Monday, December 12, 2016

Shipwrecked or Smooth Sailing?

Staying safe and secure on the Internet is sort of like being a ship in open waters during a storm: It can get pretty adventurous out there and a lot depends on navigation. And then there are the pirates, constantly plotting and sneaking to hijack your PC and literally steal your treasures.

Antivirus software alone provides nothing more than a false sense of security. Defending your PCs from attack on the Internet requires a knowledgeable and steady course of action. And if you bank or shop online from a PC that's anything less than fully protected, you roll the dice each time you enter a credit card number or login to check an account.

For companies who trust their entire business to the secure and reliable operation of their data networks, we provide a comprehensive set of managed services with 24x7 remote monitoring. These services have a long proven track record with many of the top business names along the Grand Strand.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WARNING: Email with subject of "mailbox quota exceeded"

There is a very dangerous spam/scam message in circulation with a subject line of: "mailbox quota exceeded."

In the text of the message it then states "Your mailbox has exceeded the storage limit which is 20GB as set by Your administrator, you are currently running on 20.9GB, you may not be able to send or receive new mail until you re-validate your mailbox. To re-validate your mailbox please Click "website link". Thanks, Mail Server Administrator."

When you click on the website link (which I have removed for your safety), you're taken to a very legitimate looking screen like the one below, which some of you may have seen if you've ever used Microsoft's Outlook Web Access feature. But in this case, it's a fake Outlook Web Access page designed solely to steal your email address and password, should you be too busy to realize what is really happening and enter that information (Note: DON'T DO IT!!!).

There was a similar scam message recently linked to the AOL account of a well known local real estate agent and several of my clients did in fact enter their email addresses and passwords when prompted to do so. Just to be perfectly clear, NEVER EVER NEVER give up your email address and password to any website you open from a link inside another email. It is very easy to design fake web pages and fake website links and their sole purpose is to steal access to your account and use it to send out spam or to read and pilfer the personal contents of your emails. That would definitely make for a not-so-happy Halloween!

Want a safe demonstration of how easy it is to design a website link that goes somewhere completely different than where it claims, then click here:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FBI Issues Warning About Hotel Wireless Networks

Be Warned: Hotel wireless networks are wrought with security concerns. It makes sense that hackers would target hotel networks. Travelers are typically wealthier than the general population and have frequent need to monitor banking/financial accounts while on the road. And it's easy for hackers to gain anonymous access to hotel wireless systems, making any cyber crimes they commit virtually untraceable. A couple of good rules to reduce your risks when on the road: (1) Only use secure sites when entering personal data. Secure sites are those that begin with https instead of just http. All banking and financial sites are secure and begin with https. You can also login to Facebook securely by simply specifying and you should always do so because hackers can gain a great deal of personal data by stealing your Facebook login and password. (2) NEVER EVER NEVER use the publicly accessible PCs that are in many hotel common areas for anything other than very casual web browsing. NEVER -- again NEVER -- enter any of your personal data or login names and passwords on those publicly accessible PCs. Don't even use otherwise secure sites because you can't be sure there isn't keylogging software installed on the PC that will record your keystrokes for the hacker to retrieve later.

Quoting the lead paragraphs from a recent story on "The FBI today warned travelers there has been an uptick in malicious software infecting laptops and other devices linked to hotel Internet connections.

The FBI wasn't specific about any particular hotel chain, nor the software involved but stated: "Recent analysis from the FBI and other government agencies demonstrates that malicious actors are targeting travelers abroad through pop-up windows while they are establishing an Internet connection in their hotel rooms." Full article can be opened here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Coastal PC Support is a member of Microsoft's Online Services Partner network. We provide consulting, setup and migration services for clients looking to move their company's email services to an Internet hosted (aka cloud based) solution. Microsoft's Office365 is a suite of services for businesses large and small and provides hosted Exchange email, Sharepoint, web versions of Word and Excel, depending on the particular offering. This is particularly attractive for small to mid-sized businesses with aging email services located at their office premises. Coastal PC Support can plan, coordinate and execute the best migration path allowing your Outlook data to seamlessly move from your old server to Microsoft's Office365 cloud.

You can review Office365 on the following link or contact us today for more information: What is Office 365?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Zscaler Internet Security Service

Coastal PC Support sells and installs Zscaler's Advanced Threat Internet Security Service as our preferred security product. Zscaler provides a fast real-time scan of all Internet browser traffic coming into and out of your PC. It is the most effective Internet security product we've ever tested and is now widely deployed by our customer base. We pair Zscaler with VIPRE Antivirus security software to also secure against viruses attempting to infect your PC via email, flash drives or other media.

Clients with Zscaler protection will see a block notification similar to the one pictured below when they attempt to browse a site that is infected with spyware or otherwise attempts to manipulate their PC in a malicious way. Business customers also have the option to block access to specific websites as part of their "acceptable use" policy for the Internet:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dangerous Google Searches

We've noticed a sharp increase in spyware infections resulting from Internet search results (Google primarily, but searches in general). Those responsible for making and spreading spyware are using hacking techniques to manipulate Internet search results. You may search for a celebrity photo, see it displayed in the search results, but then get instantly directed to a poisoned website when you click on the image, resulting in an attempted infection to your PC.

The problem is not limited to image searches. It can happen on virtually any search term and at this point there is no 100% surefire way to know what is safe and what isn't. It's important to understand you are most vulnerable when using Internet Explorer. Mozilla's Firefox browser and Google's own Chrome browser offer built-in safety features that will attempt to identify and block spyware infected sites. Firefox and Chrome are free and there is simply no good reason to still be using Internet Explorer. And you can have multiple browsers installed on your PC. It's possible (but unlikely) there may be a site you use frequently that only works well with Internet Explorer. If that's the case then use Internet Explorer only for that site and use either Firefox or Chrome for all other browsing.

Additionally, you should consider how you're using search engines in general. Some people no longer use a list of favorites (or bookmarks). They google whatever they're interested in and choose from the results. We'd argue that's a bad practice. Given the problem with poisoned search results, you're better to retool your practices and use search when necessary but not exclusively. Bookmark a trusted site to use for news, weather, and your other particular areas of interest. Use those trusted sites when possible, use Internet search for everything else.

To download and install Firefox, go to:
To download and install Chrome, go to

Monday, April 25, 2011

Insecure Wireless Routers Privacy Dangers

Wireless Internet routers are very common household appliances now days, but an Associated Press story in the news today gives examples of the real-life nightmares that can happen with routers that aren't properly setup and secured:

Quote from the AP story in the news today and available at

Lying on his family room floor with assault weapons trained on him, shouts of "pedophile!" and "pornographer!" stinging like his fresh cuts and bruises, the Buffalo homeowner didn't need long to figure out the reason for the early morning wake-up call from a swarm of federal agents.
That new wireless router. He'd gotten fed up trying to set a password. Someone must have used his Internet connection, he thought.

Rest of the story here at Yahoo news: