Category: Data Protection

Why Your Boss Is Monitoring Your Internet Activity

Why Your Boss Is Monitoring Your Internet Activity

 

One of the most prominent employee monitoring surveys to date revealed that about two-thirds of U.S. companies – 66 percent – monitor their employees’ Internet use.

And that was 10 years ago.

The 2007 American Management Association (AMA) survey found that 45 percent of companies log keystrokes and 43 percent track employee emails. No major study has been released since, but tech and employment experts agree the numbers have increased. By some estimates, 80 percent of companies now monitor employee Internet use.

Typically, employers are looking for one or all of these:

  • Policy violations such as visiting inappropriate websites, using inappropriate language in emails, or spending company time on personal activities such as shopping or browsing social media
  • Evidence that you’re looking for another job, including job board and recruiting firm searches
  • Risky behavior – whether accidental or malicious – that could lead to a data breach, including emailing or printing confidential business information
  • Data and statistics on employee productivity

Only two states, Connecticut and Delaware, require companies to notify employees of monitoring, but most employers choose to be transparent. According to the AMA survey, 84 percent of companies that monitor computer activity let their employees know.

How Am I Being Monitored?

The vast majority of companies use employee monitoring software to automate this process. Even in 2007, nearly three-quarters of businesses that monitored emails used technology to do it, rather than assigning someone the task of manually reading emails.

Monitoring software is becoming so popular that the industry is exploding. What was a $200 million industry in 2016 is projected to reach $500 million by 2020, according to 451 Research.

Most monitoring software offers companies flexibility in what type of activity they monitor. They can set up custom flags or filters that send an alert when, for example, a specific topic is searched or a certain word is used in an email. Employers can also set up “rules” that track, flag and help prevent certain behavior, including visiting malware-infected websites or emailing sensitive records.

The tricky thing for employees is that it’s almost impossible to tell which activities your boss is monitoring. The company might be keeping tabs on only flagrant policy violations such as visiting an adult website, or they might be watching just about everything you do.

Can I Stop Employee Monitoring?

In a word, no. Employers have the legal right to monitor what takes place within their walls — and on company-issued devices. Employee contracts usually outline these rights. However, unless you agree to it, employers do not have the right to monitor your personal devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops, even if you sometimes use them for work purposes.

Keep in mind that there are important and legitimate reasons to monitor employee activity. Most of the time the purpose is simply to protect the business, not to snoop.

Employees cause more data breaches than hackers, sometimes purely by accident. According to a 2009 report from the American Management Association (AMA) and The ePolicy Institute, 14 percent of employees have emailed confidential information to a third party, while 6 percent have emailed credit card and Social Security information. Without monitoring tools, these undetected violations can cause major damage to a company’s reputation and finances.

How To Stay Under The Radar

About 30 percent of bosses have fired an employee for Internet misuse, the 2007 AMA study found. While 28 percent have fired a subordinate for email violations.

To avoid joining this statistic, never assuming anything you do at work or on a work-issued device is private. Assume you’re being monitored, even if you don’t know for sure. A simple rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t tell your boss about, don’t do it.

If you want to know whether you’re being monitored, ask. Most employers are willing to share this information. If they’re evasive, take that to mean yes.

About The Author

Why Your Boss is Monitoring Your Internet Activity

Isaac Kohen is the founder and CEO of Teramind, an employee monitoring and insider threat prevention platform that detects, records, and prevents, malicious user behavior. Isaac can be reached at ikohen@teramind.co. Twitter: @ITSecCentral @TeramindCo

Protecting Your Google Home And Amazon Alexa

Protecting Your Google Home And Amazon Alexa

 

Do you have a voice assistant in your home? If so, you already know about the convenience these devices can give both you and your family. Whether its an Amazon Alexa in your living room, or a Google Assistant in your kitchen, these devices are great for helping you multitask. And if you happen to have the Google Assistant, it can do two things at once as well. On the other hand, if you purchased an Alexa instead, you can take advantage of the more than 20,000 “skills” available. For example, fans of the game Destiny 2 can use an Alexa skill to equip their favorite loadout or call for backup, all without having to pick up a controller. You can even purchase your very own Ghost (the AI companion that helps guide you through the game) which connects to your Alexa, giving you the most immersive gaming experience possible.

