Five PC Security Tips For Your Employees

When work is more efficient through computers, it is important for any boss to be fully aware of the possible dangers to the company’s cyber security. When data is often the target of criminals it takes more than just good software to keep them out. Today, we discuss five PC security tips that you can share with your employees.

Always log out

This is one of the most overlooked tips that can protect any company’s cyber security. A lot of employees and even bosses are guilty of this. We’ve all become quite accustomed to the convenience of not having to login after coming back from yesterday’s shift or even from a short break. In the amount of time that you’ve left your details in your computer, you would have granted access to anyone who might have physically sneaked unto your computer or even to those who hijacked the PC to control it remotely.

Leaving your details in not only leaves the data stored vulnerable but it also leaves your employee’s details vulnerable as well. There’s 85% probability that the password that an employee uses for work is also the password they use for personal accounts. So to avoid that risk, always log out of all accounts whenever you’re not at your post.

Be alert and aware

This is particularly true with remote workers. If your employees have the freedom to work in co-working spaces or coffee shops, you need to tell them to always be on guard. Employees should maintain awareness of their surroundings. Employees need to keep a sharp feel out for anyone that might be watching over their shoulders or eavesdropping on any work calls.

Remind them to never leave any devices or documents that pertain to work unguarded. This means that employees must not leave their bags, parcels, laptops, and other mobile devices in their cars as well. It’s ultimately better for employees to have devices and documents under their custody at all times. Or at least, place them in a secure place when they’re not there.

Avoid using the same password

This can be applied to personal accounts as well as professional ones. For company emails, it’s best to assign generated passwords and to replace those passwords every 3 months. While it may come off as a bit of a hassle, it’s ultimately best to not get too attached to a particular password. Having impersonal and randomly generated passwords will come off as stronger and harder to guess.

Actively read up on new vulnerabilities and attacks

An employee that is armed with knowledge makes them less likely to fall pray to a cyber attack. As a boss, you need to ensure that your employees are suitably aware and educated about the different sort of online scams or attacks through an email or a link. Bosses also need to encourage their employees to be aware of new modus operandis that pop up. Subscribing to a website which discusses cyber security would more than likely always be updating on new types of attacks and scams.

A company whose employees are proactive in their defense make a good front line of defense when it comes to their cyber security.

Never download unauthorized software

Many system threats are disguised as programs that are free to download on the Web. As a boss, it’s your job to make sure that employees know that they should not allow this sort of potential threat onto network devices and terminals. Better yet, lock down the enterprise systems so that users do not have the ability to install them in the first place. Requiring admin permissions before anyone can download anything is a pretty safe security measure to take.

4 Tips To Better Protect Yourself Online

It’s hard to not need the internet these days. When you need new information, need to read or answers emails from work, get in touch with people who don’t have working phones, or even ordering something that exclusively sold online–connectivity to the internet is crucial. Criminals take this certainty and abuse it which is why everyone is vulnerable to a cyber attack. Hackers will try to steal your credit card numbers, tax records, and even passwords.

To avoid this, it’s important that you arm yourself with the necessary knowledge on how to really protect yourself when you go online. Today, we discuss four tips on how you can avoid being a victim online.

1.) Craft Strong Passwords

One of the oldest tricks in the book but still rings true to this day. Passwords should be difficult to hack and crack. To avoid building a weak password incorporate capital letters, numbers, and special characters in it. As much as possible make the password more than six words. Also, never reuse your passwords for any of your other accounts. Reusing passwords makes it very easy for unscrupulous people to gain access to more than one of your accounts.

A good example of a strong password is t1R0p!h&Y. Review your own current set of passwords and change them if they aren’t ‘strong’.

2.) Be cautious when using Instant Messaging programs

Since connectivity is all the rage, companies have constantly strove to provide the public with better instant messaging programs. This does not mean, however, that hackers do not find ways to infiltrate these programs and create bots to engage actual users.  They create various profiles to message actual users and mimic initial conversation before enticing the user to click a certain link that the bot provides. These links are often phishing attempts or worse.

