Get your network gear ready with UPS

By EDITOR 

Clever business owners utilize an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) during disasters like fires, storms, and other emergency situations. A UPS is usually set up for desktop computers to give users enough time to save their work and progress. Another useful power-saving plan for emergency situations would be to use a UPS for networking gear.

UPS for network equipment

UPS systems provide backup power in case of outages and protection against power surges, which don’t just damage computers but also make you lose unsaved work. Deploying them for Wi-Fi routers and modems allows you to stay connected to the internet during these  typically chaotic instances.

Moreover, it makes sense to not just keep your PCs powered up, but to also have internet access during a disaster. This strategy works relatively well if your staff are predominantly laptop users, as that means you only need to juice up your Wi-Fi gear.

Better than generators

Although generators are indispensable for certain businesses, they also require greater upkeep. Small- and mid-sized businesses may not have enough capacity to maintain them because they typically require a utility crew who can manage high-maintenance equipment.

What’s more, misusing or mishandling generators could result in generator-related fatalities. On the other hand, misusing a UPS unit could result in the loss of a day’s work, but it’s unlikely to lead to anything as extreme.

Why internet access is important during a disaster

UPS-supported modems or routers help you stay online for as much as 90 minutes, which should be enough time to get your bearings before power finally runs out. Internet service providers are usually prepared for catastrophes and would normally have an emergency power source to stay operational. And if you can stay online via Wi-Fi during an emergency, you get the following benefits:

  • Internet speed that’s faster than cellular access
  • No extra telecom costs resulting from overreliance on cellular data
  • All devices stay online using a stable Wi-Fi connection
  • Devices don’t have to rely on cellular data-equipped phones for internet connection

Plug in your network gear now

Businesses that aren’t located in disaster-prone areas probably don’t give much thought to installing UPSs for their computers, let alone their modems. But accidents and emergencies are inevitable. And when they happen, you’ll find that having internet access is one of the most important things you need to ensure business continuity.

Think of an emergency power supply source like a UPS as an investment that not only protects your systems from data loss but also keeps your Wi-Fi equipment functioning in emergency scenarios. Call Lanlogic today for productivity-saving tips and other hardware hacks for your business.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phishing through VoIP: How scammers do it

By EDITOR 

Many businesses nowadays are well-armed against email-based phishing scams, which is why scammers have moved over to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) scams. Through “vishing scams,” hackers can pretend to be bank representatives and convince your employees to provide confidential financial details via a seemingly innocuous VoIP call. Take a look at why vishing is on the rise to understand how to keep your business from falling victim.

VoIP makes it easy to create fake numbers

One of the main reasons vishing scams are increasing in frequency is the ease by which cybercriminals can hide their tracks and escape with minimal risk of detection.

Using a fake number, scammers can contact your employees, pretend to be a representative of a bank or government agency, ask for sensitive information — such as salary information, account numbers, and company intellectual property — and get away with it. Scammers can also manipulate local numbers to emulate multinational banks, which they will then use for various VoIP scams.

VoIP is easy to set up and difficult to track

It isn’t very difficult to configure a VoIP system, and this makes fraudulent phone calls or messages an easy thing to accomplish. Scammers only need to know the basics of a VoIP setup.

VoIP hardware such as IP-PBXs, IP phones, and routers are also inexpensive and quite easy to access. Hackers can conveniently connect these equipment to PCs for the purposes of recording phone calls and stealing information from conversations.

Also, fake numbers are difficult to track because they can be ditched at any time. And with advanced voice-changing software widely available nowadays, a vishing scam is much easier to pull off.

Caller ID can be tampered with

In some vishing scams, attackers don’t even have to destroy a number to cover their tracks. Instead, they can trick users into thinking that they’re talking to a legitimate Microsoft technical support staff, a PayPal representative, or a fraud investigator, simply by tampering with the caller ID.

VoIP scamming is cost-efficient

Traditional phones are still used for phishing scams, but they don’t compare to the efficiency VoIP affords, which allows attackers to target victims all over the globe at a fraction of the cost. Cybercriminals resort to VoIP scamming because the price per call is much lower. Vishing scammers are sneaky and resourceful, and they will exhaust all possible means to attack your systems for profit — and that includes your VoIP channels.

