Protect your Android mobile devices

When personal and professional informational lives on one mobile device, the risk of malware attacks and huge data breaches rises. As the adoption of bring your own device policy increases, so should employee awareness when it comes to ever-growing cyber threats. To avoid falling victim, here are five Android security threats you need to be aware of as well as how to fend them off.

Unsafe devices

Sometimes, the device itself might not be safe due to faulty production or configuration. In fact, Checkpoint found 36 Android devices earlier this year at a telecommunications company and multinational technology company that were infected out of the box. This means that the infection was not caused by users, but the malware was pre-installed via apps somewhere along the supply chain before users even received them.

Malicious apps

Judy is an Android app, and although it sounds completely harmless, this software is actually designed to infect a device and activate an auto-clicking command used for malicious advertising campaigns. Believe it or not, this malware got 18.5 million downloads.

Information leakage from useful apps

Many applications are installed for legitimate uses. But don’t let that fool you, as these apps can be used to extract confidential information such as contact information from your mobile device. According to recent research, 0.3 percent of the 20 million Android transactions resulted in some level of privacy leakage. This is primarily due to cybercriminals tapping into an organization’s network traffic, which requires skills but isn’t impossible to do.

Banking malware

This is when cybercriminals use phishing windows to overlap banking apps so that they can steal credentials from mobile banking customers. But that’s not all, as cybercriminals can overlap other apps and steal credit card details, incoming mobile transaction authentication number, and even redirect calls. Even worse, file-encrypting features now allow them to simultaneously steal information and lock user files.

One such banking malware that Android users need to look out for is Faketoken. According to Kaspersky Lab, Faketoken is designed to generate fake login screens for more than 2,000 financial applications in order to steal login credentials. The app also displays phishing pages to steal credit card information, can read and send text messages, and even has the ability to encrypt user files stored on a phone’s SD card.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks a device and demands for a payment in order for the device to be unlocked. The latest ransomware, WannaCry, spread like a wildfire and greatly affected the global healthcare industry. Ransomware continues to be a cyberciminal’s weapon of choice and attacks targeting Android devices have increased by over 50 percent.

If you think ransomware is bad enough, ransomworms can be your worst nightmare. Basically, it’s ransomware attached to a network that copies itself to every computer on a local network it could reach  with no warning whatsoever.

All this sounds horrific, but the worst is yet to come if you don’t act fast. Having said that, we’ve rounded up some security best-practices that will help keep your Android devices secure:

  • Enforce device passcode authentication
  • Monitor mobile device access and use
  • Patch mobile devices quickly
  • Forbid unapproved third-party application stores
  • Control physical access to devices
  • Conduct application security assessment to ensure compliance
  • Implement an incident response plan for lost or stolen mobile devices

While it’s easy to turn a blind eye against cyber threats, the question is are you willing to take that chance? If you’re looking for an advanced security solution to keep your Android device safe, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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Mobile security threats in Android

Employees today are working under tight timelines, but thanks to bring your own device policies (BYOD), they can access critical files and applications using their mobile device and get work done from anywhere. But BYOD can be a double-edged sword to those not vigilant about cyber attacks. If you’re using an Android device, here are five security threats you need to know about.

Unsafe devices

Sometimes, the device itself might not be safe due to faulty production or configuration. In fact, Checkpoint found 36 Android devices earlier this year at a telecommunications company and multinational technology company that were infected out of the box. This means that the infection was not caused by users, but the malware was pre-installed via apps somewhere along the supply chain before users even received them.

Malicious apps

Judy is an Android app, and although it sounds completely harmless, this software is actually designed to infect a device and activate an auto-clicking command used for malicious advertising campaigns. Believe it or not, this malware got 18.5 million downloads.

Information leakage from useful apps

Many applications are installed for legitimate uses. But don’t let that fool you, as these apps can be used to extract confidential information such as contact information from your mobile device. According to recent research, 0.3 percent of the 20 million Android transactions resulted in some level of privacy leakage. This is primarily due to cybercriminals tapping into an organization’s network traffic, which requires skills but isn’t impossible to do.

Banking malware

This is when cybercriminals use phishing windows to overlap banking apps so that they can steal credentials from mobile banking customers. But that’s not all, as cybercriminals can overlap other apps and steal credit card details, incoming mobile transaction authentication number, and even redirect calls. Even worse, file-encrypting features now allow them to simultaneously steal information and lock user files.

