Some good reasons to keep your software subscriptions current

Some good reasons to keep your software subscriptions current

  1. License key validation – Most software subscriptions are issued with an annual license that requires a renewal in order to be either installed as either a new installation or re-installed as of the current date.

As examples:

  • The currently installed application software is only supported running on the currently installed operating system. If you want to move the installation to a newer server or workstation operating system environment, you’ll need to have a current license key in order to physically move or update the software.
  • Passport will not let you either re-install software or install new software using an old expired license. This means that you be required to renew your subscription first.
  1. The application software environment becomes corrupted over time – This requires re-installing the software or a service pack which may require downloading software. – Many software applications now have huge installation files, this can be true whether or not you plan on doing a full installation or simply installing an incremental service pack.

For example:

  • If your NCR CounterPoint Subscription license isn’t current, you will not be able to download any software, or access NCR’s customer support website. Considering that it is common for downloads to be several gigabytes in size, it can take hours just to do the downloads prior to any installation attempt even being made. Not having this as of a specific deadline date, can mean having to reschedule a critical installation or cause you and your organization some unwanted hardship or down time. Inability to access the website can mean not being able to download installation and configuration manuals or updated training manuals.
  1. Some of your software applications stop working – If a license expires, it may take time to get it renewed.

For example:

  • Your ShipRush or StarShip shipping software and interface to NCR CounterPoint expires. Until the license is renewed, you will not be able to use the shipping software or the software interface for NCR Counterpoint.

Please contact the CCS Support department if you have any questions or for assistance with updating you software subscriptions.

– John

PC Cleaners/Registry Cleaners

From: Marilyn McCormick <marilyn@ccscentral.com>
Sent: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 12:35 PM
To: Dan McCormick <danmonline@gmail.com>
Subject: BG Jan Blog

PC Cleaners/Registry Cleaners

Although I do not advise using these software’s regularly, there are times when they are useful. Over the years I have found that these registry and PC cleaners sometimes cause more harm than good. For example, I have run into systems where these tools are run regularly and have problems installing or re-installing software, some of these programs even boast about cleaning or completely uninstalling software , only to find out it has left the main directory in place preventing the re-installation, or it has left the Windows service installed causing the same thing.

Depending on what you are trying to accomplish with these “cleaning” programs, I have never seen one speed up my PC. The times I do use these cleaning programs is usually after either an infection or failed hardware. But some manual cleaning is always required.

If your PC needs “cleaning” I would recommend using the built-in or downloadable tools from the programs manufacture to clean a program up. Most hard to uninstall software has a “cleanup” tool available from the makers to make your uninstallation easier, and actually clean your PC.

If you have any support questions or concerns, please contact the CCS Retail Systems support department @800.672.4806 or email us at support

-Bryan

From: Marilyn McCormick <marilyn>
Sent: Monday, February 4, 2019 8:21 AM
To: John B. Yauger <john>; Bryan Greenberg <bryang>; Dave Russell <davidr>
Cc: John Yauger <jbyauger>; Bryan – home <bryguy5>
Subject: Blogs

OK, so I’ve let this slip but I need everyone to get back on doing blogs. So please do one today for January and then get back on track for your monthly one starting this month.

Please and thank you.

Marilyn

Marilyn McCormick

425/800 672-4806

www.ccsretailsystems.com

marilyn

Securing Your Network

Securing Your Network

One of the things that you should do in securing your network, is to limit internet access to only the sites that a particular station needs. For example, a Point-Of-Sale workstation usually only needs to be able to access the internet in order to validate credit and debit transactions. When that is the case, then your firewall should be configured to only let those stations through to the sites they need for authorization.

By limiting the access of those stations to only the card processor site, it prevents users from randomly browsing web sites during slow times. Thus, they cannot be checking their personal email, or checking out the latest funny videos. This is not to punish them, but rather to eliminate those common vectors of attack. It prevents those viruses and malware bearing emails from being read, and their payload potentially being unleashed on your workstations. It also prevents those drive-by downloads from malicious sites, from doing the same.

Obviously, there will be stations that need to access additional sites. However, if these sites can reasonably be limited to just those sites that need to be accessed, they should similarly be limited. It may be possible to limit those stations to only your company email, vendor sites, your store web site, etc. Additionally, those stations should be restricted to use by only those users that need to be accessing the sites that the stations are being allowed access to. Those users should also be trained on what to be aware of when accessing outside sites. In particular, the user or users that are accessing the company email, should be trained on how to recognize potential phishing, or other malware, type emails.

Limiting the avenues that expose your network to outside contact, can go a long way towards preventing it being compromised. Such limits are often evaluated from the perspective of limiting outside access in. Access restrictions should be evaluated, and restrictions imposed from your network out, as well.

Dave.

New Twists Ransomware and Spear Phishing Attacks

New Twists on Ransomware Spear-phishing Attacks

In recent years we have seen an increase both the number of spear phishing campaigns, and increased ingenuity as to the ways that scammers try to assist you in getting your systems infected, or attempt to fleece you out of money.

In the past, this may have been something sent via emails that used official-looking emails complete with a financial institutions corporate logo, or they could get a phone calls from a fake bank account executive. The email or caller could, tailor an email to the customer with personalized information they downloaded, making is seem like it was a legitimate email.

