Are you planning to purchase a new laptop in the near future? Whether it’s for business or leisure purposes (or both), you should take the time to choose the right one. A high-quality laptop can last for many years, all while offering a superior level of utility compared to cheaper, lower-quality laptops. Here are six important things to consider when choosing a laptop.
#1) Screen Size
A large screen won’t necessarily make your laptop faster. It will, however, make it easier to see and use. Laptop screen sizes vary. They can range from just 12 inches in diameter to over 17 inches in diameter. With a larger screen, however, you can expect a higher price tag.
#2) Operating System
What type of operating system (OS) does the laptop run? You generally have one of two options regarding the OS: Windows or macOS. Windows laptops are typically easier to customize, as well as upgrade, than their macOS counterparts. With that said, some people prefer the simplicity and natural user-friendly environment offered by macOS.
Don’t forget to check the ports on a laptop. USB ports, for instance, allow you to connect a variety of external peripherals to your laptop, including flash drives, mouses, keyboards, printers, fax machines and more. In addition to USB ports, you may want to choose a laptop with video ports, such as HDMI. With video ports, you can connect one or more monitors to your laptop, essentially using your laptop like a desktop computer.
Along with the ports, you should check the hardware used in a laptop. The most important pieces of hardware are the CPU, storage drive and RAM. The CPU is the main computer processor that runs the laptop, whereas the storage drive is the device where data is read and written. Finally, RAM is a type of flas
Does the laptop come with a warranty? If not, you may want to look elsewhere. Most manufacturers offer a warranty of at least six months with their laptops. Furthermore, many retailers offer their own warranty on top of the manufacturer’s warranty. Hopefully, you won’t need to use it, but it’s always a good idea to choose a laptop with a strong warranty.
You should consider the price when shopping for a new laptop. Laptops can range in price from just $300 to over $3,000. If you’re on a budget, look for mid-ranged laptop for an appropriate balance between price and performance.
Not all forms of malware are designed to lock or restrict file access. Some are designed to run inconspicuously in the background of an infected computer while capturing its keystrokes. Known as keyloggers, they’ve become increasingly common in recent years. During a keylogger infection, though, you may notice one or more of the following signs.
#1) Suspicious Hardware
There are two types of keyloggers: hardware based and software based. The former, of course, involves the use of hardware to record keystrokes, whereas the latter involves the use of software to record keystrokes. If you discover suspicious hardware that neither you nor anyone else at your small business installed, it could be a keylogger. Hardware-based keyloggers such as this include keyboard attachments, cable attachments and data sniffing devices.
#2) Unknown Processes
Another sign of a keylogger infection is unknown processes running in the background of your computer. Keyloggers are a type of software, and like other software, they’ll create processes during operation. You can view active processes in Windows via the Task Manager. Just pull the Task Manager, at which point you can scroll through the list of processes that are currently running on your computer. If you see an unknown process, it could be indicative of a keylogger infection.
#3) Delayed Typing
Although there are exceptions, many types of keyloggers will create a typing delay. In other words, your computer won’t immediately respond to your keystroke. Instead, there will be a brief delay from when you enter a key to when your computer responds with the appropriate command. Typing delays such as this can be caused by other problems, such as low usable RAM or low batteries in a wireless keyboard. Nonetheless, if you encounter delayed typing, your computer could be infected with a keylogger.
#4) Virus Detected
Keyloggers are typically flagged by anti-virus software. If your computer’s anti-virus software detects a virus, you should proceed to either remote or quarantine it. Otherwise, your keystrokes could be recorded. Removal offers the greatest level of protection since it deletes the virus from your computer’s hard drive. If the virus is located in a sensitive area or folder, though, you may have to quarantine it instead.
#5) Random Freezing
Your computer may freeze randomly if it’s infected with a keylogger. Keyloggers are developed by nefarious individuals who seek to steal a victim’s data. As a result, they often cause performance issues when deployed. If your computer is infected with a keylogger, you may experience performance issues in the form of random freezing.
The Task Manager is an essential tool included in Windows operating systems. Microsoft has included it in nearly every version of its Windows operation since the release of Windows 9x. If you own a Windows-powered PC, you should familiarize yourself with the Task Manager and how it works.
What Is the Task Manager
The Task Manager is a native tool in Windows operating systems that’s provides real-time information about a PC’s processes, performance, apps, startup programs and more. It’s designed to provide a deeper level of understanding regarding which programs or processes are consuming the most resources.
If a particular program is consuming three-fourths of your PC’s available random access memory (RAM), for instance, you can identify it in the Task Manager. The Task Manager even allows you to stop resource-intensive processes such as this so that they don’t harm your PC’s performance.
How to Launch the Task Manger
There are several ways to start the Task Manager, one of which is to press Ctrl+Alt-Del, followed by “Task Manager.” Alternatively, you can use the Windows search tool to look for “Task Manager.”
