The Benefits of Data Encryption

The Benefits of Data Encryption

Keeping data secure is the law for many commercial and private organizations. If any sensitive information is stolen or lost, the organization may suffer some serious consequences. There are various types of security methods to consider, but data encryption is, by far, the most effective protection.

Employee and client information is valuable intellectual property that needs to be protected and secure. Your organization depends on it. If this information is stolen or accessed by the wrong person, there is a lot of damage that can be done.

Firewalls and security software do protect important data and keep threats out of your database or system. But there are intruders that can target your information. With data encryption, your information can’t be viewed. It was first used as a military solution, and now, it is used publicly as data encryption is easy to use and very secure.

Data encryption does decrease potential threats and security issues. Ensure that everyone in your organization is aware of your security policies. It allows your organization to keep their documents secure at all times.

Whether your sensitive data is stored on your computer, laptop, removable storage media, or on an email server, data encryption protects your information. If you’re working from home or away from the office, you can access sensitive information securely. If your electronic device is stolen, all of your data will be kept safe.

Always choose a security measure that affects your organization positively. Data encryption should allow your organization to operate smoothly while securing important information inside and outside of the office.

Overall, data encryption offers many benefits and provides solid protection against potential acts of threats or theft. It’s also efficient, easy to use, and affordable. Sensitive information should always be protected by data encryption to ensure the utmost security within your organization.

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How to Protect Yourself from Twitter Scams

How to Protect Yourself from Twitter Scams

Tweeting on Twitter is quickly becoming the most popular ‘thing’ to do. Never heard of Twitter? It’s a free Internet service where you can post just about anything you want from what you’re doing now (e.g., “I’m eating macaroni and cheese”) to sharing links to interesting articles. It is also a useful tool for businesses and entrepreneurs. Ensure that your posts are short and sweet as you’re only allowed 140 characters per message. If you do use Twitter, there are some scams that you should be aware of.

Making easy, fast money from home is one Twitter scam. These scams tell you that you can earn money by marketing other people’s products to them. All you need to do is pay a small fee to sign up. Sounds believable, right? Once you sign-up, expect your credit card to be charged $40.00 a month in membership fees. There are real work-at-home jobs, but the scams fail to tell you about the membership fees or they try to hide this vital information. It can also be hard to cancel your membership or get a refund.

The Twitter phishing scam tricks users into sharing their personal information, such as passwords, social security numbers, and birth dates. Scammers set up a link that takes you to a fake Twitter sign-up page where you have to type in your password. Once they have your password, they can access your account and spread more scams quite easily. Avoid sharing your password with anyone and change it frequently.

If you want more followers to follow your tweets, there is a service out there that promises they can make that happen. How? This service identifies Twitter users who follow anyone who is following their tweets and targets users with the same interests as you. This is a Twitter scam. If you purchase this service, you could be held liable for sending Twitter spam and banned from Twitter. Give it time and wait for followers to follow you.

There is a Twitter scam that sends messages attached with a link that sound like they were written by one of your friends or followers. When you click on this link, you are directed to another web page where malware or spyware is installed. Avoid clicking on unfamiliar links and installing applications that you are unaware of.

Twitter performs regular checks when approving applications, but there are scams that attempt to access your information from the Twitter API if you give them permission to do so. Ensure that you avoid granting permission to access your Twitter account. There is an option in your Twitter settings to reject access to certain applications. It’s a good idea to turn this function on to protect yourself from this particular scam.

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Protect Your Employees Against Identity Theft

Protect Your Employees Against Identity Theft

Since identity theft has become more and more common, employees are now becoming increasingly aware of the precautions they should take to prevent this serious, prevalent crime. Thousands of Canadians are victims of identity theft each year. How do you protect your employees against it? I’ll tell you how.

Do you have a Human Resources (HR) department within your business? If so, there are probably operating procedures set in place that detail how employee information should be handled. Ensure that all employee files, both active and terminated, are kept safe under lock and key. Also, make sure that only HR has access to the key and employee files as they should be the only ones that need these files.

You should avoid releasing any confidential employee information to anyone except if it’s an employee who requires this information or if an officer of the court issues your business a subpoena. Always ask questions if an employee file is requested to be seen, taken, or copied for any reason.

Does your company have a clean desk rule? If not, ensure that this rule is implemented as soon as possible. Why? It ensures that any employee who works with sensitive information clears their desk of these files and places them under lock and key before they leave the office for the day. Most financial and housing institutions follow this rule.

Social Security or Social Insurance Numbers are mostly used to identify an employee. Since identity theft is on the rise and accessing SIN’s are used to steal identities, employers use number masks. This means that instead of using the actual SIN as in 145-654-002, the numbers XXX-XXX-002 are used to identify the employee. The masking works well when you send information via mail or email.

Ensure that your office has a reliable paper shredder. Once sensitive information is used for work purposes, it should be destroyed using a paper shredder. It will go a long way to protect your employees from potential identity theft. These documents should be shredded every day after use as this prevents information from being stolen.

With these simple steps, you can help protect your employees from identity theft. Make sure your employees know about the dangers of identity theft and what they can do to protect themselves at the workplace and at home.

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Why Virus Hoaxes Are a Security Risk

Why Virus Hoaxes Are a Security Risk

Viruses, if left on your computer, can be detrimental to the overall performance of your computer. This is why most viruses are considered a major security risk. Is your computer operating slower than normal? Is it encountering a lot of errors when you open and close programs or documents? If so, then your computer may have a virus.

So how do you prevent viruses from infecting your computer? Install a reliable, effective virus scanner and run a scan for viruses regularly. Also, you should ensure that your virus scanner is updated and operating fully. But there are certain viruses that you can unknowingly invite into your computer.

Virus hoaxes are new and becoming more common. If you read information and articles on the Internet, then you may be aware of virus hoaxes. So what are they? Virus hoaxes are spread using emails that are designed to make you believe that your computer is infected with a virus even though it isn’t. Tricky, right?

Virus hoaxes are quite clever. They will normally tell you that your computer is infected with a virus. Not only that, the email or message will advise you that certain files need to be deleted. Usually, a list of instructions will specify how to delete this file which is essential to the optimal performance of your computer. Once these files are deleted, your computer may not turn on or function normally. Virus hoaxes work extremely well because most people are worried about viruses attacking their computer. This is how they lure you into believing the hoax.

Most of these hoaxes will expose your computer to a virus or they may tell you to download a virus scanner to help repair your computer. But they will do exactly the opposite. These virus scanners will simply add more viruses to your computer which will cause additional damage.

Delete or ignore any emails that tell you that your computer is infected. In most cases, it is a hoax virus email just waiting to infect your computer with a virus. Hoaxes can also pop up on websites that claim to scan your computer for viruses. Avoid these sites as much as possible. It is impossible for these sites to scan your computer unless you download a trusted scanner from an official website, such as McFee or Norton.

Also, if you ever receive emails telling you that you need to send the message to other people, then you will know that it is a hoax. This is called a chain letter. To ensure that virus hoaxes don’t work their way into your computer, be aware of any messages or emails that you may receive and read them very carefully. Your computer’s life depends on it.

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How to Avoid Digital Identity Theft

How to Avoid Digital Identity Theft

The Internet is a place where you can do just about anything—shop, pay bills, book holidays, buy software/movies, and more. It is also a place for thieves to get a credit card in your name. Identity theft costs the Canadian economy $2.5 billion a year and the FBI calls it America’s fastest growing crime. So what should you do to avoid becoming a victim of this crime?

Purchase a paper shredder and shred all of your personal information, such as your bank statements and tax returns. Avoid placing these documents in your garbage at home or at the office as it may be easy for thieves to gather enough information about you to steal your identity.

Always be on guard. If you find an unsolicited credit card in the mail, cut it up and contact your credit card company immediately. Thieves usually apply for credit cards with stolen identities or sometimes they’ll steal your credit cards straight from your mailbox. Call credit card companies that issue credit cards on spec and tell them to take your name off their mailing list.

Avoid volunteering any information over the phone or online. There’s no such thing as a bank inspector that calls or emails you to verify how much you have in your account. Never offer your birth date, bank account number, credit card details, social insurance number, or any other details over the phone or via email unless you initiated the call. Always verify the numbers someone gives you. There are phishers that pose as collection agents and ask for your personal information to “verify they’ve got the right file.”

Be aware of where and when and how much you spend on your credit cards and debit cards. Online banking is an easy way to do this. Simply go online every week to assess your accounts and spending habits. Criminals don’t need to steal your credit cards to get your identity as they can “skim” it by accessing the devices that you use to make transactions at a store, gas station, or restaurant. Chips on cards are now helping to prevent credit card fraud.

If your computer starts acting strangely or slows down dramatically, get it checked out immediately. Your computer may have been infected with a virus that can track every site you’ve visited and record what you type. Run a virus spyware scan or take your computer to your local Future Shop, Best Buy, or Staples. Ensure that you install the latest anti-virus and spyware detection tools to prevent viruses from attacking your computer.

If you need to make purchases on the Internet, consider getting another credit card with a very small limit. Never raise that limit. That way if something ever happens, it minimizes the potential issues and mess that needs to be cleaned up afterwards.

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Merging Vacation Photos From Multiple Cameras

Merging Vacation Photos From Multiple Cameras

I like to travel with my family to different locations around the world. To remember these vacations, we have our own cameras. The advent of digital cameras has made taking many pictures very easy as you don’t have to worry about wasting film. To gain different perspectives and because different things are important to different people, we each usually have our own digital camera that we take pictures with. Cameras are now fairly inexpensive and most are small enough to fit in your pocket.

For those of you who have gone on vacation with family or friends and there are is more than one camera, it results in a dilemma. When you want to show off your digital photo album you have different folders of pictures taken at different times. Alas, there is a solution!

When a digital camera takes a picture, it stores the exact date and time that the picture was taken in a “hidden” section of the picture file called EXIF data.

It is very important at the beginning of your trip to ensure everyone who has a camera has set their date and time to be exactly the same. Make this part of your routine. Take into consideration if you are in a different timezone as well. This is important so you aren’t offset by hour(s) from the other cameras.

When you get back home and have offloaded the pictures from your camera (ensure you make BACKUPS!), you can copy all of the pictures from the different cameras into a single folder. (Check to make sure your file names don’t conflict though chances are very slim that they would.)

If you look at this folder now, all of your pictures will be sorted by file name… which isn’t chronologically. In the past my wife would spends hours renaming files to place them in proper sequence.

Now for some magic… 🙂

A friend of mine recommended an amazing program called “Bulk Rename Utility” – see http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk/

This free Windows based program allows you to view the embedded EXIF data/time information on when a picture was taken, sort all of the pictures in that folder by that date/time, and rename them all such that they are in order (e.g. Trip-0001.jpg, Trip-0002.jpg…).

The program is intimidating at first when you try to use it, however after you spend some time with it to understand how it works, it takes less than 1 minute to select a folder and rename thousands of pictures.

As always, I recommend you are working on a COPY of your files that you are renaming in case you make a mistake. Also always make a backup of your precious pictures. And now that you are back home, remember to change your date/time on your camera if you changed it due to timezones.

What nifty programs do you use?

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