As with any device that’s connected to the Internet, security is of paramount concern. Voice assistants are no exception, which is why you must take the necessary steps in order to secure them. Aside from having access to personal information, voice assistants can also be used to make online purchases. Luckily, there are ways you can prevent unauthorized access to your information.

Voice Assistant Vulnerabilities

Not taking into account the more technical security issues, such as WiFi exploits that could compromise your devices, there are other ways for someone to gain access to your Alexa or Google Assistant. The simplest one? Imitating the owner’s voice. A key feature of voice assistants is their ability to differentiate one person’s voice from another. This allows the device to store personal settings (such as account information) for each individual user. The problem with this? It’s pretty easy to fool the voice recognition software.

Your Smart Home's Voice Recognition Software Could Be Easily Tricked
It’s far easier for someone to access your voice assistant than you may realize.

To be fair, if someone was trying to access your personal profile they would still have to be close enough to your device to activate it. That being said, if you’re someone who lives with a few roommates, your device may be at risk. Luckily, there are ways you can protect yourself.

Securing Your Google Home Or Alexa

The absolute best way to secure either of devices would be to completely disable the voice recognition tool. That way you won’t have to worry about someone getting into your own personal profile. For most users though, this defeats the purpose of having a voice assistant in the first place. Instead, try adding a voice activated pin number to your personal account, That way, anytime your Google Assistant or Alexa is prompted to make a purchase, the 4-digit pin number would have to be spoken first. While this is somewhat inconvenient, it does end up giving you the best of both words. You will still be able to make purchases via voice command, but you’ll also have the security you need to protect your personal information.

Related: How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday

 

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Survival Guide

Thinking of spending Black Friday on the couch this year instead of camping out at your local Walmart? Well then, you probably already know that most retailers are expanding their in-store Black Friday deals to include their online stores as well. But before you decide to do all your holiday shopping online, there are a few things you should do to ensure your information is well protected. Here are a few tips to help get you started.

Use A Reputable Payment Service

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Payment service providers make online shopping safer and less of a hassle

There are many payment service providers on the market today. Some of the most popular ones include Paypal, Apple Pay, Mastercard’s Masterpass, and Visa Checkout. There are many reasons why you should consider using one of these services. The most important one being; you don’t have to enter your credit card information every time you buy from a new website. The payment service will essentially act as your credit card, ensuring that your information stays safe even in the event of a future data breach. In addition to this, using these services will make it far easier to purchase from multiple sites. You won’t have to take the time to enter your credit card information, you just log into your payment service account and checkout.

Shop On Safe & Secure Websites

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Before you enter any personal information, make sure the website you’re on is secure

One of the most important tips to follow while shopping online is to ensure that the site you are purchasing from is legitimate. Before you even make it onto the payment page, look for signs that the website is secured. You can verify the security of a website by looking in the top left corner of your web browser. Search for a green padlock to the left of the address bar, or for the HTTPS attached to the URL. Finding either of these will let you know that the website you’re currently on is secure.

Proceed With Caution

How To Keep Your Information Safe On Black Friday & Cyber Monday
Be vigilant and keep a lookout for anything suspicious this holiday season

While shopping online this holiday season, be on the look out for fake retailer apps, email scams, and “too good to be true” offers. Each year, scams such as these flood the internet, hoping to cash in on shopping craze. If you choose to go the app route, make sure you download it through your smartphone’s official app store. The majority of apps you’ll find here are safe to download, however, you should still make sure it’s official. Look for misspellings in both the title of the app and on the description page, as these are potential signs of a fake app.

This same tip applies to spam emails which are commonplace throughout the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. These emails are filled with incredible deals that are designed to peak the interest of whoever opens them. Do not be fooled however, these fraudulent emails are designed to entice you to click their many links. Once you click through the email, you will be lead to a fake website designed to steal your information. There are a few things you can do to spot these fake emails. For one, most of them will be filled with misspellings. You can also hover your mouse over any links in the email to see their destination. If the URL seems to be suspicious, avoid clicking through any of the links on the email.

These few tips should help you secure your information this shopping season. Do you have any tips you would like to see included in this article? Let us know by leaving a comment.

