Ways To Improve Computer Security

Secure your computer

Securing your computer systems should be a top priority for any computer owner. If you are a businesses owner, be mindful that internet hosted IT systems are constantly under attack and most of the time it goes unnoticed.

A third of Australian businesses have experienced a cyber crime of sorts. Losing data because of malware or malicious attacks cost Australian businesses in excess of $270 000 on average.

Don’t become another casualty, either get an IT Consultant in to do an assessment or use our guide below:

Activities Used To Protect Business IT Systems

• Operating systems and applications patching
• Antivirus
• Backups
• Awareness
• Password security/management
• Two factor authentication when accessing external services
• Mobile device security
• Drive encryption technology

Operating System & Application Patching

Any software application including operating systems, firmware, or plugin installed on a system could provide the means for an attack. Only install those applications that you need to run your business and patch/update them regularly.

Many software vendors provide patches and updates to their supported products in order to correct security concerns and to improve functionality. Ensure that you know how to update and patch all software on each device you own or use.

Recommendation: Incorporate automated patch management software. This option allows remote monitoring of devices and maintain up to date patching for operating systems and applications.

Antivirus

Malware (short for Malicious Software or Malicious Code) is computer code written to steal or harm. It includes viruses, spyware, and ransomware.

Sometimes malware only uses up computing resources (e.g. memory), but other times it can record your actions or send your personal and sensitive information to cyber criminals.

Install, use, and regularly update anti-virus and anti-spyware software on every device used in your business (including computers, smart phones, and tablets).

Recommendation: Setup centralised antivirus management and monitoring.

Backups

Probably the most important component to recover from malicious attacks. Backups will let you restore data in case of hardware or software failure, an employee accidentally deletes files, or a malicious program infects your system.

Conduct a full, encrypted backup of the data on each device used in your business at least once a day. Store these backups away from your device location in a protected place so that if something happens your data is safe.

Recommendation: All relevant business data is selected for backup and ensure backup application schedule is enabled for daily backup. Do monthly checks to ensure new business data is selected.

Awareness

The first step to protecting an organisation from a security breach is to educate the employees because they are at a high risk of a cyberattack.

Recommendation: Each employee to do a Cyber security awareness training course

Password Management & Security

Create unique passwords that that use a combination of words, numbers, symbols, and both upper- and lower-case letters. Pick long complex passwords, at least 12 characters in length. DO NOT use common dictionary words, a name or a sequence of numbers.

Recommendation: Use a password manager, they make it easy for you to use long, complex, unique passwords across different sites and services, with no memory burden.

Two Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication, also known as 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 or verification by email, telephone or text message.

Recommendation: Enable two factor authentication on all services.

Mobile Device Security

If your mobile device is unsecured and it is lost or stolen: It could be used to access your money or steal your identity using information stored on your device.

Recommendation: Set a password, Personal Identification Number (PIN), pass-code, gesture or fingerprint that must be entered to unlock the device. Install reputable antivirus. Use your device’s automatic update feature to install new application and operating system updates as soon as they are available.

Leave Bluetooth turned off or in unrecoverable mode (hidden) when you are not using it. Ensure your device does not automatically connect to new networks without your confirmation.

Enable the remote locking and/or wiping functions, if your device supports them.

Do not save passwords or PINs as contacts on your phone or tablet. Enable device encryption to protect personal data stored on the device where possible. Check the privacy permissions carefully when installing new apps on your device and only install apps from reputable vendors.

Where possible, make apps or profiles private and password protected. Ensure you thoroughly remove personal data from the device before selling or recycling it.

Drive Encryption

Disk encryption is a technology which protects information by converting it into unreadable code that cannot be deciphered easily by unauthorized people.

Disk encryption uses disk encryption software or hardware to encrypt every bit of data that goes on a disk or disk volume. It is used to prevent unauthorized access to data storage.

Recommendation: Use the built in drive encryption software that is available on your device to encrypt all data drives/volumes. The drive encryption on Windows is called “Bitlocker”. For Mac use “FileVault”

How To Get Better WiFi Connection

Extend wifi range

Wifi is such and integral part of our daily lives, can you imagine not being able to utilise the freedom it provides?

The convenience of being able to stream services like Netflix, Stan, Youtube, Hulu etc. all of which rely heavily on a good wifi connection. We show you how to get a better wifi connection so you can enjoy wireless freedom.

Unfortunately, wifi devices are low power and range is limited. You will notice when moving further away from your wifi router the signal drops off rapidly and with it speed. A better wifi connection will increase your speed and decrease streaming load/buffer times.

Modern day wifi routers, phones, tablets connect either on 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz, in some cases high end routers provide simultaneous band access.

What is the difference between the two bands you ask? In short, 2.4 Ghz provides better range and fair speed. 5 GHz on the other hand provides very good speed but at the expense of limited range. The reason for this is higher frequencies are more affected and attenuated by objects, walls, furniture, floors etc. Typically, the more dense the material is the more it will attenuate the signal.

