Of the three types of hackers the most dangerous are the Black Hat. These guys do it for profit; it is how many of them actually make a living, and they don’t care at whose “expense”.
A Grey Hat might hack into a corporation’s bank account to transfer money to a poor family that needs the funds for rent or food; a Black Hat will do it to transfer money to his own account so he can buy a new car.
While not all hackers are dangerous, the White Hat hackers work to make the world a safer place, but finding vulnerabilities and patching them before the bad guys can exploit them.
Some of the more nefarious hackers sit in coffee houses, parks, and even stores scanning for a chance to snag your passwords, account information, and other credentials. They can also sometimes sit in offices programming malware and viruses that will pop-up on your screen while you surf the net and hold your computer hostage until you pay the ransom.
However, there is hope! You can protect yourself by maintaining a few good security habits.
1.Uninstall Any Software You Don’t Use
Chances are that most of the software that comes with that fresh Windows install are just trials to get you to pay for the full version later. Basically you try it for 30 days and then it will pop-up ads every time you turn on your computer to get you to buy it. These bloatware programs can make your computer vulnerable.
2. Automatically Install Security Updates
Your Anti-malware and antivirus software is a great defense against hackers. Keeping it up-to-date plugs holes that a hacker can get through. If you don’t have time, or updates confuse you, think about getting a Maintenance Plan – It is like having your own personal nerd in the basement keeping you and your family safe.
3. Avoid Plugging in Devices You’re Not Sure About
If this amazing person you just met in the coffee shop hands you a USB with a file of a story they just wrote on it, use some skepticism. If you find a random drive lying on the ground, best to toss it in an Electronic Recycle bin. Remember what curiosity did to the cat.
4. Never open attachments or emails (unless you’re really sure)
You just got an email telling you, you won a trip to Ibiza! Yay for you! Maybe… If it isn’t a timeshare, then chances are that link or attachment on this amazing offer is malware or a virus waiting to infiltrate your computer and take over your life.
5. Don’t share personal data when surfing on public WiFi
Many stores, coffee houses and even restaurants have public Wi-Fi these days to allow you to use their apps and electronic coupons right in the store. This is a bad opportunity to transfer funds, pay bills, or message your Social Security Number to a friend. On a public Wi-Fi connection, a hacker can intercept this information and make it their own.
The same goes for Internet Cafés. If you have to use a public computer to do these things always remember to take the proper security measures.
Hackers can be some rather nasty hombres, but luckily there are ways to keep yourself from becoming a victim. If you would like to learn more about staying safe from hackers, or are interested in a Maintenance Plan to keep you and your family safe, reach out to Tech Force in Racine.
In today’s business world, having great Wi-Fi isn’t a luxury -it’s a necessity. Businesses, with their varying needs, have personal requirements for what constitutes great Wi-Fi. For some small businesses, consumer-grade Wi-Fi may be sufficient, but many find that business-grade Wi-Fi is more appropriate. As companies grow, there becomes a tipping point where business-grade is necessary. So how do you know if your business is ready for business-grade Wi-Fi? Ask yourself the following questions to find out.
How many devices use your Wi-Fi?
It used to be that only desktop computers connected to your Wi-Fi, but that is no longer the case. With the rise of portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, each person may be using your Wi-Fi from several devices. Consumer-grade hardware is designed for just a few people (like the amount that live in a single household) but can’t manage larger amounts of users and all of their devices. This is especially true for sustained usage. Remember that your employees aren’t the only people who expect to be able to connect to your Wi-Fi. One of the first things visitors typically do is look for a Wi-Fi network to connect their smartphones to.
What is the size and shape of your workspace?
The number of access points you will need for your Wi-Fi is dependent on the amount of physical space that needs to be covered, the shape of the area, wall material, and the number of users/devices. In smaller spaces, consumer-grade Wi-Fi is good enough. Larger, oddly shaped spaces benefit from business-grade. If your building’s walls are made of brick, cinder blocks, or cement, you likely need more access points than buildings made of other materials. Make sure you have a strong connection from all locations. It’s annoying to only be connected to Wi-Fi in certain areas of a building and find yourself in a deadzone a few steps later.
Access points for business-grade Wi-Fi tend to be more powerful and flexible. For example, some business Wi-Fi systems can transfer Wi-Fi devices from a crowded access point to one that is less busy. By doing this, everybody’s fast speed remains. If you foresee your range needing to increase, such as renting out more space, it’s easier to add more access points to business-grade Wi-Fi than consumer-grade. Businesses that anticipate scaling up soon are better off with business-grade Wi-Fi.
Do you want guests to have the same quality Wi-Fi as workers?
In households, where consumer-grade Wi-Fi is prevalent, all users share the Wi-Fi equally. In a home environment, if children are slowing down the internet with Netflix or video games, it’s not a big problem. However, a choked business Wi-Fi can cause a lot of problems. Business-grade Wi-Fi allows you network management. You can assign a designated amount of bandwidth to different users so they’re unable to clog the entire connection. You can allow visitors internet access without giving them unlimited access to the network.
How much does the internet affect your employees’ productivity?
For some companies, workers only use Wi-Fi for a few quick tasks. With these types of businesses, if the internet is slow, it won’t have a big impact on how much work your employees get done. Consumer-grade Wi-Fi might be a good choice. For other companies, there isn’t much people can accomplish if the Wi-Fi isn’t working well. The slower your employees work, the less money you make. Wi-Fi troubles can also lead to frustrated, unhappy workers. If fast internet is essential for people to complete their daily tasks, business-grade Wi-Fi is important.
