Web Browser Security: Evaluating Browser Settings to Stay Safe Online

Image of a man and woman with a shield showing an SSL padlock

Web browser security settings. Many of us virtually live online, but how often do we even take a minute to evaluate web browser security settings before jumping online?

The web browser, whether it is Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Brave, Opera etc. has become a major fixture in our business and personal lives. We interact with the world using one of these tools every day.

Given how important the web browser is in our every day business or personal transactions, it makes sense to ensure that the browser you use is a safe as possible.

We will discuss some of the web browser security settings options available below, depending on your web browser of choice.

Note: We should point out however,  that increasing the security of a particular web browser may affect the functionality of some web sites. For example, disabling JavaScript may prevent some websites from working properly.

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Business Tech Problems: Options for Austin, Texas Area Printers

Image of workers and equipment in a commercial printing house.

With the ever increasingly rapid advance in information technology, many small businesses in the Austin, Texas area, especially commercial printing companies, face overwhelming business tech problems.

Now more than ever, we depend on technology to run our business (and our lives). When the “Internet goes down,” most businesses are at a standstill until they are back online, costing thousands of dollars in lost productivity and sales.

It’s not just the BIG business tech problems, but things like file access, password protection, being able to print and recovering files or versions of files that were accidentally overwritten or deleted. All of these business tech problems are common needs in today’s technology-heavy enterprises. (more…)

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Cybersecurity Risks: Critical Questions Every CEO Should Be Asking

Image of various technology devices that could pose cybersecurity risks.

As technology continues to evolve, cybersecurity risks and threats continue to grow in sophistication and complexity. These threats affect businesses of all sizes and require the attention and involvement of chief executive officers (CEOs) and other senior leaders.

To help companies understand their cybersecurity risks and prepare for cyber threats, CEOs should discuss key risk management topics with their leadership and implement cybersecurity best practices geared toward risk mitigation.

What should CEOs know about the cybersecurity threats their companies face?

CEOs should ask the following questions about potential cybersecurity threats:

  • How could cybersecurity threats affect the different functions of my business, including areas such as supply chain, public relations, finance, and human resources?
  • What type of critical information could be lost (e.g., trade secrets, customer data, research, personally identifiable information)?
  • How can my business create long-term resiliency to minimize our cybersecurity risks?
  • What kind of cyber threat information sharing does my business participate in? With whom does my business exchange this information?
  • What type of information sharing practices could my business adopt that would help foster community among the different cybersecurity groups where my business is a member?

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Spam: Strategies For Reducing Unsolicited Emails

Mail box with no spam sign

Spam is a common, and often frustrating, side effect to having an email account. Although you will probably not be able to eliminate it, there are ways to reduce it.

What is spam?

Spam is the electronic version of “junk mail.” The term spam refers to unsolicited, often unwanted, email messages. Spam does not necessarily contain viruses so some valid messages from legitimate sources could fall into this category.

How can you reduce the amount of spam?

  • Be careful about releasing your email address

    Think twice before you respond to any request for your email address, on the web, verbally, or on paper.
    Spammers can harvest any email address posted on a website or buy a list of victims from unscrupulous vendors who sell their mailing list.
    When you give your email address to a company, or a store, that information is often entered into a database so that customer information and preferences can be tracked. If these email databases are sold to or shared with other companies, you can receive email that you didn’t request.
    So the next time you make a purchase and they ask you whether you want an emailed or a printed receipt, choose “Print only”.

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Identity Theft: Preventing and Responding to Identity Fraud

Identity theft: a criminal running away with stolen personal information from a compromised tablet computer.

Following the recent public disclosure that hackers believed to be operating on behalf of a foreign government breached the networks of the U.S. government and multiple US companies, it is safe to assume that online frauds and scams like identity theft will follow.

Identity theft, or identity fraud, is a crime that can have substantial financial and emotional consequences. Take precautions with personal information. If you become a victim, act immediately to minimize the damage.

Is identity theft just a problem for people who submit information online?

You can be a victim of identity theft even if you never use a computer. Malicious people may be able to obtain personal information (such as credit card numbers, phone numbers, account numbers, and addresses) by stealing your wallet, overhearing a phone conversation, rummaging through your trash (a practice known as dumpster diving), or picking up a receipt at a restaurant that has your account number on it.

If a thief has enough information, he or she may be able to impersonate you to purchase items, open new accounts, or apply for loans.

The internet has made it easier for thieves to obtain personal and financial data. Most companies and other institutions store information about their clients in databases; if a thief can access that database, he or she can obtain information about many people at once rather than focus on one person at a time.

The internet has also made it easier for thieves to sell or trade the information, making it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and apprehend the criminals.

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Internet Safety for Children: Keeping Them Safe Online

Internet safety for kids using parental controls

Internet safety for children involves not only keeping them safe, but parents and guardians taking some simple steps to dramatically reduce online threats, especially those that prey on kids, protect the data on computer devices, and keep them safe online.

This is even more critical now as we are in the middle of a health pandemic and children are made to learn from home, and have limited physical interactions with their peers.

What unique Internet safety risks are associated with children?

In terms of Internet safety, when a child is using your computer, normal safeguards and security practices may not be sufficient. Children present additional challenges because of their natural characteristics: innocence, curiosity, desire for independence, and fear of punishment.

You need to consider these characteristics when determining how to protect your data and the child.

You may think that because the child is only playing a game, or researching a term paper, or typing a homework assignment, they can’t cause any harm. But what if, when saving their paper, the child deletes a necessary program file?

Or what if they are tricked by a malicious advertisement to unintentionally visit a web page with inapprorpiate content, or accidentally download a malware that infects the computer with a virus?

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