Cyber Security Month: The Dangers of Malware and How to Stay Protected

As if right on cue for Cyber Security Month, a new malware named “CryptoLocker” has been hitting people’s hard drives with force.

This malware installs itself into your “Documents and Settings” folder under a randomly generated name. It then adds itself to the list of programs that run every time you log on and eventually creates and uploads an ID for you online. After your ID is created, a public-private key pair is generated, with the public portion being sent back to your computer.

Soon after setting you up, CryptoLocker encrypts all of your files. From important work documents, to spreadsheets, to family photos, CryptoLocker scrambles and locks it all. A pop-up then greets you with a “pay us or lose all your data” message. Typically, CryptoLocker gives users about 100 hours to pay a fee of $300 for the private key to recover their data. If this fee isn’t paid, the key is destroyed and the files are lost.

cryptolocker

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Not All Data Should Be Stored in the Cloud

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report today titled “Red Cloud Rising: Cloud Computing in China.” This report takes a look at China’s growing support for cloud services and the implications that may lead to for US companies and consumers.

cloud_0

According to the report, “the Chinese government plans to make more than $1 billion available over the next few years to drive cloud computing development.” Cloud computing companies around the US are exploring the possibility of expanding overseas, but what does that mean for cloud users?

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Laplink Sync Beats Out the Competition

Recent analysis compared Laplink Sync to a variety of competitors. Although Laplink Sync™ was released just one month ago, it has already proven to beat out competitors with superior peer-to-peer connectivity options, more secure synchronization, enhanced features (like easy conflict resolution), and the most comprehensive, free customer support available.

As a peer-to-peer synchronization product, Laplink Sync offers a safer sync process than cloud-only solutions. Where cloud-based options are vulnerable to server availability and forces you to rely on Internet connectivity, Laplink Sync gives you the option to connect their devices directly. This keeps your information more secure and greatly reduces the risk of losing your data.

Laplink has also partnered with Intel to give even more connectivity options to users like you. By integrating with Intel’s Common Connectivity Framework, something no other sync product does, you are able to connect and sync your music, photos, and other files with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and more.

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Living in a World of Multi-Screeners

You’re probably multi-tasking while you read this blog. Whether you’re reading on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, chances are you’re checking one of your other devices for an email, project update, text, or Facebook notification. The reason for this, according to a study done by Google, is that we’re rapidly becoming a world chock full of multi-screeners.

What exactly is a multi-screener? A multi-screener is someone who owns and is using more than one device at the same time. Do you play games on your tablet while you watch TV? You’re a multi-screener. Do you check your phone for texts while working on a project on your PC? You’re a multi-screener.

google survey

According to the study, 90% of all our media interactions are screen-based. These interactions are divided primarily between four different types of screens: smartphone, tablet, PC or laptop, and TV. While the study shows that each device has its own personal benefit (smartphone for communication, PC or laptop for work, TV and tablet for entertainment), it also shows that 90% of consumers use multiple devices sequentially to accomplish something over time. Maybe you take a cool photo on your smartphone and transfer it over to your tablet for some editing. When you’re done, you transfer it over to your PC to print it off on professional, glossy paper.

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Leave Your Connectivity Worries Behind with Laplink Sync!

In an age when people rely on technology more than ever, everyone has had disaster strike at an inopportune moment.

Connection lost.
Server not found.
We’re experiencing technical difficulties.

Your heart sinks as a connectivity issue affects your social life or even worse, your job.

The cloud leaves your data vulnerable

Photo reused with Creative Commons permission.

 

Technology is meant to make our lives easier. While cloud computing services are convenient for people on the go, its reliance on internet connectivity leaves users vulnerable. Whether it’s an unexpected natural disaster, a small electrical storm, or a simple server error, the smallest hiccup can leave users unable to access their files.

So, what’s a tech geek to do? You have your smartphone, tablet, PC, and laptop, but how can you sync your files without having to worry about the next big server crash?

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A New PC – Fear or Joy?

Laplink launches new “Free Transfer Assistance”

If you are like most people, you expect your personal computer will make you more efficient. It’s a tool to get more stuff done more quickly. And even as we use smartphones, tablets, or other computing devices, we still have significant reliance on our PCs.

Whether using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or other productivity-focused software; whether editing videos or pictures; or whether running various games or entertainment programs, we expect our PCs to be there for us.

However, the world of personal computing has become more complicated, growing to include home networks, hotspots and interacting with other PCs, tablets, and phones. As the PC and its environment become more complicated, the typical PC user is more likely to need professional help now and then.

Getting a new personal computer should be exciting and rewarding. For many, though, the thought of setting up a new computer creates much fear and uncertainty. Mike Hogan, an editor of the well-respected Barron’s Magazine, recently asked in context of replacing a PC: “How many programs, utilities and games under your Windows Start button would you like to reinstall? Have all the discs? How many of your programs are no longer published, or require new versions ‘improved’ by limiting your favorite features?”

