Smartphones are like palm-sized computers, and they deserve the same
protection as desktops and laptops. While you don’t need to install
bulky security software to protect against cyberthreats, there are steps
you can take to keep cybercriminals at bay.

Mobile malware MO

Mobile
malware can be as harmful to a business’s network as infected desktops
and laptops. Potential problems include overcharges on phone bills,
stolen data, intercepting messages, tricking users with phishing
attacks, and sending fake notifications to one’s contact list.

Most
malware comes from applications downloaded from third-party app stores
and give hackers access to passwords, user account information, and
other sensitive personal data. Since many business users link their
Android devices to each other, malware could transfer from one device to
the next.

Who is responsible?

The burden
doesn’t fall solely on smartphone users. App stores such as Google Play
Store are responsible, too, such as in the case of the malware-ridden
banking and weather apps that were downloaded from the Google Play
Store. In these cases, the companies that were affected were urged to
provide updates regarding the malicious apps so they could be removed
from the store.

How to avoid being victimized by malware

The
Google Play Store isn’t 100% secure, but downloading from established
app stores — and not from little-known and less secure ones — reduces
the probability of downloading malicious apps. In cases when an infected
app makes its way to the store and starts getting lots of downloads,
Google will be quick to remove it from the store and make everyone aware
of it.

Despite app stores’ best efforts, it’s nearly impossible
to prevent mobile malware from getting through to the store. That’s why
it pays to read user reviews where infected users post detailed
warnings. Also, regularly updating your mobile device’s operating system
and security software helps prevent infection as the latest versions of
those are patched against the latest known threats in app stores and
elsewhere online.

Malware doesn’t discriminate, so regardless of
your computer or mobile device of choice, it will find a way to infect
you if your software isn’t up to date. To find out whether your business
devices are safe and fully protected, consult our cybersecurity experts
today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if
you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for
your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Hard drive space is a top priority for Windows 10 users. Techies who use budget computers navigate with limited storage or with Solid-State Drive (SSD). Having little disk space obstructs the free flow and enjoyment of using the hard drive, so you need more storage space. Here are some tips to free up your disk.

Delete junk on Files

Windows 10 includes a feature to help you create more space by erasing unnecessary files. In some cases, this feature can find and remove several gigabytes of unnecessary system files. To use the feature:

  1. Open SETTINGS and click SYSTEM.
  2. Click STORAGE
  3. Scroll down and select CHANGE HOW WE FREE UP SPACE
  4. Under TEMPORARY FILES, select the files to be deleted including temporary files, downloaded files, and items in the recycle bin.
  5. Under the FREE UP SPACE NOW, there is an option that lets you delete an older Windows 10 version.
  6. Click the CLEAN NOW button to free up space.

 

Use Disk Cleanup

This is a similar but slightly different tool for sniffing out unnecessary files that are taking up too much space. To give it a try:

  1. Open any desktop folder.
  2. Right-click on THIS PC in the pane on the left, then select PROPERTIES.
  3. Click the DISK CLEANUP button, then CLEAN SYSTEM FILES.
  4. The Disk Cleanup tool gives you a number of options, many of which you should consult with us before deleting. They include: Windows Update Cleanup, Downloaded Program Files,
  5. Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, and Temporary files, among others.
  6. Click OK, then click DELETE FILES.

 

Delete applications and games

Consider uninstalling apps that are rarely or never even used. These include bloatware or pre-installed programs. You may not even realize certain games or applications are taking up hard drive space. To remove them:

  1. Open SETTINGS, then click APPS.
  2. Click APPS & FEATURES.
  3. Select the apps and games you feel comfortable removing, then click UNINSTALL.

Use “OneDrive Files” On-Demand feature

A new Windows 10 tool, OneDrive allows access to files in the cloud using File Explorer. This means your files will be stored in the OneDrive cloud and won’t take up hard drive space unless you need to download them for offline editing.

  1. Open the OneDrive application.
  2. Right-click the OneDrive icon in your task bar, select SETTINGS, and click the SETTINGS TAB.
  3. Under FILES ON-DEMAND, check SAVE SPACE AND DOWNLOADED FILES AS YOU USE THEM.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Copy and paste your documents to the OneDrive folder (located in the left-hand pane of the File Explorer), select all of them, right-click the selection, and select FREE UP SPACE.

