DON’T USE WEP!

1 11 2009

Folks, let me give you a big tip. If you’re using WEP in your office as a method of securing your wireless network you have slowed down an attack on your network by precisely 12 minutes. I’m not kidding.

Change it from WEP to at least WPA2 ASAP. The real problem here is that you’ve given yourself a FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY. You have peace of mind because you think you’ve secured your wireless network. That’s the first mistake. Let me give you a point-blank analogy. Let’s say you have a big filing cabinet containing all your bank records, employee salary information, everything. Follow these 2 steps please:

* Take your combination padlock and lock the cabinet. Great!

* Get the dolly, perhaps a couple of people to help, lift with your knees, not your back, and put that filing cabinet outside in the parking lot. (What?)

Now, what if I was to tell you that the combination padlock you used   to lock the thing ONLY HAS 2 COLUMS OF NUMBERS. You have just secured you filing cabinet with WEP. You could argue, in fact, tcombination-lock copyhat the padlock is even more secure that WEP because it may take you a bit longer than 12 minutes to try all 200 possible combinations!

Go ahead and check your wireless network security. It’s probably the biggest whole in you computer network.

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Skype you Beauty

30 10 2009

Do yourself a big favor. SAVE SOME BUCKS!

How often is it we can say, these days, that you have total faith in a product or service? Well, never actually. BUT, I am well exited about Skype. Skype In, Skype Out, Skype Shake It-All-About. Skype Whatever-ever-you-want-to-call-it, there’s not a whole lot I can find wrong with this product. I mean service. I mean… does anyone know exactly what it is? Ok, it’s both!

I’ve spent some time. I’ve done some research. I don’t work for Skype. I’m not affiliated with Skype. As VoIP providers go IT IS A HANDS-DOWN WINNER. Fact: AT&T bill: ~$100 per month for local, long distance, and international including a couple of quick calls to friends and family in the UK from LA during the average month. FACT: Skype Unlimited World- $12.95/month, SkypeIn (your own number, mine’s a Santa Monica #) – $30.00/year (PER YEAR). Call charges are miniscule. Except when you calling, for example, British mobile networks. It’s only here that things start to heat up, but only just a bit, with calls averaging around $0.25 per minute.

A quick piece of advice regarding using “hard” Skype phones as a convenient alternative to the downloadable software client:

STD1_skypeDO NOT BUY THIS ONE: The Belkin Wi-Fi Phone for Skype. It’s a piece of crap. I got mine from Amazon.com for $132.55. Much to my frustration when I saw in Fry’s the  next day for $100.00 (Belkin.com wants $179.99 for it!!!) Anyway, this “Wi-Fi” phone drops it’s Wi-Fi connection consistently every 5-10 minutes. Even when you are in a call! Not very convenient. That’s why mine is on it’s way straight back to Amazon.

YOU COULD TRY THIS ONE: The Belkin Internet Phone for Skype_Desktop_Phone_1Skype. Knowing better this time, I got it from Fry’s for a knock-down price of $65.84 ($99.99 at belkin.com) due to an open box and no  manual (big deal). It’s kind-of-cool actually. It’s not wireless so it’s  impossible to drop the connection. There are some issues though like having trouble calling 800 #s and traversing call menu systems like when you call the bank. Fry’s gives you a full money back guarantee so let’s see how it goes.

The fact of the matter is, Skype is a superb innovation-type product. And a real cash saver. I haven’t seen a cash saver like this since Tony and I discovered the monorail in Las Vegas. As a systems engineer, I’m trying to get it to work flawlessly with another superb innovation-type product called 3CX. A software based VoIP PBX phone system for Windows. I may write about that later too.