Links Blog

Your Windows XP Computer is at Risk of Attack!

Links Technology - Friday, March 07, 2014

 

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will discontinue its support of the Windows XP operating system, which means that security updates for this operating system will end on this day and millions of computers will be at risk.


Following Microsoft's end of support for Windows XP, systems still running XP can be infected by malware and viruses from the internet, or attached devices like USB thumb-drives. Hackers are targeting unprotected computers and companies since they will be easy targets after support updates end.

This not only affects your computer at home or work, but you might be surprised to learn that there are over 420,000 ATM’s in the United States running XP. Banks are rushing to upgrade and modify these ATMS but it begs the question of if major financial institutions are not prepared, what other weak points might other companies who you work with have? Once support ends from Microsoft, any businesses still using XP, and the majority of ATMs still running it, will face potentially catastrophic security and compliance risks.

Businesses have had time to prepare but many not have done the required planning, and budgeting for hardware upgrades. Many applications written for an old, unsupported operating system will fail to work properly in a new environment like Windows 7 or be open to exploitation by malicious users.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Company:

  1. Upgrade by April 8, 2014 to an operating system newer than Windows XP, such as Windows 7.
  2. Make any necessary hardware upgrades to accommodate a new operating system like Windows 7.
  3. Make sure you upgrade both personal and business computers.
  4. Ensure your business applications are able to run safely and securely on your new operating system.
  5. Check with your banking institution to see if their ATM software is up to date before using it.
There is still time to act before it’s too late . Contact your company’s IT department for help, or get in touch with the experts on Links Technology’s IT Support Team. They can help you analyze your risks and upgrade or replace any systems that are still running Windows XP.

Windows XP Support Ends April 8, 2014

Beth Palmer - Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Your Computer Could Be Compromised

On or After April 8, 2014

Windows XP Support ends April 8, 2014.  For a hacker, that day will be better than winning the lottery!  Security Updates from Microsoft for it's Windows XP Operating System will end on this day.

Businesses require planning, and budgeting for hardware upgrades.  Mission-critical applications written for an old, unsupported operating system will fail to work properly in a new environment.

Don't think you can outsmart the date! Even if a vulnerable Windows XP-based machine is on a private network and has no Internet access, another device, such as one running a supported product, can be infected with malware outside that private network, infecting other devices on that private network.

What about your suppliers?  Your customers?  Do your employees work on their own XP computers at home?

Every computer running on the Windows XP Operating system is vulnerable beyond April 8, 2014.  It is time to protect your company, your customers, your vendors, and your suppliers.

Call Us Now at 847-252-7600!

LINKS Technology will help you replace the inventory that is at risk.

Our Best Tech of 2013

Links Technology - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

It seems like every day a new app or new device comes out, and over the past year our team has put many to the test. Link's Support and Development Teams are not only creators of amazing website, applications, networks, etc., but we are also consumers of technology, in a big way! We decided to share with you some of our team's favorite tech of 2013. Here are a few of our favorite new technology advancements and discoveries  of the past year:

Chromecast

Chromecast is a digital media streaming adapter developed by Google. The device allows you to stream apps like Netflix, Youtube & Hulu Plus to your HDTV from your phone or tablet via Wi-Fi. You can even use it to mirror your computer desktop, creating a second screen without much fuss or any cords.
www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/chromecast/
Travis Tasharski
IT Support Engineer

Amazon Prime

If you buy things on Amazon, use Netflix or have a Kindle, then this is the best thing since sliced bread. For the $79 annual fee you get free 2 day shipping on almost anything, access to Amazon Instant Video (just like Netflix streaming), and free book rentals for your Kindle. Plus, you can share it with up to four others who all get the same benefits as you!
www.amazon.com/Prime
Gary Kravis
Director of Software Solutions

Last Pass

So many logins to so many sites and apps can make managing your passwords a daunting task. Passwords in LastPass Password Manager are protected by a master password and allows you to have one password for all your accounts without losing any security protections.
www.lastpass.com
Tim Nyquist
Senior Web Designer

Microsoft Remote Desktop

Microsoft has finally released a app version of its Remote Desktop software that allows you to open a remote window into your computer from your phone or tablet and control it from the device.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.rdc.android
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-remote-desktop/id714464092
Tone Przyszlak
Help Desk Supervisor

