Expert Tips for Choosing the Right VPN

A VPN can be used for a variety of reasons, from use within your personal/home life, to use within your business and work life. No two VPN providers offer the same packages and because of this, it can make your decision a little more tricky. Choosing a VPN needs to be done once you have researched the market and once you have established exactly what it is that you want. If you are not aware of what is out there then it is wise to browse the market first and foremost. Once you have done browsing you will be able to compile a list of must-haves. So, what must-haves do you need – Is speed important, is server location essential?

How To Get The Right VPN – The Considerations

With a VPN provider, there are lots of other things you still need to consider. From cost and coverage to reliability and usability. With so many choices out there it can feel a little bit overwhelming so it is best to use VPNBrains who can, and will narrow down your choices to ensure that you get the right VPN for your personal use and business use. Comparing providers ensures you get the best value for money too! In addition to comparing providers you can also establish which VPN is right for you by considering the following:

Security And Protection On Offer

Not all VPNs offer the same level of security. For example, some cannot guarantee top-level security in certain countries. If security is one of the main reasons you want to use a VPN, for example, you want to use a public or shared computer but you don’t want to share your data and information, or, you want to browse websites with added security behind you then it is crucial you check the VPNs security offer. If they don’t highlight how good their security offering is then it is probably best to look elsewhere.

Price Monthly Or Annually

If affordability is a consideration you need to think about how you can pay and when you can pay. Some providers only accept PayPal or Payoneer. Is this right for you and your lifestyle. Some providers demand an annual subscription – Can you afford this. Price consideration is important as paying month by month can also end up costing you more in the long run. It is also wise to track prices for a few days as lots of well-known VPN providers change their prices, even by a few cents every so often to attract new custom.

Reviews and Recommendations

What other users are saying and how they are reacting to a brand is important. Pay attention to the customer service that they provide, and pay attention to how quickly issues get resolved. For example, if you have an issue will they resolve it quickly or will you be paying full subscription costs for a while until they can be bothered to rectify any issues you may be experiencing. Some reviews can be fake and malicious, so it is important to have your guard up when using reviews. Also, on the flip side, there can be fake reviews stating how good a VPN is, when it is a load of rubbish, so watch out for this too. Doing due diligence and utilizing a few recommendation and review websites will ensure that you don’t get caught out.

Usage Within Your Country

This sounds simple enough right, but in reality, not all VPNs work in your country or provide adequate servers for you to use. Choice and selection are important when choosing a VPN. Everyone deserves a good selection for their subscription price and if you are not getting it, or you are not going to get it within your country then look for another provider. If a provider offers limited coverage within your country of use then you will quickly be left feeling frustrated and annoyed. Coverage and quality are important especially when purchasing annual subscriptions so always check the terms and conditions before signing up and parting with any money, and, of course, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as possible.

A few days of research and use of comparison websites should be all that you need to ensure you choose the right VPN provider for you. Remember to ensure the site is legitimate and authentic before paying for any services as there are lots of fakes out there who look very similar to the real thing, and once you have parted with your money it can be very difficult to reclaim, so, always ensure you use real and trusted sites no matter what.

8 Cyber Security Best Practices For Your Small Business

There is a dangerously incorrect mindset that is common amongst small business owners and that is the idea that they are virtually immune to cybercriminals on account of there being ‘not much to steal’.

The reality is that, according to the U.S. Congressional Small Business Committee, 71% of cyber attacks occur upon businesses with fewer than 100 employees. More concerning still, is that a State of SMB CyberSecurity Report found that as much as 50% of all small businesses had experienced a security breach in that past year.

But why is this? Almost all cyber attacks are designed to procure personal data to be used for identity or credit card theft. According to CSO.com, it is the less-secure networks that are commonplace in small businesses that make them ideal targets. Those looking to automate attacks can breach potentially thousands of small businesses in much less time than larger targets.

Without an IT security specialist at your disposal, what can you do to prevent your small business from falling victim to a cyber attack? Here are 8 best cyber security practices you can immediately implement to better protect your business.

1. Install a firewall

The Federal Communications Commision (FCC) recommends that all small-medium businesses install a firewall to create a barrier between cybercriminals and sensitive business data. In addition to external firewalls, many companies are now also setting up internal firewalls for added protection. It is also sometimes overlooked that employees who work from home require a home network firewall as well, so consider providing support and firewall software for your employee’s home networks to ensure comprehensive compliance.

2. Document your cybersecurity protocols

No matter how intuitively or informally you run your small business, one area that is essential to document is that of cybersecurity policies. On-line training is available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) Cybersecurity portal, including checklists and general information on protecting businesses that operate online. Consider utilizing the FCC’s Cyber Planner 2.0 to help you to create your security document and also investing in Security Information and Event Management to spot and respond to security incidents.

