How Encryption Will Prevent Hackers From Cracking Your Device

Despite what you might think, encryption isn’t just for spooks and confidential files.

Instead, it’s another tool you can use in your armoury against hackers. Just like two-factor authentication that we talked about in an earlier post.

What does encryption do?

The whole point of using an encryption product is to keep your data safe from prying eyes. It scrambles your data and asks for a unique key to be entered before allowing your device to be booted up.

If your device was hacked and you weren’t using encryption, your data would be clear and readily available to the hacker. However, using it makes your data completely useless and inaccessible.

Should you use a free service?

In a word, no – the encryption services that come free with your operating system or that are downloadable from the internet are free for a reason; they are no good.

That’s why it’s best to use a paid service. You can find them online for as little as £15.

However, having said, don’t use the free ones, there is an exception. Apple devices have encryption built into their operating system, which is rather good, so make sure you switch it on.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.  

Were You One Of The 87 Million Facebook Users Caught Up In The Cambridge Analytica Saga?

Facebook data saga

The Big Fight: Facebook Vs Cambridge Analytica

The Facebook / Cambridge Analytica saga has been fascinating.

Mark Zuckerberg’s grilling by the Senate was cringe-worthy stuff. He came away virtually unscathed. Not because he was proven innocent of any dubious goings-on, but because most of the senators had no idea how Facebook works.

It all started with a personality quiz called, “This Is Your Digital Life.” Anyone who took the test had their data harvested by Cambridge Analytica. Worse still, their friends’ data was mined too.

Facebook announced that if you were amongst the unfortunate 87 million people affected, you would be notified via your News Feed.

But what if you haven’t been notified and are still sceptical?

You can check if your Facebook data was shared with Cambridge Analytica by logging into Facebook and visiting their help page.

This is probably a good time to check out the other apps that have access to your Facebook account and disable any that you no longer use.

What does Facebook know about you?

It’s events like this that make you stop and think about what you share on social media.

PCWorld.com offers a guide on how to download your Facebook data.

If you’re not comfortable with what you find, here’s their article on how to delete, disable, or limit your Facebook account.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Are You in The Password Management Paradox?

Password management paradox

 

What is the Password Management Paradox and are you in it?

Let’s find out.

  • Does your company make you change your password every 30 to 60 days?
  • Do you constantly forget your passwords?

If you answered yes to both of those, you’re in the Password Management Paradox.

The problem is you’re forced to change your password to increase security. However, the more passwords you have (and the more regularly you change them) actually decreases security and here’s why.

You will potentially ignore the constant requests to change your password, or you’ll spend most of your time on the phone to your IT section resetting your password because you can’t remember what you changed it to.

So how can you keep your work and personal data safe?

Here are our three top tips to help you:

  1. Never use the same password twice. Yes, it’s a pain, but if you use a password on multiple sites and one gets hacked, you’re opening yourself up to a whole lot of grief because your other online  data (including potentially your banking details) will be in danger
  2. Use complicated phrases that are easy to remember. Another paradox? Nope – an example would be using the phrase “I love MPM Computer Consultancy” but using the initial letters as your password (i.e. ILMPMCC)
  3. Keep track of your passwords with a password manager program

If you want to keep your data safe, you have to think smart.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Are iOS Devices Threatening Your Business?

mobile phone security

 

Did you know that only 20% of Apple iOS devices are running on the latest operating system?

Running outdated iOS systems leaves you open to well-known vulnerabilities such as Ins0mnia and Quicksand. A report by security provider Duo Security estimates that more than 20 million devices connected to enterprise networks are no longer supported by the device manufacturer. And, because they can’t be upgraded, they pose a real problem.

This issue is compounded by the fact that there are numerous devices still on the market that can’t receive updates, so potentially, even new devices could be a security threat.

It’s not just iOS

This isn’t a problem that’s just confined to Apple. It is estimated that there are more than 90% of Android devices running out-dated operating systems too.

With the number of personal mobile devices being used in the workplace, Duo Security warn that IT professionals must be aware of the risks and how to sort them quickly.

Education, education, education

The only way this can be addressed effectively is for the device users to take some responsibility.

Henry Seddon, head of European Operations at Duo Security told Computer Weekly:

“Users need educating, but organisations need to put in place systems that not only educate users, but can also encourage them and make it easy for them to upgrade to the latest versions of software. It’s up to everybody in the company to take responsibility for the company’s security and their own, and organisations need to prove the tools that stop them at key points, and encourage and enable them to follow past practice.”

Failure to do so can potentially open up organisations to malware and other forms of attack.

Security recommendations

Here are some of Duo Securities recommendations:

  1. Establish basic mobile device security policies for the company and get buy-in from business managers
  2. Enable all employees to use passcode and fingerprint screen locks to prevent trivial access to sensitive data on mobile phones
  3. Consider excluding phones that are jail broken
  4. Provide helpful tips and reminders to users to check for updates on personal devices accessing company data
  5. Update or replace outdated hardware in use in the enterprise that may no longer be supported with security updates by the manufacturer
  6. Recommend that employees using Android devices consider Nexus handsets with more frequent and direct platform update support
  7. Address common update issues up front with guidance on problems related to updating mobile devices, such as providing tips on freeing space for updates
  8. Use free tools to detect devices with particularly concerning vulnerabilities (e.g. X-Ray for Android)

This is no longer something that can be ignored by businesses. Management and employees must work together to ensure the security of data and avoid embarrassing breaches.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: Computer Weekly