Hide & Seek malware: What you need to know

What’s the worst thing that could happen to your Internet of Things (IoT) devices? If you guessed ‘getting infected with malware,’ you’re right. Many users think IoT gadgets don’t need the same protections required for PCs, laptops, and smartphones — but they do. There’s a new malware strain that attacks IoT-enabled devices, and you need to secure your IoT devices now more than ever.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

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Should you worry about the new IoT malware?

A malware infection is one of the worst things that could happen to your Internet of Things (IoT) devices. But some users don’t even know there are IoT-targeted attacks that threaten computers, networks, and data. Rebooting an IoT device is a simple way to remove malware, but for those already infected with the latest strain, it’s not that simple.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

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Hide & Seek: New IoT malware to watch out for

You probably think your Internet of Things (IoT) devices don’t need as much protection as your PCs or laptops. Newsflash: They’re actually even more vulnerable to hacking. In fact, researchers have discovered a terrifying strain of IoT malware that can infect your devices.

What is the Hide And Seek malware?

The Hide and Seek (HNS) malware has created a “botnet” by quietly infecting thousands of devices using advanced communication methods. Without getting too technical, a botnet adds or “recruits” computers to their network to carry out malicious acts, such as overloading a network by telling every infected device in the botnet to try and connect at the same time.

The new HNS can’t be removed by resetting the infected device, which is the solution for most IoT malware strains. The new strain can also exploit a greater variety of devices and in less time than its predecessors. Experts believe it has already compromised more than 90,000 IPTC cameras and other devices.

IoT devices are easily hacked if they connect to the internet, which is home to opportunistic cybercriminals. And because businesses and consumers are expected to acquire and use more IoT devices (the market is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020), it’s imperative to take cybersecurity precautions.

How can I protect my IoT devices?

Luckily, there are steps you can take to keep your devices — and ultimately your network and data — safe from HNS and other forms of malware.

  • Turn off your IoT devices when not in use to reduce their exposure to fast-spreading malware.
  • Take simple precautions to keep your WiFi networks safe, like changing your network’s default settings (including your network’s name), and using complex passwords that are changed from time to time.
  • For those who use a large number and variety of devices, install a threat management system that will block intruders and secure common threat entry points.

With HNS and other malware strains expected to increase in number and complexity, it’s more important than ever to take a multi-layered approach to security. Call us today to learn more about which cybersecurity solutions are right for your business.

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Chrome to mark HTTP as ‘not secure’

Google Chrome currently marks HTTPS-encrypted sites with a green lock icon and “Secure” sign. And starting in July, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.” Google hopes this move will nudge users away from the unencrypted web. Read on to learn more about the forthcoming changes.

For several years, Google has moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt the Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption. And last year, Google began marking some HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) pages as “not secure” to help users comprehend risks of unencrypted websites. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of a Chrome update, Google’s browser will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Chrome’s move was mostly brought on by increased HTTPS adoption. Eighty-one of the top 100 sites on the web default to HTTPS, and the majority of Chrome traffic is already encrypted.

Here’s how the transition to security has progressed, so far:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

HTTPS: The benefits and difference

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? With HTTP, information you type into a website is transmitted to the site’s owner with almost zero protection along the journey. Essentially, HTTP can establish basic web connections, but not much else.

When security is a must, HTTPS sends and receives encrypted internet data. This means that it uses a mathematical algorithm to make data unreadable to unauthorized parties.

#1 HTTPS protects a site’s integrity

HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing.

Without encryption, someone with access to your router or internet service provider (ISP) could intercept (or hack) information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.

#2 HTTPS protects the privacy of your users

HTTPS prevents intruders from eavesdropping on communications between websites and their visitors. One common misconception about HTTPS is that only websites that handle sensitive communications need it. In reality, every unprotected HTTP request can reveal information about the behaviors and identities of users.  

#3 HTTPS is the future of the web

HTTPS has become much easier to implement thanks to services that automate the conversion process, such as Let’s Encrypt and Google’s Lighthouse program. These tools make it easier for website owners to adopt HTTPS.

Chrome’s new notifications will help users understand that HTTP sites are less secure, and move the web toward a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier to adopt than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that aren’t possible with HTTP.

How can small-business owners implement and take advantage of this new interface? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts to get started.

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Chrome: From HTTP to HTTPS

Within the last year, Chrome has helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure. More websites use HTTPS, a safer protocol, than ever before. So, how can you benefit from this transition? Find out here.

For several years, Google has moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt the Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption. And last year, Google began marking some HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) pages as “not secure” to help users comprehend risks of unencrypted websites. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of a Chrome update, Google’s browser will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Chrome’s move was mostly brought on by increased HTTPS adoption. Eighty-one of the top 100 sites on the web default to HTTPS, and the majority of Chrome traffic is already encrypted.

Here’s how the transition to security has progressed, so far:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

HTTPS: The benefits and difference

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? With HTTP, information you type into a website is transmitted to the site’s owner with almost zero protection along the journey. Essentially, HTTP can establish basic web connections, but not much else.

