Malware – it’s a loaded word that strikes fear into both luddites and hardened techies. From spyware and unwanted adware to software that’s solely designed to make your day a little less pleasant, there’s a wide range of malware floating around the web, waiting to be downloaded by an unwitting victim.

Thankfully, as protective antivirus software has become more commonplace and ever-easier to use, it’s trickier for malware to get its hands on your computer’s innards.

Don’t become complacent, though. Keeping a keen eye out for tell-tale signs of infection and being proactive about protection is the key to ensuring your devices and data stay perfectly safe.

Here we’ll be running down some of the key symptoms of malware infection to be on the lookout for. And, if you think your digital hazmat suit has been compromised and something nasty has wormed its way in, check out our guide on the best malware removal tools to remedy your silicon affliction.

1. Sluggish performance and frequent crashes

Just like any other software, malware takes up space on your hard drive and uses RAM to function.

However, unlike most programs you’ll have installed, the developers of said malware aren’t interested in streamlining your workflow or creating lightweight applications. All they’re interested in is their end goal – which, in some cases, could be as irritatingly simple as slowing your machine to a crawl.

If your device is taking an age to open new applications despite the fact you haven’t overloaded it, it might be time to crack out a specialist tool to see if something sinister is afoot.

2. New icons, tasks, or toolbars

Noticed something on your PC that you don’t remember installing yourself? It could very well be the doing of malware.

Although less common than in days gone by (we’re looking at you, Yahoo), toolbars and other ‘helpful’ additions that crop up in your browser aren’t always the altruistic applications they purport to be. Instead, they’re likely to be recording your activity and selling your data, or injecting bloated ads into the webpages you visit.

The same goes for tasks running in the background – although these can be little more difficult to decipher. Press ctrl-alt-del and enter Task Manager, and it’s likely you’ll be unfamiliar with plenty of the active processes. However, it’s worth googling any outliers just in case – or, of course, using dedicated software to scan your entire device.

3. Adverts everywhere

Serving infected users extra ads is a quick and easy way for malware developers to generate revenue.

As such, this is as clear-cut a case as we can think of. If you’re noticing trusted websites you frequently visit being overloaded with ads – often strange, foreign, untargeted ads – it might be time to break out your malware detection tool and run a scan.

If you’re seeing ads on your desktop – it can happen – it’s an even surer sign that your device isn’t as squeaky-clean as it used to be. Take action, and stop the ads in their tracks.

4. Your browser settings have changed

Once it’s inside, malware likes to make itself comfortable and adjust its surroundings to suit its needs.

A common symptom of infection is noticing your homepage has changed – doing this is likely to benefit the creator, as the homepage’s traffic will increase ad revenue in real terms. Other settings that may change are cookie settings, your default search engine, and the addition of new extensions.

5. Disabled security software

If some cunning malware has made it past your defenses, it may take action against any security software already installed. Just like when altering your browser settings, malware may well change settings to make it easier for it to do its job.

This could include making firewall rules more lenient, or even totally deactivating all your security software like antivirus. It’s always worth checking in on your AV software to make sure it’s still functioning as you intend – and if not, make sure you take action to stop your settings being changed again.

6. Your hard drive is inexplicably filling up

Another symptom of a virulent malware infection is a hard drive full to bursting without you making any large downloads to explain it.

This is due to the fact that some malware – often adware – is concealed within the folders of seemingly harmless applications. This may be because you downloaded a free program from an unauthorized source or worse: downloaded a pirated version of an expensive app.

Beyond the copyright implications, this is yet another reason to stay savvy about where you’re sourcing your software from, and to always pay for your tools and entertainment.

7. Your internet usage is through the roof

Many forms of malware require a constant internet connection, and use it to download secondary infections.

Other forms of malware like botnets and spyware also need a constant connection to a ‘command and control server’. If you’ve been exposed to these most sinister of infections, your internet will consistently be in action thanks to the back-and-forth between your device and this server.

While excessive internet usage is unlikely to be an issue itself in the era of largely unlimited Wi-Fi plans, it’s a useful symptom to help diagnose any malware-based issues you may be suffering from.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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 TechRadar SOURCE

Many people struggle with creating effective and engaging PowerPoint presentations. To help you take your PowerPoint presentation to the next level and make a strong impression on your audience, you can try the following tips.

