03 Jul

Windows 10 Will Wave Goodbye to Passwords

For many people, passwords are the bane of online existence. Rely on one master password for all your logins and using the Internet can become a security threat. Use dozens of unique ones and it quickly becomes an annoyance. With Windows 10, Microsoft looks to resolve this problem for good. And by doing so, they hope to make the Internet and computer devices both safer and easier to use, for people around the world. Here’s how they intend to do it.

 

The problem with passwords

 

The problem with passwords is simple – they can be stolen. And from Facebook to iTunes to Flickr and thousands more, nearly every major website and thousands of niche ones require a password to use. And because we Internet users are logging onto dozens of these sites and services everyday, it’s virtually impossible for us to create a unique, complex password for each one. So people resort to using only a handful of passwords, or even just one master password, since it’s easier. But of course, this poses a security risk. So what’s an Internet user to do?

Microsoft Windows 10 is pioneering a new technology that is ready to flip this dated system on its head and eliminate the password problem for good.
 

Login to your devices with biometrics

 

Passwords can be stolen easily, but how easy is it to steal a person’s physicality? Microsoft’s new technology, named Hello, uses biometrics – such as your fingerprint, or face or iris scan – to log into your computer, laptop or other device. This ensures that no one can login to your device but you.

“Well, what about using a photograph to login instead,” you might ask? It won’t work. Using technology that takes a detailed map of your face in 3D, Hello is trained to reject the token photograph or selfie on login attempt. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone, besides you, to login to your device.
 

Use biometrics to login on the web

 

Logging into your computer with biometrics is great, but what most users really want is a more secure solution to login to websites while not having to remember a bazillion passwords. This is where Microsoft’s Passport comes in. Passport allows you to login into applications and online content without the need for a password. For example, instead of using your typical password to sign into your Microsoft Windows Account, you can now use Windows 10 facial recognition (or other biometrics) to log you in instead. That means you can access Skype, Xbox Live, Office 365 and more without a standard password. In addition to your Microsoft Windows Account, you’ll be able to use the biometric capabilities of Passport to access thousands of enterprise Azure Active Directory online services. Bear in mind, though, that it will be quite some time before you can use Passport to replace all your standard logins, since not every website has implemented this technology yet.

 

Want to hear more exciting Windows 10 news, or need assistance with your Windows device? Contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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17 Apr

Removing Malware from Your Android Device

We all know that computers can get infected with malware, but did you know that your phone or tablet can as well? Yes, it is in fact true. And just because you have a new fancy Android device, doesn’t mean you’re immune. So if your phone or tablet starts acting funny and you suspect malware is responsible, it’s time to take action with these six steps.

The lowdown on Android malware

First off, let’s just put some things out there and clear the air. One, getting any type of malware on your Android product is actually incredibly rare. Two, when you see pop-up ads prompting you to buy a virus removal app, don’t freak out. This doesn’t automatically mean your device is infected. In fact, buying one of these apps could actually download malware instead! This is because malware is only contracted via apps you install on the device, which means the safest way to avoid it is to only install apps from the Google Play app store. If you must buy one outside of this, it’s wise to do your research first.

Before we get to what we think is the best solution, there are alternative ways to remove malware that should be noted:

•Use antivirus apps from Google Play – a lot of these are free and will detect and remove malicious apps, but some have a tendency to report apps as infected when they’re actually completely fine. Just be careful with the removal process.

•Perform a factory reset – if there’s a virus on your phone, this is a surefire way to remove it. However, in doing so you return your phone to its original factory settings. That means you’ll lose everything you’ve added that isn’t backed up.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the recommended option below.

How to remove malware

1.Turn safe mode on: To do this, access the power-off options by pressing the power button, then press and hold Power Off. This gives you the option to restart in safe mode. However, this doesn’t work with all models of the Android phone or tablet. If it doesn’t work with your device, a quick Google will pull up model-specific instructions. And what’s the point of turning on safe mode in the first place? Simple – it prevents any malware from running.

