Attention Apple Users: Update now to avoid security risks!

by HCCS, Inc. Due to the announcement earlier this week of security risks associated with Apple Devices, we urge any Apple users to perform software updates on their devices immediately, to avoid being victimized by the breach in Apple’s software.   According to sources at many news outlets, including the New York Times, Apple identified a problem in its mobile and desktop operating systems that could allow for hackers to access what you thought to be secure transactions and sessions on your device.  The problem has to do with a coding error in their web connectivity software that validates the security certificates being sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection.  Because of this issue, the browser on your device cannot verify the authenticity of an encryption certificate. What that means is, any hacker could pretend to be your Amazon shopping cart, your bank account or your personal e-mail and cause serious harm, not to mention the increased risk of identity theft. We urge all Apple customers to update their software as soon as possible! Most Apple users can download the update through their general settings on their device.  Keep an eye out for additional security tips from our experts!

Lacey Rickert, Marketing Director

Source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/24/apples-serious-security-issue-update-your-iphone-or-ipad-immediately/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Microsoft Ends support for Windows XP & Office 2003 in April, publishes free 8.1 tutorial videos

For some Windows users, April 8, 2014, is an important deadline.  It’s the date Microsoft announced they will end support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 products.  Per the Support Lifecycle policy introduced by the company in 2002, Microsoft products have a minimum of 10 years of support, making it time to transition these older versions out of support.  On their website, Microsoft asserts that end of support means customers should take action stating, “After April 8, 2014, there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.”   The company goes on to list the risks associated with running out-of-date software on your machines, including security & compliance risks, lack of Independent Software Vendor & Hardware Manufacturers support, and more.  Basically, the concern for Windows XP & Office 2003 users who have not taken measures to update their programs is their exposure and vulnerability to security risks.

If you have one of the software versions set to end support in 2014, Microsoft suggests immediate migration to Windows 7 or higher, to continue to receive security updates and program support from Microsoft and its certified partners.  Because Windows 8 received such mixed reviews from users who are already comfortable with earlier versions of the software, many users are hesitant to upgrade to the new operating system.  Some users are intimidated by the idea of upgrading to Windows 8.1 because of the inconvenience of learning to navigate through the new touchscreen inspired format.  The good news is Microsoft has produced helpful training materials for users who are new to Windows 8.1.  These tutorials are short videos covering the basic navigation and function of the new interface of Windows 8.1 operating system.  You can access these free videos online by following this link:

8.1 tutorial videos: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/resources-and-tools/default.aspx

April 8, 2014

If you are struggling to transition your PC’s from Windows XP or Office 2003, look for a Microsoft Certified Partner in your area to handle the software migration.  Enlisting a computer technician for technology changes will ensure that your upgrade is successful.  In most cases, the technician is also available to assist you in basic training on your software.

Lacey Rickert

Marketing Director, HCCS, Inc.

Our company, HCCS, Inc., is a Microsoft Certified Partner based in Overland Park, Kansas.  We specialize in helping our clients become more confident and successful using their technology.  Contact us today for troubleshooting, advice, assistance, or more information on how we can help with your Microsoft software upgrades and Windows support.