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Keep Your Home Wi-Fi Safe in 7 Simple Steps

It is beginning to feel like the Internet is a basic necessity for existence in the 21st century. With all our devices connected to the Internet, we have an indescribable physical mobility that leads to increased productivity. It is safe to say that the Internet is for everyone and does not limit itself to the tech savvy. Unfortunately, when not safeguarded, the Internet can be a playground for nefarious activities caused by people with malicious intent.   Take a home wireless network as an example. Almost every member of the family accesses it through laptops, PCs, cell phones and tablet...
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DefCon 24- Hacking to Make the World a Better Place

Did you know that an attacker can flood your house via the water dispenser on your connected refrigerator? Or that bluetooth enabled locks can be picked from ¼ of a mile away using radio frequencies? I didn’t either, until I attended this year’s DefCon 24, an annual hacking convention in Las Vegas. While a hotel in Las Vegas full of 22,000 hackers sounds like it might not be a good idea, it’s just the opposite. The purpose of this conference is to bring together Internet security professionals from all over the world to help educate, inform and learn how to make the Internet a safer place...
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What Is Smishing?

A form of phishing, smishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security. Read on to learn what smishing is and how you can protect yourself against it. Put simply, smishing is any kind of phishing that involves a text message. Often times, this form of phishing involves a text message in an SMS or a phone number. Smishing is particularly scary because sometimes people tend to be more inclined to trust a text message than an email. Most people a...
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Paying Friends Through a Mobile Payment App

Mobile payment apps are changing the way we do business, but they can also be convenient ways to send money to friends and family. It’s easier than ever to send money to the people who need it, but also easier than ever for hackers to gain access to that money before it gets where you want it. How do you keep yourself and your money safe, while also being able to access the convenience of mobile payment apps? How Mobile Payment Apps Work You can pay using your phone, even without apps. Some companies, such as your phone company, allow you to pay your bill using standard text messaging....
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The Risks of Public Wi-Fi

Picture this. It’s Saturday morning and you’re hanging out at your local coffee shop using the free Wi-Fi to catch up on a few tasks you couldn’t quite get to during your busy week. Sound familiar? This is a typical scenario for many of us, but did you know you might be unaware of some threats lurking in the background on public Wi-Fi while you balance your bank account and sip a latte? What Is Public Wi-Fi? Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular public places like airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, and hotels — and it allows you to access the Internet for free. These “hotspots”...
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How Can I Tell If I Have Malware and What Can I Do About It?

Malware has become a catchall term for various types of cyber security risks, such as viruses, Trojan horses, worms, adware, ransomware and spyware. Many of us use these terms interchangeably to describe strange symptoms or behaviors encountered on a computer. However, all of them share a common goal, which is to compromise the safety of your devices. Symptoms of malware may appear obvious or discrete; knowing how to detect these dangerous intrusions will help you determine how to go about fixing the problem should it ever occur.   Malware is short for malicious software and refers to pro...
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How Does Malware Get Past Security Software?

Have you ever run your Internet security software only to find out that there’s malware on your computer? How did it get there? When you’re running a full Internet security suite, it can be very frustrating to find out that, despite your best efforts, there’s malware on your computer anyway. The fight against malware is a complicated arms race of sorts. Here’s how it works. The Four Components of the Malware Arms Race There are three main players in the malware arms race: Malware Coders: The malware coders are, unfortunately, generally the winners of the arms race. They write mali...
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The Importance of Data Back-Up

Have you ever lost a lot of really important data? Or, alternately, have you ever had a moment of panic where you thought you did? Whether it’s images of a family vacation, a report from work or a semester’s worth of homework, you probably have data on your computer that’s not just valuable, it’s too valuable to lose. Backing up your data regularly will help you to avoid the crushing feeling that comes with finding out that all your hard work and treasured memories are gone. The Importance of Backing Up Let’s face it, no matter how great your computer or external hard drive are, one da...
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Why March Madness Is Bad for Business

Every spring the NCAA college basketball tournament — known as March Madness — turns workplaces into play spaces. Betting on brackets and watching games seem more suited to sports bars, but since many of the games are played during the workday, it’s not unusual for otherwise dedicated employees to schedule in some pleasure along with business. However, March Madness can cost workers and small business owners much more than productivity as cybercriminals target unsuspecting fans with malware.

