Securing your email account


email-securityIn today’s technology-driven world, everyone uses email as the central hub for their personal internet activities, whether it’s communication, forum registration or newsletter signups. Email is one of the most useful tools the internet has made possible. But as emails become more prevalent, the importance of email security becomes more significant than ever. Applying these email management tips will protect your email account from hackers and viruses.

Use separate email accounts

Most people use a single email account for all their personal needs. As a result, information from websites, newsletters, shopping deals, and messages from work get sent to this one inbox. But what happens when someone breaks into it? There’s a good chance they would be able to gain access to everything else.

Having multiple email accounts will not only boost your security, but also increases your productivity. You can have a personal account to communicate with your friends and family, another solely for receiving emails from work, and one recreational account for various website registrations and getting newsletters. Wise email users never put all their eggs in one basket!

Set strong passwords

Too many email accounts have predictable passwords. You might be surprised to learn that email passwords like ‘123456’, ‘qwerty’, and ‘password’ itself are still the most common around. For the sake of security, be a little more selective with your passwords. Spending a few moments on coming up with a good password will be beneficial in the long run. Mix upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters to form a unique password that makes sense and is memorable to you, but no-one else. Also, never use the same password for all your email accounts. This way, if someone hacks one of your accounts, all of the others are still safe.

Beware of links and attachments

When you see a link in an email, don’t click on it unless you’re expecting the link from a known source, such as from your friend or a confirmation link for your game account registration. The truth is that you never know where those links might lead you. Sometimes they can be safe, but other times they can infest your computer with viruses and malware.

Similarly, if you’re expecting a file from your friend or family, then go ahead and open the attachment. It’s always good to know the person sending the file. But be wary of attachments in emails from strangers. Even if the file name looks like a JPEG image, you should never open it. File names can be spoofed, and innocent files may be a clever virus in disguise, ready to latch itself onto your computer the moment you click on it.

Beware of email phishing

Phishing is a type of online scam when malicious users send you an email, saying that they’re representatives from high-profile websites like eBay, Facebook or Amazon. They claim that there’s a problem with your account, and that you should send them your username and password for verification. The fact is that, even if there was a genuine issue with your account, these companies would never ask for your password. You should ignore these phishing emails and sweep them into your spam box.

It all comes down to common sense when you’re dealing with email security issues. If you’re looking to secure your business emails, give us a call today and see how we can help.

You just got back from lunch and are settling down into your office chair. You open up your planner to check your schedule, and then wake your PC from sleep. Time to check emails. But wait, something’s wrong. You’re…waiting. Your computer is moving as slow as a brontosaurus and the problem appears to go deeper than internet speed. What happened? When a PC slowdown strikes, there can be a number of culprits. Here are a few ideas to alleviate the problem, so you can get back to business in no time.

slowPCRestart

The most obvious but often overlooked fix is to simply restart your PC. Many people get into the habit of leaving their PC on 24/7 and, instead of turning it off, just leave it in sleep mode when they’re not using it. However, restarting it is like vacuuming a carpet or mopping a floor. If you let either of them sit for a while, a lot of temporary gunk builds up. A simple restart can help clean your computer up but, unlike with household chores, you won’t get dirty in the process.

Uninstall new stuff

Did you recently install new hardware or software? If you did, this could be causing your slowdown and, if you don’t need it, it’s worth uninstalling it. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Control Panel’s Programs and Features section.
  2. If you think a driver is slowing you down, open Device Manager and double click the new driver.
  3. A dialog box will open. Click the Driver tab followed by the Roll Back Driver button.
  4. If that button is grayed out, it means the problem isn’t with that driver. If not, you can continue with uninstalling.

Using the Device Manager, you can also uninstall new hardware.

Free up hard drive space

A lack of hard drive space can slow your PC down as well. To run your system smoothly, it’s recommended you have 15% hard drive space free. Having this extra space gives room for temporary files and swapping.

If you don’t have the space, you may need to purchase a new hard drive or transfer some of your files and programs over to an external one.

Search for the bloated program that’s eating your memory

Another potential problem could be a dysfunctional program that is using up too much of your PC’s memory. To see if this is the source of your problem, go to Windows Task Manager and click the Processes tab. Then look in the CPU or memory column. Either of these will show you if there’s one program that’s eating all your memory.

To solve this problem, click on the program in Windows Task Manager; and then hit End Process. Keep in mind that this is only a temporary fix. You’ll have to uninstall this program and replace it with something that will run more efficiently.

Scan for viruses

Both viruses and malware can also slow down your computer. To check if you’ve been infected, run a system scan. If you do have malicious software on your PC, and your antivirus software hasn’t effectively detected or removed it, contact a local IT Services Provider who will be able to clean your computer and free it of potentially harmful malware. They can also advise you to a reputable solution to avoid future issues.

Want more tips on how to resolve PC slowness and other computer issues? Worried you may have been infected by a virus? Get in touch with us today for help and advice.

Security-concept-Shield

Cyber Security Myths Small Businesses

We are teaming up with the leading internet security companies to help small businesses resolve to be better about their cyber security in 2015. Experts have repeatedly cautioned businesses of all sizes against the dangers of leaving data unprotected, leading to tightened security measures across the country. Professionals still are not sure they have done everything they can to protect their networks, since many business owners and department managers would never claim to be tech experts.

Small businesses are especially concerned about network safety. Industry publications and blogs are filled with warnings about cyber threats, leaving entrepreneurs unsure what to believe. In all of this, several myths have emerged. To help small businesses discern truth from fiction, here are a few of the most popular cyber security myths.

Our IT Provider Handles That

Many small businesses outsource IT, either to a cloud provider or a local company that handles tech support. Whether IT is handled by an in-house IT professional or one that is offsite, IT can only go so far in protecting your network. In truth, the biggest threat to an organization is its own employees, who engage in risky behaviors like unsafe web surfing, clicking on unsecure email links, and careless password behavior, among other activities.

The truth is, regardless of the resource you entrust with your IT security, the ultimate responsibility falls on your business’s leaders. If an incident occurs, your own staff will be forced to answer to your customers, as well as any regulatory authorities. While some providers accept a certain amount of liability, a business’s reputation can still be damaged.

My Business Flies Under the Radar

Hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses, seeing them as relatively easy targets. Big businesses take extreme precautions on their networks, making it almost impossible for malicious activity to get through. Realizing small businesses don’t have the resources to invest in heavy-duty security measures, hackers see those business types as prime targets.

It’s important to check your business’s IT security measures and ensure strong encryption is in place. If you’re using cloud service providers, carefully scrutinize each service’s security measures and ensure your data is safe.

Make sure you have good antivirus protection

Invest in a strong antivirus product, make sure the product stays up to date and schedule regular scans of your devices. These products provide critical protection to secure your PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets against viruses, malware, spam and more. It’s crucial to take a look at all of the technology devices that make your small business run, and make sure you have cyber security protection for all. For instance, a recent survey of small business owners found that while nearly all have a cyber security system installed on their desktops (98 percent) and laptops (96 percent) only around two-thirds (65 percent) do so on their tablets, and a little over half (56 percent) on their smartphones.

To keep your business safe, you’ll need the latest standards in data encryption for every data transmission, as well as strict password requirements on your servers. Your devices should be encrypted, as well, to protect against theft and any mobile devices should have remote-wiping capabilities. For additional tips on how to resolve to be better about cyber security in 2015, reach out to GCInfotech to assess your current network security and any potential vulnerabilities.

Cyber attacks are a real concern for businesses today, but it’s important to be able to separate myth from reality. Education is key to protecting your business against an attack and keeping your business and customer data safe.