Once launched, the Task Manager will display the “Processes” tab by default. In this tab, you’ll see a breakdown of all processes currently running on your PC. To the right of these processes, you’ll see how much CPU, RAM, disk and network resources they are consuming.
While the Task Manager shows the “Processes” tab by default, you can view other types by clicking them. Clicking the “Performance” tab, for instance, reveals a graphical representation of how your PC’s resource consumption.
How to Force-Close Processes
While viewing the “Processes” tab in the Task Manager, you should pay attention to which processes are consuming the most resources. It’s not uncommon for a single process to consume a substantial amount of resources. The good news is that you can force-close these processes to prevent them from slowing down your PC.
When you come across a resource-intensive process in the Task Manager, right-click it and choose “End Task.” Windows will then attempt to close the process. Keep in mind, however, that some processes cannot be stopped — not through the Task Manager, at least. Antivirus software, for example, typically contains safeguards to prevent it from being force-closed through the Task Manager. But for most other processes, you should be able to close them using the Task Manager.
Phishing attacks are on the rise. According to a study conducted by Wombat Security, over three in four U.S. businesses have suffered a phishing attack. While there are several types of phishing attacks, spear phishing is one of the most common. As a result, you should familiarize yourself with spear phishing so that you can take the necessary precautions to safeguard your business’s sensitive information from it.
Overview of Spear Phishing
Spear phishing is a cyber threat that involves manipulating employees or other individuals in a business into divulging sensitive information. Like other forms of phishing, it’s used to trick a business’s employees into providing sensitive information to the hacker behind the attack.
So, what’s the difference between spear phishing and other forms of phishing? Phishing attacks are often classified as either “bulk” or “spear,” depending on their level of preparation. Bulk phishing is a more general form of phishing in which a hacker spends little on time researching the target victim. In comparison, spear phishing is a more focused form of phishing in which the hacker thoroughly researches the target victim before conducting the attack.
Why Spear Phishing Is a Problem
Spear phishing is problematic for several reasons. First, spear phishing attacks often bypass conventional cybersecurity measures. While anti-virus software may catch instances of malware or viruses, they may fail to catch a spear phishing email.
Second, spear phishing can have disastrous consequences for businesses. An employee, for instance, could unknowingly provide a hacker with the login credentials to your business’s bank account. The hacker may then attempt to siphon funds from the account, or he or she may simply sell that information on the black market to the highest bidder
How to Protect Against Spear Phishing
While spear phishing attacks aren’t expected to fade anytime soon, there are steps you can take to protect your business from them. If you use email — which most people and businesses do these days — beware of both links and file attachments. Even if a link or file attachment looks legitimate, it could be part of a spear phishing attack.
Perhaps the most important tip to protect against spear phishing is to verify requests for sensitive information. If someone calls or emails you asking for sensitive information, contact that person using a different method of communication to verify the request. By taking a few basic precautions, you can protect your business from spear phishing attacks.
The terms “cyber threat,” “vulnerability” and “risk” are often used interchangeably when discussing malware, intrusions and other attacks against an information technology (IT) infrastructure. While similar, though, they aren’t the same. Each of these three terms has its own unique meaning. So, what’s the difference between cyber threats, vulnerabilities and risks exactly?
What Is a Cyber Threat?
A cyber threat is something that has the potential harm your IT infrastructure if they are carried out. Cyber threats can be intentional or accidental. A hacker, for example, may intentionally deploy malware to steal your data. Alternatively, an employee may accidentally download a file attachment that contains a virus or malware. Regardless, cyber threats are characterized by their ability to harm your IT infrastructure if they are carried out.
What Is a Vulnerability?
A vulnerability, on the other hand, is a weakness in your IT infrastructure that can cause harm if exploited. Vulnerabilities often work in conjunction with cyber threats. A vulnerability leaves your IT infrastructure susceptible to cyber threats. After identifying a vulnerability in your IT infrastructure, a hacker or some other nefarious individual may exploit it.
What Is a Risk?
A cyber risk is similar to a cyber threat. They both involve the possibility of harm to your IT infrastructure. The difference is that a cyber risk typically combines the probability of a threat with the potential monetary loss it can cause if carried out.
Cyber threats are often classified as either low, medium or high risk, depending on their level of probability as well as their monetary loss if carried out. Cyber threats with a high probability that can cause massive monetary losses are generally classified as high risk, whereas cyber threats with a low probability and lower monetary loss are generally classified as low risk.
Safeguarding Against Cyber Threats, Vulnerabilities and Risks
As a business owner, you should take precautions to safeguard your IT infrastructure, as well as its connected devices, from cyber threats, vulnerabilities and risks. While no two IT infrastructures are the same, there are several steps you can take to keep yours safe and secure.
For starters, you should maintain up-to-date software. Whether it’s the operating system or a program or app, outdated software often contains vulnerabilities that can pave the way for cyber risks. In addition to updating all your software, consider using a firewall and antivirus software.