June 2018 Newsletter

 

 

 

June 2018 Newsletter

Hello! We’re pleased to send you this monthly issue of Monthly Bytes. It’s our way of saying that you’re important to us and we truly value your business. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to friends and colleagues. Enjoy!

For a printable PDF version of this newsletter, click here

URGENT NEWS

SamSam and other ransomware attacks are on the rise. In the past 60 days, the cities of Atlanta, Savannah and Winder as well as Dawson County government were all hit. Winder’s ransom was over $300,000. According to Datto, a data protection and disaster recovery firm, Ransomware is costing businesses more than $75 billion per year. With businesses losing around $8,500 per hour due to ransomwareinduced downtime. Cogentes can help you ensure that your network and data are protected. Call us today at (404) 424-8585 to schedule a free network and security audit to help find and fix places where your systems are vulnerable.

Secure Your Business Network

Securing your business network is not exactly a piece of cake. However, it’s not an unattainable goal, either. Here are some helpful tips to guide you through your endeavor.

  1. What type of data do you need to secure
    Firstly, it’s important to understand what type of data you have. Pay close attention to the most confidential data especially if you are obligated by law to protect private data, such as customer records and financial accounts. Therefore, you should have well-documented records of where you store this type of data. It’s also important to note how often this data is used and accessed. That way, you can determine the risks and protect yourself from data loss.
  2. Network protection
    Protecting your network with a firewall and security software should be
    high on your priority list. Make sure to pick a security software that can
    protect all the devices connected to your network. Nowadays, many
    employees bring their own devices with them. It’s essential that you
    protect them too, as to prevent the potential spreading of malware.
    Security software that keeps track and controls how and when your
    employees access the data is imperative. Knowing what they download
    and share will help you to protect your business network.
  3. SSL and IPSec encryption
    Another way to secure your business network is making sure that your
    employees know how to encrypt crucial data. You will also need to
    enable security protocols like SSL and IPSec. They will prevent
    intercepting your data during transfer.
    Even at rest you should encrypt your most confidential data to lower the
    security risks.
  4. Trained staff
    Well trained staff can make all the difference when it comes to network
    security. Make sure not only to train your team but to include leadership
    and HR departments to drive the policy awareness. Minimizing the
    human error factor goes a long way.
  5. Security specialists
    Some tasks are better left to professionals. Cogentes understands your
    business needs and has a track record of securing and defending
    business networks. Call us today at (404) 424-8585 to get help.

You Won’t Trick Hackers with Password Formulas

Whenever there are articles about passwords, someone likes to comment and share their secret formulas for generating passwords when in fact those formulas are actually very easy to hack.

Recent studies that have analyzed millions of passwords which are available to numerous security researchers, hackers, and even the public. The main conclusion they drew was that people aren’t original enough. That goes for those who use formulas too.

There are many typical and common passwords such as bentley, iloveyou, superman, your pet’s name, your birthday, etc. There are also some usual formulas which are called “password walking”; that involves hitting keys which are next to each other to create a password that may look random to you, but is actually extremely guessable. Some of the popular “walking” passwords are zaq12wsx, zxcvbnm, and bnmjkliop. Believe it or not, these are so common that hackers may include them in their “dictionary attacks” against common accounts.

Some people use formulas based on the website’s name; that’s not a good idea either as that’s still risky. If a hacker knows your ‘base password,’ it won’t take him long to predict what some variations of that could be. Furthermore, hackers know password requirements for common websites.

That means that when they expose one of your formula passwords, they can expose all others too. If you just add “evirdeno” to your OneDrive password, a hacker will know to add “elgoog” to your Google password. What’s more, hackers can easily guess which symbols you could replace with other symbols. For example, numbers and letters could become punctuation marks. So, avoid changing every i to ! because that won’t fool them.

With that being said, please refrain from using formulas for your passwords; use a password manager instead. It will create truly random passwords for you. All you have to do is remember the master password.

There is no way you can stop accounts from being broken into; organizations and companies need to do that. All a regular user can do is contain the damage and make his/her passwords more random and less guessable. The key point of every password is to keep your data safe, not to make you look or feel smart.

News Bytes

Alexa meets Cortana

On May 7th, Microsoft held the 2018 Build conference. The attendees were in for a big surprise. Tom Taylor joined Megan Saunders on stage to declare a joint project. Alexa and Cortana are finally merging! Soon, users will be able to use the two famous digital assistants simultaneously.

Cortana will be available for use on Amazon devices and vice versa. The goal of this merger is a symbiotic relationship. Alexa and Cortana will work together to help users accomplish their tasks.

Two tech leaders had some interesting examples, as well. They showed how ordering an Uber via Alexa while using Microsoft Windows 10. They also demonstrated checking schedules on an Amazon Echo with the help of the Microsoft digital assistant, Cortana. This surprising turn of events was a hugely anticipated feature. Many users were expecting it for quite some time now. Many also expected an announcement for the release date as a second surprise. However, Saunders stated otherwise. The exact release time of the integration feature is still unknown.

