Busted! This area is under surveillance…In HD

The need for Surveillance Cameras has increased along with the ever-increasing incidents of criminal activities in several locations. But what’s the point of having a surveillance system that doesn’t even allow you to recognize the face or anything else when you need it?

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TV shows like CSI display how easily they can zoom in on the information on grainy videos and bust the bad guy. Well, real life is a little different than that, a grainy, blurry, little bitty digital video cannot be enhanced.

At Blueprint IT Solutions, we carry HD cameras that are loaded with capabilities which make it adaptable to various systems. These cameras include features like Flicker suspension, noise reduction and ghosting effect with DNR. HD surveillance cameras enable security to monitor activities around the clock when placed at appropriate places.

Want to see how an HD surveillance camera works? Watch the Brickcom Demo:

http://www.brickcom.com/demo/demo.php

4 best locations for you surveillance cameras

1. Entrance and exit doors

Entrance and exit doors present your best chance of viewing and recording facial images that can be used for identification purposes. In order to capture a useful ID image, your security camera should be set to view an area of about three feet wide; that’s the width of the average door. Be extremely careful when pointing your camera towards exterior doors. As the door opens, a sudden change in light will often cause the subject to go black. Instead of the facial image you are trying to capture, you’ll see nothing but a dark outline.

2. Customer Transaction Points

Surveillance cameras should also be placed at any point of customer transaction. This includes cash registers, teller stations and kiosks. Areas next to entrances and exits give you the best shot at capturing investigative images. It is more effective when the cameras are kept about 7 feet high and looking directly into the area. Mounting the cameras too high will result in the blockage of any view except for the tops of heads.     

3. Targets

By targets, we’re referring to cash drawers, jewelry cabinets, safes, filing cabinets or any area that is an obvious target and that you want to protect. In these areas, you want your surveillance cameras to capture as wide an image as possible. In this case, security cameras may be mounted relatively high so that they can see down into cabinets and drawers.     

4. Secluded Areas

Parking lots and back alleys are a useful locations for security cameras. The images you capture in these areas are useful for investigating vandalism or violence. The deterrent value of your surveillance system also comes into play in these applications. Usually potential perpetrators think twice before committing a criminal act because of the camera that is staring at them.

Common consumer questions about buying a surveillance cameras

Can one surveillance camera work for every location?

Every property is different, and sometimes each camera location on one property might need a different style, or a different lens. Therefore, when a company tells you that they have one a surveillance camera that will suit every environment and all customers, reconsider your purchase decision.  There is not a surveillance camera out there that is right for everyone or every scenario.

How far and wide of an area will the security cameras see?

The area that a surveillance camera can cover depends on how big the lenses are and this this case size does matter. The larger the number of lenses, the farther away you’ll be able to see.

Do I need battery backup for my security camera system?

YES YOU DO!  It is important to have Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) with around 1000VA or more of battery backup. You want the ability to plug at least 2 things into the battery-backed outlets provided. Those two items are your DVR and your camera power supply.  So if you have a power outage your security cameras will still work and your DVR will still be recording. The higher the VA rating – the longer your unit will stay powered off the battery. Also make sure you get an automatic reset UPS. This means if the power is gone for long enough to completely exhaust the battery, and it dies too, you want the UPS to turn back on as soon as power is restored.

Do I need fixed lenses or varifocal on the surveillance cameras?

It depends on where the security camera is located and preference of the owner. There are cameras that have fixed lenses that give a very sharp picture, but no ability to adjust how the surveillance camera focuses. You can normally point the camera in a different direction, but what you see through the security camera is what you get.

How to select the right HD camera?

There are two main factors that must be considered when selecting the most appropriate lens for a particular situation. The focal length and they type of iris control. Lenses may be obtained with all the combination of focal length and iris control. The selection will depend on the site and system requirement. Our professionals at Blueprint IT Solutions are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to help you make the right buying decision and installation of security cameras.

