27 Nov

Reasons to back up your mobile devices

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Out-of-date devices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 can provide practical advice on security for your business’s computers and mobile devices. Call 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net to ask about mobile backup and other security solutions today.

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15 Dec

Gooligan Malware Haunts Android Devices

It is the largest single theft of Google accounts ever reported. And if you own an Android 4 or 5 phone, it has likely already affected you. The Gooligan virus, running rampant in third-party app stores, promises to keep wreaking havoc until developers find a way to shut it down. To help your business avoid malware catastrophe, read on to learn what we know about Gooligan so far.

 

It is estimated that since Gooligan’s August 2016 appearance, the malware has infected more than 1.3 million Google accounts — one of the largest single thefts in recent history.

With the range of personal data available in Google accounts, it is interesting to note that Gooligan’s purpose isn’t to steal the valuable information; instead, it’s to distribute advertising fraud. With as much as $320,000 a month going into the pockets of Gooligan developers, it is obvious that the ploy is working.

 

How Gooligan is Moving Through the Internet

 

Consumers are falling prey to the virus when they attempt to download a fake app from a third-party app store. Instead of getting the program that they were promised, they inadvertently allow the Gooligan malware to root into their Android OS and take control of it. Once in control, the virus downloads apps using your Google information. These apps are infused with ads that belong to Gooligan developers, bringing them a never-ending stream of income.

 

Where Gooligan Came from and Where it’s Going

 

Gooligan appears to be a variation of the 2015 Ghost Push malware, which was also wildly successful at infecting Android users. Google is currently working with Android engineers and Internet security firms to quelch the malware; they believe that through cooperative efforts, it will disappear from public attention. As it is, those who have updated Android versions of 6.0 or greater are not affected by the malware.

You can lower your chances of contracting the Gooligan malware by downloading apps only from Google Play and checking your system through the security firm Check Point to ensure your Android hasn’t already been infected.

 

For more information on Gooligan and how you can protect your company, contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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18 Oct

What Makes Google’s Pixel so Special?

This year, Google announced its grand entry into a market largely dominated by major companies like Samsung and Apple with the production of its first smartphone — the Google Pixel. Although it sports a design similar to the iPhone, Google is planning to offer distinct features that will enhance the user experience. What are they, and will they make Google Pixel stand out from other smartphones?

 

A fantastic smartphone camera

 

When purchasing a smartphone, a good camera is one of the must-haves. And in this area, Google Pixel does not disappoint, as it has one of the best smartphone cameras on the market. With a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, the Google Pixel can capture high-quality photos in both bright and poorly-lit environments. For selfie enthusiasts, Google’s smartphone also sports an 8-megapixel front camera, which is much more powerful than the iPhone 7’s.

 

Long battery life

 

Due to the complex programs that run on them, many smartphones are unable to offer long battery life. But this isn’t a problem with the Google smartphone. The Google Pixel can last for as long as 13 hours with extended internet use. What’s more, just a short time charging yields hours of potential use. Experts say that with only 15 minutes of plug-in time, the phone will operate for up to 7 hours.

 

Robust specs

 

One of the weaknesses of Microsoft’s smartphone was its mediocre specifications compared to other handheld devices at the time. Pixel users will find no problems here. To compete with the iPhone, Google Pixel is starting strong with a 1080p screen, 1.6GHz quad processor, 4GB of RAM, and a minimum of 32GB of storage space. Additionally, because it runs with the Android operating system, Pixel can comfortably outperform many other smartphone models.

As for its design, the device looks a lot like the iPhone, but comes in three distinct colors amusingly named “really blue,” “very silver,” and “quite black.” Learning from the missteps of previous companies’ smartphone efforts, Google Pixel has focused on borrowing only the successful elements of prominent smartphone developers to ensure a bit of market share from the beginning.

 

One of the best contenders in the market

 

Apple and Samsung phones may still be the cream of the crop, but Google’s entry is quickly catching up. With pricing in line with the iPhone 7 (USD$649), Google is certainly confident in its hardware. We suppose only time will tell whether Google has reached a smartphone breakthrough or if it will flop like so many companies before them.

 

We at EIT love all things technological. While we are not in the business of selling or maintaining smartphones, we can definitely offer advice on which phone will work best for your needs. If you are looking for technological advice or are interested in a professional managed services provider, contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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24 May

The Exciting Features of Android 6.0

Android Marshmallow has been one of the most anticipated software updates for Android users. Dubbed by Google as “the sweetest, smartest Android version yet”, it was first unveiled at the company’s I/O conference under the codename Android M. So what features do you look forward to when your tablet finally updates to Android 6.0 version? Read on.

 

Now on Tap

 

Google’s digital personal assistant is being made more efficient in giving you quick answers and in figuring out what you may want to do next. Now On Tap can be activated by pressing on your tab’s home button, which works for both onscreen and the physical button. A short animation or a card will appear that will give you quick information based on the context of what is currently on your screen. For example, you are chatting with a client regarding a new restaurant, Now on Tap can give you directions to the restaurant, its contact information or Yelp review. This deep-linking technology also includes shortcuts to apps on your tablet and is also applicable to voice searches. It’s designed in a way that it appears when you need it and disappears so you can resume what you were previously doing.

 

Android Pay

 

With the increasing popularity of mobile payment, Google is trying again after the dismal performance of the Google Wallet. The latter is being changed for peer-to-peer payments only, while Google Pay allows you to pay for both in-store and in-app purchases. Google’s newest mobile payment system lets you purchase goods from 700,000 participating stores by using your tab’s NFC technology. Also, checking out in mobile shopping apps is a walk in the park using Android Pay.

 

Doze

 

Don’t you just hate it when after a few hours of taking the tablet off the charger, you’re left with just 2% battery life? With the Doze mode in Android 6.0, it promises to make your tablet last even longer. This new power-saving feature uses a lot less power than the current Standby mode. In Doze mode, your tablet hibernates when you put it down for a lengthy period. That means your tab will not be disturbed by power hogging apps, but will still be receiving incoming messages, phone calls and important alarms.

 

Redesigned App Drawer

 

Marshmallow comes with a new design for the app drawer – that part in your tablet where all your installed apps are located. A search bar at the top makes it even easier to find an app. Google also remembers your app-opening frequency or periods and can make suggestions on what apps you might want to use. Instead of scrolling left and right, the app drawer now scrolls up or down which is reminiscent of older Android versions.

 

Android for Work

 

This may not be a very appealing addition to many but for those who bring their tablet as a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) device at work, this is definitely sexy. Android Marshmallow improves the way it handles security, notifications, VPNs, access and storage. So much so that one device can be used for both home and work purposes.

 

Fingerprint API

 

This update may not be all that apparent, but now your Android tab comes with support for a fingerprint reader. This allows you to unlock your tab and its apps, and also to easily verify payments.

 

App Permissions

 

Now you can have greater control over the security and privacy of your tablet by approving permission requests on a need-to-use basis. Previously, these apps required carte blanche permission to look at parts of your tablet you actually didn’t want them to. With Android Marshmallow, WhatsApp may not ask for permission to access your photos until you try to take and send one. However, keep in mind that some apps may not function optimally if you restrict it to resources that it actually needs.

 

Not sure how to proceed when it comes to app permissions? Having problems in updating your tablet’s software? Or are you finding it difficult to integrate your BYOD device with technology at work? Get in touch with one of our experts to assist with any of your technology issues. Contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net

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26 Feb

CAUTION: This Malware can Erase Your Android!

The smartphone. It may seem like the last safe haven from online security threats. As it rests snugly in your pocket, you may never even think a virus, trojan or other malware could ever touch it. And even if it did, how much damage could it really cause? Well, for Android users, we’ve got some bad news. There’s a new malware in town that can cause catastrophic damage to your phone and data. In fact, it can wipe out all your personal data completely. Here’s the full scoop on this terrifying malware, and some simple tips to prevent it from infecting your Android.

 

How does it work?

 

Mazar, as the malware is known, spreads exclusively via links in a text message. Once the user clicks on the link, Tor software is downloaded, which hides the source of the malware by allowing anonymous Internet connections. Then with little chance of being noticed, mazar is downloaded onto the phone.

 

What’s the risk?

 

Not only can mazar erase all your personal data, but it can also wreak havoc on your phone in other ways. If your Android is infected, the malware can secretly monitor your device, send text messages, and take control of your settings and keys. Similar to trojan malware, mazar creates a backdoor to your smartphone for cyber criminals to enter. Once the hacker is in, he can control your Android as however he sees fit.

 

How can you protect your Android?

 

If the language setting of your phone is set to Russian, you are safe. So unless you’re looking to take up a second language, the best security measure is to be cautious of all text messages you receive on your phone. Just like your mother taught you not to talk to strangers, you should also avoid clicking on their links. But you should also be wary of texts from friends because, as most of us know, hackers can easily disguise themselves as those close to us.

Lastly, there is one small, practical step that may help prevent mazar from infecting your Android. Simply switch off the security setting that allows apps from unknown sources to be installed on your phone.

 

As an MSP provider, we at EIT Networks know how stressful security issues can be. The worry can cause you to lose focus and be less productive. That’s why we want our customers to know that we’re always there to offer security tips and solutions to keep your data safe. Whether you’re looking for a security solution for your Android or for your business, give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net, and we’d be happy to give you some peace of mind.

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08 Feb

This Android App is a Resource Hog

Most of us know that apps can drain battery and slow down your phone. But what if there was a single app that was eating 20% of your battery and potentially slowing its speed by 15%. For Android phone users, this looks to be the case. And, unfortunately for all those social media lovers out there, the app responsible goes by the name of Facebook.

 

The flaw with the Facebook app was first reported by a tech writer, Russell Holly, from androidcentral.com. Here’s what he had to say about it…

 

“Recently I noticed some performance issues on multiple phones, and had started paying closer attention to what exactly was causing these problems. When Facebook turned out to be one of the more egregious resource hogs, I uninstalled it to see how things improved…Not only did my performance issues go away entirely, but I discovered I didn’t actually lose any of the Facebook features I cared about by uninstalling the app.”

