With kids back to school there are a lot of things to worry about. Getting them to class in time, making sure they have something to eat, and their homework is in their backpack. Unlike in our youth, kids have technology at their fingertips and are quick to explore the cyber world on their phones, but are they staying safe?

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We’ve talked a lot about what you can do on a smaller scale to keep your home and personal IoT (Internet of Things) devices secure, but what about your home network? While it might not seem like it, your home has its own network infrastructure. Most people assume that if their network is up and running and they can connect to the internet, then everything is okay. Like your car, assuming that it is running fine is not the best way to handle it. You need to maintain your network and check up on it regularly. So you are probably asking, what exactly does that entail?

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It is probably safe to say that the majority of us carry around some type of smart device. Whether it is an iPhone, Galaxy, Pixel, Note, or Jitterbug, these devices play a huge role in our daily lives. We use these “phones” more for interacting with the internet than to talk, on the phone, to real live people. We routinely access almost all of our personal information including email, social media, and even confidential information such as banking or business from them. Not to mention our phones often act as the “remote control” that gives us the ability to control the smart devices in our IoT (Internet of Things) network (i.e. lightbulbs, garage doors, security systems, etc.). What’s true is that most of us have setup a screen unlock code or pattern to access our devices, apps, and data in an effort to secure our information. We also rarely let it out of our sight in order to feel like the information is safe, but that’s really not the case.

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With the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life a personal assistant surely would come in handy, right? While this may not be fiscally responsible, maybe a voice assistant would be. In our last article, The Ping: Voice Assistants, we discussed how a voice assistant can manage a lot of your needs. Things such as the weather for the day, the traffic to work and your grocery list. However, sometimes just managing your house is what you need the most help with. Are you aware that they can do that too and what they are really managing?

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Debates.  We all experience them in one way or another.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Was the dress blue or gold?  In the IT world we face similar debates.  One of IT’s largest debate is hardware refresh vs maintaining existing hardware. Most resistance comes from this simple question, how can you best use your already-paid-for hardware while understanding the efficiency issues that come with staying with older equipment? Not to mention storage and daily processing requirements that drive the need to upgrade the hardware. Refresh too early and you’re throwing money out the window. Refresh too late and you risk your company’s IT systems, and ultimately the business itself, screeching to a hard stop.

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Most of us look at that update notification from our devices and think, “I’ll do that later.” When we finally get around to it, there are multiple updates that have been sitting there for weeks. We continue with this behavior because nothing has happened to me yet. In order to change those behaviors, let’s begin to think of updates like you would your car insurance. If you waited to cover yourself, that fender-bender might have cost you a LOT more in the long run.

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Ok, we’re going to get a little conspiracy / someone-is-watching-me crazy right now………

If you have a device with a camera that can access – or be accessed from – the Internet, then you may have a physical security problem. Someone may be watching you. Someone may be listening to your sensitive conversations.

 

You’re probably now thinking, “You’re right, you are going a little crazy!”

How many of your co-workers are walking around with an unsecured Android or iPhone that is listening for voice commands? How many of these devices have been in meetings when you were talking about very sensitive issues?

If you’d like to follow us down the path of paranoia, just do a web search for “hack android microphone.”

 

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What’s a Bee-YOD (BYOD)?

What is a BYOD anyway? The next hipster dog breed?

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. You’ll normally see this term used in reference to devices that are brought into your office by your employees and contractors.

If you haven’t addressed it yet then now is the time! One of your most important business assets, your data, is walking out the door every day on your employee’s phones. Until you get a grip on how this data is being handled your business is at risk.

 

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Being the smart guys they are, Microsoft is taking advantage of the rise in malware on Google Android-based phones. They are offering free Windows phones to users who describe their Android malware problems (Microsoft offers free Windows phones to Android malware victims). Don’t be surprised if Microsoft decides to make the same offer to Apple iPhone users since iPhones also have security issues (iPhone security bug lets innocent looking apps go bad). The flaw in the plan is that Microsoft Windows phones also have malware issues(Windows phone text message bug discovered).
What to do? We recommend the following:
* Practice safe surfing, even on your phone.
* Be smart about attachments – Don’t open anything sent to you that you aren’t expecting.
* Don’t install anything that you haven’t researched. Any app can be a gateway into your data.
* Keep control of your phone and the data on it by installing a pass code.