If Your PC is Your Livelihood, Here Are Some Things You Should Know

For many people these days, it’s impossible to work and earn a living with your own personal computer. If your PC is your livelihood, you’re probably a little concerned about anything potentially happening to your computer. Many people would be completely lost without there, but burying your head in the sand and telling yourself it’s reliable and won’t break is not wise. Instead, you should be taking active steps to ensure that your computer doesn’t experience problems later on.

Backups Could Save You 

Backing up is one of those things that everyone knows they should do, but not many people actually do it. That’s a habit that you definitely need to break as soon as possible because those backups could save you if something does go wrong. If you’re going to lose your PC, it’s best that everything on it can be salvaged and made use of going forward, right?

You Must Understand Which Files Are Threats and Which Aren’t

If you spot a file on your PC that you’d don’t recognise, you might start to worry that it’s something that probably shouldn’t be there. Websites, such as the one you can find by following this link, will tell you which files are bad and must be removed ASAP and which files are harmless. Get in the habit of checking for these files in case your security software has missed them. 

You Should Take Steps to Make Successful Burglaries Less Likely 

It’s really important for you to take care of the physical security of your PC, as well as any other tech items you have. And the most important way of doing that is by making sure that your home is protected against the potentiality of a burglary occurring. No one likes to think about this, but if your home is a soft target, you will be more likely to have someone try to break in.

Keeping the Firewall Turned On is Essential

So many people turn the firewall off on their computer for all sorts of reasons. But there is no good reason to turn off the firewall. It’s there to protect you and it can stop your computer being invaded by something that could do real damage to your PC and stop you from earning your living.

Update Antivirus Software

Finally, you need to make sure that your antivirus software is up to date and in a fit state to protect your PC whenever it should be called upon to do so. You pay for that software, so makes sense that you should want to get the most out of it at all times. If it’s going to fail you because you kept skipping on those updates, you’ll definitely regret it later.

PC’s can be volatile at times, and there are so many problems that can arise out of the blue. Being aware of these issues and how you can fix them or avoid them is really important. Don’t leave things to chance if the entirety of your income relies on you being able to use your computer.

How To Protect Your Site From Hackers In 5 Steps

As an online business owner, you need to make safety one of your top priorities. Hackers are more likely to target small online businesses since these businesses cannot afford extensive cybersecurity solutions.

There are steps you can take to make your website safer, protect your customers’ data, and educate your visitors about online safety. This is especially important for customers who aren’t tech-savvy, such as senior citizens.

Set Up Best Practices And Stick To Them

You need to have a clearly defined safety policy that includes a set of best practices. These are some of the practices you should think about adopting:

  • Determine who needs to access sensitive data and where this data will be stored.
  • Enforce strong password policies for employees and visitors. Make sure passwords are changed regularly.
  • Think about using two-factor authentication.
  • Reset all passwords if you suspect that a security breach occurred.
  • Don’t use form auto-fill if you sell products online.

Updates

Updates typically become available when a flaw is found with a platform, a script, or an app. Some updates will be installed automatically, but you should regularly check for updates and install them.

Keep Your Backend Safe

There are a few things you can do to protect your backend from attacks:

  • Hackers often target admin directories. Make these directories hard to find and change the default passwords.
  • You can make your server safer with a Web application firewall.
  • There are other free or affordable security applications that you can install on your server.
  • Add a Content Security Policy to the headers of your pages. This element will tell browsers not to execute scripts from other domain names. Hackers might try to add malicious code to your pages to execute harmful scripts, but a CSP will tell browsers not to execute these scripts.

Use An SSL Certificate

You can easily obtain an SSL certificate and install it on your server. This certificate will encrypt all the data requested by visitors as well as the data shared with your server.

Once your SSL certificate is installed, visitors will see a padlock icon next to your URL. Depending on the certificate you install, there might also be a green section next to your site name.

An SSL certificate is an important feature since it prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive data when visitors fill out forms or make an online purchase. It also protects their privacy.

