Not to scare you, yet lately I have been noticing that many people in my network have been the victims of email hijacking.
I know this has happened when I start getting spam for money making schemes and pharmaceutics from my fiends and associates. And to top it off, everyone getting the email has their email address exposed in the ‘to’ field. Darn, I guess I can be expected more spam soon.
When I see this happening it makes me feel more cautious about my own data protection. So much so that now when I go to coffee shops I use my phones Wi-Fi capabilities, rather than open up my system to their free network. Heck, I don’t know how my friend’s or associates emails got hacked into, yet I don’t want to take any chances.
I also use a variety of passwords to protect my various accounts and have installed a ‘hard-disc’ password on my laptop. I did this so that no one can get in should my system be stolen. My ‘cloud’ back-up provides some comfort too, so in case this ever happened, my data should remain safe.
As I was pondering all of this a few days ago, I was happy to see an email come in from Mike Massullo from Nerds on Site. (I enjoy his short and sweet emails and reminders.)
It occured me to ask Mike for some advice.
‘How does this happen and how can we protect our data better?’ I asked.
Mike was kind enough to share with me a whole lot of great advice and information. He provided me with hints on how we can protect ourselves and some great suggestions on what to do to minimize any damage.
He was also kind enough to give me permission to share them with all of you. As a bonus there are some added descriptions of the ‘Nerds on Site’ online services. I think you will find them quite interesting.
Security Hints Be Diligent
By Mike Massullo - Nerds On Site
Scan your system regularly for spyware
My current preferred anti-virus is Microsoft Security Essentials. It is good, fast and free, even for small businesses up to 10 users. In addition the free versions of MalwareBytes (www.malwarebytes.org) and SuperAntispyware (www.superantispyware.com) are excellent tools to catch things that MSE might have missed.
Each anti-virus/anti-malware program uses its own list of bad things, necessitating the need to use multiple tools in case one missed something. Be careful not install any active processes when installing MalwareBytes and SuperAntispyware, the only thing worse than a virus is two anti-virus programs competing for resources.
Make sure that your Windows updates, Java updates and other programs are all current. When an update is released, an explanation of the problem being fixed is also released – if they already didn’t know, the bad guys will take advantage of this to exploit the flaw. Java is particularly important as a legitimate website can be compromised and one click on the site will infect your computer.
You can protect yourself by turning scripting off in your browser, but so many websites rely on this today that it will significantly affect your browsing experience, so I don’t recommend this.
Stay Away From Facebook
Forget that once you upload something it belongs to Facebook, it is also a major source of malware. If you are asked to install a new driver so you can view some video, it is probably installing a virus.
Apple Products, it may be cool to own a Mac or an IPhone, but they are so much easier to hack than a well-protected Windows computer. They do not integrate well into a Windows / business environment. They tend to cost twice as much to support than a Windows workstation.
Spend the extra money on Windows Professional when buying a new computer. If it comes from the factory with Windows Professional installed, it will most likely be a business grade computer and will last longer than a consumer model. Windows Professional has more control over file sharing and network access.
When connecting to a new network, it will ask you how it should treat that network. Select Public if you do not wish to share any files or data, select Office if you do. So at Starbucks its Public at home it is Office. I do not recommend using the home network option.
A good compromise to a long set of random characters would be two miss-spelled words with a number or two thrown in. Changing your password on a regular basis is also recommended. Should your account get comprised, this would secure it again.
Have a unique and strong password for each service. This way, if (or when) one of your favorite services has a password breach, you don’t need to be concerned about that password making you vulnerable in other accounts.
Use a password manager like LastPass (http://lastpass.com) (with a strong password).
Use OpenDNS (www.opendns.com) to protect yourself from Phishing attacks. The goal of online criminals most commonly is to impersonate you and somehow profit from you. There are many different threats, including blended threats. OpenDNS protects from many of these.
Ask your bank for 2-factor authentication options. The jackpot for an online thief is to access your bank account. By requiring 2-factor authentication, it makes it significantly more difficult for anyone to break into your account. Some banks will send you an SMS to your mobile phone to confirm each online access or transaction. Others use number tumblers. We hope some banks will soon start offering One-Time Password (OTP) such as the Yubikey.
Paid vs Free
Should something go wrong when using a free service like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo, there is not much that a user can do; beyond making sure that a backup email address is available. Should you get locked out of your account may be very difficult to get back in if you cannot prove who you are. Do not expect any compensation for damages, after all they were providing you a free service.
If you are running a business consider moving to a paid service like Google Apps for Business. This paid service has many technical benefits that make it worthwhile on its own. As a paid service you will have more options for support and compensation should something go wrong on the part of the service provider.
On Line Services available thru Nerds on Site
Google Apps for Business
www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business Google Apps includes dozens of critical security features specifically designed to keep your data safe, secure and in your control. Your data belongs to you, and Apps tools enable you to control it, including who you share it with and how you share it. Our data center network provides exceptional security and guarantees reliable access to your data, 24x7x365.25 (that’s right: no rest, even on leap years).
http://timewellscheduled.com/ TimeWellScheduled is a fully tailored, secure, online time and attendance software that enhances your workforce management capability. TimeWellScheduled facilitates employee attendance, scheduling and associated payroll tasks through easy-to-use, automated time and attendance software. Features include everything from staffing and employee scheduling, to time clock and payroll management.
http://projectmanage-it.com/ ProjectManage-IT® is a web based project management system designed for organizations that require a more efficient means of collaborating 24-7 on all project accounts with staff, clients, consultants and suppliers.
http://mybusinessos.com/ MYbusinessOS is a complete all-in-one solution for intuitive online business management. A complete dashboard system for companies everyday needs from communication portal to resource libraries.
http://nerdsonline.com/nerdsbackup/ NerdsBackup solutions plans make it easy to pay only for the services you actually need. Rest assured that all of our products deliver state-of-the-art data protection and encryption providing you the peace of mind of knowing you can always retrieve your important data when you need it.
Domain Names - With over 150 domain extensions, our team can fulfill all your domain requirements. Nerds On Site offers an advanced domain portfolio management tools for all your domains.
Shared Hosting - The most common type of website hosting, Nerds On Site offers a twist on the traditional shared hosting solution. Our team offers more than the just the basic packages, and all with less confusion and complexity!
Cloud Servers - More than a buzz word, Cloud Servers are the most economical way to host large or specialized web applications. Dedicated to your needs, Cloud Servers are scalable and more secure than shared hosting.
The same team that developed Timewellscheduled.com, Projectmanage-it.com and Mybusinessos.com can develop a custom or template website for you.
If you’re currently pursuing your MBA, chances are that you hope to one day be in a position of managing your own team within a business environment. Or, you may have a goal to open your own business at some point. But as you work toward upper level management, it’s important to take into consideration all of the qualities that go into making an effective manager.
In today’s ever-increasingly cutthroat work environment, a common notion among employees and bosses alike tends to be, “he who works latest works best.” And while it seems that the 40-hour work week has been largely dispensed with in our hardworking culture, new studies show that working more very seldom produces better results.
Employees work many more hours now than they have in the past, but it’s coming at the expense of health, happiness, and even productivity. While it looks good to be the first to arrive and the last to leave work each day, it turns out that putting in 60 hours of work each week may do more harm than good in achieving end results.
This infographic examines some of the lesser-known statistics regarding overtime work and its effects, and through it one thing becomes extremely clear: To boost productivity and foster excellent employees, the best thing businesses can do is to bring back the 40-hour work week.