To save yourself from being a victim of online bots and their dubious links, do not engage with a sudden message from strangers. A common rule of thumb for savvy instant messaging users is that they only speak to people they know or are expecting a message from.

3.) Be a sharp online shopper

Before typing in your credit card information, make sure that the website is using secure technology. The moment you visit a shop’s website and when you’re at the checkout page, make sure that the web address begins with HTTPS. This refers to Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure–having the web address start with this means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.

Also, do not entertain pop-ups. Only engage with the actual tab opened in your browser. Be mindful of mimic pop-up pages that may try to get your credit card information.

4.) Be careful about how you use your email

As email is one of the primary avenues in which businesses interact with each other and with their employees, it is a treasure trove that hackers are just dying to crack into.  The trouble about email is that even if you, personally, have good PC security–your recipients may not.

So to be safe, never share sensitive information in any email. Never send your credit card information, social security number, and other private information via email.

Phishing Techniques: The 2016 Refresher Course

A common threat to your pc security is phishing. It may sound rather familiar as it’s been around for quite some time. BUT that is exactly the reason why you should be wary of it. Phishing is one of the more enduring ways in which scoundrels will aim to breach your cyber security. For the purpose of providing a more modern understanding of the phishing scam, this article discusses how it is now perpetrated with the technological developments we’ve enjoyed in the past years.

To clarify, phishing is the method where in your personal information is stolen through spam or other deceptive means. A cause of concern for this scam is that it evolves with the technology available. In order to effectively secure your information from internet phishing, it is important to have an updated knowledge of anti-phishing techniques.

Emails

When email was launched, it was to be the main way in which malware could be injected into a user’s system. This malware is usually attached to spam emails—once you click any links or any files within that email, the malware starts operating.

Search Engines

Who doesn’t use Google’s search engine nowadays, right? So it was inevitable that phishing scams would take this route as well. The scams works by directing the user to product sites that offer deals that seem too good to be true (and it is!). The less savvy pc owner may end up trying to buy a product and enter their credit card details which are the main target of the phishing sites. It is crucial for users to understand that there are fake bank websites that are tailored to look like the sites of reputable banks. These fake sites offer credit cards or loans at a very low rate so it’s important to be discerning of the sites you visit through search engine results.

Social Media Pop-ups

Whenever you access your social media pages, it is important that you keep track of which window or tab you are using. Phishing scams have evolved to the point that they can mimic your social media page quite convincingly but are in fact a pop-up or a different page entirely. If you try to interact with any of the icons of the pop-up, it’ll tell you that you have a new friend request or that you’ve been logged out and will need to sign back in. If you do, this will give phishers more information with which they can try to steal your identity.

Instant Messaging

With so many apps that feature a way to connect with strangers, it’s not unusual to get a message from a stranger who’s hoping to connect. So, phishing has evolved to incorporate even this seemingly innocuous exchange. You’re more than likely to get a message from a program, called bots, masquerading as a person and will likely send you the usual lines like “hello”. Once you engage or reply, you will receive a few odd lines and will eventually be directed to a link. Once you click it, a program will start and will infiltrate your profile and log your details like usernames and passwords which can be used to access other accounts.

Different Viruses That Threaten Your Cyber Security

Crime has been an ever-present factor in our lives. It certainly has been the bane of our existence. With the advent of computer systems and working remotely, it was inevitable that criminal intent would evolve to meet our technological advancements. From the street to the cyber age, crime has definitely caught up. Our physical selves are no longer the target; it is our information that is at risk.

Cyber security or computer security is the fortification of information systems from malicious intent or damage to the hardware, software, and the information the system holds. Disruption and misdirection of the normal process of the service provided by our computer system is also a form of attack that strong cyber security processes prevent. One of the many forms of cyber threats is a virus. A good way to protect yourself and your system from any real damage is to have a basic knowledge of the different viruses that threaten your cyber security.

The more common type of virus that attacks your cyber security is called a Macro Virus. It is a virus that is made in a programming language that is usually placed inside a software application. Most common targets are word processors and spreadsheet applications. We all do documents and accounting spreads in Microsoft Office which is why this is a common target of those will ill intent. A macro virus is usually embedded within a document and runs the moment a document is opened. This is why you should never just open attachments in e-mails. One of the key foundations of cyber security is having antivirus programs in place. They can detect a macro virus yet newer and stronger types of this virus are constantly being made so detecting them can still be difficult.

Another type of virus is called an Overwriting Virus. It is program that actively infects and destroys the original program coding of a system’s memory. They are designed to attack the operating system (OS) and to overwrite the set information. This sort of virus is determined to be more harmful as they target parts of a user’s system. This virus is acquired usually through file transfers and e-mails.

The Directory Virus does its damage by changing the paths that specify the location of a file. Often, when your system has been hit by this virus, it becomes difficult or impossible to locate the original files.

The Boot Virus attacks the boot sector of a hard disk or a bootable drive. The boot sector is a crucial part wherein the data on the disk or USB is stored along with the program that allows it start up. The best way of avoiding boot viruses that compromise your cyber security is to ensure that your portable memory drives are protected and constantly scanned. Also, never start your computer with an unknown drive attached to it.

A Direct Action Virus selects one or several files to infect every time its code is executed. Its intent is to replicate itself and to spread to other files whenever its program is activated. It often chooses files that are at the root directory of the system’s hard drive. That is the part that is responsible for doing particular actions when the system is started. In most cases, a direct action virus will not delete your system files or attempt to lower the overall performance output of your computer. It will, however, block access to certain applications and files. The most effective defense that cyber security has is a constantly running virus scanner that will not only locate and detect the virus but will destroy it as well.

Your cyber security must always have these key ingredients: an anti-virus program, an anti-spyware program, a running firewall, constantly updated system software, an anti-spam program, and up-to-date back up of your data. Having these is sure to help protect your important data from those who wish to profit from your systematic loss.

TІРЅ TO PROTECT YOUR СОMРUTЕR DАTА

TІРЅ TO PROTECT YOUR СОMРUTЕR DАTА

Imаgіnе for a ѕесоnd, уоur соmрutеr ѕуѕtеm juѕt сrаѕhеd аnd you mау have juѕt lost аll оf уоur precious dаtа. Dо уоu feel the еmрtіnеѕѕ іn your ѕtоmасh оr the lumр in your thrоаt? Hаvе you рut оff doing a bасkuр оf уоur PC fоr thе lаѕt tіmе оr will you рrосrаѕtіnаtе аgаіn? Yоu never know whеn dіѕаѕtеr mіght ѕtrіkе аnd уоu wіll nееd tо реrfоrm a ѕуѕtеm rеѕtоrе.

Whіlе you ѕіt their reading this you ѕhоuld bесоmе аwаrе оf whеrе уоu аrе backing up уоur data. Once уоu rеаlіzе that уоur dаtа is precious you ѕhоuld decide tо рrоtесt іt. Nеxt, уоu mіght аѕk, “Hоw?” аnd “Whеrе dо I backup my fіlеѕ?”.

Knоwіng whеrе tо bасkuр уоur data іѕ аn important factor in thіѕ рrосеѕѕ. Yоu wіll have ѕо mаnу сhоісеѕ but wе will whittle them down. Bеlоw are juѕt a fеw орtіоnѕ you will еnсоuntеr:

  • USB соnnесtеd ѕtоrаgе
  • Fіrеwіrе соnnесtеd ѕtоrаgе
  • Nеtwоrk connected ѕtоrаgе

Yоu wіll come асrоѕѕ storage ѕіzеѕ ranging frоm 20 GB tо 750 GB.

Thе роіnt іѕ уоu need to identify whаt YOU need. Don’t lеt аnуоnе ѕеll уоu anything уоu dоn’t need. Plаn this оut bеfоrе уоu bеgіn, it will ѕаvе уоu ѕоmе tіmе аnd money іn thе lоng run.

  • Whаt dо уоu nееd tо knоw for уоu tо рlаn this оut?
  • Hоw muсh dаtа will уоu bасkuр?
  • Will уоu be bасkіng uр уоur mр3’ѕ, рісturеѕ, vіdеоѕ, or just wоrk data?
  • Whаt еvеr dаtа уоu have dесіdеd tо bасkuр thе ѕіzе of it wіll mаttеr. Hоw many MB (mеgа bуtеѕ) does it tаkе up оn уоur hаrd drive?