Protecting yourself is simple

To protect against VoIP-based scams, set stringent policies on information-sharing and impose strict security processes for all business communications. Informed and aware employees are key to making sure that scammers are held at bay. Protect your company against all types of scams by getting in touch with Lanlogic today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why you need a VPN and how to choose one

By EDITOR 

Back in the day, simple antivirus software was all you needed to stay safe from security threats. Nowadays, it takes more than that to protect your online privacy. Whether you’re sending emails or chatting up a friend online, chances are your Wi-Fi connection can be intercepted. This is why you need a virtual private network (VPN). Here’s how to choose one wisely.

What is a VPN?

The best way to describe a VPN is as a secure tunnel between your device and destinations you visit on the internet. Once you’ve established your PC’s connection to a VPN server, your computer acts as if it’s on the same local connection as the VPN making it seem you moved to a different location. As far as websites are concerned, you’re browsing from that server’s geographical location, not your computer’s actual location.

When you surf the web through a VPN, all the data transmitted and received is also encrypted, preventing anyone — from hackers to government agencies — from monitoring your online activities.

Why should you have one?

Of course, security and privacy are major reasons why you would want a VPN. For example, if you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network — like the ones you typically encounter at local cafes and airports — using a VPN encrypts the information you’re sending or accessing online. This means your credit card details, login credentials, private conversations, or other sensitive documents can’t be intercepted by a third party.

VPNs are also useful for accessing geo-restricted websites. If you’re traveling abroad and certain US websites are blocked in that region, you can connect to a VPN located in the US to access the sites you need.

Which VPN should you choose?

Given the increasing demand for secure online privacy, VPNs are surging in popularity. The following considerations can help you find the right one.

1. Cost
While free VPNs are available, we strongly suggest you avoid them as they could keep logs of your internet activity, and in some cases sell them to data brokers or worse, cybercriminals.

Maintaining a VPN service is also expensive, which means the free ones will likely plaster ads on your browser to make a quick buck.

Paid VPNs like SurfEasy and StrongVPN often come with more robust features and configurations that keep you secure. Prices differ depending on a VPN’s features and subscription length, and remember that how you pay is also important. Some VPNs offer anonymous payment systems like bitcoin while others allow you to use gift cards to avoid giving out your personal information.

2. Location
The physical location of VPN servers is important if you want to access region-blocked websites. So if you’re planning on accessing a UK-based service, your VPN provider must at least have servers installed in London.

3. Capacity
Read through a VPN provider’s terms of service to determine how much data you’re allowed to use. If possible, find out how many servers a VPN provider has. If they have plenty of servers online, you can rest assured that they have the capacity to support your internet browsing.

4. Device compatibility
Another important factor to consider is whether the VPN can be used across multiple devices. Nowadays, employees work on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, so you’ll want a VPN that’s compatible with all these.

5. IP leaking
Beyond the fundamental nuts and bolts of the VPN protocol, there are other challenges like dealing with leaky tunnels, which means your IP address could be tracked. A great way to evaluate a VPN service is to sign up for their free trial service and visit https://ipleak.net. This will allow you to check whether your real IP address is actually being leaked. If it tracks your physical location, you should opt for a more reliable VPN service.

VPNs are now a vital component of cybersecurity, and if you need help selecting the right one for your business, consult with our security experts today. Lanlogic also offers comprehensive cybersecurity services so no hacker or third party can get their hands on your data.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beware of apps bundled with Windows 10

By EDITOR 

While you might think that getting free software with your new Windows 10-powered device sounds like a good idea, it’s not. Beyond taking up storage space and diverting processing power, pre-installed software such as trial versions of video games, antivirus programs, and web browser toolbars — collectively called “bloatware” — can make your device vulnerable to cyberattacks. Read on to learn how to be bloatware-free.

In the middle of 2014, Lenovo users noticed something awry with their web browsers: banner ads were breaking webpage layouts and pop-ups made surfing unpleasant. A deep dive into the problem led to the discovery of a pre-installed software called Superfish — adware that jumps in the middle of your internet connection to stuff web pages with ads. Not only was this bloatware irritating, but it also made connections unsecure, leaving users vulnerable to hackers.

Software behemoth Microsoft has developed and deployed its fair share bloatware as well. The Windows 10 operating system, in particular, has plenty of them, such as:

  • 3D Viewer (previously called Mixed Reality Viewer)
  • Calculator
  • Calendar
  • Candy Crush Soda Saga
  • Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • Groove Music
  • Mail
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint 3D
  • Snip & Sketch
  • Sticky Notes
  • Voice Recorder

These programs are called bloatware because users don’t necessarily want them, yet they’re already installed on computers and take up storage space. Some of these even run in the background and slow down computers without users knowing it.

While many of these programs are pleasant add-ons for those who find value in them, many users prefer to start with a leaner operating system due to storage space and processing power concerns. If they want a particular software, they prefer to download it themselves. This gives them greater control over their machines and how they experience their hardware and software.

Like Superfish, other Windows 10 bloatware can also cause critical vulnerabilities. The most ironic example of this was a pre-installed version of Keeper Password Manager. Instead of keeping passwords safe, it allowed malicious people behind any website to steal passwords. While Windows 10 users needed to enable Keeper to store their passwords for them to become vulnerable, it makes you wonder why such a flawed password manager app is there in the first place.

How to rid yourself of bloatware

Removing inclusions you did not ask for is a hassle in and of itself, but thankfully, the process is not too tedious:

  1. Click the Start menu, then the gear icon.
  2. In the Settings window, select Update & Security.
  3. On the left-hand side, click Recovery.
  4. Select Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows and follow the instructions.

Bloatware not only clutters your laptops and PCs, but it can render your business vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches as well. Save yourself from tons of headaches down the line; learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our Lanlogic team of IT experts today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Include VoIP phones in your recovery plan

By EDITOR 

Businesses that focus heavily on sales and customer service need a reliable, efficient, and effective telecommunications system. If their services break down even for just a day, the losses will be significant, which is why a well-crafted disaster recovery plan should include protecting the company’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony system.

Invest in VoIP monitoring services

Before implementing any disaster recovery solutions, install a third-party VoIP monitoring service to keep tabs on the status of your phone system. This will identify all network issues disrupting your phone system, so you can resolve them quickly.

Choose your VoIP provider wisely

When evaluating VoIP systems, you must verify your provider’s service-level agreements. Ask them about their security and availability guarantees, and how they’re able to achieve them.

Whomever you partner with, be sure they host your VoIP systems in facilities that are safe from local disasters. Your provider should also use advanced network security services to protect your calls.

Have a backup broadband line

Because VoIP solutions are dependent on internet connections, you should have a backup or alternate internet service in case one network goes down.

Ideally, one internet service provider (ISP) will be dedicated to your VoIP service, while another supports your main computer network. Once you’ve installed both networks, you can then program them to automatically transfer services to the other should one network fail. Thus, if your main phone network goes down, your VoIP solution switches to the other network so you can keep working.

Of course, subscribing to two separate ISPs will increase your internet expenses, but the cost to maintain both is far less than the cost of significant downtime.

Route calls to mobile devices

With a cloud-based VoIP solution, you can choose where to receive your calls with call forwarding — a feature that automatically reroutes incoming calls to other company-registered devices. If your main office is hit by a local disaster or network outage, your employees can continue working from their mobile devices as if nothing happened.

To benefit from this feature, make sure to register all employee mobile devices to your VoIP system and configure such devices to receive rerouted calls.

And don’t forget to set policies for remote working. You should have rules that forbid staff from connecting to public WiFi networks, as this can put them at risk of VoIP eavesdropping.

Test your plan

There’s little value in a VoIP continuity plan if it isn’t tested on a regular basis. Test your VoIP service and check whether contact details are up to date, call forwarding features are routing calls to the right devices, and your backup internet service works. Ultimately, your goal is to find flaws in your VoIP recovery strategy and make necessary adjustments to avoid them from occurring in the future.

If managing VoIP is too time-consuming and complex, call our professionals at Lanlogic today. We design, implement, and test a powerful, disaster-proof VoIP phone system to ensure your communications are always online.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our guide to Windows 10 build 18305 for PC

By EDITOR 

In this Windows 10 build 18305 guide, we’ll focus on the most important changes that Microsoft carried out for the 2019 major release.

Start menu

This now has a new single-column layout with reduced top-level tiles. This layout appears when you’re creating a new account, setting up a new device, or after performing an installation.

Windows Sandbox

Using hardware virtualization and Microsoft Hypervisor tech, this feature lets you build a lightweight environment to safely install and run untrusted applications without adversely affecting your installation.

There’s no need to create a virtual machine, and when you’re done testing the app, the environment and app will automatically be deleted.

Clipboard

Build 18305 updates the Clipboard interface (Windows key + V). Every item on the clipboard is now smaller, which allows more entries to be displayed.

Accounts

You can now use an SMS code to sign in and continue setting up your Windows 10 account if your account is connected to your phone number.

WINDOWS HELLO

Instead of creating a password that is complex and easy to forget, Windows Hello lets you use a look or a touch to sign in to your Windows 10 devices.

Build 18305 improves the PIN reset experience by giving the interface design for web and mobile the same look and feel. You’ll also come across the same interface design when performing actions that requires authentication, such as creating a new user account or verifying your account.

Settings

The Settings app has a new homepage that shows user information and provides quick access to frequently used settings.

Troubleshoot

Windows 10 will be able to automatically restore default settings for some services. Depending on your hardware configuration, it will adjust feature settings and apply changes to keep your device running smoothly.

It will also recommend troubleshooting suggestions for non-critical issues. For example, it may recommend that you disable a setting that causes an application to crash mysteriously, until the next update becomes available.

Windows Security

Starting with build 18305, the Protection history page (found in Windows Security > Virus & threat protection > Threat history) will continue to list antivirus detections, but now you’ll see more details that are easier to grasp.

In addition, any pending recommendation will have a red or yellow state throughout the experience in the history list.

TAMPER PROTECTION

In Windows Security > Virus & threat protection > Virus & threat protection, you’ll find new Tamper protection settings that prevent unauthorized changes to your security settings.

Final thoughts

Enjoy the latest enhancements that Windows 10 build 18305 has to offer, but do be wary of installation problems, sign-in difficulties, and app crashes. To maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks, consult with Lanlogic. Our experts know how to pick and implement the latest tech advancements that will further your business goals.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reasons to back up your mobile devices

By EDITOR 

Companies such as Apple, Samsung, and others have turned mobile phones into mini-computers that can serve as a substitute for your laptop, or as a storage device. If you’re using a smartphone as a communications and storage device, backing up now would be a wise move.

Malware on mobile

More than two-thirds of the world’s population use a mobile phone with internet connection, so dangers in these handy devices are to be expected. Scarier than the thought of being offline is being online and exposed to malware.

If you use your mobile devices as extensions of your work computers, backing them up is a must. Mobile phones have become as vulnerable to malware as laptops and desktops are, especially if you consider the fact that many professionals and business owners use them for emailing confidential documents and storing business-critical files.

Device disasters

Malware isn’t the only disaster that can hurt your smartphone. Because you carry it wherever you go, your device can easily be stolen, misplaced, or damaged. They may be easily replaceable, but the data they contain is not. Here are some security threats to look out for:

  • Data leakage
    Something as simple as transferring files onto a public cloud storage service, or pasting confidential information in the wrong place could compromise your business. In fact, according to specialist insurance provider Beazley, “unintended disclosure” accounted for 41% of data breaches reported by healthcare organizations during the first three quarters of 2017.
  • Social engineering
    Tricking people online into handing over their personal and financial data is no longer confined to desktops, as this trend is already happening on mobile devices. In a report by IBM, it was found out that users are three times more vulnerable to fall for phishing attacks on mobile devices compared to desktops. This is because phones are where people will most likely see a message first, making them a popular attack vector by cybercriminals.
  • Wi-Fi interference
    When we connect our devices to public Wi-Fi networks, we are putting critical information at risk. According to Wandera, nearly a quarter of devices in 2017 connected to potentially insecure networks, and some even encountered a man-in-the-middle attack, where someone anonymously intercepts communication between two parties.
  • Out-of-date devices
    A vast majority of manufacturers, most particularly on the Android front, are ineffective at providing updates for their devices. This can inconvenience end users, as this exposes them to the many threats lurking online. Some smartphones and tablets may receive a security patch from time to time, but manufacturers eventually stop doing so after a while.
  • Physical device breaches
    While this may seem unlikely for some, lost or unattended devices can still become a major security risk, especially if they are not employing proper security measures such as PIN codes and encryption.

Backup options

Performing backups on iOS and Android devices is a quick and painless process. For example, companies that use Office 365 or Google’s G Suite enable company-wide backup settings from a single dashboard. Apple’s backup settings usually need to be configured on each device, but it’s a pretty simple process.

There are also robust third-party options to back up all your organization’s mobile devices. The best of these are cloud backup services that sync devices and back up contacts, photos, videos, and other critical files in one neat system. These mobile backup tools are offered on monthly or lifetime subscription schemes, which provides small businesses with enough flexibility to ensure long-term protection.

Our experts at Lanlogic can provide practical advice on security for your business’s computers and mobile devices. Call Lanlogic to ask about mobile backup and other security solutions today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Preparing for Windows end of support

By EDITOR 

According to NetMarketShare’s September 2018 data, 40.88% of users are still using Windows 7. The popular operating system (OS) is currently on extended support, but only until January 14, 2020. For Windows 10, the support clock runs out sooner than you might expect. Learn how the end of support for your Windows version can affect you, and why making an upgrade will be an absolutely important task to keep your PC safe.

No more security updates

End of support for Windows means Microsoft stops issuing security updates for that operating system (OS). For example, Windows Vista and Windows XP can no longer receive security updates despite the substantial security holes found in them.

On January 14, 2020, the same will be true for Windows 7. From there, you’ll be on your own. You can still use antivirus tools and other security software for protection, but they won’t be enough to defend against bigger threats. Security software will also gradually drop support for older versions of Windows. Large organizations can sign “custom support” contracts to keep getting security updates while they transition to a new OS. But Microsoft will ratchet up the price going forward to encourage those organizations to move to a new version of Windows.

Software companies will halt support too

When Microsoft ends support for an OS, that’s also the signal for third-party companies to stop supporting that particular version of Windows with their own software and hardware. This doesn’t happen immediately but it does eventually.

For example, Windows XP support ended on April 8, 2014, but Chrome didn’t stop supporting Windows XP until April 2016, two years later. Mozilla Firefox stopped supporting Windows XP in June 2018. Steam will officially drop support for Windows XP and Windows Vista on January 1, 2019. On the other hand, software companies dropped support for Windows Vista more quickly, as it was much less popular than Windows XP.

New hardware may not work

New hardware components and peripherals will stop working on your system too. These need hardware drivers, and manufacturers might not create those hardware drivers for your old, out-of-date OS.

Presently, the latest Intel CPU platforms don’t even support Windows 7 and 8.1. However, the operating systems are technically still in “extended support.” You can keep using your old OS with your current software and hardware, but you have no guarantees of future updates or compatibility.

When will Microsoft end support?

Microsoft has a well-defined support lifecycle for its software products. They come ahead of time so they’re never a surprise. The agreement includes the assurance that Microsoft is committed to providing products with improved security. While they may be unable to provide security updates for older products, they do advise customers to install the latest product releases, security updates, as well as service packs to remain as secure as possible.

Upgrading is better than using unsupported Windows

The support lifecycle is rapidly fading away as Microsoft shifts to its Windows as a service and Office 365 subscription models. If you want to prevent security frustrations, it’s best to upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Should you need help in upgrading, or have further concerns about your current Windows, give Lanlogic a call.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Not all hackers are cybercriminals

By EDITOR 

Newspaper headlines and Hollywood movies have shaped our understanding of computer hackers, but in the real world it’s not so simple. Some hackers are making massive contributions to the field of cybersecurity, it just depends on which hat they’re wearing that day. Take a few minutes to learn about white, black, and gray hat hackers.

