Get informed about the Stagefright hack – and what you can do about it.
The Stagefright hack has left many people spinning. If your phone is Android version 2.2 or beyond and is on Google’s Android operating system (and there are roughly 950 million of you) then you are vulnerable to this attack. It has been nicknamed Stagefright because the hack takes advantage of the Stagefright aspect of Android message security.
The primary issue with creating a patch is that Google is not the manufacturer of every Android phone. Stated by Zimperium Mobile Security (who notified Google of the vulnerabilities originally), Google “acted promptly and applied the patches to internal code branches within 48 hours.” Definitely a step in the right direction, but not enough to fix the issue entirely. The next step is making sure that all the manufacturers impacted by the Stagefright hack receive and apply the patch. With 950 million Android devices, this is not a quick task. However, things are definitely moving towards a solution
How can you protect yourself from the Stagefright hack? A good first step is turning off the setting that auto-retrieves your messages. One of the biggest targets for this hack are phones using the Hangouts messaging app, because the default setting is automatic message retrieval. If you’d rather just switch your messaging app, there are several ones that do not have auto retrieval as a default setting (meaning less work on your end after downloading it). It is also worth mentioning to never give out your number to anyone you don’t trust or open messages from questionable sources.
If your phone has been infected or is at risk to, stay up to date and do all you can to get back to normal. For questions or help regarding security or other IT issues, call the professionals at trueITpros at 678-534-8776.
Additional resources for help with messaging settings/patches/etc:
Some of the Windows 10 updates we found the most notable.
Microsoft recently dropped a sneak peek of Windows 10 updates, release date July 29th. (Yes, they went from Windows 8 to Windows 10 and no, you didn’t miss Windows 9.) After doing some looking around the trueITpros team came up with some of the likely (there are bound to changes by the release date) updates we are looking forward too. Check out the complete list of features and watch the video Microsoft posted.
First up: the Start Menu. It will include some popular features from Windows 8, like customizable tiles. Microsoft is shooting for personalization in this update. This is something we are really looking forward to, because the Start Menu is just that: where everything starts. The universal search option is also back, with web results included.
Next on the list of Windows 10 updates we want to mention is the multitasking aspect and multiple desktops. The “Task View”, a button in the task bar, will let you see all your open windows at once. You will be able to create multiple desktops as well. Like the Start Menu upgrade, this lends itself to customization. It also helps with organization and efficiency, since you can see everything you are doing without clicking between multiple windows.
It seems simple, but one of the Windows 10 updates that seems to be highly anticipated is the ability to pin the Recycle Bin to the task bar. With Windows 10 all it takes is a right click and a few moves of the mouse to pin it to the start menu. From there you can move it to the task bar. Not a total fix to this small but bothersome issue, but certainly an improvement we can get behind.
Last but not least on our list Windows 10 updates we like is the upgrade to the notifications. A lot of people didn’t like that notifications were mostly just small bubbles that popped up in the bottom right corner. With Windows 10, some of the notifications may be more noticeable. We aren’t sure if the update will have a full notifications center, but it’s definitely on our wish list.
trueITpros will be doing a 2015 Tech Update for some of our clients. We are going into more detail about the new features of the Windows 10 update, and other elements of their tech environment that may have changed. This is just another way to appreciate our clients and keep them up to date! Be on the lookout next week for our post with details on the Tech Update. For more information call us at 678-534-8776.
The Philips hue wireless system breaks the lighting mold.
The Philips hue wireless system will totally change the way you think use light in your home. The TITP team loves the whole concept of the bulbs, the bridge, and the complete control from the app. You may think lighting is just about brightening up a space and adding a little ambience – think again. This is the first post in a series about hue, because there are so many features we want to highlight. This first post is all about the basis of the Philips hue personal lighting system.
There are three main components to the Philips hue wireless system: the bulbs, the bridge, and the app. The magic number must be three, because the hue site outlines three steps for setup:
- Screw it in (put the hue bulbs in your current light fittings)
- Plug it in (connect the bridge to your router with the provided cable)
- Connect (download the app, connect to the bridge, find your bulbs and name them)
The Philips hue bulbs do their most important job of bringing light to the room. Many additional settings take them from functional to fantastic. They can remain on, pulse, match your mood, wake you up, change colors and much more. One of the functions we think is great is the safety and security aspect. If you’re out and want to light up your home, you can with a tap of a button in the app. This makes it look like you’re at home, which is a proven method in discouraging burglars.
Without the bridge, your lights wouldn’t be more than dust collectors. The bridge connects your lights to the app through your wi-fi router. You can control up to 50 bulbs without moving from your spot on the couch. The bridge also lets you connect to your lights when you are anywhere in the world. You can control the lights remotely or link them to newsfeeds/your inbox, for example.
The app is the final element of the Philips hue wireless system. The app lets you hold your lighting system in the palm of your hand. You can change the color, function brightness and much more right from your phone. A great feature of the app is that you can work on one light at a time, or all of them together. Customization is key and the hue app certainly has it. You can also create light recipes and create custom lighting schemes. The only limitation for creating new schemes and patterns is your own creativity.
The Philips hue wireless system is completely changing the way we think about light. They are allowing us to move past just brightening rooms. With this system you can be creative, match your light to your mood, have your lights remind you of tasks and much more. Be on the lookout for out next post about the hue lights. Questions about this system, or anything else we love here at TITP? Call us today at 678-534-8776.
Weekly newsletter benefits broken down.
Weekly newsletter benefits are easy to see. You may not be sending out an e-newsletter regularly, or at all. If a weekly newsletter is already part of your marketing strategy, you still may feel like you’re not getting all the potential benefits. If any of those situations sound familiar, the trueITpros team has come up with some of the top reasons a weekly newsletter is a next step in your marketing strategy – and how to make the most of it.
Sample of a newsletter created for a client by TITP
First on our list of weekly newsletter benefits is cost. Sending out an email newsletter is significantly cheaper than a print version. Electronic newsletters let you avoid the costs of printing, mailing extra savings mean you have more money to spend creating a truly phenomenal and more effective newsletter. When it comes to saving money, it is almost a no-brainer. A better product for less money? Sign us up.
The second on our list of weekly newsletter benefits is a captive audience. It is hard to monitor the success of print marketing efforts. You also can never really be sure if people are getting information they actually want to read. With an electronic newsletter, you know people want the information you have to offer. They have chosen to sign up by submitting their email to the subscriber list. You are able to track where people are going on your site, when they sign up for the newsletter, and what content is most popular. This lets you edit your newsletter and make it more effective.
Another great point from our list of weekly newsletter benefits is the relationship aspect. It isn’t enough just sell a product or service. People want to feel valued. They want to know their feedback gets through and you and that you try to provide information/services/products they want. A newsletter with unique features helps you connect and sell your product/service. A great example is including the local weather forecast in your newsletter. If you are a company that works outside and needs good weather, this allows your clients to know when sunny days are coming and when you will (most likely, no one can predict the weather 100%) be able to come provide your service.
These are just a few weekly newsletter benefits. A newsletter is an excellent marketing and connection tool that everyone could benefit from. Contact us at trueITpros to see how we can manage your newsletter and all other IT and marketing needs.
Why avoiding Google penalties is an important part of good online content.
Avoiding Google penalties when you create online content is something that everyone should be aware of. These rules don’t just apply to people building websitse. If you’re developing any kind of online content you should be aware of what you’re putting out there and how it affects your ranking on search engines. This summer the trueITpros team has been talking about some work done by Interactive Limited LLC on advanced blog training and, you guessed it, avoiding Google penalties. Here are a few of the highlights that were helpful.
Duplicate content is one thing that causes a lot of Google penalties. Not only does using someone’s content make you look bad to readers but it can result in a DMCA takedown. This hurts your credibility with search engines and costs you traffic. Something important to remember is duplicate content isn’t always intentional. Blogging is a great example in this situation. If you’re writing a blog on a topic you’re unfamiliar with you’re going to do research. It is easy to put some very similar content into your post without even realizing it. If you find useful content and want to rework it and incorporate it into your post, here are some tips:
- Give proper attribution
- Use your own ideas and take on the content
- Don’t copy large blocks of text
- IF you copy text, ask for permission to publish it
Another penalty comes from the incorrect use of robots.txt files. These files tell the search engine how to interact with the page. If they are left on the server they can block parts of, or your entire site. This hurts your search engine ranking. And isn’t that the name of the game for online marketing? Google Webmaster Tools can help you determine any errors with robots.txt files.
Avoiding Google penalties also means you have to repair (and avoid!) broken links. There are three types broken links:
- Links within your website to your pages/external pages
- Links from other sites to your site
- Links that should go to your site but don’t
Broken links damage your reputation with search engines. From the user side of things, a site with broken links is frustrating. Current users will stop visiting your site if every time they click a link they get an error message. Because your reputation with search engines is low, you likely won’t get many new visitors, if any. Tools like brokenlinkcheck.com and Google Webmaster can help you run a check to see if your site has any broken links.
These are just a few ways you can improve your online presence and work towards avoiding Google penalties. The online world is fluid and constantly changing, so make sure you are up to date about rules and regulations. If maintaining a website that complies with search engine rules is something you could use help with, contact that professionals at trueITpros to learn how our inclusive services can improve your online presence.