In our last blog we discussed the dangers that summer weather and activities can pose for your laptop including heat, water and humidity. Unfortunately laptops overheat when left in the sun or when facing temperatures that are high in humidity. If this occurs then your laptop may face serious damage to the internal components and drives. Here are some red flags to be aware of so that your laptop doesn’t get fried this summer.
- If your laptop feels hot and shows any of the problems below, chances are it’s overheating or getting there. If this is so then take steps immediately to cool down your laptop and prevent further overheating damage.
- The fan is constantly running and making loud whirring noises.
- The computer is struggling to perform basic tasks like opening a new browser window. Is your cursor slow to respond or loading constantly?
- Mysterious error messages are popping up in random programs
- Lines are showing up on your laptop screen (a sign your video card is overheating).
- The system is freezing or you’re getting the dreaded BSOD (Blue Screen of Death).
- The laptop abruptly shuts down on its own.
- Certain areas of the bottom of the laptop are hot, like where the fan, RAM, processor, or battery are located.
According to LifeWire, these red flags could indicate an overheating laptop or components within or it could be a sign that the software is outdated. Be sure to have your laptop checked by a professional to confirm the device is safe and not being damaged by the temperature, humidity or condensation.
Summer is in full swing and that means being outdoors more often, traveling and if you are lucky, working poolside. All of these things are wonderful unless you are a laptop. Even though your business or personal laptops may seem pretty sturdy and tough, it is a fairly delicate piece of machinery that can be damaged by high heat, water, and viruses.
Many of us take our laptops for granted which can be dangerous if your personal and business data is on the device. (Hopefully you are backing up and have a plan to protect your information.) Here are some things to consider regarding safeguarding your laptop this summer.
- Avoid Extreme Temperatures – Laptops can handle temps up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. After that temperature the device will shut down and damage can be caused to the drive and your data. Never leave your laptop in direct sunlight. This means do not leave your device in the car where temps can reach well over 100 degrees. In addition you may want to try using a cooling stand that can protect your device when you are in warm temperatures.
- Avoid Water – While it may seem relaxing to work on your laptop at the beach or by the pool be sure to keep the device away from water. It’s not uncommon for water splashes to get into the machinery and cause problems. Liquid-proof keyboard covers are a good idea to help avoid these problems.
- Avoid High Humidity– When the dew point reaches the high levels it is not just uncomfortable for humans but can be a problem for computers as well. Many laptops can experience electrical problems when the humidity is very high, such as 80 percent. Don’t work outside with a laptop on days like this, or you could fry your PC.
- Avoid Condensation – When items move from a cool air conditioned area to a hot, humid outdoor climate, condensation can occur in the device. Avoid this by allowing your laptop to acclimate to the weather. Shut off your laptop when moving from between temperature extremes.
On May 17th, Google announced their newest innovation to the technology world. This time around, Google has decided to put AI on the forefront of its latest devices. Follow along for the highlights of the conference!
- Assistant interfaces – This new addition allows you to type into Google Assistant, or even plugs-in input straight from Google Lens such as images. For example, this makes it easier and much more helpful to translate it several different languages. Simply point your camera at a menu that is made in a different language, and Google Translate will translate it to your primary language.
- Google Lens – Google Lens will have a set of services that are vision-based and will identity the object by a point of a camera. You are also able to point it at a Wi-Fi bar code, and it will automatically log you into the network.
- Google Assistant – Google Assistant has made researching and quick references a joy for Google and Android users. However, with this new update, Google Assistant will now be available on the iPhone as an app.
- AI-driven face recognition will now perform better in Google Photos at recognizing people. With Google Lens, the form of image-recognition will be easy to use through your smartphone by using computer vision.
- Google Home – The Google Home update provides proactive assistance that will give you info before you need it. In other words, users will be able call hands free to US and Canada lines for free, add Soundcloud and Deezer to already existing music services such as Spotify, HBONow, Hulu and others will be added to the TV casting partners. It will also allow you to send directions to your phone on a ‘let’s go’ command and send your calendar or weather report to your TV.
With these additional features, Google continues to make smartphone devices easier and more functional to use on a daily bases.
In the last few months cyber crimes have been all over the news with the WannaCry Ransomware and other hacking events. It may seem like millions of miles away from your small business, but small and medium sized companies are just as vulnerable as larger corporations. You wouldn’t leave the door to your office wide open all day and night right? You take reasonable precautions to keep your business safe and secure, so be sure to do the same with your website and online data as well. Here are a few tips to protect your small business from cyber hacking and online dangers.
- Stay Updated – Hacker News online suggests maintaining software and applications that are updated. The newer the updates the better as they will have the latest security.
- Toughen Up Access Control – The admin level of your website is an easy way into everything you do not want a hacker to see. Enforce user names and passwords that can not be guessed. Limit the number of login attempts within a certain time, even with password resets, because email accounts can be hacked as well. Never send login details by email, in case an unauthorized user has gained access to the account.
- Tighten Network Security – Computer users in your office may be inadvertently providing an easy access route to your website servers. Ensure that logins expire after a short period of inactivity. Passwords should be changed frequently.Passwords should be strong and NEVER written down. All devices should be plugged into the network and scanned for malware each time they are attached.
