News

Meltdown / Spectre

Posted January 8, 2018 By admin

Computer researchers have recently found out that the main chip in most modern computers—the CPU—has a hardware bug. It’s really a design flaw in the hardware that has been there for years. This is a big deal because it affects almost every computer on our network, including your workstation and all our servers.

This hardware bug allows malicious programs to steal data that is being processed in your computer memory. Normally, applications are not able to do that because they are isolated from each other and the operating system. This hardware bug breaks that isolation.

So, if the bad guys are able to get malicious software running on your computer, they can get access to your passwords stored in a password manager or browser, your emails, instant messages and even business-critical documents. Not good.

So, What Are We Doing About This?

We need to update and patch all machines on the network. This is going to take some time, some of the patches are not even available yet. We also may have to replace some mission-critical computers to fix this.

In the meantime, we need you to be extra vigilant, with security top of mind and Think Before You Click.

If you haven’t already heard of the hardware vulnerability recently discovered, here are a couple of articles: http://mashable.com/2018/01/04/spectre-meltdown-explained and https://www.pcworld.com/article/3245606/security/intel-x86-cpu-kernel-bug-faq-how-it-affects-pc-mac.html .

We are currently waiting on our antivirus applications to have their compatibility confirmed (actually most clients are on a compatible version of Vipre) before Microsoft’s patch can be installed. On January 9th Vipre (and hopefully Bitdefender) will set a flag that will allow Microsoft’s patch to install.

The good news is there are currently no known exploits and a user must still run code (like though a rouge website). The bad news is that the patch may hurt computer performance by up to 20 percent (testing has been mixed from no impact to 40 percent). We fully understand the frustration this may cause but there’s nothing that can be done at this time and it may mean some computers must be replaced.

Also, we have seen a handful of computers have all their files completely erased due to what we think are compromised websites.  This has required a full reload of the computer. Unless we specifically have a backup in place for your computer, as always, please do not store data on the the local hard drive. If you have questions about your computer please send a help request or call. We absolutely can setup a backup for local data.

CITS is implementing a Phish Alert Button (PAB) in Outlook (provided by KnowBe4). Reporting emails will help clients stay safer. Because the emails they report are sent for analysis, CITS will now be aware of which phishing attacks are able to reach client inboxes. Once we are aware of possible vulnerabilities, we can better defend against them. The end user is an important part of the process of keeping their companies safe from cyber criminals. Stop, Look, and Think!

Wireless Install at Big Heart Orphanage

Posted December 31, 2016 By admin

Our family has returned from Reynosa, Mexico where my son and I replaced the wireless infrastructure at Big Heart Orphanage over two days. Using all Mikrotik equipment, the router was replaced with a RB2011UiAS-2HnD-IN. Two existing CAT6 cables carry the traffic to a wAPac and a PowerBox that feeds another wAPac and a NetMetal 5. The NetMetal sends a backbone signal out that is picked up by two SXT Lite5’s, each powered by a PowerBox, and feeds and powers their own wAPac. One SXT is across the street and one is at a dorm on the other side of the campus. The wireless has two networks – one for staff use and one for guests. The guest wireless is limited so the office will have guaranteed bandwidth. Another SXT will be installed for a new building being worked on.

My church goes regularly to Reynosa, Mexico to help build homes for local residents. Volunteers stay at an orphanage in Reynosa. It came to my attention that the orphanage has internet connection issues, security concerns with their wireless, and a desire to increase wireless coverage for guests and staff. I volunteered to purchase and install about $1,000 worth of wireless equipment to connect five buildings together, secure the network, increase the wireless coverage and setup bandwidth allocation between the office staff and the guests. My son and I are going down the day after Christmas for a week to install and configure the equipment.

You can help us a couple of ways. First of all, be patient with us while I’m in Mexico. I’ll do my absolute best to take care of issues and help requests in a timely manner and Juan will be in the office. Second of all, consider sponsoring my son and I. In addition to the equipment, I’ve also purchased about $800 in tools and supplies and the trip is over $250 for each of us (fuel, food, lodging). Checks can be made out to “Bear Creek Bible Church” with Landers in the memo. You can send them to the CITS address (PO Box 335, Euless TX 76039).

Cable Management

Posted September 26, 2016 By admin

Here are a before/after pictures of two recent cable management jobs. The top one is from a new client ***that had an agreement with another I.T. company***. The lower one was a follow up we did to a relocation.

2016-08-13 job before

2016-08-13 job after

 

2016-02-20 job before

2016-02-20 job after

Below is a picture taken by an out of state client. They moved into a new building and they had the internet installer run their network cables on a Saturday and paid him in cash. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, no whatta mean?

The wires are not labeled and not properly terminated at a patch panel. I don’t know at this point if  the correct type of cable was used and if the cables are terminated correctly – we are having a subcontractor go clean it up. Hire someone who knows what they are doing – you’ll save money and time and frustration in the long run.

SAMSUNG

Cytracom

Posted August 31, 2011 By admin

Certified I.T. Solutions, LLC installs and configures total VoIP Solution across TMExpress’ five locations using Cytracom, its newest partner.

GFI Max Remote Management

Posted March 31, 2011 By admin

Certified I.T. Solutions, LLC chooses GFI Max Remote Management for its remote monitoring and management solution increasing its service capability and offerings.

Software Licensing

Posted October 4, 2005 By admin

Is your software properly licensed? Certified I.T. Solutions, LLC ends a 4 year client relationship for licensing non-compliance and software piracy.