Understand your target audience

Before preparing your presentation, do some research about your target audience. Think about what kind of presentation they would enjoy. What sort of media do they prefer most, and what kinds of images and typefaces should you use to pique their interest?

Doing your homework on your audience will help ensure your PowerPoint presentation receives the full attention of your audience.

Talk about one idea per slide

Never cram several topics into a single slide, as this can overwhelm your audience. Instead, concentrate on one theme or topic per slide. This will help your audience better comprehend the message you’re trying to get across.

Use images instead of bullet points

Using pictures, graphical elements, or other visual components instead of bulleted lists, can help you command more attention during your presentation. Images can help your audience focus more on what you’re saying instead of reading what’s on the screen.

Use white space to enhance readability

White space, also known as negative space, is a design concept that refers to empty spaces in a layout. It isn’t always white; rather, it’s the background of the design, regardless of color or pattern, that doesn’t contain any text or images. When used correctly, white space will draw your audience’s focus to the most essential parts of your presentation.

Practice

Practice delivering your presentation days before a live or recorded event. You can try practicing in front of a mirror or recording yourself to see how well you’re delivering your presentation. Rehearsing several times can help you determine the flow of your presentation and identify areas for improvement.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re making a PowerPoint presentation to increase audience engagement. For more detailed information on how to make compelling PowerPoint presentations, give us a call today.

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 jargon around cybersecurity is cryptic and confusing, which is exactly what criminals want. But understanding these terms can help you keep safe.

The cyberspace is filled with terms that either look the same, sound the same, or mean the same (but are not identical).

Knowing the difference between these similar terms can be tricky, especially when you’ve to keep up with all the common terminologies and principles used in the security domain. Add to it the constant innovation and change happening within cybersecurity, and you’ve got a whole set of complex terms that you need to understand and constantly learn about.

So, here are some similar security terms that are often confused and misused.

Security vs. Privacy

Online security and privacy go hand-in-hand. They are used interchangeably during discussions because they sometimes overlap in today’s connected world.

But there are some key differences between the terms when used in the cybersecurity context.

  • Security: Security refers to the protection of your personal information from malicious threats. It can include any information that can be used to determine your identity.
  • Privacy: Privacy refers to the rights or control you have on your information and the way it’s used.

While security is concerned with preventing unauthorized access to data, privacy focuses on ensuring that personal information is collected, processed, and transmitted compliantly and with the owner’s consent. In simple terms, security protects your data while privacy protects your identity.

To achieve security and privacy, organizations use tools and techniques such as firewalls, encryption protocols, network limitations, and different authentication and authorization techniques.

Authentication vs. Authorization

Authentication and authorization are similar-sounding security concepts within the scope of user identity and access management. Here’s how the two differ.

  • Authentication: User authentication is the process of verifying that users are who they claim to be. It relates to identifying users’ identity.
  • Authorization: Authorization is an act of establishing a user’s rights and privileges. It verifies what specific files, applications, and resources a user has access to.

Authentication is achieved using passwords, PINs, fingerprints, facial recognition, or other forms of biometric information. It’s visible and can be partially changed by the user.

Authorization, on the other hand, works through access management settings implemented and maintained by an organization. They aren’t visible and can’t be changed by the end user.

In a secure environment, authorization always takes place after user authentication. Once a user is verified, they can access different resources based on the permissions set by the organization.

Data Breach vs. Identity Theft

It’s easy to get confused between a data breach and identity theft, as the two are closely connected. The threat for users and the outcome is the same either way; that is, sensitive information is compromised. But there are some differences.

  • Data Breach: A data breach refers to a security incident where confidential data is accessed without authorization of the owner.
  • Identity Theft: When a cybercriminal uses your personal information, such as ID or social security number, without your permission, it constitutes an identity theft.

A data breach occurs when a cybercriminal hacks into a system you’ve entrusted with your information or a company that has your personal information anyway. Once a breach occurs, criminals can use your private information to open an account or commit financial fraud in your name.

