VIP Expert Tips

VIP’s experts are trained and experienced in the latest business technology – and the latest threats to business technology and online security.

Through years of technological advancements and after thousands of clients, you might say our experts have seen it all. This page is dedicated to the latest threats, and our experts’ tips to navigate through them. Make VIP a weapon in your defensive arsenal.

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December 10, 2017 – VIP offers tips to keep last-minute holiday shoppers safe oline
online safety tipsFew material things are of more value than your personal data; which is why cyber criminals are hyper focused on becoming the Grinch that steals your Christmas joy.

First and foremost, make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate online business that takes appropriate security precautions. Look for the lock symbols in the browser line – not just on the dealer’s page. Anyone can paste an image of a lock on their website.  See? I just did it! Businesses that earn the lock or the “https” in the browser line have taken certain steps to ensure online security.

When doing business inside a reputable site like eBay or Facebook Marketplace, make sure the seller has a strong customer rating, and that they’ve been reputably selling for years. Remember – a high rating does not guarantee legitimacy. One person assigning five stars might be the seller patting himself on the back. Make sure a large number of customers have provided feedback through enough years to make you comfortable.

Remember that, just because an app or website appears legitimate, doesn’t mean it is. You can do just about anything with graphics software these days.

Take a few seconds to search for the dealer’s official page and deal directly through the dealer’s secured methods. In addition to the seller’s security efforts, protect yourself even further by only using methods that allow you to dispute bogus charges, like most major credit cards and PayPal. Your bank’s debit card may not provide you with protection, so do a little research before you open up your account to a potential criminal.

No matter the time of year, make sure your passwords are complex enough to thwart hackers’ most determined efforts. Cyber criminals use programs that attempt hundreds of password combinations in a day. Once they figure out a password on one of your online accounts, all of them are at risk. Be sure all passwords use at least seven characters that include combinations of upper and lower case letters, numbers and characters.

Finally, be sure to change your passwords regularly.

September 9, 2017 – SPYWARE! Lenovo settles for $3.5M in 32 states after 750K laptops infected with Spyware
“Imagine the online equivalent of someone, without your knowledge, intercepting your mail, opening it, reading it, re-sealing it and putting it back in your mailbox.”

Companies pay billions of dollars a year for consumer buying habits, online activity, interests and financial records. Prosecutors allege a third-party firm developed spyware that followed consumers around on the internet and warehoused personal information, including bank account information, personal medical information, login credentials (usernames and passwords!) Social Security numbers and personal emails.

While the FTC is cracking down on predatory programs that invade consumer privacy, businesses should employ rock-solid protective measures to ensure their data is not vulnerable to spyware, ransomware and other attacks. VIP experts can assess your online security measures and help you develop a security plan. Simply answer a few questions to get us started.

According to a post on, here are the laptop models the FTC found were infected by the spyware:

lenovo laptop spyware

eset newsSeptember 7, 2017 – College Students: Your Identity is a Prime Target
According to a recent Javelin Strategy and Research Report, 22 percent of students were victims of identity-theft fraud in 2014 (the latest data available). College students are three times more likely to be victims of identity theft than the average consumer; and, according to Javelin, four times more likely to be taken advantage of by someone they know.

Think about that the next time you hand over your credit card number to buy books or lunch from the cafeteria.

As your student gets settled in to college with new electronic devices, logins, etc., our partners at ESET offer this list of helpful tips to keep college kids safe online.

August 25, 2017 – Back to School: How safe are your kids online?

As parents ensure they have the right school supplies and resources to ensure a successful school year, it’s also a good time to do a quick inventory of their online activities.

Our friends at ESET – the global experts in online security – put together this list of helpful tips for parents to keep your kids safe this school year:

  • Personal devices
    • Install security on ALL devices
    • Implement parental controls
    • Check their smartphone’s app permissions
  • On school-issued devices
    • Back up your child’s files
    • Prevent webcam abuse

VIP is proud to partner with ESET to keep businesses safe online.

July 10, 2017 – Jayden K. Smith Facebook Hoax

Why you should ignore the Jayden K. Smith Facebook hoax.

Our partners at ESET are experts at keeping Facebook users safe. In 2014, the the antivirus protection trailblazer developed a free online scanner for Facebook. They also have tools for protecting your Twitter and other social media accounts. ESET’s Facebook tool ran more than 44 million of scans in 2014 and successfully detected malware in almost half of all of instances.

The Jayden Smith message may be a hoax, but the experts at ESET say hackers do pose other social media dangers you can avoid.

June 27, 2017 – #GoldenEye #Petya cyber attack sweeps the globe

Petya ransomware hits at least 65 countries; Microsoft traces it to tax software – NPR

Our partners at Fortinet refer to Petya as a ransomworm

Here’s what VIP Computer Division Manager Mark Jackson has to say:

Detection is very difficult as these ransomware programs typically employ the built-in encryption that Windows uses to perform the malicious encryption. Items one can do to help reduce the chances of getting infected are:
  1. Have an offsite backup – this is a must in case an infection occurs – onsite backups can also be encrypted if they are connected to the infected computer
  2. Keep Windows up to date
  3. Keep Anti-Virus up to date and active
  4. Do not open e-mail or any e-mail attachments that you are not sure of the source
  5. Do not click on any e-mail links that you are unsure of
  6. Many times web sites are the source, even legitimate ones can be infected without the knowledge of the site owner – usually in the form of ads on the site
  7. Those really neat free downloads of screensavers, coupons and funny cat videos may bring a ransomware infection along with them, be careful what you download

Bookmark this page for VIP’s expert tips on all the latest cyber threats, If you fear you have a security issue, we may be able to tell by remote. Contact us here to find out.