2.Search for the infected app: Do this by opening Settings and then Apps. Once you’ve done this, be sure you’re looking at the Download tab (since the infected app can only be something you’ve downloaded), and then start searching for the suspected app. If you don’t know the app’s name, it’s likely something that looks out of place.

3.Uninstall the app: Yes, it’s really that simple. Just click on the suspected app and uninstall it. Then you’re done. However, if the name of the app is grayed out and you can’t even tap it, it means the app has given itself Device Administration Status. In this case, follow the next three steps below.

4.Remove Administrator Status: Do this by tapping on Settings and Security, then Device Administrators. Simply uncheck the infected app and hit Deactivate on the next screen.

5.Uninstall the app: Now when you return to the Apps menu, the infected app will no longer be grayed out. Simply uninstall it.

6.Restart your device: This takes it out of safe mode. Now your phone will be malware-free.

Want more ideas for Android and IT security? Don’t hesitate to give us a call today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or send us an email at sales@eitnetworks.net.

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23 Jan

Spanning Protects Office 365

While what the cloud is about may seem a little foggy to many business users, a great many are already taking advantage of the collaborative power of such cloud platforms as Office 365. There is a big amount of trust and belief that data is safe in the cloud, however, there are security issues to consider and some of these relate to problems with data protection from the user end. Spanning is set to offer an extra layer of protection for Office 365 in 2015.

Data backup provider Spanning is widening its ambit to include Office 365 this coming year. With an increasing amount of data located in cloud applications, this expansion will likely be welcomed by business bosses all over the world.

Isn’t my data protected in the cloud?

Well, yes it is, but not 100%, and it is this gap that users need to be wary of. A 2014 report by IT hardware storage providers, EMC, who recently acquired Spanning, points to a 400% rise in data loss since 2012. With platforms such as Office 365, each end-user represents an opportunity for data to be compromised. In other words, it is not the solid core of the cloud and its backup and recovery services that is the issue, but this increase in cloud-based collaboration and file sharing.

How can data be lost?

Each cloud provider offers certain protections and terms which it is vital you understand first and foremost. On top of this, an awareness of how data is at risk from user influence is essential too. Some data loss issues include:

•Accidentally deleting files.

•Intentionally deleting files with malicious intent.

•File corruption and data wipes due to tech glitches.

•Retrieving files deleted over 30 days previously or locating a previous file version due to errors in current documents.

What will Spanning offer Office 365 users?

Spanning allows for automated and manual daily backups of mail, calendar and contacts, whilst ensuring there is a copy of data from applications and cloud files. Other benefits include:

•Ability to find previous backups and restore these.

•Ability for data restoration, from one Office 365 account to another to allow for smoother and security-conscious recruitment and end-of-employment changes.

•Protection through 256 bit encryption with intrusion detection.

•Data control with compartmentalized access.

When it comes to data loss there is clear and present danger that could spell financial ruin for your business. There is always need for a copy of your data so that recovery is possible. To ignore cloud security and not consider data protection for Office 365 could be costly and for many businesses even deliver a fatal blow.

According to some recent statistics from IDG Research, 58% of businesses surveyed had suffered some hosted software data loss in the last year and 31% were debating whether to invest in backup and recovery for this data. Cloud data storage protection does not cover human error or problems with system configurations, nor IT service management process errors.

Find out how to protect your Office 365 data by getting in touch with us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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16 Jan

Learning From Sony’s Security Breach

The scale of the recent security breaches at Sony, which led to the cancellation of The Interview’s theatrical release, can make the company’s problems seem beyond the realm of the average small business. But the security mishaps that created the circumstances for the hack are as applicable to modest local and regional companies as they are to multimillion dollar corporations. These three tips will take you back to security basics and help avert your own big-screen drama.