Additionally, the C3 Voluntary Program for Small Businesses includes a detailed toolkit for deciding upon and documenting the cybersecurity best practices for your business.

3. Don’t overlook mobile devices

According to the Tech Pro Research BYOD, Wearables and IoT, as many as 59% of businesses cater for employees to use their own devices, so it’s imperative to incorporate this risk into your security plan. With wearables such as smart watches increasing in popularity, it is important to include these devices within a security policy. Norton recommends the requirement of all employees to set up automatic security updates and ensure that the business’s password policy be applied to all mobile devices that have access to the network.

4. Prioritize employee education

Small businesses often require employees to wear many hats, making it all the more essential that they are all adequately trained on the business’s network cyber security policies.

As cybercriminals become savvier, it’s imperative to regularly review and update your security protocols. For employee accountability, ensure that each employee has read a company handback and signs an acknowledgement document stating that they have received and understood the policies, as well as the consequences of not correctly following them.

5. Ensure safe password practices are upheld

According to a Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 63% of data breaches occurred as a result of weak, lost, or stolen passwords. In today’s BYOD (bring your own device) world, it’s more essential than ever to ensure that all employee devices that access the business network are password protected and that original wifi codes are also changed. 

It is recommended that all employees ideally be required to use passwords that incorporate upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and symbols – and that small businesses enforce that all passwords be changed every 60 – 90 days.

6. Backup all data regularly

No matter how well protected we are from cyber attacks, it is still possible to be breached, so protecting your data from loss is vital. It is recommended that you backup databases, word-processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, financial files and accounting records regularly and keep them in a safe, separate location in case of flood or fire. Be sure to back all of your data up in the cloud for maximum protection, too.

7. Utilize multi-factor identification

Regardless of your security preparation, at some stage it is likely that an employee will make a mistake that compromises your data. Using multi-factor identification settings is easy to do on most network and email products and provides an added layer of protection. A solid choice is to use an employee’s cell phone number as a secondary identification form, as it is unlikely that a cybercriminal would have access to both the password and the PIN.

8. Install anti-malware software

While one hopes that all employees know never to open phishing emails, reports indicate that a considerable percentage still do. Phishing attacks are designed to install malware onto devices when the unknown link is clicked, so installing anti-malware onto both the business network and all accessing devices is essential.

Cyber criminals advance in their security-breaching skills every day, making the effective security of your business data an ever-moving target. It is essential that you train your employees to prioritize cyber security and that you stay ahead of the latest trends when it comes to new forms of attack and emerging technologies that prevent cybercrime. The longevity of your business may depend on it.

Top 5 Things to Know for PC and Phone Security

Looking to practice safe computing habits? Thinking you have become a bit casual with your cybersecurity? Getting a little paranoid about protecting your data? This piece provides you with a strong start towards ensuring your PC and phone security.

Cyber Threats Explained

It is undeniable that computers and smartphones are an integral part of your daily life. You depend on these for business, communication, and information. But of great concern is how these devices can be used for tracking you or breaking into your files. With viruses and malware becoming harder to detect, it is evident that cybersecurity has become a great threat. For instance, 2019 brought with it ransomware attacks, supply chain hacks, and escalating concerns with incidences of data breaches becoming an ever-growing threat. According to Small Business Trends, at least 43% of cyberattacks are on small businesses which costs them at least a million dollars to mitigate the ripple effects. How then do you protect yourself? What are the top 5 things you should know about PC and phone security?

Top 5 Considerations for Cybersecurity

1.  Automate Your Approach to Cybersecurity

At the beginning of any project, you want to take into account how secure the project will be. This is often done to ensure the integrity of a software for instance is maintained. An example of such an initiative is the security by design software that is incorporated at the beginning of a product’s life cycle. Notably, integration with the Cloud makes it easier for software developers to incorporate the system by design as part of a cybersecurity approach. It takes on key functions including system configurations, automation of security baselines, and the end-user audit of security controls for Amazon Web Service customers. Admittedly, this approach it timely especially in this age of IoT where tighter security is needed with the greater connection of devices. 

2.  Enable Two-Step Authentication for Your Online Accounts

Otherwise referred to as two-factor verification, this process eliminates the need for customers to verify their identity with passwords and user IDs. The two-step authentication involves providing additional information which only you know. This is often a security question, a physical characteristic like a fingerprint or a PIN number. As a protocol, it saves you money while removing the notoriously vulnerable user passwords. Besides, you can enable remote access while still protecting yourself from cyberattacks. Note that as a prerequisite for the two-step authentication, log off from any frequently visited sites as this protects you from malware and online impersonation. Using the knowledge, possession, or inherence methods called upon by this protocol restricts any unwarranted leverage that an attacker might have on you.