One such banking malware that Android users need to look out for is Faketoken. According to Kaspersky Lab, Faketoken is designed to generate fake login screens for more than 2,000 financial applications in order to steal login credentials. The app also displays phishing pages to steal credit card information, can read and send text messages, and even has the ability to encrypt user files stored on a phone’s SD card.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks a device and demands for a payment in order for the device to be unlocked. The latest ransomware, WannaCry, spread like a wildfire and greatly affected the global healthcare industry. Ransomware continues to be a cyberciminal’s weapon of choice and attacks targeting Android devices have increased by over 50 percent.

If you think ransomware is bad enough, ransomworms can be your worst nightmare. Basically, it’s ransomware attached to a network that copies itself to every computer on a local network it could reach  with no warning whatsoever.

All this sounds horrific, but the worst is yet to come if you don’t act fast. Having said that, we’ve rounded up some security best-practices that will help keep your Android devices secure:

  • Enforce device passcode authentication
  • Monitor mobile device access and use
  • Patch mobile devices quickly
  • Forbid unapproved third-party application stores
  • Control physical access to devices
  • Conduct application security assessment to ensure compliance
  • Implement an incident response plan for lost or stolen mobile devices

While it’s easy to turn a blind eye against cyber threats, the question is are you willing to take that chance? If you’re looking for an advanced security solution to keep your Android device safe, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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

New anti-phishing features for Gmail

Over the years phishing — a social engineering attack that uses seemingly innocuous emails to trick victims into giving away personal information or clicking a malicious link — has grown in sophistication and scale. In order to put a stop to these scams, Google has made some security enhancements for Gmail. Here how the new anti-phishing features work.

Machine learning
Google is approaching email security the same way they’ve been developing their products, with machine learning technology. Phishing scams usually follow a predictable pattern when you analyze them. Knowing this, Gmail experts developed an algorithm that analyzes phishing and spam patterns and updates Google’s security database in real time.

When the same phishing attempt is made, Gmail flags potentially dangerous messages and sends them through Google’s Safe Browsing feature, where message links and file attachments are tested for malicious activity. According to Google, around 50 to 70 percent of emails that get sent to Gmail accounts are spam and phishing emails, but with the new detection algorithm, Gmail can block 99.9% of them.

Click-time warnings
Google has also added precautions for suspicious links. When you accidentally click on an unsolicited link in a message, Gmail will redirect you to a security page titled: “Warning — phishing (web forgery) suspected.”

Although Google does not completely block access to the link (in case of false positives), it advises you to be extremely careful if you do decide to proceed.

External reply warnings
Another enhancement focuses on securing reply messages. The Gmail feature warns users when they are about to send a reply to an address that is not in their contact list or company domain. This small improvement is designed to prevent users from giving away sensitive information to third-parties.

Every Gmail user can take advantage of these new security controls today, but it’s important to keep in mind that these can’t replace security awareness. Even Google has mentioned that these features are complements to existing security systems and best practices. Being able to identify what is or isn’t a scam can go a long way in protecting your business.

Google is adding machine learning technology in almost all of their products. To find out where they’ll apply it to next, get in touch with our experts and stay tuned for more Google-related posts.

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Gmail gets anti-phishing enhancements

Although hackers continue to develop new viruses and bug exploits, the most effective weapon in their arsenal is a simple email. All a would-be cybercriminal has to do is write a convincing message (or pretend to be a trustworthy entity) to persuade a victim to download a malware-ridden file or surrender their personal information. This ruse is known by many as a phishing scam. To protect users from these attacks, Google recently released some new anti-phishing features for Gmail. Read on below to find out more.

Machine learning
Google is approaching email security the same way they’ve been developing their products, with machine learning technology. Phishing scams usually follow a predictable pattern when you analyze them. Knowing this, Gmail experts developed an algorithm that analyzes phishing and spam patterns and updates Google’s security database in real time.

When the same phishing attempt is made, Gmail flags potentially dangerous messages and sends them through Google’s Safe Browsing feature, where message links and file attachments are tested for malicious activity. According to Google, around 50 to 70 percent of emails that get sent to Gmail accounts are spam and phishing emails, but with the new detection algorithm, Gmail can block 99.9% of them.

Click-time warnings
Google has also added precautions for suspicious links. When you accidentally click on an unsolicited link in a message, Gmail will redirect you to a security page titled: “Warning — phishing (web forgery) suspected.”

Although Google does not completely block access to the link (in case of false positives), it advises you to be extremely careful if you do decide to proceed.