Yоu may bе wondering how you can fіnd out hоw muсh ѕрасе аll оf your dаtа is tаkіng up. Wеll, fоr оnе, most реорlе kеер ѕоmе type оf fоldеr ѕtruсturе.

All уоu hаvе tо dо іѕ rіght click thе fоldеr оf сhоісе and сlісk оn properties. That gives you an іdеа оf hоw muсh ѕрасе thе еntіrе fоldеr іѕ tаkіng up. Yоu can keep a tаllу оf аll of your folders аnd іt wіll gіvе уоu an аррrоxіmаtе аmоunt of drіvе ѕрасе уоu wіll need to bасkuр уоur dаtа.

Ok, this is рrеttу ѕіmрlе but уоu don’t wаnt to gо оut аnd рurсhаѕе a drіvе thаt іѕ at the same size аѕ уоur dаtа you hаvе juѕt calculated. The rеаѕоn fоr this is because mоrе thаn likely уоur dаtа іѕ gоіng to grоw over time.

The аmоunt of grоwth іѕ gоіng to bе dеtеrmіnеd bу how often аnd how much уоu аdd tо уоur соllесtіоn оf dаtа. This grоwth wіll bе dіffеrеnt fоr еvеrу реrѕоn dереndіng оn how thеу uѕе thеіr соmрutеr. Thе іnduѕtrу ѕtаndаrd іѕ аbоut thіrtу реrсеnt grоwth реr year fоr dаtа іn many buѕіnеѕѕеѕ. That fіgurе іѕ juѕt tо give уоu an approximation tо ѕtаrt looking аt hоw muсh dаtа storage you wіll need.

Getting a рlаn tо start іѕ оnе оf the first thіngѕ уоu need to dо bеfоrе you start backing uр your data. Yоu hаvе to know whаt уоu want tо bасk up аnd where you will рut іt before уоu ѕtаrt.

Yоu ѕhоuld test уоur backups rеgulаrlу because уоu nеvеr knоw whеn уоu will nееd tо реrfоrm a ѕуѕtеm rеѕtоrе оr a desktop rеѕtоrе. Yоu саn go tо аnу еlесtrоnісѕ ѕtоrе and fіnd a large variety оf Hard Drіvе storage. Dоn’t bе afraid tо аѕk ԛuеѕtіоnѕ. This іѕ your dаtа we аrе tаlkіng аbоut.

Nоw thаt уоu have bеgun to get a fоundаtіоn оn bасkіng uр your data уоu wіll еvеntuаllу need tо lеаrn how tо реrfоrm backups and ѕуѕtеm rеѕtоrеѕ. You wіll fееl bеttеr nоw knowing thаt уоu hаvе learned ѕоmе оf the ѕtерѕ nесеѕѕаrу tо рrоtесt уоurѕеlf and your dаtа frоm catastrophe. Tаkе ѕоmе асtіоn аnd start backing uр уоur PC today.

Others you can bank on are ;

ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE

An аbѕоlutе muѕt have. Alrіght, уоu аlrеаdу knеw that, but I саn’t ѕtrеѕѕ too ѕtrоnglу thе importance оf hаvіng gооd, uр-tо-dаtе antivirus software. Wіth nеw thrеаtѕ and Vіruѕеѕ аrrіvіng еvеrу dау іt’ѕ іmроrtаnt tо maintain update ѕubѕсrірtіоnѕ аnd dоwnlоаd vіruѕ dеfіnіtіоn uрdаtеѕ as soon аѕ they bесоmе available.

Thеrе’ѕ a lot of good аntіvіruѕ ѕоftwаrе available, bоth free аnd fоr lоw cost. I’d rесоmmеnd gоіng fоr paid software…you just nеvеr knоw whеn уоu’rе going tо nееd tо саll a hеlр desk аnd that’s generally thе difference bеtwееn thе frее stuff аnd thе stuff уоu pay for. Norton, MсAfее, Grіѕоft (AVG) аnd оthеrѕ all ѕеll аntіvіruѕ software that’s affordable оn a lоw budgеt.

