Understanding how to keep your WiFi more secure

Understanding how to keep your WiFi more secure

When you log into WiFi at a public place, such as a library, a school, a business, a restaurant, or the like, it’s likely your anti-virus software will warn you of logging into an unsecure network.

But, did you ever think that when logging onto the WiFi at your home or business you may still be facing some security issues? Are you aware of the risks involved with not securing your WiFi? It’s important to keep in mind that WiFi is a target for hackers. Securing your WiFi may be way easier than you think.

Here are a few tips on how to do that.

 

Change the name

One of the first steps is to create a strong name for the WiFi network to replace the default network name, such as xfinitywifi, AT&T or Netgear (My neighbor uses FBI as his network name). Fossbytes says most hackers have access to tools such as “rainbow table” that can break into most any network simply by knowing the default SSID name.

 

Protected Access

Another security measure to use is enabling your WiFi protected access. When setting up the router, the setting can be seen as WPA2 or WPA-PSK. Fossbytes said older routers will have something called WEP, or Wired Equivalent Privacy, but that’s not much of an effective deterrent to modern hackers.

 

Firewalls

One tool to use, if it’s built-in, is a firewall for your router, which can obscure a hacker’s view of the network, Fossbytes said. Another thing to consider is turning off the Universal Plug and Play protocol on the router. Although this is meant to make connecting devices easier, Fossbytes said the use of it makes a potential entry point for hackers.

 

VPN

Another way to protect your WiFi network is to create a Virtual Private Network, which encrypts data traveling between a computer and a server. Through a VPN, even if a computer is logged onto a public WiFi, any hacker paying attention to traffic will only see encrypted data shared, Techify said in a recent article on ways to protect a WiFi network. VPN works by “giving your location anonymity on its server and even creates its own firewall to protect your network traffic,” Fossbytes said.

 

Change your password

Lastly, one simple, but crucial point of protection, and one that we here at ITonDemand stress over and over again, change your password. Using a strong password, or perhaps an even stronger pass phrase, can cut down on a hacker’s ability to penetrate a network or computer.

If you’re still concerned about setting up a secure network, don’t hesitate to reach out to ITonDemand for help. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

(800) 297-8293  ·  info@ITonDemand.com

Your Wifi Security Is Our Top Priority

Your Wifi Security Is Our Top Priority

As you arrive home tonight and turn on the news, you may be greeted with the unpleasant news that ‘Wireless Internet Isn’t Safe, It’s Been Hacked!’

Please be assured that we are monitoring the situation, and patching all related systems that we manage to insure that you are protected.

This security breech is different from the normal methods that culprits and criminals have historically used to access your data (brute force, social engineering, phishing, etc…) in that the vulnerability is on the client machine, not the Wireless Access Point.

This means that each device you have connecting to your Wi-Fi is a potential security risk, and should be updated as soon as possible.

– For ITonDemand customers using Windows workstations, updates pushed to your computers on October 10th included the applicable security updates. Please be sure that you have rebooted to apply any patches that we have deployed to you.

– For customers using Mac or any other platform, as the updates become available for your particular hardware they will be automatically pushed out by those vendors as they become available.

All available patches for ITonDemand managed Wi-Fi devices have been applied and will be pushed out to your managed devices this evening to insure that they are protected from this attack as well.

In the event that you have a non-managed access point (wireless router) or would like to consult with us on your best options to be sure that your business and data are protected, please feel free to reach out to us and we will be happy to assist.

As always, thank you for being an ITonDemand customer!

Unspeak the Geek – DaaS, Haas, SaaS, and IaaS

Unspeak the Geek – DaaS, Haas, SaaS, and IaaS

We get questions from our clients all the time about the “Cloud.” This discussion is between Nate Breitbach our VP of IT Services and his Director of Engineering, Chance Ellis, around the Cloud.  What it is, some pointers as a business owner on how to think about the cloud, what it can be used for, and breaking down some of those Techie “As A Service” concepts like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), IT as a Service (ITaaS).  We simplify the understanding of these things, so you can make better decisions for your business.

Getting The Most Out Of Your IT Call

Getting The Most Out Of Your IT Call

We’ve all been there. Your computer or smart device, cable box, or what have you, isn’t functioning properly and you have to make that call, sometimes the dreaded call, to tech support. You know that when you make the call you’re likely to have to go through an automated system before you get to talk to a live person.

One key point to remember: You may be frustrated and that is understandable, but getting emotional does not help the situation. It will not resolve a problem any quicker and can actually slow the process down. Remember to remain calm and do your best to remain polite, and find peace in the thought that this will always be the returning response from the technician.

This can be a stressful time, especially if your startup or small business is dependent on the malfunctioning device. It’s also stressful if it’s your personal device, but dollars may not be on the line, just hair-pulling.

Before making the call you’ve agonized over what you’re going to say, even if you don’t know exactly what the problem is. Having as much data as possible to tell a tech support representative is the key to making the call (or online chat) as painless an experience as possible. Lifewire laid out some key points that are handy to have:

Details of the problem – is there an error message? What does it say?

When did the problem begin?

Have you taken any troubleshooting measures, such as turning your device off then back on?

But, in addition to those points, here at ITonDemand, we think there are a few other things to keep in mind when calling IT support.

Verify if there have been any changes to the device environment – a recent installation of hardware or software or if there has been an update.

Have device specifics handy. In other words, what is the make and model of the problem device? Knowing a serial number can also come in handy.

Did you reboot? (That’s usually a first stop in IT questions, but it’s good to know if you have already tried.)

