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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:
Holy Big Brother! Google Location History: An All Knowing Function You Probably Didn’t Know You’ve Enabled Jul 31, 2017
Technology has changed our world forever. What’s the first thing you do before you get out of bed in the morning? Chances are it has something to do with your smartphone. These items open up worlds of possibilities but they can also bring issues and privacy conflicts with them. For this month’s IT article we bring you an article from our President and CEO Jeff Borello on the intersection of instant access (google) and user privacy (location sharing) – focusing on something called: Google Location History. Without further ado . . .
Holy Big Brother
Have you ever heard of Google Location History?
Yeah, me neither.
Let me start by saying I am not a guy that cares about intrusions on my privacy. I don’t care if the government is listening to my phone calls or reading my Emails. I figure I am not doing anything wrong – so if they are interested in my boring life – so be it. Especially if it helps them catch some bad guys.
Now, with that said, even I was a little freaked out when I discovered how much Google and my Google App know about my daily movements.
These days, almost everyone has a Google login and is quite often signed into their account – especially from a mobile device.
So, let’s play a little game. Where were you on January 17th at 4pm? You probably don’t remember, but if you have location services enabled on your device . . . Google does.
Google Location History is a comprehensive (and by that I mean every detail imaginable) history of places you have visited as tracked and logged by your smartphone’s GPS function. Besides being comprehensive, it also has a very long memory – like years.
Give this a try to see if Google Location History is enabled on your phone.
- From a desktop browser, go to Maps.google.com (from your phone you need to open the Google Maps App)
- Sign in to your Google account (if you aren’t already). Top right-hand corner will either show a Letter (first letter of your login) or a Sign In button.
- Click the 3-bar menu in the top left corner and select “Your Timeline”
- If you see some bar graph data there, click the bar for a given day shown from the last month.
- How long did it take you to get to work that day?
- Where did you have lunch?
- Did you walk anywhere during the day?
- Did you take any pictures? (Yes, those might be logged in there as well)
See a screenshot below of my recent trip to Nashville. Yep, lunch at Monell’s (great place BTW) from 12:25 to 2:06 and dinner at 9:14 at the Peg Leg Porker BBQ
Walking, driving, flying. It knows and records those differently.
So, the obvious question is why on earth would you want something this invasive turned on? The answer is convenience. As often is the case, to gain some convenience you need to give up some privacy.
It is this information that Google uses to help you throughout your day. It will inform you of traffic issues based on your travel habits and places you may visit often. The more information the system has on you, the more helpful an AI-powered app (Google Assistant) can be.
Okay, I have Google Location History turned on. Now what?
The good news is you do have control over this. If you aren’t comfortable being tracked, you can turn this feature off. From the Timeline there is an option to Pause that feature, which in effect disables it until you turn it back on. You can also delete your entire location history as well, or just delete individual entries if you wish.
Of course, as long as the GPS is enabled on your phone, there are still plenty of apps out there that could be tracking you. Only truly private solution is to disable the GPS completely (which probably causes you more issues than you think) or just leave your phone at home (yeah, right).
Is Google Location History too much an invasion on your privacy? That is for you to decide but at least now you’re aware you are under the microscope.
The post Holy Big Brother! Google Location History: An All Knowing Function You Probably Didn’t Know You’ve Enabled appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Your Company Laptop Was Stolen – Now What? May 29, 2018
It’s another Tuesday in the airport, and you just cleared the TSA line and went to the pretzel shop for a quick bite before you catch your plane. You sit your laptop down to get a straw, and the next second…your laptop is gone. It’s not in sight, nor is the thief who stole it.
At first you’re confused, then the confusion starts to fade away and you realize that this wasn’t just a personal laptop. It was your work computer and had company files, sensitive information and access to company data that definitely doesn’t belong in anyone else’s hands.
But what do you do?
What To Do When You Can’t Find Your Stolen Laptop
Stolen Laptop Step 1: Get in touch with your IT team
Whether you outsource, have internal IT staff or a mixture of both, your first step is to alert your IT support teams of the incident. Time is critical on this.