The main difference between a data breach and theft is in terms of the damage caused by the incidents. The implications of a breach are usually far more damning compared to an identity theft. According to a report by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, 60 percent of small businesses don’t survive a breach.

However, the damages caused by identity theft can be highly consequential too. The impact of misusing identity go beyond forged checks, fake credit cards, and insurance frauds, and can even endanger national security.

Encryption vs. Encoding vs. Hashing

Encryption, encoding, and hashing are data security terms often used interchangeably and incorrectly. There’s a lot of difference between these terms and it’s important to know these differences.

  • Encryption: It’s a process used to convert readable data, also called plain text, into unreadable data, called cipher text. The data can only be decrypted back to plain text using the appropriate encryption key.
  • Encoding: Encoding is a process in which data is changed from one format to another using an algorithm. The aim is to transform data into a form that is readable by most of the systems.
  • Hashing: Hashing is an irreversible cryptographic process used to convert input data of any length into a fixed size string of text using a mathematical function.

This means that any text can be converted into an array of letters and numbers through an algorithm. The data to be hashed is called input, the algorithm used in the process is called a hash function, and the result is a hash value.

Encryption, encoding, and hashing differ in terms of functionality and purpose. While encryption is meant to ensure confidentiality, encoding focuses on data usability. Hashing, on the other hand, ensures authenticity by verifying that a piece of data hasn’t been altered.

VPN vs. Proxy

VPNs and proxies are both used to change your online location and stay private. They have some overlap, but the differences are quite apparent.

  • VPN: A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is a discrete program that changes your geo-location and reroutes your entire internet traffic through servers run by the VPN provider.
  • Proxy: A proxy server is a browser extension that changes your IP address to unblock geo-restricted web pages, but doesn’t offer the extra protection of a VPN.

The main difference between a proxy and VPN is that a proxy server only changes your IP address and doesn’t encrypt your web activities. Secondly, unlike a VPN, a proxy only redirects traffic within the browser. Data from other applications connected to the internet won’t be routed through the proxy.

Spam vs. Phishing vs. Spoofing

Spam, phishing, and spoofing are social engineering tactics used to lure users into revealing personal information.

  • Spam: Spam is any unwanted junk emails, instant messages, or social media messages sent out to a wholesale recipient list. Spam is usually sent for commercial purposes and can be damaging if you open or respond to it.
  • Phishing: Phishing is an unsolicited email designed to harm users by obtaining personal information like usernames, passwords, and even bank details. A phishing email looks like it comes from a legitimate source, but is intended to trick users into clicking on a link containing malware.
  • Spoofing: Spoofing is a subset of phishing attacks in which the attacker impersonates an individual or organization with the intent to gain personal and business information.

Phishing aims to gain personal information by convincing users to provide it directly while spoofing disguises an identity to steal information. The two are closely paired as both involve a level of misrepresentation and masquerading.

Better Understanding, Better Protection

Cybersecurity terminologies and concepts evolve almost as rapidly as memes on the internet. A lot of these terms sound similar but mean something different when you dig a little deeper.

Learning the key terms and their differences will help you better understand and effectively communicate your cybersecurity needs.

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 makeuseof.com SOURCE

True story: At a company I once worked for, employees received an email about an unexpected bonus. In private Slack channels, we wondered whether it was a well-played phishing attempt. Turns out, the bonus was legit, but so was our inclination to question it. Phishing—when cybercriminals pose as legitimate institutions to get info or money from you—is the origin of up to 90 percent of breaches and hacking incidents, says Frank Cilluffo, director of Auburn University’s McCrary Institute for Cyber and Critical Infrastructure Security in Alabama.

These cyber bad guys have even taken it to the next level with “spear phishing,” a practice of sending emails that appear to be from someone you personally know. “This happened to me once and it was a humbling experience,” says Adam Doupé, director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics at Arizona State University in Tempe. Turns out, the email seemed to be coming from a colleague, and Doupé was boarding a plane when he got it so he wasn’t as careful as he would normally be. “I ended up replying with my cell phone number,” recalls Doupé. “When the phisher responded with a request to send gift cards, the alarm bells went off.”

