02 Sep 2015

September 2015 – Windows 10 upgrades and viruses.

Welcome to Boffin!

With the release of Windows 10, a few people have been noticing the windows icon in the bottom right corner asking to reserve windows 10, this icon automatically appears in all windows 8/8.1 PCs,


To help with some of the confusion, if you have clicked on the icon and registered for the windows 10 version, you will be eligible for the Windows10 Upgrade, however it will not occur automatically, it will only upgrade if you click the “yes I am ready to upgrade” option once it is released when the rollout begins, there will be another option to select that says something like” do not upgrade at this time” which will delay the upgrade.

Because none of the software has been tested yet, upgrading at this point is not recommended.

Windows 7 users can also upgrade to windows 10 providing the specs of the PC are compliant. Whether you register or not, everyone has 1 year from the 29th of July to upgrade for free. You can see from the graphic below the windows licence version upgrade list which points out which version the free upgrade will give you, e.g windows 7 Pro = Windows 10 Pro, as most licences in Businesses are Professional, Windows 10 Pro is most likely what everyone would upgrade to.

We have used the Windows 10 tech build ourselves and the user interface is much easier to use, the start menu is a windows 7/8 hybrid so anyone that didn’t like the tiles menu, won’t have to worry about it, there is also a multiple desktop feature, so you can have Outlook open in one desktop and web browsing in another for example open in the other with no need to minimise the Web browser to see your emails basically eliminating two monitors if you only have one.

If history is anything to go by, most Microsoft launches don’t have a 100% success rate, and there are always many many patches released almost immediately to fix bugs, so we wouldn’t recommend installing Windows 10 for some time. Remember you have 12 months to decide. Why rush.

If you do decide to upgrade you will stay on a like-for-like version of Windows 10. For example :



A more worrying thing has emerged from this release however, and that’s the proliferation of spam and virus related attacks via email to people claiming to be Microsoft Windows 10 Upgrades.

PLEASE be vigilant when opening EVERY email.

We are about to email out a special edition alert to all our hosted email clients about the dangers and how to identify them that everyone should read and follow. Until next month!

04 Aug 2015

August 2015 – Scammers.. Beware!

As you are probably aware, the flood of scams hitting Australia is on the increase, with most people having experienced either Scam emails or telephone calls every month.

The Australian government have a website called Scamwatch http://www.scamwatch.gov.auThis site details all the different types of scams out there from Fake speeding fines, Australia Post emails to unexpected winnings and everything in between.

This site also details on a month to month basis the number of reports from the public about scams, where they originated and how much money people have lost. The figures are quite staggering.

For example, the most recent is from June 2015, and shows


6.3million dollars scammed from innocent Australians in ONE MONTH!

Of course there would also be a lot of people who don’t report that they’ve been scammed too, so I expect that figure would be much higher.

Interestingly though, and a surprise to me, was the most popular delivery method of these scams :


And every month is the same. Telephone seems to be the method that works the best for scammers to extract money from their victims.

I know we’ve had the ‘Hello Im from Microsoft and you have a virus that I can fix for you’ telephone calls, where the caller tries to get you to purchase non-required software from them using your credit card and drains the account. And it appears no-one is safe with most age groups being targeted.


I know that even today we received hundreds of emails through our spam filters for Woolworths, Bunnings, Hungry Jacks & Jetstar scam giftcard emails destined for hundreds of users as I write this newsletter.

There are also more serious consequences to business with many of these scams (austpost) containing cryptolocker viruses which have crippled many companies with data loss.

The moral to the story, you NEED to visit the scamwatch website and read about the scams that are occurring and how to identify them in the future so you are not the next victim! Stay Safe out there!

01 May 2015

May 2015 – Cisco Meraki Wireless access made easy!

For the past couple of months we’ve been excited and have installed quite a few of Cisco’s innovative new cloud-managed networking products called Meraki.

Consisting of wireless access points, firewalls and switches, a Meraki network can be deployed and secured in a matter of minutes, then managed anywhere, anytime using an intuitive web interface (or smartphone app). Even if you have multiple branches, Meraki allows you to view and control everything from a single pane of glass.

