YES! Connecting Point will be open Labor Day, all departments, regular hours

Labor Day 2017 open regular hours Connecting Point Medford Oregon

We’re pleased to report that Connecting Point will be open Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 4th, 2017).

We’ll be open on Labor Day for our regular hours (9 am to 6:30 pm). All departments will be open, including Connecting Point SERVICE. We invite you to take refuge from the heat and smoke and stop in to say “hi”!

Connecting Point teams with KMVU FOX 26 for school supplies drive

Every student and classroom in the Rogue Valley should have the school supplies they need.

Connecting Point and KMVU-TV FOX 26 have joined forces to collect the supplies our local students and schools need. But we need your help! Bring new school supplies to Connecting Point, and place them in the collection box at our front counter. We’ll see that they get to where they’re needed most.

Here are some suggested supplies for both students and classrooms…

  • Paper: lined paper, copy paper, construction paper, spiral notebooks, composition books, index cards
  • Pencils & Pens: blue or black pens, #2 pencils, colored pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener, pencil case, colored markers, crayons, highlighters, dry-erase markers
  • General Supplies: dry-erase boards, paper clips, 3-ring 2″ binders, pocket folders, report covers, backpacks
  • Classroom Staples: stapler, staples, rulers, protractors, glue sticks, scissors, tape, calculator
  • Things you can never have too much of:  tissues, sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer

We’d like to be forced to empty and refill the collection box many, many times before it goes away on September 15th. Please chip in what you can. And thanks!

Help Your School supplies drive 2017 Connecting Point Medford Oregon
Help Your School supplies drive 2017 Connecting Point Medford Oregon
Help Your School supplies drive 2017 Connecting Point Medford Oregon
Help Your School supplies drive 2017 Connecting Point Medford Oregon

How to protect your Windows PC from WannaCry ransomware

UPDATE 05.25.17:  Here’s Connecting Point’s Service Manager, Jason Kellogg (among others), in an interview about WannaCry and other ransomware hitting systems right here in the Rogue Valley. (Courtesy NBC5, aka KOBI Channel 5, the local NBC affiliate.)

WannaCry screenshot virus ransomware security Connecting Point Medford Oregon

You’re probably safe. But you really should make sure—now.

The first reports came out of Britain last Friday: The National Health Service found some of its Windows PCs under attack by a virulent piece of ransomware named WannaCry, foisted on vulnerable systems by a group calling itself Shadow Brokers. Then it attacked Germany’s national rail system. WannaCry exploits a critical vulnerability in Windows computers, a vulnerability that Microsoft had issued a patch for back in March. But for those not diligent with their operating system updates, many found their computers completely unusable, with a pop-up message informing them that their files were encrypted and locked. To release them, they needed to pay a ransom of £230 (about $300) to a BitCoin account.

By Monday morning, the attacks had surfaced globally, in particular in China, where many computers run on pirated versions of Windows and thus cannot be patched. The extortion scheme has now spread to 150 countries. Microsoft has pointed a finger at the U.S. government’s National Security Agency (NSA), which created hacking tools enabling this type of cyberattack – and then had them stolen by hackers. Ironic.

So are you at risk? If you’re using a licensed copy of Windows and have up-to-date security software installed, you’re probably fine – but let’s make absolutely certain.

Which versions of Windows are at risk?

WannaCry take specific advantage of a vulnerability in older Windows operating systems to infect and encrypt.  These versions are Windows 8, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. If you’re currently running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows Server 2016 and have been diligent about system updates, you’re fine.

Here are some steps you can take to protect your PC from WannaCry:

  • If you don’t have a recent backup, make one immediately. Once WannaCry encrypts your files, your options become very limited. Restoring your system from a backup is one of them – but you can’t make such a backup retroactively. As we tell our customers: You should assume at all times that, 30 seconds from now, everything on your computer will go away… forever. You should always have multiple current backups, with at least one of them kept off-site (in case of fire or other disaster). Talk to one of our sales or service specialists about implementing a robust backup strategy as soon as possible.
  • Make sure you have the latest Windows updates and patches installed. As mentioned above, the security vulnerability that makes WannaCry and other attacks possible was identified and patched by Microsoft a couple of months ago – but it only works if it’s been installed. Windows 10 checks for updates on a regular basis, then downloads and installs them automatically. But in light of this recent attack, you should check to make sure you have the latest updates installed. To do this, click the Start button, then go to Settings > Update and security > Windows Update, and select Check for updates. Windows XP users can download a special patch Microsoft created to address this vulnerability. Find out how here.
  • If you’ve turned off Windows Update, turn it back on. Many users, weary of constant updates and patches, disable this important feature. Better to deal with a bit of inconvenience than risk infection by malware.
  • Use a good Internet security suite. PC Magazine has an in-depth review of the current offerings here. Get a good one, install it, and keep it updated.
  • Bring your co-workers into the loop. At your next staff meeting, budget time to go over “best practices” for using office computers. A good place to start: Don’t click on questionable links, and don’t open suspicious attachments. IT administrators should restrict user access to the company network to just the areas they need to do their jobs.
  • If you’re attacked, don’t hesitate. Act. Shut down the entire network immediately. Ransomware often threatens dire consequences if you turn off the computer or disable Internet access, but that is rarely the case. Security experts and law enforcement agencies warn against paying ransoms, since this only encourages fresh attacks further down the road. And paying the extortion fee does not guarantee your files will be unencrypted.
  • Get a Mac. While no longer immune to all viruses and other malware, Mac systems are far less prone to such infections. (The exception would be if you are running Windows on your Mac via something like Boot Camp or Parallels. Windows running on a Mac is just as vulnerable to WannaCry and other PC malware as any other Windows computer.) The same holds true for users running ChromeOS, Linux, or mobile operating systems like iOS and Android.

The experts at Connecting Point can offer assistance in making the transition from Windows to Mac as painless as possible (we’ve done it literally thousands of times). We even offer a monthly class to ease your switching journey.

JUST IN: HP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw network office multifunction

HP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw MFP all-in-one multifunction Medford ORPrint, scan, copy, or fax from anywhere on your office network with the HP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw

This robust office workhorse is a new arrival here at Connecting Point. For a multifunction color laser printer/scanner/copier/fax with this much capability, it’s surprising how small a footprint it has. Connect via Wi-Fi or ultrafast Gigabit Ethernet (and it also has a USB port for direct connection). The HP Color LaserJet Pro M277dw also boasts auto-duplexing, allowing unattended double-sided printing and copying – which, combined with its low cost-per-page, saves you both time and money.

In stock now. $399.99 ($14 per month on approved credit)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Printer, copier, scanner, and fax
  • Up to 19 copies/pages per minute black and color; first page out in as little as 11.5 seconds black, 13 seconds color
  • 600 x 600 dpi, with HP ImageREt 3600 enhancement
  • Scan (24-bit color/8-bit grayscale/up to 1200 dpi), copy, or fax
  • Built-in 50-sheet Automatic Document Feeder (ADF)
  • Three-inch touchscreen Color Graphic Display
  • Maximum monthly duty cycle up to 30,000 pages; recommended volume 250 to 2500 pages per month
  • USB 2.0; Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi; AirPrint; HP ePrint
  • Mac and Windows compatible
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