10 Cyber Security Tips to Help You Sleep in Peace at Night

10 Cyber Security Tips

When it comes to cyber security, sometimes it won’t matter how expensive or effective the security tools you’ll have in place just to protect your network. There’s no way you’ll be able to predict the type of damage a careless user can create. The war that rages on against cyber criminals happens every time users open or click on unfamiliar links, and the smallest of mistakes can result in the loss of extensive data (or money).

Let’s cover some basic guidelines you should take into consideration when using the internet:

  1. Be aware that any user who accesses the net can become a target to certain online threats. Don’t be too complacent to think you’re too smart to be a target that it will never happen to you.
  2. Maintain this password ‘etiquette’. Make it a habit to use strong passwords, with a combination of alphanumeric characters and symbols. Also, avoid using one password for a number of sites. Avoid writing down your passwords on post-it-notes or anywhere else that a passer-by could easily obtain them.
  3. Your devices should not be left unattended. If you need to leave your tablet, phone, or computer for even a few minutes, it should always be locked so that no one can have access to it. Do not store sensitive data or information on your external hard drive or flash drive, otherwise make sure you lock these devices as well.
  4. Be mindful when deciding to open a link or attachment in an email. If it is too suspicious and unexpected, do not open it!10 Cyber Security Tips
  5. Your online transactions like shopping and banking, where you usually give out PINs and financial details, must only be done on your devices and your trusted network. Remember that free WiFi spots, public computers or even a friend’s phone can place your sensitive data at risk of either being stolen or copied.
  6. Back up your data on a regular schedule and make sure you are always using up-to-date anti-virus software.
  7. Always remember that Malware is usually spread from infected external hard drives, flash drives or even smartphones. You should think twice before you plug it into your devices or computers especially if it’s not yours.
  8. Be very smart on sharing any personal info on the social networks you use. Criminals can easily befriend an unsuspecting user (and it could be you) and thereby gain entry into your detailed and descriptive information such as when you usually go out on vacation, your workplace and when you are not home.  Don’t make it too easy for them to abuse you.
  9. When offline, you should still have to be aware of social engineering, where criminals will try to gain certain information by way of manipulation. If a person emails or calls you and asks for sensitive info, it is alright (and safest!) to say NO. It is also advisable to call companies directly in order to verify their credibility and credentials before you give out any information.
  10. You should actively monitor your accounts. If anything is unfamiliar or suspicious this could be a sign that the account has been compromised.

10 cyber security tips - trustYour PC, online banking and other security credentials should never be shared with anybody else. You have to be smarter than cyber criminals. If in doubt, there’s always information and guidance available online. Unfortunately, unscrupulous companies and individuals will continue to target the general public, because they can produce a significant amount of income even from very low “success rates” of each scam.

Unveiling the Excitement of Migrating from a PC to a MAC

Migrating from a PC to a Mac

Migrating from a PC to a Mac still remains a daunting task especially to those who are not so tech savvy. At this point in time where Apple has seemingly dominated the market for a number of years of its existence in the household and workplace, some people are still clueless about how to use a Mac but still very excited to get one for Christmas.  Count me in!

If I were to have a Mac and replace my 8 year old Toshiba Satellite Pro A300 laptop which is running Windows 7 OS, I’d probably look into the following factors so the shifting won’t give me even the slightest headache:

The Image the Mac Advertisements Portray

Apple has done a great job advertising Mac while comparing it to a PC. It was cool and though I personally believe that the teasing is not all true, I can relate on the issues being discussed all throughout. As I myself was into using PC and Windows OS for a number of years already, I feel kind of excited having a Mac and dealing with the tech advancements of today – at least that is the impression I initially get.

One of the reasons why I was kind of holding back on switching to a Mac is the lacking of compatibility with Windows. This thought came out naturally (everything that’s new is intimidating), plus there was also a rumor about this which was circulating after its first release. But it’s just a rumor, in fact there are Mac alternatives often made good or even better than Windows programs. Most common Windows programs have a separate Mac version and a lot of external peripherals such as mice, keyboards, external hard drives and monitors are fully compatible with Mac’s OS.

Learn to Speak Mac

There are some terms that I should at least be familiar with before shifting to a Mac. Windows and Mac have their own terminologies. Some of the common and basic words and/or phrases and acronyms are the following:

Windows Mac
Windows Wallpaper Mac Background
Windows Desktop Mac Desktop
Windows Recycle Bin Mac Trash
Windows Start Menu Mac Dock
Windows Programs Mac Apps
Windows Explorer Finder App

You can still use your Windows keyboard on Macs, however in this case:

  • Windows key ~ Mac Command (Cmd) key
  • Windows Control Key ~ Mac Control Key
  • Windows Alt Key ~ Mac Option Key

For hard drive formats, these are essentials:

  • Mac can read NTFS format and Windows hard drives are formatted as NTFS
  • Windows can read HFS+ format and Mac hard drives are formatted as HFS+
  • Both Mac and Windows read FAT which is the format for USB thumb drives
  • Paragon NTFS for Mac allows Mac OS to read and write NTFS-formatted hard drives. The software also has a counterpart for Windows so it can read and write to HFS+

Your Fave Fonts

While Windows fonts are located in the folder %winddir%/fonts, Mac comes with the Font Book app for installing fonts. Note that each OS comes with its own proprietary fonts. So if you have documents that use Windows fonts, they will automatically be substituted with Mac fonts when opened on a Mac if not installed yet. Hey, you can install MS Office for Mac too which will let you grab some Windows fonts you’ve loved through the years.

