Category Archives: Computer Security

2 Factor Authentication: What it is and Why it’s Critical for Your Business to Do Right Now

Two factor authentication is a little bit like locking your door and then locking your deadbolt. One lock might be sufficient, but that deadbolt really comes in handy when someone tries to break in. You may already be using a password to protect your sensitive accounts and data, but if you aren’t using 2-step authentication, then you are leaving your information vulnerable and exposed. This extra security step may seem like a hassle, but it is a critical element in a good digital security plan for your personal accounts and for your business.

150801-isupportu-security-265130_1280The news has been flooded with recent news of data getting hacked and personal information being stolen. Anthem Insurance, Target, and other big retailers have have had customers names, email addresses, birthdays, wage information and street addresses stolen. These security breaches have cost millions of dollars and the confidence of customers.

Two-step verification uses a traditional password in tandem with a second step as an additional security measure. The second step can be an additional question or the possession of a physical component, such as a cell phone. When you go to an ATM to make a withdrawal, you must first insert your card and then enter your pin. This is an example of multi-step authentication. If someone wanted to make a withdrawal from your account they must possess both the physical card and your PIN, thus making it harder to access your account.

Securing an account has three levels:

  1. What you know (password)
  2. What you have (a phone)
  3. What you are (fingerprint or retina scans)

As a society, we are currently moving from ‘What you know’ to ‘What you have’ security. For businesses, this level of security is becoming the due diligence expected of decision makers. This means that if there is a breach and two-factor has not been implemented, it puts the organization at a risk of liability for the breach.

According to Google Support, “2-Step Verification adds an extra layer of security to your Google Account, drastically reducing the chances of having the personal information in your account stolen. To break into an account with 2-Step Verification, bad guys would not only have to know your username and password, they’d also have to get a hold of your phone.”

It’s easy for someone to hack your password. It’s even easier to hack into your personal data if, like many of us, you use the same password for a variety of accounts. Even if you are careful with your passwords, everyday online activity can leave you prone to attack. If you use the same password on more than one site, download software from the Internet, or click on links in email messages, you have already participated in “risky” behavior.  These online activities are nearly impossible to avoid entirely, so instead of becoming a sort of online hermit, start implementing 2-step authentication and get on with business as usual.

Dozens of the biggest websites already offer 2-step authentication. These digital giants, including Amazon, eBay, LinkedIn, and Twitter, think that 2-step authentication is important enough to offer and encourage it. Even though it might seem like an unnecessary hassle, many experts recommend implementing 2-step verification everywhere you can, especially in the places you spend the most time online or wherever you log personal information. If you are unsure if a service or site supports 2-step authentication, head over to twofactorauth.org to see if it is offered.

In conclusion, you’d better play it better safe than sorry with 2-step authentication. Sure, it might be inconvenient to check your phone for a code or enter an additional security question, but getting your personal or business data stolen is even more of a pain. So, protect yourself and your business with 2-step verification wherever it is available and avoid any nasty surprises.

Password Management: Top 3 Password Tools to Help Protect You Online

Most of us spend at least half of our waking hours using online tools, whether for business or personal use, making it crucial to protect our accounts from hackers. You might think no one would ever be interested in your email or small business’s records, but you’d be surprised. Having your account hacked can end up being both disturbing and a mess for you and anyone in your contact list. So, do everyone a favor and take preemptive measures to secure your online identity. One of the easiest, most reliable approaches is through password management.

Take a look at these three password tools that are easy to use and effective:

1Password13334048894_6e8b421c4e_o

Available for every different device and as an extension across several major platforms, 1Password boasts simplicity and impenetrability. It generates unique, impregnable passwords for every application, service, and site you use. If you’re not sure which passwords need revamping, use 1Password’s security audit, which will review all of your passwords and evaluate them on their strength.

Plus, 1Password saves all your sign-in information behind a single master password, so you don’t have to recall any information whenever you want to log into an account. As a bonus, you can keep other data in 1Password’s secure information vault, such as credit card numbers and addresses, saving you loads of time.

1Password has a number of useful features, such as multiple vaults. If you’re working on a project or need to share select information with others, 1Password gives you the option of creating additional, shareable vaults that can be organized in whatever way works best for you. These vaults are automatically and instantly synched over wifi, iCloud, or Dropbox.

To purchase a 1Password license, visit its creator’s website, agilebits.com.

LastPass15921569186_8560f34c02_o

LastPass is another password management tool that creates mind-numbingly complex passwords for all of your accounts, across every different platform. According to its website, 73% of people use the same password for a number of sites, a majority of passwords only contain six characters, and a majority of passwords only take three minutes to hack.

LastPass saves all of your information behind one master password and then fills it in for you as you need it. It allows you to create multiple passwords within its program, so that every member of your team or family can have access to his/her own information.

The tool also enables you to store a great deal of confidential information — such as licenses, passports, images, documents, wifi information, and so on — as attachments to secure notes. Basically, you have the important information you need at your disposal (but not at anyone else’s).

As an added benefit, LastPass sends you security email alerts as soon as the online sites and services you use have been hacked so that you can be vigilant about changing your passwords.

Download one of their programs — free, premium, or enterprise — at lastpass.com.

KeePasssecurity-265130_640

Keepass is a free, open-source alternative to standard password management. Supporting both Advanced Encryption Standard and Twofish algorithms, Keepass encrypts all of your account information — from usernames to notes to addresses to passwords. Advanced Encryption Standard is so secure that it’s been approved by the National Security Alliance for use with top secret information.

All of the encrypted data is either protected behind one master password, a key file, or both. Key files are often regarded as a more secure way to guard your information and can be stored on an external device, such as a USB key, that you can carry around with you — just don’t lose it!

