Tuesday, February 13, 2018

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Phone Battery Last Longer

Remember when you first got your smartphone and you were able to get almost 48 hours out of one battery charge? Well, turns out that little honeymoon phase doesn't last forever. The more use you get out of your phone, the shorter its average battery life tends to get. A dead phone can be an extreme inconvenience -- but it isn't a difficult thing to avoid. While it will likely never last quite as long as it did in its glory days, here are some helpful tips to extend your phone's battery life.

1. Figure out what's using the most power
The first order of business is to find out what exactly is draining your battery to begin with. Head on over to your phone's settings and look for the "battery" section. There are a couple handy tools worth visiting here. Most importantly, there will be a succinct breakdown of which apps or services have been using most of your phone's battery power. Take note of the top offenders -- what is it that's contributing most to your battery's dwindling lifespan? The insight provided here can help you to be conscious of the activities that are killing your battery so you can avoid them when necessary.

2. Turn off functions that aren't being used 
One of the most common culprits when it comes to excessive battery usage is having features on that aren't even being used. Functions such as WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth can be pretty sneaky when it comes to draining your power. Try to keep them off whenever possible. Turn Bluetooth off whenever you're done using an external device. Keep WiFi and GPS off if you're at work, in class or somewhere else you won't be frequently using your device (just make sure you remember to switch your WiFi back on afterward so you don't use up your data). Additionally, turn down your display brightness. Smartphone displays require quite a bit of battery power, especially when their brightness is turned up. You certainly don't have to keep it at the absolute minimum, but you'd be surprised what your eyes can adjust to once you've gotten used to keeping your display on a dimmer setting.

3. Persistently close apps that are running in the background 
A common misconception is that once an app is no longer on your screen, it is no longer running. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Leaving an app through use of the home or back buttons usually pushes it into the background rather than closing it. Think of this as minimizing a program on your computer rather than exiting it entirely. These apps continue running (and draining your battery life) until they're closed manually. Closing apps is done differently on different devices, but try looking for a rectangle icon next to your home button or double tapping the home button itself. Once you've accessed the screen that shows all of your currently-running programs, simply swipe them out of the way to close them. This is something that you should make a habit of doing every time you lock your device.

4. Make sure your screen always gets locked 
Speaking of locking your device, it's important to make sure that you do so. It's easy to drop your phone back into your pocket, purse, etc. without remembering to lock the screen first. This means that your device is going to stay lit up while it isn't being used, taking a huge toll on your battery life. Additionally, you should adjust your display settings so that your phone screen automatically dims just a short amount of time after being used. Navigate to your device's settings and find the "display" section. In here, you'll find a setting titled something along the lines of "screen time-out" or "dim screen after 'x' number of seconds." Select the shortest option available so that even if you put your device down without remembering to lock it, the screen will still power down promptly and spare your battery power.

5. Use a power bank 
Lastly, an external power bank is an excellent investment if you have issues with short battery life. Also referred to as "external batteries" or "portable chargers," power banks allow you to charge your device on the go as long as they've got some juice in them. A lot of people don't necessarily think that they need a power bank, but you might be surprised just how much use you'll get out of it. You can even find highly rated ones at pretty low prices if you browse Amazon. At the end of the day when you charge your device, make a habit of plugging in a power bank as well. This way, your device can essentially have a second life once its internal battery gets low. 

Having a phone that dies halfway through the day can be both stressful and inconvenient. Fear not -- taking these tips into account is sure to extend its battery life.

More questions? Contact me at 877.860.5831 x190
Robert Blake

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

[HEADS-UP] What are “WannaMine” attacks, and how do I avoid them?


