Monthly Archives: September 2016

Make Sure Your Computer System Is a “Clean Machine” for Hardware and Software Efficiency

It just stands to reason that if your business computer system is going to fulfill your serious business needs, you need to maintain some serious standards in both your hardware and your software.

As far as your business computer system is concerned, let’s call it keeping a “clean machine.” There are a number of things here for us to consider.

First: Be sure and keep your security software current and up-to-date. You would be amazed at how many people purchase serious assorted business software (that includes, but is not limited to, anti-virus protection) for their business computer system and then let them go out of date. You will find that having the very latest security software, web browser, and operating system is the absolute best way to defend against viruses, assorted malware, and other online threats.

You spent good money on these products, and you bought it precisely to accomplish certain business needs and functions. Do you now have someone who has the responsibility to keep track your products status? Software, as well as hardware can go out of date and this must be watched as vitally important. Some person needs to be responsible. Set a timetable and keep to it.

Next would be the absolute importance of software updates. Be sure that someone (like you, maybe) is responsible enough to keep track of all of them. It would make no business sense to purchase quality business software and then not keep up with the updates.

Here be careful of one thing: Make sure these updates come from the software company itself, not your local neighborhood Hacker. This is a common way to break into a business computer system and that’s another reason that this needs to be supervised by a very responsible person. No exceptions.

One possible thing you can do is to use the automatic updates that some software companies offer. This way the updates will come at the proper time, as designed in the software. If this is available, use it but again make sure that is where it comes from.

You might think that no one can do real damage even if they get into your particular computer system. I hope you remember how hackers get into systems like Target. They got into one of their contractors computers and used that to get into Target’s. Don’t take chances here. Liability is alive and well.

Something else so easy to miss for people who are not used to computer security is to always, always, always, protect all of your devices that connect to the internet. It’s not just your computer that is at risk. Along with your computer(s) you need to be concerned with smart phones, gaming systems, and any other web-enabled device. If they plug into your system, they also need your serious protection from viruses and various malware. Also watch for employees who use their own devices to get information from your system. They are plugged into your business computer system, right? A common thing now.

One more thing to keep in mind is to watch your plugs and scanners. Many people don’t know it but your USBs as well as other external devices can be infected by viruses and other malware. (I know I use the term “malware” a lot. It is simply a contraction of the words “malicious software.”) You can and should use your security software to scan them. Don’t know how?

Nothing shameful about not knowing something. The sin is in staying that way when by learning something you can use that knowledge to help protect your business and reputation. See and learn from a competent software retailer, and I don’t mean Walmart.

No one is going to protect you but you. If you don’t keep an eye on all aspects of your business computer system, then no one else will either and you will be left out in the cold.

Don’t let it happen

Thanks for Not Securing Your Security Cameras!

As a surprise to some and totally baffling to security specialists, there are over 30 Million surveillance cameras in the United States that aren’t password protected. More surprising is that computer scientists are currently creating new technology that would give law enforcement the ability to tap into any one of these cameras. Normally, pointing out how many unsecured cameras are in use is followed by a story of a foreign hack where access to those cameras was leveraged by bad guys. This time, it’s the good guys trying to make use of this ‘weakness’.

This new approach is being designed to help first responders with information to swiftly respond to crimes. David Ebert, an electrical and computer engineer at Purdue University, believes that it makes sense to help people by taking advantage of information (ie- from surveillance cameras) that’s already out there. If the camera feeds are accessible anyway, why not leverage them for the betterment of society?

While some are anticipating the implementation of the new technology to help in crime scenarios, others are worried about the potential abuse of the access. As with the majority of ‘solutions’, technology works wonders, unless in the wrong hands. The capability would be very useful for first responders but at the same time, it leaves open the potential for misuse if access is not controlled.

Determining how this technology can be used without simultaneously providing options for abuse is what the developers at Purdue University are figuring out. Currently, Purdue has very tight restrictions on the use of their system and a registered user must also agree not to use the platform to determine the identity of any individual that is shown in the video feeds.

Even those initially opposed to this technology are shifting their positions as the details emerge. Gautam Hans (Policy Counsel and Director of CDT which champions online civil liberties and human rights) agrees that there is no reason to fight this technology but, instead, to accept it and learn how to make it a safe and effective tool. Perhaps this will mean people are offered incentives to provide unfettered access to their cameras so that this type of system can continue to function should camera security finally get ahead of the hackers. Either way, the future is coming and even the weaknesses in systems are going to be leveraged for some kind of benefit. How secure are your cameras?