Related: How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information

 

 

 

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts

Protecting Your Social Media Accounts

In today’s connected world, social media has become a major part of our lives. In fact, the majority of adults in the US use social media on a daily basis. Unfortunately, not everyone uses social media for catching up with friends and sharing cat videos. Whether it be hackers trying to remotely access your information, or a suspicious partner hoping to catch a cheater in the act, social media is usually the first place they turn to as well.

With so much of our personal information being uploaded and shared on these social media platforms, how can we be sure that our information is secure? In truth, the only way to completely secure your information would be to refrain from uploading it in the first place. That being said, there are some ways you can protect the data you deem appropriate to put online. Here are a few helpful tips.

Secure Your Logins

Here's How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts
Securing your login information is the first step in protecting your online accounts

Setting up your login credentials in a secure way is going to be your first line of defense against the most common online threats. During account creation, most platforms will ask to use your email address as your username. While this isn’t a security risk on its own, using the same email address or account name across multiple platforms can be.  To combat this, try using a separate username and password for each of your social media accounts. That way, if one of your accounts is hacked, you can be sure that the rest are safe.

Password strength is another factor to consider while you’re securing your social media accounts. Most social media platforms will provide security tips or grade you on the strength of your password. These requirements, while somewhat useful, are based upon old guidelines that aren’t as effective today. Instead of following these guidelines, try using long phrases containing random words for your passwords. This will not only help you create a strong password, but it will also make that password far easier to remember.

Two-Factor Authentication

Here's How You Can Protect Your Social Media Accounts
Smartphones often use two-factor authentication to help verify in-app purchases

If you feel the need for enhanced security on your social media accounts, you should consider activating two-factor authentication. Just about every social media platform has an option to turn on this security feature. If you’ve never used two-factor authentication before, the process is quite simple. You start by signing into your account as you normally would. After entering the correct information, you will receive a notification on your smartphone. Simply verify your login attempt and you will be granted access to your account. This will prevent anyone signing in on a foreign device from accessing your account.

Are you already following some of these tips? Have a few that you would like to add? Leave a comment for us in the section below!

Related: You Are Being Watched: How Harvard Used Social Media Monitoring To Rescind 10 Student Admissions

 

Does The iPhone X Face ID Pose A Security Threat?

Does The iPhone X Face ID Pose A Security Threat?

 

On September 12, 2017, Apple announced the next generation smartphone, the iPhone X. As a result of this announcement, many of the rumored features of the device were verified, including wireless charging, a fully edge-to-edge OLED display, and, perhaps most notably, facial recognition.

Facial Recognition Makes Its Way Onto The iPhone X

Does The iPhone’s Face I.D. Pose A Security Threat?
The new iPhone’s Face I.D. is without a doubt convenient, but at what cost?

Similar to Touch ID (the fingerprint scanner of past generations), Apple’s facial recognition software has been named “Face ID.” The process works by scanning an individual’s face with a specially designed infrared sensor. Once a match has been made to the owner of the device, the phone will unlock. The iPhone X Face ID can also be used to verify purchases made on the Apple store and other third-party apps. However, Face ID will not protect your device from online threats, such as malicious software. That being said, it is important to take the appropriate measures to ensure your personal safety and data protection. If you happen to receive a suspicious text or email after making a purchase to a third-party vendor using Face ID, use a person search tool to verify the sender’s identity before you open the message or click on any links within it.

While facial recognition is a new feature for Apple’s iPhone, other smartphones have been using this technology for years now. However, not all facial recognition software is created equal. For instance, Apple’s Face ID uses its infrared sensor to cast 30,000 dots on the user’s face. This allows the iPhone X to perform a quick 3D analysis of the individual’s physical features. This is incredibly important when it comes to device security. For instance, it will prevent a 2D image, such as a simple photograph of the owner’s face, from unlocking the phone. This same issue that has plagued other smartphones utilizing facial recognition software.

Similar to how Touch ID works, Face ID will not store a complete image of the user’s face. Instead, it will save that information in an encrypted, mathematical form. So even if someone were to gain access to the device, they would not be able to reconstruct an image of the user’s face from the saved data. This data will only be stored locally on the device in a special processing unit called the “Secure Enclave.” The information stored here cannot be uploaded to the cloud. That way, not even Apple will have access to it. All of this effort is put into place to make Face ID as secure as humanly (and digitally) possible.

While Apple has seemingly taken every precaution into account, there are still some issues that cannot be avoided. Let’s take a look at some of the potential security concerns that come along with using facial recognition.

Face ID Security Concerns

Does The iPhone’s Face ID Pose A Security Threat?
Can Face ID protect your phone from potential hackers?

While Apple’s Face ID may be a more secure method of locking your phone than other biometric scanners, there is still one major risk. According to U.S. law, biometric scans are not protected under the fifth amendment. Under normal circumstances, an authority figure cannot force you to unlock your phone. However, in the event that your phone has been locked via biometric scan, authorities can then force you to unlock your device. For this reason alone, a password is a far more secure method of unlocking your phone than any other method.

Apple has also stated that an identical twin, or sibling who closely resembles you, may be able to trick Face ID into unlocking. The closer the genetic relationship to the owner, the more likely that individual will be able to access the device through facial recognition. In addition to this, the iPhone Face ID should not be used by any children under the age of 13. This is because the majority of their distinctive features have yet to become fully developed. Their facial features also have the potential to change drastically over a short period of time, which could end up locking them out of their phones.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that it took only two weeks for hackers to bypass touch ID on the iPhone 6. While it’s far too early to say whether a similar situation may arise for the iPhone X’s Face ID, it’s a possibility.

If nothing else, the iPhone X Face ID will certainly be an upgrade over Touch ID in terms of security. However, the jury is still out on whether biometric scans can protect your phone as securely as a strong password. Once the general public gets their hands on the iPhone X, we should know more about this issue.

Are you thinking of picking up your own iPhone X when it launches? If so, are you going to use the new Face ID or stick to the traditional password? Let us know by replying below!

Related Article: 3 Smartphone Scams Everyone Should Beware Of

Update (11/13/2017): Researchers at the Vietnamese security firm Bkav have discovered a way to trick the iPhone X’s facial recognition software into unlocking the device using a specially crafted mask. According to the researchers, it took approximately $150 worth of materials (along with a 3d printer) to produce the mask. They also acknowledged the fact that the average consumer should not worry about this finding due to the time and effort required to create the mask. That being said, it does go to show that Apple’s facial recognition software is not as infallible as originally thought.

How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information

How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information

 

Most of our personal information is stored online and easily accessible in today’s digital age. Many internet users choose to save their personal information on their favorite browser — everything from account names and passwords to home addresses and phone numbers are commonly saved in this way.

Even if you choose not to save your information, chances are it’s already been recorded somewhere on your device. This could potentially lead to a serious data breach if your device is targeted by a hacker or malicious software. Luckily, there are some steps you can take in order to secure your connected devices and reduce the risk of a break-in.

Turn Off Your Bluetooth Connection When Not In Use

How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information
Bluetooth is the current standard in wireless connectivity. However, it is not without its vulnerabilities.

Many newer devices rely heavily on Bluetooth to provide a wireless connection. However, hackers are also able to utilize this connection to remotely gain access to your devices. The most effective way to combat this is to turn off your Bluetooth whenever you’re not using it (same with your Location Services). This is especially important for connected devices, such as smart TVs and e-readers, which typically do not have the same level of security as PCs and smartphones.

Aside from a lack of security, many of these devices also lack the ability to receive updates or patches to fix potential exploits. Even for devices that do have the ability to update, it can take manufacturers months to identify a particular vulnerability, let alone develop a patch to address it. For example, at the time of this article, Apple’s iPhone operating system, iOS, has received a massive patch to address a malicious Bluetooth hack, while Google is still in the process of developing a fix for their mobile devices.

That particular Bluetooth vulnerability is known as the BlueBorne hack. When Bluetooth is turned on, the device is constantly open, trying to find other Bluetooth enabled devices to connect itself with. The BlueBorne hack takes advantage of this behavior by disguising itself as a Bluetooth enabled device seeking to make a connection. Once a connection has been established with another device, it begins to scan for potential vulnerabilities.

These vulnerabilities can be present in outdated operating systems or in a device that lacks security features altogether (which is the case for many of these devices). Once an access point has been established, the hacker can remotely control the device, even if it already has an established connection. At this point, the hacker will be able to extract any information that’s been entered or stored on the device. If the hacked device happens to be a smart phone, there’s no limit to the amount of personal information the hacker can extract.

