September 19th, 2013
Everyone is interested in the silver bullet that will magically make them completely secure and afe from any cyber threat. It doesn’t exist, but as Thorin Klosowski points out at Lifehacker, there are a number of ways to become more secure within minutes.
By far the simplest and quickest way to improve security is to enable 2 factor authentication on your online accounts. With this more secure type of log-in, you’ll be prompted for your password, but you won’t be given access to your account until you’re given a second authentication method. In many cases, you’ll be texted or called with a code to enter to prove that you are who you say you are. Once you’ve gone through this process, a hacker would need to using your computer, or have your smartphone to gain access to your account.
A password manager can be added to practically any browser and will automatically log you into accounts that have been added to it. This actually sounds less secure, but the password manager locks away all your passwords and encrypts them so they’re safe. You’ll only need to remember one master password to use the password manager. Many managers will even generate a strong, random password for each site you wish to use with it, so the only way to log in to those accounts is by having access to the password manager.
Email encryption has some headaches associated with it. Most notably, encrypted emails require a key to read, so whoever you’re sending a message to will need the key. But sending them the key over email defeats the purpose of encryption. You probably don’t need to encrypt every email you send, but messages containing information like bank accounts, social security numbers or even contact information are good candidates for encryption. Just be sure to send the encryption key through text, or in person.
Backing up your files is always a good idea, but, just like email, it’s important to encrypt files containing potentially valuable data. There are a number of services that offer encrypted back ups, but one obstacle is that usually these encrypted files won’t be available to you on another machine. That means you won’t be able to access them from your smartphone or at work.
These steps will improve your online security, but nothing is unhackable. The idea is to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to access your data and accounts. Geek Rescue specializes in improving your cyber security to keep your information safe and your devices free from malware. Give us a call at 918-369-4335 to find out how to strengthen your security.
September 18th, 2013
The focus of data breaches is usually on the company who was breached. Articles detail how to better secure your company’s data and how to recover if your company gets hacked, but what about the users whose personal information is now in the hands of criminals?
If you are informed by a company you have an account with that your data has been compromised, Andy O’Donnell of About has some advice for what to do next.
The absolute first thing to do is change the password on the compromised account. This isn’t a futile effort. Most likely, your log-in information is just one of thousands or millions of log-ins stolen. There’s a good chance that the hackers haven’t even been able to try it yet. So, change that password immediately and you could save yourself a lot of trouble. To be safe, take this opportunity to change the other passwords on your most used accounts. Passwords should be changed periodically anyway, but if a knowledgeable criminal has your email address and other information, it’s possible they’ve hacked into other accounts.
- Contact Your Bank And Credit Card Companies
Even if your bank was the company who contacted you about the breach, you’ll want to make sure there’s a fraud alert on your accounts. This way, any suspicious activity will be immediately noticed and you won’t end up with thousands of dollars missing. You’ll probably also want to get new credit and debit cards with new numbers. Credit card information is often the goal of any data breach, so if there’s any way the compromised company had your card number on file, be proactive and get a new card.
- Ask About Free Identity Theft Prevention Services
It has become common practice for a breached company to offer this service to their affected customers. But, you may have to ask to get the offer. Or, asking may cause them to offer it to you even if they weren’t planning to originally.
- Request A Freeze On Your Credit Report
This isn’t for everyone as their are positives and negatives to a security freeze. Do your research before requesting one. The reason it may be useful is that criminals who have access to your personal information will likely attempt to open a line of credit with it in your name. Irreparable harm could be done to your credit score if left unchecked.
Should you learn that your valuable data has been stolen from a company you do business with, you’ll want to act quickly to avoid as much damage as possible. You can’t get the data back, but you can make it significantly less valuable and prevent it from hurting you.
Geek Rescue helps business stay more secure in order to avoid these data breaches. We also help keep your home computer and network secure, so your personal information isn’t stolen directly from you. To find out how Geek Rescue helps your home and business, give us a call at 918-369-4335.
September 18th, 2013
Cloud computing is vital to business for storage, security, disaster recovery and continuity. As many as 90-percent of companies have adopted some sort of cloud service and many of those use multiple cloud models.
