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AndroPedia Tech Library
As part of our service, it is important to keep our client-partners well informed on IT developments, news, and best practices. Here is just a sampling of typical items from our AndroPediaSM library archive:
To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You Jan 12, 2018
2017 was a pretty eventful year for tech. Between the WannaCry ransomware virus, the data breach at Equifax and many other less famous incidents – one thing is for certain. 2017 was the year of cybersecurity and 2018 is expected to follow suit.
With cyber attacks on everyone’s mind and radar, businesses are starting to notice a shift in public perception when it comes to the companies they work with when it comes to data security. People want to feel safe – and they want to make sure that their information is safe, even on the web.
So while this has been a growing trend for a few years now, it is safe to say that moving forward, the trend has transformed into an expectation of security and protecting consumer data.
2018 is definitely the year of HTTPs.
What is HTTPs?
To understand what HTTPS means and how it works, you need to know a few definitions.
First – HTTP, HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. Without diving too deep into the technical lingo, this is an application layer protocol. Basically, HTTP is the protocol that involves information sent between a browser (like google chrome) and a website itself. So if you were to interrupt that connection and intercept it, you’d see in plain text what was being communicated between the website and the browser.
This can be very dangerous in certain situations. For example, if you are purchasing goods on a website with a basic HTTP (basic meaning unsecured), your personal information like your address, credit card info and whatever else you submit can be intercepted and stolen.
Nobody wants this to occur – except the thieves – so HTTPs was introduced as a secure option.
Like HTTP, HTTPs stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol but it has an additional Security component; hence the “S”.
By adding additional security components, the language being transmitted between website and browser is encrypted and kept from being read by evil doers and criminals.
Another term you might hear thrown around regarding this security protocol is an SSL or Secure Socket Layer Certificate. Again, this is just another way of saying that your site has the technology in place to securely encrypt transactions between the website and browsers etc.
The types of SSL Certificates may vary, but their basic coding provides security and encryption.
You can always tell if a website is secure in a few different ways.
- https:// precedes the URL destination i.e. https://www.google.com
- A lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
- A green lock shows up in the leftmost corner of your navigation bar
Sounds pretty good, right?
There was a time when this added security feature was mainly used on websites that transfer personal information such as ecommerce, financial, medical, legal etc. but these days the added security of an SSL or HTTPs on your site is more of a standard.
It is something that savvy consumers look for to avoid vulnerability.
Now that we’ve gone through what this feature is and how it operates in respect to your website you might have some additional questions about whether this feature would benefit you. We’ve touched on a few of the most common topics below.
I’m Just A Small Business Website,
Why Should HTTPs Matter to Me?
An SSL Shows Your Customer Base You Care About Their Security
By adding an SSL certificate to your website, and turning it from HTTP to HTTPs, you are providing an extra level of security for your users. They know right away that your website is secure- that nothing they are viewing or how they are interacting on your website is being monitored or watched by a malicious entity. It shows that you care about your customer’s user experience – and that reflects highly upon your company brand.
It Actually Provides Additional Security Against Hackers
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website also helps protect your website from a possible breach or hacking attempt. The extra level of encryption provides an external wall that is harder for hackers to break and infect. So while you might not necessarily need one for the type of website your business uses – it does help you protect yourself against would-be attackers and saves you money on potential cleanup and patches once a website does get infected or breached.
HTTPs Help Improve Website Search Engine Rankings and Traffic
Having this added security installed on your website shows popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! that you take your user’s experience and security seriously. So seriously that they award your website with increased rankings.
And we all know higher rankings lead to more traffic which you hope leads to more clients/customers.
Google has been favoring websites with HTTPs for a few years now; however, after recent technology-related world events, they have doubled-down.
Starting this past October, websites that use a form or search tool on their website will not have a Not Secure warning when viewed on Google Chrome browser. The last thing you want your prospective clients to see when visiting your site is a message about poor security.
Google also has been blatantly favoring websites with HTTPs over HTTP. About have of all 1st page results on Google are websites with HTTPs, up over 30% since the end of 2016.
Failure to increase security on your site risks lower search rankings and even increases bounce rates. It is also proven that HTTP sites load slower, causing Google to penalize them for site speed as well. Overall, the industry is punishing sites that do not value security.
So, what should you take away from all of this?
An SSL does incur extra costs (but they are minimal) but failure to secure your website can cost you potential new customers, reduce website traffic and impact overall user experience.
Your IT partner or web hosting provider should have the necessary tools to help you with your website security. It should be fairly simple and won’t break your budget either.
Want to take the next step and convert to HTTPs but not sure how?
Andromeda has trained technicians and developers that are more than happy to help you with the conversion. Just give us a call to get started today!
