Protect your Facebook and Twitter from Hackers

In the wake of Facebook’s worldwide privacy scandal, it’s time to revisit some social media best practices. Your information is incredibly valuable, and you can’t rely on social media platforms to keep it safe from hackers. Heed these tips to make sure your Facebook and Twitter accounts are well secured.

Lockscreens Exist for a Reason

Make sure all your computing devices lock the moment you stop using them. This way, you are safe from the simplest hack of all: someone opening a browser on your computer that has your social media login saved. As long as your password isn’t your birthday or anniversary, you’ll be forcing hackers to work for access to your account.

Strong Passwords are Never Out of Fashion

Unlocking your phone may be limited to a six-digit passcode, but you’ll need something much more complicated for your account password. The first thing you’ll need to do is create a password that isn’t used for any other account. Because data breaches have become such a regular occurrence, hackers probably have a long list of your favorite passwords from other websites and platforms.

In this case, it is best to use a password manager like an app or online service that allows you to generate and retrieve complex passwords.

Another measure that you can take is to enable two-factor authentication, which requires you to type in a secondary code sent to your phone. Even if hackers have your password, they won’t be able to log in without your phone.

Make Use of Social Media Features

Facebook offers functions that help you keep tabs on who’s accessing your account and from where. To use this feature, click the down arrow in the upper right corner of your Newsfeed and select Settings. Then click Security and Login to get more information. If you sense an imposter, click the right-hand icon to give you the option of logging out remotely or reporting the person.

From there, turn on Get alerts about unrecognized logins to be notified via Facebook, Messenger, or email if someone is logged into your account from an unrecognized browser. Unfortunately, Twitter doesn’t have the same option (that makes the two-factor authentication extremely necessary).

While it may be difficult for a hacker to barge into your Facebook or Twitter account through a third-party service that you have given access to your profile, it’s still advisable that you check what you have approved.

  • Facebook: Go to Settings > Apps and Websites to view and manage outside service with access to your account
  • Twitter: Go to Settings and Privacy > Apps to check and edit the list

Last, be sure to check the permissions mobile apps like Facebook and Twitter have on your smartphone or tablet.

  • Android: Go to Settings > Apps > tap the icon in the upper right and then tap App permissions
  • iOS: Go to Settings > Privacy to manage which service can access which parts of your phone

Less Personal Info, Fewer Problems

These steps are just the beginning of the security that you should take advantage of. Next, you should consider limiting the personal data you input into your social media accounts. If you have to put a ton of information, then be sure you read this blog from the top… and then read it again.

With a little practical knowledge, you can prevent Facebook and Twitter hackers from doing what they do. Cybersecurity is a sprawling issue and social media privacy is such a small sliver of your online life that you need to stay on top of. For 24/7 support, call our team of experts today at 800-421-7151.

Overheating Laptop? Here’s How to Prevent It

If you own a laptop, chances are you’ve noticed how hot it can get. You might not know it, but your laptop may already be overheating, which will lead to decreased efficiency and a shorter lifespan. Here’s how to protect your laptop from further damage due to overheating.

Causes of overheating

Laptops create heat during their normal operation. That’s why they’re designed with internal fans that blow out hot air and suck in cooler air. When your laptop keeps shutting down or suffers serious slowdowns, chances are it’s overheating.

One of the most common causes of overheating is when the fan doesn’t operate normally. This may be due to dust and grime clogging up the fan, preventing it from rotating properly. It’s also possible that the air vents are being blocked, preventing air from flowing into the laptop.

Another thing to consider is the age of your laptop’s battery, which relies on lithium to store electricity. This chemical naturally decays over time, no matter how carefully you use it. The older the battery, the less efficient it is and the more heat it generates.

Software use can also contribute to overheating. Too many apps and programs running in the background can overwork your laptop.

What to do if it’s overheating

The first thing you should do is check your hardware. Turn your laptop off and inspect the vents and your fan for any dirt, grime, or other possible causes of blockage. Also check whether the fan itself is not physically dented, which can slow down its rotation.

Sometimes overheating is simply caused by bad habits. Do you use your laptops in bed or on the carpet? Do you use pillows as padding? Uneven or soft surfaces often block the air vents, leading to overheating. Always place your laptop on a hard, even surface.

Aside from the hardware, check your software. Are there a lot of apps and programs that start automatically when you switch on your laptop? If yes, then you may need to limit them.