The padlock icon, HTTPS in the URL and the green section in your URLs are signs that Internet users know they should look for.

Transparency Is Important

Internet users care about security and particularly seniors need reassuring that they’re safe online. In fact, 85 percent of US Internet users said they wouldn’t visit a website if their browser told them it wasn’t secure. Some users will know they should look for a padlock icon, but others such as senior users won’t know what to look for. This is why you need to talk to your customers about the steps you are taking to protect their data.

If a breach occurs, you need to talk about what happened and the measures you took to prevent more incidents.

Security should be a priority if you own an online business. Take security in your own hands and remember that transparency is key to earning the trust of your customers.

 

Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Trends in #CyberSecurity

The world of cybersecurity is in a state of constant flux, and every year brings new challenges, along with technological breakthroughs to keep constantly multiplying virtual threats at bay. In 2017 and afterwards, chief cybersecurity trends will comprise heightened focus on cloud data security, shift of attention from threat prevention to threat detection and response, increased demand for talent and skills in the niche, and merging of security and software development and operations sectors. So, how will each of these trends impact the general cyber protection landscape, and which direction will industry developments take in the months to come?

1. Cloud data security becomes a top priority

As more and more companies continue to jump onboard the cloud computing boat, security of data stored online will become one of the main concerns for businesses around the world. For this reason, companies looking to move their line of work to the cloud should invest additional thought and planning when selecting cloud service providers to avoid large-scale complications and expenses caused by compromised security of confidential business data. On top of that, in-house IT teams can develop special security guidelines for staff members who want to sync their devices with company servers as to ensure maximum protection for sensitive corporate data. By doing so, important business information will stay out of harm’s way but employees will still be get to access it from their smart gadgets even if these are not supported by in-house IT team.

2. Security skills get more precious by the day

Right now, the security sector takes pride in zero percent unemployment rate in most countries, and the demand for talent and skills in the industry is constantly rising. Over the next few years, companies around the world are expected to generate more data than ever before but the type of cyber security protection which will be in highest demand will be slightly different than today. Namely, the skill set of an average security expert will be centered mainly on new skills in data science and analytics, and the need for continuous education will only grow further. In addition to that, the global increase in the quantity of virtual information will push the need for artificial security intelligence to unprecedented heights, putting adaptive skills and innovative security solutions front and center in overall IT development trends.

3. Push for detection and response solutions

Up until recently, businesses used to allocate the greatest portion of their cyber security budget to threat prevention purposes, but the future will be painted in quite a different shade of cyber protection. With the number of virtual threats multiplying at the speed of light, your in-house IT won’t always be able to prevent attacks coming from the worldwide web, and it’ll have to focus more on the threat response aspect of data protection and use special tools such as penetration tests to detect security system vulnerabilities and threats and remedy them. In this light, brands looking to take their cyber security game to the next level should adapt their security setups for threat response and malware removal instead of focusing on prevention of attacks on sensitive corporate data.

4. DevOps need to evolve into DevSecOps

The importance of cyber security for businesses both large and small has been on a steady rise for years now, and it’ll remain in the limelight in the decades to come, which is in itself a good reason for companies to start treating their IT sector with greater respect. To reduce long-term cyber security costs, companies should merge their security sector and software development and operations teams to boost safety of virtual information and improve coordination of data protection measures. By turning DevOps into DevSecOps, companies will optimize their cyber security game and ensure smooth running of key IT activities while at the same time avoiding the expenses they’d otherwise incur by outsourcing security protection to third-party services.

Data protection is one of the most sensitive aspects of business conduct, and its importance will only grow as an increasing number of companies move their line of work over to the web. Still, if you take heed of the trends listed above on time and makes cyber security system tweaks, your business will be able to withstand the threats and challenges hackers decide to throw its way without major difficulties or extensive cyber protection costs. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you’ll need to keep investing active efforts and funding into cyber protection if you want your corporate empire to stay safe and flourish.

