5 Cyber Security Tips

Take these small steps to stay safe online.

  1. Be Cautious When Connecting to Wi-Fi

When setting the password for your home Wi-Fi router, ensure you use a strong password to protect your device. You want to keep it up to date and name it strategically, so hackers won’t know it’s in your home. When connecting to public Wi-Fi, confirm your connection is safe as hackers can hack your device and steal your personal information.

  1. Protect Your Online Presence

When entering your information online, be careful to notice what is and what is not necessary to disclose. Check the privacy and security settings on each device to your comfort level for information sharing. Know what data your devices collect and how it is managed and stored.

  1. Two-Factor Authentication

Sometimes having a unique password is not enough. Most hackers can guess your password or answer your security questions correctly. Instead, consider using a two-factor authentication that adds a second level of protection. You can increase your safety as well as the safety of your small business by using the Two-Factor Authentication for Apple ID in your settings.

  1. Defend Your Computer Systems

There are a few things you can do as an everyday user to protect your computer. Ensure your operating system is up to date with your anti-virus software. Be careful when opening attachments or links from someone you don’t recognize as it may be a virus. It’s not a good idea to leave your computer on 24/7 and disable automatic login as both of those make it easier for hackers to get into valuable information stored on your device.

  1. Be a Smart Social Media User

Remember, once you post something online, it’s permanent. When using social media sites, be selective about what you share and who you accept friend requests or messages from. Don’t overshare on what you’re doing or where you check-in to. Sharing your exact location makes it extremely easy for predators and criminals to find you. It’s vital that we share these tips with our children as well.

The internet can be a great place to learn and have fun but can be equally scary and dangerous. By practicing these cyber security tips, you can become a vigilant online user. At Computer Troubleshooters, we offer a full suite of IT Security Solutions including anti-virus protection, spyware & malware services, spam controls, employee monitoring, router and firewall solutions, and mobile security services. To make sure your business is protected, Contact Computer Troubleshooters today!

Ransomware: How Safe are You?

Cyber security hit the headlines again this week with several high-profile victims including the NHS having their data held to ransom with a demand to pay up £230 to get the affected files decrypted.  You can learn more about this attack here.

The National Cyber Security Centre is involved in the investigation of this case, but what are the implications for you?  What is ransomware and what measures should you take to protect yourself? Read more

The Security Software Your Computer Needs

It is a no-brainer that your work and home computers, as well as your personal laptop, needs more than just an antivirus program in place. Eset Security is an essential tool to help keep your information protected, your devices safe from hackers, and your system’s software up-to-date. That’s why Computer Troubleshooters recommends ESET Security. Read more

Have you been hacked?

Getting hacked these days is more a question of “when” rather than “if” these days. These details are then commonly shared or sold on various Dark Web forums. Microsoft’s “hacked” app will detect if any of your email addresses are detected in these databases and let you know immediately.

The app uses the industry-trusted Troy Hunt’s massive haveibeenpwned database of breaches.

Armed with this information, you can change your password(s) immediately before further damage gets done.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p/hacked/9nblggh6850j

 

Security & Privacy Apps for Your Mobile Devices

Malware, Trojans, bots and other online threats have been growing in number over the years. With the rapid take up of smart phones and tablets the problems haven’t wasted time moving to this platform.

Beyond just setting the internal security options of your device, you should be using a few apps that further increase how well your device is protected.

 

ESET

 

 

 

You should be checking your data usage and phone performance regularly as this can be the first hints to something rogue being installed on your device. ESET should be the first thing you install if you notice issues as it is quick and through in its scans.

The free version can be used indefinitely for free. The premium version offers advanced features like anti-theft protection and call blocking.

 

Telegram

 

 

 

Security and privacy in messaging is a hot topic, Telegram can help in this regard as while It’s similar to WhatsApp in it’s features, it’s much more secure and fast.

Telegram allows up to 5,000 users in group chat and messages are stored on the cloud. This means they stay in sync across all devices that have it installed.

 

Don't let your computer get in the way of your productivity

Scan URL’s from unknown sources

Got an email asking you to click a link? Not all lead to reputable site but Security Plus have came up with a good answer.

Using there browser extension it provides free checking of urls for viruses. It uses up to 64 different antivirus products and scan engines to check for viruses, or to verify against any false positives.

Features:
Powered by VirusTotal online service
Analyzes suspicious URLs with more than 64 different antivirus products
Facilitates the quick detection of viruses, worms, trojans, and all kinds of malware

 

Home page

For Chrome

For Firefox

For Opera

Excellent for when you have some clickbait – but aren’t sure to take it or not.

IT assistance on your schedule

5 steps to improve your security.

Taking steps to safeguard your data security and privacy is not difficult. Services like HaveIBeenPawned  tell you in quick order if you personal details have been splashed across PasteBin, or leaked to the Internet via data breeches.

If you’re unfortunate enough to have been caught up in a leak. Then you know password changes or (if you’re really unlucky) credit monitoring are your next step.

Checking your Twitter and Facebook Privacy settings is also important. Especially if you’re sharing personal details over social channels.

Shred your personal documents instead of just chucking them in the bin. Even junk mail addressed to you can be used for nefarious purposes in the wrong hands.

Stay abreast of security and privacy threats. Forewarned is forearmed after all. The ESET blog and MMPC  are good sites to keep you informed.

Set your antivirus and windows updates to run on a regular schedule. This is a crucial step, as the longer you hold off – the more you risk falling victim to what they protect you from.
These simple steps can drastically reduce the threats to you from outside sources, and safeguard your privacy.

Weekly Headlines 4

Our Newsletter (3)

Apple Fixes Error 53

Earlier this month, reports of Error 53 flooded news papers and the internet. The error, which caused phones to be ‘bricked’ upon detection of unofficial repairs, has thankfully been addressed and fixed by Apple.

An updated version of iOS 9.2.1 is available for users who update their devices using iTunes only. This is because users that updated their iPhones via iCloud would not have gotten the error anyways. It should be noted this is not a brand new iOS, just a fixed version of iOS 9.2.1.

Apple also issued a new document on their website which lays out the possible causes and fixes for Error 53.

Unfortunately, the update will not be able to re-enable Touch ID. Apple claims that allowing a third-party sensor to function without official Apple verification will seriously compromise security. A corrupted Touch ID could allow access to the phone and data.

Freedom 251

An Indian company, Ringing Bells, has recently launched the world’s cheapest smartphone. Priced at a measly £2.50, this phone seems unreal. As cheap as it maybe the phone boasts some pretty decent specs: Android Lollipop 5.1, 1.3 GHz quadcore processor, 4-inch screen, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB internal memory and a 3.2 megapixel front camera.

Users will be able to access all Google Apps and the phone comes with some pre-installed farming and fishing apps which are aimed towards the phone’s target market.

It is still unclear how the company managed to manufacture such a cheap smartphone and many are even calling it a ponzi scheme.

One user discovered that whitener had been used to cover up the real logo. It seems that the phone is a product of Adcom, which is known for selling re-branded Chinese phones.

As it turns out, there’s an option to buy half a phone. HALF. A. PHONE.

Furthermore, the site was offline after a minute! The website had booked full page ads but didn’t have the capacity to handle a second of traffic.

Additionally, the phones seems to be a copy of Apple with many of the icons lifted from the iPhone.  If Apple sues, which it most likely will, India can wave goodbye to this budget phone!

The phone seems to be selling at a loss and the only way Ashok Chadha, president of Ringing Bells, can explain how they intend on making money is “economies of scale”. The company does not seem to be subsidized or registered by any Government Agency.

Twitter Integrates GIPHY and RIFFS

Twitter has made the decision to integrate GIPHY and RIFFS in order to make it easier for users to use GIFS in tweets. A new library will allow users to browse for the perfect GIF, short for graphics interchange format, to add to their tweet.

GIPHY users create GIFs to be used for entertainment purposes. After Twitter’s announcement, “Introducing GIF” was trending on Twitter and some users even tweeted their own reaction images in response.

The rollout for the GIF search began on Wednesday and will become available to all users soon.

4Chan at it again

A rumour, originated from 4Chan, has managed to trick users into killing their iPhones. The rumor sent users looking for an Easter Egg that did not exist. Users tried to get their phones to display Apple’s classic and other retro logo designs by setting their iPhone’s date back to 1970. This led to the 64-bit iOS devices being ‘bricked’.

Apple has addressed the issue and reassured users that it will send out an update to fix affected devices.

HSBC kills off passwords.

Customers of HSBC will not have to use passwords to access their bank accounts via phones or the iPhone app. Great news for those of us who always forget our passwords! The bank has started to roll out fingerprint verification recently while the bank hopes to roll out the voice recognition system before the summer.

These systems will be much safer than passwords and users will be less vulnerable to cyber attacks.

An estimated 15 million customers will be able to use this system which is intended to make banking safer and quicker. Customers will provide the bank with a voice print which will analyze the users talking speed, cadence and pronunciation. Customers will be able to then access their accounts by reading set phrases. The system will allegedly work even when the customer had a cold.

EVERYDAY _ ALL DAY LONG

Weekly Headlines: Malware Museum, Faster Internet, Error 53, and Amazon’s Quirky Terms and Conditions.

Our Newsletter (2)

It’s Friday which means that it’s time for some weekly headlines. So here’s your weekly dose of the happenings in the technological world.

Fast internet? Is that even possible?

Well apparently it is! There isn’t a whole lot I hate more than slow internet and I’m sure that there are a lot of people out there who would agree. Thanks to the brilliant scientists at University College London (UCL), slow internet might be the thing of the past! They have developed new fibre-optic equipment which could transfer data at 1.125 terabits/second! This is almost 50,000 times more than the average broadband speed found in UK homes. To put things in perspective, this new equipment would let users download a whole TV series in HD in a fraction of a second! If that isn’t mind blowing then I don’t know what is!

The scientists plan on testing the equipment to see whether it can effectively carry data across thousands of miles. Due to distance and the deterioration of data signal means that consumers will not be getting the same speed discovered at the laboratory. Professor Bayvel at UCL stated that this new technology could improve speed by 10 times if commercialized.

Error 53

Error 53 is a message which disables iPhone users’ handsets if it detects any repairs done by non-Apple technicians. Last week, thousands of iPhone 6 users received said message which basically rendered their phones completely useless. Funnily enough, Apple has 65 listed numerical errors but error 53 is not one of them. Any users looking for information on this error should head to Apple forums which discuss this nightmare at length.

Apparently, when an iPhone hits error 53 it needs to be sent straight back to Apple and users receive a brand new phone. Even the Apple ‘Geniuses’ have no idea how to fix it.

Since last week Apple has recognized  the error and linked it with Touch ID repairs. The error has only come to light when users tried to update to iOS9. It would be advisable to back up your phone completely before updating!

A lot of users have shown outrage at this incident, claiming it to be a violation of rights. David Fewer from the University of Ottawa claimed “it certainly looks like they are interfering with my property.”

Phil Kundu, the owner of Irepair.ca has stated that his company has stopped repairs on iPhone 6 and 6S models. It sure seems like Apple is targeting third-party device repairing industry.

Despite the justifications provided by Apple, lawyers in the U.K, U.S and Australia are seeking complainants for law suits against Apple.

 Malware Museum?

Want to relive your worst nightmares from the 90s? Well then head on down to the Malware Museum where you can re-experience viruses without them actually destroying your device! Sure viruses were scary, provocative, and destroys of all happiness, but they were also quite artistic!

This museum has been put together by Jason Scott and many of the viruses come from the personal collection of Mikko Hypponen, chief research scientist at F-Secure.

The viruses displayed at the museum seem to have come from twisted and hilarious personalities. My favorite is the Casino virus. This delightful piece of malware steals all your personal information, wipes it from your device and then gives you the option of winning it all back in a game of Jackpot.

Maybe these viruses seem funny right now because they can’t destroy our computers but we’ve got to admit, they truly are a work of art.

Jason Scott also has an archive of bulletin board messages.

In case of a Zombie Apocalypse, use Amazon

Amazon has announced in their Terms and conditions for Amazon Web Services that Lumberyard, their free cross-platform 3D gaming engine should not be used in medical equipment or self driving cars with just one exception, a Zombie Apocalypse. So if your neighbor is banging on your door while simultaneously crying out “BRAAIIIIINNNNSSSS”, feel freely to use Amazon’s new software to create #D games designed to run heart and lung machines or drive your car.

This free publicity hasn’t hurt Amazon one bit. In fact, this single sentence in an otherwise boring document has helped bring attention to Amazon’s open-source software!

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Weekly Headlines

Our Newsletter (1)

Apple Forecasts Falling Revenues Since 2013

For the first time in more than a decade, Apple has forecasted a decline in sales. This further reinforces the observation that the smart phone market has reached saturation. According to Apple, the revenue for the first three months of 2016 will be between $50 billion & $53 billion, way under the previously estimated $55 billion. This further cements the concern that Apple has reached the peak of iPhone growth, a thought that has lead stocks to fall 20% this month.

63% of Apple’s entire revenue comes from smart phone sales. The rest of Apple’s products don’t even come close to being as profitable as the iPhone. The MacBook and iPad only brings in 13% and 8% of the total revenue respectively. Other products, comprising of the Apple Watch, iPod, Beats and headphones, are only worth 6% in total. Apple’s reliance on the iPhone and the Chinese market is a big worry for investors. The unstable Chinese economy has had staggering effects on the rest of the world. With most of Apple’s profits coming in from the Chinese markets, if China falls, Apple will most likely go down with it.

Bye-Bye Google Glass

It seems that Google Glass had bid adieu to the internet. The company behind Google Glass has been fairly quiet about the product for the past couple of the months. Now it seems that all social media accounts owned by the Google Glass have been taken down. Google+ was the only account that gave a farewell message.

“Hi Explorers, we’ve had a blast hanging out with you on G+ throughout the Explorer Program. From now on, if you have any questions about your Glass, you can get in touch with us here.” The account then gave a link to Google’s support page for Glass.

Since its launch in 2013, Google Glass was not a wildly popular product. Customers complained that it made it too easy for the user to record others without permission.  Others thought it was too overpriced and out of reach.

Google has decided to discontinue the consumer version of the product and instead sell them to surgeons as a specialist tool.

Hooray for Facebook

Facebook has exceeded expectations with a 52% jump in quarterly revenue as it made the decision to sell more mobile focused ads. Facebook is now in a strong enough position to challenge Google as the Internet’s most powerful company. Although Google is still three times larger by revenue, Facebook is rapidly closing the gap. In addition, Facebook has its fingers dipped in lots of other projects such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence. However, social networking remains the heart and center of Facebook; in the final three months of 2015, Facebook signed on a further 46 million users!

Glitchy Uber

Uber has accidently shared the personal information of one of their drivers. When several other drivers logged on to the website to download their 1099s, they were accidently sent the Florida drivers 1099. This contained her social security number, address, tax ID and earnings. Uber has confirmed that other drivers were not compromised and stated that the data breach happened due to a ‘bug’.  Uber has said that the tab allowing partners to download their tax information will be disabled until the problem can be solved. Furthermore, Uber will also help the Florida driver with credit monitoring until the issue is taken care of.

This was not the first time a driver’s personal data was let loose. In May 2014, the names and license numbers of thousands of drivers were stolen. In another incident, tax information of thousands of other drivers was released on the website.

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