DEVICE & NETWORK SECURITY
Protecting Your Devices and Online Profile
We take measures everyday to protect and care for our loved ones and possessions. Such as dressing our children appropriately for the weather or insuring our homes are locked and secured before leaving. However, few individuals are taking the same precautions to protect their digital well being. Below is a list of services that can be performed to enhance your online security and digital well being. If you would like to learn some tips to protect yourself you may read further down this page or check out our blog posts in the Security Category.
COMMON TYPES OF SECURITY
SECURITY SOFTWARE INSTALL
A robust security suite is critical for protecting your devices and online digital wellbeing. Protection against viruses and malicious content is expected in any anti-virus software. However, many security suites include advanced features including: e-mail filtering, phishing protection, network firewall, PUPs protection, web browser plugins, VPN, Parental Controls, and third-party software updating. Let us help you choose the right security suite for you, your family or business needs. We are familiar with Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, Comodo, ESET, F-Secure, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Panda, Symantec Norton, Trend Micro, VIPRE and Webroot.
ONLINE ACCOUNT SECURITY ENHANCEMENT
Many individuals overlook online account security until their account is compromised. We can assist with securing your account by checking what third parties have access to your data, ensuring contact information is current, enabling two factor authentication and more.
Having a Wi-Fi password on your network isn't the only step in checking for network security. Many Router Vendors and Internet Service Providers fail to protect router firmware with complex passwords. In fact, 83% of routers in use today have vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers, including login credentials as simple as "admin" & "password". A secured router will prevent unauthorized changes by hackers, isolated network access by using guest networks, configured firewalls that block access on common ports and more.
DATA PROTECTION & ENCRYPTION
We all have important data stored on our devices. If your device ends up in the wrong hands can that same important data be used against you? Configuring storage drive encryption on supported products can protect your personal information. If you're utilizing offsite storage for data backup can anyone access it with a simple user name and password? If so, you need to secure your cloud storage solution with two factor authentication options.
Everyone wants an e-mail address today... Unfortunately, we often don't want to read the information they send us. Did you know the average number of spam messages received per day is 18.5 and the average time spent each day deleting them is 2.8 minutes? Bringing Your Tech to Life can assist in e-mail filtering and spam protection.
Data breaches have run at a record pace in 2019. We can assist you with the steps required to protect yourself before they happen as well as the necessary steps to take after you’ve been affected.
Consider these statistics for the first half of 2019:
3,800: The number of publicly disclosed breaches.
4.1 billion: The number of records exposed.
+54%: Increase in number of reported breaches vs. first six months of 2018.
Viruses, trojans, keyloggers and malware can all severely harm your computer and even your personal data. It is important to keep your system clean of infections. However, when you do get infected, make sure you take your computer to someone you trust. We get the malicious software fully removed the first time and close the vulnerabilities that allowed the infection in the first place. Not sure if you are infected or not? Come in for a free diagnostic and one our technicians can thoroughly look over your computer and offer any recommendations to improve your digital security.
Common Virus Infection Symptoms:
Fake Anti-Virus Programs
Internet Access Disabled / Slow
Slower Startups & Slower Computer Performance
Search Engine Redirects
Spam Emails Sent to Your Contact List
Complete Lock-down & Freeze Ups / Computer Not Booting Up
Data Theft / Identify Theft
ADWARE REMOVAL / SPYWARE REMOVAL
Vulnerability assessments are performed by using software package to scan an IP address or range of IP addresses for known vulnerabilities. For example, the software has signatures for the Heartbleed bug or missing Apache web server patches and will alert if found. The software then produces a report that lists out found vulnerabilities and (depending on the software and options selected) will give an indication of the severity of the vulnerability and basic remediation steps. It’s important to keep in mind that these scanners use a list of known vulnerabilities, meaning they are already known to the security community, hackers and the software vendors. There are vulnerabilities that are unknown to the public at large and these scanners will not find them.
TUTORIALS & TRAINING
The best method to prevent exploits and malicious software is being an informed user. Sitting down with a professional and learning what to look is the best line of defense. No matter the level of defenses implemented on a device or network the end user is the biggest threat.
TIPS TOWARDS BETTER DIGITAL SECURITY
SECURE YOUR DEVICES
Sure, it's tempting to not secure your day to day devices. No one wants to swipe their finger across a sensor or enter a four- or six-digit PIN to logon to their device. The question is, do you want to spend countless hours on the phone with fraud departments? I think not... The amount of personal information stored on our Home Computer is a gold mine to someone with ill intention. For starters, those saved passwords in your web browser can easily be unmasked by downloading a simple program. Device Passwords aren't 100% secure and can be removed by professionals, but it is a simple step that can stop 95% of the population and slow down the remaining 5%. For further protection, storage encryption is recommended if you really want to keep prying eyes out of your personal business. Just remember to store your Bit Locker or other encryption key in a safe location.
Device security doesn’t end at your desktop or laptop. It’s important to get into the habit of securing your presence through your mobile device as well. Use strong passwords and biometric features, ensure you turn off your Bluetooth and don’t automatically connect to any public Wi-Fi, and download with caution. If your phone is the method primarily used for 2FA, be sure text messages cannot be read until the device is unlocked.
ONLINE ACCOUNT PASSWORDS
Don’t use the same password on multiple accounts. If "Company A" falls victim to a security breech and user credentials are stolen, hackers will check to see if the same user credentials work on "Company B", "Company C", etc. If you use the same password across multiple sites, all it takes is one breached account. You’re practically paving the way for hackers. Everyone forgets that many online sites like Amazon, eBay or PayPal allow passwords to be reset by receiving an e-mail and following the directions to reset the password. It only takes a few minutes for someone to go on a shopping spry ordering items on your stored credit card on eBay or other online retail stores.
ANTI-VIRUS AND ANTI-MALWARE
Make sure you download and install antivirus software from vendors that you trust and never run more than one AV tool on your PC or Mac at the same time. If you can’t afford to buy a license, there are plenty of free options for home users such as AVIRA, AVAST and Microsoft. If you’d like to do some research on what security software is best for you and your devices we recommend AV Comparatives and AV Test.
Just because you can click, doesn’t mean you should. Remember, it can cost you a hefty sum. Malicious links can do damage in several different ways, so be sure to inspect links and ensure they’re from trusted senders or verified companies before clicking. Many hackers pretend to represent a well-known company. For example, you may receive an e-mail from Apple Support, sending you an e-mail or text alert about your account security. Always check the credibility of the source. For example, legitimate e-mails come from "" with the domain ending in “@apple.com” whereas “@secureidmsapple.com” is a fraudulent and a spoof domain.
FINANCIAL & ONLINE SHOPPING ACCOUNTS
It should go without saying but any Financial Account linked to a banking institution should utilize a strong and unique password. In addition, Two Factor Authentication should be enabled with a Security Key or Text Message to your personal cell phone before the user can login. The same goes with Online Shopping Accounts like eBay, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc. Many individuals store their credit cards on file with online retailers to make purchases easier and faster.
First step to online shopping safety: make sure the URLs of the sites you shop on start with “https”, not “http”. The difference? HTTPS is just like HTTP but uses SSL to encrypt requests. In plain English, HTTPS sites are more secure than their counterparts, HTTP. In addition, check the Address Bar in your browser to make sure the URL is spelled correctly.
AVOID SKETCHY DEALS & CHOOSE PAYMENT METHODS WISELY
When you monitor your accounts, you can ensure you catch suspicious activity. Can you recall everywhere you have online accounts and what information is stored on them, like credit card numbers for easier payments? It’s important to keep track of your digital footprint, including social media, and to delete accounts you’re not using, while ensuring you set strong passwords (that you change regularly). You can check for Data Breeches by visiting Have I Been Pwned.
TWO FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Two-factor authentication adds a second level of authentication to an account log-in. When you have to enter only your username and one password, that's considered a single-factor authentication. 2FA requires the user to have two out of three types of credentials before being able to access an account. The four types are:
Something you know, such as a personal identification number (PIN), password or a pattern
Something you have, such as an ATM card, phone, or fob
Something you are, such as a biometric like a fingerprint or voice print
Something you receive, such as a text message code or e-mailed code
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT
When you monitor your accounts, you can ensure you catch suspicious activity. Can you recall everywhere you have online accounts and what information is stored on them, like credit card numbers for easier payments? It’s important to keep track of your digital footprint, including social media, and to delete accounts you’re not using, while ensuring you set strong passwords (that you change regularly). You can check for Data Breeches by visiting
Keep an eye on your device. If you are using your device in a public location and viewing sensitive information consider purchasing a screen filter. Lock your device when you step away from your computer. Never leave sensitive or confidential items at your desk, like post-it notes with your password written on them.
Operating System patches can be issued when security flaws are discovered. Developers focus on providing program enhancements and security updates on a system for a short period of time. When developers abandon a previous product for a new version you need to migrate before the End of Life (EOL). In many cases an update can be installed by the end user or a technician. In some cases, the physical device just can't be updated, in those cases it is time to take that device offline if you wish to continue using it. Better yet, simply replace it.
Third-Party Software patches are often more critical. If you find these software update notifications to be annoying, you’re not alone. But you can consider them the lesser of two evils when weighing up rebooting your device versus putting yourself at risk for malware and other types of computer infection.
SMART PHONE APP PERMISSIONS
When downloading Apps on your Smart Phone or other Mobile Devices make sure the App comes from a credible source. Unfortunately, App Reviews cannot be used to verify the credibility of the program as reviews can be faked by a flood of reviews from one or two people. When installing the App, think critically on the permissions that App is requesting. Years ago, Flash Light Apps were not integrated into the Smart Phone Operating System and a Third-Party App was required to utilize the Camera Flash as a Flash Light. Many of these Third-Party Apps requested permission to access your devices location and contact list. The developers of these Apps were selling the private information from your contact list. Now you know how your cell phone number was acquired by those pesky telemarketers.
Cyber security tips about this have been dished out by nearly every tech expert under the sun, but many still don’t follow this advice. You might be tempted to connect your device to an unsecured connection like Starbucks Free Wi-Fi, but when you weigh the consequences, it’s not worth it. Only connect to private networks when possible, especially when handling sensitive information. This will prevent hackers from using packet sniffing and man-in-the-middle attacks to steal user credentials.
When hackers can’t find a security vulnerability, they’ll attack in other ways. Enter social engineering. This type of attack is more of an attack on the mind of the user, rather than on the device, to gain access to systems and information. Especially with the information publicly available online and over social media, cyber criminals come up with creative ways to dupe users. The Facebook Clone hack where a user pretends to be a family member asking for money for bail is a relevant example.
These days, storage doesn’t cost much. There’s no excuse not to have a backup of important data. Back it up on a physical location and on the cloud. Remember, malicious threats and hackers don’t always want to steal your data, but sometimes the end-goal is to encrypt or erase it. Back it up to have an ultimate recovery tool.
YOU ARE NOT IMMUNE
The most harmful thought you can have is “it won’t happen to me,” or “I don’t visit unsafe websites.” Cyber criminals don’t discriminate and can target many different users. Be proactive. Not all mistakes can be undone with “ctrl + Z”.