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Guest Author is Alex Williams is a journalism graduate, and a rookie blogger trying to find my luck. Blogs are the perfect opportunity for presenting yourself to wider audience, getting the chance to showcase my expertise and receiving recognition. I am a regular contributor at Bizzmark Blog

Turn Your Online Business Into A Fortress

The internet has made it possible for so many people to build businesses from their own home; it saves them on paying rent for a premises, it makes it cheaper for them to advertise their products and services, and it gives them a wider customer base to buy their products. Unfortunately, no one really considers that online businesses have a few vulnerabilities that aren’t usually seen in physical stores. Whether you’re conducting your business part-time, or you depend on it as your sole source of income, here are a few vulnerabilities that could affect your business, and how you can protect it like a fortress.

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Cyber safety

Since 2016, there has been an increase in reports of online businesses being targeted and held to ransom by cyber-criminals. Experts are warning that small businesses are fast becoming their favorite target because most of them are woefully unprepared for hacks to their online domain. Don’t make your business a weak target for cyber-criminals – this is your livelihood, so protect it like a fortress. Invest in antivirus and encryption software that automatically updates to patch vulnerable spots in your security, blocks spam, and detects spyware. Companies that sell this type of software include McAfee, Norton, AVG and Avira. Cyber criminals also look for exploits in WordPress and popular plugins, so it’s vital you keep them up to date if you’re using this to host your website.

Get insurance

Depending on the kind of service you offer, you might want to consider professional indemnity insurance; this will protect you if a client accuses you of providing  inadequate advice, services or designs that resulted in a financial loss. You can get professional indemnity insurance to cover both defence costs and any liability found owing in the event of a claim up to the limit of indemnity. There are different kinds of insurance for different services, so make sure you do your research to ensure you’re properly covered.

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Secure payments

If you’re selling something online, enabling mobile payments such as PayPal can increase your sales by allowing more impulsive purchases. You’ll also receive prompt payments rather than dealing with a billing or invoicing system. A good merchant service provider can sort you out with an online payment system for your eCommerce store. But more importantly, they can help you set up secure payments. The minute your customers enter their card details into your system, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks. You need excellent encryption software and top of the line credit card security to keep these details safe from cyber thieves. No one will use your store again if they’re worried about their details being stolen.

Reputation

The best kind of protection you can provide for your business is building up a solid reputation. Establish yourself as a reliable salesperson, a provider of good quality products, and someone who responds well to customer feedback. Customers are usually very trusting of online businesses, but once they hear of any hacking incidents or lawsuits, they are less likely to return.

Secure Your Business and Protect Your Data

Unless you’ve been living in the Arctic Circle or the International Space Station for the past few years, you can’t fail to have noticed that a lot of business, many of them very prominent, have had their data hacked and stolen in recent years.

This is, in part, due to the fact that data in itself has become big business, as has conducting one’s business online, and partly because hackers have never been more skilled than they are right now. What this means for you is, if you run a business, which stores data and which is connected in any way to the internet, you need to step up your game to secure your business and protect your data. Here are a few things that will help you with that:

Access to Excellent IT Support

If you have a good IT Support team on your side, then you’ve already won half of the battle because they will be able to look at your current IT infrastructure and practices and tell you what you’re doing right and what needs to be improved. What’s more, they’ll be able to ensure that any measures you take, are implemented correctly, so that your systems really are safe.

Brief Your Staff

Often, it is the unwise actions of an employee, such as opening an unsolicited attachment or logging onto a suspect site, that cause company networks to be hacked and infected with malware and viruses that steal data and put them at risk. That’s why, if you want to avoid having your sensitive data held to ransom of your business being forced to stop, you need to brief your employees on all the things they shouldn’t be doing (opening attachments, sharing passwords, visiting non-approved websites) that could prove disastrous.

