Category Archives: Smartphones & Tablets

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Vishing Scams

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Vishing Scams

There are so many different types of cyber-scams out there. Over the last few months we’ve made it our mission to keep you safe by providing you with tips on avoiding cyber threats. This week, we continue our mission with the subject of Vishing Scams.

How-To-Avoid-Vishing-Scams

Vishing Scams

What Are Vishing Scams

Vishing (voice-phishing) scams or phone fraud scams are a very common form of fraud and identity theft. Vishing is low-tech, but it is one of the most successful types of scams because it targets the weakest link in the IT and cyber security chain – the human element. The scam doesn’t depend on sophisticated malware, but rather advanced social engineering tactics. Criminals and fraudsters use vishing scams to target individuals or businesses in order to obtain personally identifiable information, fraudulent payments, or other information that can be sold or used to commit other crimes.

Vishing Scams On Individuals

When targeting individuals through a vishing scam, scammers impersonate a representative of a business such as a bank, the police, or insurance company. They typically use information they obtained from a previous data breach so that they have just enough information about you to make the phone call seem legitimate. For example, the fraudster impersonates a representative from your bank. They call and tell you they just need to verify some information because they noticed irregular transactions. They then tell you a list of fake purchases and ask if it’s you. When you say “no” they ask you to confirm your account info so they can decline the transactions and just like that they have access to your bank accounts. The fraudster has used your fear of identity theft to commit identity theft against you.

The best way to protect yourself from Vishing Scams is to ask the caller to provide company info, their name and title, case number, and telephone number. After you have the caller’s information, hang up and confirm the information provided. Call back only if everything checks out.

Vishing Scams On Businesses

When scammers target a business using a vishing scam, they typically assume the identity of an account holder with the purpose of gaining access to the individual’s account. The account holder information has usually been obtained through identity theft or a previous data breach. Using their social engineering skills, the scammer calls the business and provides a believable backstory and gains access to the account. For example, they might tell the customer service representative that either they were recently in a car accident, their apartment or home was broken into or that they experienced a birth or death in the family and that they can’t remember their password or login info. Whatever the story, it will be emotionally charged and designed to create sympathy so that the representative doesn’t follow company policy. Next thing you know, the business representative has given temporary login information to a fraudster and criminal. In this case, the fraudster has used a sympathy play to get an employee to ignore company policy and procedures putting the account holder and the business at risk.

For businesses, no matter what size, the human element of IT and cyber security is one of the most critical. Most scams, from BEC Scams to Phishing Scams, are successful due to human error. Making sure your employees have the proper training and are fully aware of company policy and procedures are just as important as keeping your IT systems up to date and secure.

Protect your business with proven IT solutions. We provide system analysis, employee training, and Managed IT Services. Contact us to schedule a No-Cost Network Audit today!       

Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

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Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

The 2018 holiday shopping season is off to a great start with online sales leading the way. Cyber Monday far exceeded estimates with nearly $8 billion in sales! All of the ease and convenience of online shopping can quickly become offset by the added risk of identity theft. Every year during the holiday season, cybercriminals ramp up their efforts.

Shop-With-Confidence-This-Holiday-Season

Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

We want you to shop with confidence this holiday season and enjoy your time with family and friends, not worrying if your credit or debit card has been compromised or someone has gotten hold of your social security number.

Quick Tips To Secure Online Shopping

  • Don’t buy on public WiFi.  Sitting in your favorite coffee shop and searching for the perfect gift you may be tempted to buy right there while you have wifi. Don’t do it! Public WiFi users are prime targets for scammers and criminals.
  • Make sure the door is locked. Make sure the site your buying on has the proper security to safeguard your personal information and payment information. Always check for the little lock symbol and “https” to the left of the url. If you don’t see it, don’t enter in any of your information since the site is not secure and hackers could get their hands on your information.
  • Go to the website. Many of us get emails from our favorite online stores telling us of great deals and sales. During the holiday season phishing scams rise dramatically because scammers know people are looking for those deals more than ever. If you see a deal you want to take advantage of, go directly to the site. If it is a legitimate sale it will be advertised on their site.
  • Keep those updates coming. Make sure you’re computer and devices are getting the proper security updates so they stay secure. With the increase of scams and online shopping during the holiday season it’s more important than ever to keep your devices up to date.

