Keep cybercriminals from attacking your business printers with these tips

It’s easy to overlook printers when implementing a cybersecurity strategy, as they may seem safe from cyberattacks. But in reality, many hackers these days exploit certain printer vulnerabilities to gather information about businesses or even infiltrate their systems without anyone noticing. Protect your business printers by following these tips.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because these are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices — information that hackers would definitely love to get their hands on.

And they can, easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through these machines.

Lastly, hackers can exploit vulnerable printers to bypass your cybersecurity system. Once they find a way in through your printers, crooks can then launch broader cyberattacks from within your network, which can be difficult to contain.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  1. Monitor your network surreptitiously and always promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so always be on the lookout for those.
  2. Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  3. Allow only company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  4. Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  5. Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  6. If your wireless printer has a feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  7. If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  8. If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables or print from a thumb drive.
  9. Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), reducing the risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can help.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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Prevent hackers from exploiting your business printers with these tips

Can business printers get hacked? The short answer is yes. Anything that connects to your business network can be exploited by malicious actors on the internet, even innocuous machines like your printers. These can be exploited to steal data and/or create entry points into your system to launch larger attacks. So make sure you follow these tips to protect your work printer environment.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because these are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices — information that hackers would definitely love to get their hands on.

And they can, easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through these machines.

Lastly, hackers can exploit vulnerable printers to bypass your cybersecurity system. Once they find a way in through your printers, crooks can then launch broader cyberattacks from within your network, which can be difficult to contain.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  1. Monitor your network surreptitiously and always promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so always be on the lookout for those.
  2. Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  3. Allow only company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  4. Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  5. Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  6. If your wireless printer has a feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  7. If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  8. If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables or print from a thumb drive.
  9. Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), reducing the risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can help.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

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

Reduce data usage on your Android device with these tips

Heavy mobile data consumption can cause serious problems, such as slower connection speeds and a decreased battery life. It can also lead you to incur data overage fees when you use more data than what’s included in your plan. Here are some tips to help you use less data on your Android device.

Delete data-draining apps

Apps that constantly consume your mobile data, such as Facebook, Google Maps, and YouTube, can accelerate hardware and battery life deterioration as well as lower the device’s efficiency. If you have data-draining apps, consider removing them from your device to lower your monthly data usage.

To identify such apps, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > App data usage. From there, you can see which apps are consuming the most data, and you can delete the worst offenders.

Restrict background data

Background data is a feature that allows apps to provide real-time updates by using data connection even when the app isn’t actively in use or the phone is locked. It is also one surefire way to burn through a significant chunk of your monthly data plan.

To prevent background data from constantly updating, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet. Then, select App data usage to see your top data-draining apps. Tap on an app to show its settings, and toggle the button under “Background data” to Off.

Use data saver mode

To ensure that you’re not using too much data on your data plan, check and change your data usage setting. All you have to do is go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > Data Saver.

When you turn Data Saver on, some apps are prevented from sending or receiving data in the background. While any app you currently use can still download data, it will do so less frequently. For instance, images on a web page won’t display until you tap them.

Beware of auto-updates

Software updates can require hundreds of megabytes of data, so it’s better to update your apps over Wi-Fi than through your data connection. You may not even realize updates are happening if you have the auto-update setting enabled. Turn it off by opening the Google Play Store and tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner. Go to Settings > Auto-update apps > Over Wi-Fi only.

Take your apps offline

Some apps include an offline access option. For example, Google Docs lets you choose the documents you’d like to access while disconnected from the internet. This allows you to save your work offline and only update its online version once you are connected to the internet. Check regularly for offline access options and enable them whenever possible.

These are some quick and easy tips for IT novices, but if you’re on the hunt for expert solutions and support for Android devices, get in touch with our team today.

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

Easy steps to reduce data usage on your Android device

If you don’t have an unlimited data plan for your Android device, uncontrolled downloading can result in slower connections, poor battery life, and high overage charges. But do you know that you can reduce your data consumption without affecting your mobile experience? Follow these handy tips.

Delete data-draining apps

Apps that constantly consume your mobile data, such as Facebook, Google Maps, and YouTube, can accelerate hardware and battery life deterioration as well as lower the device’s efficiency. If you have data-draining apps, consider removing them from your device to lower your monthly data usage.

