Computer Networking Basics

Our post yesterday was all about selecting the right computer networking company. But then we realized that you might not even know the basics of computer networking, which is why we decided to write this article, to keep it simple.

In order to understand the basics of how a computer network works, you need to first understand what a network is composed of. Networks consist of various devices-computers, switches, routers which are connected by cables or wireless signals.
In a network, there is a client and a server. A server is is a computer that hosts the content that is being viewed. Much like this article you’re reading on this website. The server holds this page until it is requested by the client.

A client is a different computer or device such as yours as you are using it to call upon our servers to view this article.

In order to send data across a network, an IP (internet protocol) address is used in order to identify the destination and origin of the data. The IP address comes in the form of four numbers that range between 1 and 254 with dots in between the numbers. Think of it like a street address, except strictly numerical. one part pinpoints where the building is located on a map and the other part describes the city, state, country, and zip code.

This may confuse some people and lead them to believe that we are specialists at fixing computers. We are not. We fix networking problems, like the ones described on this website. We fix systems, and not individual computers. However, if your computer is indeed broke, we recommend that you use Sacramento Computer Repair to take care of those needs, because they do an incredibly good job and their really fast too. We’ve recommended a ton of people go over there and they’ve all been happy as a result.

Anyway, getting back to the basics of computer networking, for simplicity reasons, we’ll use a traditional example of a network. 2 computers, a hub, and ethernet cables that link the computers to that hub. The hub basically acts as a portal that data has to travel to get from one computer to the next. A hub may get laggy if there are too many things being sent at the same time. This is where the switch comes in. Rather than repeating the that come in, the switch simply directs the message to the correct address so that it goes to the correct computer, and not any of the others that are connected to the network. Continue reading “Computer Networking Basics”

How to choose a computer networking company

In order to choose a computer networking company that is right for you, you must know your computer networking needs. It is advisable to run an assessment of your business in order for you to figure out what kind of network service is right for you. There are two types of computer networking services that are offered; a managed services contract and a break-fix model. Break-fix models are basically fix-as-it -breaks services, while managed services proactively check for problems that may occur in your network security. If your business cannot afford problems, and require regular maintenance in order to stay protected, the latter is advised.

When figuring what kind of network service plan you should go for, there are some things that you should ask yourself:

  • What do you currently need?
  • What will you need in the future and will this company be able to provide that??
  • Are you currently/expecting growth?
  • Will your organization install new software in the future?
  • Do you have users who need remote access to your servers?
  • What kind of It-related issues have you had in the past? What types of issued were they?
  • Are you currently experiencing system performance problems?
  • Is security a big concern for you?

 Security Certifications

It is also reassuring if the company’s engineers carry certifications. These certifications legitimize their work and ensure you that they are up to date with the latest in security technology.

Some notable certifications to look out for are:

  1. MCSE Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert
  2. Novell CNA (Certified Novell Administrator)
  3. Citrix CCA (Certified Citrix Administrator)
  4. Cisco CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate)
  5. CCDA Cisco Certified Design Associate (Cisco Certified Network Designer)
  6. CCNP Voice Certification (Cisco Certified Network Professional)
  7. AASP Apple Authorized Service Provider

As with any business, it is also helpful to look for referrals. If the company gives testimonials, you can see the company’s previous clients have to say about them.
If you’re wondering if it’s a good idea for you to outsource the management of your network in the first place, you should think about the time and effort you can save by hiring a third party company. If you’re not the most tech-savvy person, how many hours have you squandered by trying to figure it out yourself? and how effective was it? You also save money on having to educate your employees about network safety since you have a company covering you. Hiring a good computer networking service company will ensure that your network is up-to-date, safe, and secure. If youre wondering what we can offer you, check out our services page and we’ll be happy to sit down and discuss with you the details of your cyber security or computer networking project.!

6 ways to protect yourself from cyber attacks

As we spoke about in our previous article the other day, there are a lot of things out there that can really screw up your business on the internet through cyber attacks.

But there is a lot you can do to keep yourself and your private business information secure and safe online

6 ways to keep your business safe online

1. Always update your software. Outdated computers are more susceptible to crashes, and cyberattacks. Hackers constantly scan for vulnerabilities in network security, while updated networks are getting stronger and more resilient to attacks. An outdated system leaves the door wide open for them. If you need to, take your stuff to the local Geek Squad store if you have to (most of them are located in a Best Buy).

2. Educate your employees. Teach your employees the most common ways that a business can be infiltrated and make them aware of what types of online activities are exposing the business to threats. Be sure to teach them to be able to recognize the signs of a breach and how to stay safe on the business’s network. Don’t underestimate how helpful ‘in the trenches’ employees can help keep the company secure. They are the ones on the front lines, and the more they know the better you will be as a whole.

3. Implement formal security policies. Setting guidelines and security policies in the workplace can greatly reduce the risk of being attacked. It’s probably a good idea to prohibit fishy sights and requiring strong passwords with two-step authentication or password security software.

4. Practice your incident response plan. Just like how school practice evacuating during a fire, it’s a good idea to practice for an attack. running drills periodically will allow your staff to improve on detecting and containing breaches in the event of an attack. It’ll also bring light to any weaknesses and uncertainties the staff has when responding.

5. Backup your data. Investing in a data backup solution will ensure that any and all information that’s compromised or lost during an attack can be easily recovered. It’s also a good idea to implement encryption software in order to protect sensitive data such as employee records and financial statements.