Don’t let basic security habits slip

Our modern-day instinct tells us that the answer to potential security breaches is to install new layers of antivirus software, firewalls and further encryption systems. While these are all worthy additions to your company’s armor of security shields, they will do little to help if good old-fashioned protective habits are allowed to slide.

Instill a disciplined, security-conscious mentality in your organization, and keep the messages simple so that staff remember and follow them. Focus on regularly changing passwords and keeping them secret, being vigilant about avoiding unexpected links in email messages, and limiting network access for the likes of external contractors to that which is absolutely necessary.

One of the ways hackers made their way into the Sony network was by tricking administrators into thinking they had a legitimate need for access. In IT terms, this is called “social engineering.” To avoid this tricky tactic, teach your staff to be careful, and praise cautiousness even if it turns out access is warranted. Encourage staff to flag potential security lapses, and make sure they know that reports will be followed up and loopholes closed.

Take a flexible and agile approach to IT

IT changes, and so do the ways best suited to keeping it safe. This means it is vitally important to keep your IT systems up to date, and where necessary to do away with outdated practices that could leave your business technology exposed. This involves more than just ensuring that your network is running updated antivirus software to catch the latest bugs and worms – it means staying abreast of emerging methods to mitigate potential threats from hackers worldwide.

All of this uses staff and resources that your small business might not have – which is where outsourced managed services come in. Using a managed service provider as an add-on to your own IT team can give you extra flexibility and the ability to keep abreast of industry security developments, even when you lack the time to do so yourself.

Equally, know when it is time to ditch data – think of emerging social networks like Snapchat, which set messages to self-destruct after a set time, as your cue to make your data retention policy less permanent, particularly in relation to email. If you no longer have a business need or a regulatory requirement to retain information, then delete it – in the process you can limit the possible damage even if the worst should occur and you fall victim to an external attack.

Backup, backup, backup

The last thing you want in the event of a security breach is for it to hit your day-to-day operations – the potential damage caused by the hack itself is likely to give you enough to worry about. But that is exactly the situation Sony found itself in after its latest hack, with its email system down and staff forced to return to the days of pen, paper, and even the fax machine.

As well as ensuring alternative means of communication remain open to your business in the aftermath of a possible attack, it is also vital to make sure that you retain access to the information most critical to your work. Regular, secured backups help ensure that, whatever happens, the show is able to go on and your firm’s productivity and revenue are not unduly hit. Engaging professionals to undertake your backups on a managed service basis also means this can happen routinely and without fail, while you stay focused on running your business.

Want to learn more about how to reduce your IT network’s vulnerability to attack? Get in touch with us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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02 Jan

Antivirus: Keep it up to Date!

If you want to keep your business data and systems secure, it is essential that you have an antivirus or antimalware scanner installed on every system. While the install rates of these programs in businesses is nearly 100%, there is an increasing trend where some companies are letting their subscriptions expire. So, if your antivirus subscription expires is this really a big deal?

What happens when an antivirus subscription expires?

While each program will treat an expired subscription differently, generally speaking, most will still function in some way. You will normally be able to run a scan, but you likely will not be able to deal with any malware or security threats. Features like automated scanning will also be turned off.

Other programs will stop updating the essential virus and malware databases that are used by the program to identify and clean new malware. This means that while you will be secure from known viruses and security flaws up to the date of the last database update, you will not be secure against newly discovered viruses. New forms of malware are popping up constantly, so keeping your database updated is extremely important.

Some popular programs like Kaspersky offer an antivirus scanner trial version or a program that comes with a newly purchased computer. With programs like these, they will normally stop functioning once the trial period is over. Yes, they will still open, but you won’t be able to scan or perform any tasks.
In short, when your subscription expires, your systems will no longer be secure, or as protected as they should be.

What do I do if my subscription is about to expire?

Before your subscription expires, you should take steps to back up all of your systems and data. The reason for this is that should something happen you have a clean backup to revert to. Once this is carried out, then consider renewing your subscription. Most programs allow you to do this directly from the scanner itself, so it is often fairly straightforward.

As a business owner however, you are going to need to keep track of your systems and licenses. What we recommend is creating a spreadsheet with information on the subscription applied to all systems. Take account of when the scanner was installed on each system, how long the subscription period is for, and when it will expire.

What if my subscriptions are about to expire, but I don’t like my current program?

There may come a time when the scanner you have selected simply isn’t living up to your expectations. Maybe it takes too long to scan, uses too many resources, or simply isn’t able to protect all of your systems. Regardless of the reason, switching scanners is always an option.

If you are thinking of moving to another scanner, we strongly recommend that before you do anything, you back up your systems. You can then start looking for other systems. We encourage you to contact us, as we can help identify a solution that will work for your business and systems. We can then help ensure that the transition is carried out in a way that will not leave your systems open to attack.

We have a managed antivirus solution that will work for your business. By using a program like this, we can help protect your systems, keeping them secure and always up to date, all without you having to get involved. All you need to do is contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net to find out how!

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28 Nov

Freeware, Freeware Everywhere!

The Internet is loaded with free software, which is a good thing. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Some of this software is as good as or better than similar commercial products. For instance, GIMP is a free image editor/paint program that offers more features than some payware. It is amazing that people will produce such superb software and simply share it with society. If you are on a tight budget, you can look to freeware to keep your wallet happy. Of course, there is a dark side. With adware or spyware, you may get more than you bargained for. Here are some tips on keeping your computer or laptop safe while benefiting from the generosity of gracious software developers.

Do Your Research

Let’s say you need a free audio editor. You could simply type in “free audio editor” into your browser’s search bar, click on the first page that comes up, and download that particular audio editor. Don’t do that. Chances are it will be a perfectly fine website with secure downloads, but how do you know if it is a good product or not? What if it comes bundled with any unwanted junk? Will it turn your computer into a digital billboard for, say, NOS energy drinks? This is where research comes into play. Search for “best free audio editor” instead and look at multiple articles. If you see one particular program that consistently shows up at the top of the list, it may be the one for you. Just be sure to look at its strengths and weaknesses before downloading it.

Download the Right Product from the Right Website

Using the example of an audio editor once again, let’s assume you’ve found a good one called AudioEditorExtreme+ (fictional). Who makes this wonderful program you want? Well, you found out through the research process that it is produced by a company called AEEInc (again, fictional). The problem is that there is another freeware download called AudioEditExtreme+ made by VirusesRUs. You don’t want that one. It is a bad program. Yes, I know this is a ridiculous example, but it is here to serve the point that you should take great care in downloading the right program. The best method is to go directly to the official company website to retrieve it. If you do go to a site such as CNET.com, just be sure that the freeware you download is the right one and not one with a similar name!

Read the EULA, Whydontcha?

End User License Agreements are boring. Who reads them, anyway? Well, when installing freeware, it is a good idea to at least take a glance at it. If there is anything at all in there that makes you uncomfortable, it may be best to go back and find another program. For instance, if the EULA states that during the installation process a port will be opened that allows data to be continually streamed from your PC to the software developer’s server, you may want to pass! This is another extreme example, but you would be surprised at the data collection methods some companies utilize. There is a virtual plethora of freeware out there, so if you do not like the EULA for one, move on to another.

Be as Cautious as a Cat

Have you ever seen a cat hunt? It takes its time. It moves slowly and carefully as it nears its prey. It does not just run in willy-nilly, but creeps in close and gets the jump on a potentially faster animal. When it comes to the installation process, be like a cat. Take your time and read everything. Do not merely click “Next” or “Yes” without seeing what you are agreeing to. Even highly-rated, legitimate freeware may come bundled with garbage you do not want, including (but not limited to) browser toolbars, antivirus software, weather apps, registry scanners, or search engines. All of these can slow down your computer or laptop or just flat-out annoy you. Even worse, some can open up a “backdoor” into your system that hackers can exploit. Therefore, during the installation process, uncheck all of these extra programs. If even just one of these bundled items is mandatory, cancel the installation altogether and download a different program. Remember, this is YOUR system we are talking about, and YOU are in charge. Do not become prey on your own property!

Run an Anti-Malware Scan Afterwards

This may seem like overkill to you. After all, if you followed all the steps so far, why worry about malware? Well, you shouldn’t worry about it, per se, but remember that you are dealing with freeware, which is notorious for containing unwanted stuff. Even after following all of these steps, you never know what bad stuff may be hidden among the good stuff. An anti-malware scan is a great way to give you peace of mind about the new files on your hard drive. Besides, running frequent scans is ALWAYS a good practice, and what better time is there to run one than after accessing various websites and downloading programs? Chances are extremely high that you will never say to yourself, “Self, I wish I hadn’t run that anti-malware scan.”

There is a lot of great freeware available these days. Again, it is wonderful that certain individuals have dedicated a portion of their lives in making products to share with their fellow man. However, you should understand the risk inherent in freeware. Stick to the ideas in this article and you’ll have much better success in keeping your system clean. On a side note, if you have REALLY enjoyed a free program or service for an extended period of time, perhaps a donation is in order. If you realize they kept you from having to buy an expensive program, think about donating a little something to show them you appreciate their generosity!

EIT Networks offers IT consultation, network security, and 24/7 managed IT services. To find out more about how EIT Networks can assist your business, contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net

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14 Nov

CryptoWall: A Serious Security Threat

Last year saw a number of highly publicized security threats that many companies struggled to deal with. One of those was a nasty bit of malware called Cryptolocker, which held your files for ransom. While this has now largely been dealt with, news is surfacing of a second version – called CryptoWall – that has begun to infect users.

What is Crypto malware?

Crypto malware is a type of trojan horse that when installed onto computers or devices, holds the data and system hostage. This is done by locking valuable or important files with a strong encryption. You then receive a pop-up informing you that you have a set amount of time to pay for a key which will unlock the encryption. If you don’t pay before the deadline, your files are deleted.

When this malware surfaced last year, many users were understandably concerned and took strong precautions to ensure they did not get infected. Despite these efforts, it was not dealt with until this year, when security experts introduced a number of online portals that can un-encrypt files affected by Cryptolocker, essentially neutralizing the threat. Case closed? Not exactly. A recently updated version is threatening users once again.

Cryptolocker 2.0, aka. CryptoWall

Because of efforts by security firms to neutralize the Cryptolocker threat, the various developers of the malware have come back with an improved version, CryptoWall, and it is a threat of which everyone should be aware.

With CryptoWall, the transmission and infection methods remain the same as they did with the first version: It is most commonly found in zipped folders and PDF files sent over email. Most emails with the malware are disguised as invoices, bills, complaints, and other business messages that users are likely to open.

The developers did make some “improvements” to the malware that make it more difficult to deal with for most users. These changes include:

•Unique IDs are used for payment. These are addresses used to verify that the payment is unique and from one person only. If the address is used by another user, payment will now be rejected. This is different from the first version where one person who paid could share the unlock code with other infected users.

•CryptoWall can securely delete files: In the older version of this threat, files were deleted if the ransom was not paid, but they could still be recovered with some effort. In the new version the encryption has increased security which ensures the file is deleted. This leaves you with either the option of paying the ransom or retrieving the file from a backup.

•Payment servers cannot be blocked. With CryptoLocker, when authorities and security experts found the addresses of the servers that accepted payments they were able to add these to blacklists, thus ensuring no traffic would come from, or go to, these servers again. Essentially, this made it impossible for the malware to actually work. Now, it has been found that the developers are using their own servers and gateways which essentially makes them exponentially more difficult to find and ban.

How do I prevent my systems and devices from being infected?

