Great apps to track down a lost or stolen phone

Great apps to track down a lost or stolen phone

Great apps to track down a lost or stolen phone

Smartphone have become an essential part of our everyday lives. Not only because it’s a collection of apps, photos, messages, and contacts that make up his or her digital life, but it’s also a large chunk of money… anywhere from $200 – $1200!

Because of this, losing a phone can be an awfully traumatic experience. You’re forced to start over from scratch and invest another portion of your savings into something that might just be lost or stolen a few months from now.

However, there is a way to fight back against lost or stolen phones, and it all starts with a phone-finding, anti-theft application. Here are a few to get you headed in the right direction.

Prey

With Prey, a stolen or lost phone has the potential to be recovered. This phone-finding, anti-theft application gives you the ability to take photos and lock your device remotely. This means that hypothetically you could take a photo of the thief with your phone’s camera and then keep them out of your phone and away from your data with remote locking.

Prey also allows you to wipe your data remotely (if it comes to that) and retrieve data stuck on your phone, like messages and call logs. Receive the location of your phone, determine if there are any Wi-Fi hotspots nearby, and take screenshots of what the thief is doing on your phone.

Avast Anti-Theft

Avast has a lot of the same capabilities as Prey. You can remotely lock your phone and wipe its data. You can receive screenshots, retrieve data, and learn about the surrounding Wi-Fi. One interesting feature Avast has, though, that Prey does not is that you can activate a loud siren. And the siren will only get louder if the thief tries to turn it down.

Another interesting feature is its SIM-Card-Change Notification. If the thief slips a new SIM Card into your phone, you’ll receive a message with the phone’s new number and location.

Lookout

Lookout is also very similar to Avast and Prey. It has the same basic phone-finding, anti-theft features that the two previous applications encompass. However, Lookout differs because it incorporates features such as Identity Monitoring and Threat Protection. So, not only will the app help protect you from identity theft, but it will also work to protect your device from known cyber threats.

And to keep things even more safe and secure for you, Lookout will send you reports on recent data breaches and backup your mobile data in the process.

Cerberus

Cerberus is slightly more intense than the other apps previously mentioned. In fact, a film student based in Amsterdam recently used this app to create a documentary on where stolen phones go. With this app, he was able to setup custom alerts, listen to phone conversations, turn on the camera, read messages, and track the phone’s location. Cerberus will also backup your data and give you the option to remotely lock your device, wipe its contents, and retrieve data.

Interested in learning more about keeping your mobile devices safe and secured? Give us a call today!

Our I.T. experts would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

4 reasons your business will get hacked

4 reasons your business will get hacked

4 reasons your business will get hacked

Businesses get hacked all the time. At this point, we expect hackings to happen. But… this doesn’t mean we necessarily accept them or that we forgive a business when they become a victim of a data breach or fall upon a security misfortune.

This being said, it’s important to know what will get your business hacked, so you can avoid these things at all costs. Here are a few things that will most certainly throw your business into a world of hacking.

You arent training your people.

Usually, technology is pretty smart, and for the most part, it can keep hackers out. It’s the people using the technology who aren’t so smart. They’re the ones who allow hackers to slip through, and oftentimes, it’s the direct result of a social engineering attack.

These attacks can play out any number of ways – through your inbox, in person, over the phone, through the mail – but the end goal typically involves someone giving away sensitive data. This can be anything from credit card numbers and login credentials to passwords and personal information.

Whatever the case might be, it’s all preventable with just a little training. If you fail to train your employees on the ins and outs of social engineering, then your company will pay for it with its data, reputation, and, quite possibly, its future.

You dont have policies.

Cyber security doesn’t just entail a handful of monitoring and prevention tools bundled together to create a layered security solution. That’s way too simple. In reality, cyber security involves much more, and you can thank the human element for that.

If you’re serious about that whole not-being-hacked thing, then you need to create detailed policies that actually help you do that whole not-being-hacked thing. These policies should address issues such as passwords, internal updates, external access, hiring and firing, and training. The more bases you cover, the better off your business will be.

You do have policies, but you don’t implement them.

If you go through the hassle of creating policies, then you might as well follow them. More often than not, companies will create security policies but they won’t stick to them. They rarely train new hires on them; they forget to update them, and they never discipline employees for failing to follow them.

There’s no point in having policies if you don’t stick with them. Create. Implement. Update. Then regulate.

You dont change.

Things change over time, including cyber threats. This means, that your cyber security policies, strategy, education, and tools should change over time, as well.