Knowing that a cybersecurity expert got played, an average person has to be hypervigilant. But could you be missing out on legit offers and emails because you’re being too cautious? Your first line of defense: install a protection software (like Malwarebytes). This sort of protection that lives on your computer, coupled with our expert tips below, will stop phishers in their tracks.

3 Ways To Tell If It’s Phishing Or Not

Experts say there are a few things you can do if you’re unsure whether an email is a phishing attempt.

1. Check the email address carefully.

Hover your cursor over the full email—not just the sender’s name—to see if anything looks off. “For instance, instead of .com, the address may contain .ru,” says Cilluffo. (.Ru indicates that it’s from a Russian server.) Compare the address on a recent email to one that you’ve responded to previously.

2. Call or text the person you think may have sent the email.

Ever receive an email from a friend or colleague and it seems off? Maybe it’s much briefer than usual or perhaps they addressed you by your full name rather than a nickname. Trust your gut, and don’t respond or click on any links or attachments until you’ve verified the email. While it truly may just be a link to their kids’ fundraiser, it could be the work of a cyber criminal trying to get you to download malware—aka malicious software.

3. Verify through an independent news source.

Sometimes you may receive an email about an important recall notice or info about a class-action lawsuit. Search on a trustworthy news site whether the link contained in your email appears in any news articles, suggests Doupé.

Bottom line?

Cyber criminals are getting more and more creative at making their phishing attempts appear legitimate. Go with your gut, slow down to verify the validity of messages you receive and install a protection software (like Malwarebytes) to stop phishers before they start.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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 yahoo.com SOURCE

More and more companies these days are hosting their business components on the cloud, as it has proven to be reliable, cost-effective, and secure. However, many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) experience certain operational pains on either the public or private cloud. Fortunately, they can now opt for a middle ground that offers the best of both worlds: the hybrid cloud.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. In private clouds, data and applications that require tighter controls are hosted either internally or privately on an off-site facility. Meanwhile, public clouds are managed externally by third-party providers with the express purpose of streamlining a company’s IT infrastructure.

Benefits of a hybrid cloud setup

Here are three significant advantages of hybrid cloud environments.

Adaptability
Having the ability to choose between internally or privately hosted cloud servers and public ones lets you pair the right IT solution with the right job. For example, you can use the private cloud to store sensitive files while utilizing more robust computing resources from the public cloud to run resource-intensive applications.

Cost efficiency and scalability
Does your business struggle to meet seasonal demands? With a hybrid cloud solution, you’ll be able to easily handle spikes in demand by migrating workloads from insufficient on-premises servers to scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud servers whenever needed, without incurring extra hardware and maintenance costs.

So if there are last-minute computing demands that your hardware can’t support, or if you’re planning for future expansion, you can easily scale capacity up or down with a hybrid cloud solution.

Security
Last but not least are the security advantages of a hybrid cloud solution. You can host sensitive data such as eCommerce data or an HR platform within the private cloud, where it will be protected by your security systems and kept under close watch. Meanwhile, routine forms and documents can be stored in the public cloud and protected by a trusted third party.

How to set up a hybrid cloud

The following are the different ways to set up a hybrid cloud model based on your SMB’s requirements and the providers available to you:

  • Employ one specialized cloud provider who offers comprehensive hybrid solutions.
  • Integrate the services of a private cloud provider with those of another public cloud provider.
  • Host a private cloud yourself and then incorporate a public cloud service into your infrastructure.

Our experts can help you transition to a hybrid cloud solution without interruption and huge costs. Contact us today to learn more about the business benefits of a hybrid cloud.

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

Windows 11 is the new kid on the block. It looks sleek and modern, and many users are tempted to upgrade to the latest Microsoft operating system (OS). But should you make the switch? Here are five reasons why you may want to stick with Windows 10 for now.

1. Your computer doesn’t meet Windows 11 minimum system requirements

One of the main reasons that can keep you from upgrading to Windows 11 is that your computer might not be able to run it. Windows 11’s system requirements are quite high: your computer needs 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC). It also needs at least 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM and 64 GB of available storage.