The post To SSL or Not to SSL: What is HTTPs and Why it Matters to You appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts Oct 02, 2017
We’ve been polling our readers recently for topics of interest. Of course, cyber security and ransomware are hot topics but many of you mentioned that you are interested in quick tips you can follow or use yourself.
You ask – we deliver.
Without further ado – check out these 6 quick tips for best password practices
- Create passwords with multiple cases, symbols and numbers. Just be sure to avoid passwords such as “123456”, “qwerty”, “football”, “princess” or “password” – some of the most common passwords in 2016 according to SplashData.
- Don’t create a password based on personal details such as your birth date, an anniversary, phone number, social security number etc. While not everyone may know these details about you, they are among the first a cybercriminal or evildoer will attempt when trying to hack your account. Even worse, if your password data is compromised, imagine what a cybercriminal could do with that social security information if it was exposed.
- Avoid using the same password on multiple sites. We get it, remembering different passwords for all of your different sites and needs is difficult. It is important to create something unique for every login you maintain. Remember, if a hacker gets ahold of your password for one account, the first thing they will do is try that bad boy on bank accounts, social media, emails and anywhere else they can to grab sensitive information or even your hard earned money.
- Change your passwords regularly. We suggest changing passwords every 90 days. This can be a pain but if you maintain this practice you make getting into your accounts that much harder.
- Do Not keep a list of your passwords on your computer. Keeping a list of passwords is dangerous in any format. You open yourself up to great risk in doing so. The worst method for this is keeping a list of your passwords in a file on your computer. Instead, keep a list of each site and next to it write a specific clue that will only make sense to you. This can help jog your memory without spilling the beans if someone stumbles upon the file.
- Use Dual Authentication. Many apps and sites now offer dual authentication as an added security measure. Once you login to your account, you will be prompted for a code (either one you create or a randomly generated code). You put this code into the site as a second proof of your identity. This feature greatly reduces if not eliminates the likelihood of someone breaking into your accounts.
Password protection is difficult. The average Joe has anywhere from 20-200 passwords. We recognize that is a big gap but even memorizing 20 different passwords is a difficult task. With that said, we would like to provide you with a few useful tools that can free up your memory and manage your password security for you.
There are a variety of password managers on the market. We have used and enjoyed LastPass which comes with a free and premium subscription as well as an app for your phone. If you want to check out a variety of password managers and how they stack up – PC Magazine released their “Best Password Managers of 2017” earlier this month.
Password Security Tests
Platforms and websites do exist that will check the security of your password. There are even some websites out there that will tell you how long a hacker would have to spend to crack your code. Check out our recommended tool here .
Email Alias Tools
We’ve found an interesting tool that can help you keep track of your passwords but also creates aliases for your email address. This is useful because without your email address, a password is essentially useless. Now, of course you don’t want someone to have your password at all but this also helps you keep your inbox clear of spam and unwanted mail.
Any of these tools can help you out. If you have any questions feel free to reach the Andromeda Team Today!
The post Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Smart TV’s May Be Tracking You And Vulnerable To Hacks Feb 21, 2018
Do you own a smart TV?� More than half of all television sales in the US last year were smart TVs, so chances are decent that you own one.� If you do, be aware that it may be collecting far more data about you than you think.
Recall that last year, Samsung, (one of the top smart TV manufacturers) found itself in hot water when it was revealed that the TV could listen in on conversations, record them (for better voice recognition) and save them on a Samsung server.
Those issues still persist to varying degrees, but a recent Consumer Reports study underscores something most people in the tech business have known all along.� Smart devices really aren't all that smart, at least when it comes to security.
The Consumer Reports study concluded that most smart TVs and associated technologies like the Roku have only the most rudimentary of security features and can easily be hacked, giving the hackers total control of your TV. This includes the ability to turn it off, on, change the channel, and monitor your viewing habits.� Given that, these TVs can also be voice-controlled. Once a hacker is in control of your set, he could monitor any conversations that take place near it without your knowledge.
In addition, the most recent smart TVs come with a feature called Content Recognition.� For example, if you watch the latest episode of the Walking Dead (whether on AMC or Amazon Prime or some other streaming service), the next time you pull up a web page on your PC or smart phone, you'll start seeing advertising related to the Walking Dead.
This, of course, gives any would-be hacker a much deeper view into your viewing habits and history.
The upside is that most of these features can be deactivated if you have the patience to sift through the television's menu system. Of course, if you do that, then it's no longer a smart TV, and thus, not worth the extra money you spent on it.
As ever, the bottom line is this:� These kinds of risks aren't going to go away on their own.� Until and unless smart device makers start taking security more seriously, we're going to keep hearing about potential or actual abuses.