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Trimming the Fat with Technology

Posted: January 22, 2015    

Is your technology streamlined? Is your technology streamlined?

Did you know that street vendors now accept credit cards? It used to be that hawking your wares out in the open air precluded you from incorporating telephones or internet into your business. Then Apple introduced the iPad, and Square introduced the mobile card swiper. As a result, tools that were previously only available to businesses of a certain size (and above) became accessible to smaller operations. This opened up whole new markets and customer bases to those small businesses.
Perhaps more importantly however, it automated something that had previously been done manually. The checkout experience was smoothed out, made more streamlined, which freed up time and resources, perhaps the two most valuable components of any business.

Automation through the intelligent application of technology is one of the most obvious, and yet often overlooked tools we see in the workplace. When a business is small, each operational step can be done manually, without losing much in the way of revenue or quality. But as businesses grow, they seldom grow at a one-to-one ratio with their employees. Each person's workload increases, the number of tasks that have to fit into an eight hour day balloons, and low priority items have to be dropped. The result is a loss of quality, morale, and ultimately revenue.

In these high pressure seasons, usually one of two things happen: Either attrition occurs, and the business naturally sheds the increased volume until things fall back to a manageable level, or, operational procedures undergo a transformation to ensure any and all fat is removed, and a new, more efficient, more focused business emerges.


New Crypto Malware

Posted: January 21, 2015    

We are posting this notice because of a new variant of encrypting malware that we became aware of today. It has many similarities to Cryptolocker and Cryptowall (although is not seemingly from the same source) and overall the response plan stays very similar, however there are some notable differences that I wanted to make everyone aware of.

1. All traffic from the infected machine is re-routed out through the TOR network. This is ostensibly for payment purposes but it does potentially expose all traffic from the PC to whoever deploys this.
2. It randomly renames file extensions multiple times making granular file restores extremely difficult and cost prohibitive in most cases
3. Its available for sale through black market sources for $3000 and is in many ways less sophisticated and easier to manage, meaning it could potentially be seen more frequently than previous crypto infection.


Hearst Media recently released their annual list of Top Workplaces in CT for 2014. The Network Support Company was selected as one of the top 10 workplaces in CT. Read on for the full article as published by Hearst Media and written by Michael King on the award. You can also read the issue in it's entirety here.

The Network Support Company, a Danbury-based IT company, does more than support the IT needs of small and midsized companies. It supports its employees.

“It’s a very transparent, caring company,” said CEO Jim Kennedy. “People have a sense it’s very much a family here, but we don’t compromise expectations around performance.” If people struggle with a family crisis or illness, the company allows unlimited personal time.


The Hidden Cost of Saving Money

Posted: October 7, 2014    

For financial controllers and CEOs, it can be a daily occurrence to have a quote for new equipment come across the desk. Perhaps it's two quotes, one of which is notably lower. In the world of Information Technology, this scenario plays out regularly.

It makes perfect sense to avoid spending unnecessary money on equipment that will not be used frequently, or that does not represent a critical task within the company. Most businesses have several areas where tightening the belt would improve efficiency and increase profit margins.
However, when looking at a possible expenditure relating to your businesses' IT environment, it is important to consider a few things:

What is the value of your businesses' time?


CryptoLocker and CryptoWall Update

Posted: September 12, 2014    

We wanted to provide another update since our last communication regarding the CryptoLocker and CryptoWall malware infection.

This strand of malware is constantly evolving and although the servers have been shut down that handled the encryption for CryptoLocker and the encryption keys released, the latest variants are still causing extensive damage.

Internally, we have developed and successfully tested a preventative measure using our managed services tools to protect against the latest CryptoWall infection. If you have an AssistIT or SimplifyIT agreement, the new protection method has been deployed to your network.


CryptoLocker and CryptoWall Service Notification

Posted: August 12, 2014    

We wanted to give you an update since our last communication regarding the CryptoLocker and CryptoWall malware infection.

First, it appears that some security researchers were able to break into the main CryptoLocker database and have retrieved the keys to decrypt the files. They have released this information to the public, so people can decrypt their files without paying the ransom. We are investigating to see if this release is safe to use and if it will work. This only applies to the CryptoLocker malware and not the new variant, CryptoWall, which has a stronger encryption method. More information below:



CryptoLocker and CryptoWall Service Notification

Posted: August 6, 2014    

We recently reached out to you with a service notification updated about a type of malware called CryptoLocker and a new variant, CryptoWall. This is a crippling infection and has the potential of encrypting all of your files. Over the last 2 weeks, 4 of our customers have been infected with this malware, so we wanted to reach out again and stress the importance of user education in protecting your network.

As a brief summary, CryptoLocker and CryptoWall typically infects through malicious attachments or links in emails that are designed to look legitimate. The emails are altered to look like they are coming from a legitimate company like FedEx, UPS, ADP, etc, and aimed to trick the user, so they click on the attachment or link. Therefore, it’s of the upmost importance to educate your users to not open attachments or click on links in emails they were not expecting. Once infected, the malware will proceed to encrypt files on the infected computer and any network shares that the computer has access to. After the files are encrypted, you will not be able to access them and have 2 options to decrypt. You can either pay the required ransom or restore from back-up. Having a solid back-up solution is also very important, so that if your network does get infected, we are able to restore the files from a good back-up. Depending on when the last good back-up was done, it could result in losing days’ worth of work.

Any anti-virus program you have running will not protect against this malware infection because it requires a user to click on something, which over-writes the protection the anti-virus software provides. User education is the best defense against CrytoLocker or CrptoWall.


CryptoLocker Update

Posted: July 25, 2014    

Protect yourself from CryptoLocker and CryptoWall Protect yourself from CryptoLocker and CryptoWall

We wanted to take this opportunity to give an update in regards to the CryptoLocker malware that we first notified you of last October. Since our original communications, there have been some concerning evolutions in this genus of malware including variations in its aggressiveness and infection path. The latest variant of this infection goes by the name CryptoWall.

Like CryptoLocker before it, CryptoWall can infect PC’s via targeted email, and proceeds to encrypt files on the infected computer and on any network shares that the computer has access to. It also demands a ransom to decrypt your data and provides a deadline for payment. Unlike CryptoLocker CryptoWall can also infect machines through hijacked web advertisements and through infected downloads, demands ransom be paid in difficult to obtain BitCoin, and the ransom has increased to $500.

At TNSC, we are constantly striving to stay ahead of emerging malware threats, and as such, have already been re-enforcing our existing defenses against CryptoLocker and developing new defenses against CryptoWall. Even if you already had our original CryptoLocker block installed on your network, to get maximum coverage you will need to have us apply the latest defenses we have against the new variants. Applying these defenses through our managed services could create a temporary impact as we fine tune them for your unique environment, however this discomfort is minimal compared to the impact of actual infection.


The United Way Day of Caring 2014

Posted: July 15, 2014    

The United Way Day of Caring 2014 The United Way Day of Caring 2014

More than a dozen TNSC employees were given the day off from work to volunteer on June 4 for the United Way’s annual Day of Action.
Our team worked hard at weeding, mulching, planting, and weed-wacking at several nonprofit agencies in the Danbury area as well as cleaning and building cots at a men’s homeless shelter. It was a very rewarding and productive day for all involved and once again, TNSC was proud to be a part of such a wonderful community event where we were able to give back and really make a difference.



Just before the Industrial Revolution, the manufacture of goods took place in the homes of workers all over the United States. Workers were paid per unit, and goods were transported every few days to be distributed. Eventually someone realized that they could reduce the per unit cost by having all of those workers commute to a single location, and thus improve productivity. The hourly wage was introduced, and a new model of working was born.

Fast forward several decades, and our economy is increasingly being built on products that are digital, rather than physical. As a result of this, and the ability to securely transmit digital information over the internet anywhere in the world, the tools that employees need to complete their tasks are no longer bound to a physical location. This represents a profound shift in how employment is viewed, just as it did decades ago when things were moving the other direction.

With that shift, a large number of companies, technologies, and solutions have emerged for accommodating businesses who wish to telecommute. Below is an overview of the different models and approaches to this practice, along with some recommendations.