Keeping it cool

To prevent your laptop from overheating, always make sure that there’s adequate airflow for your laptop. Better yet, invest in a cooling pad. These pads lift your laptop and add more fans to facilitate better airflow.

Limit the number of programs that run when you start your laptop. Change your settings to “power save.” And shut down your laptop whenever you’re not using it.

It’s easy to take laptops for granted because they’re billed as plug-and-play devices. However, with a little extra care and attention, your devices will last much longer. If you have any questions about your hardware, call us today at 800-421-7151.

Be Smart and Back Up Your Valuable Data

Storing copies of your business data in the cloud will help you avoid the risks associated with broken hard drives, lost or stolen devices, and human error. That’s because entrusting your data to an expert service provider means you’ll have trained professionals handling the backup of your business assets online.

How should you go about choosing a cloud backup provider? Let’s take a look:

Learn more about their storage capacity

Before partnering with a cloud backup provider, ask them where they store their data. Many providers use cloud servers over which they have little control, which could be hazardous as it makes it harder to monitor activity and respond to anomalies. To avoid this fate, choose a backup service that operates their own cloud-based servers.

Next, you will have to determine whether your business assets can be backed up, since some cloud storage providers do not have the capacity to save bigger files like videos or other multimedia files. By asking these questions, you can find a cloud backup service that fits your business needs, and more importantly, can take care of all your files.

Get details on their security

It will be important for the cloud backup provider to explain in no uncertain terms how they will store your files. They should be encrypted and stored on multiple servers because redundant storage ensures your data has multiple copies saved online and can be retrieved at will. Even if an uncontrollable disaster befalls your company or the backup provider’s system, you’ll still be safe.

Compare your budget and backup costs

Before considering any cloud backup provider, you need to know how much the service is worth to you. How much money would you lose if your server crashed and all the data it stored was irretrievable? Compare that amount with the cost of a provider’s service, which could be charged by storage tiers, per gigabyte, or on a flat-fee unlimited plan.

When asking about the price of cloud backups, make sure to clarify any service limitations or restrictions. For example, how quickly can your storage capacity be upgraded? Is it possible to run out of storage? These are not things you want to discover in the middle of hurricane season.

Clarify data recovery timelines

Although storage availability is important, how quickly backups can be created and restored is also an essential factor. Ask providers how often backups will be created (e.g., hourly, daily, weekly), and how long it will take to restore them (e.g., hours, days, etc.). If those timelines are too long, it may be time to look for a better provider.

The most important thing is to know your needs before meeting with a potential provider. Let them know your business needs, budget, and recovery timelines. Our solutions and pricing are flexible and customized to your needs so you’re not stuck in a cookie-cutter plan.

Give us a call at 800-421-7151 to find out more about backup services and other dynamic ways to protect your data.

5 Steps to Enabling Virtualization on a Local Computer

Keep in mind that virtualization is one of the most effective ways to significantly reduce IT expenses, while simultaneously increasing efficiency and flexibility. But are issues hindering you from enjoying virtualization on your PC? Here are detailed answers for you to fix these problems.

#1 Enable Virtualization in Your BIOS

In most cases, virtualization won’t work because it’s disabled in your computer’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS). Though most modern computers support the feature, it’s often disabled by default. Thus, you should take a look to make sure it is enabled on your computer.

#2 If You Don’t See It – Update Your BIOS

If you don’t see an option for virtualization in your BIOS, there’s a chance the manufacturer has provided an update that includes it. This may not be the case for all machines, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

To find a BIOS update, you can use the manufacturer app included with your PC or manually search the internet for it.

#3 Disable Hyper-V

Professional editions of Windows include a Microsoft program called Hyper-V. This is Microsoft’s own virtualization software, like Oracle’s VirtualBox or Dell’s VMware. Unfortunately, Hyper-V can hijack your computer’s virtualization privileges, blocking you from using other virtualization apps.

You don’t need Hyper-V unless you really want to use it, so removing it from your computer will let your virtualization app of choice work properly.

#4 Confirm Your PC Supports Virtualization

If you’ve tried all the above steps and virtualization still won’t work, chances are your machine doesn’t support it. It’s worth confirming this before you give up, though.

If you have an Intel CPU, download the Intel Processor Identification Utility. It’s a handy tool that helps you know features, package, intended frequencies and actual operating frequencies of your Intel processor. Those with AMD processors should download the equivalent AMD tool instead.