Examples of signal attenuation through various mediums

To get a better signal, placement of your wifi router is important. The key to better wifi performance is to reduce distance from the wifi device to the wifi access point as well as reducing the amount of walls and obstacles in the way.

Lets look at the two easiest way to improve your wifi coverage:

Router Placement

As mentioned before, wifi router placement is crucial.

Mount the router as high as possible, this creates a clearer path to your wifi devices. Mounting the router high on a wall or ceiling is usually the best approach.

Make sure to keep the router away from electrical noisy appliances like air conditioners, microwave ovens, fans, baby monitors, DECT phones etc.

better wifi connection

Mount the router as central as possible. Experiment with antenna placement, theory suggests that for best performance antennas should be perpendicular to each other, my findings were that this will be unique to every environment.

Do not mount the router or antennas close to conductive materials like electrical wires, aluminium or metal plates, this could mess with S.W.R (standing wave ratio) of the antennas, affecting performance.

Channel Selection

Get better performance by minimising neighboring frequency interference.

Use a wifi analyzer to determine what channels your neighboring wifi access points are on.

A free tool for this purpose is Wifi analyzer, the analyze option shows all detected wireless activity, band selection is manual and dependent on your hardware support.

WiFi Analyzer

By analysing the wifi band a recommendation is made for a clearer wifi channel.

Do regular WiFi speed tests

Wifi environments are dynamic, devices are added, channels are updated etc. By doing regular wifi speed tests you will notice when your wifi channels need changing. Try copying a large file from a wifi enabled laptop or workstation to another computer connected to the network via network cable.

WiFi speed test

If you find that you have good signal strength but your speed is slow then consider changing the wifi channel.

Windows 10 Emojis

Windows 10 Emojis

If you are a fan of emojis, you will love that Windows 10 comes with a huge variety of emojis.

Emoji’s are ideograms, facial expressions and other images used in electronic communication to express emotion. Emojis ad fun to emails or other correspondence, enhancing expression of emotion.

Try it out by pressing the Windows key followed by the semi colon key (;)

 Windows key    +   

The emoji box full of different options pops up.

Try it, choose an emoji and insert into an email 😉

😄  👍

The Best NBN Gaming Router Under $100

Internet connection test NBN

Online gamers know the importance of having a solid internet connection. You got yourself a supposedly better NBN connection but your games still lag and have the occasional rubber banding, now what?

As an avid online FPS gamer myself, I know how important a solid internet connection is. Without a low latency internet connection my opponents take advantage of the situation and I get fragged more often than I would like to.

When it comes to online gaming the following factors determine the quality of your online gaming experience. Jitter, latency and packet loss. I guess it would be a surprise to many but internet speed is not a major factor (unless of course you are on 56k dial up).

Jitter, Latency and Packet Loss

The most important components affecting online services like gaming, media streaming and voice is most certainly jitter, latency and packet loss. For a internet connection to be good for gaming, it needs to have low latency to the destination endpoint, low jitter and 0% packet loss.  But what is Jitter, latency and packet loss you ask?

What is Jitter

Jitter is a variation of packets in your internet connection. A good internet connection will have low consistant  jitter.

What is Latency

Latency otherwise known as ping, is the measurement of packet duration from a source to destination network. Latency is expressed in milliseconds or ms for short.

What is Packet Loss

Packet loss is when network data packets are lost in transit from source to destination or vica versa. Packet loss is expressed in percentage. The higher the figure the worse the connection. A good internet connection should have 0% packet loss.

When you play online games and suddenly you experience rubber banding, skipping of frames, freezes or disconnects, it is a clear indication that you are experiencing jitter, packet loss or latency issues. If the source of the above mentioned problems derives from your internal network in the form of other users saturating your internet connection then a good quality router can help eliminate the issues you are having.

How To Eliminate Jitter, Packet Loss and High Latency

When you have a household full of internet hungry Youtubers and Netflix addicts that pushes your internet connection to the limit,  you are most likely going to suffer as a result in online games. Whenever an internet connection comes close to its upload or download limits jitter goes up, latency goes up and packet loss might go up.

What you need is a router that has built in smarts to combat the effects of maxing out your internet connection. This clever technology is called Quality of Service (QoS). QoS is a system that manages the data packet flow to minimise jitter, packet loss and high latency. QoS does this by prioritising traffic into different classes based on the service type and bandwidth needs.

NBN Capable Gaming Router With QoS Under $100

My recommendation for a NBN compatible gaming router is the Ubiquiti Edgerouter. The Edgerouter has an easy to use interface and most importantly have an option to enable QoS in the form of Smart Queue Management. Smart queue management will de congest your overloaded internet connection, it will automatically prioritise and balance internet traffic.

