable vendors that push out updates regularly. It’s also a good idea to contact a managed services provider to install the updates for you.

Use Ethernet connections

Some wireless routers don’t yet have a security patch, so while you’re waiting, use an Ethernet cable and disable your router’s wireless setting. Turn off the WiFi on your devices as well to make sure you’re not connecting to networks susceptible to KRACK.

Stay off public networks

Free public WiFi networks — even ones that are password-protected — in your local cafe should also be avoided because they usually don’t have holistic security measures in place, making them easy targets for cybercriminals.

Connect to HTTPS websites

If you do need to connect to a public WiFi hotspot, visit websites that start with “HTTPS,” and stay away from ones that are prefaced with “HTTP.” This is because HTTPS websites encrypt all traffic between your browser and the website, regardless of whether the connection is vulnerable to KRACK

Hop on a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

You can also use a VPN service to hide all network activity. Simply put, VPNs encrypt your internet connection so that all the data you’re transmitting is safe from prying eyes.

Although the potential impact of a KRACK hack is devastating, security awareness and top-notch support are the best ways to stay safe online. Want more security tips? Contact us today.

source: TechAdvisory.org

Computer Repair in Sydney

 

Computer Repair in Sydney

 

Is your computer slow, buggy, or breaking down? Are you trying to complete everyday tasks, but getting sick of fighting with a computer that doesn’t work properly? If so, you need quality computer support.

Here at Reliable Computers, we understand just how frustrating computers can be, and it’s our goal to take the guesswork out of dealing with them. As such, we’re on a mission to make the computer repair process easier and more streamlined for our customers.

Whether you need virus removal, troubleshooting, or a simple tune-up, our team is here for you.

5 Signs You Need Computer Repair

 If your computer is acting funny, you need a qualified computer repair specialist to identify and resolve the problem. If you’ve experienced any of these five things, give us a call today:

  1. Your computer is slow to boot up, load pages, or download thing

There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for a molasses-slow computer. If yours has been running less than efficiently lately, it may be infected with a virus. Alternately, it may simply need a tune-up to return it to good working order.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation, give us a call. We offer tune-up services that can help you restore your computer to full functionality quickly and easily.

  1. Your computer is randomly deleting data

A computer that dumps data is probably infected with a virus. If your computer has been deleting files, shutting down sporadically, or displaying strange error messages, it’s likely you’ve picked up some malware somewhere along the lines. Fortunately, this is a problem we can often resolve. Here at Reliable Computers, we offer virus removal services for our customers.

Viruses are more of a threat today than ever before, and our unique virus removal services are designed to help protect your data and keep your computer in good working order – both now and in the future.

  1. Your computer is having a problem you don’t understand

Even the simplest problems, like reappearing error messages, can be maddening when you can’t figure out how to make them stop. If your computer is facing an issue you can’t identify, and you’re getting more and more frustrated by the day, give us a call. We offer remote troubleshooting services designed to detect and resolve even the smallest computer issues, from bad software to an outdated operating system.

Don’t waste your time dealing with a frustrating computer problem any longer – contact us and troubleshoot the issue now.

  1. Your computer is out of date

If your computer isn’t equipped with modern software and the most recent OSX available, it’s going to run slowly and perform poorly. Fortunately, we’re here to help. Our troubleshooting, tune-up, and virus removal services are ideal for all types of computer issues ranging from large to small.

  1. You need a custom computer repair package

While we’ve got a series of standard offerings in place to help our customers enjoy functional, efficient computers, we’re also happy to help develop any custom package you need. Contact us to discuss your needs, and develop a custom request with Reliable Computers today. Our primary objective is your satisfaction, and we’ll work with you to find a way to address your most urgent computer support and repair issues.

Reliable Computers: Experts in Fast and Efficient Computer Repair

When you need computer repair and support in Sydney that you can trust, give us a call. We understand how complicated computers can be to deal with, and we’re here to ensure that you get fast, friendly, and affordable service – on your schedule.

Contact us today to schedule your computer repair, put your computer issues behind you, and get back to living your life!

