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Posts Tagged "security"

How to secure your wireless connection in 8 steps

How to secure your wireless connection in 8 steps

By on Jun 30, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Hardening your wireless network is always a good idea. It stops others from ‘leeching’ your Wi-Fi and also deters potential hackers. It’s also straightforward, doesn’t require technical knowledge and can be done in minutes. Read on for a few tips. A few years back when companies began using wireless networks to connect to the internet rather than having cables snaking all over the floor, security consultants used to make a bit of a play. They’d drive through a commercial area, flip open a laptop and see what wireless networks were available. Invariably, most of the networks they identified didn’t have any security, so they could simply log onto anyone they chose to. This still happens and is known as Wi-Fi leeching. But thankfully, most people today know that at a minimum they need a log-on password to protect their Wi-Fi network from other people using it. At the same time many of the consultants could quickly discover whether data sent over the network was encrypted and if it wasn’t, it would only required a few small steps to access this data. Today routers encrypt data transmissions automatically. But any data sent over a wireless signal is always going to be potentially vulnerable to determined hackers. But you can protect yourself from this and ‘harden’ your Wi-Fi security with a few simple tweaks. Below are a series of tips that will toughen up your wireless setting and deter most Wi-Fi leeches and potential hackers. Router management software The first thing that needs to be done is to access your router management software. If you look underneath of the router, you’ll find an address which will be something like this: http://192.168.1.1. Enter this into your browser and you’ll be presented with a website that requests your user name and password for the router. These two will be on the browser and are typically something like ‘admin’ and a password like ‘ycbte7’. Please note, the password isn’t the same one that you use to access your wireless network when setting up a new device. Once you’re into the router you’ll see information that tells you about the router such as downstream and upstream data transfer rates, IP addresses for different devices and...

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By on Oct 24, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Telephone scams in which callers claimed to be Microsoft ‘security experts’ offering to fix your computer first surfaced over five years ago. They’re still around and seemingly undergoing something of resurgence. The scammers can’t fix anything they just want your money. It sometimes seems that every other major business on the planet has outsourced its service centre to India. Banks, insurance companies, internet service providers, utility companies, even railway ticket booking services. It’s hardly surprising then when you call some company and you’re greeted with a distinctive Indian accent greeting you with ‘Hello I’m David’, or ‘Peter’ or ‘Sonja how can I help you?’ We all know that they’re actually a Deepak, Pradeep or Surita, but we go along with the game. For sure, there’s been a bit of an outbreak in the past when it’s been discovered that customer data has been lifted wholesale – think addresses, credit card numbers and so on – from some of these service centres. There’s usually a lot of noise and then it dies down, as either the company pulls out and brings its call centre operations back to the country of origin or tighter safeguards are put in place. How to spot the phone scam Thick accents – a give away However, the idea of call centres based in India have become so accepted and part of everyday life that if we receive a phone call from someone with a thick Indian accent we almost assume it’s a legitimate call. But often they’re simply telephone scams trying to get some information out of you. One of the most laughable is someone calling claiming to be from a mobile phone company and they’ve got a seriously good deal for you and if you’re interested all you need to do is give them your bank account details to get the ball rolling. Yeah, right, as they say. A good response is to tell them to hold on while you go and dig out your bank account number. Simply place the phone next to a speaker and then crank up the volume to a seriously deafening decibel range. Give it a few minutes, turn down the volume and pick up the phone. There’ll be...

