Password Protection

Password Protection

Password management is one of the most basic ways of securing your network and data. However, a surprising number of people do not practice password protection, leaving their computer systems vulnerable to hackers.

Hackers are constantly searching for passwords with which to penetrate your computer network. Phishing attacks, for example, will urge your people to log into a fake site using their passwords, recording them if they comply. Some use a brute force method using common words and phrases. Unsecured devices such as a personal computer or mobile device or a hotel kiosk can be infected with malware that captures passwords.

With that in mind, here follow some suggestions for sound password management.

  • Use long strings of characters, a good mix of alphanumeric and special characters. Avoid common words and phrases. Do not use familiar phrases such as birthdays, anniversaries, favorite TV shows, etc.
  • Never write down your passwords and leave the document in an unsecured location. A surprising number of people will write down a password on a post it note and leave it attached to their work station.
  • Never share your password, especially with someone outside your organization.
  • Be wary about logging into the system with a personal device from offsite. Always use a device that has been secured against malware by your data security people.
  • Never respond to phishing attempts. Do not open suspicious emails, and do not comply when they ask you to log into a website using your password. If you think you have fallen for such a scheme, change your password immediately, and contact your data security department,
  • Change your password periodically, at least every quarter.
  • Never use the same password for different devices.
  • Make sure that no one is looking over your shoulder when you key in your password,
  • Run antivirus software periodically to clean your computer of malware, such as a keylog virus that can pick up your password.

For more information contact us.

Spear Phishing: Your Data at Risk

Spear Phishing: Your Data at Risk

Spear phishing attacks are especially insidious. An attacker targets an employee in an attempt to trick him into releasing confidential data.

These attackers may use your public directory to identify a likely target and send him an “urgent” request ostensibly from a higher-up. An employee who thinks he’s fulfilling a legitimate request can release confidential data before anyone has a chance to prevent it.

There are several techniques that can help prevent embarrassing, and expensive, data loss.

First, every company should educate their employees so that they understand data security. For example, confidential data should never be sent via email. Users should also be aware that email addresses can easily be faked (called spoofing), so any unusual request for data should be verified in person. Employees are the first line of defense against spear phishing attacks.

However, there is always a chance that an employee will be tricked by one of these attacks, so it’s important that you have other lines of defense in place.

Because spear phishing attacks are usually delivered through email, ensure that your company email provides security measures like encryption, address verification, and two-factor authentication.

Encrypting your data will ensure that unauthorized people can’t access it even if they do manage to acquire a file. All confidential data should be encrypted, and employees should be taught how to use encryption technology.

Email address verification will alert, or prevent delivery, of emails from addresses that differ from what they claim to be. Because spear phishing attacks typically rely on spoofed email addresses, this is a critical step in securing company data.

Finally, two-factor authentication will prevent unauthorized access to company email or resources even when a user’s password has been compromised. Because two-factor authentication requires a second authentication, like a pin that is generated by a separate device or texted to a user’s phone, a hacker will still be unable to access the user’s account.

It’s important to work with a security professional to assess individual company needs and find and fix vulnerabilities. Please contact us to arrange for a consultation.

Tip of the Week: How to Cut Back on Your Mobile Data Use

Tip of the Week: How to Cut Back on Your Mobile Data Use

One of the biggest benefits of mobile data is how useful it is to business users for networking and productivity while they’re on-the-go.

However, one of the biggest drawbacks to mobile data is how easy it is to use up while networking and being productive, and how expensive this can be. Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce the amount of data an Android device uses, as we’ll discuss in this tip.

Diagnosing Data Usage

The first step to using less data is to know where your data is being used. Therefore, it only makes sense to identify where your data is going. Accessing the System Settings and navigating to Network & Internet will give you the option to check your Mobile data usage. This screen will show you which applications used what amount of data, and going into each listed application, if that data was used in the background or through the user’s actual activity.

Capping Apps

Once you know where your data is going, you can put some stops in place to keep it from all funneling out. There are quite a few ways to do this:

Limit Updates

There are many applications that are notorious for refreshing themselves regularly – which means that they burn through mobile data at a pretty consistent basis. Social media applications are prime examples of such apps. There are two methods to cutting back how often these applications update their information.

First, go into each app’s settings and try to find an option that will reduce the amount of data that an app consumes in the background. If that doesn’t work, return to your system settings and access that particular application’s settings from there to deactivate background data. Of course, this isn’t the best idea with some apps, like messaging apps, that need to refresh in the background to function properly.

Deactivate Some Features

Many apps also have baked-in features that tend to chew up more data than necessary, like auto-play and high-quality streaming. Again, by accessing each app’s settings, you should find the option to limit the amount of mobile data that is used. Activating these options will greatly reduce the data that these applications leech out during your use of them.

Prepare in Advance

Whenever possible, downloading the content you want to view ahead of time also helps reduce your mobile data consumption. By utilizing WiFi, you avoid chewing through your allotted mobile data and will then have it stored for later viewing at your leisure.

You can even do this with Google Maps – by searching for the area in which you’ll need to navigate, you can download that area’s information to access it later in the Offline Maps section.

Clearly, there is no shortage of ways that you can trim back your mobile data usage – and you should encourage your employees to do the same.

Check back here for more IT tips.

Cybersecurity: Never Leave Your Devices Unattended

Cybersecurity: Never Leave Your Devices Unattended

People leave their electronic devices, be they phones or laptops, completely unattended every single day. Of all the ways that your device can be stolen, such carelessness is the most easily avoided of them all. 

It is actually rather scary how common it is to see someone just leaving their electronic devices lying out in the open with their owner nowhere to be seen. It almost seems as if these people are daring any potential thieves to take their stuff. To avoid this, there are a few basic tips that you should employ to avoid being in a situation where you have to leave your valuable electronics lying out in the open.

Get an Inconspicuous Carrying Case

If the carrying case you use for your various electronic devices doesn’t look like it’s stuffed full of laptops, hard drives, and cell phones then nobody will want to steal that bag. Get yourself an inconspicuous carrying case that looks as nondescript as possible to help avoid potential bag snatchers targeting your belongings. 

After all, if someone sees you carrying a bag stuffed full of expensive electronic devices, they will snatch it as soon as they are able. On the other hand, if you just look like you’re carrying a cheap bar phone and work files, they will be less likely to attempt a robbery.

Don’t Leave Your Device in Plain Sight

There will be times when you have no other option than to leave your device sitting out. If that happens, then you should avoid leaving it out in plain sight. If you must leave your devices somewhere and cannot have them with you, hide them in an inconspicuous case or cover it with an object that people are disinclined to move or mess around with.

If you feel that you need additional tips or help with avoiding having your electronics stolen in public areas, contact us today