Take action and install the right HD camera today before any disaster takes place. Blueprint IT Solutions is armed with Brikcom surveillance cameras which is a leading network video manufacturer in the IP surveillance industry. Call us today at  (701) 893-3400 and let us help you protect what belongs to you.

Car shopping online? Beware of ‘pic sent upon request’ ads

If you’ve spent any time browsing Craigslist, then you’ve surely come across posts promising to send photos upon request. It is unusual when people don’t post any picture when Craigslist allows one free-to-post picture. Well now its buyers beware, warned the FBI, as vehicle sellers are sending the “requested” photos packed full of malware. No the feds didn’t single out Craigslist, but folks looking for a “steal” on an automobile often know that Craigslist is great place to go.

carFor people planning to buy a car online, the FBI said cyber criminals are busy with scams, “posting ads on the Internet without pictures, providing photos only upon request. Sometimes these images are sent as attachments, other times as a link to an online gallery—but in either case, the photos can and often contain malware that infects the victim’s computer.”

This could easily be a vehicle purchased from an auction site. The malware directs potential buyers to a spoofed site run by cybercrooks, a website “that looks nearly identical to the site where the ad was originally seen. When the victim agrees to purchase the item and makes the payment, the criminals stop all correspondence, and the victim never receives the merchandise.”

The FBI urges people to be cautious and do a little research before buying a car online.

Find out if the dealership is even real and how long it has been in business. If the price is way below Blue Book then keep in mind there is a reason for the saying “too good to be true.” The FBI warned, “Be cautious if you lose an online auction but the seller contacts you later saying the original bidder fell through.”

The feds offer safe shopping tips like making sure you are only buying over secure and authenticated websites and to stick with “well-known escrow services.”

Keep your computer OS and other software patched; be sure you are running updated anti-virus and a firewall . . . and use them to protect yourself. Also be sure to scan any downloads.

That bit of advice was for people shopping online for vehicles, but it is wisdom that applies to anyone shopping online for anything. If you are hooked on online auctions, then you should also be wary of sellers who do include a picture with a tiny disclaimer at the bottom such as “be sure this auction listing is for all things in the image.” It’s not a big deal to add an image to an auction, so that seems phishy right off the bat. You might want to look for another listing. If you are pretty good at spotting scams, and are really bored, then you might do other buyers a good turn, random acts of kindness, by periodically running through eBay and Amazon and reporting scammers’ listings.

If you’ve been a victim of malware through online shopping or want to protect yourself from viruses, please call Blueprint IT Solutions at (701) 893-3400 today.

Source: computer world

Record $671K paid for an antique Apple-1

How much would you pay for a 37-year-old, still-working Apple-1 computer? One of only six surviving 1976 Apple-1 computers was sold for a record of $671, 400 at an auction in Germany.

blueprint computers(Image: Auction Team Breker.)

The record price was paid by an anonymous bidder who is a “wealthy entrepreneur from the Far East”, according to Auction Team Breker of Cologne.

The auctioneer’s website said the Apple-1′s sales price was €420,000, or $542,000 at current exchange rates. The total, including a 22.3% commission as well as taxes, was $671,400.

The two Apple-1s sold were in working condition, which is rare for the nearly-four-decade-old computer. Experts believe that there are only six operational Apple-1 computers in the world, and just an estimated 50 or so that have survived.

The Apple-1 was a simple circuit board hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1976. Only around 200 were ever made. Buyers had to provide their own power supply, keyboard and monitor. At the time, an Apple-1 sold for $666.66.

The original manual and a letter signed by co-founder Steve Jobs were also included with the Apple-1. In the letter, Jobs offered to exchange the buyer’s Apple-1 for an Apple II 4K motherboard for another $400.

During the auction a 1983 Apple Lisa-1, a precursor to the original Macintosh was also sold for $44,000. A 1977 Apple II, the follow-up to the Apple-1, ended bidding at $5,680.

Samsung launches $800,000 app contest for Galaxy S4

Samsung will host an $800,000 contest for developers that build apps for the Galaxy S4 using the company’s peer-to-peer software interface.

