Links Technology Solutions, Inc.

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It's Baaack, the Form W-2 Email Scam

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Remember the W-2 scam trying to trick payroll and human resource officials into disclosing employee names, social security numbers, and income information?

Well, it's that time of year, and the IRS has renewed their alert. So be on the lookout for unusual requests, even if seemingly from your CEO!

More from the IRS

Here are a couple of example emails:

W-2 Form Email Scam example emails

5 Reasons You Need to Use an External Recruiter

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

If you have never used an external recruiter, you might be wondering why external IT staffing firms are the go-to solution for many fortune-500 companies. If you are looking to fill open positions or put together a team of IT professionals for a contract project, an IT recruiting specialist might be the answer to your prayers. As a leading IT Staffing & Recruiting firm, we know why using an external recruiter for your technology staffing needs is so important and put together a quick run-down of the advantages:

  1. We Will Find Your Next Rock Star Employee Faster!
    We started looking for your ideal candidate yesterday and we've already begun to filter to the best candidates. All we need are your job requirements.

  2. Top Talent Wants to Work with Us
    Top candidates, both active and passively looking, rely on us to keep them connected to the job market. We will find the best fit for you and are a click away from your next success story.

  3. We Focus on Placing Great Candidates, Not Just the Search
    Internal Recruiters get paid for searching for any candidate. We only get paid for placing candidates that get hired. The difference is huge!

  4. External Recruiters Have Bigger and Better Networks
    We're constantly seeking and finding top talent for multiple companies. We know positions come and go, so we maintain great relationships and build giant networks of amazing IT talent.

  5. More Time Spent on Your Own Job.
    Is your business recruiting? Ours is. So, you can get your job done while we find amazing talent for you.

Links Technology Solutions has a team of nationwide recruiting and staffing experts. We can help you find temporary consulting labor or permanent placements in almost any role. Learn more here.

When is a Space not a Space?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When its %20.

When we empower a client to use a content management system (CMS) to manage their website or an email marketing program to send out newsletters, it is easy to forget that not all things on the web are the same as on your computer. In the strange and shadowy world of HTML code, server languages and URL arguments you are bound to come across a few strange nuances that can spell success or failure for your web content.

Today we take a look at the “space” when naming a file. For both your own organization and for search engine optimization (SEO), it is important to relate the name of files on a website to the content of file. However, while adding spaces, ampersands or quotations can make filename titles easier to read, adding these special characters can lead to ‘404 Page not Found’ errors when used on websites. Every letter and punctuation mark has a unique code to represent them on the web. Browsers and CMS systems often get confused when certain characters are not properly represented to them. While letters and numbers are generally not translated into their code equivalent, punctuation marks are not treated as equally. Because these marks have dual meanings on the web, your browser may interpret these as something else and replace these with their code equivalent. For example:

  • A space can be replaced with %20
  • A quotation ( “ ) can be replaced with %22
  • An ampersand ( & ) can be replaced with %26

These codes can cause confusion and sometimes have unintended results on your website if using a CMS. To avoid these, filenames should use a dash ( - ) between words rather than actual spaces. This will keep things relatively readable for you and help make sure the file is understandable by the web as well.

Aside from the punctuation, the actual name you choose is important as well. The golden rule for naming documents on the web is: “The shorter the better”. However, you do want to choose relevant the titles for the content of the file and use natural language in your filenames. This can help users understand you documents as well as ensure search engines do an accurate job of indexing pages, images and PDFs for results on keywords associated with your site.

So, the next time you are writing up your site content, newsletter, blog article or posting important documents, consider that a space is not always a space.

9th Links Technology Cup Successful again!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Now in its 9th year, the Links Technology Cup once again raised funds for the Schaumburg Park Foundation while providing a spirited golf tournament and complete with a dramatic sudden-death playoff at The Schaumburg Golf Club on August 10th.

This year’s well dressed  winners emerged on top after a 2-hole playoff. Mark Dwyer, Joe Leone, Mike Schweizer and Bob Van Valkenburg took home the trophy for the 3rd straight year which was presented by Links Technology President and CEO, Brian Burke in a ceremony following the tournament.

 

In an era of difficult government funding, this event raises funds for The Schaumburg Park Foundation which is dedicated to providing resources for the preservation of open space, conservation, nature, recreation, culture and education in Schaumburg.

Links is celebrating its 17th year of business and believes in giving back to the community in their role as the title sponsor of this event as well as a Park Partner with the Schaumburg Park District. Links created the Schaumburg Park District website and mobile app which receives over a million visitors each year.

Other major sponsors for the event included Thermos, Schaumburg Bank & Trust (a Wintrust Community Bank), WT Engineering and Chandler's/Ala Carte Entertainment.

Congratulations to all who played, raised money, and had a great day at the Schaumburg Golf Club.

Payroll & Employee Email Scam

Monday, February 22, 2016


 

From time to time we hear of technology scams that we want to alert our customers to. We recently became aware of a new wave of email scams that are extremely dangerous and more invasive than ever.

Our clients began reporting these extremely dangerous scam emails a few weeks ago and even more since as well as other companies across the country. Check out this story of the breach at a California rehabilitation and nursing home health-care provider Magnolia Health Corporation (MHC) to get a full sense of the threat.

The Targets:

Unsuspecting Employees get an email that appears to come from someone in their organization or one of their clients. They spoof or fake the "from" email address so it looks legitimate.

The Scam:

The email asks them to send payroll information, bank accounts, social security numbers, or other private personal information. Sometimes they use the excuse that the information is needed for "tax" purposes. Given the tax season is upon us, the employee feels compelled to comply. These emails have also been known to appear to be from the CEO or other persons of authority and ask for money to be wired to them or demanding detailed account information. Another version of the scam asks employees to click on a link that looks like their payroll system login. When they enter their login and password, the hacker uses the information to change their bank account information. This enables the criminal to steal their paycheck!

The IRS is also often being spoofed and emails have been received which ask for specific tax data that appear to come from the IRS. The IRS is clear in that they do not ask for sensitive data by email, so any email from them or any other "agency" should be carefully vetted for authenticity.

The Risks:

The scam is intended to grab your financial data, personal information, or steal cash from you or your company:

  • Employees may be giving up their own or their coworker’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), resulting in a number of possibly dangerous outcomes including financial breaches and identity theft. PII is also protected by law in some jurisdictions.
  • In the case of a scammer requesting a direct money wire, this could open up a company to a serious financial loss.
  • Identity theft is unfortunately easy to do with the right information. This scam is designed to open you and your company up to the information needed to steal an identity.

What Can You Do?

This scam looks real. Who wouldn’t respond to the company CEO?

The most important thing you can do is inform your company of the potential scam. Anything that looks suspicious... probably is. Forward this email to every employee. Let them know that no one in the company should ask for Personal Identifiable Information, banking information or logins and passwords to an account via email. And...

  • Hire a company like LINKS to assist your IT Department in guarding against scams and protecting your data.
  • Encourage staff to always double check who they are "replying to" in any email as well.
  • Lastly, be careful when clicking on a link in an email or downloading an attachment.

Links Technology's team of experts is always looking out for our customers. If you want to learn more about how we can help your company or organization stay safe from internet dangers. Give us a call at (847) 252-7600 today!

Combatting Childhood Obesity through Technology

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

fitpals

In partnership with Alexian Brothers (AMITA) and made possible by a grant from Verizon, Links Technology recently developed an Android Fitness app called Fit Pals. The app is being used in conjunction with doctors and nutritionists at the medical center to help with prevention of childhood obesity as well as several risks associated with obesity including heart disease and diabetes. Fit Pals is designed to keep children to stay on track with healthy eating habits and fitness goals as well as serves as a journaling system to keep track of progress over time. The app also uses data and information provided by several area park districts to power the daily activities for the children in their community.