To identify such apps, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > App data usage. From there, you can see which apps are consuming the most data, and you can delete the worst offenders.

Restrict background data

Background data is a feature that allows apps to provide real-time updates by using data connection even when the app isn’t actively in use or the phone is locked. It is also one surefire way to burn through a significant chunk of your monthly data plan.

To prevent background data from constantly updating, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet. Then, select App data usage to see your top data-draining apps. Tap on an app to show its settings, and toggle the button under “Background data” to Off.

Use data saver mode

To ensure that you’re not using too much data on your data plan, check and change your data usage setting. All you have to do is go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > Data Saver.

When you turn Data Saver on, some apps are prevented from sending or receiving data in the background. While any app you currently use can still download data, it will do so less frequently. For instance, images on a web page won’t display until you tap them.

Beware of auto-updates

Software updates can require hundreds of megabytes of data, so it’s better to update your apps over Wi-Fi than through your data connection. You may not even realize updates are happening if you have the auto-update setting enabled. Turn it off by opening the Google Play Store and tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner. Go to Settings > Auto-update apps > Over Wi-Fi only.

Take your apps offline

Some apps include an offline access option. For example, Google Docs lets you choose the documents you’d like to access while disconnected from the internet. This allows you to save your work offline and only update its online version once you are connected to the internet. Check regularly for offline access options and enable them whenever possible.

These are some quick and easy tips for IT novices, but if you’re on the hunt for expert solutions and support for Android devices, get in touch with our team today.

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

How to lower data consumption on your Android device

If you use an Android device with a data plan, it’s important to be able to control the data you use on downloads. Otherwise, you could end up with a decreased battery life, slower connection speeds, and higher bills. Here are five ways to avoid these.

Delete data-draining apps

Apps that constantly consume your mobile data, such as Facebook, Google Maps, and YouTube, can accelerate hardware and battery life deterioration as well as lower the device’s efficiency. If you have data-draining apps, consider removing them from your device to lower your monthly data usage.

To identify such apps, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > App data usage. From there, you can see which apps are consuming the most data, and you can delete the worst offenders.

Restrict background data

Background data is a feature that allows apps to provide real-time updates by using data connection even when the app isn’t actively in use or the phone is locked. It is also one surefire way to burn through a significant chunk of your monthly data plan.

To prevent background data from constantly updating, go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet. Then, select App data usage to see your top data-draining apps. Tap on an app to show its settings, and toggle the button under “Background data” to Off.

Use data saver mode

To ensure that you’re not using too much data on your data plan, check and change your data usage setting. All you have to do is go to Settings > Network & internet > Internet > Data Saver.

When you turn Data Saver on, some apps are prevented from sending or receiving data in the background. While any app you currently use can still download data, it will do so less frequently. For instance, images on a web page won’t display until you tap them.

Beware of auto-updates

Software updates can require hundreds of megabytes of data, so it’s better to update your apps over Wi-Fi than through your data connection. You may not even realize updates are happening if you have the auto-update setting enabled. Turn it off by opening the Google Play Store and tapping the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner. Go to Settings > Auto-update apps > Over Wi-Fi only.

Take your apps offline

Some apps include an offline access option. For example, Google Docs lets you choose the documents you’d like to access while disconnected from the internet. This allows you to save your work offline and only update its online version once you are connected to the internet. Check regularly for offline access options and enable them whenever possible.

These are some quick and easy tips for IT novices, but if you’re on the hunt for expert solutions and support for Android devices, get in touch with our team today.

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

Is malware a problem on Macs?

There’s a common misconception that Apple computers can’t get infected with malware. The truth is Macs are resistant to most Windows-based bugs and malicious codes but they aren’t invulnerable. Here are some threats that can compromise your Mac and how to tell that you’ve been infected.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several forms of malware that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from ones that are merely annoying to downright destructive.

  1. Adware – These are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware like keyloggers and keyboard sniffers onto their deployment protocols, allowing them to record your typing habits and monitor your browsing behavior.
  2. Sniffers – These are usually designed to detect certain words on a web page and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
  3. Trojan horses – These can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contain a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in iCloud Keychain.
  4. Macro viruses – These attack computers by running a code that can take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and microphones. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.
  5. Ransomware – Macs managed to hold off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks in Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Telltale signs your Mac is infected

Now that you know what kinds of malware your Mac could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your computer is infected with one:

  1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
  2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
  3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Google Chrome such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

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Are Macs immune to malware?