FIREWALL

A fіrеwаll is аlwауѕ rесоmmеndеd tо help protect аgаіnѕt unauthorized ассеѕѕ to уоur PC. For a ѕmаll numbеr оf PCѕ a ѕоftwаrе firewall іѕ uѕuаllу bеѕt аnd іѕ the еаѕіеѕt tо wоrk wіth іf уоu’rе nоt аn IT еxреrt. However, dоn’t dіѕсоunt hаrdwаrе fіrеwаllѕ, especially if уоu hаvе a nеtwоrk wіth a lot оf dеvісеѕ оn іt.

Whаtеvеr уоu dо, dоn’t rеlу on thе Network Addrеѕѕ Trаnѕlаtіоn оr packet fіltеr buіlt іn tо your Brоаdbаnd оr Cаblе rоutеr. It аlmоѕt certainly won’t be еnоugh.

If you’re buуіng a particular соmраnу’ѕ Antіvіruѕ ѕоftwаrе іt’ѕ wоrth considering buying their іntеgrаtеd AV аnd fіrеwаll расkаgе іf thеу hаvе оnе (if they dоn’t then mауbе you ѕhоuld trу ѕоmеоnе else). It mау wеll save уоu money аnd be еаѕіеr tо соnfіgurе аnd mаіntаіn.

ANTI-SPYWARE SOFTWARE

If уоu ѕреnd a lot оf time brоwѕіng the Web (аnd let’s face it, who dоеѕn’t?), then spyware is gоіng to find іtѕ wау onto уоur mасhіnе. A lot оf іt іѕn’t particularly nаѕtу, but thе rеаllу bаd stuff саn ѕеnd important іnfоrmаtіоn lіkе passwords, bаnk dеtаіlѕ оr сrеdіt саrd numbers tо people уоu rеаllу don’t wаnt tо hаvе ассеѕѕ tо thаt stuff. At thе very lеаѕt it саn ѕlоw dоwn уоur PC аnd since уоu dіdn’t аѕk for іt іn thе fіrѕt place thеn уоu ѕhоuld gеt rіd оf іt.

 

Yesterday vs. Today: Business & Technology

Yesterday vs Today: Business & Technology

10 years ago, technology was much different than it is today.  Take a look at decade old technology and tell me things haven’t improved a bit:

1) Genuine Windows® XP Professional, SP2 with Media

I customized this computer model two times.  My computer will be $1424 and John’s computer will be $1805.  Both prices include tax and shipping.  My computer has the following:

intel processor

This computer build is necessary for my work.  I customized this computer, using Dell’s small business work station option, to handle my work.  It has a fast processor and a lot of memory, which allows me to run many processes quickly without freezing up the computer.  This was the minimum option, which was enough for me because I will not be doing any major work.  There was no option to get rid of the video card, but it may help to make the screen easier on the eyes after hours of work.  I chose the minimum 80 GB SATA hard drive option and created a 20 GB partition to store backup data, in case of a system crash.  This hard drive was the minimum option in its category, but is still faster than the PATA/IDE hard drives.  The E177FP Analog Flat Panel monitor was the minimum option in its category.  I could have bought a separate monitor for a better price, but this flat screen monitor greatly reduces glare and the increases the ease on your eyes, when looking at it.  The 48x CD-ROM drive is necessary in case I purchase any new software from a store, and do not download it.  I will need to use the install CD-ROM.

