How to remove spam calendar invitations from iPhone

How to remove spam calendar invitations from iPhone

Does your iPhone calendar have spam invites?

Hey iPhone users!  Have you recently had random calendar invitations mysteriously show up on your phone that you can’t get rid of?  Yeah, me too, and it is very annoying.  No matter what you try, you can’t seem remove them from your calendar.

Symptoms of a spammed calendar

These are the behaviors of the spam invites that I have recently encountered:

  • Several consecutive days on the calendar have repeating or reoccurring invitations with same name.
  • There is no Unsubscribe button for any of the spam invites.
  • Declining the spam invite appears to do nothing.
  • Long pressing on the spam invite in List View does not present a Delete button.
  • The web version of the calendar (Outlook.com, Gmail calendar, etc.) does not display the spam invites.
  • The original spam calendar invitation is difficult to find or may not exist at all in your email.

Where’s the fix?

If you’re like me, you have searched the internet multiple times for a solution.  Unfortunately, most of them don’t work anymore.  The reason why most of the solutions I found online don’t seem to work anymore is because spammers keep changing their methods and tactics.  They have to, to stay in “business”.

Well, I’ve figured out what you have to do to banish these pesky spam events off your phone.  This method works, at least for now.  There is no way to tell when this method will stop working.  Spammers are always coming up with more sophisticated ways to trick people.

Keep in mind, these instructions are for only for iPhone users using the built in Calendar app.  If you use a 3rd party calendar app, your mileage may vary.  Also, I am not an Android user.  Android phones may already have a way to easily remove spam invites.  For now, iPhone, does not.  In my particular situation, I am using an iPhone 15 running iOS 17.3.1.  I have a Gmail account and a Microsoft Outlook.com email address setup on my phone.  I am using the built-in Mail and Calendar apps that Apple provides.  The spam invitation ended up coming from my Microsoft account.

6 easy steps to remove spam calendar invitations

Follow these 6 easy steps to remove spam invitations from your iPhone Calendar app:

  1. Open the Calendar app and set it to List View.  Navigate to any of the spam calendar invites, but try to find the first one in the series if possible.
    iPhone Calendar spam invitation
  2. Open the spam invitation that you want to remove.  Press the Decline button at the bottom of the screen.
    iPhone Calendar spam invitation
  3. A pop-up window should appear.  Press Ok.  It will appear as if nothing has changed.
    iPhone Calendar spam invitation
  4. You should now be back in the List View.  Now long press the spam invitation.  A command menu will be presented.  Press the Cut button in the top left corner of the menu.  Again, it will appear as if nothing has changed.
    iPhone Calendar spam invitation
  5. Long press the spam invitation again.  A slightly different command menu will be presented.  This one will have a Delete button at the bottom of the menu.  Press the Delete button.
    iPhone Calendar spam invitation
  6. A pop-up window will display, asking to confirm that you indeed want to delete the event.  Press the only option we care about, Delete and Notify.
    iPhone Calendar spam invitation

Conclusion

And voila!  All the associated spam calendar invitations magically disappear from your calendar!  However, I wish we had the option to Delete without Notifying.  I’d rather not let the spammer to know I have figured out how to remove the spam, let alone supply the spammer with my email address.  If you are concerned about the spammer receiving your delete notification, you can temporarily turn off Wi-Fi and cellular data while you clean out your calendar.

Spammers are getting increasingly more sophisticated with their malware attacks.  Keep in mind that calendar cleaning methods that worked before, may not work later.  Hopefully Apple will update the built-in Calendar app to let us more easily remove spam calendar invitations.  Until then, stay safe out there, and don’t open any emails or invites you don’t expect or recognize.

Allegiance Technology Solutions is a multi-faceted managed IT service provider headquartered in Pembroke, GA.  We service commercial and residential clients in Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Skidaway IslandTybee IslandStatesboroPoolerRichmond Hill and Hilton Head SC.

 

The 6 Different Types of Hackers

The 6 Different Types of Hackers

It seems every week there is another data leak or major security breach on the news.  Who are these hackers responsible for these data leaks and why are they causing all these problems?  In this article, we will attempt to define the different types of hackers that have evolved and demystify the reasons behind their motivations.

What is a Hacker?

When we hear the word hacker, and we immediately think of a lonesome character in a dark room typing code, surrounded by monitors as they attempt to compromise a website or business. But that is not the full picture of what hacking truly is.  Some hackers do work alone, sequestered away in some dark basement.  But there are also well funded, highly organized groups who exploit security weaknesses in computer systems and networks to gain unauthorized access, steal data, or cause damage.

So, not all hackers are the same. Let’s explore the different types that exist, including the good ones.  Yes, there are good hackers out there!

Black Hat Hackers

Hacking for personal gain.

The most notorious type of hacker is known as a Black Hat.  They are malicious folk who break into computer systems and networks with the intent to gain control of systems, steal data, or commit cybercrimes. They often use advanced hacking techniques and tools to carry out their attacks. Black hat hackers can intentionally cause serious harm to individuals, businesses, and governments.  Their actions are illegal and punishable by law.

It’s important to note that online scammers typically are not hackers, although they do prey on unsuspecting users to try and steal their money or personal data.

White Hat Hackers

The good guys, keeping us secure.

Also known as ethical hackers, these individuals use their hacking skills for good. These are the good guys!  They work for companies or governments to find vulnerabilities in systems and networks before malicious hackers can exploit them. White hat hackers use the same techniques and tools black hat hackers but with the goal of improving cybersecurity and preventing cyberattacks.

Some white hat hackers begin their journey as black hat hackers.  At some point, they switch over to creating solutions instead of causing problems. Sometimes they are caught during their black hat days and recruited after some reform has taken place.  Some companies pay big bucks to identify and eliminate bugs in their software, which can be a big draw for people with a hacking skill set.

Grey Hat Hackers

Hackers for hire.

These hackers don’t have a specific agenda, and they often operate in a gray area between black and white hat hacking. They may use their skills to identify vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks and then alert the owners of these systems. However, they may also demand payment or other benefits in exchange for their services, which may be illegal.

Script Kiddies

In it for the thrill!

These hackers are often young and inexperienced, and they use pre-written scripts or tools to carry out their attacks. By using prewritten scripts, they are essentially training themselves to conduct more complicated attacks.  Typically, they do not have a specific agenda, and their attacks are often random and aimless. However, they can still cause damage to computer systems and networks, and their actions are illegal.

Hacktivists

In it for the cause!

Hacktivists are political or social activists who use hacking to promote their causes. They may target government websites, corporate websites, or other high-profile targets to raise awareness about their issues. Hacktivists can sometimes use illegal methods to achieve their goals, and their actions can have serious consequences.  Hacktivists always have a specific purpose behind their actions, and usually do not intentionally harm the average user.

State-Sponsored Hackers

Purveyors of digital espionage and wagers of cyber warfare.

These are hackers who are sponsored by governments to carry out cyber espionage or cyber warfare. They are typically highly organized and well-funded, conducting their business on behalf of their country or sponsoring organization.  Their attacks can be highly sophisticated and can target critical infrastructure, businesses, or other countries. State-sponsored hackers can cause significant damage, and their actions can lead to diplomatic tensions, and even military conflicts.  State-Sponsored hackers typically do not target the average user, although they might incidentally cause harm to users with their efforts.

In conclusion

Understanding cybersecurity includes understanding the different types of hackers and how their actions affect us individuals and our businesses.  As discussed, there are many different types of hackers, and their motivations and actions vary widely between them. While some hackers use their skills for malicious purposes, others use them for good.  Although major attacks do affect us all, unless you are a high-profile person, the chances of a targeted hack against you are pretty rare.  Hackers are more likely to go after bigger targets, such as companies and corporations, simply because the rewards are larger.

As these kinds of attacks become more prevalent in today’s world, be sure to change your passwords regularly.  Use 2 factor authentication and biometric login wherever possible.  Don’t store credit card information online and close any online or shopping accounts that you don’t use anymore to reduce your online footprint and potential attack surface.

Allegiance Technology Solutions provides 24-7 Cybersecurity Monitoring services for our Managed IT Service clients. Our service will proactively monitor the Dark Web for you and notify you immediately when your data is found to be compromised.  If you are unsure if you have been victim of cybercrime, contact us and we can help you understand your options.  Call us at (912)-216-4050 if you are interested in using our cybersecurity protection services for your business.

 

 

What is a VoIP Phone System?

What is a VoIP Phone System?

VoIP Phone Systems for Business

If you are a small business owner, chances are your business started out with maybe one or two phone lines from your local phone company.  As businesses grow and start adding new employees and diversifying into different departments, the need for a more robust phone system becomes apparent.  Simple analog phone lines will no longer get the job done.  And managing personal or company owned mobile phones can quickly become cumbersome.

Yes, there are analog phone systems available to companies.  However, these systems are quite dated by today’s standards, requiring a lot of on-site equipment to handle all connections.  However, there is a newer more modern system for handling company phone calls and office communications, known as a VoIP phone system.

VoIP stands for Voice over IP, which refers to the system’s ability to convert analog (voice) communications for transport over existing Ethernet networks.  Essentially, a VoIP phone system can be added to an office network by taking advantage of existing cabling.  Because of this flexibility, implementing a VoIP phone system is a quick and  cost-efficient way of adding multiple phone lines to an office.

And the cost savings doesn’t stop at implementation.  On average, companies can save 30% to 50% on their monthly phone bills. Why are VoIP phone systems more cost efficient?  It is because with traditional analog lines, the service provider typically charges a fee per line, as each line is a discreet phone number.  However, a VoIP phone system typically only requires one phone number and relies on an IP PBX, a virtual switch box that routes phone calls to its intended extension.

VoIP Phone System Features

Yealink DECT Desk Phone

Along with being cost efficient to maintain and operate, VoIP phone systems offer additional benefits that traditional analog phone systems may not offer:

  • Multiple Extensions
  • Mobile and Desktop Apps
  • Auto Attendant / Digital Receptionist
  • Accessory and Headset Interoperability
  • Speakerphone and Intercom Modes
  • Call Routing and Ring Groups
  • Conference Calls
  • Easily transfer calls to coworkers
  • Voicemail Transcription and more

If you are considering upgrading your phone system, call us at 912-216-4050 and we will help you decide which features you may be of interest to you.  We have experience implementing professional phone systems for businesses in the Greater Savannah Area and beyond.

 

The Troubles of Delayed Maintenance – An I.T. Horror Story

The Troubles of Delayed Maintenance – An I.T. Horror Story

We are celebrating spooky season with a horror story of IT done wrong, a cautionary tale warning about the perils involved when a company does not consider their IT infrastructure a priority.  Hear the tale of a company that decided to do business without a Managed IT Service Plan in place.

It is no secret that Allegiance Technology Solutions is a Managed IT Service Provider.  For those unfamiliar with that term, Managed IT Service refers to outsourcing your IT support and maintenance, rather than hiring internal IT employees.  Depending on the size of your business, Managed IT Service plans provide a cost-efficient technology support system that makes sense from a financial standpoint.  With a good Managed IT Service Provider, you can have peace of mind that the technology your employees rely on will be supported and maintained, so you can focus on growing your business.

However, there are companies out there that can’t justify the monthly overhead costs associated with a Managed Service Plan.  They believe they can’t afford the monthly cost, or they don’t see the value or benefits of having a Managed Service Plan in place.  So they put off such things as required maintenance or scheduled updates.  Although a company can ride for some time without proper maintenance, eventually their luck will catch up with them, and problems occur.  A mission critical application crashes, or hardware starts to fail.  Eventually, something is going to fail.  And it usually happens at the worst time possible, right when you need it to work the most!

The Case of the Reluctant Accountant

Case in point: XYZ Accounting Services, a fictitious name for a real Certified Public Accountant company, recently experienced such a problem.  XYZ prepares taxes for many clients, and heavily relies on a specific application to process, record and file tax documentation on behalf of their clients.  The application was running on a very old server running Microsoft Windows Server 2012.

Yeah, the Windows Server version that was based on the horrid, unbeloved Microsoft Windows 8.  Shivers!

Microsoft Windows Server 2012 without a Managed IT Service Plan

Remember this interface?  The one that Microsoft wants us to forget?

XYZ had contracted our services many times over the years to fix one-off technical problems, choosing to pay our emergency support rate rather than agree to a monthly contract.  Despite several conversations about the benefits of a Managed IT Service contract, XYZ stubbornly refused our monthly service, thinking it was cheaper to pay the emergency fee on an as needed basis.

On a recent emergency support call, it was discovered that the hard drives in their aging server were starting to fail.  After several hours of work, we set up a band-aid solution for them so they could continue to work.  We warned the head of XYZ Accounting Services that their server was beginning to fail, data might become corrupted, and the hardware needed to be replaced ASAP.  He asked for a quote to replace the server.

After receiving the quote, XYZ decided the cost was going to be too much to handle.  And the aging server continued to limp along.  Until one day, a few months later, it could limp no more.

Again, Allegiance Technology Solutions was called upon to provide emergency support.  But the server had served its last record.  It had computed its last calculation.  It was time to release that old server to the great junkyard in the sky.

The server had to be replaced, there was no band-aid solution that was going to work this time.  After lengthy discussions, and a quick turnaround from our support team, a new server was being built while the data from the old server was being recovered.  And a new Managed IT Service contract with Allegiance Technology Solutions was born.

Finally, the new server was in place.  The application was installed and the data had been restored.  But after working for a few days, XYZ employees realized that not all of the data they were expecting to see was there.

Duh! Duh Duhhhhh!

Gasp!  Our horrors were confirmed!  The data was corrupted!

Our team went back to work, doing a deep scan of the failing hard drives.  We were able to use advanced data recovery tools on a Linux computer to recover more data, which was eventually restored to the new server.  XYZ was finally back up and running!  And they will be able to run for many years with a new maintenance agreement in place.

If Only…

If only XYZ Accounting Services had chosen to use us as their Managed IT Service Provider BEFORE there was a problem.  We would have had daily backups ready to restore their data.  We would have performed proactive hardware and software maintenance, increasing the reliability and longevity of the system.  We would have been able to advise XYZ about upcoming hardware replacements way before there was a failure.  And their emergency and weeks of downtime would have been completely avoided.

Life After Death

We are happy to say that XYZ is now a Managed IT Service client.  XYZ has learned a valuable lesson in technology maintenance, that it is something that should not be ignored.  Now their emergencies are no longer emergencies, as they have the service and expertise of Allegiance Technology Solutions just a phone call away.

Now, XYZ’s computers are protected by world-class antivirus software.  Server data is now being backed up daily.  We have remote access tools installed in case their staff needs quick access to tech support.  We have 24-hour security monitoring in place to alert us of security issues and real-time server health.    And now they have a proper network with professionally installed Ethernet cabling, enterprise class wi-fi access points, and internet protected by industry standard firewalls.

What About Your Business?

If you own a business and are interested in protecting your technology assets, increasing security, or just want to avoid a catastrophe like the one above, contact us today and we can discuss a Managed Service Plan that fits your business needs.  Until then, stay safe out there!

 

 

 

How to Avoid Wrong Number Scams

How to Avoid Wrong Number Scams

“Hi!”

Have you received random text messages from numbers that you don’t know?  Sometimes, they just say “Hi”, or they appear to be for someone else and mistakenly sent to you.  Either way, they look like the come from real phone numbers.  Is it safe to respond to these messages, or are these a scam?

Most likely these text messages are a scam, not just a chatty Kathy trying to make friends.  Sometimes these messages just start out with a mysterious “Hi”.  The scammer is hoping the person on the other end will be intrigued enough to respond.  If they get a response, they now know they have reached a working number, and will likely call or text you more in the future.

Identifying potential scams

Some scammers use messages that seem like they are intended for someone else.  They might say something like, “Hi, Mike. I had a great time at dinner last night”, or “Hi Susan, I really enjoyed our lunch meeting yesterday”.

Many people respond out of kindness, letting the person know that they have the wrong number.  What they don’t realize is that is exactly what the scammer wants.  At first, they may sound friendly or apologetic, maybe even try to start up a conversation.  But eventually the scammer will send a link to a malicious website or ask for money as part of a bigger con.

If you are unsure whether a wrong number message is a scam, proceed with caution.  The scammer may send messages for days or weeks before doing anything suspicious, or they may use seemingly harmless techniques, such as sending a link to a cool product to check out.  However, this could be a link to a malicious website or to their landing page.  If this is the case, any personal information or credit card numbers entered on the website will be available to the scammer.

How to avoid wrong number scams

Here are some best practices to avoid falling for text message scams like this one.

  • Avoid responding to unsolicited text messages from unknown numbers, even if they seem harmless.
  • Don’t click on links sent in text messages, even if the person seems friendly or has been messaging you for weeks.
  • Type in any links to a site directly into your browser instead of clicking provided links in text messages or emails.  Links can be made to appear to go to one site, while routing you to another site.  They may even go so far as to create a fake site that looks like the real site.
  • Always double-check site URLs before attempting to log in or enter in personal information.
  • Check what options your mobile phone has for blocking and reporting suspicious senders.  Here are some instructions for iPhone (iOS) and Android.

It is important not to let your guard down, as these are tactics commonly used by scammers.  Remember, these scammers can be tricky.  If you find yourself unsure about the legitimacy of a text message, it is best not to respond.​

If you are ever unsure if you have been the target of a scam, you can talk to one of our technicians at our storefront in Pembroke, GA.  We are open from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday, closed for holidays.  We normally service Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, such as Skidaway IslandTybee IslandStatesboroPoolerRichmond Hill and Hilton Head SC.  If you are located outside of the Greater Savannah area, we are always open to working with clients from in any area if the partnership makes sense.  if you are concerned about the security of your online information, we offer a service to scan the Dark Web for our business clients.

 

 

How Does the Dark Web Impact Small Businesses?

How Does the Dark Web Impact Small Businesses?

Identity theft is an unfortunate occurrence that is all too familiar with most business owners, but do those individuals know where the compromised data will end up? Often, these business owners are unaware of the virtual marketplace where stolen data is purchased and sold by cybercriminals; a place known as the “Dark Web”.  An article on Lexology explores what the Dark Web is, what information is available for purchase there and how it impacts small businesses.

What is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web, which is not accessible through traditional search engines is often associated with a place used for illegal criminal activity. While cybercriminals tend to use the Dark Web as a place to buy and sell stolen information, there are also sites within it that do not engage in criminal activity. For many, the most appealing aspect of the Dark Web is its anonymity.  Our previous article, Shining Light on the Dark Web describes this little-known section of the internet in greater detail.

What is for sale on the Dark Web?

Information sold on the Dark Web varies, and includes items such as stolen credit cards, stolen account information from financial institutions, forged real-estate documents, stolen credentials and compromised medical records. Even more alarming, the Dark Web contains subcategories allowing a criminal to search for a specific brand of credit card as well a specific location associated with that card. Not only can these criminals find individual stolen items on the Dark Web, but in some cases, entire “wallets” of compromised information are available for purchase, containing items such as a driver’s license, social security number, birth certificate and credit card information.

What is stolen personal information used for?

When stolen information is obtained by criminals, it can be used for countless activities like securing credit, mortgages, loans and tax refunds. It is also possible that a criminal could create a “synthetic identity” using stolen information and combining it with fictitious information, thus creating a new, difficult to discover identity.

Why are stolen credentials so valuable?

Stolen user names and passwords are becoming increasing popular among cybercriminals, but why? Identity thieves will often hire “account checkers” who take stolen credentials and attempt to break into various accounts across the web using those user names and passwords. The idea here is that many individuals have poor password practices and are using the same user name and password across various accounts, including business account such as banking and eCommerce. If the “account checker” is successful, the identity thief suddenly has access to multiple accounts, in some cases allowing them the opportunity to open additional accounts across financial and other services. 

Why should small businesses be concerned about the Dark Web?

Since the Dark Web is a marketplace for stolen data, most personal information stolen from small businesses will end up there, creating major cause for concern. With the media so often publicizing large-scale corporate data breaches, small businesses often think they are not a target for cybercriminals, however that is not the case. Cybercriminals are far less concerned about the size of a business than they are with how vulnerable their target is. Small businesses often lack resources to effectively mitigate the risks of a cyberattack, making them a prime target for identity theft as well as other cybercrimes.

At a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conference, privacy specialists noted that information available for purchase on the Dark Web was up to twenty times more likely to come from a company who suffered a data breach that was not reported to the media. The FTC also announced at the conference that the majority of breaches investigated by the U.S. Secret Service involved small businesses rather than large corporations.

How can you reduce the risk for your small business?

To reduce the risks of a cybercriminal gaining access to your company’s information or network, you must ensure you have proper security measures in place. The FTC has a webpage that can assist with security options for businesses of any size.  In addition, it is crucial that your employees are properly trained on security, including appropriate password practices.

Allegiance Technology Solutions provides 24-7 Cybersecurity Monitoring services for our Managed IT Service clients. Our service will proactively monitor the Dark Web for you and notify you immediately when your data is found to be compromised.  There is minimal effort needed to protect your business when you partner with us.  We will automatically monitor for your organization’s email domain on the Dark Web. If we find anything floating around out there, you can rest assured that you will be notified, and we will be there to help protect your personal and company data.  When it comes to the security of your company data, we want to provide you peace of mind so you can focus on other areas of your business.