Windows computers tend to deal with an assortment of malware, but many people fail to realize that even Apple computers face similar threats. As cybercriminals have become more adept at finding exploits and other vulnerabilities, more and more Macs have also fallen prey to malware. Here are some threats you need to look out for to keep your Mac safe.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several forms of malware that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from ones that are merely annoying to downright destructive.

  1. Adware – These are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware like keyloggers and keyboard sniffers onto their deployment protocols, allowing them to record your typing habits and monitor your browsing behavior.
  2. Sniffers – These are usually designed to detect certain words on a web page and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
  3. Trojan horses – These can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contain a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in iCloud Keychain.
  4. Macro viruses – These attack computers by running a code that can take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and microphones. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.
  5. Ransomware – Macs managed to hold off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks in Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Telltale signs your Mac is infected

Now that you know what kinds of malware your Mac could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your computer is infected with one:

  1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
  2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
  3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Google Chrome such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

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

Can malware affect your Mac?

Malware creators will target anyone and everyone, including Mac users. So even though Apple computers are less vulnerable than Windows PCs, they are not completely impervious to cyberattacks. Read on to find out the different threats you should protect your Mac against, as well as signs that your computer has been compromised.

What are the threats that can affect your Mac?

There are several forms of malware that hit Apple products, and their effects can range from ones that are merely annoying to downright destructive.

  1. Adware – These are unwanted programs that bombard users with pop-up advertisements. Some malicious adware piggyback spyware like keyloggers and keyboard sniffers onto their deployment protocols, allowing them to record your typing habits and monitor your browsing behavior.
  2. Sniffers – These are usually designed to detect certain words on a web page and in a person’s typing pattern in order to trigger the keylogger. For instance, when you type your password, sniffers can activate the keylogger to copy the information you type and steal your login details.
  3. Trojan horses – These can infect both Macs and PCs, and they are often deployed through fake software installers or unsecured updates. They parade as legitimate software that actually contain a nasty surprise once installed. A notorious Trojan horse for Macs is the MacDownloader, which attempts to steal personal data stored in iCloud Keychain.
  4. Macro viruses – These attack computers by running a code that can take screenshots, format hard drives, corrupt files, deliver more malware, and access webcams and microphones. They are triggered when a user opens an infected macros-enabled file, hence the name.
  5. Ransomware – Macs managed to hold off ransomware for a while, but nowadays, even they can be vulnerable to it. KeRanger was one of the first big ransomware outbreaks in Macs. After remotely encrypting the computer and hibernating for three days, KeRanger would issue a .txt file containing instructions for decryption in return for one bitcoin.

Telltale signs your Mac is infected

Now that you know what kinds of malware your Mac could be affected with, here are some ways to tell if your computer is infected with one:

  1. Pop-up ads – If you’re seeing more pop-ups on your computer than usual, your computer is probably infected. An unusual amount of banner ads and pop-ups may mean that your computer is due for an update and/or a virus scan.
  2. Slowness – Mac users fear one thing above all: the spinning wheel of death. This little rainbow-colored spinning cursor wheel indicates that the computer is having trouble processing at usual speeds. This slowness can often be caused by overwhelming requests from simultaneous processes — likely of dubious origin — running in the background.
  3. Browser issues – Viruses sometimes do weird things to Safari or Google Chrome such as change its homepage or redirect a preset landing page to a site you’ve never seen before. If your browser starts behaving oddly, crashes regularly, or is often unresponsive, your Mac might have a virus.

Computer security is a matter of importance no matter what operating system you use. Reach out to our experts for an assessment of your network today.

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

5 Wi-Fi issues and how to fix them

It’s difficult for businesses these days to operate without a good Wi-Fi connection. Having a fast, secure, and reliable connection enables quick response times and customer satisfaction. But what if your Wi-Fi refuses to work? Let’s take a look at five common Wi-Fi issues and how you can easily resolve them.

Range constraints

Wi-Fi works via radio waves that are typically broadcast from a device known as a router. To avoid a weak signal in your office, make sure that your router is placed in a centralized location and not hidden in the farthest corner of your facility. The Wi-Fi antennas must also be either in a fully horizontal or vertical position for optimal signal distribution.

Note that Wi-Fi range constraints can also be due to interference, so if your office is situated in a highly populated area, try changing your router’s channel.

Slow internet speed

Despite having high-speed or fiber optic internet, slow load times can still occur from time to time. To eliminate this, try the following:

  • Place your router in the same room as your computers.
  • Add more routers to better accommodate a high number of connected devices.
  • Limit the use of bandwidth-intensive applications and websites such as Skype, Dropbox, YouTube, and Facebook.
  • Disable your router’s power-saving mode.
  • Create a new router channel to avoid network bottlenecks.

Connection issues

It can be frustrating when the Wi-Fi network shows up on your device but you just can’t seem to connect to it. To solve this issue, try these fixes:

  • Determine whether your Wi-Fi connection or internet service is the problem. To do this, plug in an Ethernet cable directly to your laptop. If you get a connection, then the issue is on your end.
  • Reset your router. Use a paperclip or a pen to hold down the reset button for about 30 seconds.
  • Reboot your device.
  • Call your internet service provider if none of these fixes work.

Unstable connection

Random Wi-Fi connection drops can happen occasionally. If this is a constant nuisance in your office, try moving your router to a different spot or room. Avoid having multiple routers in the same location as well, as this can confuse your device.

Network not found

Your Wi-Fi network may not appear on your devices if your router is glitching. To fix this issue, try disconnecting the router from the power source and waiting at least 30 seconds before reconnecting it. You may also need to check how old your router is. If it’s more than three years old, then that may be what’s causing the connectivity problems. Replacing your router with a newer model should solve the issue.

Implementing these tips will help you avoid serious downtime caused by Wi-Fi issues. However, if you prefer to have a dedicated technology provider handle these for you, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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

Rectify these 5 Wi-Fi issues with ease

Your business has spent a lot on Wi-Fi routers so your employees can collaborate instantaneously and access files seamlessly without your connection faltering. But when your Wi-Fi starts acting up, resist the temptation to smash your router. Instead, try these simple troubleshooting techniques.

Range constraints

Wi-Fi works via radio waves that are typically broadcast from a device known as a router. To avoid a weak signal in your office, make sure that your router is placed in a centralized location and not hidden in the farthest corner of your facility. The Wi-Fi antennas must also be either in a fully horizontal or vertical position for optimal signal distribution.

Note that Wi-Fi range constraints can also be due to interference, so if your office is situated in a highly populated area, try changing your router’s channel.

Slow internet speed

Despite having high-speed or fiber optic internet, slow load times can still occur from time to time. To eliminate this, try the following:

  • Place your router in the same room as your computers.
  • Add more routers to better accommodate a high number of connected devices.
  • Limit the use of bandwidth-intensive applications and websites such as Skype, Dropbox, YouTube, and Facebook.
  • Disable your router’s power-saving mode.
  • Create a new router channel to avoid network bottlenecks.

Connection issues

It can be frustrating when the Wi-Fi network shows up on your device but you just can’t seem to connect to it. To solve this issue, try these fixes:

  • Determine whether your Wi-Fi connection or internet service is the problem. To do this, plug in an Ethernet cable directly to your laptop. If you get a connection, then the issue is on your end.
  • Reset your router. Use a paperclip or a pen to hold down the reset button for about 30 seconds.
  • Reboot your device.
  • Call your internet service provider if none of these fixes work.

Unstable connection

Random Wi-Fi connection drops can happen occasionally. If this is a constant nuisance in your office, try moving your router to a different spot or room. Avoid having multiple routers in the same location as well, as this can confuse your device.

Network not found

Your Wi-Fi network may not appear on your devices if your router is glitching. To fix this issue, try disconnecting the router from the power source and waiting at least 30 seconds before reconnecting it. You may also need to check how old your router is. If it’s more than three years old, then that may be what’s causing the connectivity problems. Replacing your router with a newer model should solve the issue.

Implementing these tips will help you avoid serious downtime caused by Wi-Fi issues. However, if you prefer to have a dedicated technology provider handle these for you, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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