Meraki gives you the kind of control and visibility into your network that would typically require an expensive equipment list with complex licensing requirements, and a highly skilled technician with years of networking experience to build and support it. There’s a lot to it, so this month we’re just focussing on the powerful wireless component, which most of our customers have been interested in.

Say for instance you need a wireless network to provide secure access to your servers and printers for your staff, but don’t want to risk giving guests access? Just log in to your Meraki Dashboard and create one. Choose whether it can be used only after your guest has accepted your terms and conditions on a captive hot spot portal just like a hotel, or after they’ve liked your business’ Facebook page. Your internal company resources remain secure while your guest can check their email – and if they happen to have malware on their PC, your network remains protected.

You can limit the speed wireless users can download data, as well as restrict access to certain categories of websites. Aside from the obvious, you can prevent people from updating their smartphone software, browsing social media or video game sites.

Wireless network suddenly slow down? This can tend to be a bit of a witch hunt to troubleshoot and track down who or what is responsible. With Meraki it’s simply a case of accessing the Dashboard with real-time statistics to find out who is downloading the most data, and from where. And just in case you don’t want people using your wireless network outside of business hours you can even set it to disable the wireless radios on a schedule.

Need to extend your wireless coverage around the building? Simply add more access points to form a mesh which will allow wireless users to move around without ever losing connectivity. You can even upload a floor plan to the Meraki Dashboard then place your access points on the map to see your staff moving around on a heat-map.

It truly is amazing technology, which is why we’re so excited about it. As a Cisco Meraki partner, EtherTech can visit your office and will happily demonstrate Meraki and answer any questions you might have about it. You may even qualify for a free wireless access point – give us a call to find out more!


01 May 2015

April 2015 – April Fools!

Welcome to another instalment of Boffin!

Can you believe it’s already 12 months since Windows XP went End of Life! And with the deadline looming ever larger for Windows Server 2003 on July 14th 2015, it’ll be upon us before we know it, so make sure you’ve upgraded as soon as you can!

April Fools day 2015 was yet another day of ‘release’ for the IT industry, with some of the more notable entries being Google (as normal) with their Pac-Maps. Pac-man mode for Google Maps, where in the bottom left corner there is a Pacman icon and you can play Pacman through the streets in certain areas. Pretty cool, and its kept the guys here at the office entertained for a while today too.

Samsung announced their new Galaxy Blade Phone with a sharp edge for cutting food.

Sydney Aquarium announced a new Kitty Snorkel Experience for cats to be immersed in their Barrier Reef tank, and the NSW Govt announced they would privatise Kids playgrounds (which still maybe true we’re not really sure!).

In more serious IT news though, HP Enterprise Group (who supply all the File Server, storage and networking range of HP Products), have announced an increase in selling price of 10% across the entire range of products due the rapid fall of the Australian dollar. Mirroring what Cisco (14% rise) and Apple (25%) did over the last two months, HP announced their prices will go up on the 14th of April, so if you need more hard discs or have been putting off replacing that File Server, now is the time to do it otherwise you’ll be paying even more than you budgeted on.

An all new ‘aluminium-ion’ battery has been developed in the US. Touting a rapid charge time of about 1 minute! Will never overheat or potentially catch fire like the lithium-ion can, and has a claimed lifespan of 7500 recharges compared to 1000 for the Lithium-ion variety. Battery technology is advancing rapidly these days, and the potential for large storage arrays of these types of batteries for home power/renewable energy storage is getting closer and closer. Bring it on!

Finally this month, we’re giving you a timely reminder on the importance of backups and backing up your data.

There doesn’t seem to be a month that goes by when we don’t have either a crashed Notebook drive, a PC that has been so badly infected by viruses that all the files are not recoverable and even mobile phones and tablets with thousands of photos that haven’t been backed up.

There are so many options these days for backing up your data, it should be seamless and something that ‘just happens’ without you even thinking about it.

With a lot of free storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive & OneDrive offering instant mobile phone backups for free, it really is something that these days is classed as a critical thing to ensure is done. The same goes for PC’s and especially for Servers. We have a complete line of online backup solutions for PCs and Servers that will seamlessly backup and restore your important data when you need it starting from $33.00 a month. Call us for more information.