The contest will have 10 winners, awarding $200,000 to one first-place winner, $100,000 each to three second-place winners, and $50,000 each to six developers that come in third. Winning apps will also be candidates for investments from Samsung’s venture arm and be promoted through the company’s online properties and press events.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The company said apps in the contest will be judged on categories such as uniqueness, commercial potential, and design. Apps must be entered for consideration from June 20 to Aug. 31, and the judging will run through November.

The South Korean company said Monday entrants in its “Smart App Challenge 2013″ must make use of the Samsung Chord SDK (software development kit). Chord is a software interface for creating wireless connections directly between Samsung smartphones, without the use of an online server or mobile phone network.

Samsung is marketing its peer-to-peer technology to end users as “Group Play,” a service for multiplayer games or sharing music and photos among users of its smartphone and tablets. The company is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer but relies on Google’s Android ecosystem for the bulk of its online offerings and apps, most of which also run on rival phones.

In addition to the use of Chord, entries must be sold on the “Samsung Apps” marketplace and use Samsung’s application programming interfaces (APIs) for in-app purchases and displaying advertisements.

This will be the second year for the contest. Last year’s competition, for the larger Galaxy Note and Tab devices, was won by the “Gun & Blood” app, a shoot-em-up marketed by developer Feelingtouch with the description “Listen up man, it is time to kill all terrorists.”

Chord is a Java-based API that attempts to make it easier for developers to implement the various aspects of peer-to-peer applications, including discovering nearby devices, messaging and file transfer.

To learn more about the entry requirement go to http://developer.samsung.com/ssac2013

Source: IDG news service

Goodbye Windows XP- Yours truly, Microsoft

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Microsoft will end its support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014, leaving millions of users vulnerable to harmful viruses and other malicious software. Consumer’s will no longer receive security updates and their personal information can be easily stolen.

The statement released by Windows said, “The expiration of support for Windows XP is deemed necessary due to the dramatic evolution of technology. Business and personal technology has dramatically changed over the last decade.”

Microsoft director Stella Chernyak wrote in her post, “Now you may be asking yourself – should I wait to upgrade until the next versions of Windows and Office are available? We don’t recommend waiting.” She added, “ Not only is it important for companies to complete deployment before support runs out, but they should also be aware that by upgrading to Windows 7 and Office 2010 today they can gain substantial results today while laying the foundation for future versions of these products.”

What are the potential threats for running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 after the end date?

According to Microsoft, there are several problems that may arise if you decide to be affiliated with with XP even after Microsoft support ends.

  • Security & Compliance Risks: Unauthorized modification and glitches in your computer system, may result in an officially recognized control failure by an internal or external audit body, leading to suspension of certifications, and/or public notification of the organization’s inability to maintain its systems and customer information. In other words, Microsoft will no longer be identifying and fixing unapproved invasion on Windows XP.
  • Lack of Independent Software Vendor (ISV) & Hardware Manufacturers support: A recent industry report from Gartner Research suggests “many independent software vendors (ISVs) are unlikely to support new versions of applications on Windows XP in 2011; in 2012, it will become common.” And it may stifle access to hardware innovation: Gartner Research further notes that in 2012, most PC hardware manufacturers will stop supporting Windows XP on the majority of their new PC models.

What you should do

There are many options available considering moving to a modern PC with the latest productivity and collaboration tools. Businesses should locate a Microsoft Certified Partner to understand the best options to meet their business needs. You have an option of clean install Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8 Pro with the help of a Microsoft Certified Partner.

Blueprint IT Solutions is ready to help

Blueprint IT solutions is a Microsoft Certified Partner that can help you acquire Microsoft Windows 7 Professional you need for home office or business. We are fully equipped with the latest technologies and experienced technicians to put an end to your business threats. Stop by Blueprint IT Solutions before it’s too late and complete the deployment that your business needs.