- Back Up Often – Back up your files on a regular basis to avoid losing data in the case of a breach.
- Install the Highest Security – Your business should have the highest security protocols from software to employee protocols. If you have questions on how to protect your small business from cyber crimes call M&H Consultants.
In our global economy many businesses travel expensively to maintain client relations and to take part in conferences on the “latest and greatest” technology for your field of expertise. While the ease of travel is wonderful, your laptop is at risk every time you go mobile. Here are a few ways to protect not only your hardware but software as well.
- To prevent physical damage or theft, use a sturdy, weatherproof, padded bag that doesn’t necessarily look like a computer bag. Backpacks are exceptionally good at hiding technology and the have added room for power cords and other needs when traveling by plane.
- Always keep your laptop in view and in your possession. Just a few seconds and you could be missing a lot of data and your means of working while you travel.
- Use passcodes and authentication passwords so that you are the only one that can use the device.
- Before each trip back up the files that are currently on your laptop. Use password-locking programs and encryption programs.
- Make sure your virus protection is up-to-date.
- Avoid checking your laptop as baggage, rather use it as your carry on piece. Keep it nearby either in your lap or below your feet. Let your laptop go through the x-ray machine but keep an eye on it while it does.
- When using WiFi while traveling attempt to use secured locations rather than public Wi-Fi hotspots.
- Avoid having your laptop stay in an area that is very cold or very hot for too long. That includes cars and trunks of cars while traveling.
- After you return from your trip update files and data and have a test done to be sure you have not picked up any unwanted viruses.
At M&H Consulting, we work alongside many small and medium sized businesses. Many of these business are managed by entrepreneurs who also balance work and family life. Many of them ask our expert advice on online safety for the employees, but keep their children safe as well.
Whether you are an employee of a company that works online or a teen surfing the net, here are a few ways to protect yourself online.
- Never give out personal information whether it is your phone number, address, or parents names without ensuring you are on a secure site.
- Never post something that could come back to hurt you later whether you are in the working world trying to get a job.
- Check for authenticity before downloading or installing software or doing anything that could possibly hurt the computer or mobile device or potentially jeopardize privacy.
- Do not post risque images on business or personal sites.
- Be true to who you are.
- Never open emails that you suspect are from a stranger or could potentially have a virus attached.
- Monitor who has access to different accounts and who your children are dialoguing with on a daily basis.
- Talk to employees as well as you own children about cyberbullying and signs of an online predator.
- Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678 if you’re aware of the transmission, use, or viewing of child pornography online. Contact your local law enforcement agency or the FBI if your child has received child pornography via the Internet.
Today’s modern employee carries their work with them everywhere they go via smartphones, tablets or laptops. Mainly this can be seen as a convenience, but for employees that carry around not only their work files on their mobile devices, but also personal information this may be a dangerous practice. Here are a few suggestions to keep your personal information secure especially if you keep personal files, data, photos or financial information on your work devices.
- Beware of Impersonators – Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. If a company that claims to have an account with you sends email asking for personal information, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site, and contact them through customer service.
- Encrypt Your Data – Keep your browser secure. To guard your online transactions, use encryption software that scrambles information you send over the internet. A “lock” icon on the status bar of your internet browser means your information will be safe when it’s transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.
- Use Security Software – Install antivirus software, antispyware software, and a firewall. Set your preference to update these protections often. Have your IT Department or Consultants like M&H update your security regularly.
- Lock your Device – Your laptop, phone or table should be locked when you are not using it. Do not use automatic sign ins instead use personal identification protocols.
- Be Wise About Wi-Fi – Before you send personal information over your laptop or smartphone on a public wireless network in a coffee shop, library, airport, hotel, or other public place, see if your information will be protected. If you use an encrypted website, it protects only the information you send to and from that site. If you use a secure wireless network, all the information you send on that network is protected.
Call M&H Consulting if you have questions about your personal or business data and security.
Just weeks after the WannaCry ransomware was announced, the world has seen yet another disruptive cyber attack. June 27, 2017 a more sophisticated global ransomware attack crippled computers from Eastern Europe to North America. What seems to have originated from a tax software provider in the Ukraine has spread across the continent of Europe and has even impacted Australia and the United States.
This attack impacted thousands of computers in a wide range of businesses such as: computers that operated ATMs, radiation monitoring machines at the damaged Chernobyl nuclear plant, and even computers that run chocolate production at the Cadbury company in Australia. What at first appeared to be an amatuer attack is now seen as a much more sophisticated attack that locks up files and demands ransom for access from tens of thousands of computers.
CNN is reporting that this, “ ransomware virus is a worm that infects networks by moving from computer to computer. It uses a hacking tool called EternalBlue, which takes advantage of a weakness in Microsoft Windows. Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) released a patch for the flaw in March, but not all companies have used it. EternalBlue was in a batch of hacking tools leaked earlier this year that are believed to have belonged to the U.S. National Security Agency.”
Early research into this attack shows that the cyber criminals hope to to destroy and damage. Unlike the WannaCry attack this latest attack has no easy kill switch. There have only been reports of a kill switch for one version and it is not known if that will be effective. Check back with us as we continue to cover this event.