Although these standards aren’t extraordinary, a considerable number of users have outdated hardware that doesn’t meet Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 11. If you are one of them, you may need to purchase a new PC to get the latest OS.

2. Windows 11 has a lot of bugs

Windows 11 is still fresh out of the oven, and it’s far from being bug-free. Users have reported compatibility issues, missing notifications, and some built-in applications not opening or working as expected. The OS is still missing some features available in Windows 10, and issues are constantly being discovered and fixed, but these are to be expected of any newly released OS. So if you want to stick with a stable and reliable OS, it’s better to wait until Windows 11 is more mature.

3. You can’t access Android apps directly from Windows 11 (yet)

The Your Phone app currently lets Android phone users access mobile apps directly from their Windows 10 PC. This is an especially useful feature for remote and hybrid employees, as the ability to access phone apps on a larger desktop or laptop display and use a mouse, pen, or touchscreen helps with multitasking. If you are one of the people who rely on this feature, you’ll have to wait for the next Windows 11 update to get this functionality.

4. Windows 11 is very similar to Windows 10

Windows 11 wasn’t intended to be a new version of the OS. It was meant to be a substantial update to Windows 10, initially called the Sun Valley Update. That’s why save for a few features, many apps and functions look and work the same in Windows 11 as they do in Windows 10. So unless you’re looking for something radically different from what you have now, it may not be worth upgrading.

5. Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10 until 2025

If you are comfortable with your current setup and don’t have any urgent need to upgrade, you might as well stick with Windows 10. Microsoft has stated that it will continue to support the OS until October 14, 2025. This means that Windows 10 won’t become obsolete in the near future, so you can still enjoy bug fixes, security updates, and new features for this OS version for a few more years.

These are just some of the reasons why you may want to stick with Windows 10. If you decide that upgrading to Windows 11 is right for you, go ahead! But if not, there’s no need to worry — Windows 10 will still be here for a while. Either way, our experts can help you make the most out of your Windows setup. Give us a call today to learn more.

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

You may not know it, but some of the websites you visit or apps you download leave a trackable digital footprint. One step you can do to avoid leaving your online behavior exposed to third parties is to use private browsers to surf the internet.

What is private browsing?

Your web browser — whether it’s Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, or Opera — stores the URLs of the sites you visit, cookies that track your activity, passwords you’ve used, and temporary files you’ve downloaded.

This can be convenient if you can’t remember your login details or if you’re trying to recall a website you visited a few days ago. The feature also helps speed up the loading time of websites you frequently visit. But if someone else uses or gains access to your computer, your most private internet activities are exposed for that user to see and exploit.

Private browsing is a feature known by various names across different browsers. For instance, it’s called Incognito Mode in Chrome and InPrivate Browsing in Edge. When you use this feature, the browser does not record your browsing history, passwords, and temporary files. Instead, all this information is discarded as soon as you close the browser. You’re also instantly logged out of all accounts you accessed using the private window, which comes in handy when you’re using a public or shared computer.

Furthermore, tracking cookies are not stored when you surf the internet with a private browser. Such cookies are small bits of data used to identify your computer. Sites like Facebook use cookies to know your preferences based on your online behavior, such as which sites you visit. By doing this, they can personalize the ads on their platform, ensuring that the ads you see are for products and services you’re likely to take interest in.

What are the limitations of private browsing?

Although private browsing prevents your web browser from storing your data, it doesn’t stop anyone from snooping on your online activities in real time. If your computer is connected to the company network, system administrators can still track what you’re browsing, even if you’re in Incognito Mode.

Also, if spyware or keylogger malware is installed on your computer, hackers will still be able to see what you’re doing online. Even though private browsing has quite a few benefits, you shouldn’t solely depend on it for online privacy. Instead, you should use a virtual private network (VPN) when you go online. This tool encrypts your internet connection and prevents anyone from intercepting your data. And don’t forget to use a strong anti-malware program to scan your computer and keep spyware and other malicious web monitoring software at bay.

If you want to know where you can get these solutions or learn more about web browser security, call us today. We have the tools and expert advice you need to prevent anyone from snooping on your internet browsing.