A complicated history
In the 1950s, the term ‘hacker’ was vaguely defined. As computers and the people who worked with them became more accessible, the word was used to describe someone who explored the details and limits of technology by testing them from a variety of angles.

But by the 1980s, hackers became associated with teenagers who were being caught breaking into government computer systems — partially because that is what they called themselves, and partially because the word hacker has an inherently aggressive ring to it.

Today, several of those pioneering hackers run multimillion-dollar cybersecurity consulting businesses. So what should you call someone who uses their knowledge for good?

“White hat” hackers
Sometimes referred to as ethical hackers, or plain old network security specialists, these are the good guys. Whether it’s selling what they find to hardware and software vendors in “bug bounty” programs or working as full-time technicians, white hat hackers are just interested in making an honest buck.

Linus Torvalds is a great example of a white hat hacker. After years of experimenting with the operating system on his computer, he finally released Linux, a secure open-source operating system.

“Black hat” hackers
Closer to the definition that most people outside the IT world know and use, black hat hackers create programs and campaigns solely for causing damage. This may be anything from stealing information using malware to forcefully shutting down networks using denial-of-service attacks.

Kevin Mitnick was the most infamous black hat hacker in the world. During the 1990s, Mitnick went on a two and half year hacking spree where he committed wire fraud and stole millions of dollars of data from telecom companies and the National Defense warning system.

“Gray hat” hackers
Whether someone is a security specialist or a cybercriminal, the majority of their work is usually conducted over the internet. This anonymity affords them opportunities to try their hand at both white hat and black hat hacking.

For example, Marcus Hutchins is a known gray hat hacker. He’s most famous for testing the WannaCry ransomware until he found a way to stop it.

During the day, Hutchins works for the Kryptos Logic cybersecurity firm, but the US government believes he spent his free time creating the Kronos banking malware. He has been arrested and branded a “gray hat” hacker.

The world of cybersecurity is far more complicated than the stylized hacking in Hollywood movies. Internet-based warfare is not as simple as good guys vs. bad guys, and it certainly doesn’t give small businesses a pass. If you need a team of experienced professionals to help you tackle the complexities of modern cybersecurity, call Lanlogic today.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ways to safeguard your IoT devices

By EDITOR 

Your Internet of Things (IoT) devices — smart TVs, security cameras, smart locks — add a level of convenience to your workplace, but they also make your systems more vulnerable to cyberattacks. That’s because they’re essentially potential entry points for hackers. Here are some ways to secure your IoT devices from a possible cyberattack.

Set passwords

Not many people know they can set passwords for IoT devices, making their gadgets easy to hack. You have to make sure to set new and strong passwords — preferably with a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Then, use a password manager to keep track of all your passwords.

Disable Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)

UPnP helps IoT gadgets discover and connect to other network devices. But this feature also serves as a gateway for hackers to infiltrate your devices and network. To prevent this, disable this feature.

Create a separate network

It’s a good idea to keep your IoT devices connected to their own network that’s separate from your main office network. This way, gadgets can connect to the internet but won’t have access to mission-critical files.

You can also invest in device access management tools. These allow you to control which devices can access what data, and prevent unauthorized access.

Update your firmware

You need to keep your software up to date if you want to secure your devices against cyberattacks. Manufacturers are always releasing new patches for the latest vulnerabilities, so make it a habit to check and install IoT firmware updates regularly.

If you have several devices, use patch management software to automate patch distribution and schedule regular updates.

Unplug it

Simply disconnecting your devices or turning them off when not in use can significantly reduce your vulnerability to cyberattacks. It removes potential entry points into your network and minimizes the chances of unauthorized access to your network.

With the advent of IoT devices in homes and offices, hackers also developed more cunning ways to exploit them. Adopting the above mentioned security habits can prevent a variety of IoT attacks, but if you need to beef up your security, contact Lanlogic today. We have robust security solutions to keep your hardware and systems safe.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment