(877) 208-0021 prs@auaus.net

Did you know that the origin of the phrase having a “skeleton in the closet” originated in Medieval England during King Henry VIII reign when being Catholic could end up with your losing your head on the chopping block?  People would hide Catholic priests in their “closets”, or, bathroom or lavatory, since the English call their bathrooms “closets”. Then, in the 19th Century, doctors in England hid corpses in their “closets”  (body snatching was a popular crime)to use in teaching their students about anatomy.

TOO funny to pass up – 
this comes courtesy of The Saturday Evening Post by way of a reader in Wisconsin:

Two boys are in the hospital lying on gurneys next to each other. ” What are you in for?”, asks one.  “To have my tonsils removed”, the second replied. “Oh, that’s an easy operation. I had it done when I was four, and when you wake up, the nurses give you all the Jello and ice cream you want.”
The other boy is relieved, and says to the first, “Why are you here?” “A circumcision”, he replies. “Whoa”, says the other boy. ” I had that done when I was born, and I couldn’t walk for a year!”

AND, courtesy of The Saturday Evening Post, from a reader  in Union, NJ:

A doctor, lawyer, a priest, and a little boy are on a small, private plane when suddenly the engine stopped. The pilot grabbed a parachute, told the others they had better jump, then bailed out. But, there were only three parachutes remaining. The physician grabbed one and said, ” I save lives. I must live.”
The lawyer took the second parachute, and on exiting the plane said, ” Lawyers are the smartest people in the world. I deserve to live.”
The priest looked at the little boy and said, ” My son, I have lived a long life, and yours is still ahead of you. Take the last parachute, and go in peace.”
“Don’t worry Father”, , said the little boy replied. ” The smartest man in the world just took off with my backpack.”

DID YOU KNOW, that the reason we use  the word “mammoth” as a synonym for “huge”, is that Thomas Jefferson first compared something very large to a mammoth’s bones that had just been discovered.


Business Intelligence Alert

What is it about mobility that brings out the ad hoc in IT? According to the 2014 Global State of Information Security Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and CIO magazine, only 42% of companies have a mobile security strategy. Good for the 42 percent. But what about the 58%, a clear majority, that don’t have a mobile security strategy?

It’s a sure bet that most of those companies have employees who use mobile devices. But security for those devices and the applications and data on them is not part of any strategy. Shocking.

We have several  vendors, AT&T, Verizon, and  4 others that can review your  security systems.
 Call  877 208 0021 or  text 973 714 6192. We can protect your  privacy

Applied Consulting Group

What we look for in  a possible  client
Multi location companies with significant intra-company calling

