On behalf of all of us here at Yellowstone Computing, we wish you and your families a Happy New Year! Our office will be closed December 31st through January 2nd as we celebrate with our families. Regular business hours will resume on January 3rd. We'd like to thank all of our customers for a terrific 2018 and look forward to serving you in 2019!
It's easy to get all wrapped up in the giving and receiving of gifts. In the aftermath of Christmas, may we all remember to be grateful for the gifts we take for granted!
On behalf of all of us here at Yellowstone Computing, we wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas! Our office will be closed December 24th through the 26th as we celebrate with our families.
The holiday season is here again. TV advertisers have released their festive jingles and stores have dusted off their Christmas displays. Most importantly, shopping centers have moved their latest and greatest devices to the front of the store. It's almost time to eat warming treats in front of a roaring fire.
There may still be work to do, however, before we can invite round family to unbox their latest gadgets and watch the year’s Christmas movie. A little maintenance, updates, and set-up goes a long way to ensure the holiday season goes without a hitch.
Sadly, not every device is ready to run straight out the box. Not every device even comes ready to interact with others when it's first opened. Each new gadget comes with its own setup and new things to learn.
Often today, devices, toys and computers require extensive updates before they are ready to function. This commonly means large downloads and lengthy installation periods.
In previous years devices have been purchased for Christmas, only to be rendered useless waiting for updates while large numbers of requests crash the company servers. This can be highly frustrating and put a real dampener on the holiday spirit.
Here is how we can help this season:
Shop at Yellowstone Computing
Every new computer we sell comes ready to run right out of the box! No setup or configuration needed, we make sure each system is ready to rock! We even transfer your files and setup your software in advance! We have a great selection of computers ready to make your holiday a success! Need an awesome gaming rig for the nephew? We’ve got you covered with the newest high-performance systems from Lenovo! We even have systems with the highly sought-after Nvidia RTX2080 graphics cards and Intel Core I9-9900K processors! Too powerful for you? No problem, we have a “milder” AMD RX570 equipped “cube” PC to scratch the gaming itch, along with the high-performance monitors and accessories needed to dominate the playing field. Need a laptop or convertible to chill out on the couch with? Yep, we’ve got those too! Perhaps an “all business” person is on your list. Don’t despair, Yellowstone Computing has you covered! Whether you need the minuscule footprint of a ThinkCentre Tiny desktop, the sleekness of an all-in-one or the super-light yet powerful computing of a ThinkPad X1 Carbon, we have it all! Don’t forget, we’re including a full year of Emsisoft Anti-malware with each new computer sold!*
Setup Your New Devices
In the modern day simply purchasing a gadget doesn't make it ready to use. Often, they still need setup, updates, and extra steps to make it safe to access the internet too.
When you purchase a new computer from us, you know that it is safe and ready to use the second you unbox it. We perform the initial setup, get it ready for the network, and install mandatory updates. By the time we're done, your device will be the first one ready to use. For relevant devices, we can install additional features too. Parental protection, antivirus and security features ready to defend your machine against the latest threats.
Transfer Data and Retire Old Devices
Getting a brand-new computer is fun and exciting. Before getting carried away with the latest tech, we must consider what happens to our old data too. Depending on the device there are any number of dangers and pitfalls to think about.
Replacing an ageing laptop or desktop computer with a brand-new model, for example, has inherent danger in data storage. These computers typically use hard drive disks to store all their data.
When disposed of improperly, hard drives are vulnerable to being removed and taken. These can often be read and copied by thieves looking to steal your data. Old devices containing data need just as much care and attention as new ones fresh out the box.
There are many cases where individuals have had important records stolen this way. In some cases, the information has been used to access accounts, and in others, for blackmail.
We can help transfer old files and data to your new device and safely dispose of your old one too.
We can ensure that every photograph, video, and bit of data is recovered from your mobile device or laptop so that you never lose a single file. We can then securely wipe and even physically destroy the old hard drives at your request. We strive to ensure you keep every bit of your old data and not a single byte falls into the wrong hands.
It sometimes happens that new technology has moved so fast and changed so much that it doesn't play well with older devices already installed on your network. Sometimes it seems impossible to even connect certain devices at all.
Often simple configuration changes are all that's required to introduce two pieces of technology successfully. With the right set of eyes and in knowledgeable hands the most complex of jobs can be turned into a quick fix.
*Residential customers only.
If your goal is for a smooth, fun and relaxing holiday season, give us a call at 715-255-0325 and we'll get you up and running!
Marriott Hotels Exposed 500 Million Customer Records.
Up to 500 million travelers could be compromised as hotel chain Marriott International have announced a security breach in their guest database. Analysts recently alerted the firm to a vulnerability that has granted hackers access to the hotel chain's systems since 2014.
The firm announced their Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) loyalty program was compromised for an extended period which left customers vulnerable. The exploit exposed critical guest information which included names, addresses, passport numbers, and dates of birth. Marriott also announced an unknown number of customers had encrypted credit card details stolen in the attack. If you have been a member of Marriott's Preferred Guest Program or a customer of Marriott hotels in the past, you should take steps today to ensure your data security. By doing so, you can protect your finances, prevent identity theft, and defend your data from attackers looking to exploit an opportunity.
Secure Your Data
Changing your Marriott password should, of course, be the first step to protecting your accounts. Even more importantly, sites where that same password may have been reused should be updated with new credentials too. Hackers commonly try details stolen from one site to access popular services and pages. We encourage everyone to use a password manager to store their details for safe use in the future. A good password manager enables unique, random, and strong passwords to be used with ease for every single website. While we can't stop hacks on systems outside of our control; we can defend our other accounts from being accessed by criminals. With secure password management, attacks on your business services or related accounts from a single hack are made impossible.