 

Do you think surveillance cameras violate privacy? The statistics are here

surveillance camerasMajority of businesses in America have surveillance cameras, and only one-fourth of Americans think their privacy has been violated.

According to recent national survey by the Rasmussen Reports, only 23% Americans feel like surveillance cameras have violated their privacy.

The survey by Rasmussen Report that involved 1,000 adults on April 22-23, 2013 revealed.

  • 70% favor use of surveillance cameras in public places.
  • 23% think surveillance cameras have violated their privacy.
  • 28% feel legal system puts public safety ahead of individual rights.
  • 24% adults think the U.S. legal system worries too much about public safety.
  • 29% adults think the U.S. legal system has maintained a balance between rights and safety, while 20% are not sure.

Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information. To view the entire survey question, click here.

Cybercrime’s easiest prey: Small businesses

Cybercrime’s easiest prey: Small businesses

small business cyber crimesSmall businesses are the ‘most victimized’

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

Cybercriminals have picked their easiest prey: Small businesses.

A data breach investigations report from Verizon (VZFortune 500), released Tuesday, showed that small businesses continue to be the most victimized of all companies.

Of the 621 confirmed data breach incidents Verizon recorded in 2012, close to half occurred at companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, including 193 incidents at entities with fewer than 100 workers.

A separate report from cybersecurity firm Symantec (SYMCFortune 500) confirmed that trend. It found cyberattacks on small businesses with fewer than 250 employees represented 31% of all attacks in 2012, up from 18% in the prior year.

It’s a pattern that Kevin Thompson, senior analyst with Verizon’s RISK team, says he has noticed for the past six years.

Larger corporations have upped the ante against cybercrime recently, investing heavily in sophisticated security strategies. That’s forced cybercriminals to look for other ways in.

“A typical small business doesn’t have a 50-person IT department and every computer protected,” said Andrew Singer, director of Symantec’s small business group. “They don’t have the money for it.”

Related Story: Shodan: The scariest search engine on the Internet

 

Increasingly, cybercriminals are using smaller businesses as a stepping stone. Smaller suppliers or partners of large companies often “offer the path of least resistance” into a major corporation’s network, noted Singer.

Another tactic some more patient cybercriminals are using is targeting small companies in growth industries, such as health care or manufacturing. The bad guys hope that their targets could be acquired by a larger corporation in a year or two. Meanwhile, they lie in wait — if and when the company merges or is acquired, they gain access to breach the system of the larger parent company.

Despite the statistics, too many small businesses think they’re invulnerable. Some believe their small business would be a boring target for hackers.

That’s a mistake, said Vikram Thakur, Symantec’s principal security response manager. Small businesses can’t afford to remain complacent or ignorant about the risk of being a cyberattack target.

“Small businesses retain very valuable information for hackers, like customers’ credit card numbers, intellectual property, and money in the bank,” he said. “Small companies are lucrative victims, too. That’s making the target on their back even bigger.”

The most common tactics cyberattackers use against small businesses include “ransomware” scams that lock computers and demand a ransom fee. Attackers also use malicious software designed to steal information from employees’ mobile devices and malware that uses a small businesses’ website as bait to gain access to a larger company’s database.

As cyberattacks proliferate against them, Verizon’s Thompson said the most important lessons for small businesses are the most basic: Use good passwords, update your antivirus software and don’t expose your essential business services to the Internet. To top of page

First Published: April 22, 2013: 9:24 PM ET

Questions from Apple’s Dumbest Customers

You think you’ve heard it all until… you work as a customer service representative at Apple? For those who think that the top-notch tech company attracts only the brainiest clientele, think again. The questions they’ve received from these customers proves that they, too, have heard it all.

(And yes, these are real questions posed by real customers, either over the phone or in-person at an Apple store.)

1.   After receiving an Apple product as a gift, a woman called and asked: “What is it?” She described the device as “flat.”

2.  A young girl called because her iPhone wasn’t working. She said she got “something sticky all over it,” and wondered, if she brought it in, would we get it off?