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The Dos and Don’ts of Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is available just about everywhere, from the local coffee shop to the hotels and airports you visit while traveling. Wi-Fi has made our lives a little easier, but it also poses security risks to the personal information available on our laptops and smartphones. Here is a helpful list of dos and don’ts you should follow if you plan to use public Wi-Fi.

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4 Steps to Make Your Smart Home More Security Smart

“IoT” is an acronym for the “Internet of Things.” And any device that can connect to the Internet and transmit or receive data can be considered a “smart” thing. That includes smart homes, also known as connected homes. Smart homes — in which IoT devices such as thermostats or ovens can be programmed from anywhere — are popular with consumers who seek convenience. Some people, however, may not realize the connected devices or appliances they’ve grown to depend on could leak private information or be susceptible to hackers. In the rush to get products to market, smart device makers may not see security as a priority. 

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What Are Browser Hijackers?

A browser hijacker is defined as a “form of unwanted software that modifies a web browser’s settings without the user’s permission.” The result is the placement of unwanted advertising into the browser, and possibly the replacement of an existing home page or search page with the hijacker page. The idea is to make users visit certain websites whether they want to or not so the hijacker enjoys higher advertising revenue. Browser hijackers may also contain spyware to obtain banking information and other sensitive data. As frustrating as browser hijackers can be, they luckily aren’t terribly...
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7 Ways to Ensure Your Data Is Safe During Vacation

It’s barely spring and already you’re thinking about vacation. Where will you go? What will you do? Who will you meet? Vacations are an exciting, happy time for people to get away and avoid the everyday worries of home. But the fun and leisure comes to a screeching halt in the event that your personally data is compromised while traveling. Vacations can often put your personal information at risk, due to careless missteps in how you go about preparing to leave, how you communicate while on vacation, and what you share on social media. Here are seven ways to ensure your data stays safe wh...
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How to Prepare a Smartphone or Tablet for Vacation

There are few times your smartphone or tablet will be more at risk than when you go on vacation. Although these items have been specifically designed to accompany you on your travels, they’re full of personal information that can put you, your finances, and your personal property at risk. There’s no reason to assume the worst when you go on vacation, but you can greatly reduce your chances of a security breach by preparing your smartphone or tablet ahead of time and remaining vigilant while on your trip. Here’s how to prepare a smartphone or tablet before you go on vacation. Change You...
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How to Let Go of Old Tech Securely and Responsibly

According to several studies on cost of ownership, users should replace their computer devices every four years. Not everyone will need to upgrade his or her computer every four years, but it’s a good rule to follow to ensure your data is safe and properly protected online. To help you remember, every time we have a leap year ask yourself: when was the last time I bought a new computer? If you can’t remember, chances are you may be due for an upgrade. Once you’re ready to make the switch, you’ll need to follow a few steps to ensure your old technology has been properly wiped and recycled,...
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What Are Cookies?

Mention “cookies,” and most people expect a treat to appear. When talking about computers, however, cookies aren’t what’s on the dessert menu. In fact, they’re not even physical objects. Yet they do a great deal of the work that makes it possible for you to browse the Internet—and they can cause trouble if you don’t know how to manage them. Meet the Cookie A computer “cookie” is more formally known as an HTTP cookie, a web cookie, an Internet cookie, or a browser cookie. The name is a shorter version of “magic cookie,” which is a term for a packet of data that a computer receives, then s...
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What to Do When a Device Is Lost or Stolen

Realizing your mobile device has been stolen is a sickening feeling, and often one that elicits panic. As challenging as it may be, you must remain calm so you can take the necessary steps to retrieve the device, or at least keep your data protected. You may never see your phone again, but you’ll know that your personal information is safe from those who would abuse it. Let the Right People Know The first thing to do is to let the authorities know your mobile device was stolen. File a report with the police—not only is this helpful for insurance purposes but it also increases recovery ch...
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Protecting Android Devices and Why They’re so Vulnerable