WannaMine.jpgsuddenly all over the news. In hindsight, it was a matter of "not if, but when". 
Sophos just warned against a new hybrid worm that combines the ETERNALBLUEexploit and cryptomining.
ETERNALBLUE is the infamous escaped NSA code that was used in the WannaCry worm, so the combination of this method of breaking in, followed by a cryptomining payload, has been dubbed WannaMine.
WannaMine attacks aren't new, but the Sophos Support team has recently had a surge in the number of enquiries from people asking for advice about the issue. Sophos posted a 13 minute video interview, here it is.
Here are the quick Questions and Answers, based on the video.
Q. Is WannaMine like WannaCry? Is it ransomware that scrambles my disk?
A. The name "WannaMine" is a coined term (pun intended) that refers to a malware family that uses the network spreading capabilities of WannaCry to deliver cryptominingmalware rather than ransomware.
Q. What is cryptomining malware? Is it as dangerous as ransomware?
A. Cryptomining is when crooks secretly get your computer to do the calculations needed to generate cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Monero or Ethereum; the crooks keep any cryptocoin proceeds for themselves.
To make money with cryptomining, you need a lot of electricity to deliver a lot processing power on a lot of computers.
By illegally installing cryptominers inside your network, the crooks therefore steal your resources to do their work.
Q. Can cryptomining damage my computer?
A. We've seen stories of mobile phone batteries bulging due to overheating when the device was deliberately forced to do mining calculations for hours on end.
However, WannaMine doesn't run on mobile phones – it attacks Windows computers.
Nevertheless, even if no permanent damage is done, you'll probably find your laptop batteries draining much faster than usual, your fans running flat out, and your laptop being noticeably hotter than usual.
Also, if malware like WannaMine can penetrate your network, you are at serious risk of other malware at the same time, including ransomware.
We frequently see evidence of cryptomining left behind on computers that were zapped by ransomware, so don't ignore WannaMine infections if they show up – where one crooks goes, others will surely follow.
Q. If I don't own any cryptocoins and I'm not part of the cryptocurrency scene, am I still at risk?
A. Yes.
WannaMine malware attacks aren't trying to locate your digital cryptocurrency stash and steal it.
They want free use of your computer for cryptomining calculations of their own, whether you're interested in cryptocurrency or not.
Q. Can security software prevent WannaMine attacks?
A. Yes.
Exploit prevention software (e.g. Sophos Intercept X) can block the ETERNALBLUE attack to prevent malware like this from entering your network in the first place.
Anti-virus and host intrusion prevention software (e.g. Sophos Endpoint Protection) can stop the malicious processes that allow the WannaMine attack to proceed, even if the exploit triggers at te start.
Network security software (e.g. Sophos XG Firewall) can block the network activity required for malware like WannaMine to work.
Q. What else can I do?
A. Patch promptly, and pick proper passwords.
WannaMine malware typically includes the same ETERNALBLUE exploit that was abused by WannaCry and allowed it to spread. This exploit was patched last year in Microsoft update MS17-010, so a properly patched network wouldn't be open to the exploit in the first place. 
If the ETERNALBLUE hole is already closed, WannaMine can try to spread using password cracking tools to find weak passwords on your network.
Sophos said: It only takes one user with poor password hygiene to put your whole network at risk.

Here are three things you can do about this right now

  1. Re-test your whole network for Patch MS17-010 and make 100% sure that all machines are indeed updated
  2. Step your users through new-school security awareness training, and have them do the new Strong Passwords Module.
  3. Download the free Weak Password Test tool, and immediately scan AD for passwords that need to be beefed up.

wpt02.pngHow weak are your user's passwords? Are they... P@ssw0rd?

Verizon's recent Data Breach Report showed that 81% of hacking-related breaches used either stolen and/or weak passwords. Employees are the weakest link in your network security, using weak passwords and falling for phishing and social engineering attacks.
KnowBe4's complimentary Weak Password Test (WPT) checks your Active Directory for several different types of weak password related threats.
WPT gives you a quick look at the effectiveness of your password policies and any fails so that you can take action. WPT tests against 10 types of weak password related threats for example; Weak, Duplicate, Empty, Never Expires, plus 6 more.
Here's how Weak Password Test works:
  • Reports on the accounts that are affected
  • Tests against 10 types of weak password related threats
  • Does not show/report on the actual passwords of accounts
  • Just download the install and run it
  • Results in a few minutes!
This will take you 5 minutes and may give you some insights you never expected!
Download Now:
Get Started
or cut & paste this link in your browser: https://info.knowbe4.com/weak-password-test 
Warm regards,
Stu Sjouwerman
Founder and CEO, KnowBe4, Inc.
PS, this is also on the KnowBe4 blog, please forward to your friends:

[Heads-up] New Ransomware Strain Encrypts Cloud Email Real-time VIDEO

OK, here is something new and really scary.
KnowBe4's Chief Hacking Officer Kevin Mitnick called me with some chilling news. A white hat hacker friend of his developed a working "ransomcloud" strain, which encrypts cloud email accounts like Office 365 in real-time. My first thought was: "Holy $#!+".
I asked him: "Can you show it to me?", and Kevin sent this to me a few hours ago. Lucky for us, this ransomware strain is not in the wild just yet, but it's on the horizon, so this is your heads-up! If a white hat can do this, so can a black hat. 
This new strain uses a smart social engineering tactic to trick the user to give the bad guys access to their cloud email account, with the ruse of a "new Microsoft anti-spam service".
Once your employee clicks "accept" to use this service, it's game over: all email and attachments are encrypted real-time! See it for realz here in 5 minutes and shiver:
(NOTE: KnowBe4 uses the Intercom platform to communicate to people who created an account on our website. They redirect links, and if you do not like that—which you shouldn't—just copy and paste the link in your browser.) 
And while you have this open...
     * Survey: Would You Like A KnowBe4 User Conference?
We are looking at a User Conference during 2018, and we'd like your input
about several things like where it should be, how long, if it should be
attached to a show like Black Hat or not, and what tracks you would like
to see there. This is a lightning-fast survey that might take you 2 minutes
at best. Hope to see you there! Here is the link at surveymonkey:
Warm regards
Stu Sjouwerman
Founder and CEO
KnowBe4, Inc.