Multi-carrier contracts that are too complex to manage

Carrier contracts coming to the end of a term

Loss of capital / funding with outdated technology

Poor performing vendors

Limitations or lack of IT skill at SMB

Security breaches of phone systems

Loss of revenue because of down time

Just not meeting business needs

Why use our company

We remove the burden of managing complex communications networks

Reducing cost of basic communications services

Managing the Quality of the service end-to-end

Delivering service on-demand to help deal with unexpected changes

Providing them with tools for easy changes from business to DR

Enabling mobility of remote users through third party applications

Providing the infrastructure for a true turn-key solution

Delivery a true fully managed solution

Dial up services when needed / scaling back if required

An article in the Wall Street Journal this past Friday announced that TurboTax was temporarily suspending transmission of state e-filedtax returns in response to a surge in complaints from consumers who logged into their TurboTax accounts only to find thieves had already claimed a refund in their name. That news comes as the most recent of a long trend of cyber threats including cyberattacks against Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase and Anthem, Inc. Fraudulent return filings stealing millions of dollars of taxpayer refunds are on the rise. The IRS estimated that it paid $5.2 billion in fraudulent ID- theft-related refunds in 2013 and they’reexpecting that numberto significantly increasein 2014.
The TurboTax problem brings to light a key security issue – end users (individual people) are getting hacked from their home computers. We speculate that thieves did not break into TurboTax and stealidentities, there was no breach of their security that they could detect.  Instead, thieves are stealing your logon information directly from your home and office computers. How? Often through malware/spyware that loads onto your machine through virus-infected e-mails in your inbox or by visiting infected/compromised websites. Rootkits (a type of virus) is a collection of tools (programs) that may consist of spyware and other programs that secretly monitor your network traffic and record keystrokes as you use your computer and send the information back to the hacker who gathers this information and sometimes uses or sells it on the dark web to criminals. Another way cyber criminals gain access to your information is through their ability to hack into your e-mail account. Most people have easy to remember passwords that are also easy to crack which hackers use a tactic called social engineering. A cyber thief cracks your e-mail password, logs in as you, can easily search through your e- mail and gather all sorts of financial information about you (how many of us get our monthly bank and quarterly investment information e-mailed to us instead of paper-mailed?). They then access those financial sites and use the “reset logon” or “reset password” features most sites permit, wait for the “reset” e-mail to hit your e-mail account and change the logon information. Some of the more secure sites have implemented securityquestions as an extra level of securitywhich can preventhacking.
There’s definitely a trend for thieves to get into your computer and gather enough information about you to file a fake tax return. At Wiss we’ve had a handful of clients experience this. Our firm has very sophisticated, multi-level security in place to protect our clients’ data, but thieves had stolen enoughinformation from clients’home computer to fill out a fake return and get some sort of refund delivered to an account that was then closed. We became aware of it when we went to file the actual return and the taxing authority rejected it because one had already been filed for that taxpayer’s social security information. Working with the taxing authority to register the theft, file the correct return and secure the refund for the client is an arduous task that can take many months and requires a ton of paperwork and proof of identity by the taxing authority.
So what can you do to protect yourself?  Here are some basic things you can do:
1.       Install and maintain a quality anti-virus software which will check for viruses on yourhome and/or office computer on a regular basis which also checks for viruses on incoming email. Just as important as installing anti-virus software is to update it regularly. As new versions are released upgrades should be installed. Cyber thieves and hackers are fast and adaptable. New

viruses are discovered hourly so it’s very important to make sure your anti-virus softwareupdates on an automatic schedule which should be set to an hourly basis.

2.       Firewalls either on your network and/or computer must be enabled, configured properly, and updated. Firewalls can keep the bad guys out and your data safe.

3.       Never open unknown or suspicious e-mail. Know your senders and know what you subscribe to. Social engineering and phishing tactics are used to infiltrate your computer, meaning they enter your computer when you open the e-mail containing the virus. For example, an email from a frequent contact may appear to be from them but the email address behind the person’sname is from a cyber-thief. Viruses can do things like track keystrokes and send the information back to the cyber thief who can then access any accounts you’ve visited on your computer.

4.       Obtain your software from reputable sources – downloading programs you’ve purchased from shady sources or freeware sites are most likely infected. Be sure to keep your system and programs up to date as security patches are released periodically. Internet browsers have security features in them such as popup blockers, smart screen filters, ActiveX filtering and security features that should be enabled and configured properly.

5.       Hackers often leave infected USB drives unattended for you to pick up in the hopes that you plugit into your computerso they can gain access. Most virus scan software will scan media as it is introduced to your computer. As a best practice you should always scan all mediabefore introducing to your computer and network.

6.       Don’t keep sensitive financial passwords, logons and other information in your online mail or transmit this information electronically. I can’t tell you how many clients we see who store their social security number, logons with passwords for financial institutions and other data as a “contact or email from themselves” in their mailbox or keep scans of social security cards stored in their online photo album or on their computer desktop or “C” drive. This is prime fodder for cyber thieves who have applications to scan and pick up this information quickly and easily.

7.       Thieves are also highly-adept at figuring out passwords and utilize complex password cracking programs so you need to keep a step ahead of them by making your password impenetrable:

a.       The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack so try to use 10 or 12 character passwords that mix letters and numbers. Best way to do a password: pick a sentence or phrase you can easily remember and then use the first letters/numbers of each word, alternating capitals and lowercase and adding a special character somewhere. For example, take the phrase: “Jack and Jill went up a hill” which can be typed as, J@cknJiL!w3nt^Ahi!! . That’s a tough password to crack.

b.       Be unpredictable – don’t use birthdays, your name, common words, SSN, etc. in any partof the password.

c.       Do not use the same password for multiple accounts.

d.       Do not text message, email passwords or store passwords electronically.

e.       Change your password regularly (make it a practice to change them quarterly)

f.        Do not use sticky notes on your monitor or desk with logon information. This is extremely dangerous.

g.       Never give your passwords to anyone.