New version of Microsoft Office announced

 

Microsoft Office 2019: release and features

For the past ten years, Microsoft has updated its suite of productivity software every three years. The current version is Office 2016, and in sticking with the schedule Office 2019 will be available for purchase at the end of next year. However, previews of the next version will become available several months before the final release.

According to Microsoft, the newest version of Office will include:

  • The usual Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
  • Office server programs (Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business)
  • Security and IT management enhancements
  • Improved “inking” features for touchscreen usability
  • Streamlined data analysis features in Excel
  • New PowerPoint presentation features like Morph and Zoom

Office 2019 vs. Office 365

The biggest difference between Office 2019 and Office 365 will be the price. For the former, users pay a one-time fee to acquire a software license. Once users have a license, they own that version of Office forever (although Microsoft will stop providing support 10 years after the product is released).

With Office 365, users pay a monthly subscription fee and can use applications as long as they don’t fall behind on the bill. Programs included in the Office suite can be accessed online or installed locally (as long as you connect to the internet at least once per month).

Thanks to cloud technology, Office 365 can be updated much more easily than other versions of Office. O365 users will probably have access to Office 2019 features around the same time as its release, possibly sooner.

The only drawback of Office 365 is its IT management requirements. Unlike its licensed counterparts, O365 requires one or more servers to be set up, domains to be maintained and files to be migrated to the cloud.

Much like an O365 subscription, our managed IT services are charged based on a flat monthly rate. We can help your small- or medium-sized business enjoy all the benefits of the cloud. Just give us a call on 1800753991

source: TechAdvisory.org

 

How to set up a secured Wi-Fi for your guests

 

• Never give guests access to your primary Wi-Fi

While giving guests password to your company’s main Wi-Fi might be the easiest way to get them connected, you should avoid this at all costs.
Anyone with a little technical know-how can potentially access everything on your company network, including confidential data. Not to mention, guests’ devices connected to your business network increase the risk of a malware infection or cyber attack since you can never be sure that they’re safe and secure.

• Ways to create secondary Wi-Fi for guests

If your router has built-in guest Wi-Fi support (you can check this feature through a quick web search) you could use it to create a separate “virtual” network. This means guests will have access to the internet without connecting to your main company network.
If your router doesn’t support multiple Wi-Fi networks, you can implement a separate wireless access point that bypasses the rest of your network and connects directly to your Internet service provider (ISP) connection.
Both options will keep your guests’ connectivity separate from your company network so you’ll never have to worry about unauthorized persons accessing your company data.
Keep in mind that guest Wi-Fi still uses your ISP connection so you should limit bandwidth usage on your guest network. The last thing you want is a guest streaming videos that slow down the Internet for your employees. With that in mind, you can even have your employees use guest Wi-Fi for their personal devices too. This minimizes the chance of employees hogging company bandwidth for personal use.
Your guest Wi-Fi should only provide outsiders with internet access, nothing more. While the proper setup isn’t rocket science, it can be a tedious process. Having said that, if you need a team of experts to take care of it all for you, or simply have questions about how else to leverage your hardware for better efficiency and security, just give us a call.

source: TechAdvisory.org

Beware of malware and ransomware

 

Cybercriminals use a variety of ways to trick you into clicking on links or opening attachments that install malware or ransomware on your computer systems. These criminals may even pose as potential clients.

The malware or ransomware allows them to access your files or block you from accessing your files until you pay a ransom. Paying the ransom does not guarantee you access or that scammers will not demand more money.

 

To help protect your practice, use the following tips:

  • do not open attachments or click on links in unsolicited or unfamiliar emails, SMS or social media messages
  • ensure your computer security systems are up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • use a firewall to block unauthorised access
  • secure your wireless network and remote accesses
  • do not allow thumb drives or other removable media to be plugged into your network unless trusted and checked for viruses
  • maintain regular physical backups kept separate from your network
  • only visit reputable websites.

https://www.ato.gov.au/Tax-professionals/Newsroom/Your-practice/Beware-of-malware-and-ransomware/