Another thing to know is whether or not you have Internet access. Wi-Fi can go down. And sometimes it can happen while you’re in the middle of a project and you don’t realize it. Try to open a Web browser and see if an error appears.

If you do have Internet access, don’t be afraid to Google the problem while you’re on the line with tech support. You may come across something that helps the situation.

Repeat yourself. Did we say that already? At ITonDemand, we recommend providing information to tech support in the same manner you would leave a telephone number on an answering service – with pauses and slow, deliberate intonations.

Go into the conversation with the tech support rep armed with as much information as possible. That will make things go smoothly and, hopefully, quickly. And don’t be afraid to repeat the details. Be clear and concise when talking with tech support. The better the lines of communication, the quicker the service should be.

Are You Getting Suspicious Email? Spoofing May Be To Blame.

Are You Getting Suspicious Email? Spoofing May Be To Blame.

It’s happened to all of us. We open our email account and there glaring at us we see a plea for help from a friend or family member. Perhaps the email says your friend is stuck in London without any money or credentials and needs your assistance to get home. Your friend or family member pledges to pay you back after he or she returns home.

Most likely you saw the email and deleted it– which is the proper course of action. It’s a scam email called “the stranded traveler.” Unfortunately, it’s an email that some people do fall for because it’s coming from the account of a trusted friend or family member and money is sent to help out.

So why did this happen? And, what’s the best way to deal with it?

Email Spoofing Explained
What happened is a common type of scam called email spoofing. Email spoofing is designed to look like a known account, but is actually a forgery and originates elsewhere. Email spoofing is effective because those who receive the email are likely to open it because it looks like it comes from a known account.  As TechTarget noted, the goal of email spoofing is “to get recipients to open, and possibly even respond to, a solicitation.” It turns out, as Lifehacker says, spoofing emails is a fairly easy thing for nefarious hackers to do, which is one reason phishing has become such a common scam.

You’ve Been Spoofed, Now What?
Now that you know what email spoofing is, what’s the best way to handle it should you be on the receiving end of one of these suspicious emails? The best way to verify whether or not an email is legitimate is to contact the person who sent it and verify it was from them. If they confirm they didn’t send it, delete it. Usually, a simple deletion is the best response.

However, TechTarget said there are some emails that are maliciously designed to pose security risks for an individual. As an example, some phishing and email spoofing experts clone popular shopping websites and ask the recipient to provide sensitive data like a password or credit card numbers. Or, the email could include a link that, if clicked, would install some type of malware on your computer. That’s just one additional reason it’s important to have good antimalware installed on your computer alongside a good antivirus.

So, how do you prevent this kind of malicious attack?

Be aware of who is sending the email. Pay close attention to the sender’s name and email address. Sometimes the false email can have a .net vs. .com, or could include a /au or something similar.

Install antimalware and antivirus software on your computer.

Turn up the spam filters on your email account.

Never, ever click on unfamiliar links or download unfamiliar attachments.

Finally, if you are unsure, that’s what ITonDemand is here for. Contact us and we will be happy to analyze the email and let you know if it is legitimate or not.

Enterprise Wireless For Your Business

Enterprise Wireless For Your Business

In this modern world of wireless electronic devices – laptops, phones, tablets and gaming consoles – having Internet access is a must. Being portable has become an essential part of our lifestyles and it’s key for businesses to meet the demands of the wireless lifestyle.

But becoming wireless for many businesses is easier said than done. There are serious considerations for a company to make when setting up a wireless network, especially if those businesses want a network to respond quickly to a plethora of users and now have things really s l o w d o w n s o m u c h y o u c a n t g e t a n y t h i n g d o n e. With that in mind, it’s important for a business to set up a network that is fast enough for the increased demand, but also one that is secure for users to log onto without concern.

There are a number of priorities to consider when setting up a secure Wi-Fi network at your business, including using business-grade access points that are designed for heavy use from multiple users at all hours of the day, including peak business times. When incorporating a larger number of access points, it’s important to remember how many wireless devices each employee uses in order to ensure you have the best access available for your employees or on-site clients.

Another consideration to make is selecting a proper frequency grade. Tech news site CIO notes there are two frequency bands “designed for 802.11 Wi-Fi networks: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.” A business will have to decide which frequency best supports its internal and external interests, particularly when taking personal wireless devices such as smart phones and tablets into consideration.

“With a large install base in most homes and business, wireless has become mainstay by which individuals access the data they need. Users have grown to expect wireless connectivity wherever they go. It has become so ubiquitous that many forget the potential pitfalls such connectivity presents,” said Chance Ellis, eResource’s director of systems engineering.

In this crazy world of identity theft and cyber-crimes, it’s also important to utilize strict security protocols when it comes to setting up a Wi-Fi network. Computer Weekly noted that a wireless network can be a problem for security-conscious IT workers primarily due to personal devices owned by employees. The publication said malware on those devices can get into the Wi-Fi system and cause issues for a company and its users.

Many of the new Wi-Fi systems that are most adequate include things like the ability to identify unauthorized users, defend against things like spoofing attacks. Other security forms that need to be considered when setting up a strong Wi-Fi network need to include security event management and reporting abilities. Another key is the establishment of Service Set Identifier, which is the network name that users see when connecting to a wireless network.

“Businesses need to have a comprehensive wireless security plan that protects them from unauthorized access and use. Unauthorized access can put business critical information at risk. Unauthorized use can make a business responsible for any malicious activity performed simply by providing the mechanism for the activity to occur,” Ellis said.