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

Businesses of any size can fall victim to ransomware. How will you protect your small business from it? And can you afford it?

The Business of Chicago

One Monday morning, 35 workers of a Chicago business board of directors turned on their computers. They were met by a desiccated head popping up and demanding nearly a quarter-million in Bitcoin. Hackers had shut off their internet access. Their databases had been scrambled and rendered unusable.

This NGO had vital infrastructure but no skilled cybersecurity professionals or even a proper data recovery and business continuity strategy, much like thousands of other ransomware victims whose tales never reach the news.

Company management believed that its data and networks were secure until they experienced that dreadful Monday morning return to work. The company also lacked the financial wherewithal to pay the ransom.

Productivity loss is the biggest price tag paid by ransomware victims. In addition, they suffered the time-consuming job of controlling and cleaning up after the assault.

According to Proofpoint and the Ponemon Institute study, a ransom payment generally amounts to less than 20% of the entire cost of a ransomware attack’s interruption.

The staff at the Chicago organization discovered too late that their data recovery methods did not actually back them up. The organization labored over finding paper documents in order to recreate its records from the ground up.

Businesses In a Bind

Many smaller businesses believe they aren’t vulnerable to ransomware. That is very clearly not the case.

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, small and midsized firms are the target of the bulk of cyberattacks, with up to 60% of them going out of business within six months of the ransomware assault.

Three Simple Steps to Defeat Hackers

Some may reasonably question, if a $44 billion firm like Accenture can fall prey to ransomware, what hope does a smaller company have?

Everyone requires a reaction plan if no one is immune to an assault. Consider the following three essential steps:

1. Provide cyber awareness training to all staff.

PEBCAC stands for “problem exists between computer and chair” in the world of cybersecurity.

Because email phishing is by far the most common threat vector for ransomware, the first line of defense is to teach all employees not to open unfamiliar attachments or clickbait links — “You’ve just won $1 million!” — and to protect their login credentials, preferably with two-factor authentication.

Some employees, believe it or not, still retain passwords on Post-it Notes stuck to their computer displays. Every employee in today’s networked remote workforce is a member of the security apparatus. Employees play an essential role in data protection. However, they must be given the correct knowledge and training.

2. Update all of your applications.

An inventory of operating systems and software is the first step in any threat assessment.

Updates defend a computer network from known security flaws. Additionally, you must properly maintain and configure every firewall and server to stay safe.

Unfortunately, this seemingly simple task of data governance is a big undertaking. It’s made considerably more difficult by the abundance of endpoints. Think smartphones, industrial systems, IoT devices, and all the equipment used by work-from-home staff.

3. Put backups and recovery strategies to the test.

This is the one step that many companies skip. You shouldn’t.

Pick a day, perhaps a Saturday, when everyone “pretends” to be victimized by a hacker. Test the reliability of your backups and the amount of downtime you can expect to endure should you fall victim to ransomware.

How You Can Recover

To recover from an assault, every firm needs dependable backups and, equally essential, a business continuity strategy. Form a cyber incident response team and conduct penetration testing to ensure the safeguarding of vital infrastructure. Be proactive rather than reactive in your cyber response.

No one is immune to assault. These are merely the beginning of your defenses.

Monitor network traffic in real-time. Otherwise, your organization is extremely susceptible. Mechanisms must be in place to detect and respond to intrusions before you suffer damage. Be aware that 100 percent prevention is neither cost-effective nor practical.

Virus Software

Virus software and firewall hardware have come a long way. However, at the end of the day, the greatest defense is a skilled cybersecurity team.

A monitoring and incident response control center will allow speedy data recovery, reducing downtime for both internal and external cyberattacks. Outsourcing a security operations center may help businesses with limited resources reduce their risk.

Consider the cost of business disruption as the first step in making systems more robust. Governments, utilities, and even IT corporations are all vulnerable to assault. Put a solid data security strategy in place. Without one, it’s not a question of if, but rather when hacking will occur.