 

Russell Holly, however, is not the only one who’s noticed a difference in Android performance after uninstalling Facebook. Since his finding, there have been numerous reports from tech writers and Android users across the globe. Furthermore, some users have also noticed a 15% boost in speed once they uninstalled Facebook and the Messenger app.

 

Alternative methods to get your Facebook fill

 

As one of the Android’s most popular apps, whether or not to install or uninstall Facebook can be a tough decision. However, the battery benefits are so big that it’s worth exploring alternate methods to get your Facebook fill. One is to simply uninstall Facebook and keep the Messenger app. This will not give you the full 20/15% boost, but will provide a noticeable difference in both speed and battery life. Alternatively, you can also access Facebook via Google Chrome or your other Internet browser. By doing this, you can still use most of the same Facebook features (with the exceptions of a few such as location-based functionality and Instant Articles, among others) and still get the max boost to your battery and speed.

 

As for Facebook, this isn’t the first time the app has been accused of slowing down a phone. Last October, the app was found to drastically drain the iPhone’s battery as well. Facebook promised to work on correcting that issue, and have a similar response to this, “We have heard reports of some people experiencing speed issues stemming from our Android app…We are looking into this and will keep [users] posted. We are committed to continuing to improve these issues.”

 

So while you’re pondering whether or not to uninstall Facebook on your phone, feel free to shoot us any of your IT-related concerns. Call 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net

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27 Nov

Samsung Pay Expands Payment Options

As mobile payments move ever closer to becoming the norm for settling bills and undertaking financial transactions, Google Wallet and Apple Pay continue to be the services that hog the limelight. While it may appear on the surface that these are the only popular options, Samsung Pay is also getting in on a slice of the NFC-technology action. The Korea-headquartered technology giant has taken another step forward by announcing its integration of support for eight more credit and debit card issuers within Samsung Pay.

 

Samsung Pay, which the company claims to be the most accepted mobile payment system around, already supports payment made through three of the major and most popular networks in the United States and elsewhere: Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. The latest development will be of most benefit to customers in the US, or those with accounts at these US-based financial institutions but who themselves are based overseas.

 

Among the newly supported payment methods are Visa cards issued through the American bank Chase and through the Navy Federal Credit Union, as well as MasterCard credit and debit cards held against accounts with the following US institutions:
 
•Citizens Equity First Credit Union
•Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union
•Security Service Federal Credit Union
•State Employees’ Credit Union
•SunTrust
•Virginia Credit Union

 

Other major banking institutions already supported for transactions processed through Samsung pay include Bank of America, Citibank, U.S. Bank, and Synchrony Financial. The growth of Samsung Pay and the widening choice of options for making use of the service are signs of the increased importance of the mobile payments sector – something to which smart businesses are paying close attention, in order to be able to identify how to best exploit the growth opportunities this presents.

 

Find out how you can make mobile payments work for your business – give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or send us an email at sales@eitnetworks.net.

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25 Sep

An Android Tablet for $50!

If you thought implementing tablet technology into your business setup was beyond your company’s budget, it might be time to reconsider. Online retailing giant Amazon could be about to shake up the tablet industry with the launch of Amazon Fire. This super-economy Android tablet will retail for just $50, putting it within reach both of home users and of businesses looking to buy in bulk. Here’s what you need to know.

 

The seven-inch Amazon Fire tablet is due to launch on September 30, meaning it will be available just in time for the holiday season – great for individuals looking to treat themselves or loved ones, but also good news for businesses looking to use technology to increase efficiency ahead of the busy peak period.

 

Given the tablet’s budget positioning – with likenesses to Google’s stripped-back Chromebook, which performs basic functions but is of only limited use without an internet connection – it’s not surprising that it isn’t as powerful as more popular options. While its software is based on Android, the device actually runs on Amazon’s Fire OS 5 Bellini operating system. That means it does not support the Google Play apps used on the vast majority of Android tablets – which will be a drawback for some users – but it does work with the Amazon app store. Other key specs include a 1,024×600 pixel display, a 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage that can be increased further by using a microSD card. According to Amazon, the Fire supports seven hours of battery life during moderate usage.

 

Perhaps most interesting, though, is the fact that the Fire comes with built-in advertising-based screensavers displaying Amazon promotions; a small additional payment is required to switch these off. Again, it’s hardly a shock to hear that there’s a semi-catch of this kind when the tablet itself only costs $50. It might also represent a shift in the market positioning of tablet devices, with more focus on business models similar to those of no-frills budget airlines and hotels, where extra payments are required for meals, seat selection, windows, towel rental, and so on.

 

Either way, the Amazon Fire could be the way into tablet use for companies that need their employees to have the ability to work remotely and flexibly, but which don’t require the more intensive capabilities of pricier higher-end devices. To learn more about adapting mobile technology in your business in order to boost efficiency and productivity, give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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