The Alexian Fit Pals app was a huge success for the childhood obesity program as 59% of children in the program reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI). To get a more in depth look at the program and a firsthand account of a family who participated check out the video below:



For more information on this and other amazing technology solutions by Links, call us at 847-252-7600.

Sharing our favorite ways to spread joy

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

happyholidays

Happy Holidays!

The Links Family wishes you and your family a joyous holiday season. We thank you for your business and partnership. We're looking forward to another great year in 2016!

Sharing our favorite ways to spread joy.

Links Technology is proud and honored to be involved with many great non-profit charities. We would like to share with you some of these fantastic causes where your gifts would always be most welcome:

ChildrensAdvocacyCenter

The Children’s Advocacy Center works to reduce trauma and provide support to child victims of violence and their families.

ChildrensAdvocacyCenter

HeartOfAMarineFoundation

The Heart Of A Marine Foundation provides comfort, support, and financial assistance to improve the quality of life of military personnel.

HeartOfAMarineFoundation

CommunitySupportServices

Community Support Services is dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities and their families.

CommunitySupportServices

HaymarketCenter

Haymarket Center aids people with chemical dependency in their recovery by providing a continuum of optimal professional care.

HaymarketCenter

UpsForDowns

UPS for DownS offers support, education, and encouragement for those who love and care about persons with Down syndrome.

UpsForDowns

NorthRaleighMinistries

North Raleigh Ministries in North Carolina, provides compassionate assistance to neighbors in crisis and helps them achieve self sufficiency.

NorthRaleighMinistries

ArlingtonCares

Arlington Cares, NFP is a not-for-profit created to raise money for the Village of Arlington Heights Emergency Assistance Fund.

ArlingtonCares

PGA

The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game of golf.

PGA

SchaumburgParkFoundation

The Schaumburg Park Foundation is dedicated to providing for the preservation of open space, conservation, nature and recreation. 

SchaumburgParkFoundation

 

Welcome Back to Windows 10

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Classic Windows is back. Is it right for you?

The new Windows 10 Operating System was released on July 29th to replace Windows 8.1, which received criticism for perhaps being a little too “forward-thinking,” and aims to bring back the classic Windows OS while still continuing to innovate.

The release of Windows 10 will come with a multitude of changes and different features that the user can enjoy. One of the new features is the return of the start menu from Windows 7 and earlier. Users will now have the classic Windows start menu functionality of a single column that uses jump lists and fly-out menus for extra options as well as have an extra pane within the start menu in order to pin Windows 8 style tiles for easy access. Windows 10 has also added an action center in order to notify the user of various apps and other settings for quick access.

The all new Microsoft Edge browser will be available with the download of Windows 10 offering users a new internet browser more on par with the Chrome and Firefox browsers. Edge might start another browser war, but only time will tell as early adoption of the browser has been slow and developers have been cautious.

“We know it will get a lot of use, and hopefully encourage old IE users to make a switch to a modern browser, so we have to plan for it. It isn’t exactly a new leader in the marketplace yet, nor does it create many new possibilities for designers.” said Links’s own Creative Director, John Reitz.

Another feature to look forward to is the multiple desktop function of Windows 10. If a user does not have multiple monitors, this function will allow that user to arrange his or her windows on multiple virtual desktops to keep those windows up. Windows 10 has also changed the updating schedule so the user can decide when to have an update that requires their computer to restart. The new operating system of Windows 10 is a “universal platform” spanning the user’s PC and other Windows devices to tie them into a more connected experience.

Windows 10 offers exciting new features and innovation, but it does come with its share of concerns and easy-to-spot faults. Many features within the Windows 10 platform will be underutilized and lost on those who do not care for the touchscreen or simply do not use a touchscreen device. Updates also on the new system, while allowing the ability to schedule times for the updates, are automatic and forced and cannot be ignored which could spell trouble later on using the operating system. The new personal assistant, Cortana (like Apple’s Siri), is also geared more to smartphone and tablet users rather than a desktop setting, so she may offer little value in the home or office. Privacy also may be a concern. With the update to Windows 10, the terms of use state that Microsoft has the right to view the system or network in order to gather information. This has some privacy experts more than a little concerned, but it reminds all of us that Microsoft has more control of your information with their new universal platform than ever before.