There is some good news, however. The BlueBorne hack, as well as any other Bluetooth-related vulnerability, will require close proximity to the device in order to access it (roughly 35 feet for most Bluetooth devices). This means the connected devices in your home are more or less safe from intrusion. That being said, any connected device that you take with you outside of your home may be at risk, especially if you find yourself in crowded, public areas.

The key takeaways here are to make sure your connected devices are always updated to their latest version (if possible) and to ensure that your Bluetooth connection is turned off while it’s not in use. In doing so, you can better protect yourself against Bluetooth intrusions.

Change The Password On Your Router And Any Connected Devices

How To Secure Your Connected Devices And Personal Information
Creating a unique username and password for any device connected to your network is an important step in protecting your personal information.

Most internet users know about the need for security features, such as firewalls, anti-malware software, and virus scans, but few people ever go the extra mile and change the default login credentials on their routers. What most people don’t know is that this is one of the most important steps you can take to protect all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network.

By not changing the login information on your router, you’re putting the entire computer network at serious risk. This is because it gives potential hackers an easy way to bypass any security protocols your system may have. For most updated devices, breaking through these security protocols is a difficult and time-consuming task. On the other hand, if you’re one of the many people that never change the default login credentials on your router, it can be as easy as typing in a username and password to break into your network and extract any data flowing in or out of your network.

This same rule applies to any connected devices you may have. Just like routers, many consumers don’t know about the security risks associated with leaving the default login credentials unchanged. This rule is perhaps even more of a necessity when it comes to connected devices, due to the prevalence of botnets.

The term “botnet” is used to describe a collection of devices infected with a specific malicious software that allows a single source to control the actions of each infected device at the same time. Connected devices are commonly targeted by this malware because the default login credentials can easily be found online. Once a large enough network of botnets has been established, the hacker can then use the network to perform distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on websites and servers alike. In addition to this, these connected devices have little to no onboard security, making the login screen the only thing stopping potential hackers from breaking into them.

While there are different ways in which you can secure your personal devices and information, following these simple tips provide a good starting point. Remember, if you’re proactive about the security on all of your internet enabled devices, you can protect yourself from the majority of hackers.

Are you one of the few people who are already following these tips? Are there any other ways in which you have secured your own devices and data? Let us know in the comments section!

You May Also Like: 5 Types Of Digital Threats To Beware Of & How To Prevent Them

Update (11/16/2017): Armis, a cyber security firm which specializes in protecting IoT devices, released a report today which revealed a total number of 20 million Amazon Echo & Google Home devices were made vulnerable to the Blueborne attack. Both Amazon & Google have since patched out these vulnerabilities on their respective devices. These devices also auto-update by default, so if you do happen to own one of these devices, chances are you’re in the clear.

Top 4 Hidden Vulnerabilities In Your Wifi Connection

Top 4 Hidden Vulnerabilities In Your Wifi Connection

 

The average internet user knows that not all wifi networks are secure. If they’re smart about it, they already have done a review of security software to be certain their computer is safe from a hacked network. However, aside from a weak password, what are the potential hidden vulnerabilities in your wifi connection?

 

Here are 4 vulnerabilities in your wifi connection that you probably didn’t know about:

 

1. Default or shared password

Although the SSID and password that your network came with might seem randomized and, thus, more secure, skilled hackers will be able to crack into your system much easier than if you were to change them to something more personalized. Using a password randomizer is the best way to go about this, but if you don’t think you’ll be able to remember what it is, be sure it’s saved in a safe place.

 

2. Unsecured hardware

Top 4 Hidden Vulnerabilities In Your Wifi Connection

If someone can physically mess with your hardware, they can interrupt or corrupt your wifi connection. Furthermore, many users leave the SSID and password taped to the side or bottom of the router. If your modem and router aren’t locked away in a secured location, you run the risk of having your information stolen.

 

3. Not using enterprise mode

Enterprise mode is much more secure for those with more than one user than traditional WPS pin authentication is. For starters, pin authentication is easier to crack and allows hackers to decode the password. However, enterprise mode is also protected against internal user spying. This means users already connected to the network cannot spy on the wireless traffic of others.