David Deans, of Business Technology Roundtable, explains how the reliance on cloud computing is changing e-commerce business. This change comes with inherent challenges.
This refers to IT and the rest of your business not being connected. Your business may have needs that IT doesn’t yet know about and those needs may be addressed by adopting a new cloud technology before consulting with IT. This results in security concerns, redundancies and incompatibility. With cloud computing, communication across all departments is more vital than ever.
Shockingly, a number of businesses fail to adequately track the cost of their IT usage. Usage costs, training of staff members and upgrades to networks all contribute to a price tag that ends up much higher than expected. When implementing any new technology into your business, cloud systems included, it’s important to budget and track costs closely.
- Transforming Set Practices
A cloud system allows your business to run differently than it ever has before, but sometimes old habits die hard. Many professionals report that altering existing policies is an even greater challenge than integrating the new technology.
There are a number of benefits to adding cloud computing to your IT infrastructure, but as with any change to your business, there are challenges as well.
For help integrating a cloud into your business, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
September 18th, 2013
A Denial-of-Service attack, or DoS, refers to an attempt by a cyber criminal to interrupt your ability to connect to users. These attacks are launched against websites, networks and apps to disable them, usually by overloading the target with communication requests. In other words, the hackers force the website or network to shut down due to an excessive amount of traffic.
Bob Gorski, of PivotPoint Security, notes that about 65-percent of organizations have experienced three DoS attacks in the past year. The assumption is that hackers target large enterprises like banks and government agencies. However, small business owners need to be prepared for attacks also because their lack of security is attractive to criminals and they also possess valuable data.
The motivation behind a DoS attack can be as simple as an individual being upset at a company. That individual then launches the attack to shut down service and cost that company money. It can also be more complex than that.
DoS attacks have been known to be fronts, or distractions, from more sinister actions. While your security team works to get your website or network back online during an attack, hackers are installing malicious software or harvesting your data.
In another scheme, hackers disabled a site with a DoS attack, then were able to hijack the company;s social media account and redirect users to a phishing site. Users have log-ins and personal information stolen and blame the company.
Firewalls and antivirus software doesn’t protect you from a DoS attack. The best way to be prepared for one is to test. Load testing puts a strain on your website or network to find out if it can handle a DoS attack. This can cause the target to go down, which is why it’s best to run these tests at off-times but when an administrator is available to quickly get your website or network back up.
Geek Rescue helps you prepare for cyber attacks and uses the latest security solutions to safeguard your website and network. Give us a call at 918-369-4335 before an attack causes your business to grind to a halt.
September 17th, 2013
With the impending release of Apple’s latest version of their operating system, iOS7, users will be prompted to upgrade their phone to gain access to new features. The release of new operating systems usually is synonymous with the addition of bugs and issues. Samantha Murphy Kelly, of Mashable, writes that before you upgrade, you should back-up all of your data.
There are already some users who have gained access to iOS7 and have reported no problems. However, it’s a good idea to back-up your phone periodically and ahead of a major update is a great time for some piece of mind. This way, you aren’t risking anything by upgrading.
If you’re currently using iOS5 or iOS6, your iPhone will automatically back-up data to the iCloud, but you must first enable this feature. To do that, go to ‘Settings’, select ‘iCloud’ and then ‘Backup & Storage’. Once you’ve done this, your iPhone will back up your data daily, as long as it’s plugged in and connected to WiFi with the screen locked.
Even with this option enabled, you’ll want to back up manually before upgrading your OS. By following the same steps as before, but selecting ‘Back Up Now’ your phone will back up your data right then and there. It’s a lengthy process so be prepared and the more data you have, the longer it will take.
One other issue you should resolve before updating to iOS7 is clearing some storage space. You’ll need space to update, so go ahead and get rid of seldom used apps, old photos and music you no longer want.
If you end up losing some of your data, call Geek Rescue. We have the tools needed to recover data for nearly any device. We also fix broken gadgets and get rid of viruses and malware infections. Call us at 918-369-4335 or come by Geek Rescue.