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By on Oct 24, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Online banking and shopping are great ways to keep on top of your finances and buy the things you need without having to elbow, and be elbowed, your way through high street crowds. However, both activities are targets for hackers keen to get their digital paws on your personal information. That said, follow a few simple rules, as set out below, and you’ll be safe.   The internet revolution has crept up silently. Ten years ago online banking and shopping was just beginning to take hold. Today both are irrevocably mainstream and growing exponentially each year. eMarketer, one of the industry’s leading market research firms predicted that global ecommerce sales will increase by just over 20% in 2014 to reach a whopping $1,500 trillion. This figure also factors in surging sales via mobile devices. According to research by the CEB TowerGroup in April of this year, most retail banking customers in the US prefer to bank through online and mobile channels with at least 70% of customers in the future slated to use digital as their banking channel of choice. A similar pattern is also evident in Europe. Unfortunately and almost inevitably, there’s also been a corresponding rise in hacking and identity fraud. CIFAS, a UK-based fraud prevention service said: “Year-on-year, impersonation fraud continues to grow. Since 1999 impersonation fraud has risen by 63% and is one of the fastest growing fraud types in the UK.” Hacking has also spiralled upwards. US intelligence officials reportedly claimed that the US economy is being hit every year by hackers to the tune of $445 billion. The author of the report that cited this figure put it bluntly when he said “Cybercrime is here to stay.” We’d challenge this assertion and flip it around by saying cybercrime is not only here to stay but will continue to grow, mirroring the inexorable year-on-year growth in online banking and shopping. Staying safe online To make sure you don’t become a victim to the deviant ways of cyber criminals, you just need to follow some simple guidelines. Below are ten top tips that will protect you and help you stay safe online. Your personal data is personal – don’t give it away As a general...

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By on Jun 17, 2014 in News | 0 comments

In the last few days rogue software CryptoLocker and GameOver Zeus have received a lot of attention following an announcement by the US and European officials that they have temporarily managed to disrupt the system used by the malware. And according to the UK’s National Crime Agency, UK citizens will have a two-week window to reduce the threat by strengthening their computer’s protection. BullGuard already protects you against these two viruses: it detects them and successfully cleans the infected machines.   However, you do need to ensure that you have the latest updates installed and that BullGuard is turned on. Do this, and you can be assured that you’re safe. Keep it safe However, if these conditions aren’t met and as a result CryptoLocker manages to encrypt your data, no one will be able to decrypt it and you won’t be able to access your files. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to regularly backup your files. A short summary of CryptoLocker and GameOver Zeus If CryptoLocker finds its way onto your computer it silently contacts its control and command servers and then receives instructions to begin encrypting files with specified extensions, for example Word and PDF documents. It’s known as ransomware because the victim’s files are encrypted and in order to decrypt them a ransom has to be paid. GameOver Zeus on the other hand spies for personal information, such as banking credentials, and sends this data back to a botnet system. As well as losing personal data the infected computer also becomes part of the...

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By on Apr 15, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Heart Bleed bug exploits popular encryption tool – most Internet servers affected – fix is available but needs to be applied swiftly – even cyber criminals are exposed. An enormous security flaw has been discovered that threatens the entire Internet. Dubbed Heart Bleed, its panicked internet services providers and sent many system administrators – the people who look after an organisation’s computer networks – into a bit of a frenzy. The vulnerability is in something called OpenSSL which is enormously popular open-source software that is broadly used to encrypt web communications. It’s widely thought to affect the majority of servers that drive internet traffic.  The vulnerability allows attackers to read the memory of a vulnerable server essentially leaking the memory content of what the server sends and receives from users, hence its name Heart Bleed.  However, only up to 64k of memory can be read but that said, the attack can be repeated indefinitely allowing attackers to keep going back for more information. A server’s memory includes user details, passwords, everything that is communicated to and from the server and also SSL private keys.  If these keys are stolen hackers can eavesdrop on communications, steal data from the service and users and also impersonate services and users. It’s difficult to overstate the number of websites that could be vulnerable but think in terms of some social networking sites, all manner of company websites, e-commerce operations and even government run websites and you’ll get some sense of the scale. However, not all web sites or services are affected. For example, we know that Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Linkedin and Microsoft are not vulnerable to the potential exploit. It’s not known whether the vulnerability has been exploited by hackers yet. But it could have been. And if so, hackers are certainly not going to put their hands up and admit to it. Researchers have already demonstrated how successful exploitation can take place by targeting the vulnerability.  This site provides some information and it also offers a means for you to check whether you are vulnerable via a ‘heartbleed’ test. The good news is that another version of OpenSSL has been released which addresses the vulnerability.  There is also a sense of urgency that the...

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