The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…for Thieves
- Published byadmin
- November 17, 2017
In terms of data loss and theft, the holiday season is one of the riskiest times to travel. When it comes to protecting your personal information, thieves and cybercriminals are counting on either your irreverence to the issue as a whole, or to be so distracted that you make careless mistakes. In 2016, the number of fraud attempts went up by 31% during the holiday season. In addition, credit cards, mobile devices, and open Wi-Fi are common targets during the holiday.
Here’s a few tips that can help keep you and your family safe from hackers and thieves.
- Hide the Goods – Pickpocketing is a tried and true method of theft that is still extremely effective – especially in a hectic environment like an airport during the month of December. A favorite target of pickpockets are smartphones. Travelers should avoid storing any personal belongings, including smartphones, in places that are easily accessible.
- Bring Only Necessities – Between work and personal uses, most adults have at least three mobile devices. In general, bringing all of them with you while traveling isn’t necessary. The more devices along for the trip, the more targets there are for criminals. Travelers are encouraged to bring only the technology they need.
- Free Wi-Fi is Not Free – To conserve mobile data usage, many people are tempted to hop onto Wi-Fi whenever possible without fully comprehending the risks. Some open Wi-Fi access points are easily hacked and you’ll likely have no idea what kind of security the connection will have. It might be a bit costly but using your data instead of open Wi-Fi may save you from identity theft in the long run.
- Patch It – It’s always a good idea to keep your technology up-to-date with security patches and bug fixes. Many of the large ransomware attacks that made headlines earlier this year could have been avoided by security patches. When traveling, reduce vulnerabilities by installing all necessary patches and updates before you leave your house.
- Go Phishing – During the holiday, phishing scam emails emulate holiday-centric emails. Scams will often appear to be from legitimate establishments like FedEx or Amazon. They will often ask for account or password information – or offer exclusive coupons that need to be downloaded to use. Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Avoid downloading any attachments and never give out your password or account information.
- Skimming a Bit Off the Top – For those of you who aren’t familiar with card skimmers, the premise behind this type of theft is to copy your credit or debit card information by disguising a scanning device on a legitimate source, like a gas pump or ATM. They are then free to use or sell the information from the credit cards. Skimmers are easily overlooked and protecting your information requires constant vigilance. Whenever you’re using a credit card during your holiday travels, look closely at any device that you are going to be swiping your cards on.
*Note: You can access an application designed to help you identify scanners with your android device here:
- Social Media for Burglars – For many, social media is about sharing their good times and memories with friends and family. For thieves, it’s a road map to determine when a home is going to be vacant because their owners are traveling and how long they’re going to be gone for. To eliminate your house from a burglar’s radar, avoid posting specifics of your trip information on social media.
Approximately 100 million Americans are going to be traveling this holiday season – meaning that there is no shortage of potential victims. By following these tips and being cognizant of the problems you could face, you can be ready for any situation that comes your way. By taking a proactive approach to keeping your identity and finances safe, you already have the drop on the many would-be thieves that people come across in their holiday travels.
Tip of the Week: How To Be Better At Time Management
- Published byadmin
- July 26, 2017
It would be hard to find someone who has never experienced the feeling of a time crunch, a situation where someone has more to do than they had hours to do it in. This feeling can be reduced by enhancing productivity through better time management. For our tip this week, let’s discuss some methods to improve time management within your office.
Simplify and Streamline
Before you devote your time to completing a particular task, it helps to determine whether or not that task needs to be completed now or if it can wait until later. Focusing on what needs to be done sooner allows you to better plan to fulfill these responsibilities.
In this way, it helps to follow whatever schedule you have in place, committing your full attention to accomplishing what is outlined for you to do. By eliminating distractions around you and focusing on the task at hand, you will be able to complete your duties more quickly and with greater accuracy.
Furthermore, is the current process to complete a given task as efficiently as possible, or are there redundancies and other unnecessary elements involved? Eliminating these elements will only allow you to cut out extra time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Planning for Success
Of course, the key to time management is establishing how much time you have to manage. It helps to put together a schedule to follow that firmly sets important events, such as project deadlines or meetings. This will tell you how much time you have to devote to your other tasks. Once this time has been established, turn a critical gaze toward the rest of your schedule.
