Posted on

Tips on how to create a strong password

Creating a strong password may seem like a daunting task, especially when the recommendation is to have a unique password for each site you visit. Anyone would be overwhelmed if they had to create and memorize multiple passwords like Wt4e-79P-B13^qS.

As a result, you may be using one identical password even though you know it’s unsafe and that if it gets compromised all your web information is exposed. Or you use several passwords, but they are all short simple words or include numbers that relate to your life they are still too easy to guess. Or, if you made hard-to-remember passwords (probably because your business or a website forced you to) then you likely have a list of the passwords right next to your computer – even though you know this also compromises your safety if others use your computer.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to improve the security of your passwords:

1. The longer the password, the better – Experts recommend creating passwords that contain a minimum of 8 characters. If your password protects something sensitive, like access to your bank account, then use a minimum of 12 characters.

2. Use everything available on your keyboard – Numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols all help to exponentially increase the strength of your password.

3. Throw away dictionary words – You should never use common words or names within passwords. This rule can be extended one step further for those passwords protecting highly sensitive data to include compounds of multiple words. “IloveLabraDorReTrievers” is not a secure password if the information it’s protecting is of high import.

4. Avoid commonly used password patterns – A 2013 study by DARPA, the Defense Department’s research agency, found that about half of all passwords used at a Fortune 100 company followed five common patterns, 3 of which are listed below:
      • One uppercase, five lowercase and three digits (Example: Komand123)
      • One uppercase, six lowercase and two digits (Example: Komando12)
      • One uppercase, three lowercase and five digits (Example: Koma12345)

5. Use unique passwords – Don’t cycle through the same set of passwords or recycle one across different services because that only diminishes the benefit of using a strong password. Research by Joseph Bonneau at the University of Cambridge shows that 31% of users reuse passwords in multiple places. When one of those reused passwords becomes compromised, the impact to the user is amplified.

6. Be careful where you store your passwords – Do not store your passwords in spreadsheets or upload them to the cloud unless it’s within an encrypted file. If you are going to store your password somewhere (Cloud), use a reputable and secure password manager such as Webroot SecureAnywhere®, Internet Security Plus and Webroot SecureAnywhere® Complete offer a password manager as an additional online security tool.

7. Two-factor authentication is your friend – This adds a layer of protection against hackers logging in with a stolen password. With two-factor authentication, the user must have her cell phone in order to verify her identity in addition to the username and password.

 
 
Posted on

Why Endpoint/Antivirus Security is important? 

Endpoint devices are all the machines which are connected via the Internet into the network that is literally the “technical heart” of your business. This is also a term describing all your desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, POS systems, printers, scanners and tablets. Anything that your employees use to communicate with one another, and share data is a point of vulnerability. Each of your business endpoints is a doorway through which your employees access your critical data. However, endpoint devices the weakest links in every business’ network today. 

As a result of the COVID – 19 pandemic the workplace now comprises a combination of office-based, remote and hybrid workers who are increasingly using their personal devices to work from anywhere.  In addition, employee negligence or malice is a concern, and endpoint devices are exactly how they have access to the network. Data is a vital business resource, and like other significant business resources, it must be secured against any dangers.  

 Benefits of Endpoint/Antivirus security  

  • Endpoint security aims to adequately secure every endpoint connecting to a network to block access attempts and other risky activity at these points of entry. 
  • Mitigates cyber-attacks before they happen 
  • Prevents data theft 
  • Protects computing resources from processing unproductive malicious activities. 

 How Utande can help  

 We have partnered with the world’s leading endpoint protection providers which are Sophos, Webroot and ESET. For as low as $3 for a user per month, you can safeguard your data against cyber-attacks. Some of the products and services on offer include Sophos Intercept X Essentials, Webroot Antivirus and Eset Endpoint.  

 To sign up for the best endpoint protection for your business or home, contact enquiries@utande.co.zw   

Posted on

Sign up for our super-fast VSAT Internet Service

Utande is currently the largest VSAT service provider in the country. Regardless of where you are in Zimbabwe, we offer VSAT services with packages from as little as $27 per month for 5GB and with speeds of up to 35Mbps. VSAT provides you with a secure, uninterrupted network which allows your work to flow more smoothly.

Our mandate as VSAT service providers is to connect remote areas with limited options for connectivity. We essentially bridge the digital divide and ensure hospital, schools, farms, mines and NGOs are always connected.

Why Utande VSAT?

  • High speeds which allow for faster browsing
  • Free data during off peak hours
  • Option of renting out equipment instead of buying is a bonus
  • We have full national coverage
  • We have quick installation turnaround

Contact sales@utande.co.zw to sign up for our VSAT Service. 

Posted on

Remote learning tips for parents  

Most schools have been closed due to the current lockdown and therefore physical lessons have been disrupted. As such many have now opted for home schooling or eLearning. This is not an easy transition for many. However here are some tips that can help:

  • Set and keep a routine

Work on a routine which fits appropriately to your circumstance, work and home schedules. Once you have a routine in place stick to it. Be able to account for the hours spent on each subject or activity.

  • Get your children to be tech savvy

As a result of the busy schedules we have as parents, the bulk of the maneuvering which will be done online, will be done by our children. It’s important that they familiarise with key functions of any gadget they are using.