The Smart Queue Management option is located under the QOS tab. Enabling it will require the user to specify the internet connection upload rate and download rate.

Ubiquiti edgemax smart queue

Connect To Sannce IP Camera Without The Sannce App

Sannce IP Camera Access without app

In this how to I will be explaining the steps required to access your Sannce HD IP Camera via the internet, without using the "Sannce Cam" App.

If you have a Sannce IP Camera, I think you will agree that the "Sannce Cam" App works great but, it has a big let down. The Sannce Cam application always run in the background hogging system resources which leads to battery life being shortened. We can get around this by not using the app.

Sannce Cam App

In a previous article I addressed how you can access the Sannce Wireless camera without the "Sannce Cam" App. I described in detail the tools required to get the Sannce camera IP address and the port needed to access the camera with a web browser. Accessing the camera this way works great if you are on the same network as the Sannce wireless camera but what happens when you move offsite and away from your home network? Can you still access your camera remotely via the cellphone carrier 3/4G network? The answer is YES. Obviously it will require some steps, but these are easy to implement. Read on...

Accessing Your Sannce Camera From The Internet

As described before, it is possible to access your Sannce camera via the internet. But, for it to work you need to access your internet router to setup a port forward.

A "port forward" or "port forwarding" allows traffic intended for a specific IP address and port to be forwarded from the internet to your internal network. To set up a port forward you need to access your router Nat/Firewall section. This will be different for the various makes and models and is best to consult your router manual.

Setting Up Port Forwarding To Your Sannce IP Camera

To set up a port forward, access your router's port forwarding page. Click on "new port forward" and enter the "From port" as 13648. The Protocol should be "TCP". The "forward TO IP" is the Sannce camera IP address. The "TO port" is 13648. You can give the port forward entry a name, I called mine "Sannce Cam" If you do not know what your Sannce camera's IP address or port is then please read through this article.

Port forward

Once all the details have been entered, you can save the entry, in most cases the port forward will take effect straight away without a router reboot. If your router prompts you to reboot then click "yes".

Accessing Your Sannce HD IP Camera From The Internet

Before you can access your Sannce Camera you need to know what your internet IP address is. Open up a web browser and type "Google.com". In the Google search field type "Whats My IP".  Google is nice enough to present you with your public IP address.

Whats My IP

Ok, now lets test the setup. You must test using a device outside of your home network, I tested using my phone via my cellphone 4G network. To access your Sannce camera, open a web browser and type: "http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx:yyy" Where xxx is your public IP address and yyy is the Sannce IP camera web server port.

Sannce Wireless Camera

You should now be presented with the Sannce Camera "Sign In" page. Enter your user name and password. The next screen should be the Wireless Camera" screen. Select the "videostream mode"  Voila, you should now see the live stream via your internet connection.

Sannce Camera live video stream via web browser

Security Risk

It is very important to understand that creating a port forward to your Sannce Camera will expose the camera to the internet, making it vulnerable to attack/abuse. If you do proceed with this tutorial, choose a very strong password for your Sannce camera.

How SEO Can Help Your Business

How SEO can help your business

The latest statistics suggest that there are 4 Billion internet connected users, 3.5 Billion Google searches every day and an average of 5 Billion Youtube videos are watched daily!

The bottom line is,  If you have a website and your products or services do not appear on the first page of search engine results, you are missing out on leads.

SEO

I think everyone is familiar with the concept of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation right? Yet, so many of my clients think SEO is just about getting people to visit your website. In a sense they are right yes, that is the end result. SEO is the process to get your website popularity higher so that search engines will rank your content higher.

How do I get my website more popular?

Getting your website more popular so that it ranks higher in search engines take time and hard work. First, you need great website content. Once the content is in place the next step is onpage SEO followed by domain and page authority building.

What is onpage SEO

Onpage SEO is the process where the various aspects of your website content is optimised so that your website and web pages rank higher in search engines and in turn create relevant leads for your business.

What is domain authority

Domain authority is a metric devised to determine the popularity of a website. Domain authority is measured on a scale from 0 to 100 where 0 is poor domain authority and only the very top websites are ranked at 100. Typically brand new websites will rank 0 whereas super popular sites like Facebook will be at 100. Another metric that comes into play is “page authority”.

What is page authority

Page authority is the metric used on a scale 0 to 100 to determine the popularity of a website page. A web page with 0 page authority has a very low rank, whereas a page with a high page authority score is deemed very popular. Page authority is a very important factor to get various website pages ranked higher in search engines.

How do I increase domain authority

Increasing domain authority is done by getting your website linked to from other high popularity websites. This process occurs naturally if you have great content on your website. As an example, if I write useful content on my website blog, people will share and recommend these useful articles, thereby creating back links to my website.

Need help to get your business more leads? Get in touch, our SEO consultant will conduct a free assessment.