About Mary Hester

Ms. Hester is the CEO of LAN Systems, which provides IT solutions in the Greater Metro Atlanta Area. You can contact Mary at mary@lansystems.com">

Cloud Solutions to Save Money and Add Efficiency

"A penny saved is a penny earned," but how do you know you have really saved a penny? Often saving money initially means more work or a higher total cost of ownership, offsetting any benefit. A common example of hardware that can cost more is that inexpensive printer. When you buy an inexpensive printer that has expensive toner/ink cartridges and a low yield, you can pay double or triple per sheet.  Also, purchasing a low-end laptop, desktop, tablet can seem like a bargain, but then adding RAM or hard drive can wipe-out any savings.  For some electronics, you may not be able to upgrade and will be left having to buy a new device. For software and applications, sometimes a low or free entry cost means that you have a great deal of customization that cannot be saved when upgrading to a new version or migrating to a new platform.  In many cases, it is hard to know that you have chosen … [Read more...]

What is an Operating System?

With Windows XP being retired, many users upgraded to a new computer and/or a new operating system prompting the question: What is an operating system? The operating system (OS) interacts with the system hardware like the keyboard, mouse, disk, display and memory.  It also interacts with all the applications and passes requests to and from the hardware and the application. This is how the user experience is created. The OS controls all interactions and keeps the computer instructions running in sequence. Some familiar OS examples are Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Chrome and maybe you have even heard of Unix. Everyone has experienced a slow computer.  The slowness is most often because the computer is trying hard to complete all the requested tasks. The central processing unit (CPU) is the computer's brain. It has to process requests in order, completing one request before it can … [Read more...]

Which Windows 8 is right for you?

Both Windows 8 and Windows RT offer a beautiful, fast, and fluid interface that you can personalize with the people, apps, and sites you care about most. They’re designed for touch, mouse, and keyboard. There are some important differences between Windows RT, Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro. Windows RT * tablets and PCs are made to go anywhere. Thin and light, with extended battery life, they start up in an instant and stay connected to email, social networks, and apps, so you’re always up to date. Office Home & Student 2013 RT Preview is also included, so you can be productive while on the go. Windows RT is only available preinstalled on select tablets and PCs and it only runs built-in apps or apps that you download from the Windows Store. For more information, see the Windows RT FAQ. If you want to install desktop software like Adobe Photoshop or an older version of Office, … [Read more...]

Another RAT in the house – Blackshades

Blackshades is another miserable piece of RAT malware.  A remote administration tool (RAT) allows a remote user to control your system.  Remote control can be used for good reasons like helping you with an IT issue or for bad reasons like stealing your data and hijacking your computer.  Blackshades is bad. Blackshades is not new - it has been around for years.  The way it infects is not new either - someone gets you to click on a link.  The Blackshades RAT allows criminals to steal passwords and banking credentials; hack into social media accounts; access documents, photos, and other computer files; record all keystrokes; activate webcams; hold a computer for ransom; and use the computer in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The FBI recently announced more than 90 arrests in 18 countries in the Blackshades Malware Takedown. You can help the FBI in their fight against … [Read more...]

Update on Internet Explorer XPocalypse

The Internet Explorer vulnerability being called XPocalypse is being patched by Microsoft even for XP.  The attack that appears to rely on having Adobe Flash Player installed exploits IE 9, 10 and 11, but Microsoft warns the underlying vulnerability is in all versions on IE. Originally, Microsoft was not intending to patch XP but has included it in the update. This is good news for XP users.  You get a little more life from your operating system and protection from XPocalypse. The update went live, May 1, at 10 PDT. If you are like most people, you have automatic updates turned on, and you'll get this new update without having to do anything.  If you haven't turned it on automatic updates yet, you should do so now.  Click the "Check for Updates" button on the Windows Update portion of your Control Panel to get this going. Read the Microsoft Blog post here.   … [Read more...]