Keepass doesn’t require installation and works best on Windows operating systems. However, if you download Mono (software), it will also run on Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, and other systems.

To download Keepass for free, go to keepass.info.

If you think your dog’s name or favorite color is enough to bar the way between access to your accounts and a hacker, you might want to think a little harder about the consequences of having your information stolen. It’s easy to protect yourself with these simple, yet effective, password tools — all it takes is a few minutes to set them up. Once you do, you can rest easier knowing that your data is secure from even the most clever hackers.

 

Moving On From Windows XP

If you haven’t already, you should seriously consider making the move away from Windows XP because in case you haven’t heard: Microsoft has stopped providing support for the operating system. Not only does this make your business’s computers much more vulnerable to viruses and spyware, but the lack of support automatically puts you behind the curve in both the personal and professional business setting.

We’ve done some internal and external research on the importance of moving away from Windows XP Here are a few tips we’ve compiled.

Before you make the switch:

  1. Download the final XP update that was issued on April 8th 2014.
  2. Make sure your anit-virus and anti-malware are up to date.
    • Microsoft has agreed to provide anti-malware updates to Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows XP until 2015.
    • You might have to uninstall and reinstall your current software to ensure that you have the latest version.
    • iSU recommends using one or more of the following programs: Kapersky, WebRoot, Avast! or AVG. Read more about our recommendations here.
  3. Use a secure and updated internet browser. We recommend Firefox or Chrome, especially since they are supporting Windows XP until 2015.

Making the Switch:

  1. windows XP RIPChoose a new operating system. And along with that, make sure your machine is new enough to support a secure and efficient OS. If not, you might want to consider upgrading your entire machine…and that’s a whole different ball game we won’t get into right now.
  2. Back-Up Your Data: It should go without saying that you should be doing this on a regular basis but at this time backing up your data is probably the most important step in the entire process.
  3. Migrate and Begin the Upgrade: there are several ways to go about doing this:
    • With plenty of DIY programs out there to choose from, migrating the data yourself is pretty easy to do. Some of the available options are: PC Mover Express, XP Migration with HP and Windows Migration Assistant
    • Microsoft has kindly provided a tutorial online for anyone looking to upgrade to Windows 7.
    • If you don’t feel comfortable taking this task on alone, another option is to switch to OSX by taking your Mac into the Genius Bar and having them help you out.

We know making a tech upgrade like this can be pretty scary unless you are savvy with these kinds of things but we cannot stress enough how important it is to adapt and change as technology does. Resisting these changes can put you and your business at a huge risk to hackers. Windows XP is now the most targeted operating system out there yet it’s still commonly used everywhere – every hacker knows this.

For more information on the demise of Windows XP and how to stay ahead of the game, check out these articles:

Why You Should Ditch Windows XP Now

Windows XP Isn’t Safe to Use Anymore

The Cloud: Hosted Desktops

Hosted Desktops are an easy solution to gaining access to your information whether you are in or out of the office. iSupportU has collaborated with Virterrus to provide our clients with the ability to take advantage of all the benefits of Hosted Desktops through our cloud computing services. Through our Business IT Support department, the Hosted Desktops feature creates an efficient work environment through file sharing, remote access, better security and more. Read about all the benefits of hosted desktops with the cloud:

Hosted Desktops

Enable true mobility and workplace flexibility. Log in from any device (iPad, Mac, PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.), anywhere and from any network to receive your Windows desktop. This includes:

  • Line of business applications
  • Latest version of Microsoft Office suite and licensing
  • Remote access from anywhere
  • AntiVirus & AntiSpyware
  • Secure file-sharing, permissions, and collaboration spaces
  • Business continuity plan
  • Exchange email
  • Spam & Web Filtering
  • Business Data
  • Backups
  • Disaster recovery
  • Technical Support

VirtualDesktopEvolve into Efficiency

Maximize employee productivity. Virtualize your environment. Desktop virtualization is a key component in the optimized desktop. When running an organization – it’s important to have a Vision and Strategy around application and desktop delivery. Enterprise Mobility. Designing, building, managing and maintaining the desktop virtualization infrastructure using the right technologies, corresponding vendors, and products is an important step. We understand those concerns and have chosen our portfolio of providers wisely. All use the top technology for virtual desktops, network infrastructure, and security.

Virtual desktops

Provide a technology upgrade and ensure your platform never becomes obsolete:

  • Save on large capital outlay (server recycle, workstation refresh, licensing and software)
  • Reduce CapEx and shift to Opex and a predictable, forecast-able, subscription based model
  • Increase Security
  • Easier management
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Enhanced scalability
  • On demand IT and services
  • Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Considering a migration to the Cloud?

Instead of spending time and money yourself to address cloud potentials and solutions, we make it easier and safer to consume and maintain cloud services while reducing cost and risk. Leverage the technology solutions and providers already researched within our portfolio. This will allow your organization to focus on other pressing business needs while not having to invest the time to become a cloud expert.

Contact iSupportU for a free consultation on how the cloud can help your business.

the cloud storage batttle

The Cloud Storage Battle: Box vs. Dropbox

As a business that both employs cloud computing in house and implements cloud storage systems for our clients, iSupportU highly recommends doing your homework when it comes to the powers of “the cloud.” As highlighted in previous articles on Work Surf, The Virtual WorkPlace, Security & Compliance, and Business Continuity, there are many benefits of cloud storage in the professional setting. Below is another breakdown of the cloud storage market. 

Cloud Storage BattleRead More:Entire Article Source: ComputerScienceDegreeHub.com