6. Get cyber security insurance. Purchasing cyber insurance will ensure that you’re covered for losses in the event of a cyberattack. They’ll help you regain losses and reimburse legal fees that may be incurred to an attack. Many cyber insurance companies offer coverage that is specialized to the needs of a business.

Is your business cyber secure?

Cybersecurity is an important issue for everyone, but small businesses may be more enticing targets than individuals and large corporations. A report by Keeper Security and the Ponemon Institute shown in the Business News Today shows that 50 percent of small businesses have been breached in the past 12 months. This is because they have more digital assets than individuals, but less security than large enterprises. They are also often much less careful because they don’t see their business as appealing to hackers. An infographic by Towergate Insurance shows that 82 percent of small business owners severely underestimate their risk level because they don’t have anything worth stealing.

Most hackers hack in order to steal and exploit sensitive information such as credit-card information, or personal credentials needed for identity theft. These are among the most commonly used methods of attack
APT (Advanced Persistent Threats):

As the name suggests, APTs persistently attempts to break into a network. These attacks are carried out in multiple phases in order to avoid detection.

Type of attacks

DDoS (Distributive Denial of Service):

These attacks occur when a server is deliberately overloaded with requests in order to shut down the target’s website or network.

Inside Attack

These occur when someone with administrative permission intentionally missuses their credentials in order to obtain confidential company information. These are most commonly carried out by disgruntled ex-employees so your business should revoke these privileges upon an employee’s termination.

Malware (malicious software):

Any program that is exposed to the target’s computer in order to intentionally cause damage or gain unauthorized access.

Password Attacks:

There are three main types of password attacks. See below to become familiar with our little list:

Brute -force attack:

guessing the password as many times as it takes

Dictionary attack:

uses a program in order to simultaneously try different combinations of dictionary words

Keylogging:

Tracks all of the target’s keystrokes which include login IDs and passwords.

Phishing:

Perhaps the most commonly used method of cybertheft. Phishing involves deploying deceptive websites that prompt the target to input information such as login in credentials and credit card information. These are often sent to individuals through emails.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. The most common being antivirus software which protects against most types of malware. Firewalls can also be put in place to add a layer of protection and prevent any unauthorized users from accessing a computer or network. Some computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows already come with built-in firewalls, but they can also be added separately to routers and servers.

A small business might also look into backing up their data. In the event of a breach, information may be lost or compromised. Backing up the data will ensure that it is easy to recover the data. It is important to note that being cyber secure doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. This is why it’s essential to know what kind of protection is best for your business. Hiring an outside firm to run a risk assessment is a good way to find your vulnerabilities and patch up any openings that hackers may exploit to steal your data.

What to do if your website gets hacked

Hey guys, we are your IT specialists here at WNC PCS and we’re trying to inform business owners about the basics of internet security, and IT security as well. We know that the internet can be a scary place. With all the sensitive information you have on your website, you might be wondering what would happen if someone were to hack you. 30,000 websites get hacked every day, so it’s no joke out there! It can be a trying ordeal. You might be wondering why someone might want to hack your website. Most motives are financially driven. Luckily, being hacked doesn’t mean the end of the world for you. Here are some steps to take after you’ve been hacked.
Firstly, it’s important to stay calm and keep your composure. We know how stressful being hacked can be, but keeping a level head is important for assessing the situation and reclaiming your virtual property. Contact your hoster immediately and tell them that your site has been compromised. Odds are; this isn’t their first rodeo and they know exactly how to deal with hackers. It may also be a good idea to recruit a trusted security expert for this issue.

The quarantine

The next thing is to fully quarantine your site. In order to do this, you’ll need two things.

  1. The ability to prevent your web server from serving pages, and
  2. Permission to manage your account. This means that you are able to view and delete users, as well as, change all passwords related to your account.

You’ll need to take your site offline. Doing so will enable you to complete administrative tasks without having to worry about interference from the hacker. It will also protect your visitors from malware and spammy files that could be awaiting them on your website. If you’re unsure of how to do this, you should ask your hoster for instructions.
You’ll then need to verify the ownership of your site in the search console. It’s important to make sure that the hacker hasn’t already done this and made unwanted changes to the setting. In order to verify ownership of a site, go to http://www.google.com/webmasters, click search console, sign in with a Google account, click “add site”, then type your URL in. Then just decide which verification step is most convenient for you. It is important to try to determine the nature of the attack. Depending on if you’re hacked with malware or spam, there are different steps to be taken.
Next thing is to find the weakness in your site and identify how the hacker may have gotten in. Hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities that they find on websites. Some of the most common ways someone can hack a site include; exploiting out of date or insecure software, stealing login credentials, or installing malicious software (malware). This step is important in preventing other hackers from exploiting the same vulnerabilities in the future. You’ll want to make sure to clean and regularly maintain your site to stay protected in the future as well. The last step is to request a review from Google to have your page unflagged so people know that your site is safe and secure again.
Being hacked is in no way fun. Luckily, you aren’t alone. The internet is full of support groups of people who have experienced the same things, and they can be instrumental in providing advice. Your hoster is also essential in providing instructions and insight. Your site can even come out of the ordeal stronger than ever!

For more information read about what Google has to say about what to do if youre site is hacked:
https://developers.google.com/webmasters/hacked/docs/request_review