Protecting, Hiding E-Mail Addresses on the Rise

Apple launched a feature called “Sign In With Apple” in 2019, which aimed to allow users the ability to sign up for servers or accounts privately in order to protect their e-mail addresses. Now, the service has been enhanced with a new feature called “Hide My Email.” This new feature is designed to protect users from phishing attacks or marketing spam.

E-mail clients now include automatic spam filters that put these messages in specific folders, but they aren’t necessarily perfect. Spam e-mails can still reach inboxes, and oftentimes, important messages from previously unknown senders can get sent to spam accidentally.

Not to mention, capturing and selling e-mails is a huge business. Phishing e-mails hook many people who unknowingly provide personal information to fraudulent requests. During the global Coronavirus pandemic, phishing jumped 220 percent, according to F5 Labs.

Apple even fell under attack, as several phishing e-mails were sent posing as officials from the technology giant. Now, Apple is fighting back.

Apple users can now create single-use e-mail addresses to use in certain websites thanks to the “Hide My Email” program. New e-mails are automatically made available in the user’s primary e-mail inbox. They can also convert them to a single-use e-mail address to curtail spam messages.

Other platforms are joining the fight against spam as well. 1Password is collaborating with Fastmail to introduce a feature called “Masked Email,” which produces unique e-mail addresses for logins. Users can control all of the different addresses they create by enabling or disabling them. If users suspect their e-mail address is shared, sold, or sent spam, they can simply disable the e-mail altogether.

Cloudfare is another company dedicated to ending e-mail spam and tightening security. The “Cloudfare Email Routing and Email Security DNS Wizard” is  designed to safely and securely protect users from phishing. Cloudfare is free and integrates with Gmail, Office 365, Exchange, Yahoo, and AOL.

Since these mega companies have introduced novel features to protect users from identity theft, phishing, and spam, other businesses will surely follow their lead. Look forward to Internet Service Providers, e-mail services, and platform providers doing the same.

Concerned about phishing or spam e-mails? We can help! Contact our office today to learn more.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

US Plans New Ransomware Rules

The United States Department of Treasury will introduce novel penalties, rules, and strategies for ransomware payments as part of the government’s continual effort to thwart online attacks. 

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the Treasury plans to introduce the sanctions soon, and “Expected new anti-money-laundering and terror-finance rules will seek to limit the use of cryptocurrency as a payment mechanism in ransomware attacks and other illicit activities,” which are set to arrive later this year.

The new guidelines seem to target specific individuals rather than the cryptocurrency payment industry at large. The Treasury hopes to deter hackers from attempting to use ransomware. Just how they are going to accomplish this feat is unclear.

Typically, ransomware victims are advised not to pay the ransom, as there is no guarantee that paying it will restore the impacted files. If ransoms are paid, it gives hackers the idea that other persons or places will pay for future hacks. It also renders more attention to the individual or company that did pay, resulting in potentially more online attacks.

A large number of game companies (CD Projekt Red, Capcom), manufacturers (Gigabyte, Acer, Garmin), public infrastructure (schools, healthcare providers), and pipeline operators have fallen victim to ransomware attacks recently.

The United States government has also been targeted with ransomware attacks, many of which were attributed to Russian hackers. At this point, the United States government is responding.

Worried about ransomware or hackers infiltrating your network or computer system? Contact the experts at Creative Programs and Systems today – we can help prevent hacks and keep you safe.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Ransomware Attack Forces Howard University to Cancel Classes

Classes at Howard University were canceled due to a ransomware attack as “Unusual activity on the university’s network” sparked an IT investigation.

The university’s network was paused by the Enterprise Technology Services department while they examined the security breach. Only essential employees were permitted on campus, and Wi-Fi was shut down until the university could “determine the best and safest path to stand it up.”

“This is a highly dynamic situation, and it is our priority to protect all sensitive personal, research, and clinical data. We are in contact with the FBI and the DC city government, and we are installing additional safety measures to further protect the university’s and your personal data from any criminal ciphering.

There has been no evidence of personal information being accessed or exfiltrated; however, our investigation remains ongoing, and we continue to work toward clarifying the facts surrounding what happened and what information has been accessed,” Howard said in a statement. 

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks up a computer or a user’s personal information/documents until a specific amount of monetary funds is paid. The files are encrypted, and the ransom is usually paid in cryptocurrency, which makes tracing and prosecuting the criminals challenging.

Since 2012, these types of malware attacks have grown exponentially. In 2018, there were 181.5 million ransomware attacks during the first six months. Compared to the same timeframe in 2017, there was a 229 percent jump.

Don’t let your personal data fall victim to hackers. At CPS, we can help remove viruses, restore your computer, and protect your vital information from future attacks. Contact us today to learn more.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Interactive Tools on Websites Influenced by Gender, Personality

A recent study published by Penn State examined how much personality comes into play when interacting online. Factors such as being extroverted, introverted, gender, and more, help determine your online browsing behavior.  

According to the study, for extroverted women, Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) tools helped drive certain websites to be more interactive. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), on the other hand, was more prevalent among male extroverts who preferred to directly interact with the computer.

S. Shyam Sundar, James P. Jimirro Professor of Media Effects Research in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory, said, “When you go to a website – for example, the Google search engine – you’re essentially engaging in HCI, which is different from CMC, which is when you’re communicating with other humans through computer technology. When we talk about HCI here, it’s really about the degree to which the system or the machine allows us to interact with it, and it includes everything from how we swipe and tap on our mobile devices, to how we try to access different information through links on a website. When we talk about CMC, it is about the tools to chat with somebody else, like a customer service agent through an online portal, or when we’re having a video chat via Zoom, for example.”

An imperative aspect of creating positive user experiences is knowing who your web visitors are, along with what engages them. Sundar said, “These are actually quite important business decisions, because they cost a lot of money and have a lot of backend consequences.”

People who are extroverted in real life are also somewhat outgoing when it comes to virtual interactions, according to the paper.

Yan Huang, assistant professor of integrated strategic communication in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, University of Houston, and first author of the report, said, “Our findings largely supported the hypothesis that as people’s level of extroversion goes up, they’re more likely to recognize the interactive potential of the site, no matter if it’s communicating with the machine, or using the computer to talk to other people, but gender also makes a difference here. What we saw was that extroversion has slightly different effects for men compared to women, in terms of the types of interactivity that they appreciate more.”

Does your website need a boost? Contact the experts at Creative Programs and Systems today. Our experienced programmers, designers, and content creators can make your vision a reality.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Race to Quantum Computing Gains Momentum

Findings were recently published in Nature, which outlined how Harvard-led physicists built a programmable quantum simulator (computer) that can operate with 256 qubits (quantum bits). The novel processor is a huge step toward creating massive quantum machines, which could lead to real-world breakthroughs. The fastest supercomputers today would easily be outperformed by a quantum computer. Quantum computers run on qubits, which help them process so powerfully.

Mikhail Lukin, the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics, co-director of the Harvard Quantum Initiative, and senior author of the study, said, “This moves the field into a new domain where no one has ever been to thus far. We are entering a completely new part of the quantum world.”

Sepehr Ebadi, a physics student and the study’s lead author, suggested the combination of the system’s unprecedented size and programmability is what makes it cutting edge.

The race to building a quantum computer has been going on for quite some time. Dubbed the new “space race” by some, Forbes recently published an article called, “27 Milestones in The History of Quantum Computing,” dating back to Albert Einstein in 1905. The term “quantum mechanics” was first used in 1924 by Max Born. Between China, the United States, Google, IBM, and many more, the race has been hot for years.

The more qubits each system has, the more information it can store. With a higher processing power, the computer can handle exponentially more data. Ebadi explained quantum computer systems’ immense size by saying, “The number of quantum states that are possible with only 256 qubits exceeds the number of atoms in the solar system.”

Tout Wang, a research associate in physics at Harvard and an author in the paper said, “Our work is part of a really intense, high-visibility global race to build bigger and better quantum computers. The overall effort has top academic research institutions involved and major private-sector investment from Google, IBM, Amazon, and many others.”

The subsequent steps for the Harvard researchers include advancing laser control, making the system more programmable, along with studying new applications such as deciphering complex real-world problems. 

Ebadi said, “This work enables a vast number of new scientific directions. We are nowhere near the limits of what can be done with these systems.”

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Japanese Engineers Surpass Internet Speed World Record

The highest internet speed ever recorded was recently doubled by engineers in Japan. The research, called “High-Speed Direct Detection Demonstrations,” was published by the National Institute of Information & Communication Technology (NICT) and submitted to the International Conference on Optical Fiber Communications.

The old internet speed world record was 178 terabits per second (Tb/s), set in 2020 by the United Kingdom and Japanese engineers. The new record set by Japanese researchers is now 319 Tb/s, doubling the previous record. The team maintained this super-fast speed over a long distance with no speed drop-off or bandwidth change over 1,865 miles.

A novel cable, a four-core optical fiber using 552 PDM-16QAM wavelength-division multiplexed channels, was used. The engineers used “erbium and thulium doped-fiber amplifiers and distributed Raman amplification” to achieve their feat.

Additionally, S, C, and L band transmissions were used for the first time. It is typical for C and L bands to be used for long-haul communications, but the researchers used S-band as well.

The four-core optical fiber works with existing equipment, making it more cost-efficient to implement.

Engineers believe there are more capabilities for even faster speed and further increases to transmission capacity. They are going to be working to “extend the transmission range to trans-oceanic distances” as well.

Unsatisfied with slow internet or need help with networking? Contact the experts at CPS today to get your internet up to speed.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Protecting Yourself from Computer Viruses, Malware, Ransomware

Computer hackers are everywhere these days – literally. These engineers can implant a “virus” in your computer that can wreak havoc on your personal information. From your program files to your bank account, viruses can infiltrate nearly every aspect of your computer. Hackers are almost always looking for ways to penetrate your security. People often disregard their device’s defenses, realizing their importance after it’s too late.

A computer virus is a code embedded into a legitimate program data file or boot sector of a hard drive created with the ability to self-replicate, infecting other applications. Intended to spread from one “host” to another, these computer-targeted viruses come from e-mail attachments, file downloads, software installations, unsecured links, and more. But what do the hackers gain from accessing your computer? Your personal data is typically most valuable, such as passwords, social media accounts, online banking, and even deleting all your data. So, what are some different virus expressions?

Malware: Short for malicious software, this could harm a computer system, interfere with user data, or make the computer perform actions remotely.

Ransomware: A type of malware that holds entire computers or mobile devices hostage, requesting a ransom payment in exchange for returning access, or decrypting your files.

Worm: A standalone piece of software, this malicious program duplicates itself and circulates to other computers. Vulnerable computer networks are usually most susceptible.

Trojan Horse: This type of malware uses a specific code to install software that appears okay but is hidden to create an alternative entry into a system. Data theft or loss is usually the goal.

Spyware: The main goal of this virus is to gather information about you, your organization, family, or more. Running inconspicuously, it can monitor and log any activity on a target system such as keystrokes, credit card information, and more.

Adware: To generate revenue for its author/publisher, this software causes pop-ups, banner advertisements, and more. Free programs often utilize Adware, but not in a cruel way. If it is used with a destructive intention, it is instead classified as spyware or malware.

To protect yourself from computer viruses, avoid clicking on suspicious or lengthy links, pop-ups, or unfamiliar websites. Scan all e-mail attachments, download a pop-up blocker for your browser, and install an anti-virus program.

Have you been hacked? Do you need assistance preparing your computer for virus prevention? Prevention is the best policy! Contact the computer virus experts at CPS today to strategically remove, prevent, and protect your computer from viruses.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Microsoft Will End Support for Windows 10

Microsoft is ending support for Windows 10 by October 2025. The phasing out includes the Home, Pro, Pro Education, and Pro for Workstations. The last day for support will be on October 14, 2025. After ten years, the operating system will run without help or updates from Microsoft.

Microsoft’s latest version (21H1) of Windows 10 was released in May 2021. Microsoft had previously stated that Windows was supposed to be the last version; however, the company has recently announced an event called “What’s Next for Windows.” Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, calls the update the “Next Generation of Windows.”

A new Windows will be announced on June 24 during a virtual event. Microsoft will probably keep the Windows name alive, but the numbering system could be dropped. Much like Apple uses for their operating systems, Microsoft could transition to a naming convention. Apple refers to their macOS 12 as Monterey, for example.

Windows is the most common operating system for desktops, with more than 1.3 billion active computers running it. State-of-the-art features such as touch input, a voice-based virtual assistant, face login, improved security against antiviruses and malware, and mixed reality tools accompany more handheld activities such as screenshots, arranging windows, and receiving notifications.