Even if you have a password on your laptop, which will likely prevent the thief from immediately having access to your private documents. It won’t stop someone removing the hard drive from your laptop and connecting it to another computer. Suddenly your hard drive is sitting there, ready to browse – just like any other folder or drive letter.
Your IT Staff/Vendor should be installing encryption and remote management software on all remote devices. With proper encryption, your data is secure AND with remote management, your IT staff can wipe the stolen laptop before any damage is done.
Without this encryption software and remote management, you’d be forced to report any theft like this as a data breach. That means the government knows about it, your employees need to be made aware and worst of all – you have to alert clients.
This is why in this instance, you call your tech staff first.
Stolen Laptop Step 2: Contact the Police and file a report
The next best thing to do in situations like this is to immediately file a police report for the stolen laptop. Having a police case number can help with any insurance and/or recovery endeavors that come up. Plus, having a police report can help catch the criminal who stole your sensitive devices.
Stolen Laptop Step 3: Change Your Passwords
If you don’t have encryption and even if you do – it is smart to change passwords to all personal, professional and financial accounts. Additionally if you used this computer to pay bills, check banking information or for any type of financial transactions, you’ll want to make sure to check those accounts.
Stolen Laptop Step 4: Recover Your data on another device
This step also involves your IT staff/company. Hopefully you’re IT pros have all of your company data backed up and readily available. It is important that you synch your portable devices regularly so that in ANY incident of failure or theft, you can be restored quickly without too much interruption.
To make sure that you’re covered on this front, we’d suggest requesting regular tests of your backups anyway. That way, no matter the issue, you know your data is secured, backed up AND ready to deploy in an emergency or urgent situation.
There are many steps you’ll want to take after a theft occurs but with proactive IT support you won’t have nearly as many headaches to deal with.
These things happen more often than you’d think too.
On average a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds!
So – take the following actions and get ahead of the issue before a stolen laptop happens.
- Find out if your company’s remote devices are encrypted with the ability to wipe all data on command
- Make sure that you train employees with remote devices not to leave them unattended and to lock them in the trunk of their cars instead of leaving them in a front or backseat.
- When travelling put your laptop on the TSA conveyer belt last – that way it is less likely to remain unattended.
- Look into your company backups and business continuity protocols.
- How often are they tested?
- How often are remote users synching and backing up data?
- How long will it take to restore a PC when you need it?
Our team is here to help you set up and manage any of the technical details listed above.
In fact, fill out the form below or call the office to receive 10% off of your initial setup fees for our remote encryption software!
Just mention the code “Encrypt4Me” when you call (815) 836-0030 or fill out the form below.
The post Your Company Laptop Was Stolen – Now What? appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.FBI Advises Users To Reboot Their Routers Jun 11, 2018
Cisco's Talos Security Team has identified a new threat, and it's a nasty one impacting more than half a million consumer-grade routers in the US.� According to the Talos Team's report, the new malware is impacting a broad cross-section of routers made by TP-Link, QNAP, Netgear, Mikrotik, and Linksys.
Known as "VPNFilter," the malware currently infecting routers appears to be the first stage in a multi-phase attack, with the first segment allowing the hackers to collect a wide range of communications data and slave the device to launch attacks on others.� The code also contains a kill command that allows the hackers to destroy the device at will.
As of now, the FBI has already taken swift action and has seized a domain used by the hackers as a means to deliver the later stages of the attack. They report that the primary and secondary means of further infection have been dismantled.� They also report, however, that the hackers still have a fallback method of infection, which relies on sending "poisoned" data packets to each infected device.
Based on an evaluation of the code and the presence of redundant mechanisms for delivering the later stages of the infection, the code has been traced to a Russian hacking group with deep ties to the Russian government.� The group is known by a variety of names, including Fancy Bear, Sofacy, APT 28, and Pawn Storm.
On the heels of seizing the domain, the FBI released a statement that includes:
"The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices.� Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled.� Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware."