LAN Systems 
January/February 2014 eNewsletter
Happy New Year!  We hope you enjoy our Top IT Trends for 2014.  We compiled information from a number of sources and picked the five we predict will dominate the year.
CryptoLocker, and now PowerLocker, is one of the worst virus threats that we have seen. This class of malware can encrypt your data and demand payment to unencrypt.  Your best defense is to have a good, current backup stored in a safe location. Please take extra precaution to protect your files and call us if you have questions.
Wishing you a safe, joyous and prosperous 2014,

The File Locker Ransomware Threat Increases

The CryptoLocker virus is a ransomware infection that locks files on your computer demanding a payment to unlock.  Over 250,000 computers have been infected since September 2013.  Now a new threat, PowerLocker has emerged. 


PowerLocker, like CryptoLocker,  uses strong encryption that cannot be cracked to force you to pay to recover your files. It has been reported that the developers of PowerLocker intend to sell the program to other hackers greatly increasing the threat profile.


Most CryptoLocker infections are from email attachments on fake tracking information emails CryptoLockerpretending to be from FedEx or UPS, but there are also suggestions that it can come from "drive-by-downloads" where you only have to visit an infected site.


As always, be sure that your anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up-to-date.  You can check to see if the definitions include protection against CryptoLocker from the provider website.


Protect yourself by having a current backup of all your critical files.  Backups can be damaged by this virus so be sure that your backup is stored in a safe place that is not on your computer or shared drives. Be sure to check the legitimacy of emails and don't click on email attachments if you have the slightest doubt, keep your endpoint protection up-to-date and consider blocking executables from running automatically on your system.


If you have questions or want to further discuss, email me at:  Remember, always practice safe computing!

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  Top IT Trends for 2014 


Top IT Trends Each year we compose our Top IT Trends and reflect on how markedly our world changes through technology.  From digital watches to putting a man on the moon, technology has changed the way we think of time and space. Often, the advances are at breathtaking speed but sometimes it takes years for a technological breakthrough to make its way into our lives. This year we are focusing on trends that will have a significant impact on how we see and interact with the world through technology.


Everything Cloud - We have been predicting a revolution in Cloud technology for years andEverything Cloud this year is no different.  From Infrastructure, Software, Platform, Hardware and Everything as a Service (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS, HaaS and EaaS) there will be major investment in and growing migration for Cloud solutions.  Private and Hybrid Cloud solutions will dominate the landscape for new and upgraded installations.  Even when on-premise solutions are required many will find ways to use the economy and scalability of Cloud based services to create unique hybrids. More and more businesses will move their email and office applications to the Cloud. Products like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps will battle fiercely for market share.


Personal Electronic Device Security - IT professionals are obsessed with security and data backups.  We see so many cases of cyber hacking that result in lost time and data that having a good backup is often the only way that we can combat these threats. Putting aside the threats from foreign governments and corporate espionage, the biggest menace to our personal data has been pesky hackers that want to steal our time and money. That changed this year as story after story of NSA spying unfolded. From intercepting of our personal data to tracking our movements through cellphones, people have been questioning whether anything we do is really private.  To combat surveillance, we will see the development of more devices to block cellphone tracking and spirited discussions on the unintended consequence of losing the ability to find someone in an emergency using cell towers.  Additionally, new encryption devices and techniques will offer ways to protect our personal data from any prying eyes.


USB PDUSB Power for Laptops and more

- One plug to power them all!  If you liked it when cellphones were able to be charged using a standard USB cable and a AC wall adapter, you are going to love the new USB Power Delivery standard that will allow most any device to power up/charge up with USB. USB stands for universal serial bus and was developed to connect computer peripherals.  With the advance of technology and reduction of power requirements, USB evolved into a multi-purpose cable with power. USB PD will deliver up to 100W from a standard plug to power all your compatible devices. Power receptacles with built-in USB charging ports will be commonplace until wireless power becomes commercially available.


Windows 8.2 Brings Back the Start Menu - This may not seem like a significant event, but we believe that adding back the Start Menu will make Windows 8 much more attractive to those upgrading from Windows XP.  Although change is inevitable, it is sometimes is hard for the end-user and one very hard change was losing the Start Menu.  If fact, many users have opted for Windows 7 which has a Start Menu over Windows 8.  Power to the People prevailed in restoring the Start Menu. So if you are looking at a Windows XP upgrade, take a look at Windows 8.  Learn your Windows Personality before you upgrade.


3D Printing3D Printers - This is the next big thing for personal technology and will change our lives in ways that today seem unimaginable.  3D printers have been around since 1984 but mainly used for prototyping since they were so expensive.  With the price dropping substantially, 3D printers will pay for themselves by providing household items, toys, clothing, shoes and all types of replacement parts.  On demand manufacturing will revolutionize every industry from energy to transportation to health care.  Already GE is using 3D printing for turbine parts and scientists have developed a 3D printer for stem cells. From horse shoes that will be made of lighter materials with a perfect fit to water filtration that makes salt water drinkable, the possibilities are endless.  Here are some amazing examples that are just the beginning.


Disclaimer: Like horoscopes, our predictions for the Top IT Trends of 2014 are general in nature and intended for fun and entertainment.


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