Monthly Archives: June 2018

The Technology Blog

5 Cyber-Security for the Non-Tech Person

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5 Cyber-Security Tasks for the Non-Tech Person

Technology is constantly changing – new devices, software and cyber threats are continually being introduced. The average technology user does not have the knowledge or the ability to stay current on the latest cyber security needs for their computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Many people don’t include all security options available when they set up their device, or fail to update it after the initial setup.  

This is a mistake. Hackers are quick to pounce on easy targets such as non-tech people who don’t properly secure their computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

If you fully secure your device, hackers are far more likely to move onto an easier target. There are several basic actions you can take today to secure your device like a pro. These things take minimal work but provide secure protection from hackers and cyber criminals.

Cyber-Security Tasks for the Non-Tech Person - Pros 4 Technology Blog

5 Easy Cyber-Security Tasks that even the Non-Tech Person Can Do

Five Simple Cyber-Security Tasks to Make Your Computer, Smartphone or Tablet More Secure

  1. Use a password manager. Passwords are the ‘locks’ protecting your data.  Strong passwords are unique to each account, sophisticated and randomized. They can be difficult to remember, however. A password manager stores – and will even create – secure, randomized passwords. They save the password and have plugins that will fill in the password for each separate account.  Users only need to remember one password, the ‘Master Password.’ LastPass is one password manager that we recommend and there is a free version available.
  2. Use data encryption at home. Encryption is the process of your computer converting data into random code so that it’s much more difficult for a hacker to use should he gain access to your device. If a device is encrypted, a hacker is likely to move on to an easier target. Most routers have a ‘setup wizard’ to take you through this process. IMPORTANT NOTE: When encrypting your computer, use WPA2 with AES encryption.  Do not use WEP or TKIP. This method is outdated and is no longer secure. AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard. It is used by the U.S. government and is the global standard in encryption.
  3. Make sure all of your devices have updated anti-virus and anti-malware software installed. This is essential for cyber-security. Most software is inexpensive or free. A simple Google search for ‘malware protection’ or ‘virus scanner’ give you such options immediately. Properly installed anti-virus software constantly monitors your devices and alerts you if a threat is detected. Check out our  blog post about protecting your android device from malware.
  4. Clean off your computer’s desktop. Having files on the desktop puts you at risk for sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient. Review all the files on your Desktop move them to the appropriate drives and folders. This also frees up RAM (random access memory) and can help your computer to run faster.
  5. Perform and/or enable regular software updates. Most computer and mobile device operating systems and software applications receive automated updates from the manufacturer. Don’t ignore requests for system updates or software updates – if it’s a legitimate source click yes, even if you need to schedule it for a more convenient time. Many updates are security patches rolled out to help combat the most recent cyber threats. Most devices update automatically or ask if you want the latest updates. Sometimes updates are not automatic, so we recommend proactively checking for updates yourself each week.
    1. If you have a Windows operating system, there will be a search box either at the bottom toolbar or in Settings. Search for ‘Updates’ and your computer will direct you to a page where you can check for updates.
    2. Mac software updates can be performed by clicking on the Apple Menu, selecting ‘Updates’ and making sure the the ‘Automatic Updates’ box is selected. There is also a ‘Check Now’ button that enables you to do your own weekly checks.

These essential cyber-security tasks are easy enough for most users to do. If you have questions or need help call the Pros 4 Technology at 920-400-1279 and we’ll help make sure all your devices are secured.

Backup Your Computer, Tablet and Smartphone Data

By | Cyber Security, Smartphones & Tablets | No Comments

Backup Your Computer, Tablet and Smartphone Data

If you own a computer or smartphone, your life is probably on it. Personal photos are important, but your devices also store sensitive information such as account information, credit card numbers, tax returns, and passwords. We often store data on cloud drives, such as Google Drive and iCloud, especially for smartphones and data-enabled tablets.

Anything stored online or on an internet-connected computer can be vulnerable to a hacker attack. Cybercriminals can remotely steal and wipe data from your devices if they are not properly secured. Read about 5 cyber-security tasks for non-tech people.

Data can also be at risk on the hard drive of your computer, tablet or smartphone, even if it’s not internet connected. Computers crash occasionally, which can corrupt or even wipe your data. Backing up data ensures that if a cyber-attack or hard drive crash happens, you can easily restore your data.

Backup computer data to external hard drive. Pros 4 Technology Blog

Backup computer and smartphone data to an external hard drive or secure, cloud-based service.

Two critical things can help keep your data secure:

  1. Frequently backup your data to an external hard drive. How much data are you willing to risk losing? One day? One week? This will determine the frequency of your backups.
  2. Encrypt all data on your device. Make it really difficult for a hacker to steal your data, and most will move on to an easier target, even if they do gain access.  

Backup Your Data to an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive can provide a secure place to store your backups on site. You should also consider automated offsite backup through a cloud-based service in addition to an external drive. For external hard drives, both Windows and Macs have software that easily allows you to backup data:

  • For Windows, connect the external hard drive, Select ‘Settings’ and turn on the ‘File History’.
  • On a Mac, once the hard drive is connected, open ‘System Preferences’ and turn on ‘Time Machine’.

Encrypt Your Computer Data

This is an important step to take after backing up your data.  Criminals do steal hard drives, knowing people backup their data. If they steal an encrypted hard drive, they will find it difficult to get any data.  It is securely password protected. Read our blog post on how to create secure passwords.

Cybercriminals need to work fast, so if your data takes too long to steal, they will typically move on to an easier target. Encryption and regular backups will help ensure that your personal data is safe from cyber-attacks, computer crashes or even theft.