Strong Wi-Fi is a necessity for all businesses. This is especially true for larger businesses that connect a lot of devices (from both employees and visitors) and have a big work area. Also for those where employee productivity depends on a strong connection. The goal is to keep your business-critical technology running smoothly. Consider carefully whether consumer-grade Wi-Fi or business-grade Wi-Fi is the best choice for your business. When you ask yourself the questions above, the answer should become clear.
Is your business’s Wi-Fi struggling? Give us a call at (262) 515-9499 to discuss a solution.
Like many valuable things we buy, new computers suffer from wear and tear over time. Our computers are particularly vulnerable as we have placed more and more demands on them every year. New machines have got faster, quieter, more reliable, and more capable over time. At the same time our own computers have begun to slow and sometimes even stop performing altogether.
There are many ways to address the problem of a PC which isn't quite performing up to the task anymore. Whether frustratingly slow or no longer working; we are happy to take a look. When you bring your computer to us we will diagnose the condition and find a solution that works for you. Often times the simplest solution works best. A complex problem sometimes only needs a simple repair to get your home computer up and running like new again. Whether a small replacement part, loose wire, or bad connection; we will find and fix the problem to give your familiar, home machine a new lease of life.
Many computers come to us running slowly, taking a long time to start up, or freezing when trying to load files and programs. Often owners have reached breaking point and become convinced the machine is fit for only the scrap heap. In many cases, the problem can be pinpointed to a bottleneck in the system. A single, seemingly trivial, part can be holding up the entire system. Amazingly, upgrading just that one component can make the whole machine run like new again.
Adding memory can provide extra space for programs to run faster. Adding an updated, faster hard drive can allow files to be retrieved without delay. In both cases, a low-cost single component can provide a cost-effective solution that makes an old machine like new again.
In some cases, computers succumb to more major faults. A critical part, difficult to replace, may stop working altogether. A failure of the motherboard for example, the backbone that all other components connect to can be expensive, if not impossible, to fix. Typically, with the fast-paced and ever-changing nature of computing, a motherboard will only house computer parts that were manufactured around a similar time.
A motherboard is almost certain to be incompatible with components built just a couple of years before or after its own design for example. Occasionally even a motherboard failure can be resolved too. In these cases we strive, whenever possible, to find a replacement board of the same generation that will work alongside existing components. The result is a cost-effective solution that keeps cost down by saving replacement parts.
In cases where a like-for-like replacement motherboard is not available, many parts of the computer may have to be replaced at the same time. Often replacement costs in these cases can get close to, or even exceed the cost of buying a new machine.
We would always give advice where it makes sense financially and practically to consider replacing an old machine. Often, in this respect, a home PC can be considered a little like a car. Sometimes a simple, non-expensive, easy to replace component such as the window wiper can fail. While a crucial part to be used for driving; it would be silly to suggest replacing the vehicle once it has worn out.
A window wiper may be low-cost and simple to replace, but if the engine were to wear down or break the solution may not be quite as simple. Attempting to make a 30-year-old car as fast, safe, and reliable as a brand new model generally doesn't make any financial or practical sense. Sometimes the best course of action to save money and avoid breakdowns is a more up to date vehicle.
In computing, many of the same rules hold true. The best solution in each case is always tailored personally to fit you and your own computer.
Bring your machine in to us or give us a call us at (262) 515-9499 or click here to discuss your computer issues. We'll keep you informed about your machine and advise on the best course of action to get you up and running as quickly as possible.
Last week we took a brief look at the three common types of Hackers – White hat, gray hat, and black hat.
With a more professional approach to hacking, the “White Hats” don’t often stray much beyond what they’re compensated for. Some of them work for different clients around the globe. While others have offices with one company.
The “Gray Hats” have foggier, more ambiguous motivations, and hacking may even just be a hobby for them. Many “Gray Hats” consider themselves to be what we call “hacktivists”.
Hacktivists are hackers who are motivated by politics or by a cause. With the intent of bringing public attention to an issue that they believe needs to be addressed.
There has been quite the debate over whether hacktivists are “good” or “bad” to begin with, as many of them aim to right perceived wrongs, or to enact a specific change – Such as the hacktivist group “Anonymous”, who regularly takes down ISIS social media profiles, or some of the contributors to Wikileaks, who work towards full disclosure of information.
Some of the more prominent hacktivists have been known to take down government websites (via DDOS) for long periods of time, which is a heavy criminal offense. Others have been known to breach servers and steal information, leaking personal data to the public, such as the Sony Data breach of 2011, when the personal information of all registered users was stolen by a group of hacktivists.
While there have been attacks in which private information was leaked for the sole purpose of embarrassing the users of specific sites, their primary objective is usually to open eyes, and to direct attention to something imperative that everyone is missing.
Recently there has been a clamp down on these hacktivist campaigns, reducing the overall number of political attacks around the globe exponentially, but that doesn’t mean they’re over and done with. There have been massive hacktivist attacks as recent as we saw in the 2016 presidential election, and hacktivism today is still considered disruptive, if not downright dangerous; a real threat to online communities, multi-national corporations, trade associations and businesses in general.
Regardless of whether or not you own a business of your own, you could still be affected by a more large-scale attack, and even more so by a personal one.
We talked about those hackers who aim to gain financially from either individual, corporate, or even government losses, check back next week when we discuss these Black Hat hackers and how to secure yourself from them.
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