SimpliSafe Wireless home Security System

Protecting your home has never been easier or less expensive. Simplisafe is a DIY security system with all the features you need that you can set up, test and use all on your own. It connects to a 24-hour live monitoring center via a cellular connection, the system communicates within your home wirelessly, and it texts or calls you when trouble arises. Simply sick the small attractively designed door, motion, smoke, and CO2 monitors wherever you want and Simplisafe will protect your home and family.
www.simplisafe.com
John Reitz
Creative Director

Smart Home Technology - Nest Thermostat

A thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone from anywhere. Nest Thermostat can lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20% and looks really cool on the wall.
www.nest.com
Pavel Stoev
Senior Software Developer

Facetime

Its been around for a couple years, but Facetime and other face to face communication methods like Skype have changed the way we talk and communicate with business interests or loved ones who are far away. No longer is it going to cost you thousands to talk to and see your friends and relatives in far off countries. Many businesses are using this technology to save on travel expenses and commute time as well.
www.apple.com
Debi Easterday
Director of Recruiting

iPhone 5S Fingerprint Touch

Its something of a first in mass market phone security, the iPhone's new Touch ID makes accessing your phone and buying things easier and safer. Use it in combination with iTunes or the app store and you can snag music and apps without remembering a password or entering it while on the go.
www.apple.com
Brian Burke
President & CEO

Any.DO

Organize your life and so much more with this suite of apps.  Keep track of simple tasks in this very intuitive, simple, clean and beautiful interface.
www.any.do
Phil Wijs
Business & UX Analyst

What’s Next?

We are watching a number of amazing new trends in Technology for the next year. Wearable technology like the Google Glass or Galaxy Gear Smart Watch are expected to make big strides. We expect continued growth of smart home technology like LIFX wi-fi LED light bulbs and wireless security systems like SimpliSafe. The biggest trend, of course, is mobilization on the web. Websites that provide a quick and impressive contact point for consumers via a mobile device will outperform those who don’t in a big way this next year and are now essential to success online.

We had a fantastic 2013 and look forward to  all the new discoveries in the New Year. Let us know what you found useful or discover this past year, and have a safe and happy 2014!

Pinewood Derby Runner-Up

Links Technology - Sunday, December 08, 2013

MTI hosted the Schaumburg Business Association's first inaugural Grand Prix Pinewood Derby on Thursday. We finished second by an impossibly close thousandths of a second! (Of course, I would never mention that the first race of the finals that we crushed got thrown out for technical difficulties.) Seriously though, congratulations to Starpoint, and to the SBA for a super fun change of pace! It truly was the biggest and most unique Business After Hours.

For those of you who missed it (for shame), there were all kinds of restaurants, bars and food trucks showcasing their specialties, and 95.9 The River was broadcasting live to provide an electric atmosphere.

Make it happen next year. Honestly, we didn't even know what we were doing, other than strategically balancing some weights. At least we have something to shoot for in 2014.

Happy Thanksgiving

Links Technology - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

This Thanksgiving , Links Technology will be reaching out to those less fortunate with a Thanksgiving Food Drive for Ontarioville Elementary School in Hanover Park. This food drive is being sponsored through Poplar Creek Church in Bartlett, Illinois.

Links Staff will provide full thanksgiving meals for 4 families. These meals will consist of stuffing, mashed potatoes, rice, gravy, fruits and canned vegetables. With these contributions, we hope to help these families have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving that will fill their hearts with Joy !

Links Technology at the 2013 IAPD/IPRA Convention & Expo

Links Technology - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Links Technology was pleased to be a part of The Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association annual joint convention held this past week at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. From county forest preserves to park districts in communities of all shapes and sizes, the IAPD/IPRA convention and expo brings together so many government agencies we've run out of abbreviations! Our team was on hand to meet with agencies from around the state about website development and outsourced IT services. Links is a longtime partner of the Schaumburg Park District and in 2011 won the Best Friend of Illinois Parks award from IAPD. At the 2012 convention, Links was honored, along with the Schaumburg Park District, winning an Agency Showcase award for our work on the District’s website.

Thank you to IAPD/IPRA for another great opportunity to work with our communities and bring people and technology together.

iPads are a Pain in the Neck

Links Technology - Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The iPad has changed the way many people consume information and has liberated millions from their desks, but now researchers are warning the public that iPad related neck injuries are a very real risk.