Apple self-driving cars

Apple’s idea of self-driving vehicles is farther from realization than before. Their negotiations with BMW and Mercedes weren’t successful. The main point of conflict was the fact that Apple wanted to have control over the design of the vehicles and the data it produces. Both German automakers have refused those terms. So, the dream of electric self driving cars will remain just that – a dream. At least for now.

Instead, Apple has turned their focus to a potential deal with Volkswagen. The two companies are partnering in a new project. The goal is to turn the Volkswagen T6 Transporter vans into shuttles that will be self-driving. Apple employees will use the shuttles. Project Titan, Apple car division, changed their focus from self-driving vehicles to the PAIL shuttle service. PAIL stands for Palo Alto to Infinite Loop. Volkswagen will provide the cars for this shuttle service.

Now that their focus is solely on this project, Apple has put a pause on the self-driving cars dream. The New York Times reports that there are no concrete plans for this project. Consequently, a significant number of employees left the Apple car division.

Question of the Month

Question: How do I download my Facebook profile and data?

Answer:

Downloading all your profile data from Facebook is not exactly a new option. Facebook users have been
able to do it for quite some time now. However, this feature became more popular amongst users after
the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Lately, the concern for data privacy seems to be growing exponentially.
An increasing number of users wants to take data protection into their own hands.

To see and download all your data Facebook has is quite simple. Firstly, click on the settings option in the upper right
corner. Then find the “Download a copy of your Facebook data” option and click on it to start the download.

Keep in mind that this process might take a while. Furthermore, the file you receive will be somewhat large. Thus, it’s
best to do the data transfer on your computer, rather than your mobile phone.
The type of data you’ll receive

The data you receive will be in the form of a large zipped folder. It will contain a list of all your friends and all the pictures
and videos you have uploaded over the years. You’ll also receive records of all your status updates and messages.

Additionally, you will receive lists of topics that advertisers used to target you for ads. That might give you an insight into
how Facebook has been tracking your activities and interests on the platform.

You will also receive a list of times you’ve logged in to your Facebook profile. This list will inform you of the time, device
and location of each login. That’s a lot of data, precious to many. Today, Facebook serves as a sort of an online memory
datacenter. Due to that, people are afraid of deleting their profiles. They don’t want to lose access to all this personal
information. Downloading all the data Facebook has allows you to keep it safe while still being able to delete your profile.

Should You Change Your ISP: Five Things to Consider First

Want to change your company’s Internet Service Provider?

Many of us have thought about changing Internet Service
Providers, at least once. Even if you don’t have any complaints,
there’s always another ISP service offering more bandwidth
for less, better features, etc.

But, changing your company’s ISP isn’t so easy after all. There
are plenty of things to consider first.

Here are five things you should always consider before
finalizing your decision:

IP addresses: You know what a street address is? Well, an IP Address is exactly that, only for the internet. By knowing your
IP address, other computers can know your exact location. You require a static IP address if you’re hosting your own web, email
or other servers. Now, sometimes you don’t need a static address, but in some cases, you do. Most companies tend to
underestimate the importance of static IP addresses.

Router/Firewall: This device handles traffic routing between your network and the internet. Sometimes a new router is provided by your ISP and changing providers might require purchasing a new firewall. This device holds all the information from your old ISP. Also, consider whether the new device is adequate for your new internet connection. The router should easily handle the data being put through. If it doesn’t, you need to replace the device altogether.
Web/Email Hosting: Once you switch, you will need to
update your public DNS record with the new IP address which
will point your website and mail services to the new IP
address.

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol): This technology is great
for lowering your phone bills. Just make sure both your new
Firewall and ISP support it.

Bandwidth: You should know how much bandwidth your
business requires. If you’re not hosting anything, then you
should only be concerned with your current rate of
downloads/uploads.

Bandwidth options

  1. DSL is highly functional but still has its limitations. Usually, it constitutes a more affordable option.
  2. Cable allows a great deal of download bandwidth.
  3. T1 connections are a bit pricier, but also more reliable. You can create more bandwidth by combining two or more T1 connections.
  4. Fiber is a newer technology. It’s highly recommended, mostly because of its high upload and download bandwidth and reliability.

APP OF THE MONTH: PIGMENT

Fun Brain is an exciting site for preschoolers as well as for kids up to the eighth grade. The site offers fun interactive games that will help kids develop their math skills, improve their reading proficiency, literacy and much more. The bright and vibrant colors make the site POP and as a result, provide a fun and easy way for kids to study. Each game has a small learning curve. Also, they help students expand their knowledge in multiple subjects. These games are a great way for students to improve their learning skills outside of school.

Cartoon of the month

Offer of the Month

FROM THE DESK OF

Tom Glover

If you don’t have a managed-service agreement in place, please let us know and we’ll conduct a needs analysis and provide you with a proposal free of charge!

Cogentes, Inc.

PO Box 294

Hardwick, GA 31034

Phone: (404) 424-8585

Email: tom.glover@cogentes.com

Web: www.cogentes.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Cogentes

Linked In: linkedin.com/company/cogentes-inc-

All data and information provided in this newsletter is for informational purposes only. Cogentes makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information in this newsletter and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.