If you remain stationary, you really aren’t remaining stationary. This is because while everything else is progressing and evolving, you are not. You are falling behind. You are not remaining stationary because you are becoming less and less modern, less and less of a competitor, and less and less of a challenge to hack.

Never stop learning and always keep your business at least one step ahead of the threats.

Has your business experienced a cyber-attack firsthand? Do you worry about whether or not your business is secure enough to withstand a cyber-attack? If so, then give us a call today to schedule your no-cost security assessment. Our security experts are looking forward to your call!

What it Costs to Hire an IT Professional

What it Costs to Hire an IT Professional

You’ve probably thought about hiring an IT person at some point, and for good reason. The business world is becoming so reliant on technology that any network slowness or downtime can really impact your team’s efficiency, your client satisfaction, and your overall bottom line. But since technology is so precious (and expensive), the cost of hiring your own in-house IT person is a lot more than just the agreed upon salary.

So if you’re looking to hire your own IT person, listen up!

Cost

It’s important to keep in mind that there are several different job titles for IT professionals, so salaries will vary depending on the level of experience required. Small and medium sized businesses who do not currently have an IT department will start by hiring an entry level Computer/Network support technician.

According to payscale.com, the national average salary for a Computer-Network Support Technician is around $42,000 a year, or $18.03 an hour. So now that you have an idea of how much the salary is, let’s talk about everything else you’ll need.

Your new IT professional is going to need a real badass computer (most likely with several monitors) that can efficiently run all of the software needed to maintain your network. Speaking of software, you will definitely need to invest in network diagnostic tools and the most up-to-date security programs.

If you have multiple locations, they will most likely need a cell phone with a data plan and most likely a vehicle expense account or a company car. We haven’t even talked about benefits and worker compensation yet.

Where the Managed Service Provider comes in

As you can see, hiring an IT professional isn’t cheap. One person might not even be enough if you’re a larger business or if your business runs 24 hours a day (IT guys need to sleep too). So what’s the solution?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Think about it. Why hire an individual person to handle all of your technology needs when you can bring on an entire IT company for the same price, if not cheaper?

Managed Service Providers will not only have the skill and talent to keep your technology safe and up- to-date, but they will also have all of the resources needed to ensure all your hardware and software is running efficiently. Whether you have multiple locations or staff that works after-hours, a Managed Service Provider will give you piece of mind, so you can focus on what’s most important, running your business.

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If you’re interested in learning whether or not managed services is right for your business, then give us a call today to schedule a private briefing with one of our technology consultants.

Things you should never do when creating passwords

Things you should never do when creating passwords

Everyone always had advice on how to create a password… but what about how not to create a password? In other words, what are the things you should never do if you want to create and maintain a solid collection of passwords? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t use a word found in the dictionary.

Don’t ever create a password that consists of one lone word that can be tracked down inside a dictionary. When a group of hackers play out a brute force attack, automated software basically throws out a bunch of guesses until they find the correct password. And typically, dictionary words are the first guesses thrown out.

Don’t reuse passwords.

This goes two ways. Never take a password you’ve used in the past and use it for a new account, and never take a password that is currently being used on one account and use it for a second account. This is because if one account gets hacked, any account relying on the same credentials could also be hacked – and it won’t even be hard. All a hacker has to do is plug-and-play, no hacking necessary.

Don’t use a common phrase.

Just like it’s easy to crack a dictionary word, it’s also pretty easy to crack a password created from a common phrase… something like ?ilovelove? or ?peanutbutteandjelly? or ?tobeornottobe.? Password-cracking software will automatically check for combinations like these, too.

Don’t use an ordered sequence of numbers.

Everyone says to throw numbers and characters into your passwords to make them stronger, and that’s a solid tip. However, it doesn’t always help. For example, throwing a 1 or 123 onto the back or front of a password won’t do anyone any good except a hacker. To legitimately strengthen your password, shoot for random combinations of numbers (5024 versus 1234) or a random placement (pass5024word versus password5024).

Don’t use something that can be found on social media.

Sometimes hackings are targeted and closer to home. It’s not always a massive attack on a random website. Because of this, you need to be careful with the ?things? you base your passwords off. For example, using your spouse’s name or your favorite football team as your password isn’t a good idea. This type of information can quickly be found on your social media profiles.

Don’t write your passwords down.

For some weird reason, people think it’s okay to write down their passwords and keep them on their desks or stored in a drawer. This is a terrible idea. Random hackers from some far-off country aren’t the only sources of hackings. A hacking could happen right in your own background and even inside your own office. Don’t leave your password laying around from someone to pick up and do what they please with.

Don’t share your passwords.

Never at any point is it okay to just give your passwords out. Even if it is a trusted friend or your brother from another mother, don’t do it. They may not do it intentionally but there’s always the possibility that your password could get loose. It’s better to play it safe and keep your passwords to yourself.

The Internet can be a very dangerous place, which is why it’s important to have strong passwords as your first line of defense. If you’d like to learn more about internet security and best practices, contact us today!

4 ways cybercriminals use social engineering to steal your data

4 ways cybercriminals use social engineering to steal your data

Social engineering is yet another tactic cybercriminals could use to steal data from an unsuspecting company. However, this tactic is slightly different than typical methods, mainly because it preys on the human element. Here are a few of the most common ways social engineering could play out in your business.

They could send an email.

The majority of people are most accustomed to this form of social engineering, commonly known as ?Phishing.? They receive an email with a message asking them to send over private information, download an attachment, or click on a link. Another strategy used is called ?Pretexting,? in which the criminal uses personal information they already have (such as your birthday, address, or social security number) in order to get more information from the victim.

They could offer something.

These criminals could offer you something in return for specific information. Some of the information they could request are login credentials, credit card numbers, or client records. The hacker will typically offer a large sum of money in exchange for the info, but don’t expect a dime from them. If it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.

They could pose as someone you know.

In most cases, a person using social engineering tactics will pretend to be someone they aren’t. The criminal could pose as your boss or a friend, and send you an email asking for a favor or to wire money to a bank account number they provide. They are also infamous for creating fake social media profiles and reeling in their victims that way. These types of attacks have increased over the years thanks to sites like Google and LinkedIn, which hackers use to find out just about anything they want about a company and its executives.

They could put up an advertisement

You see an online advertisement everywhere these days, and cybercriminals have caught on to the trend. They are becoming notorious for running extensive online advertising campaigns, in which they will offer a product or service, and then trick the victim into downloading ransomware onto their computer. Commonly referred to as the ?Rogue? technique, you will

most commonly see this as an advertisement for an anti-virus software, or as an alert from your computer stating your system has been infected.

Social engineering won’t be going away anytime soon, which is why it’s crucial to regularly train your staff on email and internet best practices. If you need any assistance protecting your business from these types of attacks, then give us a call today!

3 Ways to Enforce an Internet Culture at Work

3 Ways to Enforce an Internet Culture at Work

It’s safe to assume that you want your staff to be more productive and efficient when at work. It may also be safe to assume that you’ve seen your employees waste a lot of time on the internet when they should be working instead. They’ll waste time on Facebook, stream movies on Netflix, order stuff off of Amazon, and they might even be on Monster.com looking for another job (on your dime).

As a matter of fact, studies show that around 64% of employees waste an average of 2-hours a day on non-work related websites every day. That’s 25% of their work day if they work the typical 8-hour shift!

So if you’re looking to get your employees back to work, follow these three simple steps:

Content Filtering

The easiest way to boost productivity is by enforcing content filtering, which involves placing limitations on which websites your employees are allowed to visit and when. The best part is, you probably already have the tool you need to do this! Your firewall, which is typically used to sets rules on what’s allowed to enter or leave your network, will most likely have a content filtering management tool for you to block certain websites, popular messaging and chat applications, game applications, and to set security options to disable certain online activities.

If you don’t have a firewall, you have bigger problems to worry about.

Implement a Computer Usage Policy

If you don’t feel comfortable blocking user internet access, another option would be to create a Computer Usage Policy, in which you would review with and have all employees sign. This should also be a part of the onboarding paperwork when you bring on a new employee.

An effective Computer Usage Policy will clearly outline which websites they can and cannot visit during business hours, what they can and cannot download, email best practices, and computer misuse policies. Even with all of this, you need to clearly outline the disciplinary action that you will take if an employee violates the policy, which needs to be strictly enforced and consistent across all departments. They need to understand that their computer and internet access is the property of the company, and should only be used for work-related purposes.

Passwords

The third, and probably easiest, way to limit internet access is by setting password-level controls. Think of it as setting parental controls for your children at home. This process includes assigning each employee to a specific network user group with preset rules and limitations based on their log-in

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passwords, which would carry over no matter which computer they use. This would be a great strategy if you have some employees that share computers in the office.

If you need assistance implementing an internet culture for your business, please give us a call today. We have the knowledge and expertise to get those 64% of time-wasting employees back to work!