 

4. Automatic connection to neighboring networks

Top 4 Hidden Vulnerabilities In Your Wifi Connection

If your wifi connection isn’t the greatest and often lags or takes a long time to connect, users may instead automatically connect to nearby public networks. If this occurs, they may be accidentally hooking up to a false or hacked network that will steal their data. Always be sure you have a data recovery software like DDI Utilities installed in case this happens accidentally. Furthermore, if the users connects to an alternate network, the users on the other network will have the ability to snoop on that computer’s traffic and private files. This can be especially detrimental for business computers.

 

Especially for corporations, securing your wifi network is vital to keeping your private information safe from harm. These vulnerabilities are the lesser known ones, but if you’re struggling to protect your wifi at a basic level, check out our related post: 7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

 

With all the reports of websites and computers being hacked these days, it’s important to ensure your data is protected with the most secure passwords possible. You certainly don’t want anyone to be able to access your financial information in CreditSesame.com or messages from matches in your Sugardaddie.com account. Many people struggle with password generation and end up creating something generic that is easy to crack. If you are someone who needs help finding ways to create a secure password, we’ve got you covered.

 

Here are 7 ways to create a strong, secure password for optimal data protection:

 

1. Make it as long as possible

The longer your password is, the harder it is for a hacker to crack. Most experts recommend a minimum of 8 characters, but more than that is ideal.

 

2. Use a mix of characters

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

If your password consists of only letters or only numbers, it provides less potential combinations for a hacker to decode–thus, it’s easier to steal your information! Always include at least 1 letter, 1 number, and 1 special character like an ampersand (&), asterisk (*), or dollar sign ($). The goal is to make it as difficult as possible for someone to guess what you’ve chosen.

 

3. Do not reuse old passwords

As time goes on, encryption technology becomes increasingly secure. So a site that you signed up for 10 years ago will be less safe than a site you sign up for today. That being said, now the older site is easier to hack into, and your information is at risk! If the hacker then tries to get into your other accounts and you are still using the same password, they will have no difficulty accessing your important and private data. This is why it is so imperative that you use different passwords and change them over time.

 

4. Opt for multi-factor protection

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

Some websites will allow you to choose multiple methods of protection for your account. If you have the option, always go for 2 or more factors. This may include a standard password coupled with a CAPTCHA system, fingerprint scanner (for mobile devices), text message verification code, or a security question. This is especially important for companies that house your sensitive information like online banks or your student loan servicer.

 

5. Use the strength analyzer

Many sites will tell you how strong your password is as you type it in when creating your account. Utilize this feature! If it says your password is weak, it is. Make sure your password is the highest level of difficulty. If the site doesn’t have this included, you can use a third party site to analyze it for you.

 

6. Store them safely

If you’re following our tips thus far, you now have a different password for each account. Realistically, these are going to be difficult for you to remember. Writing them down is likely the easiest solution, but it’s not the most secure. Read security software reviews to find a program that will save your password information in an encrypted, protected file that no one else can access.

 

7. Keep it to yourself

7 Ways To Create A Secure Password And Protect Your Data

Last, but not least, always remember to keep your passwords to yourself. Don’t share them with anyone, even the people you trust most. The more people that know your password, the higher the likelihood of your data being at risk.

 

Consider these tips the next time you sign up for an account somewhere. And if you’re in violation of any of them, go back and change your passwords. Don’t take the chance of losing important information or having your data stolen due to something that is easily preventable!

 

There are many scammers out there looking to steal your password information under false pretenses. Keep yourself safe by checking out our related post: 4 Signs For Recognizing An Email Scam

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

 

Without installing a top antivirus software, your computer is at risk for viruses, malware, hacking, and all kinds of suspicious activity. So if your device isn’t protected, how can you know if you’ve got a computer virus?

 

Here are the 6 most common symptoms of an infected computer:

 

1. Slow speed

Both the internet and your computer itself will significantly slow down if you’ve got a virus. This can happen because the attacker has uploaded a large application or multiple malicious files to your computer, bogging it down with excess data. It can also be that the purpose of the virus is to slow down your system enough that the hacker can obtain your private information.