Unlike other viruses and malware, CryptoWall does not go after passwords or account names, so the usual changing of your passwords won’t really help. The best ways to prevent this from getting onto your systems is:

•Do not open any suspicious attachments – Look at each and every email attachment that comes into your inbox. If you spot anything that looks odd, such as say a spelling mistake in the name, or a long string of characters together, then it is best to avoid opening it.

•Do not open emails from unknown sources – Be extra careful about emails from unknown sources, especially ones that say they provide business oriented information e.g., bank statements from banks you don’t have an account with or bills from a utilities company you do not use. Chances are high that they contain some form of malware. Even if the email appears to be from a company with whom you have dealings, it is best to simply access the account in question to check your messages or to call the company directly to check the validity of the email.

Should your files be attacked and encrypted by this malware, the first thing you should do is to contact us (EIT Networks). We can work with you to help find a solution that may keep you from having to pay the ransom to recover your files. CryptoWall may be incredibly difficult to deal with, but do not try to fight it alone.

If you are looking to learn more about CryptoWall malware and how to boost your security to protect your data and systems, contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net. We could be your first line of defense against this dangerous threat.

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07 Nov

Simple Tips on Wireless Security

Wireless technology has never been more popular, as evidenced by the vast number of wireless electronic devices that can connect to the Internet or local network. The freedom that this technology affords is quite appealing to most. It is liberating to access files, play music, watch videos, or communicate with others online without being tied down to one desk in your home or office. As with most technological conveniences, however, this freedom comes at a higher cost. With all of this information zipping back and forth through the air, how do you protect your network from hackers or nosy neighbors? Here are some simple steps to get started.

Note: This article is geared towards a home or small office network. Many of these ideas can be used for larger businesses, however.

1. Change the default username and password on your router

Routers come with a default username and password. Cybercriminals love default settings. Fortunately, changing the login info is easy. Just access your router (by using a web browser and the router’s IP), find the login settings, and change the defaults to something unique. Concerning the password, make it fairly complex (like bUnn1es@reCute1324). Internet villains have some powerful tools at their disposal, so do not make it easy for them. You probably will not access your router that often, in which case you will not have the chance to memorize your username and password. Therefore, make sure you write them down and store them someplace safe!

2. Change the SSID (also known as Wireless Network Name)

If your router uses a default SSID (like “linksys” or “netgear”), change it. The default Pre-Shared Key (PSK) may be based on this default name, making it easier for cybercriminals to break in. If they see a list of network names, they are more likely to try to hack the ones with a default name in hopes that the PSK has not been changed. If this is the case, the network name is essentially providing a portion of the wireless password, and the bad guys can run software that attempts to obtain the rest of it.

This step man not apply to newer routers that come with a unique SSID and PSK out of the box, but it will not hurt anything to change those as well. Also, if you set a long, complex PSK (see step 3 below), you will make it incredibly difficult to hack in, even if you are still using a default SSID, but if you can deter a hacker just by changing the SSID, why not do it? Another benefit of having a unique name is that it ensures you will not share a default SSID with a neighbor, which could cause confusion.

3. Enable WPA2 security and set a strong passphrase

This is probably already enabled on your router, as WPA2 has been around for quite some time, but you should check it to make sure. The older security protocols (WEP, WPA) have been around a lot longer and have some serious security flaws. WPA2 is not airtight, but it is the best option to use at the moment. Once you have enabled this feature, set a strong, unique PSK passphrase. As an example, something like “dGup@158$*Pld” would work splendidly. Just make sure you write it down and store it in a safe place!

This example may seem excessive, but a weak passphrase can be more easily cracked by a brute-force attack (using software that repeatedly tries various passwords until one of them works). It is best not to take chances when it comes to security. As always, changing your password/passphrase periodically is a good practice.