Use Strong Passwords

It’s also important that anyone who has access to your network is compelled to use a strong password, which consists of a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, and which is random enough that it won’t be easily guessed. They should also change these passwords on a monthly basis to avoid data breaches, and they should really not write their passwords down, where they could be found either.

Encrypt Everything

Encryption is probably the best tool you have to secure your business and protect your data. Once your files are encrypted, they will be almost impossible to access by anyone who doesn’t have the key.

Back It Up

If you don’t want to lose your important data -the data that keeps your business running successfully -then you simply must back it up, preferably off-site at a location run by professionals. The cost of lost data and run into the hundreds of thousands, depending on the size of your business, so don’t let it happen!

Install Antivirus on Every Device

Last, but definitely not least, you should install antivirus and malware protection on every single device any of your employees may use to connect to your network and conduct business, including their personal smartphones and tablets. If you don’t do this, it could be so easy for a hacker to steal your data.

Securing your data will cost you time, and you will need to invest some money into it, but if you don’t do at least the things outline above, well, it could be very expensive and completely disastrous to your business!

Are You Confident Going Into Your Next Job Interview?

Job interviews can be both exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. What are you doing to give you the best possible chance for success each time you enter an interview?

For some people, they can adjust at a moment’s notice. This means nailing their interviews with little or no preparations. Meantime, others need prep time to learn more about the brand they are interviewing with. They also need time to rehearse how they will speak and act in front of an interviewer.

It is important that you have as much confidence as possible in any interview that comes your way.

So, what is your confidence level heading into your next sit-down or phone interview?

Is Your Background Going to Come up?

In most cases, your background to one degree or another will come up during your next interview.

This means you could have to discuss your past or present job history to some length. While personal questions not in most cases a part of an interview, don’t discount them altogether. You might be asked about where you see yourself living down the road etc.

With a background check, don’t think companies in today’s digital age are not investigating. This is why you need to have an answer to the question of what will a background check show?

 

Among some of the items that could show up in a background check on you:

  • Any issues you may have had with a former employer
  • Any DUIs or other driving related problems
  • Any run-ins with the law outside of driving i.e. domestic violence etc.
  • Any financial problems such as filing for bankruptcy

Some employers may do a license plate search to indicate any past driving issues. Once again, always be ready to address any potential hot topics about your background.

By being ready to answer about any past or current issues in your life, you will come across as better prepared. If you seem unprepared, it could prove to be your downfall.

Do Your Own Research

As companies will research you, it behooves you to do the same with them. Nothing is worse than an interview where one has no knowledge about the company they could work for.

By doing a little research before your interview, you should be able to answer the following:

  • What does the company do?
  • Approximately how many people work there?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What specific skills are they looking for in the position you are interviewing for?

Exude Confidence Each Time Out

Though many people are nervous before and at a job interview, exuding confidence is key.

Do your best to show the interviewer you are confident in your abilities to do the job if you get the position.

Given costs to rehire for positions, show a potential employer they’d make a great choice in hiring you.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

 

How to Keep Your Business Safe from Ransomware

The recent global ransomware attack known as WannaCry, left thousands of users locked out of the data on their computers. Luckily, thanks to a tech blogger who reverse-engineered samples of the malware, the threat was soon eradicated.

Unfortunately, recovering the data once you are hit with a ransomware attack is not possible. However, there are certain measures you can take to minimize or even completely eliminate the possibility of such an attack

Understanding ransomware, how it works and how to prevent it is an important step towards keeping your business and your data safe.

Know What You’re Dealing With

While many cyber-attacks focus on stealing your data, ransomware works a bit differently. Cybercriminals that use ransomware, a type of malware, are after your money and attempt to blackmail a payment out of you by threatening your data. Hackers either don’t allow you to access your data or claim that your data is at risk and then offer to fix the issue if you pay.

Cryptovirus, cryptoworm or cryptotrojan, as ransomware is also called, can hit anyone from home users to businesses and public institutions. Each target presents different opportunities for cyber criminals.