02 Mar 2015

March 2015 – Spam spam spam spam…

This month we are pleased to announce some price decreases for some of our cloud services that will help save you money!

From the 1st of April the following changes will occur.

EtherTech’s Hosted SharePoint and Hosted Exchange MAPI Email Services will drop $1.50 per seat per month and you will get an upgrade from 10GB mail allowance to 25GB.

If you have both services, your bundled package will drop an extra $1 and will also include Skype for Business in May.

As part of these enhancements all POP3/IMAP accounts are being upgraded to full Exchange accounts with entry level 1GB storage for only an extra $3 per month per seat. This will deliver a far superior service allowing seamless connectivity across devices.

We are also introducing SharePoint Foundation free for those with Email accounts. The only thing you need to pay for is $2/GB storage you consume. This is not automatic and you will need to give us a buzz to provision the service.

Speaking of Email, February seemed to be the month for Spam. We had to deploy an additional inbound Spam Filter as we were hammered with torrential floods of spam.

The graphic below shows the stats from only 1 of our spam filters, and you can see the massive spikes during November and February. At the moment we are filtering about 25,000 spam emails a day!


Due to our 24×7 monitoring of our equipment, we were able to scale services before it became too much of an issue.

In other IT news, testing of the new 5G mobile network has revealed download speeds of 1 Terabit per second! That’s about 65,000 times faster than the current 4G network. You could potentially download a feature film 100 times within 3 seconds. We’ll have to wait until 2020 before the 5G network is rolled out though.

Finally don’t forget 14th July 2015 – Last date for Windows Server 2003. If you’re running 2003 server you NEED to get it replaced PRIOR to 1st July THIS YEAR!

As always, if you ever need any advice or support, give us a call on 1300-ETHERTECH !

Until next month….

02 Mar 2015

February 2015 – New Malware / Microsoft Hololens plus more!@

This month we’re discussing yet another type of ransomware, this time though it’s a delayed attack and focussed on databases.

It appears that these unscrupulous extortionists have now got a new technique they are using to hold businesses to ransom…. Time…

What they are doing, is gaining access to websites through a known vulnerability (before it gets fixed), and inserting code that encrypts the traffic between the website and its database (which drives the site and stores all your information) using a special encryption key, which they put on the server.

Time passes, and backups overwrite and data gets updated, all unbeknown to anyone except the hackers as the site is still functioning correctly, until one day, maybe 6 months later in some reported instances, the hackers log in and remove the encryption key, the websites crash, and they send a ransom email.

The problem with this type of attack is that the backups are encrypted, and 6 months of data entry is quite often too long for most sites (especially e-commerce based ones) to re-enter. The reported ransoms at the moment range from $1,000USD to $50,000USD but seem to be totally dependent on the business compromised.

So how do we prevent this from happening?

Realistically everyone with a website needs to ensure that their web developer is retained to perform regular security updates and patching of their websites. Your ISP/Webhosting company may offer this, but these updates could break your website depending on how it was developed and customised, so it is better to approach your developer first.

hololens1 In more ‘exciting’ news, Microsoft have unveiled their new competitor to Googles ‘Google Glass’ wearable technology. Microsoft’s Hololens.

Microsoft are planning to release the HoloLens to coincide with their new Windows 10 release, although many people are speculating that this is not going to happen for quite some time.

Check out the promo video from Microsoft below, it’s pretty impressive!


In response to this release though, Google has stopped developing their ‘Google Glass’ product which was aimed at consumers rather than business users like the HoloLens, in favour of going back to the drawing board and starting again.


It will be very interesting times ahead indeed!

As always, if you ever need any information/ advice / help with anything IT / Telephony related, please give us a call!

05 Jan 2015

January 2015 – Mobile Device Management .. What are you doing about it?

Happy New Year everybody!

We hope you all had a great break away from work this holiday period. But now it’s back to the grind. 🙁

EtherTech have been busy working on plenty of projects, so we are kicking the New Year off with an introduction to our new Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution for 2015.

If you have mobile phones, tablets, laptops that have access to your company network / filesystems / email etc. have you thought about how those devices have access to your company data and more importantly how it can expose your company to scammers / or competitors?

An MDM solution can help /use/protect

  • Sensitive information accessed by multiple devices
  • Multiple Operating Systems (OS) from company or BYO devices
  • Track and report on devices
  • Enforce security policies
  • Disable and remotely wipe lost or stolen devices.

Our MDM solution can easily integrate with your existing IT structure and provides a comprehensive management console to aid with the management of every mobile/portable device that has access to your network. A simple installation process onto your mobile devices adds them automatically to the console. Once installed this can improve business processing, increase productivity, enhance customer experience and drive value for your business, as you can control and limit applications / internet access / what is used by whom and when. So the devices can become a real business tool.

Everyone really needs to secure, configure and manage their mobile devices to prevent company data being lost, and to secure private information and photos.

Another plus of having Mobile Device Management is that it allows users to bring their own devices (BYOD) and still have secured / managed access to intellectual property.

Corporate security settings can be enforced and the console can push out custom messages or updates remotely.

Identifying and tracking devices that are lost or stolen is simple; In the event of this happening you can even lock / wipe devices remotely that hold your corporate data.

Another great feature of the MDM is to run reports and analyse data for all mobile devices.

Whether it is to assess compromised/offline devices, comply with standards or simply identify how many devices have successfully rolled out updates / specific business applications.

As mobile devices are becoming more and more prolific in the business space, we need to ensure we don’t leave it until its too late to ensure they are secured correctly.

Please give us a call at EtherTech to discuss your requirements for MDM, and how it can benefit you!

Until next month..

02 Dec 2014

December 2014 – Hot gifts for Christmas, New tech, plus much much more..

Another month down, and we’re on the rapid downhill slope to Christmas!

Just a quick note that EtherTech will be open on all days except the main public holidays (Dec 25th and 26th & Jan 1st), so if you need us over this period, please call our office hotline (1300-ETHERTECH), to speak with one of the guys.

With the Festive season upon us, our thoughts turn to gifts and what to buy is always a daunting task. This year we have compiled a quick list of the most popular gadgets in the IT world that might help you with your decision making, PLUS we’re giving away a free HP Slate tablet which could even save you some money too!

So, here is our Top10 Gadget list

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets (iPad air/mini –Kindle – Samsung galaxy note/nexus)
  • Smartwatches (Samsung Gear2Neo – Asus ZenWatch)
  • Wearable Fitness Devices (Fitbit / smart scale)
  • Pebble Portable Smartstick Phone Charger
  • Helicopter Drone
  • GPS Vehicle Trackers
  • The Selfie Stick for smartphones
  • Smart TVs
  • Portable GPS Navigation (TomTom – Garmin)


As well as all these cool things you can buy, there’s also plans for an Australian release of Netflix due in March 2015, bringing on-demand streaming movies and content to the home much like it is in the USA. This means a LOT of specials coming out from Foxtel and Optus in the months to come to try to retain their subscriber base.


Other ‘new-tech’ to be released in the New Year includes “Facebook at work” designed to compete directly against LinkedIn and Yammer, it seems Facebook will do anything to get more information to harvest and sell.


Microsoft of course purchased Skype quite some time ago now, and plans to utilise and extend its technology and user base to replace its own Lync messaging system. This is a great marketing idea from Microsoft as everyone knows and uses Skype now for messaging, so it will be a much easier sell to use a trusted brand name rather than something called ‘Google Hangouts” (which is the competing product).


Another Malware / Virus Update: PLEASE BE VIGILANT when opening ANY zip file attachments in your email. In fact, JUST DON’T DO IT.


With more and more virus payloads being distributed via zip, and antivirus software only being as good as your “up-to-date database and continuous threat monitoring settings”, we are seeing people opening these emails and wiping out valuable company data as well as their own data, ultimately costing their companies a lot of money to recover valuable information. If in doubt call us! We’re only too happy to advise whether something you’re not sure about is good or bad.


With the holidays approaching, please make sure you all have a very safe break from work (if you’re having one), a very merry and safe festive season, and we’ll be back again in 2015!
Ohh if you want to win a Free HP Slate 7 tablet, please go to and like our Facebook page and check the most recent post! J Good luck!




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