John’s computer has the following:

sata drive

This computer is necessary for John’s work.  I customized this computer, using Dell’s small business work station option again, to handle his type of work.  This computer has a dual-core processor and maxed out memory at 4GB, 667 MHz, DDR2 SDRAM Memory, ECC (4 DIMMS).  This will allow John to run a very large amount of processes on his computer without it freezing up.  It will be perfect for transferring music to and from his computer.  Again, there was no option to get rid of the video card, but it may help to make the screen easier on the eyes after hours of work.  The hard drive is a 250 GB SATA Hard drive which I partitioned to have a 50 GB backup drive.  The E177FP Analog Flat Panel monitor was the minimum option in its category again.  I could have bought a separate monitor for a better price, but this flat screen monitor greatly reduces glare and the increases the ease on your eyes, when looking at it.  On both computers, the combination of the video card and flat screen monitor will be easier on the eyes during working hours.  Lastly, the 48x CD-ROM drive is necessary in case I purchase any software from a store, that needs to be installed with a CD-ROM, or in case I have a CD-ROM that we are going to upload music from.

Microsoft Access is needed for our business.  John can use it to easily create reports and create tables of information about anything from our customers to our song inventories and profits.  On top of that, I can drive to COMP USA in five minutes to pick it up immediately.

Gold Wave Audio Editor is another necessity.  This program can be downloaded from the company website after one payment of $50.00.  System requirements include: Dell XP computer and Direct X 8.0 or better.

This audio editor does everything.  I downloaded a demo for my laptop.  Here are a few things it can do: change music frequency, shorten music, lengthen music, change the tempo of the music, and take out clips of music (like our 30 second clips).

Internet Explorer through Road Runner is the last piece.  Time Warner Cable provides Road Runner for $29.95 for the first 6 months and $44.95 monthly after that.

Road Runner is a great choice for our business because it the fastest internet we can get for an affordable price.  It is always on, and connected.  It has its own built-in security system, and allows for speedy downloads and uploads, along with streaming of music and video.  Also, what I really like is the fact that it provides multiple free email accounts.

Road Runner’s email needs the same system requirements as above, all of which our computers have.

Road Runner provides all of these email accounts for free with their cable service.  I can make as many email accounts as I want with Road Runner.  Also, they provide email security, like anti-phishing software, and junk-email filters.

Keep in mind that the various software mentioned changes by business.  On one side of the spectrum is music, where software might include mixing technology.  On the other side is something like pest control, where maybe it’s just security features for the computer system or database housing the company’s customer data.


Fast forward back to the current reality…a $300 laptop purchased right now at Walmart can outperform either of the two options above, which combined amounted to ~$3,400 from Dell a decade ago.  Regardless of whether you’re in music, pest control, or any other field of business, technology has improved, and security has too.  The importance of having a firewall, proper security software, and appropriate protocols in place in case of an incident has never been more critical.  While technology has advanced for everything computers, so has the uniqueness of viruses and spyware that hackers and misguided coders create.  Stay vigilant.

This post was sponsored by the best pest control company in Portland, OR.  They use the security functionality we mention in this post.  Ask for Micheal!

Feedback

Based on the feedback we received at securityprotection@securityseer.com, we have modified our company breach example page to give more detail on the process the company follows, why security is needed, and what was done.  Thank you for the continued feedback as we improve our site.  Please email us at the address above with any comments or suggestions.  Thank you.

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What is Near-field Communication?

What is Near-field Communication?

NFC is a wireless technology that makes use of interacting electromagnetic radio fields to transmit small bits of information between an “initiator” and a “target” — a key card and your hotel room door, for example.  This is the same technology that was hacked during Target’s breach, which is why it’s important to protect your company.

Technical Specifications: As with proximity card technology, near-field communication is mediated by magnetic induction between two loop antennas located within each other’s near field, effectively forming an air-core transformer.

near field communications operation modules

The 3 near field communication operations modules are Peer-to-Peer, Read/Write Mode, and NFC Card Emulation Mode.  Peer-to-Peer is LLCP meaning it’s run by logical link control protocol.  Read/Write is RTD & NDEF, meaning Record Definition Type and Data Exchange Format.  NFC Card Emulation mode is a smart card capability for mobile devices.

NFC has a set-up time of less that .1 millisecond.  It’s range is up to 10 cm and it’s usability it high; it’s human-centric, easy, intuitive, and fast.  The selectivity is high given its security.  The use cases are: pay, get access share, initiate service, and easy setup.  The consumer experience is touch, wave, and connecting simply.

NFC in Comparison to RFID, IrDa, and Bluetooth

NFC comparison