Make sure your cloud storage is secure.  It’s imperative that you do so ASAP. Without this safeguard, all sorts of malware, such as ransomware, can run riot through your systems.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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 smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

Can business printers get hacked? The short answer is yes. Anything that connects to your business network can be exploited by malicious actors on the internet, even innocuous machines like your printers. These can be exploited to steal data and/or create entry points into your system to launch larger attacks. So make sure you follow these tips to protect your work printer environment.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because these are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices — information that hackers would definitely love to get their hands on.

And they can, easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through these machines.

Lastly, hackers can exploit vulnerable printers to bypass your cybersecurity system. Once they find a way in through your printers, crooks can then launch broader cyberattacks from within your network, which can be difficult to contain.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  1. Monitor your network surreptitiously and always promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so always be on the lookout for those.
  2. Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  3. Allow only company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  4. Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  5. Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  6. If your wireless printer has a feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  7. If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  8. If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables or print from a thumb drive.
  9. Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), reducing the risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can help.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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Microsoft Outlook comes with a raft of features that make managing your busy schedule and boosting your productivity easier. If you find Outlook’s myriad capabilities a little overwhelming, don’t worry — these tips and tricks will have you using Outlook like a pro in no time.

Organize your inbox

Is your Outlook inbox getting a little too cluttered for your liking? Use the Clean Up feature to tidy up your inbox.

From your inbox, click the Home tab and choose from one of three Clean Up options:

  • Clean Up Conversation – reviews an email thread or a conversation and deletes redundant messages
  • Clean Up Folder – reviews conversations in a selected folder and deletes redundant messages
  • Clean Up Folder & Subfolders – reviews all messages in a selected folder and any subfolders, and deletes redundant messages in all of them

Ignore conversations

Besides redundant messages, group conversations that aren’t relevant to you can clutter up your inbox. The Ignore button helps you organize your inbox and focus on relevant emails.

To activate this feature, select a message, then click Home > Ignore > Ignore Conversation. Alternatively, you can open a message in a new window and click Ignore under the Delete function. You can easily revert this action by going to the Deleted Items folder and clicking Ignore > Stop Ignoring Conversation.

Send links to files

This function is especially useful when you need to send large files to your coworkers or clients. You can send a link to the file instead of the file itself as well as set permissions to allow recipients to edit and collaborate on linked files in real time.

To do this, upload the file you wish to send to OneDrive. Then from the message box, click Attach File > Browse web locations > OneDrive.

Tag contacts

To get the attention of a specific person in a group email or meeting invite, use the @Mention function. This works particularly well for emails sent to multiple recipients or if you want to convey the urgency of your message.

In the body of your email or invite message, type the @ symbol followed by the name of the person you want to tag (e.g., @johndoe). Doing so will highlight the name in the message and automatically add it to the To line of your message.

You can also search for messages you’re tagged in by selecting Filter Email from the Home tab, and then clicking Mentioned.

Add notes to emails

With Outlook, you can add sticky notes to specific parts of an email. To add a sticky note, simply drag your cursor to highlight your chosen text in the email, and then release the mouse button to trigger a pop-up object menu. On that object menu, select Add Note. This will open a OneNote feed within Outlook, where you can add text or images to your sticky note.

Schedule a Teams meeting

Teams is Microsoft’s unified communication and collaboration platform, and it includes the Outlook add-in. This feature allows you to set up Teams meetings directly from Outlook. It also lets you view, accept, or join meetings while in either app.

To schedule a Teams meeting on Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Switch to the calendar view on Outlook. Click the New Teams Meeting tab.
  2. Add individual participants or entire contact groups to the Required or Optional fields.
  3. Type in the topic, start time, and end time of the meeting. There’s no need to add the dial-in phone numbers and conferencing IDs to the invite, as Outlook does this automatically for you.
  4. Create a message inviting the recipients to the meeting, then click Send.

Share emails to Teams

With Outlook, you can easily share an email from your inbox directly to a specific Teams channel. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Select the email you want to share.
  2. Click the Share to Teams button.
  3. On the Share to Microsoft Teams pop-up menu, type the name of the person or channel you want to share to. Check the “Include attachments” tickbox if you want to include the email’s attachments.

These are just some of the things you can do to improve your Outlook experience. For more on how to get the most out of Outlook and other Microsoft products, drop us a line today.

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