 

Lastly, move apps, games, and other files to an external hard disk so the computer can create more internal space if there is an extra need for more storage on the Windows 10 device. All these tips are user-friendly, but if you need to give your Windows 10 machines a serious overhaul, give us a call now.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Contrary to what you may believe, cyberthreats don’t only target Windows computers. Even small-business users can click a seemingly harmless link and become a victim of a cyberattack. If you don’t want this to happen to you, there are a few simple things you can do.

Check your Privacy Settings

Begin by making sure that your Mac settings are set up properly to keep your information safe. Click System Preferences (the gear icon along the bottom of your screen), then open the Security & Privacy pane, which contains four tabs that allow you to manage different security features. You should do this with an administrator account so the changes affect everyone who uses this computer.

Take Advantage of the Firewall

One of the biggest steps you can take to protect your computer is to enable macOS’s built-in firewall to block unwelcome network connections. Just go to the Firewall tab in the Security & Privacy settings, click on the padlock at the bottom of the screen, and key in your username and password. Then enable firewall by clicking on Turn On Firewall.

To modify its settings, click on Firewall Options just below the Turn Off Firewall button. A dialog box will pop up and you can click on Enable Stealth Mode. Turning on Stealth Mode will make your Mac invisible on public networks (like an unsecured coffeeshop WiFi).
In the Firewall Options, you will also find a list of services and apps that are allowed to receive inbound connections. If you want to add an app or service to the list, just click the ‘+’ button below the list itself. However, we recommend keeping this list as short as possible because any app connected to the list can be exploited.

Set Up a Firmware Password

Nowadays, macOS/Mac OS X automatically turns on FileVault encryption. This means that it encrypts the hard drive by default, and the only way it can be accessed is by logging in. Keep in mind, though, that this feature won’t necessarily save your account in case someone reinstalls macOS/OS X, or when they use a USB memory stick to boot the Mac and possibly remove all data from your hard disk.
To increase protection, set up a firmware password. To do so, restart your computer, and then press and hold down Cmd+R before the Apple logo shows up on screen. You can let go of the keys once the progress bar pops up.
Choose your location and language when asked, then click on the Utilities>Firmware Password Utility menu. Simply follow the instructions here, and make sure to never forget or misplace your password. Forgetting your firmware password can be quite a hassle because only Apple technicians can recover it.
Ensure that your confidential data remains confidential simply by performing minor tweaks on the system settings. It takes only a few minutes of your time to ensure lasting online protection. If setting up a firewall or firmware password sounds a little too advanced for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts.
To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Con artists have created a new method of deceiving Chrome users by freezing their browsers and displaying a security notification with bogus tech-support contact details. Their ultimate goal is to scare potential victims and trick them into dialing the fake hotline number on the screen.

The End Game
The scam works by displaying an error message indicating a bogus security breach incident that renders a browser unusable. These scammers capitalize on the fact that a serious crash can’t be solved by simply closing the site, thereby sending the users into a panic. This encourages them to dial the number listed on the warning message.
On the other end of the line, the scammers would pose as Microsoft or Apple representatives to convince users into surrendering their credit card details to repair a non-existing security issue. The scams are generally carried out through legitimate sites or malicious ads that have been hacked.

The Ingenious Process
This new scam operates against Chrome by corrupting the window.navigator.msSaveOrOpenBlob programming interface, which basically uses it as a form of distraction. The hackers manipulate the browser and forces it to save a random document on a disk repeatedly at super fast intervals that are impossible to notice. After five to 10 seconds, Chrome will be completely unresponsive.

The Easy Fix
To recover, Windows users simply have to open Windows Task Manager (press ctrl + shift + esc keys) and stop the process there. On the other hand, macOS users just need to wait until a system message prompts them to close the unresponsive Chrome tab. Typically, the latter is a more appealing option since users would have the freedom to close only the corrupted page. Manually closing the whole browser means possibly losing unsaved files in any open Windows.
When faced with IT-related issues, you need to determine how you can approach them calmly. The threats in the digital world may be terrifying and intimidating, but causing a panic in your workplace isn’t the answer. Call us as soon as any problems arise, and we’ll help you as soon as we can. We can even hook you up with other security measures to beef up your network security.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment
Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

According to security researchers, a bulk of the world’s computer processors have gaping flaws. The flaws, grouped under the term ‘Spectre,’ affect many critical systems including web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. Here’s a quick rundown of these major vulnerabilities and what you can do to secure them.