Become ‘Mac-handed’ when Typing

New Mac keyboard shortcuts I think will give me plenty of time to get used to it. I have managed to get a list of common keyboard shortcuts for Windows and Mac, but if you are eager to know more available shortcuts, a cheatsheet can be downloaded for your quick reference.

Function Windows Mac
Copy Ctrl + C Cmd + C
Paste Ctrl + V Cmd + V
Cut Ctrl + X Cmd+X not working for Mac, use copy & paste instead
Minimize current window Windows + M Cmd + H
Switch open programs Alt + Tab or Windows + Tab Cmd + Tab
Close programs Alt + F4 Cmd + Q
Refresh F5 or Ctrl + R Cmd + R

Hassle-free Moving of Files

Now that I know some basic terms and understand the correct drive formatting, I guess it’s time to make a decision on moving files from Windows to Mac full time.

If you happen to keep your files on an external drive as you work (glad I have put this onto practice recently), you just have to plug and unplug the USB hard drive from PC to Mac. With the need of extracting some files that you might want on a PC’s internal hard drive, you will have to evaluate the software you have installed, whether it be the same software on your Mac and where those files are located in the PC.

It is good to note that most of external hard drives you have are formatted as NTFS. An access to Paragon software will do the tricks, however if you will choose to be accessing that drive from a Mac alone starting today, it would be best to move those files from that drive then reformat it as HFS+. Then just put those files back on that drive. Voila! Everything is set for you and you may now play with your new toy.

Security Matters

Migrating from a Pc to a Mac - Security CountsSecuring my files from online threats is actually one of the reasons I’m looking forward to shifting to a Mac. I’m hoping I’ll be able to experience the best security features it offers. Mac’s OS usually offers more readily available options in securing your files:

  • It has a firewall feature that lets you activate the network filter and gives you access to control which programs can accept incoming connections. It can work on a per application basis which can give more flexibility
  • There is a FileVault that can activate full disk encryption and will let you secure all your files on your drive, system files in your OS, apps, caches and even temporary files which may contain your personal info
  • There’s this password management called keychain which lets you save and secure your passwords
  • You can set up the security features of locking and locating your laptop so it gives you less worries

As the digital age is apparently helping us work faster and smarter, the above features are continuously being updated by Apple and more and more features, services and applications are being developed to aid you in protecting your sensitive information from viruses, phishing attacks and hackers in general.

That’s it for now. Guess I cannot hide the excitement in me to see myself using and maximizing the advantages of having a Mac. Oh and by the way, I believe the cost will all be worth it down the road.



Managed Firewall Solutions to Protect Your Business


Most small to medium sized businesses owners don’t think about managed firewall solutions. They’re like you – already busy with the operational side of running their organisations. From finding new clients to invoicing their existing ones, dealing with customer and staff issues, trying to make payroll and handling their tax obligations. Network security is often the last thing on their minds!

So what is a managed firewall and why should you care?

Benefits of Managed Firewalls

Managed firewall companies can protect your business 24×7 while you are free to focus on your core business. Just as you’d pay an accountant to do your books for you (unless you’re an accounting firm!) and a cleaning company to clean your office (unless you’re a cleaning company!) it also makes sense to trust specialised experts to manage your IT security.

After all, if you want to manage your own internal network firewall, you’ve got to hire, manage and train high-salary-demanding network engineers. To support your office around the clock, you’ve got to hire enough staff to manage multiple shifts – including (to use an IT term) – redundancy, in case one of your staff is sick or needs time off. This means you’re looking at a minimum of 4 staff to adequately cover the duties of keeping your firewall and related cyber security services operational. With an average wage of $100,000 you’re looking to invest $400k right off the bat!

Managed firewalls help you avoid this massive cost blowout. The managed firewall company will leverage their own resources across multiple accounts like yours, to reduce your costs for protecting your business from cyber attacks and internal threat.

Managed Firewall Maintenance

Just like your desktop and laptop computers, it’s not enough to simply purchase a firewall service and leave it be. If you’ve purchased a firewall device off the shelf from a firewall provider, you’ll also have to make sure it’s updated with security patches and operating system updates. Otherwise you’ll be leaving your system vulnerable to attack from cyber criminals who aim to exploit security holes in outdated software code.

By engaging a managed firewall provider however, you don’t have to consider this activity – it will be included in your monthly maintenance program.

This means you can simply pay your monthly invoice and know you’re in good hands!

Levels of Network Security

Not all cloud managed firewalls are made equal, so it pays to do your homework before committing to any one solution. Some firewalls will simply block suspect traffic, while others will be able to automatically scan all incoming and outgoing documents.

Obviously the price you’ll pay will vary according to the features you need. Then it becomes a business decision to weigh up the costs vs the benefits you expect to see for that investment.