In a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, researchers are warning that the use of an iPad or any other tablet risks the development of repetitive stress injuries to the neck or shoulders. The way users position themselves to use their tablet devices, often with less than great posture and for sustained periods of time, can lead to chronic pain and medical bills.

The lead writer of the Harvard study, Jack Dennerlein explained, "If you think about your position when you are hunched over looking down, your head is hanging out over space, so you are using your neck muscles to support the weight."

Apple has made no comment on the Harvard study.

Here are a few ways to avoid or “cure” your neck pain:

  1. Assume the correct body position. Sit in a relaxed position with your forearms at a 90 degree angle and your head facing forward, rather than hunched over at a downward angle.
  2. Be conscious of the angle your body position is to the screen. The ideal way to hold your screen is at an angle, not flat on a table or straight up vertically.
  3. Use an external keyboard. It may seem against the spirit of a tablet being a “mobile” device, but using an external keyboard, rather than the one on the screen, tends to help ensure better viewing angles. Many cases are available that include Bluetooth connecting keyboards. [Check out this video round-up of some of the best iPad external keyboards on the market]
  4. Keep on Moving. Don’t stay in one position for too long. On a long flight or even at home, adjust your position every 20-30 minutes and take a break each hour by getting up and moving around.

If your pain continues, see a medical professional for an evaluation.

Did you know that Links Technology has full-time, on-staff Apple and Android support technicians who can assist you and your organization with getting the most out of your tablet or smartphone? Learn more about our Technology Support Services.

Links Technology Cup Golf Tournament Raises Funds for Park District

Links Technology - Friday, August 17, 2012

 

Last week, Links Technology and Schaumburg Golf Club hosted the 5th Annual Links Technology Cup benefiting the Schaumburg Park Foundation. The competition was fierce and resulted in a three-way-tie and playoff to determine the winner. Links is proud to partner with the Schaumburg Park District and raise money to help our community. Read more about on the SPD website.

Vote for The Children's Advocacy Center

Links Technology - Monday, July 30, 2012

UPDATE: Round 2 of voting runs from August 6-10. The top 10 candidates move on to the final round from August 13-17.

The Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County is a Blackman Kallick Plante Moran Chicago Community Champions candidate, and you can make a big difference in the lives of children who have experienced physical and sexual abuse!

The agency with the most votes will be awarded $25,000. But hurry, they only have until August 3rd!

Mission Statement

Recognizing the right of all children to a safe childhood, The Children's Advocacy Center of North and Northwest Cook County continuously strives to reduce trauma and provide support to child victims of violence and their families. The Center serves as a community resource to facilitate the identification, intervention and prevention of child abuse.

Goal

The goal of The Children's Advocacy Center of North & Northwest Cook County is to provide a multidisciplinary approach to severe physical and child sexual abuse cases. The Center recognizes the special, unique needs of child victims, while demanding accountability for the crime of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse.

Coyle's Website Redesign

Links Technology - Monday, July 02, 2012


Coyle Financial Counsel in Glenview, IL is the latest website redesign to get the LinksLite CMS treatment. Missing the personal touch that your family deserves when it comes to navigating ongoing financial changes? Coyle provides the relationship and leadership to support you and facilitate your ability to embrace new opportunities.

However, if Coyle is going to help navigate your finances, they need to be able to navigate their own matters, not to mention that you need to navigate the resources on their website. That's where LinksLite steps in. 

As always, Coyle can now keep their website up-to-date, any time of day, anywhere that they have internet access. We worked extensively on their sitemap, and LinksLite facilitated the simple buildout of those decisions. Of course, the pages and overall site structure exist within a completely customized design. Coyle recently rebranded, and it was obviously imperitive that the website reflect those new efforts. 

But a redesign involves more than some pretty new colors and rearranging the pages. The new Coyle website is optimized to focus on why you should choose the personal touch of Coyle, and what that means to your experience. You will quickly learn that Coyle's Financial Advocacy Program™ simplifies the complex, so that you can grow with purpose. You will learn about investment and other wealth strategies, planning for your estate, business and family, and more. Other handy resources include newsletters, financial calculators, and client login options for Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.

In the end, we hope the new Coyle website does an even better of helping families grow and simplify their wealth.