What is Spectre?
To understand this unprecedented vulnerability, you need to know some computer chip basics. Modern chips try to speed up their work by storing information related to predictable and repetitive processes. Whenever CPUs perform calculations ahead of time that end up being unnecessary, the data is thrown away into a supposedly secure storage cache.

Hackers can gain access to the discarded data by using malware to create digital backdoors. From there, they can simply sneak in, sift through the private information, and even trick the processor into throwing away even more sensitive information. This is known as a Spectre attack.
Though the exploit is highly technical and difficult to execute, researchers said Spectre affects all modern processors, including those developed by Intel, AMD, and ARM.

How does it affect browsers?
As mentioned, hackers would need to install malware on a device to perform a Spectre attack. One tactic experts found effective is if hackers build a malicious program and embed it on a website. Should anyone visit the rogue website, their browser will automatically run the malicious program.

Once inside, the attacker can use Spectre to gain full access to keystrokes, encryption keys, and login credentials.
So far, there is no evidence of Spectre attacks actively being used to steal data from web browsers, but they are difficult to detect. Experts also predict hackers will likely develop specialized malware now that this information is available to the public.

Is there a way to protect myself?
Fortunately, major browser developers were quick to release updates as soon as the Spectre attack was discovered.

Mozilla also has security features to prevent some Spectre attacks, but announced a full-blown solution is in the works.
As for Chrome, users can expect an update as early as January 23. But for the time being Google recommends enabling the Site Isolation feature, which limits how much access browser plugins have to your computer.

This feature can be enabled by going to your address bar and entering: chrome://flags/#enable-site-per-process.
Even though the updates may affect browser performance, it’s a small price to pay compared with having your credit card or social security number stolen.
Like it or not, Spectre is just one of the many threats targeting your web browsers. That’s why you should call us today. We offer expert advice and cutting-edge solutions to make sure your browsing experience is a pleasant and safe one.
To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Laptops may not be the most powerful computers, but the benefits they provide are undisputable. For one thing, they deliver a similar user experience to your huge desktop PC, but much more conveniently and affordably. But before you reap their many benefits, learn five precautionary steps you should take before using them.

1. Update your laptop’s operating system
One of the first things you should do before using your laptop is upgrade its operating system. Assuming you did not purchase the laptop right when it was released, your laptop will still be running an older operating system. With important patches and fixes released in each new update, it is recommended that you install the latest one to ensure your laptop is free of any vulnerabilities.

2. Remove bloatware
Opening your laptop for the first time, you might notice that there are already several preloaded software in the system — some of which you will probably never use. These are known as bloatware.
These apps take up a lot of your valuable drive space, so consider getting rid of them. The easiest way to do this is by downloading a bulk uninstaller, which allows you to check all the bloatware apps you don’t want and remove them in one fell swoop.

3. Install protection software
It’s no secret that the world we live in is unsafe. And with so much confidential information nowadays becoming digitalized, it is necessary to protect yourself against losing important data from your computer. The solution to this is very simple. By installing antivirus software that can automatically — or manually — scan your computer at a scheduled time, potential attacks can be thwarted before they become more serious.
Not only is your laptop’s data vulnerable to cyberattacks, there is always a chance your laptop can get lost or stolen. While there are preventive steps you can take — such as being mindful while using your laptop in public places — another solution would be to install anti-theft software. Security features such as “Find My Device” for Windows 10 and “Prey” for other operating systems can help you locate your device if it’s ever stolen or misplaced.

4. Optimize your power settings
One of the most frequent problems that laptop users have is that their batteries run out of juice too fast. However, you can actually extend the battery life by making a few tweaks to your power settings.
Reduce your display brightness, but not so much that it causes eye and mental fatigue
Use the Sleep or Hibernate mode for your operating system.

5. Set up a backup plan
Imagine spending months working on an important project and suddenly finding it nonexistent the next day just because your laptop crashed. Deadlines will be missed. Profit margins will decrease. Customers will leave unhappy. And if worse comes to worst, you’ll be out of business.

Why add more unnecessary stress if you can prevent it from happening in the first place? By setting up an automatic backup system, you can regularly save all your important files; that way, you’d still have access to the data anytime were anything to happen to the original file.

You can also store all your important documents in the cloud, which ensures access whenever you need, even if your laptop crashed or got stolen.

