FTC Warning: Beware of Card Skimming at the Gas Pump

The Federal Trade Commission recently posted an article advising consumers to keep an eye out for card skimmers when paying for gas at the pump.

Skimmers are discrete devices which can be attached to payment terminals, allowing criminals to capture your credit card information.  Once they have your information they will either sell it to another party, or use it to make purchases on their own.

Unfortunately these devices are hard to spot and tend to blend in, especially when our attention is focused on pumping gas.

By educating yourself on what to look for, however, you stand a good chance to avoid becoming a target of criminals employing this technology.

The FTC has several examples posted on their website of what to look for.  They also advise:

  • Look for a seal (sticker) on the gas pump.  If the seal is broken or appears to have been tampered with, use a different pump and alert an attendant.
  • Check to see if the card reader at your pump looks different than the readers at other pumps.  If it does, move to a different pump and let an attendant know.
  • Keep a close eye on your credit card statements.  Be sure to report any fraudulent charges to your bank or card issuer.

Click here to read the full article on the FTC’s website.

Bryley Systems welcomes Beverly Wheeler to the team

Bryley Systems Inc. welcomes Beverly Wheeler as Technical Services Dispatcher/Administrator. In this newly created position, Ms. Wheeler will work directly with Bryley Systems’ Technical Services department, dispatching team members and assisting clients.

“Beverly’s extensive experience in managing, scheduling and supervising service technicians will be an asset to our team.” Garin Livingstone, Director of Professional Services, stated: “We have built high-value, long term relationships with our clients for over thirty years and as we continue to grow, so does our technical services team.”

Ms. Wheeler has held positions as office manager, administration assistant and customer service supervisor in the construction, automotive accessories and background music fields.

“I am proud and excited to be working with the professionals at Bryley Systems,” said Beverly. “Being able to service clients and provide support to the technical services team is very rewarding.”

Bryley Systems has been providing Managed IT, Managed Cloud and Managed Security services since 1987.

Virtual reality and zombies!

This years’ summer outing was a big hit with the Bryley team, the 20 somethings right up to our senior grandparents. What better way to spend a Friday afternoon but at the Apex Entertainment Center in Marlboro defending fellow co-workers against killer zombies. Eric and Myk from our technical team were the top scorers and each won a zombie chia head. But of course everyone was a winner and a good sport.

September 11, 2001 is a day we shall always remember

Thousands of Americans died in a terrorist attack on our nation and today is a day to honor their lives.

It’s a day to honor all first responders who came together in a courageous effort to save lives.

Our nation fell silent as we watched the horrific events that unfolded that day.

Pain, sorrow and families torn apart by such massive destruction.

Set time aside today in silence…

Take this day to give thanks to those who were there to help and comfort others.

Pray for the people who lost their lives and for those families who lost their loved ones.

9/11 — We will never forget.

Let Trusted Eyes Watch Over Your Network

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted internal network and an untrusted external network, such as the Internet.  Firewalls block unauthorized access to your computer network from hackers, malware and viruses. They monitor data as it passes between your computer, your server, and the Internet to make sure that nothing harmful or unintended slips through. A firewall may block certain downloads, or require system administers to grant authority before opening files that fail to meet their security standards.

Firewalls are a critical component to effective security, and so is the configuration. A poorly-managed firewall can block legitimate activity, causing workflow errors and excess frustration for the end user. Or, a firewall with overly lax restrictions could miss harmful data packets, lending the user a false sense of security while malware and viruses penetrate your network.  If firewalls are not managed and implemented properly, it can leave gaping holes in your security and give hackers the keys to your kingdom.

A firewall should always be properly configured.  Knowing when to override its rules and let data through, as well as to understand how to respond in case of an alert, are judgement calls that require specialized knowledge and experience.  Fortunately, a trusted IT partner like Bryley Systems will not only recommend the proper firewall, but configure, manage, and support it so that your network is locked down.

Regardless of your organizations size, no business owner wants the horrible consequences that a security breach can bring.  Larger organizations often have greater resources to dedicate towards security. If you are a small to mid-sized organization, you generally have fewer resources and smaller budgets, and having your IT network brought down by a cyberattack can bring an organization to its knees.

Unauthorized access to your system files can result in the loss of important data, the leak of confidential client information, or the compromise of other security features.  A properly managed firewall can nip this problem in the bud.

Internet usage has become a surprising sore point in employer-employee relations, as they are often used to block access to certain sites online. While some employees feel that blocking access to popular social media sites and other types of Internet browsing during work hours is simply a way to micromanage personal habits, many business owners feel it is necessary to cut down on the type of distractions that eat up productivity, as well as open up security issues at the office.

There are definite pros and cons to each side, but by prohibiting access to all but a select group of websites (or by using strict controls to determine what other websites are permissible) business owners can safeguard against employees accidentally visiting a dangerous website by mistake. This type of protection can prevent an unsuspicious employee from falling victim to a phishing scam or from entering important information into an insecure website.  A managed firewall/Internet-security solution that provides website filtering can help your organization identify which websites your employees need to be able to access, based upon the type of organization you are, and what the employee’s job role is.  It can even create a custom configuration of settings to block problematic websites for safer Internet browsing.

Having your firewall and Internet-security solution managed properly by an IT partner dramatically reduces the disruption of your day-to-day business tasks while providing you with the protection you need. Your managed IT service provider will maintain proper system configurations and monitor your network for potential security threats and will respond to alerts in a timely manner. Furthermore, your managed IT provider should be up-to-date with new technology, proper certifications, and security compliance regulations that might affect your organization. While you focus on running your business at peak efficiency, your managed IT provider also ensures your software and hardware remains up-to-date.

Educate your staff about the importance and significance of firewall protection and other Internet-security measures. This training can also help your employees spot potential scams before they fall victim to them.

Your organization should also consider other safeguards, such as monitoring software that can spot suspicious activity, or programs designed to detect and remove viruses from your system.

One of the most secure ways to protect your most valuable data is by limiting user access. Make sure to store your most secure files in as few locations as necessary. Only allow access to those employees who need it, and protect it with encryption and strong passwords.

If you would like a more thorough audit of your current security network strategy and needs, please Contact us at 978-562-6077, or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com to learn more. We are here to help.

Family Computers – Set Up, Usage and More…

A family can benefit from sharing a computer – whether it be the kids, parents or even grandparents.  When you set up this new computer there are a few things to keep in mind so that everyone can enjoy it, especially if you have a large family.

You will want to make sure that the computer will perform to the required standards so that it will fulfill all of your needs.  If you are retiring an old computer, be sure to dispose of the old one properly.

First, if you have only one computer in your home, you should think about putting together a schedule that fits for both children and adults.  Think about the things that need to be accomplished such as homework, study time, family related chores such as bill paying, scheduling the kid’s events, or work related tasks. Figure out the time when everyone needs the computer and set time limits appropriately.  Kids can often overlook their time limits on the computer so have a plan in place as how you will address this.

Most kids will know how to use a computer but it’s important to set the ground rules and locate the computer in a common area so the computer is more visible.  Also think about the location of your computer so that the device is in a safe location to prevent it from overheating.

Each individual member will need an account.  You wouldn’t want your work documents to get mixed up with Jr.’s projects.  Having separate accounts will enable you to control each account and set up the necessary restrictions so that the kids cannot access unsuitable material, chat with strangers or change system controls.  The parental controls are important so make sure that you have put these in place prior to the kids use the computer.  You can also set up shared folders, too.  Since the majority of families have multiple devices such as tablets, smartphones, etc, so you should consider high speed internet. Most families will download and steam content so you don’t want a slow internet connection to be constantly interrupting your tasks, especially when you are sharing it with multiple people.

A key must for any computer is a good quality and up to date antivirus software.  The internet is fun but it can be dangerous, especially for kids and even inexperienced computer users such as a grandparent.  The best software will block web threats, block dangerous web sites, secure transactions, and safeguard your kids.  Top antivirus systems will protect all of your devices.  Take the time to ask questions, do research and be sure this is set up properly.  Email is something every family member can use, but if you have young children then you should set them up with a kid-safe email service.  These services will enable a parent to monitor and control who the kids are emailing, as well as content, and block out inappropriate language.

A family computer will have a lot of data on it.  It typically will contain family photos, school documents, family schedules, music, work related tasks, financial information, and more.  Backing up all of this data is crucial.  Have a scheduled “maintenance” routine to back up data to a hard drive.  You may even consider cloud storage in the event you are concerned about something happening to the hard drive.  In your regular maintenance routine, include cleaning the computer going through files, software, etc., and delete the unnecessary things you don’t need.

Family computers are fun and with a few rules for usage and adequate protection in place along with fast internet and all the software you need, your family will enjoy it – and enjoy it safely.