Home users and public institution employees often don’t have advanced cyber security knowledge. Public institutions may also have valuable information that they cannot afford to lose.Hitting a business could mean big money, and businesses sometimes would rather just pay up than deal with the inconvenience of reporting the attack.

Types of Ransomware

Scareware, also called fraudware and rogue scanner software, is intended to scare you with a pop-up message about malware in the system. There’s no real threat, but the scareware gives the illusion that there is and says that you need to pay a certain amount to remove the malware. Knowing the difference between legitimate and illegitimate sites and programs is instrumental in recognizing scareware.

Locker ransomware is similar to scareware in that it attempts to scare you into paying, except in this case, the pop-up message claims that it has detected illegal activity on your computer. It often has the seal of either the FBI or the U.S. Department of Justice and says that you need to pay to avoid legal trouble. You can safely close and ignore such messages, as no government organization would operate like this.

The worst-case scenario is encrypting ransomware, where the malware actually encrypts your files and cybercriminals demand payment to give you your information back. The problem is that there’s no guarantee they’ll follow through on their end of the bargain if you pay them, and it opens the door for future attacks. For those reasons, cyber security professionals advise against paying.

How to Protect Your Device

  1. Invest in Cyber Security.

The first thing you should do to protect your data is to find a high-quality antivirus program. Ask a cyber-security professional for a recommendation and use the advice to help make your decision.

For complete protection, look for a comprehensive security suite that can handle all kinds of threats, or combine your antivirus program with separate antimalware and antiransomware programs. Antivirus programs typically have free trial periods available, so try out a few to see which one suits you best. Once you’ve found it, it’s a good idea to purchase the full version for superior protection, especially if you often have sensitive data on your device.

  1. Backup, Backup, Backup.

The prices for external hard drives and personal cloud storage seemingly get lower every day. If your business needs to store a lot of data consider cloud backups, there are plenty of excellent cloud storage services on the market. Regardless of which option you prefer, not backing up your data is a crucial mistake.

It can be tedious to backup data, especially if you work with a large amount of it every day. Just remember that taking the time to make a backup is far better than being left with nothing because of a cyber-attack.

If you go with a cloud service, check the encryption and authentication features to ensure that your data will be secure. Remember to physically remove external hard drivers after making the backup so they can’t get infected.

  1. Education Is Power.

The best way to be ready for potential threats is to know what’s out there, and this is much easier thanks to all the useful information available in a couple clicks. Stay up to date by reading tech blogs and by getting in touch with your IT team or cyber security professionals.

Ransomware has been around since the early 2000s, and it doesn’t choose its victims, so even Mac users are no longer safe. Read about what other users did when hit with ransomware in case you find yourself in the same situation, and share your knowledge with the people you know.

  1. Skepticism Pays Off

You can never be too careful about what you see online. Look closely at all your emails, and if you get one from a stranger with an attachment, just delete it. Watch out for shortened links, as you can’t be sure where they will lead. Use online services that can show you the full URL before you click on it.

There are a few suspicious signs to look for with emails you receive, even those that appear to be from a company. These include generic messages that don’t mention your name, a format that looks different from the company’s usual emails and any requests for personal information, which you should never provide over email.

  1. Don’t Pay the Ransom.

How much do cybercriminals try to get with ransomware? It could be anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars.

A ransom demand is a crime, and if you give in, all you’re doing is encouraging it. Cybercriminals will use ransomware as long as people pay them. And once they get their money, they have no incentive to help you decrypt your files.

A Kaspersky survey supports the strategy of not paying ransom. It found that of the ransomware victims who paid the ransom, one in five didn’t recover their files.

Final Thoughts

A ransomware attack that results in your sensitive data being encrypted could be devastating for your business. However, being proactive instead of reactive is crucial. Following the information outlined in this article can help you secure your data. Just remember to back up everything so even if you’re hit with an attack, you can get your data back yourself.

About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.