Getting a new laptop can be fun, but the joy might be short-lived if you don’t set up any preventive measures from the start. Call us for information on how we can help you secure your company’s laptop today, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

The new year doesn’t have to mean new IT hardware problems. Sure, some headaches are unavoidable, but you can start the year right by giving your computer hardware a little TLC. Let our handy hardware checklist be your guide.

✓ Clean up your computer components
Wipe your monitor with a clean, static-free fabric; remove excess dirt from your mouse’s exterior; and tidy up your keyboard with compressed air. Don’t forget your computer tower! Dust build-up can block your computer’s air vent and affect its performance. Ensure that your workstation is getting adequate ventilation and isn’t directly exposed to sunlight and other heat sources.

✓ Manage your cables
If you’re not giving your computers’ cables the attention they deserve, now’s a good time to do so. Other than wiping the thick coat of dust on computers’ cables, consider using cable management solutions that unclutter and untangle messy wires. These don’t just organize and secure your cables, they also help ensure your PCs run quieter and are less prone to overheating as a result of blocked air vents.

Planning to relocate or upgrade in the near future? Organizing your computers’ cables now makes future relocation and upgrading processes much easier.

✓ Review and update your inventory
Keeping an inventory of all your hardware helps you manage hardware lifecycles and purchases, identify items that are near their end of life, and ensure you avoid duplicate purchases of items already in-stock.

Your inventory list should include all owned and leased devices: PCs and laptops, printers and scanners, tablets and smartphones, and modems and other network hardware. Update all your assets’ serial numbers and keep track of their respective users and location.

✓ Printer maintenance
Clean the interiors and exteriors of your printers, including paper trays, which are sure to have accumulated dirt from years of use. You should also repair and/or replace parts and accessories such as printheads and cartridges that are no longer in good condition. Should you decide to do a complete printer maintenance, check for the latest software updates for your printers and install them immediately.

✓ Implement a hardware policy
This is also a good time to create a technology guideline that your employees can follow to ensure they work efficiently. These guidelines reduce the need to spend on unnecessary repairs, keeping the succeeding year’s checklist shorter. With clear instructions on the proper use, replacement, and storage of your hardware and devices, you’ll be better able to manage your hardware for years to come.

With a more organized IT hardware inventory, you have one less thing to worry about. Want to get more in-depth hardware management recommendations, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Finding a power socket is often the first thing you do when carrying a laptop to work in a cafe, a co-working space, or an airport, and not every time will you be lucky to find one available. You’ll be forced, then, to rely solely on your laptop battery — if it still has any juice left. Here are some tips to help your laptop battery last as long as it could.

Some truths about your laptop battery
Batteries in many devices nowadays are lithium-based — either lithium-ion or lithium-polymer — so users must take note of the following guidelines for their proper maintenance:
• They can’t be overcharged, even though you leave your battery plugged in for a long period of time. When the battery hits 100%, it’ll stop charging.
• Leaving your battery completely drained will damage it.
• Batteries have limited lifespans. So no matter what you do, yours will age from the very first time you charge it. This is because as time passes, the ions will no longer be able to flow efficiently from the anode to the cathode, thereby reducing its capacity.

 

What else can degrade your battery
Besides its being naturally prone to deterioration, your battery can degrade due to higher-than-normal voltages, which happens when you keep your battery fully charged at all times. Even though a modern laptop battery cannot be overcharged, doing so will add a stress factor that’ll harm your battery.
Both extremely high temperatures (above 70°F) and low temperatures (between 32-41°F) can also reduce battery capacity and damage its components. The same goes for storing a battery for long periods of time, which can lead to the state of extreme discharge. Another factor is physical damage. Remember that batteries are made up of sensitive materials, and physical collision can damage them.

 

How to prolong your battery life
Now that you know some facts about your laptop battery, it’s time to learn how to delay its demise:
• Never leave your battery completely drained.
• Don’t expose your battery to extremely high or low temperatures.
• If possible, charge your battery at a lower voltage.
• If you need to use your laptop for a long period of time while plugged into a power source, it’s better to remove the battery. This is because a plugged-in laptop generates more heat which will damage your battery.
• When you need to store your battery for a few weeks, you should recharge your battery to 40% and remove it from your laptop for storage.