Establish which of your remaining tasks need to take priority over the others, and incorporate them into your schedule accordingly. It is also important that you take your coworkers’ schedules into account. If they need you to complete some task before they can carry on with their work, plan to complete that task sooner, rather than later.
Creating a schedule for yourself to follow throughout the workweek is a solid way to not only ensure that your tasks are attended to, but that you can accomplish them at your peak. For instance, if you know you have a meeting on a Thursday and a deadline to meet on Friday, you can ensure that you give yourself ample time in the beginning of the week to prepare for both. You also need to be sure that your high-priority tasks are given a high enough priority to ensure that they are finished on time.
Preventing Resources From Causing Issues
Communication can be a double-edged sword in any office environment. While it is a necessary tool to remain productive, it can quickly cause harm if misused. For example, cell phones. While they are an excellent tool for communicating, they can only serve a limited use in the professional environment–even as a component of a Bring Your Own Device productivity strategy–and can therefore become a distraction above anything else, wasting precious time.
Yet not every issue with your company’s time management are caused by a human habit. Oftentimes, mismanaged IT can lead to serious issues that will prevent the company’s employees from properly doing their jobs and thereby from being productive.
All’s not lost, however, as Catalyst Technology Group can provide the tools to ensure that your IT is in top shape, freeing you to focus on spending time on improving the other components of your business. Give us a call at (317) 705-0333 for more information.
It’s Time to Write a Eulogy for the Internet as We Know It
- Published byadmin
- June 30, 2017
The Internet is prone to change. We all know this and have experienced it firsthand. Even though we may understand this reality, it can still be rather shocking when we’re confronted with it. The latest statistics show us how the current changes of the Internet have huge implications about how we’ll all interact with the web moving forward, which may spell doom for doing “online business as usual.”
A recent report by Forrester reveals that we are spending 85 percent of our time on our mobile phones using apps, and only 15 percent in the browser. Pair this with another major trend that saw a tipping point in 2014 when more people began accessing the Internet through mobile apps than desktop computers, and you really begin to see clearly just how the web is truly changing.
By changing, we mean that people are spending far less time on their desktops (and dramatically more so on their mobile devices) perusing the Internet by going from website to website, and far more of their time online using mobile apps. Does this mean you, as a business owner, should therefore shift all of your online efforts to mobile apps?
Not necessarily, seeing as another finding from Forrester’s study shows that people are spending 85 percent of their time on their mobile device utilizing only five apps, which includes obvious apps such as Facebook and Google.
As net neutrality continues to be threatened by legislation influenced by special interests, the trend shown by these statistics threaten the same freedoms we enjoy online, only from a different angle. That angle: the business interests of a handful of companies that own these popular mobile platforms will end up dominating and controlling the online conversation. Business2Community describes it like this: “This reality on the commercial web is now being revealed as we are witnessing the rise of a duopoly. Google and Facebook. Today 90 percent of all advertising growth on digital is coming from these two companies.”
Now, don’t get us wrong, as long as there’s an Internet you’ll still be able to publish your message (whether it be personal or professional) in the same ways that were popular 10 years ago before the iPhone hit the scene (like using websites, forums, email, etc.). It’s just that, good luck getting anybody to actually listen to your message without the help of Facebook and Google to drive traffic to your site. Furthermore, online content that’s not tailored for mobile will continue to lose influence as the Internet continues to evolve in the ways that it is.
While the vast majority of us are powerless to stop such changes, all those who value the open Web have every right to mourn what the web’s becomining. An appropriate eulogy can be found in the words of Tim Berners-Lee’s (the inventor of the World Wide Web) 1995 utopian vision of how the Internet can change the world for good. Berners-Lee described his vision of the web as “an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.”
While the web is more accessible and “open” today than ever before, one must put an asterisk at the end of this 1995 statement that communicates, “at the terms of Google and Facebook.”
From a business standpoint, the ongoing changes of the Internet presents a challenge that’s inherent with the use of any technology–the challenge to keep up with and anticipate trends, and to adapt your business model accordingly. Technology can change suddenly and you owe it to the continuity of your business to be in the know. Thankfully, you’ve got the technology experts at Catalyst Technology Group to navigate this changing world of technology for you.