  • Check in with your child’s advisor or teachers

Teachers and advisors are usually more than willing to connect with parents via email or phone after school hours. Check in if your child is having difficulty managing the online learning platform or staying on task.

  • Encourage physical activity and exercise

Your child will be sitting in front of their computer for long stretches of time. Encourage them to use the breaks in the day to stretch, go for a walk, skip, or play soccer

Posted on

Smart ways to keep your business alive during COVID-19

Smart ways to keep your business alive during COVID-19

Focus on the customers you already have:

If you are struggling to bring in new customers, try focusing more on the ones you already have or who are still with you despite the economic downturn. Communicate with them and reassure them as much as possible. Remember your customers are your business’ Number 1 fans. Without them, you would not be the successful business you are today.

Increase your online presence

Now is the time to increase your online presence. You likely already have some of your business functions online. Make use of social media marketing which includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even WhatsApp. Overall, you should play on the platforms where your customers are found.

Make use of video

Using videos to communicate makes your message more personal and interactive with your audience. Now more than ever people are using online meeting platforms, Facebook and Instagram live to interact with their audience. Always ensure that the content you are posting it relevant to your audience for greater impact.

Host online events

Host informative webinars to build trust and attract new customers, or even to employees to take their skills up a notch.

Why is it important to market during Covid-19?

Pandemic or not, marketing to your customers is always an important aspect of running your business. This is because it can help you:

  • Get ahead of your competitors
  • Learn more about your target audience
  • Build on your business relationships
  • Set yourself up for success post-coronavirus
Posted on

Why SMEs are vulnerable to cyber attacks?

By Gaven Chifodya

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a cyber attack incident will occur every 11 seconds in 2021. There are a variety of reasons why SMEs are prime targets of cyber attacks:

  1. They underestimate threats: call it naïve, but many SMEs believe they do not warrant the attention of potential attackers. As such, few resources are invested in network security.
  2. Budget and Staff Limitations: smaller businesses generally have fewer resources both in terms of budget and IT staff. Many small companies do not have someone dedicated to IT issues. The top reasons why SMEs are vulnerable include budget constraints and the corresponding lack of investment in resources, which includes cybersecurity training.
  3. Poor Cyber Security Hygiene: the lack of investment in resources translates into a laxer environment regarding employee cyber security hygiene. Most employees still use easy-to-guess passwords for accessing company accounts, leaving themselves and the company open for attack. Many employees are not able to spot the danger signs in lurking phishing attacks posing as innocent emails.
  4. SMEs can be the entry points to larger organisations: cyber criminals are very shrewd. They understand the way businesses work and that by taking advantage of lax cybersecurity in smaller businesses, they can gain access to the systems of larger enterprises that partner with them. This makes the SMEs a lucrative backdoor target.
  5. The Dangers of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): today, a large number, if not most employees, bring their own devices to the work environment. Doing so without IT supervision is a recipe for exposing company data to cyber criminals.

It is interesting to note that most of the reasons articulated above also apply even to large enterprises. Utande Internet Services can assist your business with affordable Cyber Security solutions, IT support and Cyber Security Awareness Training. Contact sales@utande.co.zw for more information.

Posted on

Keeping virtual meetings professional: Virtual Meeting Etiquette Tips

Virtual meetings have become an essential part of how to maintain productivity and continuity due to COVID-19. To help keep meetings productive and professional, we will be sharing some tips with you on a regular basis. Here are some tips that can be useful:

Test Technology Beforehand
It is waste of everyone’s time when technical difficulties get in the way of a video conference call. To avoid this, get into your meeting 10 minutes before the start time. That way, you can check that you are able to successfully join the online meeting, Wi-Fi, screen-sharing tools, and any other technologies you are using are functioning properly by the time the meeting starts. Different people use different platforms; therefore, it is important to test and know which platform is being used for a meeting. If there is need to download an app do so.

Be considerate of times zones
When you schedule the meeting, consider everyone’s time zone. Try not to arrange it so that it falls outside a participant’s normal workday. When you cannot avoid this, check in with them personally to make sure that the time is suitable. If you set up regular meetings with the same team members, consider moving the times around so that those people do not always have to attend before or after their scheduled working hours.

Do not leave all of your windows and programmes open
Shut down email and instant messengers before the virtual meeting starts. Not only can this have an effect on how quickly your computer runs and how good the sound quality is, it will also save you any embarrassment if you share screens with someone else. You don’t want your colleagues to view your WhatsApp messages.

Posted on

Website Security Tip #6: Use SSL Certificate

SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is a great strategy through which you can encrypt your admin data. SSL makes the data transfer between the user browser and the server secure. To get an SSL certificate you may buy one from your hosting provider Utande Internet Services (Pvt) Ltd. If you’re using SSL encryption, you won’t just secure your website, but you’ll also rank higher in Google rankings. Google favors sites that use SSL.

Posted on

Website Security Tip #5: Rename your login URL

By default, the URL you use to log into your dashboard is either wp-login.php or wp-admin, added after your site’s main URL. For instance, YOURSITE.com/wp-login.php

And guess what, those two are also the most accessed URLs by hackers who want to get into your database. If you change that URL, you reduce the chances of finding yourself in trouble. Guessing a custom login URL is way harder for hackers.

The iThemes Security plugin does this trick. For instance, your login URL can turn into something like YOURSITE.com/I_like_my_security. This is one of those WordPress security tips that’s very simple to do.