External reply warnings
Another enhancement focuses on securing reply messages. The Gmail feature warns users when they are about to send a reply to an address that is not in their contact list or company domain. This small improvement is designed to prevent users from giving away sensitive information to third-parties.

Every Gmail user can take advantage of these new security controls today, but it’s important to keep in mind that these can’t replace security awareness. Even Google has mentioned that these features are complements to existing security systems and best practices. Being able to identify what is or isn’t a scam can go a long way in protecting your business.

Google is adding machine learning technology in almost all of their products. To find out where they’ll apply it to next, get in touch with our experts and stay tuned for more Google-related posts.

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

Google adds anti-phishing features on Gmail

Cybercriminals have been relentless throughout 2017. In the past couple of months, hackers discovered new malware strains and software vulnerabilities that have overwhelmed thousands of businesses worldwide. But despite these new attacks, hackers still have an old, yet effective trick up their sleeves: phishing scams. To this day, sending fraudulent emails to steal sensitive information or spread a virus is still being used by the most advanced hackers. Luckily Google rolled out some new security features for Gmail users.

Machine learning
Google is approaching email security the same way they’ve been developing their products, with machine learning technology. Phishing scams usually follow a predictable pattern when you analyze them. Knowing this, Gmail experts developed an algorithm that analyzes phishing and spam patterns and updates Google’s security database in real time.

When the same phishing attempt is made, Gmail flags potentially dangerous messages and sends them through Google’s Safe Browsing feature, where message links and file attachments are tested for malicious activity. According to Google, around 50 to 70 percent of emails that get sent to Gmail accounts are spam and phishing emails, but with the new detection algorithm, Gmail can block 99.9% of them.

Click-time warnings
Google has also added precautions for suspicious links. When you accidentally click on an unsolicited link in a message, Gmail will redirect you to a security page titled: “Warning — phishing (web forgery) suspected.”

Although Google does not completely block access to the link (in case of false positives), it advises you to be extremely careful if you do decide to proceed.

External reply warnings
Another enhancement focuses on securing reply messages. The Gmail feature warns users when they are about to send a reply to an address that is not in their contact list or company domain. This small improvement is designed to prevent users from giving away sensitive information to third-parties.

Every Gmail user can take advantage of these new security controls today, but it’s important to keep in mind that these can’t replace security awareness. Even Google has mentioned that these features are complements to existing security systems and best practices. Being able to identify what is or isn’t a scam can go a long way in protecting your business.

Google is adding machine learning technology in almost all of their products. To find out where they’ll apply it to next, get in touch with our experts and stay tuned for more Google-related posts.

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Dispelling the myths about containers

Business owners barely had time to acquaint themselves with virtualization before the next trend stormed onto the scene. Although container and virtualization applications both allow users to divvy up software and hardware more efficiently, containers have many advantages over virtualized machines. There are a number of misunderstandings though, and it’s time to set the record straight.

Containers are made up of the bare minimum hardware and software requirements to allow a specific program to run. For example, if you want to give employees access to a single Mac-based server application, but everything else you run is in Windows, it would be a waste to build a new machine for just that program. Containers allow you to partition just the right amount of hardware power and software overhead to run that Mac program on your Windows server.

Misconception #1: There is only one container vendor

Traditional virtualization technology — which creates entire virtual computers rather than single-application containers — has had two decades for vendors to enter the market and improve their offerings. Containers, however, didn’t break into the mainstream until a few years ago.

Fortunately, there are still more than enough container vendors. Docker dominates the industry and headlines, but there are at least a dozen other programs to choose from.

Misconception #2: Containers require virtualization

In the early days, containers could only be created and managed in the Linux operating system. This meant complicated and sometimes unreliable improvisation was required to benefit from container technology on Windows and Mac servers.

First, you would need to virtualize a full-fledged Linux install on your Windows or Mac server, and then install container management inside of Linux. Nowadays, container management software can run on Windows and MacOS without the confusing multi-layer systems.

Misconception #3: You can’t create and manage containers in bulk

Separate programs, known as Orchestrators, allow you to scale up your use of containers. If you need to partition more hardware power so that more users can use a container, or if you need to create several identical containers, orchestrators make that possible.

Misconception #4: Containers are faster than virtual machines

Obviously, virtualizing an entire operating system and the hardware necessary to run it requires more management and processing requirements. A lot of people tend to think this means containers are faster than virtualized machines. In reality, containers are just more efficient.

Accessing a container is as simple as opening it and using the application. A virtualized machine, however, needs to be booted up, a user needs to log in to the operating system, and then you can rummage through folders to open an application. Most of the time containers are faster, but there are instances when that’s not true.