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Switching Hardware? Avoid The Risk of Data Theft.

from the Chairman & CEO of Laplink: Thomas Koll

With the recent launch of Microsoft’s Windows 8 which will trigger a lot of replacement sales of PCs and Laplink’s upcoming release of Laplink SafeErase Version 6, it is a good time to remind ourselves that all data we have deleted from our PCs is in no way safely deleted. Most data can be restored from a hard drive with commercially available products. Even formatting a hard drive is not good enough. My white paper from last year is a good and quick read to understand the risk associated with data deletion.

click below for the white paper:

http://is.gd/securityriskwhitepaper

 

 

The Perils of the Cloud

The “cloud” is hot.

We all talk about the next great thing: solutions for cloud computing. Venture Capitalists are raising new funds for cloud computing, software companies are rapidly developing new solutions for the cloud, and new services are announced every day. It is clear that since the late 1990s, we have seen a strong demand for application services in the cloud or application services hosted in the cloud, although the names have changed. “Cloud” is just the new name. The promise is great: new Internet-based applications that don’t require local implementations, opportunities for easily and quickly connecting users to new services, and simple but robust back-end management of these cloud services.

As a result, there are great new services that can make our daily business routines so much easier than before and without any upfront investment. Take one category that is strategic to all companies selling, marketing, and supporting customers: customer relationship management (CRM). Traditionally, these applications were residing on your PC or on the company’s server. The implementation of  larger sales forces was extremely complex and expensive while small businesses could live with a desktop application and home offices often used Outlook as their main depository for customer information. Now, however, for a small monthly fee we see highly complex and beneficial cloud services that offer full-featured systems only large companies could afford in the past. No setup costs, no IT investments –  just register, pay, and go. No doubt these services have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of sales organizations greatly. And some of these service companies are generating billions in revenues by satisfying the needs of their customers. Life is good.

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The TOP 10 Reasons to Use Laplink® PCmover® Enterprise

Often I am asked to name the top 10 reasons why our customers select PCmover Enterprise. Each organization has different requirements, which means not all these reasons are applicable to every situation. However, from many discussions and customer feedback, I have comprised this generalized list:

  1. PCmover copies applications from an old PC to a new PC and “installs” them automatically, even between different versions of Windows. This is actually not easy. No other product available offers this feature. Most competing solutions move data and settings only; or if they move applications, the usage scenario is very restricted (e.g., copying an image of the old PC to a virtual machine on the new PC).
  2. The Policy Manager in PCmover Enterprise allows the IT administrator to easily structure the migration of applications, data, and settings to the specific needs of the organization, department, or user group. Migration options for PCmover can be pre-defined in a policy file that allows the end-user or IT staff to execute the actual migration of applications, data, and settings while still being controlled by the administrator. The Policy Manager, unlike many IT tools, is easy to learn and requires no third-party consultants or programmers. An IT administrator can create a policy with minimal training, providing full control with flexibility to execute from a centralized location or to do so in a decentralized process. And PCmover will provide reports and notifications to supervisors. The result is “IT Managed migrations even for unmanaged PCs” which only PCmover can deliver.
  3. PCmover saves organizations a minimum of $300 dollars per desktop deployed or upgraded. In general, PCmover generates savings for any organization, from businesses to educational institutions to government agencies. In some extreme examples, we have customers claim that PCmover has saved them over $1500 in logistical costs per new PC deployed/ A migration could be performed locally in a remote location without sending IT personnel or shipping loaner PCs back and forth – all while allowing the IT administrator to remain in full control of the migration. Laplink has published several white papers on the subject. Continue reading

Windows 8 – Ramping Up for Another Beta Candidate

Here at Laplink we love new technology. As a software company it’s in our blood to be on the hunt for interesting or impactful developments in the tech world. And as a Gold-Certified partner of Microsoft, much of the software we create helps to better the experience users and businesses have with Microsoft products. Because of these two points we are very excited about Windows 8 and what it will mean to consumer’s world-wide. And if Windows 8 is doing anything, it’s generating some impactful discussion. Just check out this recent developer’s blog post regarding some recent UI changes. It’s more of a short-novel than a blog post, but interesting none-the-less.

We’re certainly getting closer to the rumored October release of Windows 8 (though nothing has been officially announced). In the next few weeks there is expected to be much more discussion regarding the final version and remaining beta candidates of Microsoft’s newest OS. Back in April we were told that the Windows 8 Release Preview would be landing in early June, and it just so happens that on June 6th Microsoft’s Steven Guggenheimer will be delivering a keynote address at Computex TAIPEI. Hopefully it will be here that we get a good preview or even a release announcement for the Release Preview of Windows 8.

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