The security argument between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android system for smartphones is heating up yet again. In a recent study conducted by Daniel R. Thomas, Alastair R. Beresford, and Andrew Rice at the University of Cambridge, research concluded that 90 percent of Android devices are exposed to at least one critical vulnerability.  The threat model was constructed using three common attack vectors: installation attack (malicious codes installed through app download); dynamic code loading (an existing app downloads new malicious codes); and injection (an attacker injects malicious code...
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How to Remove GPS and Other Metadata Locations From Photos

Once upon a time, a photograph provided only the information one could see in the physical print—no hidden data about locations, time and date, or the device that took the photo.  With the advent of easy digital photography, however, connecting extra information to the photos became easy as well.  This information, known as “metadata,” might include items like the GPS coordinates of the photo’s location, the date and time it was taken, the camera type and shutter settings, and the software used to edit the photo. Many digital photographers don’t realize that their photos might carry this...
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National Clean Out Your Computer day-The Importance of Clean Computing

February 8th is National Clean out Your Computer day, and as they say, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”  For centuries, this saying applied to tasks like scrubbing the floors and dusting the bookcases. Today, however, it applies to your computer just as much as it does to your house. When you “clean” your computer, you don’t just dust off the keyboard and wipe fingerprints from the screen. You also pay attention to the state of the hard drive, updating software and removing old programs. Why Clean? Cleaning both your computer’s hardware and its software matters.  Clean hardware help...
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Biometrics How Do They Work? Are They Safe?

Biometrics are part of the cutting edge of technology. Put simply, biometrics are any metrics related to human features. Fingerprinting is a very early and simple version of biometrics, like when you login to your phone using your fingerprint. As with any emerging technology, the first question you should ask is if they are safe. How Do Biometrics Work? If you’ve ever put your fingerprint into an device, you have a vague idea of how biometrics work. Basically, you record your biometric information, in this case a fingerprint. The information is then stored, to be accessed later for compa...
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8 Cyber Security Tips for Business Travelers

Whether you’re a regular business traveler, or a high-tech adventurer seeker, traveling—particularly abroad—poses unique cyber security threats. Business travelers are especially vulnerable because they often carry sensitive data, both personal and business related, on a variety of devices including smartphone, laptops, and tablet. Don’t cancel your travel plans just yet. Here are eight cyber security tips for business travelers that are also great tips for anyone planning a holiday abroad: 1. Lock Devices Down Most smartphones, laptops, and tablets come equipped with security settin...
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Your Identity Is Connected to All of Your Devices. Here's How to Protect It.

You don’t have to be a super geek to protect yourself from cyber criminals and hackers. Sure they might know more about computers and software than you do. However, there are basic defenses available to help you stand up against even the most sophisticated online threats. Today, most of us have multiple devices to access the Internet. All of these devices create a latticework of information that links to you personally. If one device is unprotected, it could be compromised in a way that affects all the others. That’s because most of us use different devices to access many of the same pers...
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Encryption: How To Utilize it Online and Why It’s Important

Encryption is the process of protecting personal data, often with a form of “secret code,” so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the code key.  Today, huge amounts of personal information are managed online, via computer applications, and stored in the cloud, or servers with an ongoing connection to the Web.

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Keep Everyone Protected When Handing Down Mobile Devices This Holiday Season

It’s a very common scenario, a parent—grandparent, aunt, or uncle—buys the latest model smartphone or tablet and hands-down their previously used device to a grandchild, niece, or nephew. This is especially common during the Holidays with connected devices topping most youth’s wish lists. And with companies like eBay, Verizon, and AT&T competing to buy your used devices, now there’s an additional incentive to hand-down your old device and upgrade this holiday season. Protect your holiday hand-me-downs To many consumers handing down or selling their device may seem like a har...
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