Virtualization and containers are complicated technologies. For now, just remember that 1) Virtualization and containers are separate technologies, each with pros and cons; and 2) you have plenty of software options to manage containers (sometimes in bulk). For anything more specific than that, give us a call!

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Common misunderstandings about containers

Business owners stand to gain a lot by taking the time to understand emerging IT trends. In the case of containers, it’s an opportunity to reduce costs, increase hardware efficiency, and improve data security. One of the best ways to learn about containers is to address the misconceptions about them.

Containers are made up of the bare minimum hardware and software requirements to allow a specific program to run. For example, if you want to give employees access to a single Mac-based server application, but everything else you run is in Windows, it would be a waste to build a new machine for just that program. Containers allow you to partition just the right amount of hardware power and software overhead to run that Mac program on your Windows server.

Misconception #1: There is only one container vendor

Traditional virtualization technology — which creates entire virtual computers rather than single-application containers — has had two decades for vendors to enter the market and improve their offerings. Containers, however, didn’t break into the mainstream until a few years ago.

Fortunately, there are still more than enough container vendors. Docker dominates the industry and headlines, but there are at least a dozen other programs to choose from.

Misconception #2: Containers require virtualization

In the early days, containers could only be created and managed in the Linux operating system. This meant complicated and sometimes unreliable improvisation was required to benefit from container technology on Windows and Mac servers.

First, you would need to virtualize a full-fledged Linux install on your Windows or Mac server, and then install container management inside of Linux. Nowadays, container management software can run on Windows and MacOS without the confusing multi-layer systems.

Misconception #3: You can’t create and manage containers in bulk

Separate programs, known as Orchestrators, allow you to scale up your use of containers. If you need to partition more hardware power so that more users can use a container, or if you need to create several identical containers, orchestrators make that possible.

Misconception #4: Containers are faster than virtual machines

Obviously, virtualizing an entire operating system and the hardware necessary to run it requires more management and processing requirements. A lot of people tend to think this means containers are faster than virtualized machines. In reality, containers are just more efficient.

Accessing a container is as simple as opening it and using the application. A virtualized machine, however, needs to be booted up, a user needs to log in to the operating system, and then you can rummage through folders to open an application. Most of the time containers are faster, but there are instances when that’s not true.

Virtualization and containers are complicated technologies. For now, just remember that 1) Virtualization and containers are separate technologies, each with pros and cons; and 2) you have plenty of software options to manage containers (sometimes in bulk). For anything more specific than that, give us a call!

Posted in General Articles C, Virtualization | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Setting the record straight on containers

Virtualization technology and container technology are confusing topics in their own right, and comparing and contrasting them is even harder. Before you can really get into the weeds about how containers differ from virtualization, it’s best to clear up some of the misleading information surrounding how the two technologies work.

Containers are made up of the bare minimum hardware and software requirements to allow a specific program to run. For example, if you want to give employees access to a single Mac-based server application, but everything else you run is in Windows, it would be a waste to build a new machine for just that program. Containers allow you to partition just the right amount of hardware power and software overhead to run that Mac program on your Windows server.

Misconception #1: There is only one container vendor

Traditional virtualization technology — which creates entire virtual computers rather than single-application containers — has had two decades for vendors to enter the market and improve their offerings. Containers, however, didn’t break into the mainstream until a few years ago.

Fortunately, there are still more than enough container vendors. Docker dominates the industry and headlines, but there are at least a dozen other programs to choose from.

Misconception #2: Containers require virtualization

In the early days, containers could only be created and managed in the Linux operating system. This meant complicated and sometimes unreliable improvisation was required to benefit from container technology on Windows and Mac servers.

First, you would need to virtualize a full-fledged Linux install on your Windows or Mac server, and then install container management inside of Linux. Nowadays, container management software can run on Windows and MacOS without the confusing multi-layer systems.

Misconception #3: You can’t create and manage containers in bulk

Separate programs, known as Orchestrators, allow you to scale up your use of containers. If you need to partition more hardware power so that more users can use a container, or if you need to create several identical containers, orchestrators make that possible.

Misconception #4: Containers are faster than virtual machines

Obviously, virtualizing an entire operating system and the hardware necessary to run it requires more management and processing requirements. A lot of people tend to think this means containers are faster than virtualized machines. In reality, containers are just more efficient.

Accessing a container is as simple as opening it and using the application. A virtualized machine, however, needs to be booted up, a user needs to log in to the operating system, and then you can rummage through folders to open an application. Most of the time containers are faster, but there are instances when that’s not true.