When security is a must, HTTPS sends and receives encrypted internet data. This means that it uses a mathematical algorithm to make data unreadable to unauthorized parties.

#1 HTTPS protects a site’s integrity

HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing.

Without encryption, someone with access to your router or internet service provider (ISP) could intercept (or hack) information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.

#2 HTTPS protects the privacy of your users

HTTPS prevents intruders from eavesdropping on communications between websites and their visitors. One common misconception about HTTPS is that only websites that handle sensitive communications need it. In reality, every unprotected HTTP request can reveal information about the behaviors and identities of users.  

#3 HTTPS is the future of the web

HTTPS has become much easier to implement thanks to services that automate the conversion process, such as Let’s Encrypt and Google’s Lighthouse program. These tools make it easier for website owners to adopt HTTPS.

Chrome’s new notifications will help users understand that HTTP sites are less secure, and move the web toward a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier to adopt than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that aren’t possible with HTTP.

How can small-business owners implement and take advantage of this new interface? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts to get started.

Posted in General Articles C, Google, Security, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

HTTPS matters more for Chrome

HTTPS usage on the web has taken off as Chrome has evolved its security indicators. HTTPS has now become a requirement for many new browser features, and Chrome is dedicated to making it as easy as possible to set up HTTPS. Let’s take a look at how.

For several years, Google has moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt the Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption. And last year, Google began marking some HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) pages as “not secure” to help users comprehend risks of unencrypted websites. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of a Chrome update, Google’s browser will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Chrome’s move was mostly brought on by increased HTTPS adoption. Eighty-one of the top 100 sites on the web default to HTTPS, and the majority of Chrome traffic is already encrypted.

Here’s how the transition to security has progressed, so far:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

HTTPS: The benefits and difference

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? With HTTP, information you type into a website is transmitted to the site’s owner with almost zero protection along the journey. Essentially, HTTP can establish basic web connections, but not much else.

When security is a must, HTTPS sends and receives encrypted internet data. This means that it uses a mathematical algorithm to make data unreadable to unauthorized parties.

#1 HTTPS protects a site’s integrity

HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing.

Without encryption, someone with access to your router or internet service provider (ISP) could intercept (or hack) information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.

#2 HTTPS protects the privacy of your users

HTTPS prevents intruders from eavesdropping on communications between websites and their visitors. One common misconception about HTTPS is that only websites that handle sensitive communications need it. In reality, every unprotected HTTP request can reveal information about the behaviors and identities of users.  

#3 HTTPS is the future of the web

HTTPS has become much easier to implement thanks to services that automate the conversion process, such as Let’s Encrypt and Google’s Lighthouse program. These tools make it easier for website owners to adopt HTTPS.

Chrome’s new notifications will help users understand that HTTP sites are less secure, and move the web toward a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier to adopt than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that aren’t possible with HTTP.

How can small-business owners implement and take advantage of this new interface? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts to get started.

Posted in General Articles B, Google, Security, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

How app overload reduces work productivity

Blessed are today’s businesses for having the benefits of technology to make operation more
efficient. Apps have been a big help in streamlining business processes across industries. But at the same time, these programs may cause error and confusion when unorganized — and that translates into lowered productivity.

How app confusion occurs
A new study conducted by CITE Research shows that a surplus of apps is causing a great deal of confusion in the workplace. Among the 2,000 workers from the US, UK, and Australia surveyed, 69% wasted as much as 32 days a year navigating between apps — that’s an hour of productivity lost every single day.

The same research — entitled From Work Chaos to Zen: How Application Overload Redefines the Digital Workplace — reveals the biggest problem is with communication apps and channels. On average, a single worker juggles four communication apps every day, which is pretty much like holding four conversations at one time. It’s even worse for 20% of the respondents who said they use six or more.

Furthermore, the average worker flips between apps as frequently as 10 times per hour, which means more time wasted. 56% of respondents felt that searching for information stored across different apps was disruptive while 31% said it caused them to lose their line of reasoning. It’s tempting to see each individual app as a problem-solver, but when looking at the bigger picture, it could be causing problems.

Coming up with a solution
Clearly, app overload has an immense effect on productivity, and the gap between executive perception and employee perception doesn’t help. Before signing up for yet another app, give your workflow a second look and consider the impacts of disruptive activities and employee preferences.

In the CITE Research study, workers agree that having only one communication app would clear up all the confusion. Regardless of what the best solution is, it’s probably more affordable than most small business owners realize. A managed IT services provider like us can provide guidance that puts you on track for long-term success. Give us a call today for more info.

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Workplace app overload and its ill effects

Apps are supposed to make life easier in the workplace. But if you use too many of them working at one time, things can get messy. This is a familiar problem in many small businesses that rely on several apps and software for daily operations. The confusion drains funds and reduces employee productivity, as a recent study shows.

How app confusion occurs
A new study conducted by CITE Research shows that a surplus of apps is causing a great deal of confusion in the workplace. Among the 2,000 workers from the US, UK, and Australia surveyed, 69% wasted as much as 32 days a year navigating between apps — that’s an hour of productivity lost every single day.

The same research — entitled From Work Chaos to Zen: How Application Overload Redefines the Digital Workplace — reveals the biggest problem is with communication apps and channels. On average, a single worker juggles four communication apps every day, which is pretty much like holding four conversations at one time. It’s even worse for 20% of the respondents who said they use six or more.

Furthermore, the average worker flips between apps as frequently as 10 times per hour, which means more time wasted. 56% of respondents felt that searching for information stored across different apps was disruptive while 31% said it caused them to lose their line of reasoning. It’s tempting to see each individual app as a problem-solver, but when looking at the bigger picture, it could be causing problems.

Coming up with a solution
Clearly, app overload has an immense effect on productivity, and the gap between executive perception and employee perception doesn’t help. Before signing up for yet another app, give your workflow a second look and consider the impacts of disruptive activities and employee preferences.

In the CITE Research study, workers agree that having only one communication app would clear up all the confusion. Regardless of what the best solution is, it’s probably more affordable than most small business owners realize. A managed IT services provider like us can provide guidance that puts you on track for long-term success. Give us a call today for more info.

Posted in Business, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

The dangers of app overload in businesses

Businesses today rely on countless apps and software for day-to-day operations. However, too many of these programs can do more harm than good. App overload brings confusion among employees, and a recent study shows that this costs more than companies realize.

How app confusion occurs
A new study conducted by CITE Research shows that a surplus of apps is causing a great deal of confusion in the workplace. Among the 2,000 workers from the US, UK, and Australia surveyed, 69% wasted as much as 32 days a year navigating between apps — that’s an hour of productivity lost every single day.

The same research — entitled From Work Chaos to Zen: How Application Overload Redefines the Digital Workplace — reveals the biggest problem is with communication apps and channels. On average, a single worker juggles four communication apps every day, which is pretty much like holding four conversations at one time. It’s even worse for 20% of the respondents who said they use six or more.

Furthermore, the average worker flips between apps as frequently as 10 times per hour, which means more time wasted. 56% of respondents felt that searching for information stored across different apps was disruptive while 31% said it caused them to lose their line of reasoning. It’s tempting to see each individual app as a problem-solver, but when looking at the bigger picture, it could be causing problems.

Coming up with a solution
Clearly, app overload has an immense effect on productivity, and the gap between executive perception and employee perception doesn’t help. Before signing up for yet another app, give your workflow a second look and consider the impacts of disruptive activities and employee preferences.

In the CITE Research study, workers agree that having only one communication app would clear up all the confusion. Regardless of what the best solution is, it’s probably more affordable than most small business owners realize. A managed IT services provider like us can provide guidance that puts you on track for long-term success. Give us a call today for more info.

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Battle of the mobile OS: Android vs. iOS

It normally takes you hours of watching phone reviews on YouTube to decide which model or brand to buy. And for your business, you assume that it’s pretty straightforward since your team will use it only for client communication. But with the multitude of efficient apps available for remote working nowadays, that is not the case anymore. Determine which mobile operating system (OS) is ideal for business use.

Price Range

Apple is a luxury brand, and the only way budget-conscious businesses can afford an iPhone is if they consider secondhand market or rely on older models. But of course, you would rather get a new phone that hasn’t been through previous repairs, carrying recurring problems, and one that isn’t outdated for app compatibility. Android is widely available for small-business rates and obviously triumphs in this category.

Winner: Android phone

Security

Surely, there is a reason why iPhones cost so much. Apple products in general are known for their exquisite form and finish, which definitely adds to the cost, but don’t forget that Apple also places much emphasis on security.

For instance, Apple is more strict about the apps it allows into the App Store when compared with Android. Nevertheless, both are still susceptible to malware, so try to be more cautious when downloading dodgy apps or programs.

Winner: iPhone

Customizability

Android has always been superior when it comes to personalization. You can easily change the theme of the phone, modify home screen layout, add shortcuts and widgets, and even alter the user interface using launchers.

With an iPhone, you may have the freedom to set backgrounds but there’s still restricted support for widgets. And as mentioned before, Android is more lax in allowing third-party installations for your default options. So if you think your company would benefit more from a personalized look, Android is the platform for you.

Winner: Android phone

Voice Assistants

Siri may have wowed the public when it was first introduced, but Google Assistant has stayed true to its name as it progressed. The former remained basic by simply answering questions while the latter introduced several features, including seamless integration with other apps to make your life more convenient.

For instance, if you have a meeting set in Google Calendar and Google Maps received a notification about the growing traffic in the area, Google Assistant will calculate the time it takes for you to get there and alert you beforehand.

Fortunately for iPhone users, this virtual helper is also available on the App Store. Guess we can conclude that it’s a win-win for both mobile OS, then.

Winner: Android and iPhone!

Ultimately, the perfect phone for your business depends on your particular requirements. Both Android and iPhone devices have their own set of benefits and drawbacks, which is why it all boils down to which of the aspects listed above would help boost your business.

But if you’re still confused between these two choices, just give one of our licensed technicians a call! We’ll conduct a free assessment of your IT framework to provide unbiased suggestions.

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