These are just a few tips on extending the life of your hardware. There are many more ways you can maximize your hardware efficiency and extend its longevity. Call our experts today to find out more!
To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment
Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Today, Wi-Fi isn’t only crucial for your employees to get work done, it’s also a necessary amenity for your office guests. But there’s a right and a wrong way to set up guest Wi-Fi and the latter can result in a frustrating experience for users. So, how do you set up guest Wi-Fi properly?

Never give guests access to your primary Wi-Fi
While giving guests password to your company’s main Wi-Fi might be the easiest way to get them connected, you should avoid this at all costs.

Anyone with a little technical know-how can potentially access everything on your company network, including confidential data. Not to mention, guests’ devices connected to your business network increase the risk of a malware infection or cyber attack since you can never be sure that they’re safe and secure.

Ways to create secondary Wi-Fi for guests
If you router has built-in guest Wi-Fi support (you can check this feature through a quick web search) you could use it to create a separate “virtual” network. This means guests will have access to the internet without connecting to your main company network.

If your router doesn’t support multiple Wi-Fi networks, you can implement a separate wireless access point that bypasses the rest of your network and connects directly to your Internet service provider (ISP) connection.

Both options will keep your guests’ connectivity separate from your company network so you’ll never have to worry about unauthorized persons accessing your company data.

Keep in mind that guest Wi-Fi still uses your ISP connection so you should limit bandwidth usage on your guest network. The last thing you want is a guest streaming videos that slow down the Internet for your employees. With that in mind, you can even have your employees use guest Wi-Fi for their personal devices too. This minimizes the chance of employees hogging company bandwidth for personal use.

Your guest Wi-Fi should only provide outsiders with internet access, nothing more. While proper setup isn’t rocket science, it can be a tedious process. Having said that, if you need a team of experts to take care of it all for you, or simply have questions about how else to leverage your hardware for better efficiency and security, just give us a call.

Published with Considerations from TechAdvisory SOURCE

Mobile devices can’t accomplish everything that desktops and laptops can, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important to businesses. More and more employees are using smartphones and tablets to increase productivity and enhance collaboration. But before you adopt a mobile device policy, you must keep them safe from cyber criminals. Cyber criminals now have more entry points to steal your data, but there are simple ways to keep your company’s mobile devices safe.
Ensure mobile OS is up-to-date
Apple and Android’s operating system updates improve overall user experience, but their most important function is to fix security vulnerabilities. You can reduce your business’s exposure to threats by installing updates for ALL devices as soon as they become available. Some people wait for a few weeks or months to update their device’s OS. This gives hackers ample time to exploit vulnerabilities on devices that run on outdated operating systems.
Install business applications only
Downloading apps seems harmless, but lenient mobile devices policies on what should and shouldn’t be downloaded on company devices could lead to staff downloading and installing non-business-related apps from third-party stores, most of which are notorious for malicious advertising codes and other threats.
Be careful with public Wi-Fi networks
Emergency situations might compel you to use password-free Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airport, cafes, or any public place. Connecting to an open network could expose your confidential information and sensitive company data to hackers connected to the same network.

You can avoid this by providing a practical internet data plan, preferably one that includes roaming services, for remote workers. And if you really have to connect to an open Wi-Fi, don’t use the connection for transferring sensitive data.
Enable phone tracking tools
Losing a company-issued mobile device is a scenario many would rather not contemplate, but it happens. Devices can be misplaced or stolen, and enabling a useful app such as ‘Find my iPhone’ for iOS devices, ‘GPS Phone Tracker’ for Android, or any other device-tracking app in Apple’s App or Android’s Google Play stores helps users locate lost phones, or otherwise delete data in stolen devices. Downloading and setting up the app takes just a few minutes, and it will give you peace of mind knowing that even if your phone is lost or stolen, its contents will not be compromised.
Screen SMS carefully
SMS messaging may not be as effective as email phishing, but SMS phishing can also be used to trick users into clicking malicious links. Hackers send messages purporting to be from someone you know or a legitimate source that asks you to urgently send confidential data. You can either delete these messages, block unknown senders, or alert your IT department in case you encounter a possible scammer.

Mobile devices are becoming more critical to operations. And with more devices open to attack, businesses must bolster their cybersecurity efforts. Hackers will exploit every possible vulnerability, and that includes those in unsecured smartphones and tablets. Get in touch with us if you need comprehensive security solutions for your business.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE