The holidays are right around the corner, which means many will be working remotely while traveling. Remote work already increases cybersecurity risks and traveling adds another dimension of threats. It’s important to keep your guard up and avoid taking security shortcuts while working remotely. According to venturebeat.com, here are a few cybersecurity practices you should consider implementing this holiday season:
- Backup all your devices. If traveling, leave the backup in the cloud or at home.
- Use a password protected, WPA-enabled Wi-Fi network
- Create strong and different passwords for each account
- Avoid storing passwords on your person or on your phone
- Update all devices, applications, and browsers
If you’re leaving the home office to work, whether at your local café or in another country, here are further security measures you can take:
- Leave unneeded devices at home
- Bring a laptop lock and invest in a physical one-time password authenticator
- Avoid taking devices that contain confidential company documents and information
- Use an RFID blocker(basically a card sleeve) to protect payment cards, room keys, and passports
- Use password-protected hotspot instead of hotel or public Wi-Fi
- Turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Near Field Communications (NFC) on your phone when in public areas such as airports or coffee shops
- Use a VPN
There are many cybersecurity improvements to consider making, whether you have big traveling plans or just like to work from outside the office on occasion. For more information on how to protect personal and company data, or for any other IT needs or questions you may have, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday are three of the busiest days of the year for shopping and donating. These days create the perfect opportunity for hackers and scammers to take advantage of the unwary. Thankfully, according to NBC there are measures you can take to avoid false advertisements, untrustworthy sellers, phishing attempts and more.
If a company is selling the hottest item of the season at a price that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Check prices across a few retailers to ensure the best deal is also a realistic one. Be aware of fake email offers and web addresses. Scammers will often attempt to craft sites and messages that look just like your favorite retailers. If shopping from a business for the first time, make sure to look over their reviews before entering your credit card information.
Make sure your antivirus software is fully up to date. Updated antivirus should help block pop-ups and spam, as well as warn you of potential threats. Use your credit card as opposed to a debit card. If any unwarranted charges show up, you’ll be able to contest them through your credit card company. Debit cards unfortunately don’t offer the same protection. Lastly, be on the lookout for phishing tactics. Emails, calls, and texts mentioning incredible deals, free gifts, and delivery problems should all arouse suspicion.
Responsible charities will list their mission, programs, goals, and achievements on their website. Their financial information should also be readily available. You can check if organizations are tax exempt using the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search tool.
Additionally, be wary of on-the-spot donations and the use of emotional appeals. Do some research before making your donation decisions to ensure your selected charity operates ethically. Lastly, it never hurts to check with state charity officials if you haven’t heard of a charity before. Charities often are required to register with the office of the attorney general before soliciting.
This giving time of year is wonderful, and it’s great to give thoughtful gifts to loved ones and charities. However, it’s wise to be cautious and ensure your money and personal information are safe. If you have any questions about Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday, or general internet safety practices, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
QR codes are popping up everywhere in 2022, including locations such as restaurants, shopping malls, and airports. These signs often suggest downloading a specific QR code reader for your phone. Even if they don’t, many will seek out a QR app to scan the code they need. However, these apps are primarily redundant due to features already included in your phone and may even be dangerous.
These third-party apps are an easy way for hackers to deliver malware to your phone or to steal information. Dangerous code can be placed in these apps which could lead to unwanted outcomes such as theft of money or personal data. They can even fully take over your device!
If you want to avoid these potential threats, the simple solution is to use your phone’s built-in camera app. Whether you have an iPhone, Android, or Samsung, they all have native QR code support.
All you’ll need to do is:
• Open the camera app
• Hover over the QR code
• Your phone should recognize the code and give a tappable notification
• Tap the notification
If you’re having any issues, go to your phone’s settings and ensure that QR code scanning is enabled.
For more information, questions, or concerns about QR code scanners or protecting your personal data, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
Gmail has been one of the most popular email services since its inception, and for good reason. It’s free (well, financially free), has great searchability, and an easy-to-use interface. However, there is still room for improvement. For instance, have you ever wasted time searching through your email to find shipment information? Checking the status of online orders has become a frequent activity in many people’s lives, so Google has decided to streamline the process.
Over the coming weeks, Gmail will begin to roll out the ability to track packages directly from your inbox. The new feature can automatically detect tracking numbers contained within emails, and will display an “expected delivery” label in your inbox. Gmail will also notify you of both package shipments and delays. These alerts will be a great help when dealing with time-sensitive deliveries. FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service will all likely be compatible with this new feature, but it is yet to be seen if it’ll function with Amazon Prime.
If you’re concerned about Google looking into your mail for shipping information, you can rest assured that the feature will be opt-in. It is, however, another potential breach of privacy. Most users will likely find the trade-off worth it to enjoy better features, but it’s never a bad idea to try to keep your personal information secure. For more information on the safety of Gmail or the protection of your data, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LinkedIn has long had security issues such as fake and impersonated accounts, spam messaging, and phishing. However, according to an article on Tripware, LinkedIn is taking new measures to bolster their security and protect users from threats.
Some of these features include:
About This Profile
Every user will now have additional data points to assess how trustworthy a profile is. “About This Profile” will detail when each account was created, as well as if the account has a verified phone number or email address. This feature should be effective for identifying fake accounts and ensuring users are making safe connections. Initially only workers for select companies will be able to verify their email addresses, but LinkedIn will expand the feature over time.
Fake Account Detection
LinkedIn is also fighting against deepfake image generating technology. These artificially generated images are being utilized as profile photos to make fake accounts appear authentic. LinkedIn has implemented a deep-learning-based model to check uploaded profile photos to determine if they are artificially generated or not.
Suspicious Message Warnings
New warnings are being integrated into LinkedIn’s messaging system to help keep users safe. Warnings and safety tips will appear if users try to send links to external sites or apps. This will further protect users from threats such as phishing and viruses.
All these new measures will help to keep LinkedIn’s userbase safer. While improvements are being made, many threats still exist on LinkedIn and all other types of social media. To keep your personal information safe, it’s important to have up to date cybersecurity and follow best internet practices. For more information on how to how to identify digital threats and protect your data, please feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com.
More information is available online than ever before, and with this rise in information comes an increase in the number of hackers and scammers looking to obtain your personal data. Protecting your computer with antivirus software is not just needed, it is essential.
In addition to removing viruses, antivirus software will help keep your personal information safe through features such as secure web browsing, monitored downloads, and alerts when your data is at risk. A good antivirus software will run scans for malware and viruses, offering instant protection for your computer. Additionally, it can monitor unexpected behavior on your computer and identify new threats before they become an issue.
The better antivirus products will even help protect against phishing by warning you about suspicious sites and automatically blocking emails from malicious senders. However, you still need to be able to identify phishing tactics on your own, as antivirus programs won’t be able to identify every threat.
For more information regarding the protection of your online information whether antivirus software or security awareness training, please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is now the time to go completely cloud based?
Have you been considering if now could be the right time to switch your small business completely to the cloud? Cloud computing offers many advantages to small businesses and nonprofit organizations, but will it maintain the safety of private information for both your business and customer? The following are things to think about if you make the switch, according to an article from smallbiztechnology.com:
- Train workers to identify attacks by using Security Awareness training software
- Teach staff to avoid using email links and instead go directly to a website
- Ensure staff is aware of what phishing attacks may look like and how they work
- Install antivirus and XDR protection
- Every company device should have the latest virus and malware protection
- Require strong passwords
- A strong password would include uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as numbers and characters
- Implement password policies which require password changes and complexity requirements
- Set security policies
- Clearly define protocols such as what to do with unneeded customer data, how often to change passwords, and who can access that data
- Make sure you are complying with the laws
- Learn the rules regarding data protection based on your companies and your customer’s locations
- Set aside a percentage of your IT budget for security and adjust as needed
Cloud computing can be just as safe as any other form of digital data storage when the proper precautions are taken.
If you have any questions about cloud computing or how best to protect your organization, please contact us at email@example.com.
Do you have an Amazon Alexa in each room too? She’s always there when we need her because she’s always listening. Do you ever wonder if she’s listening a little too much? Smart devices can be very useful, but they can also be really creepy. Can you imagine being woken up by your Amazon Alexa device laughing? There have been hundreds of reports of Alexa devices laughing for no reason. Amazon claims the device is misinterpreting other phases with “Alexa, laugh!” Amazon changed the command to “Alexa, can you laugh?” to avoid triggering the device to laugh. Amazon hopes adding a few extra words will reduce the confusion for Alexa and eliminate the eerie issue. Some customers have complained that they were woken up in the middle of the night by Alexa’s laugh even though no one was talking.
We all enjoy being a little spooked during Halloween time, but I think the Amazon Alexa took it a little too far.
For more information regarding online safety, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Did you hear? Samsung is experiencing a cybersecurity incident. Although the company has informed the public that social security numbers as well as debit card numbers were not accessed, customer’s name, contact and demographic information, date of birth and project registration information have been.
Samsung claims someone gained unauthorized access to their systems in late July. In early August, it was determined that the attacker had obtained customer data, but consumer devices were not affected. Samsung has taken action to secure its systems.
Samsung does not believe it is necessary for customers to take immediate action based on their investigation although the company does suggest that individuals use caution if they receive unsolicited emails relating to Samsung products.
If you would like more information regarding online safety, reach out to us at info@optfinITy.com.
If you’re using Google Chrome, it’s time to check for a critical security update. Google released a Chrome update to patch a significant vulnerability that is actively being exploited in ongoing cyberattacks. Google urged users to update Chrome as soon as possible.
How to update Chrome on iPhone or iPad:
- Open the App Store app on your iPhone or iPad
- Tap Profile Properties in the top right corner. This will open a screen labelled Account. Scroll to Available Updates
- Search for Google Chrome. Tap Update to install the latest browser updates. (You may be asked to provide your Apple ID and password)
If Chrome isn’t listed under available updates, you can go to Google Chrome in the App Store. You may see an option to update Chrome appear, you can tap that button to begin updating.
How to update Chrome on a desktop
It doesn’t matter whether you are using MacOS or Windows, your google Chrome update process is the same.
- Open Google Chrome and click on the More menu (it’s located in the top right corner; it looks like three dots stacked vertically)
- Now you’ll see if an update has been recently released. A green icon means an update was released less than two days ago. An orange icon means there’s been a pending update for four days now. A red icon means an update has been available for at least a week
- Near the bottom of the More menu, click Help and then click About Google Chrome.
- In the new screen that opens, click the Update Google Chrome button (if you don’t see the button, it means you’re already up to date)
- After you’ve clicked the Update Google Chrome button, click Relaunch to finish the update
Chrome will now restart, and you’ll be up to date.
If you have any questions on updating Google Chrome or protecting yourself from security bugs, please contact us at email@example.com.