September 17th, 2013
The iPhone 5s will be released soon, which has security experts scrambling to figure out what flaws could be exploited by hackers. Because the new iPhone, and even its new operating systems, iOS7, haven’t been officially released, Matthew J. Schwartz made some educated guesses about possible security concerns at Information Week.
New operating systems usually make sure to shore up any security holes that previous versions may have had. In the iPhone’s case, the previous operating system was considered “a freaking vault” according to one security researcher. The concern then, is that any new operating system will have flaws of its own that are just waiting to be discovered.
A new processor also suggests new flaws to be exploited. But, the new processor promises to make previous exploits obsolete and reportedly makes jailbreaking, or gaining root access to the device through bugs, much more difficult.
Multiple security experts suggest the fingerprint scanner, or Touch ID, will draw most hackers attention initially. There have already been multiple suggestions about how to break through the new iPhone’s security measure.
One tactic, dubbed a “phish finger”, would be to take a finger print from the touch screen and use it to fool the fingerprint scanner. New technology is supposed to make it difficult to fool the scanner without an actual finger, but it can still be done.
Fingerprints of the iPhone’s owner are encrypted and stored on the device, so one theory is that these fingerprints could then be stolen and used to hack into the device. However, the way the fingerprints are stored makes them only recognizable to the iPhone’s processor, which means they can’t be exported to another device.
Touch ID isn’t the only security measure on the iPhone 5s. A password is still in place as well and is required in some situations.
There are certainly some security upgrades on the new iPhone, but there appears to be some potential vulnerabilities as well. In the coming days, more of these vulnerabilities will likely be revealed as more hackers and security experts have hands-on time with the iPhone 5s.
If you need additional security on your mobile device, be it a new or old iPhone, Android or other, bring it to Geek Rescue. We improve security, get rid of malware and fix broken hardware. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
September 17th, 2013
If you’ve used Twitter, you’ve likely encountered Twitter spam. There are unfortunately a large number of profiles whose sole purpose is to send out messages with URLs that are phishing sites or infect your machines with malware. Twitter has taken steps to rid their users of this spam nuisance, but spammers now have new tactics that are more difficult to deal with.
Kit Eaton, of Fast Company, reports that the latest spam technique involves Twitter’s lists. Twitter overcame their initial spam issue by adding a “Report Spam” button for users to use when they encountered an obviously malicious tweet or profile. Overcoming list spam is more complicated.
When your Twitter profile is added to a list by another user, you receive a notification. Lately, users have been seeing list add notifications from spammers masquerading as reputable companies. Accounts trading on the names of Paypal or Facebook appear to have added your Twitter handle to a new list. The idea behind this scheme is that users will have questions about this action and want to know more.
Naturally, you’ll click on the name of the account that’s just added you and you’ll arrive at a barren Twitter profile. No profile picture, only a few tweets sent and almost no followers. Their bio will contain a URL, however. Don’t click it. The urge might be to follow the link and find out what this strange Twitter profile is all about, but the URL points to a malicious website. This could be a phishing scam or a website designed to infect your device with malware.
Twitter has yet to announce a plan to deal with this latest spam threat. You can avoid any problems, however, by being suspicious. Understand what a spam Twitter profile looks like and don’t click any links in their bio or tweets.
If you find that you computer or mobile device has been infected with malware, bring it to Geek Rescue. We rid any device of viruses and malware. Come by or call us at 918-369-4335.
September 16th, 2013
Apple unveiled the newest entries in the iPhone line recently. The iPhone 5S and a budget model, the 5C. While the 5C features little advantage over last years iPhone 5 other than colored plastic cases, the 5S offers a number of new features.
David Pogue of the New York Times delved into the new iPhone to uncover some of the most interesting new innovations.
If you’re a current iPhone user, how would you rate how fast your phone is able to perform tasks? What if it were twice as fast? The new 64-bit processor in the iPhone 5S promises to double the speed of the previous processor.
There’s also a coprocessor. This assistant handles data for location and motion, which generally takes less processing power. Since the coprocessor operates at only one-sixth of the battery cost of the main processor, this grants you more battery life without sacrificing performance.
