Tag Archives: safety

5 Tools To Keep Your Kids Safe Online

30 Jan 17
lverbik
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School is in full swing, your kids are digging for the data they’ll need to fill all those reports, papers and projects that fuel their passing grades…

And Mr. Google can be their greatest friend when it comes to finding tons of tidbits to keep teacher happy.

But with great opportunity comes great risk…

Threats to your kids’ safety and well-being, posed by bullies, scam artists and pedophiles, lie in wait for the innocent. For example, according to CBS news, odds are about one in seven your kid will get picked on by a cyberbully.

Fortunately, you have a few tools and tricks up your sleeve to keep your kids safe. Here’s a helpful handful that we recommend:

  1. Kids may come across offensive web pages as they search the Internet. They can avoid this content by using child-oriented search engines, such as AskKids or KidsClick.org. This method isn’t always completely effective, so you may want to combine it with filtering software.
  1. A low-cost tablet and smartphone application can monitor, restrict and time your kids’ online activities. Mobicip blocks access to sexually explicit web sites. You may also use it to filter out various other material, such as news, social media or chat rooms.
  1. Cyber Patrol Online Protection offers a similar solution for desktop and notebook PCs. It blocks harmful web sites, logs online activity and limits the amount of time that kids can surf the web. This software also does its best to detect cyberbullying and warn parents.
  1. The STOPit smartphone app lets children tell adults about cyberbullying without risking retaliation. When kids see mean-spirited posts about their peers, they can anonymously forward the messages to parents or teachers. A high school in New Jersey successfully reduced bullying by urging students to use this app.
  1. Garfield, Nermal and Dr. Nova teach kids about Internet bullying in an interactive cartoon known as Professor Garfield Cyberbullying. The iPad app gives children tips on what to do when peers engage in this hurtful behavior. It uses a story about an online animal dancing contest to keep young learners interested.

These tools can make a big difference, but it’s still vital to talk about Internet safety. Be sure to discuss the potential risks with your child. Kids usually benefit when parents take the time to listen and offer helpful advice about specific issues.

Employees Keeping Your Data Safe? Don’t Count On It

10 Aug 16
lverbik
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The biggest block to protecting your company’s data is employee ignorance about cybersecurity. In fact, your employees are probably compromising your data right now and aren’t even aware of it.

In case you haven’t read the reports, a statement from one of the many companies recently forced to close its doors following a cyber-attack involving one of their own employees brings the point home:

“Code Spaces will not be able to operate beyond this point. The cost of resolving this issue and the expected cost of refunding customers who have been left without the service they paid for will put Code Spaces in an irreversible position both financially and in terms of ongoing credibility.”

Root cause of the disaster? Very likely a phishing attack that one of their own team members unwittingly played a key role in.

If you want even a ghost of a chance that your data remains safe and secure, you MUST be aware of the five ways your employees are probably putting your company at risk right now:

Risky Passcode Practices

A good rule of thumb is, if you can recall a password, it’s probably not safe. Require the use of a random password generator to keep weak passcodes from being the weak link in your data’s defenses. Invest in a company-wide password protection system. And wherever possible, use two-factor authentication for logins to critical sites.

Working Outside a Secured Network

It’s great that your team loves to collaborate. Just make sure it’s done in a secure network. E-mail-sharing and file-sharing over a non-secured network can lead to leaks. Train your team to share sensitive messages and files only within a secure company network. Even better, invest in encryption and collaboration tools that keep your data extra-safe while in transit. After all, great teams need to collaborate. Just make sure it’s getting done without putting your data at risk.

E-mail Naïveté

Most people are aware by now that clicking on unknown links in an e-mail can lead to trouble. Yet clever hackers are sending ever more appealing e-mails that trick the unwary into clicking. Insist that no attachments from unknown sources are to be opened. And require that users on your network look up unknown links before blindly clicking on them.

Unattended Devices

Walking away from an open laptop in a coffee shop is a recipe for disaster. Yet even at the office, stepping away from a workstation can expose sensitive data to snoops. Insist that wherever your team works, they maintain complete visual control over any screen showing confidential company data.

Malicious Acts

You may find it hard to believe, but employees leaking critical data on purpose happens all the time. It may be for a personal venture – or a personal vendetta against your company. Regardless of the cause, it’s always a risk. And you may not see it coming. Safeguard all data coming into or going out from your company. And always change access codes whenever someone leaves your employ – willingly or unwillingly.

Protecting company data in today’s fluid and fast-changing business environment is tough work. If you don’t have a robust protection plan in place, your critical data IS at risk.  Safe data practices by your employees are absolutely critical to your company’s success and survival.

Need an ally to help protect your data from employee sabotage – accidental or otherwise?  Call us today at 317-857-0150 to schedule a complimentary review.

Warn your people about this “Microsoft” phone scam!

11 Nov 15
lverbik
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The call sounds very official. A representative from Microsoft’s technical support team is on the line and they have found an error in your computer system. But don’t worry—they can fix it for you. They just need access to your machine; if you can provide the login credentials they can get to work.

At this point, you may or may not be aware that this is a scam. If, like many people, you provide your login password, the “Microsoft rep”—with your help—will establish a connection into your computer. Next, they may tell you they have found a virus on your system that can cause your data to be destroyed unless you pay a “one-time charge” to have the virus removed. You can send the money via MoneyPak, a prepaid card. At that point, you’d be too afraid to NOT do it. Because who wants to risk losing their data? That kind of loss can be devastating.

What can you do to guard against these kinds of scams?

  1. Be alert and avoid them in the first place. This is your best defense. Fact is, Microsoft or other companies like them will NEVER call you out of the blue to report a problem with your computer. Most major companies just don’t do business that way. You’d have to initiate the service request, create a case, and follow their support plan.
  2. Red flag! A Money-Pak card for payment is just not legit. Most companies will only use major credit cards for service transactions. At the very least they’d have an account number attached to your service plan. MoneyPak is untraceable; these criminals know what they’re doing.
  3. Do not give anyone access to your machine who you do not know and have an established, trusted business or personal relationship with. Again, be sure you verify you are speaking with a member of a verifiable support team with a company you are already doing business with. If you haven’t initiated the service call, then you should hang up.

If you should get in a situation where in your gut you feel you may have been duped, take action immediately.  Power off your computer and cut off the connection between your machine and this scammer as quickly as possible. If you gave them credit card info, then you need to call your credit card provider, and report it as stolen immediately.  They will start running up bills as soon as they get the numbers. Call an IT service provider you trust—if TechnoAdvantage is that provider, we would be honored to help.

Visit Microsoft’s Safety & Security center for information on avoiding scams and how to report them when they do occur.

Let’s keep each other safe out there.