At the office, it might be a while before you see Windows 10 become the OS of choice, but eventually it will happen.

“Maybe by next year,” says Links Helpdesk Manager, Tone Przyszlak.

The programs that corporate networks rely on, like virus protection and connectivity software, need to be updated before most companies can adopt the new OS.

Przyszlak added, “Kaspersky Anti-Virus might have a beta release for Windows 10 by December and not all VPNs work on Windows 10, so that hinders adoption in corporate environments.”

Windows 10 is an exciting new release with great cosmetic upgrades, a new browser and ability to bring all your devices together on one operating system. As with any new release, it will have a few growing pains, and downsides, but we can recommend it to most personal users as a vast improvement over Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 10 acceptance into the corporate environment may take more time and study before it can safely become the workhorse of the business world like Windows 7 has been.

If you or your company have any questions about this or other technology topics, Links Technology has the answers! Contact us at 847-252-7600 to learn more about how we bring people and technology together.

Alexian Fit Pals App Helps Curb Childhood Obesity

Friday, July 24, 2015
Alexian Fit Pals App

Fresh off the heels of a 2nd place finish in the The Fittest Loser competition, the Links Technology team is making a splash in the fitness arena again. You may have remembered that we launch an Android Fitness app to help support the Alexian Fit Pals program back in February. Well, the program is off to a resounding start and the results are in for the first four months. We are ecstatic to report that 59% of children in the program have reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI) and are feeling fitter than ever. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight and, given the fact that they are still growing, is more indicative of a child’s progress in weight loss programs as compared to weight alone.

This is a huge milestone for the program and further highlights the benefits of combining technology with solid education. The app serves as a reminder to children to stay on track with regards to their eating and fitness goals and provides a journaling system so they can track their progress over time. All of this success, of course, would not be possible without the support of local park districts and organizations who have generously granted access to their facilities and have hosted a variety of fitness meet-ups for the children. Alexian Fit Pals partners include Dundee Township Park District, Elk Grove Park District, Hoffman Estates Park District, Schaumburg Park District, Streamwood Park District and the Golden Corridor Family YMCA.

Links Technology is proud to be a part of this noble effort and we look forward to the continued success of the children as they improve their health. We will be providing updates throughout the year as the program progresses. Stay tuned!

Google Doesn’t Like Your Old Website

Friday, April 10, 2015

Google is ranking mobile-optimized sites higher. It’s time to go responsive.


On April 21st Google will begin rolling out its Mobile Friendly search algorithm update. This will have a significant impact on search rankings for websites that are not optimized for mobile devices.  In previous updates to its search algorithm, Google has made searching more mobile friendly, directing users to mobile optimized websites. However this new update that will take place later this month is more important to take note of, as they will give preference to those sites who have full optimization for mobile devices of all screen sizes. 

What does "Mobile Optimization" mean?

Having a website that is Mobile Optimized means that a person can view a website on any device, no matter the screen size (tablet, phone, etc.), and read it or navigate it easily without pinching the screen to zoom in on pieces of it. This is also referred to as a "Responsive Design" as the website adapts to the screen a person is viewing the website on.    

What does this mean for your website?

In effect it means that a site without mobile optimization will be pushed down in search results in favor of a site that is mobile optimized.  Up to 60% of web traffic is not coming from mobile devices of all kinds.  So the push in this direction is clear to Google and thus they are adapting their search results to give those viewers the best experience they can on a website.  Test your website for compliance with Google's new algorithm here

What if your website is not mobile optimized?

Great news!!  We can help you with that!  Links Technology has a full Web Design and Development team ready to help you redesign your website to meet these new standards so that you can reach the broader audience you desire and help your web presence succeed.  Visit us at our website here, or contact us at  847-252-7600 and ask us for a quote! 


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