#5 I’ve Enabled Virtualization, but…

Maybe you’ve gotten virtualization to work after following the advice above, but still have issues with performance or getting a virtual machine (VM) started. Here are some other things to try:

  1. Make sure you download the right version of the operating system you want to run in a VM to avoid compatibility issues.
  2. Make sure you have enough free disk space, or your host computer could run low on space. This can cause performance problems.
  3. Ensure you have enough RAM to dedicate to the VM.

At WAMS, we offer server virtualization much more to our clients due to the benefits that this strategy offers. These benefits include:

  1. Reduced Hardware Costs
  2. Faster Server Provisioning and Deployment
  3. Greatly Improved Disaster Recovery
  4. Significant Energy Cost Savings
  5. Increased Productivity

Virtualization is important, easy-to-implement technology that companies of any size can take advantage of. And if you feel overwhelmed with anything related to this topic, just call us today at 800-421-7151 for a quick chat with one of our certified virtualization technicians who might help you out.

Browser-Based Biometrics Boosts Security

Earlier this month, the World Wide Web Consortium, announced plans to begin allowing users to log into online accounts with fingerprints, facial scans, and voice recognition. This will not only boost security, but also make account management much simpler.

Authenticate Your Profile on Your Mobile Device

Chrome OS, Windows, and MacOS, Linux, and Android are all adding features to help users safely log in using biometric identification via USB, Bluetooth, and NFC devices connected to smartphones and tablets. With such convenience, users can verify their accounts on the go.

Preventing Cyber Attacks with Browser-based Biometrics

Passwords are notoriously bad at protecting users’ accounts and the information they store. Facial scans, fingerprints and voice recognition would make it exponentially harder for hackers to commit identity theft. That means you’re also less likely to be duped by an email from a hacker pretending to be your boss asking for the company credit card.

Enjoy More Secured Online Transactions

Biometric verification will also retire the need for logging in your information when shopping online, streaming video, using cloud applications, and other internet-based transactions. Windows 10 has already adopted features that offer limited account management with fingerprints and facial scans. But none of the big-name technology vendors have offered solutions to achieve this on mobile devices as of yet.

Browser-based biometrics could revolutionize and streamline the steps of verifying an online account. It promises to add more security and ease in logging in and transacting on the internet. To ensure that you are operating as securely as possible, give us a call at 800-421-7151 now.

Should You Worry About Facebook’s Security Breach?

Facebook is the most popular platform for developing brand awareness because it allows businesses to target users based on what they have posted in the past. But after the recent data breach scandal, is your data still safe? Read on to find out if you need to worry about your privacy.

Last month, news broke that a firm known as Cambridge Analytica collected private data from over 50 million Facebook users. The British company supposedly used this information in 2016 to influence voter behavior during the US presidential election and UK’s Brexit campaign.

How did they harvest the data?
In 2015, a Facebook personality quiz app called “This is Your Digital Life” was created by Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan. Around 270,000 Facebook users signed up and gave information about themselves in exchange for humorous results.

What users didn’t know was that Kogan’s firm, Global Science Research, struck a deal with Cambridge Analytica to share the information that was gathered. Aside from collecting information about the Facebook users, the app also mined some data about the users’ friends.

Information collected was based on:

  • Data from other platforms that are also owned by Facebook, including Instagram and WhatsApp
  • Advertisers and other third-party partners
  • Apps and websites which use Facebook services
  • Your location
  • The devices you use for Facebook access
  • Payments handled by Facebook
  • Your Facebook connections and networks
  • Messages, photos and other content that other users send to you
  • The information you disclose to Facebook
  • Your activities on Facebook

What happened to the sourced information?
Cambridge Analytica analyzed the collected data to create psychological profiles and invent better political drives to influence whom people would vote for. Although there is still a huge debate about how effective this plans were, there’s no doubt that tens of thousands of users were manipulated into signing away their data without knowing it.

What can I do to keep my information safe?
Remove third-party apps that use your Facebook account. Visit your “Settings” menu and go to “Apps”. You should see the list of all the services that are using information about your Facebook profile. Check on each app, and if you don’t need it or use it anymore, delete it to revoke its access.

If you need more information on how to keep your data secure, feel free to give us a call today at 800-421-7151!