Virtualization and containers are complicated technologies. For now, just remember that 1) Virtualization and containers are separate technologies, each with pros and cons; and 2) you have plenty of software options to manage containers (sometimes in bulk). For anything more specific than that, give us a call!

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

Keyboard shortcuts in Windows 10

Since its release back in 2015, Windows 10 continues to see updates and new features. This time, users are greeted with some new keyboard shortcuts that will make life easier. So without further ado, here are our top picks that can be extremely helpful to your daily operations.

Windows Snapping

If you’ve never used Windows Snapping, you’re missing out on one of Windows 10’s key features. Previously known as Aero Snap on Windows 7, the snapping feature allows you to snap windows vertically on top of each other. You can even snap windows to a 2×2 grid for better multi-tasking. Simply use these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows Key + Left – Snap current window to the left side of the screen.
  • Windows Key + Right – Snap current window to the right side of the screen.
  • Windows Key + Up – Snap current window to the top of the screen.
  • Windows Key + Down – Snap current window to the bottom of the screen.

You can also combine these shortcuts to snap your current window into a corner like top left, top right and more.

Task Views

This window management feature allows you to see all your opened windows so you can quickly return to a specific program or document. This is particularly useful if you have multiple windows opened at once. In addition to clicking the “Task View” button on the taskbar to open it, these keyboard shortcuts will do the trick:

 

  • Windows Key + Tab – Open a new Task View interface with windows from your current virtual desktop appearing in the Task View list. To switch between virtual desktops, simply use the virtual desktop switcher at the bottom of the screen.
  • Alt + Tab – While not a new keyboard shortcut per se, it now allows you to switch between open windows on all virtual desktops.

Virtual Desktop

A great way to stay organized, this nifty feature lets you use unlimited number of virtual desktops so you can dedicate each of them for certain functions. For instance, one could be used solely for work with all your business software and the other for entertainment. Some keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly manage your virtual desktops include:

  • Windows Key + Ctrl + D – Create a new virtual desktop and switch to it.
  • Windows Key + Ctrl + F4 – Close current virtual desktop.
  • Windows Key + Ctrl + Left / Right – Switch to virtual desktop on the left or right.

If you’re looking for ways to boost productivity, or have any questions about how Microsoft Windows can help streamline your operations, just give us a call. Our IT experts are more than happy to help.

 

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Windows 10’s new keyboard shortcuts

Technology is all about making lives easier, and something as small as keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time. If you’re operating on a Windows 10 computer, here are some new keyboard shortcuts that you’ve probably been waiting for.

Windows Snapping

If you’ve never used Windows Snapping, you’re missing out on one of Windows 10’s key features. Previously known as Aero Snap on Windows 7, the snapping feature allows you to snap windows vertically on top of each other. You can even snap windows to a 2×2 grid for better multi-tasking. Simply use these keyboard shortcuts:

  • Windows Key + Left – Snap current window to the left side of the screen.
  • Windows Key + Right – Snap current window to the right side of the screen.
  • Windows Key + Up – Snap current window to the top of the screen.
  • Windows Key + Down – Snap current window to the bottom of the screen.

You can also combine these shortcuts to snap your current window into a corner like top left, top right and more.

Task Views

This window management feature allows you to see all your opened windows so you can quickly return to a specific program or document. This is particularly useful if you have multiple windows opened at once. In addition to clicking the “Task View” button on the taskbar to open it, these keyboard shortcuts will do the trick:

 

  • Windows Key + Tab – Open a new Task View interface with windows from your current virtual desktop appearing in the Task View list. To switch between virtual desktops, simply use the virtual desktop switcher at the bottom of the screen.
  • Alt + Tab – While not a new keyboard shortcut per se, it now allows you to switch between open windows on all virtual desktops.

Virtual Desktop

A great way to stay organized, this nifty feature lets you use unlimited number of virtual desktops so you can dedicate each of them for certain functions. For instance, one could be used solely for work with all your business software and the other for entertainment. Some keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly manage your virtual desktops include:

  • Windows Key + Ctrl + D – Create a new virtual desktop and switch to it.
  • Windows Key + Ctrl + F4 – Close current virtual desktop.
  • Windows Key + Ctrl + Left / Right – Switch to virtual desktop on the left or right.

If you’re looking for ways to boost productivity, or have any questions about how Microsoft Windows can help streamline your operations, just give us a call. Our IT experts are more than happy to help.

 

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