4. Update router firmware regularly

As routers age, they become more vulnerable to attacks. Router manufacturers issue firmware updates that can help make your router more secure, among other benefits. There is always a risk involved in updating firmware, however, but it is still a good thing to do. Never update firmware when there is an above-average risk that you may lose power, such as during inclement weather. Losing power during a firmware update could turn your router into what is fondly called a “brick.” Fortunately, firmware updates do not take long to apply, so the chances of losing power during that brief time is very slim. If you have any concerns, however, plug your computer and router into a UPS (uninterruptible power supply, not the shipping company….) before attempting a firmware update!

5. Disable WPS if not needed

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is a simple, convenient way to connect wireless devices to your network. On newer routers, you merely press a button on the router and a button on the device, and the router will automatically give the device a required 8-digit PIN; there is no setup involved whatsoever. Devices can only connect up to five minutes after the button is pressed, which makes it fairly secure. However, some older routers may not have this feature, which makes them susceptible to brute-force attacks. Using this method, a hacker can guess your PIN in less than a day.

There are differing opinions about WPS, but the general consensus is that it is best to disable it and set up your devices manually. This is more of a hassle, but it will undoubtedly make your network more secure. If needed, check with your router’s manufacturer to see what they have done to make WPS more secure, such as adding a lockout policy to combat brute-force attacks. Some companies have ditched the term “WPS” and have come up with something else that essentially does the same thing but with more security (such as QSS from TP-LINK).

6. Deny wireless devices access to router’s web-based utility

You do not want just anyone to make changes to your router. Go into your router’s web-based utility and find where you can change who has access. It may be in “Local Management” under the “Security” tab or something similar. Do not allow all computers on the LAN to access the router’s web-based utility. Instead, input the MAC addresses for the computer(s) you will be using for access, and only allow those computers access. A really good hacker can find a way around this, but the more roadblocks that are in the way, the safer the network is. The more steps a cybercriminal has to go through, the more likely he or she is to give up and move on to another network.

7. Disable UPnP

Universal Plug and Play is a feature that is on by default in most routers. The basic premise is that it allows programs on your computer to open ports, allowing for NAT traversal when needed. The problem is that UPnP has no built-in authentication, which could pose a security threat. For instance, if you get malware on your desktop, it could use UPnP to open a port indefinitely and send information to nefarious individuals. That could never be good! There is a lot more that can be said about UPnP, but it falls outside the scope of this article. Just know that it could be an issue. If you choose to disable it, and a needed program stops functioning, just utilize port forwarding for that specific program.

8. Ensure that your router cannot be accessed remotely

This option is usually off by default, but you might as well check it while you are changing settings on your router. It can usually be found under a tab named “Remote Management.” If enabled, it allows you to access your router’s web-based utility from any device with internet access and a web browser. You still have to input your password, of course, but it is just another way for unwanted guests to try to access your network. Also, chances are that you will never need this feature.

9. Place your wireless router near the center of your home/office

Unless your wireless network is located inside a huge faraday cage, you will probably end up with the signal bleeding out through the walls of your home or office. Placing your wireless router/access point at the center of your building, however, can lessen this problem. It may not be possible for everyone to do this, but if you do have the option, go for it! By the way, if your wireless network is inside a huge faraday cage, you can safely ignore this entire article….

10. Get a new wireless router

If you have an old router that does not utilize modern security protocols or for which the manufacturer no longer produces firmware updates, it may be time for an upgrade. Yes, this involves spending money, but it may be necessary to maintain proper network security. Unsupported routers are just like an operating system that is no longer supported by its maker; it becomes more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Experts recommend replacing your router every 4-5 years, even if it seems to be functioning just fine. For one thing, it is better to replace it while it is working than to wait for it to quit and then have to buy a new one. When there is no rush, you can research routers to find the best option for your budget and network needs. If your router goes down, you will probably run down to the local Buy More (fictional) and hastily grab the first router you see!

There is a lot more that can be said about wireless security, but these are some simple changes you can implement to make it tougher for unwanted individuals to access your network. If you are interested in how EIT Networks can provide network security, 24/7 monitoring, and many other services for your business, call 1-866-BIT-WISE or email us at sales@eitnetworks.net.

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