 

2. The Blue Screen of Death

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

Especially on older systems, the Blue Screen of Death would appear when crashing to inform you that there is a technical error. This error is typically caused by malware altering or overloading the computer and preventing it from starting up properly. These days, the actual blue screen is less common, but if your computer or any specific applications are regularly crashing, you are most likely dealing with an infection.

 

3. Low disk space

If you’ve never had a storage space issue in the past and aren’t excessively downloading or creating files, you shouldn’t have any problems with this. So when you get a message telling you your disk space is low, be suspicious. This is possibly due to the unwarranted loading of files or applications onto your system by hackers and viruses. Some people incorrectly attribute this to an antivirus software. However, that will not be the culprit here, especially if you use a cloud-based system like Panda Global Protection.

 

4. Excessive toolbars

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

When you install something from an unknown source, it can result in the addition of toolbars and extra search bars to your default browser. These are usually just a front for the real, malware-carrying application that is being transferred to your computer.

 

5. Strange messages or pop-ups

6 Symptoms Of An Infected Computer

Pop-ups are a normal part of surfing the web. Most websites will have pop-up advertisements on them, but this doesn’t mean you should click on them without caution. And if you’re getting pop-ups and unsolicited messages on the device itself without the browser being open, it’s likely due to a virus.

 

6. Disappearing files

If you ever think to yourself, “Hey, where did my files go?” this is a huge red flag for a computer infection. Your files will never just hide themselves on their own. The most probable explanation is that your computer has been the target of an attack. Hopefully, you will have a backup plan to retrieve your lost files, but if not you should be looking up data recovery software reviews to find something that will assist you if this sort of thing ever happens with your device.

 

The best way to prevent ever having to diagnose your computer with a virus is to be proactive. Install an antivirus or security software to your computer, tablet, and cell phone to ensure you never have to deal with this problem again.

If you’re worried about the content of your emails potentially being a source of viruses or malware, read our related post: 4 Signs For Recognizing An Email Scam

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

 

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, you’re probably going to have to (or want to) bring your electronic devices along. Chances are, you only have one of each device and are worried about potentially losing it and all the data kept inside.

 

To ease your worries, follow these 6 safety tips for the tech-savvy traveler:

 

1. Use VPNs

Using a secure network like a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will keep your data and all internet traffic encrypted for your eyes only. It essentially hides your device’s true IP address so no one will be able to track or steal your personal information.

 

2. Security software

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

There are programs you can download to your device that will protect it from all kinds of external threats, including a helpful wifi protection feature that determines if a network is safe for you to access. Since the average traveller uses mostly public networks at cafés, parks, and transportation hubs, this is a great way to ensure you are not entering a wifi trap that is run by a malicious hacker looking to steal your data. Read reviews of security software before purchasing to ensure it promotes this feature and any others that may be of assistance during (and after) your travels.

 

3. Back it up

When you take your devices with you to any location other than the safe nest of your home, you run the risk of theft. If that were to happen, would you have another copy of your precious data, files, photos, videos, and games? If the answer is no, you need to take action immediately. Look into a program like DDI utilities for your mobile device or read reviews of Acronis True Image for a data recovery program compatible with your PC or Mac.

 

4. Trackers

Any device these days has the ability to turn on the location services. By having this system enabled, coupled with a cell phone tracking app that will monitor the location of your device and even remotely access the camera should your phone be stolen or lost, you can easily retrieve your data and find out where the thief is hiding your device!

 

5. Loss protection and insurance

6 Safety Tips For The Tech-Savvy Traveler

One of the greatest assets a frequent traveler can obtain is travel insurance. These programs protect your wallet against cancellations, lost or stolen luggage and personal items, and even medical issues. Without it, you may find yourself stuck with a hefty bill and no way to pay it.

 

6. Take advantage of apps

There are several apps that can help you plan your travel and stay on track. Flight trackers, itinerary planners, and destination podcasts are just a few of the interesting features of the best travel apps out there. Use them to help you find quality coffee spots, interact with locals, and inform you of potential transportation delays.

 

The safest travelers are the smartest travelers. Keep your technology and all your data safe while you’re on the road, in the air, or underground by practicing these tips. You can thank us later.

 

For the traveling businessman’s guide to protecting company data, see our related post: 5 Strategies For Protecting Your Business Assets And Ideas From Fraud Or Theft