How PCI Compliance Helps Protect Your Business from Breaches
Sam Farraj is AVP-Content Delivery & Security Platform, AT&T Global Business Services. You can find more blog content from Sam and other experts on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog, where this article originally appeared. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.
Next time you are enjoying the ease of shopping online, remember this: Studies estimate that online retailers lost $3.5 billion to fraud in 2012. On top of that, add the cost of inconvenience to legitimate consumers who either had to notify their credit card companies, or who may not have even spotted the fraudulent charges when they paid their bills. Blogs and social media are cluttered with stories of people whose credit cards were used to make fraudulent purchases, leaving the victims to clean up their accounts.
Ever wondered how you can stay safe while browsing the web on public Wi-Fi when at a coffee shop, airport, or other unsecured network? I set up a decoy network at a hotel in New York city and see how many people I can trick into signing on to the fake network. You need to be careful because if you connect to a decoy network, all of your passwords, credit card info, and browsing history can be captured! This is called a “man-in-the-middle” attack and it is a real threat out there!
While it can be scary, here are three easy tips to be more safe online:
1. Whenever you connect to a public Wi-Fi hotspot, make sure it’s legitimate by asking the establishment for what the correct network is.
2. Be aware of what you’re doing online. If you’re banking, shopping, working with sensitive work data, then you need to take the right precautions to be safe. You can read some of my tips for being safe online for more ideas on how to do this.
3. Try out two-step authentication. This way when you’re logging in to your accounts you need your username, password, and also a special code sent to your phone via text message. Unless a hacker can get access to your phone, your password will be useless to them!
WordPress is the most popular blogging platform on the Internet: as of this time last year, it powered 22% of all new websites. There’s a good reason too: it’s structure is designed to make it easier to get a site up and running (and keep it running) than if you had to build your own website completely from scratch. Part of that power comes from the plugin system, which extends the WordPress framework to include features programmed by outside developers – kind of like Apple’s App store. There are thousands of plugins, most designed for very narrow purposes, and it can be hard to figure out which ones may help your blog. Our top five favorite suggestions for WordPress plugins to help keep your site running smoothly and securely:
Vaultpress For only $15 a month, the Vaultpress plugin promises continual backup of your entire site, plus a simple one-click site restore if something ever goes terribly wrong. It was created by the team at Automattic…the parent company of WordPress itself.
SEO by Yoast
Wordpress’ design makes it fairly search engine-friendly, but it never hurts to give your rankings a boost. This plugin helps search engines find your content, with a foolproof checklist of steps for each post, including optimizing your post titles, meta descriptions, keyword frequency and url length.
It’s bad for your site if people are running into pages that don’t work (404 errors). Redirection lets you check a log of where users encountered 404 errors so you can fix them, and makes it easy to set up page redirects even if you don’t have the technical knowledge.
Wordpress stores all of the data you put into your website in a database, but it doesn’t necessarily do a great job of keeping that database clean. But cleaner databases are faster databases. WP-Optimize lets you clean up your database (by deleting things like post revisions and spam comments) without any technical knowledge.
There’s a lot of pressure to make sure your site looks good on mobile devices, but it can be a confusing and expensive endeavor – and probably deserves its own blog post! But it’s better to do something then nothing, so try Mobile Pack. It will let you set up your site with a theme designed for mobile devices, and takes are the guesswork out of trying to plan for all the different devices out there. It may not be your dream site, but it’s functional and that’s important.
Do you use WordPress? Are there any WordPress Plugins we missed you love? Let us know!
We’ve talked before about how important it is to back up your data (see here, here, and here). But what’s interesting is that so many of us don’t back up our mobile devices: according to a survey from Carbonite and Wakefield Research, 62% of people with camera phones don’t back those photos up anywhere. And that’s just the photos! iCloud backup may help iPhone owners, but for Android users the choices are less straightforward, unless there’s specific backup software associate with your device.
Carbonite is also the maker of a respected backup system for computers, and offers both individual and enterprise solutions. Makers of a respected backup system for individual and enterprise users, subscribers to the primary Carbonite service also receive 24/7 access to all the files they have backed up with Carbonite.
Carbonite mobile also offers Android users some of the same features as iCloud’s “find my phone.” First off, there’s the ability to locate the phone on a map and force it to ring, even if it’s on vibrate or silent. For security, you can use the app the remotely lock the device with a pin number, or to just go all-out and wipe the contents of your phone. It’s worth it if your device is stolen, and less of a big deal if you’ve been backing up your data.
Right now, Carbonite’s mobile solution is free, presumably as a loss leader to get you interested in their home and business backup services. But given that you should be backing up anyway (remember all those articles we just linked to?) it’s not a bad idea to investigate whether Carbonite could be a good comprehensive backup solution for your needs.
Ok, it’s Labour Day Weekend, and you’re probably ready to get out of the office and get to the barbeque! But if you take a little bit of time to clean up your computer today, you could be working on a faster, nicer computer Tuesday morning. That’s why we have some basic cleanup tips for both PC and Mac users.
