CryptoLocker Alert

There is a new Virus threat spreading quickly across the Internet currently that is particularly wicked. It’s called CryptoLocker. I am writing this because I think there is some chance you could be at risk, either with your home PC or work computers. We had five people call us infected on the first day the virus was out. Please take a minute and read through this to the end where I suggest what you can do to help prevent getting infected.

The virus’s design has made it so that even current Antivirus products running in your firewall and antivirus software on your PCs aren’t detecting it until it’s too late, if at all. The antivirus companies are trying to respond, but the virus ‘morphs’ each time it replicates, so its slippery for them to detect and block or quarantine.

What does it do?

In short, the virus is a form of Ransomware. Once it gets into your PC, it ‘encrypts’ all your personal files and data, and then holds your data hostage for ransom. In this case they want $300 to provide you with the unlock code to decrypt your files and remove their application.

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XP is Dead!

Microsoft is discontinuing support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on April 8, 2014.

Why should you care?

If you don’t have a PC with either of these products in your office, then stop reading and go do something more fun.  If you DO have a PC with Windows XP in your office you may end up having new risks you didn’t plan on and you should read this article through.

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A Simple but Costly Mistake

Is Your UPS Connected Right?

If you have a ‘Server’ in your Practice (a computer that holds all your precious data), it’s probably protected by a device called an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS).  The UPS’s job is to keep the Server running for a short period of time in the event of a power failure.  They are essentially a small battery pack.  Servers shouldn’t just be switched off in a power failure else you run the risk of corrupting data that was in use at the time (like your Management software that runs your Practice).  You could even corrupt the entire Server operating system leaving it unusable.  A properly installed and configured UPS is your protection against this corruption.   I say “properly installed and configured” because in many offices this is not the case.  Here are the issues that you should check on for your Practice.

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MME: Doing IT Right

Why would I use MME instead of a generic IT person?

I’ve heard this question often enough lately that I thought it would be worth a short article.  I know that I have a substantial bias towards the topic, but I will try and keep this at bay.

IT is a relationship business.  We don’t make widgets. As IT people we sell our skills to you with the goal of looking after your Practice’s needs. While there is no doubt that there are many talented IT people out there, finding the right one for your specific needs is the challenge.   There are also a number of less talented individuals that we’d all like to avoid.

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Windows 8 – Should I Wait?

Windows 8 LogoIn October 2012 Microsoft released their latest version of their operating system – Windows 8.  The dilemma that arises for the Dental Practice is about whether it’s appropriate to start using it.  Early adopters are generally all fired up to try it out, and the conservatives amongst us aren’t interested at all.  What factors are there to consider in the decision? Continue reading

What makes a good password?

Is your password based on your name or one of your family members?  How about some number related to your birthday?  Your favorite Disney character?  A pets name?  The numbers to your home or office?  I’ve seen all these approaches, and unfortunately so have the hackers.


In recent weeks Hackers have stepped up their attacks on the Internet.  One of their latest exploits includes using other infected computers as Robots (Bots) to attempt to login to computers connected to the Internet with RDP Remote Access enabled (see my other blog article on the details of this, and how to defend yourself from it).  They can make a try every one or two seconds, easily more than 40,000 tries per day.  They don’t get tired and they don’t give up easily.  If you have a simple password, it increases the chances a hacker could get through.  This is just one of many reasons to have a good password. Continue reading

Locking your PC: How to keep your data safe when you are away from your PC

I’m often asked “What should I do with my PC at the end of the day?  Turn if off or leave it on?”   The On or Off debate will be another Blog article, but in short I usually favor just leaving the PC on (the least amount of effort needed by the staff). If you choose to leave them on, you should always close out all your work and applications (don’t leave programs open and running).


The Problem

If you leave them on you have to consider a secondary security risk I call the ‘Janitor Factor’.   If you leave the computer logged in at night, anyone with access to the office could use your computer.  There have been multiple times in my career that the night Janitors have been the source of computers on the network getting infected while they leisurely peruse the adult oriented sites on the Internet from the large screen fast computers in the Consult room.  What if someone was to break into your office, they could sit down at any PC and start to access your patient data – a HIPAA violation for sure.

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