Google Installing SSL On Websites

As a way to protect your site and your users, Google’s recent decision to add SSL on website is a huge deal that can cause other big networks to follow suit.

What is HTTPS? HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is used for internet communication protocol that protects the confidentiality of data between the site and the user’s computer. When using the internet, many users expect to have a secure and private experience online, however, this isn’t always the case. In order to have a more secure experience online, Google is encouraging users to adopt HTTPS to better protect your users connection to websites.

There are three key layers of protection:

 

  • Data Integrity – This is when data can’t be modified or corrupted during a transfer, whether it’s intentionally or not, without being detected.
  • Encryption – You’ve probably heard of encryption before. Sites and apps such as What’sApp are known for its great use of encryption between users. Encryption is the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. While a user is using a website or the WhatsApp app, no one can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities or steal their information.
  • Authentication – Authentication proves that users the users is communication with the right intended website. By building users trust, it protects against man–in–the–middle attacks(attacker secretly alters the communication between two parties who believe they are connecting with one another).

In the latest Chrome browser version, Google will begin to warn users on websites not using SSL(https), and present a message in the address bar that will read as ‘not secure’ on the green lock, including the name of the company or organization. Within the info of the lock, it will explain the connection and permissions and the security of it.
Usually, Google would include https on sites that require credit card information or password. Instead, it will be labeling all websites. This means if your site is secure, but will show your users that is not, try looking into adding ssl for the better sense of security to your users.

SSL Certificate Basics

Not many web users are aware of the purpose of SSL Certificates or what its main purpose is. As the internet continues to grow, it’s important to know every bit of security that must be installed and learned as you continue to be a web user.

To begin with, what is SSL? SSL Certificate also known as a “digital certificate” in installed on a web server and serves two specific functions:

  1. It encrypts data that’s being transmitted
  2. Authenticates the identity of the website

The purpose of SSL is to guarantee visitors they are on secure and not on a unsecured and harmful sites. In other words, it is an encrypted connection between the web server and the visitors’ web browser. It helps prevent any attack or intrusive companies like ISPs from tampering with the data that is sent between websites and your own browser. Not only is it important to protect from sensitive information, but it also helps protect your site from any malware as well as preventing others from injecting advertisements in your resources.

However, there are several different types of SSL that are based on the number of domain names or subdomains owned such as single, wildcard and multi-domain.

  • Single – secures one fully-qualified domain or subdomain name.
  • Wildcard – covers one domain name and unlimited number of its subdomains.
  • Multi-domain – secures multiple domain names.

Any organization or individual website can use SSL to require, process, receive, collect store or display confidential or their audiences sensitive customer information. For examples ,sites that require use of logins and passwords, client lists, medical records or personal data (e.g. names, social security numbers, birth dates) can all be in need of SSL certificate for encrypted security.
The next time you visit a website, be aware of its SSL Certificates before revealing any personal data information.

Network Basics

IT (Information Technology) can have a lot of information all at once and it can become pretty overwhelming. IT basics range from different points of technology such as computer or web development, Internet, anything that can relate to the computer, IT knows it. However, not many people are aware of the Network basics.

A computer network is a group of computers, specifically two or more, connected to one another through a wire or a cable, or as it is often used today, wirelessly. This allows computers to be able to access and share files easily. The bigger the network, the bigger chance you have to access a large number of computers and then give you the ability to share printers, storage space, and DVD drives among other things.

There are several different types of Networks that are classified on basis of scale. In other words, the area it covers determines on the type of network it is. The most popular ones are:

  • WAN – Wide Area Network is a collection of LAN(Local Access Network) networks and cover a big amount of geographical area. The Internet itself is known as a WAN. They differ from other networks because they’re not owned by one single organization or person. They also use different technology that allows communication over long distances, for example ATM.
  • LAN – As mentioned above, LAN stands for Local Access Networks. It is known as a short-distance network, usually connection computers that are close together the same area, for example in the same room or building.
  • CAN – Campus Area Network that is used amongst Universities and College campuses. Similar to WANs or LANs, they simply just have more restrictions.
  • MAN – A Metropolitan Area Network is commonly used in a metro area. They usually are more limited in scope than WANs.

Being familiar with the various types of networks, allows you to begin learning about the different models and network architecture available.

Computer virus myths

Computer myths are so common and well known that it can be hard to differentiate between what can actually give your computer a virus and what can not. A virus is a program that infects a computer and can copy itself to harm other computers as well, mainly causing havoc by deleting important files. Many don’t realize that viruses have to be installed by the user, that is why virus come hidden in browser plugins, as programs, etc.

So how do we know the difference?


It’s important to realize what can come out of security with your computer, and it’s important to fully embrace it as well. Below are virus myths that have panicked many computer uses before before realizing they are just myths and not true.