Businesses Keep Your Customers Safe

For many businesses, the holidays are their busiest season, especially retailers. Providing the best customer service and a warm, welcoming environment for your patrons is important. Don’t let a technology and cyber security issues bring a blue christmas. Pros 4 Technology can assist you in providing confidence in your cyber security and IT. Contact us to schedule a consultation and to discuss your tech needs.   

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

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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.

How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

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How to Stay Safe on Public WiFi Networks

We regularly connect with public WiFi networks when away from work or home: at the airport, in a coffee shop, even in our dentist’s office.  The public networks are for everyone. However, users should remember this can include hackers. Your devices are vulnerable to attacks on these Wi-Fi networks. Even if the network requires a password, it is still shared with others.

Here are 8 things you can do to boost cyber-security on a public WiFi:

  1. Disable sharing on your device.  Check the settings to make sure it is disabled.  This is the default on most public networks but always double check.
  2. Use a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. This program ensures anonymity while on a public network. You can use open source software (openvpn) or vpn private, which is  purchased for an added layer of privacy. There are unique benefits to both openvpn and vpn private. Contact us to learn more about setting up a VPN.
  3. Avoid using websites with sensitive information, such as bank and credit card accounts, which can be hacked on a public network. Wait until you are on a secure network like your home or office to log into such websites.
  4. Remove private information from your device before using a public network. Get rid of files with any connection to your bank account or social security number. If you must access these accounts, use remote access software provided by your business.
  5. Prevent physical theft of your device. Be aware of your physical surroundings. Hackers can simply steal devices and take data off them. Keep them on your person or within eyesight and reach at all times.
  6. Use a firewall and the updated anti-virus software. Also known as a packet filter, a firewall monitors incoming traffic to your computer and blocks unknown or potentially dangerous cybercriminals. Keep your antivirus software up to date.
  7. Authenticate your public connection. Hackers often create fake Wi-Fi hotspots to trick unsuspecting users into logging on so they can steal their data. Never just connect to the nearest open network.
  8. Only use websites with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This is an extra layer of internet security. An easy way to check for the SSL is to look at the site’s URL (address).  Websites starting with ‘https’ have an SSL. Those starting in ‘http’ (without the ‘s’) do not.

 

How to stay safe on public wi-fi. Pros 4 Technology Blog

Free public wi-fi comes with its share of risks, including hackers who are waiting to steal your data.

Cybersecurity is only as strong as its weakest link. Make sure your device is protected before connecting to a public Wi-Fi network to keep your data safe.

Protecting Your Android Smartphone or Tablet from Malware

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How to Defend Against Malware on Android Smartphones & Tablets

Google Android is the most commonly used operating system (OS) on smartphones. But it is also the most frequently attacked OS by malicious software, or malware. This can take the form of computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses or spyware. Apps can be created by any user online, including hackers, who can secretly embed malware to infect users’ phones.

Android smartphone apps can be infected with devastating malware and viruses.

Android smartphone apps can be infected with devastating malware and viruses. Investigate before you download!

Here are several things you can do to help protect your Android smartphone or tablet from malware:

  1. Download apps only from the Google Play Store . Google has an entire tech department dedicated to investigating apps and hunting down malware. The occasional bad app will slip through their net but it’s far less risky than downloading smartphone apps anywhere else.
  2. Scrutinize app reviews and ratings. You want an app that has 5-star ratings and positive reviews, but hackers can fake this information too, using a Trojan horse. Check for repeated and/or very short reviews – this can indicate fake content.
  3. Investigate the app’s creators. Businesses evaluate the developers of the apps they use. This is good practice for your personal devices as well. Research them online. Often a bad app will be flagged on a message board before it’s pulled from the app stores.
  4. Examine app permissions. Each app will request to access certain functions of your device. Think twice about downloading the app if permissions are attached to personal information, and make sure the access requested correlates to the app. If you are downloading a calculator app, why do they need to access your camera? Some of the riskier permissions to allow are:
    • Saving your data
    • Taking photos
    • Recording audio

Extra attention to these details will reduce the risk of malware attacks to your Android smartphone or tablet.