3.  A caller asked: “What’s up with the stock price?” (Yes, he called a retail store for investment advice.)

4.  A man called to complain about Siri. He said that “Siri did not sound like the commercial; sounds more like a robot.” That so?

5.  A woman called in a panic after dropping her iPhone down a porta potty and asked what she should do. One can only hope she wasn’t calling from the same phone.

6.  A customer asked how his iPhone could have moisture damage just by being left in the refrigerator.

7.  A gentleman asked if our computers came with Windows. (Microsoft Windows, that is.)

8.  A caller was upset that Apple had replaced the iPad3 with an updated version. He insisted Apple should “swap out” his old iPad for the new one given that he had just bought it seven or eight months ago—you know, the same way you’d swap out your 2012 Ford Explorer for the 2013 model.

9.  While getting price quotes on new computers, a caller asked: “But does the Internet come on that?”

 

This article was retrieved off of Forbes.com.

Watch out for malware on your phone

Gone are the days when you thought your phone was safe by merely securing it with a password. According to a report by Jupiter Networks, hackers are increasingly targeting smartphones and other mobile devices with malicious software to gain access to personal information.

Malware (short for malicious software) is created by hackers to disrupt your mobile phone without your knowledge. There are different types of malware that can gather sensitive information, interrupt phone operation, and gain access to your private information like passwords that can lead to identity theft. It has the ability to track your location and make unauthorized charges to your cell phone bill.

Your computer isn’t safe from malware either. When you download apps and files from suspicious links and browse unsafe websites, Malware will be just a click away, waiting on the other side. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save your phones and computers from being attacked. Just like anti-virus software available to protect your computer, there are free mobile security apps: two of which are Lookout Mobile Security and Avast Free Mobile Security.

 

Lookout Mobile Security

Lookout Mobile Security is a free app (it also has a paid version with extra features) that scans your phone for malware and viruses, provides back up and restoration of contacts and locates your phone when it goes missing. This app is meant for both iOS and Android devices including smartphones and tablets. Its premium version for android includes a privacy report for all apps. It can also lock and wipe all the data from your phone in case it is lost or stolen.

Avast Free Mobile Security

Avast Free Mobile Security app is for you if you have an Android device. It has many of the same features as the Lookout Mobile Security app, except for the backup feature. You can schedule to run a virus scan every day at the same time and it will display a message reporting malware found on your device. If you ever lose your phone, you can send a message to display on your screen that can includes your contact information so whoever found it can reach you. It also has a firewall mode for its users that modifies the phone so hackers can’t access the device.

With the increasing malware attacks, it is highly recommended that you download one of these apps to protect your smartphones or tablets. Otherwise, users should be careful while downloading and use only trusted sources and should avoid sharing information over public Wi-Fi network.

Get a 2012 tax deduction by improving your IT in December

Thanks to a recently updated tax deduction titled “Section 179 Election,” the Federal Government now allows businesses to buy up to $560,000 in machinery, computers, software, office furniture, vehicles, or other tangible goods and thereby reducing their taxable income on your current year’s tax return.

How this works is by the Federal Government raising the deduction limit for Section 179 to $139,000. Because of this raise, businesses can buy a piece of equipment and adjust the Full Purchase Price (up to $139,000) from their gross income. This 50% bonus depreciation has been extended to tax year 2012. For equipment purchases over the Section 179 deduction of $139,000 companies can deduct an additional 50% of the average in addition to their standard depreciation deduction (for new equipment only).

The Section 179 could also save businesses money on their 2012 taxes, if they act quickly. Thanks to the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, Section 179’s deduction was increased from $200,000 to $560,000. However, to benefit from this deduction, new machinery, computers, software, office furniture, vehicles, or other tangible goods need to be purchased before 2013 begins. Otherwise Section 179 can’t help 2012 profits.

For more information on how Blueprint IT Solutions can help your business save money on this year’s taxes, call us at 701-893-3400. We’ll be happy to give you advice on how Section 179 can help both your business and your bottom line.

Happy Holidays!