  • Firewalls – Firewalls do not protect your computer from a virus, spyware or trojan. They will only protect you from a worm, which travels over networks. A well-thought out virus can easily disable the firewall. However, you should still keep enabled at all times, especially when you’re on unsecured networks.
  • Viruses can cause physical damage to your hardware – Your computer’s hardware itself will remain unaffected. The most damage a virus can do is cause you to take the computer to a professional who can wipe the BIOS manually or replace it completely.  
  • Only windows can receive malware – Although almost all viruses are targeted for Windows, this is false. Trojans are known to target Macs, and as Macs continue to become more and more popular, it will increase. Trojans exploit human error rather than  a security hole so all platforms are susceptible to them.
  • Error pop-ups – Any one of your computers working components can get corrupted in several ways without a virus. At times, the antivirus itself can be cause the overload of error pop-ups.
  • Reinstalling – Reinstalling your windows will not restore everything back to it’s pre-virus state. If your computer has a virus, it will remain there. Copying files from a back up drive can cause your computer to be re-infected with the virus. Always be sure to scan your documents and data to be sure they are virus free.

How To Make Windows 10 More Secure

With Windows 10 being known as one of the best, it leaves you to wonder if it’s fully efficient in its security and within the system itself. Although it has many exciting features such as Cortana, it is still a cause for concern. Follow along for some tips to make Windows 10 secure.

 

  • Turn off Tracking – Turning off tracking will help prevent Microsoft from gathering any random information it can get. First go to your head privacy settings by hitting Start > Settings > Privacy. At the privacy page you can update how your computer uses information such as your location, microphone and so forth.
  • Guard Your Browser History – The troubling thing about Edge is it sends your browsing history to Microsoft in order to help personalize your experience. However, you can change this by simply going to Settings > Advanced Settings > View Advanced Settings and under Privacy and Services turn off where it says “Have Cortana Assist Me in Microsoft Edge.”
  • Don’t create a Microsoft account – By default, it prompts you to create a Microsoft account. You should avoid this at all cost. In not doing so, your activity and information will remain local to just your computer instead of piecing it to all of the metadata it gathers.

 

To delete or manage your Microsoft accounts, simply go to Settings > Accounts > Your Account.
Use Cortana with caution – As Cortana is one of the most exciting features that has been introduced to Windows, it may, however, come at a price. Cortana’s ability is all about learning about you entirely, creating a personal experience between the user and the computer itself. This includes information on your locations, contacts, even any data regarding speech or handwriting that can be found. With all this information, it’s no surprise that it is being stored within the cloud. Although this sounds exciting, it’s important to take caution by simply adjusting your settings. Specifically, here. In doing so, you’re clearing any interest data that is is collecting giving it just enough permission to your comfort.

Spring Cleaning of Your Mobile Device

Yep, it is that time of year again – spring cleaning time. It’s not just for your house either. This is a time when, we here at M&H Consulting, encourage all computer users to clean things out and get organized. Spring is as good a time as any to get this done. Many times we focus on desktop and laptop clean outs. Today we have a few suggestions for spring cleaning your beloved mobile device – you know that thing in your hand that you can’t seem to put down.

Take a few minutes to take these clean out tips. Happy Spring Cleaning!

  • Update – Make sure your OS is running on the most recent update. “Without doing these upgrades and updates you really lose a lot of the functionality in general of the device as they continue to upgrade and add new features,” according to David Lingenfelter, the information security officer at Fiberlink, an IBM company about mobile device maintenance in a corporate environment.
  • Delete Unwanted or Unused AppsUnused or unwanted apps can chew quickly through your battery and your data. These apps can also be communicating through the web or exposing you to viruses?
  • Organize your Apps – It may seem like a little thing, but organizing the apps into business and personal can save you time.
  • Remove Photos and VideosThe biggest space-hogger on many phones is the camera roll, especially if you take lots of videos. Clean those out and transfer them to an online storage service, cloud backup or some photo app to make your mobile run faster and more efficiently.
  • Use a Cleaning App – There are powerhouse apps that clean out your Android device. It removes junk, it improves performance, and it keeps your data safe from harm.
  • Lock It Down – Once you have given your mobile device a thorough cleaning go through the security to make sure it is up-to-date. Is your password strong and do you have anti-virus protection?

 

Healthy Habits for Computer Use

We spend a lot of our time on this blog talking about how to keep your computer systems free of spyware, malware and all sorts of viruses. Most of our time here at M&H Consulting is spent dealing with new software installations, data backups, cloud storage, IT support and pretty much anything pertaining to keeping our clients computer systems running in a healthy way.

Unfortunately that doesn’t leave us a lot of time to talk about the health of the most important part of your computer system – the user!  As people who spend a large chunk of our time in front of a monitor we know there are certain steps to use a computer in a healthy way. Here are a few examples.

  • Avoid Eyestrain – Sitting in front of a monitor all day means that your eyes need a break. Follow a 20/20/20 Rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. If you find yourself getting chronic headaches talk to your doctor and look into getting a screen for your computer that can cut back on glare and eyestrain.
  • Practice Good Posture – Start by setting up your computer work station in an ergonomic fashion. Your monitor should be at eye level, so that you’re not always looking down. The display should be at arm’s length from your head. It should also be angled up slightly. Be sure you have a solid chair that supports your back. And finally, do as your mom always said, “Don’t slouch!”
  • Move Regularly – Take a few minutes every hour to get up and move whether it is a quick trip to the lounge or just up and down the office to get your blood flowing and keep your muscles limber. There is nothing worse than standing up and the end of the day and having to “unfold” yourself because you haven’t moved in too many hours. If you find it hard to do this you may want to invest in a yoga ball to sit on or some offices are switching to standing desks to keep employees healthy.
  • Avoid Wrist Strain and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – The Mayo Clinic suggest the following steps to avoid carpal tunnel: relax your grip, take breaks, don’t bend your wrist all the way down during keyboarding, keep your hands warm, and practice stretching exercises geared to prevent wrist stiffness and carpal tunnel.

Why You Need M&H Computer Support Online or in Person

Small and medium sized business owners are constantly hustling, juggling and competing with companies that are larger in both size and resources. Struggling with a smaller budget doesn’t mean you can’t compete with the “big boys.” It just means you have to get creative in how you organize your resources.  We want you to consider using M&H Consultants for your Computer Support either online, via phone or in person. Here’s why:

 

  • We are a smart choice for affordability when considering what an in-house tech department would cost.
  • We have an entire team of IT professionals with years of knowledge to handle your specific industry IT needs. This is what we do.
  • Save time and energy when something goes wrong with your computer system but contacting our technicians. Better yet have M&H maintain your systems so if they do go down, we have everything backed up and can get you back up and running in no time.
  • Stay focused on your company’s goal. Leave the technology to us so you can focus on the ultimate mission of your company.
  • Avoid downtime by having us by your side through any big projects and installments. We can troubleshoot and keep you on course.
  • When you choose M&H Consultant you have chosen not only experts in the field of IT but a company that has training and access to the most advanced technologies and solutions. We stay up on the industry research and growing evolution of technology so you don’t have to.

Call M&H Consultants to arrange for your IT support today or check us out online.

Pop Up Problems

It can happen suddenly and take up a chunk of your computer screen – the dreaded pop up!  These pop-ups can be initiated by a single or double mouse click or rollover (sometimes called a mouseover), and also possibly by voice command or can simply be timed to occur. These windows are almost never requested by the user, so how exactly can you get rid of them?  The answer is different depending upon your computer system.

If you have Windows 10 they suggest the following dierctions:

  • Open Internet Explorer.
  • Click the Tools button, and then click Internet options.
  • On the Privacy tab, under Pop-up Blocker, click Settings.
  • In the Pop-up Blocker settings dialog box, set the blocking level to High: Block all pop-ups (Ctrl + Alt to override).
  • Click Close, and then click OK.

On Google Chrome you can try to block pop ups in the following manner:

Turn pop-ups on or off

  • Open Chrome.
  • In the top-right corner, click the icon you see: Menu or More .
  • Click Settings.
  • Click Show advanced settings.
  • Under “Privacy,” click Content settings.
  • Under “Pop-ups,” select Do not allow any site to show pop-ups (recommended) or Allow all sites to show pop-ups.

While pop ups are meant to be a form of marketing, they can be insidious and annoying. The trouble is that a malicious pop-ups can be confused with a legitimate pop-up ad. Therefore be careful when confronted with a pop-up. You never know if you can trust the source or if it could contain spyware, malware or other viruses. Talk to the professionals at M&H Consults to learn more about blocking pop ups and preventing the problems they tend to bring.

Top Ways to Really Mess Up Your Computer

At M&H Consultants we have seen it all –  from data loss disasters to personal password problems. We have been helping small and medium sized companies keep their computer systems “healthy” for almost two decades. The old adage is true that, “To err is human, to really mess things up you need a computer.” Here are a few ways that we humans have “messed things up in regards to business computers.

  • Failing to Back Up Data – It is really disheartening when you realize you have lost data that took you days, weeks or even months to gather. All of it can be gone in the blink of an eye due to a power failure, equipment malfunction or natural disaster. Having multiple avenues and regular back ups is the best way to prevent a real disaster.
  • Dangerous Downloading – Sure that “free” software program looked great but beware, it may have a virus or Trojan Horse that can severely damage your entire system. Talk to your IT professionals before adding any downloaded material.
  • Lacking Protection – Every computer should have anti-malware and anti-virus protections. Having an unprotected system is a sure fire way to open the system up to spyware, malware or all sorts of viruses.
  • Forgetting Upgrades and Patches – We see it all the time. Work gets busy so companies forget to install the latest software that may help prevent viruses or use patches that can stop criminals from finding their way into your system.
  • Using Unsecured WiFi – If you leave your wifi open or unsecured or, worse yet, use public wifi, you may be opening your systems to cyber criminals.
  • Opening Bad Emails or Clicking on Pop Ups –  Pup up ads and bogus emails, when clicked on, can harbor spyware and/or malware that when loaded can wreak havoc on your computer system.
  • Plug in Without Surge Protection – We have all done this now and again, but the first time a surge fries your hard drive you will always remember to use surge protectors.

If you have done any of these things or any of the thousand other ways you can mess up your system call M&H Consults to help you fix it!