Android security basics for all device owners

Android security basics for all device owners

This is a guest post from our friends over at TechWarn

The most popular mobile operating system in the world is Android, with more than 2 billion monthly active devices. One of the reasons as to why Android is so popular is because of its flexibility, particularly on application platforms. Android users are not confined to Google Play Store when it comes to downloading apps. They are able to easily download apps that are not included in the app store by using third-party app banks.

The kind of openness demonstrated by Android enables developers to work in an environment that is more relaxed with respect to regulation. However, this flexibility results in some form of abuse that allows some bad applications in the form of malicious APKs to enter the system. For this reason, hacking and other cybersecurity threats are also prevalent in the Android ecosystem. It is important to note that Android is built with practical and powerful features that you can use to ensure that your device is secure. Below are tips to help you know how to protect your Android device.

Android VPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) helps you safely connect to the internet by hiding your online actions and your location thereby removing any security or privacy threats. Android VPN works to deliver an internet connection that is secure by using private servers located in remote areas. When you connect to a VPN, all the data moving between your Android device and the website is encrypted to reduce access to your online information. This means that even hackers will be unable to access this information.

For you to browse online safely, you need a VPN that operates on Android phones or gadgets. VPNs have become popular because of the increasing number of cases of data theft through malware attacks or hacking. Most of these attacks occur on Wi-Fi networks that are not secure. If you are a frequent user of public Wi-Fi, you have to undertake measures to ensure that your online activity is secure over the connection. The good thing is that all Android devices are compatible with an Android VPN.

Antivirus Software

Android devices are becoming increasingly susceptible to various forms of viruses and malware. Ensure that you install antivirus software in your Android device in order to protect yourself against malware attacks and other forms of cybersecurity threats. In the event of a malware attack, the antivirus app on your Android device will intercept malicious attachments and links before the malware is installed in your device. It is important for you to install a credible anti-malware app in your Android device for it to effectively scan and eliminate viruses and malware.

On Device Encryption

Most people have sensitive information like emails, contacts, and financial information in their Android smartphones. You should use on-device encryption to protect this information from being accessed by snoopers and hackers. Do this by going to ‘Settings’ then to ‘Security’ then to ‘Encrypt Device’ and follow the prompts to encrypt your Android device. On-Device Encryption ensures that the information in your Android device is protected when you lose your phone by scrambling the data stored in your phone so that nobody will be able to access your personal information.

Two Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a Google feature that is not specific to Android. However, if you use Google services, you need to know that the overall security feature of the device is connected to your Google account. Two-factor authentication helps you to secure your phone by enabling you to lock down Google services. For you to activate it, you need to log in to your Google account and go to ‘Security’ then to ‘2-Step Verification. Every time you want to access your account, you will receive a verification code through voice calls or SMS.

The popularity of Android has made it a leading target for hackers. Due to the sensitive data stored in your Android device, you need to ensure it is secure. Protect your Android with the above tips.

 

After Hours Service is Here!

After Hours Service is Here!

Emergency Support and Response

While we have always prided ourselves on having an excellent response time for any call during the business week we have never provided any official after hours service to our treasured clients. From now on we’ll provide an on-call technician 24/7 who can respond to your emergency call within an hour. We know that a lot of our clients run 24/7 and have business critical IT systems that need to stay running outside of our normal hours.

After hours service will run as follows:

  • Call our normal number (06) 370 8093 or 0800 878 878
  • Listen to the prompt and follow the instructions to continue
  • All after hours service will be charged at $150+GST per hour
  • There is a minimum of 1 hour call out fee for all calls.

We aim to provide this service to ensure a reasonable and timely response to any after hours emergency work, and give our team a well earned break from calls when they are not on-call.

Any questions or feedback please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 06 370 8093

The Power of Two

The Power of Two

A one-time password (OTP) is a password that is valid for only one login session or transaction, on a computer system or other digital device. OTPs avoid a number of shortcomings that are associated with traditional (static) password based authentication; a number of implementations also incorporate two factor authentication by ensuring that the one-time password requires access to something a person has (such as a small keyring fob device with the OTP calculator built into it, or a smartcard or specific cellphone) as well as something a person knows.

The most important advantage that is addressed by OTPs is that, in contrast to static passwords, they are not vulnerable to replay attacks. This means that a potential intruder who manages to record an OTP that was already used to log into a service or to conduct a transaction will not be able to abuse it, since it will be no longer valid. A second major advantage is that a user who uses the same (or similar) password for multiple systems, is not made vulnerable on all of them, if the password for one of these is gained by an attacker. A number of OTP systems also aim to ensure that a session cannot easily be intercepted or impersonated without knowledge of unpredictable data created during the previous session, thus reducing the attack surface further.

OTPs have been discussed as a possible replacement for, as well as enhancer to, traditional passwords. On the downside, OTPs are difficult for human beings to memorize. Therefore they require additional technology to work.

An extra layer of security that is known as “multi factor authentication”

In today’s world of increasing digital crime and internet fraud many people will be highly familiar with the importance of online security, logins, usernames and passwords but if you ask them the question “What is Two Factor Authentication?” the likelihood is they will not know what it is or how it works, even though they may use it every single day.

With standard security procedures (especially online) only requiring a simple username and password it has become increasingly easy for criminals (either in organised gangs or working alone) to gain access to a user’s private data such as personal and financial details and then use that information to commit fraudulent acts, generally of a financial nature.

How does it work?