Feeling nervous without support? We’re here for you! Contact the Windows 10 experts at Creative Programs and Systems today for help with your Microsoft system.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

The Internet Just Got a Speed Boost

The Internet Just Got a Speed Boost

Quic is a general-purpose protocol that transmits data between computers, improves speed and security on the Internet, and can replace Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), a standard that has been in place since 1974 when the Internet began. The group that sets criteria for the global network, dubbed the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), recently published Quic as a standard. For years, web browsers and online services have been testing Quic, but the IETF’s new regulation is a sign the industry is mature enough to fully embrace the technology.

Data transmission is a fundamental aspect of the Internet; countless devices, programs, and services are built to use earlier infrastructure, which has lasted for decades. Since Google first announced Quic in 2013, it has been an experimental addition to the Chrome browser and has been in public development.

The Internet needs updates to keep worldwide communication and commerce buzzing, which is why engineers spend time developing transitions such as Quic. This colossal upgrade cuts the wait for web search results by as much as eight percent on computers and four percent on phones. Video buffering dropped to eighteen percent for computer users and fifteen percent on mobile.

Jana Iyengar, an engineer who helped lead Quic standardization at Fastly, said, “The internet transport ecosystem has just been ossified for decades now. Quic is poised to lead the charge on the next generation of internet innovations.”

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the main protocols of the Internet that oversees how data is sent from one device to another. TCP and Quic work together with Internet Protocol (IP) to function properly. TCP regulates how data is distributed into segments individually addressed, sent across the Internet, then reassembled at the other end. TCP has many jobs, but managing established connections and recovering lost data packets is of utmost importance.

Quic was created to do similar tasks in a more efficient manner. It can quickly set up encrypted connections and handle network changes with ease.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Cyber Hacking Group “DarkSide” Halts Top US Gas Pipeline

Colonial Pipeline, operator of a pipeline stretching 5,500 miles, was forced to shut down after a ransomware attack in early May. In a disturbing example of the vulnerability of the United States’ energy infrastructure, 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supplies were suddenly halted in an effort to contain the assault.

Since the early 1960s, the vital pipeline has provided gasoline and jet fuel to customers across the East Coast. About 2.5 million barrels of gasoline, diesel fuel, and jet fuel are transferred each day through the pipeline. The hack showcases the vulnerability of the aging infrastructure which is connected to the internet.

Ransomware attacks have soared recently, shutting down the District of Columbia police department, hospitals treating COVID-19 patients, and nearly crippling water treatment plants. Cybersecurity experts expect a rise in ransomware or hacker-backed virtual attacks since they can implement automation and utilize cryptocurrency, making it harder to target the perpetrators.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Energy Department, and the White House were immediately briefed on the hacking details. Corporate computers were targeted by ransomware, which means that criminals hold data until the victim turns over a payment. The FBI focused its attention on the hacking group DarkSide, who they hold responsible for the ransomware incident. Colonial Pipeline ended up paying the hackers roughly 75 bitcoin ($5 million) to get the gas flowing again.

Coincidentally, DarkSide reported they are shutting down due to “pressure” from the United States. According to the New York Times, “A statement written in Russian and provided to The New York Times on Friday [May 14] by the cybersecurity firm Intel 471, DarkSide said it had lost access to the public-facing portion of its online system, including its blog and payment server, as well as funds that it said had been withdrawn to an unknown account. It said the group’s main web page and other public-facing resources would go offline within 48 hours.”

Cybersecurity experts warned the statement could be a hoax, allowing the members to deflect negative attention. If they did, in fact, shut down, the threat from ransomware is not over. These hacker groups often disband, regroup, and rebrand themselves in an effort to thwart law enforcement.

Ransomware isn’t just for big companies – hackers can target you, too.

Contact the virus experts at CPS today if you suspect your computer has been compromised.

Founded in 1994, Creative Programs and Systems provides professional results for all computer needs. We design, create, and code an array of custom software programs and websites; offer top-notch digital marketing services including enhanced Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising; repair and provide support for computers of both residential and professional nature; build custom systems and servers, and offer secure data backups. Need assistance or want to learn more? Call us at 810-224-5252 or e-mail info@cpsmi.com.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.