Performing Damage Control
The damage to the Marriott International brand following news of the leak will be undoubtedly huge. At a minimum, they have lost the trust of their customers worldwide. Asking customers to leave their personal and financial details again to pay for goods and services will be no small feat.
News of the hack made front page news as it broke, further damaging the firm's reputation among potential future customers too. As a result of a simple security attack, Marriott International will be forced into damage limitation to keep customers returning to the brand. This is why business security matters to us; when done right it's cheaper by far. The total cost of this latest attack won't be known for years to come. The firm is vulnerable to lawsuits worldwide, in some cases liable for financial losses, and required to purchase identity monitoring and security services for affected customers. Business owners can learn from Marriott's costly lesson.
Protect Your Business and your Customers
Any business can find their systems vulnerable to attack at some point. Whether waiting for updates, a newly released zero-day hack, or a malicious employee; responsible firms take steps to limit their liability.
As a rule, staff accounts should be locked to only the systems they regularly need to access. Similarly, customer data should only be open on an as-needed basis when a legitimate requirement exists. These steps, alongside systems and data monitoring, prevent a small-scale attack from resulting in an enormous data breach. Strong security enables customers to place and maintain their trust in a brand they can keep coming back to again and again.
Recent Scams Locally
A number of customers have contacted us recently regarding phone calls they have received from “Microsoft” saying that their “IP address has been hacked or compromised,” and that they need to let “Microsoft” resolve this immediately. In other cases, customers are being told that their antivirus is expired or not working. As usual, this is just another scammer trying to gain access to your personal details and devices. Under no circumstances should you give these callers any information whatsoever. Simply hang up. This latest batch seems to be rather persistent though and is often calling back repeatedly in an effort to gain access. While you may become aggravated with this behavior and wish to “teach them a lesson,” please remember that the best thing to do is simply hang up. If you wish to make a report of the incident, note the phone number(s) and file a complaint with the FTC here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.
One of my favorite analogies to tell people when dealing with this kind of incident goes like this:
Picture yourself walking down the street, minding your own business when a stranger runs up to you, grabs you by the shirt and says “I’m a doctor, you’re having a heart attack and we need to operate now!” You feel fine, but yesterday you had a minor headache, so you lie down on the sidewalk, hand your wallet to the stranger, rip open your shirt and say “Get it done doc!” Of course, this sound ridiculous and you would never do such a thing in real life. If you really had a health problem, wouldn’t you call your regular physician or go to a real hospital? So why would you do this with your computer?
Don’t trust your computer to a stranger, get rock-solid computer help from your friends at Yellowstone Computing!
Some of you may know that I have been a Star Trek fan since childhood. I know you'll find this hard to believe, but it was the technology that got me interested. :) Who wouldn't want to live on the Enterprise? Since someone has thoughtfully beamed down some snow for us, I thought I'd share this little video in the spirit of the Christmas season. Enjoy!
Christmas time is back with us again. The latest devices and gadgets are hitting store shelves just in time to keep up with the rush. Magazines, television, and the web are brimming with advertisements and reviews of the latest tech your money can buy. Before you rush out to buy the gadgets you've been waiting all year for, consider a few important questions before parting with your hard-earned cash.
Does This Technology Do What I need?
First, you must ask what problem you are trying to solve with a new piece of tech. The most important thing to consider is how adopting your new device will improve on what you had before.
In some cases, a sleek new gadget or device for fun is good too.
When you've answered this question, you should consider whether there is other tech or competing devices out there that can perform even better.
How Long Will It Take to Get?
Many people wait until the last minute to purchase things like computers because they think that it’s always available online with fast, cheap shipping but this year might be the exception. Whether you agree or disagree with the tariff on Chinese goods, it is causing supply problems for various retailers as current inventory gets scarfed up before the tariff increase hits. In addition, distributors and manufacturers are increasing pricing on new inventory and this of course is passed on to the consumer. This means that the device you’ve had your eye on may not be available in time for your celebrations or have a significant price increase.
As we’ve discussed previously, there are many advantages to shopping locally. Better service, better value, OK, I admit, this is a shameless plug for all us local businesses that serve you. 😊 That being said, we have been preparing for the holidays by having plenty of options on hand for your last-minute shopping needs. Whether you need a general-purpose laptop, a powerful gaming rig, or a sleek all-in-one desktop, we have what you need!
Purchase in Confidence
You can purchase in confidence knowing that we not only emphasis quality and reliability, but fantastic service. For December, we’re also including 1 year of award-winning Emsisoft Anti-malware security software on each new computer sold. *
News Around the Shop
It’s been a very busy year here at Yellowstone Computing thanks to all our wonderful customers! Much progress was made in remodeling the shop and upgrading our service area. We have also been making improvements and additions to the tools we use to keep your devices running in top condition. In the very near future, we will be launching a weekly newsletter full of tips, tricks, and stories to help you stay on top of your digital life. Stop by our website and sign up today!
Announcing Coffee and Cookie Thursdays @ Yellowstone Computing!
The snow has arrived! Take the edge off the chill with Yellowstone Computing! Stop by on the first Thursday of the month for homemade cookies and gourmet coffee from 9 to 11am. We’ve also got a stockpile of delicious hot chocolate and teas! Sit a spell and visit or grab a cup to go!
*Offer valid on new computer purchases only, business systems excluded.
To read about us, click here!