Apple has spent relatively little time improving the iPhone’s camera through each iteration. But, for the iPhone 5S they made a real effort. With a better lens and bigger pixels, the camera is better than ever in low-light situations. Color should be improved, as well. The flash is catching everyone’s eye initially, though. That’s because it’s actually two flashes, one white and one amber. One flash fires to gauge the lighting and color of the scene, then the two combine to fit the needs of the situation. There are reportedly 1-thousand lighting combinations the flashes are capable of.
There’s also a burst mode that allows you to shoot ten frames per second. You can use this to rapidly fire pictures, or to shoot video in slow motion.
- The new fingerprint scanner
This one has been the topic of much debate even before the iPhone 5S was officially unveiled. The fingerprint reader is built into the Home button, so securely unlocking your phone just requires a touch of your finger. You can even add fingerprints of others who might be using your phone too. And, Apple lets you use your fingerprint instead of a password when purchasing from Apple’s online store.
The concern has been how Apple stores your fingerprints once they capture them. According to Apple, the fingerprints are encrypted and stored on your phone’s chip. They are not sent or stored online.
The iPhone 5S and 5C will both be available to the public on September 20th. Whether you plan to buy the newest iPhone or not, Geek Rescue has you covered. We’ll fix the newest gadgets if you have an unfortunate accident. Or, we’ll fix your older device to make it seem like new. Call us at 918-369-4335 or come by Geek Rescue with any of your broken gadgets.
September 16th, 2013
There are many elements that make up a proper security infrastructure. But, whether you are looking to improve security at home, or at your business, the first place to look is at your first line of defense, the firewall.
Robert Lemos reports for Dark Reading that fewer users are focusing on their firewall to improve security, which is unwise considering “networks have become more porous” with advancements in technology. Once you decide to improve your firewall, here are some tips.
- Know your firewall’s capabilities
Chances are, the firewall you have in place is capable of much more than you think. Intrusion prevention, web filtering, virtual private networking and secure device management are all common features of today’s firewalls. However, you the user must use the firewall’s settings to get all the advantages of the improves technology. So, before you decide you need to add security, make sure you understand the capabilities of the security you already have in place.
If your firewall is capable of web filtering, make sure you have enabled and fine-tuned that function. If it doesn’t, contact Geek Rescue and ask about our Safety Net. A web filtering service allows you to control the bandwidth used on your network and block sites that are inappropriate or potentially malicious. At home, this means protecting younger users from content that isn’t age appropriate. For businesses, this means blocking sites that are distracting to employees, like shopping and social media. For any network, it’s important to block sites that will infect your network with malware.
A firewall will keep a record of its activity. If you experience an attack, the evidence will appear in the log. It’s important to analyze the firewall’s log to catch any infection or attack before it does serious damage. The problem you’ll find when looking through the logs is the number of false positives you’ll run across. So, you’ll want to do some research so you’ll be able to tell what is important and what isn’t.
Even more than antivirus software, firewalls are vital to security. They’re capable of blocking malicious software and sites before they have a chance to infect your computer. They’re capable of much more too.
To enhance your network’s security for home or business, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
September 13th, 2013
Viruses and malware are a constant threat for PC users, but Mac users have been able to avoid most of the security threats over the years. One prominent threat recently suggests that security for Mac users may be more important than ever before, however.
Samantha Murphy Kelly of Mashable reports that a malware threat targeting Macs has been discovered on compromised websites.
The threat likely won’t affect most of Mac users, particularly in the US, because it was discovered on anti-Chinese websites hosted in Tibet. It also relies on Macs using Java applets on the web, which is a minority of users.
This malware threat is a concern, however, for a few reasons. Namely, the malware used gives hackers the ability to access remote files and monitor a user’s activity on their device. The fact that it targets Mac users is also concerning because of the lack of security on many machines. Finally, this malware wasn’t disseminated through spam email or downloads. Simply stumbling onto the wrong website could infect your computer.
So, while this particular attack likely won’t infect your computer, it does suggest that more security is necessary even for Mac users. If cyber criminals can deploy an attack of this nature in Tibet, they could certainly do the same on a site closer to home.
To enhance the security on your machine, be it Mac or PC, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We not only offer a variety of security options for a variety of devices, but we also fix and clean devices with malware or virus infections.