The fake bank account executive or emailer would then indicate there is an urgent problem with the customer’s account, and then ask for birthdates, Social Security numbers or passwords. The virtual trap could also be set by the official-looking email asking customers to click on a link embedded in the email to, say, update their account information. However, the link takes the unsuspecting victim to a fake but legitimate-looking website, where the customer is then tricked into listing passwords, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, user ID’s, access codes, and PIN’s.

Some recent twists on the above are:

An email that spoofs your email account in the emails "sent from" field. The body of the scammers email claims that they have already hacked into your system via a porn or adult dating website that you "supposedly" recently visited. The email indicates a direct threat to email explicit photos or videos to all of the contacts in your email system, specifically to your employer, and/or the police, if you don’t sent money to a specific destination as of a specific date and time.

One or both of the following may be included:

  • Instructions on where to go to pay the ransom.
  • Clickable links that direct you to site to pay a ransom, and/or or a link that actually infects your system with encryption malware, which subsequently locks you out of your system, with another ransom demand in order to get a key to un-encrypt your drive(s).

Typically, the best thing to doing in these situations is to immediately delete the email, and clear it out of your mail deleted mail folder, and the follow-up with staff on how to be diligent about recognizing and handling these sorts of threats.

– John

Preparing for the Holidays

Preparing for the Holidays

The weather is turning colder, the clock has returned to Standard Time, and the holiday season looms before us. Already I am seeing candy canes on display in supermarkets! This makes me wonder if you are doing the necessary preparations in your business to make sure this holiday season is well-organized and profitable.

What can you be doing right now to get ready? Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Make sure your inventory is stocked sufficiently and numbers are accurate. Eliminate errors now that could cost you sales later!
  • See those products on display are all labeled. Customers find it annoying when prices aren’t readily available.
  • Add needed information on your receipts, like return policy.
  • Clean up the store and arrange displays for best customer visibility. Polish that glass front door.
  • Make sure you have on hand sufficient gift cards; these are always a favorite for holiday gift-giving!
  • Update/prepare to use your customer information to send flyers and emails to advertise holiday sales.
  • Install newer, faster hardware, like printers or scanners. Waiting until the last minute to take care of your business “tools” could become a real hassle once the season begins.
  • Make sure that your security system is up to date. Remember, this is prime time for unscrupulous scamming.
  • Arrange for new employees’ training now to avoid problems later.
  • Consistently back up all of your files in case of the unexpected, like power outages from winter storms, or malicious ransomware attacks.

We can help you with many of these preparations, (but we don’t do windows!). All it takes is a quick call to 485-672-4806, or you can email us. We’re here to help you have a great holiday season!

Marlene

Passport Version 12.06 Update for July 2018

Passport Business Solutions
Passport Business Solutions

Passport Version 12.06 Update

With the release of PBS 12.06, Passport completes a major infrastructure project on field expansions begun with the version 12.05 release. Enhancements for PBS 12.06 will include:

  • Expanded field sizes for both the name and addresses in Customer, Ship-to, and Contact files.
  • Field expansions in A/R, O/E, POS and Customer Order Processing in PBS Manufacturing.
  • Professional Time & Billing fields expanded.
  • PO # expanded to 30 characters to accommodate Amazon, etc.
  • Approximately 12-14 Accounts Payable SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) reports have been created
  • Three new SSRS reports have been created to replace the previous standard reports for wholesale distributors.
  • Passport 12.06 includes a new runtime, version 10.2, so a fresh install will be required and the use of EZ Convert is required to migrate your existing data to the new format.

Currently, version 12.06 is being thoroughly beta tested in-house at Passport. A Limited release will begin mid-July, 2018 with general release anticipated to be available at the end of July 2018

Please consult the CCS Support department if you have any questions on the above release.

– John

The threat of Attack on Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems

The threat of Attack on Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems

In the retail world, the threat of attack on Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems is always high, as they are a prime target for the bad actors trying to get credit card information. There is always new malware being created to try to get that information. There are, however, steps that can be taken to reduce the risk, even with regards to the latest attack software.

The best thing that you can do is to isolate your servers and workstations as much as possible. In an ideal world, these would be completely isolated, and not interact with any other systems. The reality is that this is very rarely the case. With that in mind, let’s look at some things that can be done.

The first step is to make sure that your firewall is as restrictive as possible. Your POS workstations and server if needed should only be restricted to accessing what is absolutely needed. In most cases, this is only your credit card processor. In no case, should your firewall allow either the workstations or the server, unrestricted access to the internet? The firewall will eliminate the chance for drive-by downloads, or users browsing to malicious sites.

Along those lines, any computers that are used for general internet browsing, and also email, should be on a separate network. If it is not possible to implement workstations on a separate physical network, at least use a different logical network as in a different network address range. Even just the different logical network, will stop the majority of malware infections.

If remote access is needed, and it should be restricted to those cases where it truly is needed such as your support company, then it should be restricted to only those addresses that have a legitimate reason to connect. Also, any such connections should be closely monitored. One such method is to disable the remote access software, and only enable it when your support personnel is actively connecting. Of course, it is again disabled as soon as they are finished.

Those cover the basics of securing your POS system. It is a good place to start, but it is only a start. Keeping software updated, training personnel, and keeping vigilant are always key components, also.

Dave