PC Users PC users, the good news is that cleaning up your machine is easier than it used to be. A few easy things you can do:
– Make sure Windows is up to date. Download driver updates and service packs.
– Make sure your Anti-Virus software is up to date.
– Uninstall any applications you’re not using (be honest).
– Try WinDirStat to free up some hard drive space. This free program searches your files to see what’s taking up all the room so you can easily delete the worst offenders.
– Use the free program CCleaner to delete temporary files, cookies and web browsing history.
– Advanced users may want to do a complete reinstall of Windows, but if you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 8 next month it’s probably not worth your time.
Honestly, Mac users have it easier. It still makes sense to delete app and files you’re not using, especially big ones, like videos and other media. But instead of going through the files manually, you can use a cleanup program to make it easier. MacRumours has a good list, and we particularly like CleanGenius.
This message will self-destruct. Well no, not really, but sometimes it would be great if sending something secret (like a password or username) really could disappear after it has gotten where it needs to go.
If you find yourself emailing passwords (a security no-no!), try QuickForget.com. This simple site is designed for one thing, and one thing only: making sensitive information available temporarily. Use QuickForget to set up a simple text-based message, say for example the top secret coordinates the last four digits of your social security number. You can send a link to that message to a recipient, and then the message will self-destruct after either a specified amount of time, or a certain number of views.
Self-destructing messages are cool, but what are the practical uses here? Well, first off it’s nice to know that you don’t need to trust the recipient to delete sensitive information, whether its business or personal. Instead, that info will be gone forever. It’s also a smart idea to keep certain pieces of identifying or important information away from each other. For example, if you wanted to send important and sensitive website login credentials, you could send part of the info over email and the rest through QuickForget.com, so that if your email were intercepted a would-be nefarious character wouldn’t have all the info needed to get into your site.
It may sound a little paranoid, but when it comes to web security it’s hard to be overly cautious. And you know what they say, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you!
Finding out about apps to boost your productivity while on-the-go is an increasingly important part of using your smartphone or tablet to better your business. While the default mail, calendar, and web browsing apps your device came equipped with are a good start, specialized apps often mean the difference between being able to work from a conference and having to wait to head back to your hotel. Whether you’re making a move in the mobile video space, trying to build a following on Twitter, or just organizing your digital life, apps can make a world of difference in your mobile productivity.
One often-overlooked feature of apps, however, is the ability to update them. Unfortunately, apps don’t update themselves—you have to manually install new updates. There are a variety of reasons we get behind in updating our apps: limited space on mobile devices, updates that require a WiFi connection, and even just forgetting to check for them. But there are some very good reasons to make sure you’re keeping your apps up-to-date. Read the rest of this article on AT&T’s Networking Exchange blog.
Earlier this week we talked about how to back up your data using an external hard drive, so that your data will be safe even if your devices meet an untimely fate (like those of Wired writer Mat Honan). But cloud backup is important too, and as the major industry players push services like iCloud, Google Drive and Amazon Backup, it becomes more important than ever to make sure that remote data is secure.
It’s important to note that hackers got into Honan’s computer through what’s called “social engineering,” which describes exploiting the people involved in security rather than hardware or software. Specifically, they were able to find out the last four digits of his credit card from Amazon, and were able to use that, combined with his billing address retrieved from an online lookup, to have his Apple ID reset by Apple tech support. So, while password security is essential, it’s not enough. Read More
Last week, former Gizmodo writer Mat Honan had everything stolen and wiped by hackers. Everything. They wiped all his devices (Macbook Air, iPad, iPhone) and had access to all his online accounts, including his Gmail and Twitter. You can read the entire story on Mat’s blog, but the key takeaway is that hackers used Apple tech support to gain access to his iCloud and take over his entire digital life.
So how do you keep yourself from being the victim of a hacking? To start, one method of backup is not enough, especially when that one method is in the cloud: it’s best to use an old-fashioned external hard drive backup too.
Mac users have it relatively easy, with the Time Machine backup utility designed by Apple for this exact purpose. Time Machine makes a copy of your hard drive, and then updates it as you make changes to your hard drive. Time Machine can be used with an external hard drive, or paired with Time Capsule, Apple’s external hard drive that doubles as a wireless device. Time Capsule comes with either 2 or 3 TB of storage, which should be enough storage for most users.
PC users will need to buy an external hard drive as well as one of the many backup softwares on the market. The good news is that a 2TB hard drive will only run you between $100-$200, and the backup utility Easeus-Todo is free as well as highly rated. Once you’ve downloaded and extracted Easeus, it’s simple to backup either all or part of your data, as well as schedule future backups so you’re always protected.
Once you have your data backed up on an external hard drive, it’s time to also make a copy in the cloud. From iCloud and Google Drive to Dropbox and Nexus, there are tons of backup options, which we will talk about in more detail later this week. For now, it’s enough to know that backing up — without the cloud — is still a must for the foreseeable future.