3.  Encrypt Your Drive

If you have ever wondered if encrypting your drive was enough to protect you, the answer is yes. A single encrypted folder is good enough to provide you with the strongest protection from any hack attempt. If you leave swap files on your computer even a motivated hacker would have a difficult time accessing your files. In a situation where someone illegally got access to any data, it would be difficult for them to read the files on any other OS. You should consider getting third-party encrypting programs especially for your OS passwords. Note that encryption also safeguards you as you connect to the internet, access your emails or fails and when you log into any accounts online. However, be aware that encrypting your drive or getting a third-party encryption software does not protect you from clicking on malicious links. Additionally, you should avoid downloading files whose source you are not sure of.

4.  Always Lock Your PC and Phone

The easiest way to protect yourself from data breaches is locking your PC and phone especially when you are away from the device. Fortunately, most OS including Windows provide you with a simple command to lock your PC. You can also include an add-on to your PC that instructs the device to lock after a predetermined amount of time. An additional security set up would be to incorporate a secure logon software whereby after a number of unsuccessful log ins, the machine would lock down for a certain amount of time.

5.  Secure Your Wi-Fi Networks

As a start, make a complicated router password that can only be changed or accessed using your admin credentials. This effectively protect your wireless network from intrusion. On the other hand, you should limit access to the password to your immediate family or work mates. Besides, change the password frequently as a WiFi password is typically ever input once.

Cyber threats compromise your data and might cost you money and damage your reputation. Obviously, following the above tips might not guarantee you will never experience a security compromise. Still, when considered, and practiced regularly, these habits should make you a bit secure in a world where PCs and phones are consistently susceptible to brute-force attacks.

3 Cybersecurity Tips for Entrepreneurs

In 2017, a number of 24.089 records were compromised based on the average data breach records. This cost businesses over $3.62 million in a single year. At this point, it is believed that one in four online businesses can expect a data breach at some point of their existence on the online market.

Cyber security is a huge concern of people who use technology. It has received a lot of press in the past few years, which results in continuous updates and changes that aim to reduce, if not eliminate, cybercrime on the Internet. As a person who has an online business, you need not only learn what is cyber security, but also learn how to protect your online business from criminals.

Seeing how the numbers above are only expected to grow, there are some things you must do to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

1. Make Good Use of Cloud Storage

Did you know that 43% of all cyber-attacks occur on small businesses and startups? This means that, even if you’re an entrepreneur at a small business, your data is still at risk. Thanks to clouds, you can now keep your data safe from breaches and incidental losses.

However, remember that clouds aren’t always are completely safe. You’re still at risk when you store your data in a cloud format. Some of the more popular cloud options like Google Drive and Dropbox do their best to secure your content. But, no matter how hard a cloud server plants cyber security into their products, you are still vulnerable.

Therefore, you should choose the safest cloud you can find, but also provide an extra layer of encryption to protect your data. To keep it secure, you need to use various encryption SSL systems and tools. This doesn’t make a cloud service bad, but it makes you a responsible and cautious entrepreneur. Think of it this way – it is like when you order assignment help in Sydney from the most popular company, but still use a plagiarism checker to make absolutely sure of the originality.

2. Always Use Strong Passwords

A password can determine whether a cyber-criminal accesses your data or not. It’s the part of the security keychain that’s most commonly the reason for breaches. Therefore, you need to make sure that you have the most secure password on all your systems, data, e-mails, and even profiles on websites.

Your cyber security plan must include utilization of stronger passwords with complex order and more characters. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and apps that can help you pick the best password.

3. Require Multi-Factor Authentication

To make it even harder for attackers to use your business data, require multi-factor authentication to keep your accounts protected. You can combine passwords, make use of your hardware and smartphone, and even use your fingerprint or face recognition to unlock an account.

The face recognition feature is currently under debate when it comes to security. It is really handy, yes, but a single picture of your face can unlock the account. However, taking into consideration that most cyber criminals don’t know what you look like but are only interested in business data, you can definitely consider it as one of the authentication methods. It may be necessary to use one of these top VPN providers.

Conclusion

Technology has been one of the best and most effective changes in the business world. However, all great things come with their own set of risks, which in this case, is cybercrime. As an entrepreneur, it is your obligation and job to keep the business data safe and confidential. Therefore, it is time to make some changes to implement a safer and stronger cybersecurity strategy that will give your business a better chance to thrive and survive. In the unlikely event that you still got attacked by cybercriminals even with the necessary precautions taken, look for a digital forensics company to help you.

10 Ways to Secure Your Information Across Your Devices Online

The digital revolution has brought great advances in public access to information. Before the internet, you needed a set of encyclopedias or a visit to the library to find things out. Now, almost any information you desire is at your fingertips, on the computer. But the same technology that permits information access online makes us vulnerable to invasion by others seeking valuable information or resources from us. So it is vital in this digital age to take strong steps to protect yourself and devices.

Here are 10 ways to secure your information across your devices online:

1. Pick Strong Passwords

This is the obvious one, but you’d be amazed how many people choose simple passwords that are easy for sophisticated hackers to hack. Algorithms can go through millions of simple possibilities in seconds. A good password should contain/include alphabetical, symbolic, and numeric characters. It should be of sufficient length, 10-12 characters, and not contain obvious names or words. Acronyms make good passwords because they are easy to remember, yet do not present discernible patterns for hackers. Also, obviously your passwords across different apps should be different, not the same.

2. Protect Your Passwords

They are the keys to your digital kingdom! Do not give your passwords to others. Password manager apps are one great answer for those who have many passwords. If you do use a password manager app, make sure their reputation is excellent and security strong. After all, someone who gains access to that information will pretty much gain access to all that you own, in one form or another. Change your passwords when notified of any security breach

3. Maintain Separate User and Admin Accounts

Maintaining separate user and admin accounts is a common, almost universal, practice in business settings these days. It is a good idea for your home devices as well. Protect your admin account with a password. Use this account only for admin purposes. If your computer is hacked, the hacker will not automatically have access to make administrative changes. It also makes sense to protect your user account with a password. If your computer is stolen, the thief will need to know the password to immediately access any information you keep on file.

4. Keep Software Current

This is done automatically, in large part, these days on many computers. If you don’t have your computer set up to automatically update at specified times, do so. Many updates are security fixes to combat vulnerabilities in programs. There is a continuous race between developers and hackers who wish to exploit these vulnerabilities. If you are not updating, hackers can easily win this race! Back up your files. It is also a good idea to back up all vital information on two flash drives. Store one and keep the other with you when you go places. In the unlikely event of some kind of disaster (fire, hurricane, theft, etc.) you will maintain your vital information.

5. Connect With Care

Connect only to secure sites. Do not use public Wi-Fi to conduct personal or business affairs. If you must connect to sites where security is questionable, use a strong Virtual Private Network (VPN) like Surfshark. Try it here.

6. Practice Multi-Factor Authentication

Two-factor, or multi-factor, authentication is the use of more than one form of identity verification to gain site access. Passwords are one method. Security questions are another often-used form of authentication. But many times the information commonly used is easily available to identity thieves as well. So, if you are going to use a security question, make sure the information is personal and truly private. Biometrics is another method growing in sophistication and popularity. Facial recognition or iris identification should someday be the norm in all computers. Fingerprints or voice identification are other good examples. Biometrics authentication is the future state of the art, although all methods still face challenges. Some devices have biometric capability now. Passwords will become a thing of the past, although they’re still vital currently! Setting alerts on your online accounts is another good practice.

7. Use Caution with Emails

One of the most common security breaches comes from replying to or opening links in fraudulent emails. This is commonly known as phishing. Never open a link in an email unless you are absolutely certain it is from a trusted source. Don’t even open it then. A common hacker practice is to gain entrance to one account and use that account to send phony messages to all contacts, with requests for money or information. Phishing emails have led to many notorious security breaches. Think of the 2016 elections, when a phishing email led to the massive DNC security breach.

8. Use a Good Security App

This is just good common sense. In this day and age, a good security app is a must. Many decent apps are free, but this is one area where it likely pays to pay. Consumer advocate sites rate the top security apps each year. If you don’t have one, hurry to check these ratings out, then purchase a good app. Visit at least 2 or 3 sites to get a consensus. Then check customer reviews as well.

9. Minimize Physical Access Possibilities

Physical access to any of your devices may be the easiest way for someone to gain vital personal information. Don’t leave your computer up and running in public. Do not leave important applications open anywhere while you are absent. Protect access with a strong password. Although best practice with passwords is to not keep physical copies, in the real world, where you might have 50 passwords, this is often not practical. Keep password information in a secure spot.

10. Utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

The VPN has become vital to maintain strong internet security. VPNs encrypt information and route your connection through a remote server. Your actual identity and location are masked by that server. VPNs also permit connection to sites that are geographically restricted or forbidden. They protect information when using public Wi-Fi. VPNs can be used to stream video such as Hulu or Netflix. VPNs permit download access without a digital footprint. Business users can log on to their business networks while traveling. One of the highest rated VPNs is Surfshark. Surfshark has more than 500 servers in all parts of the globe to facilitate strength and speed of connection. They were recently named a top VPN newcomer. Surfshark now offers annual plans with decreased cost and 24/7 support. Presently, a no risk trial is available. This is an excellent opportunity to secure a strong VPN network at an unusually low price.