Two Factor Authentication, also known as 2FA, two step verification or TFA (as an acronym), is an extra layer of security that is known as “multi factor authentication” that requires not only a password and username but also something that only, and only, that user has on them, i.e. a piece of information only they should know or have immediately to hand – such as a physical token.

Using a username and password together with a piece of information that only the user knows makes it harder for potential intruders to gain access and steal that person’s personal data or identity.

Historically, two-factor authentication is not a new concept but its use has become far more prevalent with the digital age we now live in. As recently as February 2011 Google announced two factor authentication, online for their users, followed by MSN and Yahoo.

Many people probably do not know this type of security process is called Two-Factor Authentication and likely do not even think about it when using hardware tokens, issued by their bank to use with their card and a Personal Identification Number when looking to complete Internet Banking transactions. Simply they are utilising the benefits of this type of multi factor Authentication – i.e. “what they have” AND “what they know”.

Using a Two Factor Authentication process can help to lower the number of cases of identity theft on the Internet, as well as phishing via email, because the criminal would need more than just the users name and password details.

So if you’re in need of some help securing your system, or even just some free friendly advice, get in touch with us on 0800 878 878 or email office@techs.co.nz

Tablet VS. Laptop

Tablet VS. Laptop

Many people wonder if a laptop or a tablet will serve their needs. After all, tablets are easy to use, very portable, and internet-capable just like a laptop. However, not all tablets share the same functionality. Depending on your needs, a laptop may provide a better computing experience. If you’re trying to decide if you want a tablet vs. a laptop, this guide will help.

What Kind of Tablet?

Many tablets look the same but may perform differently depending on their operating system. Before you decide on a tablet vs. a laptop, you should know the functions and limitations of the devices available. Tablets like the Apple iPad and those running Android use mobile operating systems derived from the interfaces on smartphones. This type of tablet is designed for touch, prioritizing simplicity. Windows 8 tablets can run many of the same programs as full computers and are compatible with the same types of files. Windows RT is another option that is optimized for tablet use. The biggest difference between the two is that Windows RT tablets can only use apps made for that specific operating system.

When Are Laptops Better?

One of the main complaints people have about their current computers is usually that they’re not fast enough. The need for speed can be a big issue if you’re into high-end gaming or use high-performance video or photo editing software. In the laptop vs. desktop debate, the question of speed boils down to price. Some high-end laptops are very competitive when it comes to speed. But if you’re willing to pay the price, there isn’t a laptop out there that can keep up with a high-end desktop. It’s all about the specs mentioned above, as well as high-performance motherboards and cooling systems available in desktop systems. If you’re looking for top-of-the-line speed and have the cash to spend, a desktop is the way you’ll want to go.

What Will You Use it For?

In general, you’ll want to choose a laptop vs. a tablet if you need to do more than check email and social networks or watch videos and play games. Laptops are best for real work, even if that work only includes creating Office documents. Most laptops are more powerful than tablets and have larger internal storage. There’s far more software available for laptops vs. tablets (with the exception of Windows 8 tablet PCs) and greater file compatibility for documents, music, images, video, and more. The web browsing experience is arguably better on laptops vs. tablets, especially now that Adobe no longer supports Flash for tablets and other mobile devices. Though tablets are often lighter than laptops, there are many ultra-thin, light computers (such as ultrabooks or Apple’s MacBook Air line) that give you the portability you need without sacrificing performance or functionality. If you want the best of both worlds, consider a hybrid PC: a Windows tablet with a keyboard dock that turns it into a laptop when connected. Still, even hybrids may not always give you the power or storage space you need.

Choose Based on What You Need

Before deciding between a tablet vs. a laptop, think about what you need to do with it.

Get a tablet if:

You already have a laptop or desktop computer and want a companion device. Your needs are very basic: checking email, posting to social networks. You want something purely for entertainment: movies, TV, music, eBooks. You’re looking for a device that’s very simple and easy to use.

Get a laptop if:

You’re shopping for a primary computer and want something portable. You need a device for work, school, designing, creating content, or anything that requires high performance. We hope these guidelines help you solve your tablet vs. laptop conundrum, and be sure to check out our full laptop and tablet buying guides for further information on each form factor. Article Content from http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1001068291

Create an email signature onto your iPhone

Create an email signature onto your iPhone

Today’s email signatures contain a lot more than just your name and contact details. Links to websites, Facebook, Twitter account and the ubiquitous legal disclaimers along with your company’s branding give clients the information they need.

Many of you have this on your main computer email system but when it comes to your mobile devices “sent from my IPhone” is as flash as it gets…

Not only can you have the same email signature on your iPhone/iPad but you can create multiple email signatures for each account that you access (business/personal/rental etc.).

Either send yourself an email message from your computer or device that already has the desired signature set up on it or check you’re sent items for one.

  • Open the email in the Mail app on your iPhone/iPad.
  • Tap and hold down on the signature in order to bring up the blue selection tool. Move the anchors so you have the entire signature highlighted.
  • Tap on Copy.
  • Press the Home button to return to your Home screen.
  • Launch the Settings app.
  • Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • Scroll down to Signature under the Mail section.
  • Tap on the account you’d like to add the signature to if you have multiple signatures set up Per Account.
  • Delete the contents.
  • Tap and hold in the signature field to bring up the selection tool again.
  • Tap Paste in the popup menu.
  • You may see a strangely formatted version of your signature but here’s the magic…
  • Shake your iPhone briefly and tap Undo in order to remove the automatic formatting Apple may have done.
  • This will bring back any colors or other HTML content that may not have shown up in the original paste. Et Voila.

If you want to know more call us on 0800 878 878 or email stephen@techs.co.nz.