Information Technology Services

Category: Resources (page 1 of 3)

We’ve reached Peak Infographics. Are you ready for what comes next?

Data Humanism, the Revolution will be Visualized. – giorgia lupi – Medium

Originally published on PrintMag . Data is now recognized as one of the founding pillars of our economy, and the notion that the world grows exponentially richer in data every day is already yesterday’s news. Big Data doesn’t belong to a distant dystopian future; it’s a commodity and an intrinsic and iconic feature of our present - like dollars, concrete, automobiles and Helvetica.

Data is now recognized as one of the founding pillars of our economy, and the notion that the world grows exponentially richer in data every day is already yesterday’s news.

We are ready to question the impersonality of a merely technical approach to data, and to begin designing ways to connect numbers to what they really stand for: knowledge, behaviors, people.
Big Data doesn’t belong to a distant dystopian future; it’s a commodity and an intrinsic and iconic feature of our present — like dollars, concrete, automobiles and Helvetica. The ways we relate to data are evolving more rapidly than we realize, and our minds and bodies are naturally adapting to this new hybrid reality built of both physical and informational structures. And visual design — with its power to instantly reach out to places in our subconscious without the mediation of language, and with its inherent ability to convey large amounts of structured and unstructured information across cultures — is going to be even more central to this silent but inevitable revolution.

Complexity is an inherent feature of our existence — the world is rich in information that can be combined in endless ways. Creating new points of view or uncovering something new typically cannot happen at a mere glance; this process of revelation often needs and requires an in-depth investigation of the context.

TA16-336A: Avalanche Crimeware Alert

TA16-336A: Avalanche (crimeware-as-a-service infrastructure)

Systems Affected

Microsoft Windows


“Avalanche” refers to a large global network hosting infrastructure used by cyber criminals to conduct phishing and malware distribution campaigns and money mule schemes. The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is releasing this Technical Alert to provide further information about Avalanche.


Cyber criminals utilized Avalanche botnet infrastructure to host and distribute a variety of malware variants to victims, including the targeting of over 40 major financial institutions. Victims may have had their sensitive personal information stolen (e.g., user account credentials). Victims’ compromised systems may also have been used to conduct other malicious activity, such as launching denial-of-service (DoS) attacks or distributing malware variants to other victims’ computers.

In addition, Avalanche infrastructure was used to run money mule schemes where criminals recruited people to commit fraud involving transporting and laundering stolen money or merchandise.


A system infected with Avalanche-associated malware may be subject to malicious activity including the theft of user credentials and other sensitive data, such as banking and credit card information. Some of the malware had the capability to encrypt user files and demand a ransom be paid by the victim to regain access to those files. In addition, the malware may have allowed criminals unauthorized remote access to the infected computer. Infected systems could have been used to conduct distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.


Users are advised to take the following actions to remediate malware infections associated with Avalanche:

  • Use and maintain anti-virus software – Anti-virus software recognizes and protects your computer against most known viruses. Even though parts of Avalanche are designed to evade detection, security companies are continuously updating their software to counter these advanced threats. Therefore, it is important to keep your anti-virus software up-to-date. If you suspect you may be a victim of an Avalanche malware, update your anti-virus software definitions and run a full-system scan. (See Understanding Anti-Virus Software for more information.)
  • Avoid clicking links in email – Attackers have become very skilled at making phishing emails look legitimate. Users should ensure the link is legitimate by typing the link into a new browser (see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information).
  • Change your passwords – Your original passwords may have been compromised during the infection, so you should change them. (See Choosing and Protecting Passwords for more information.)
  • Keep your operating system and application software up-to-date – Install software patches so that attackers cannot take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. You should enable automatic updates of the operating system if this option is available. (See Understanding Patches for more information.)
  • Use anti-malware tools – Using a legitimate program that identifies and removes malware can help eliminate an infection. Users can consider employing a remediation tool. A non-exhaustive list of examples is provided below. The U.S. Government does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

ESET Online Scanner

          https://www.eset.com/us/online-scanner/(link is external)


          https://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_global/online-scanner(link is external)

McAfee Stinger

          http://www.mcafee.com/us/downloads/free-tools/index.aspx(link is external)

Microsoft Safety Scanner

          https://www.microsoft.com/security/scanner/en-us/default.aspx(link is external)

Norton Power Eraser

          https://norton.com/npe(link is external)


  • December 1, 2016: Initial release


Avalanche (crimeware-as-a-service infrastructure) | US-CERT

Cyber criminals utilized Avalanche botnet infrastructure to host and distribute a variety of malware variants to victims, including the targeting of over 40 major financial institutions. Victims may have had their sensitive personal information stolen (e.g., user account credentials).

12 Not-So-Great Realities About Nonprofits and Social Media

Nonprofits have spent years promoting Facebook and get rewarded with a 3% organic reach.

Is Social Media still worth the effort?

Millions of nonprofits worldwide have been asking supporters and donors to “Follow Us on Facebook!” or “Like Our Facebook Page!” for nearly a decade. We’ve emailed, we’ve tweeted, we’ve given shout outs at events, and prominently placed calls-to-follow in our print materials. Our sector has provided billions of dollars of free advertising for Facebook. Our reward? An approximate 3% organic reach (and still no Google Adwords-like advertising program for nonprofits). Facebook’s organic reach is equivalent to sending 100 donors a fundraising email and having 97 of them classified spam and consequently blocked.  That’s a wasted use of time and resources and that’s how many nonprofits are feeling these days about Facebook. Yes, Facebook’s new donation tools could be awesome, but only if we promote the donation tools to our supporters and donors which many nonprofits are unwilling to do at this point. With reason, nonprofits are skeptical of Facebook’s motives and long-term objectives.

It is important to step back occasionally and take a critical look at how social media is impacting nonprofit technology at your organization as well as your digital staff. Beyond the power and promise, nonprofit technology needs to produce results that can be quantified and that’s becoming harder to do in respect to social media.

12 Not-So-Great Realities About Nonprofits and Social Media

For more than a decade the blogosphere has touted the power and promise of social media (this blog included), but there is also a downside to using social media for your nonprofit.

Level Up with Blogging U. — WordPress.com News

Building a business website? Starting a blog? Working on your writing? Practicing photography? There’s a Blogging U. course for you.

via Level Up with Blogging U. — WordPress.com News

Media LIT: Overcoming Information Overload


We’re in an age of information overload, and too much of what we watch, hear and read is mistaken, deceitful or even dangerous. Yet you and I can take control and make media serve us — all of us — by being active consumers and participants. Here’s how.

Media LIT: Overcoming Information Overload | ASUx | Course About Video

Take this course for free on edX: https://www.edx.org/course/media-lit-overcoming-information-asux-mco425x ↓ More info below. ↓ Follow on Facebook: www.facebook.com/edx Follow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/edxonline Follow on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/edxonline About this course Learn about news and media literacy and why they matters. Stay Informed in a world of nearly infinite sources.

Media LIT: Overcoming Information OverloadNext week (July 6) we’re launching a “massive open online course” (MOOC) on media/news literacy in the digital age. It’s called “MediaLIT: Overcoming Information Overload.”

 That overload, in this media-saturated age, is leading to all kinds of good and not-so-good outcomes. Having vast amounts of information about just about anything means we can learn more–a lot more–about almost anything. That’s the most exciting part of what’s happening.
Media literacy helps us understand, analyze and create media. While we rely on good journalism to provide accurate information, we also have responsibilities of our own in this media-saturated environment. We can no longer be passive consumers of media. We need to be active users of media, as readers, listeners, viewers and creators, so we are all better informed. Our goal is to help you do just that.
 But all that information also means, as the jawdropping CNN “ISIS flag” debacle demonstrates, that we have to be a LOT more careful about what we believe. To use guest lecturer Howard Rheingold‘s framing, we have to employ “crap detection” in a big way these days.

Top Tips To Stop Robocall Tech Scams


  1. If a caller directs you to a website to install software that will let him or her access your computer to “fix it,” don’t fall for it! If you do, your computer and your personal information are visible to the scammer and you are vulnerable. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from tech support, your best defense is simply to hang up. Follow these additional tips from the FTC to avoid getting scammed.

EndRobocalls.org is fighting to stop these calls before they reach your phone. Sign the petition demanding carriers to offer free, effective call blocking tools!

You Should Learn Regular Expressions

Regular Expressions, or RegEx, are used for searching patterns in text. For instance, a RegEx like iP(hone|ad|od)s? will find mentions of any iOS device in a document. Knowledge of Regular Expressions is essential for programmers but they can be a great skill to have for non-developers as well – people who use Microsoft Word or spend hours inside Google Spreadsheets.

Learn Regular Expressions

Regular Expressions are extremely powerful, and no less intimidating, but even basic understanding of RegEx will save you time and make your everyday computing tasks easier.

How do you learn Regular Expressions? Or, if you are already familiar, how do you take your RegEx skills to the next level? You will obviously learn by doing but there are some excellent tools and learning resources on the Internet that will take make your journey to knowing Regular Expressions more pleasant.

Windows support lifecycle

lifecycleEnd of support refers to the date when Microsoft no longer provides automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance. This is the time to make sure you have the latest available update or service pack installed. Without Microsoft support, you will no longer receive security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal your personal information. For more information go to Microsoft Support Lifecycle .


Client operating systems Latest update or service pack End of mainstream support End of extended support

Windows XP

April 14, 2009

Windows Vista

April 10, 2012

April 11, 2017

Windows 7 *

January 13, 2015

January 14, 2020

Windows 8

January 9, 2018

January 10, 2023

* Support for Windows 7 RTM without service packs ended on April 9, 2013. Be sure to install Windows 7 Service Pack 1 today to continue to receive support and updates.

Microsoft has a new free version of Visual Studio, now available for download

via Neowin

Visual Studio

Microsoft has announced a new version of its Visual Studio software and they are taking a bold step and offering the software for free. There is, however, one large catch: this version of the software cannot be used for the development of enterprise applications.

Visual Studio Community 2013 is the latest addition to the Visual Studio family for Microsoft. This community edition is a free, full-featured development environment designed for students, open source contributors, small companies, startups and individual developers.

This edition includes all the features needed to create non-enterprise applications across desktop, devices, cloud, web and services, including coding productivity features, cross-platform mobile development tools for Windows, iOS and Android, and full extensibility with access to thousands of extensions. In short, this is the perfect application to get you started in the world of development or to use to create your next big app.

This is a big step for Microsoft by offering a free version of their premier development tool for noncommercial use. By allowing anyone to have access to the application, it will help bolster the Microsoft development community and that is likely the intended reason for making the tool free.

This version is available now and you can find more information about this version of Visual Studio at the link below.

Download: Visual Studio 2013 Community Edition

Accelerate Virginia!

Virginia Broadband Map

In an effort to expand high-speed Internet access across the state, Virginia Tech’s eCorridors program presents Accelerate Virginia, a broadband mapping project.

By taking the speed test, users provide information about Internet accessibility in their community. Along with data from other sources, this information will be used to identify areas in need of increased broadband infrastructure investment.

Better access to affordable of high-speed Internet services will benefit all of Virginia, so help us move Virginia forward to a better future. Run the Accelerate Virginia speed test and then explore this website to learn how you can encourage people in your community to do the same. Let’s accelerate Virginia!

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