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4 Security Risks You Might Not Know Exist in Your New Gadgets

Welcoming in a new year at work usually means writing down the incorrect year for the next few months, as well as bringing new gifted gadgets to help us be more productive. The first few weeks after Christmas usually means a high number of support requests to our Help Desk asking to connect new tech toys to the business network. However, before you submit this request, please consider how introducing these new devices may pose security risks to your network.

Wireless Keyboards and USB Receivers

Anything wireless – including keyboards and mouse – has some risk of being intercepted or interfered with because the words and data are sent via airwaves that you can’t control. Although most wireless keyboards and USB receivers utilize encryption, some still allow unencrypted wireless communication.

For instance, nearby hackers could send keystrokes or commands to a computer via a vulnerable USB receiver, one that doesn’t authenticate the incoming traffic nor require encryption. We suggest you take a second look at your wireless keyboards and USB receivers. Unless both are designed to send and receive only encrypted information, you are not fully secure while using these wireless devices.

Printers and Copiers

Printers and copiers, or all-in-ones, have their own security vulnerabilities. Many have hard drives for saving documents and data to help them function faster. If you get rid of one of these devices, be sure the hard drive is wiped clean before disposing of it.

When data can be stored on printers, many can be hacked via poor local area network (LAN) or Internet security. This is a critical security weakness if the Graphical User Interface (or GUI) program component is open to the Internet. The Graphical User Interface allows users to interact through graphical icons and visual indicators. If addition, these networked devices are common used as entry points into the rest of your network. We suggest you include printers and copiers in any security audits you perform.

Wi-Fi Security Modes

Because Wi-Fi is a wireless connection to computers, servers and the Internet, it can be vulnerable to unwanted users unless proper security is in place. There are two different modes of Wi-Fi security: personal and enterprise. Both modes are available with Wi-Fi Protected Access.

Personal security mode is the one usually used in homes. It has particular vulnerabilities if used as a business Wi-Fi system. We strongly suggest that your business use the enterprise mode.

The enterprise mode gives each Wi-Fi user his or her own login credentials. Then if a device is lost or stolen, or an employee leaves, you can change or revoke just that user’s credentials.

All-Access VPN Connections

Enabling employees to work at home or on-the-go can be an essential tool for maximizing business productivity. Traditionally this has required a VPN, or Virtualized Private Network. VPN uses public computer communication — usually the Internet — to connect to a private network, such as your business’s internal network. However, providing VPN access can also have serious security risks if access information falls into the hands of unwanted users or hackers.

There are alternatives to VPN such as web-based email and cloud storage. These tools won’t allow access to your VPN network if a laptop computer gets into the wrong hands.

If you still feel a VPN is the best option, you should ensure that it is as secure as possible. You can modify the VPN and firewall operational security rules to limit access to bona fide remote users. Users can be limited to only the resources they require.

Garner IT Consulting Can Help

While new gadgets at work are exciting, the above is simply a brief explanation to give you some ideas of security risks that could occur within your business. Yes, security can sometimes be complex and difficult to understand but that’s where we can help!

Contact us for a FREE Network Health Check. We will evaluate your business security system and recommend any specific changes necessary to assure your complete security. Just give us a call at 850.250.3210 or complete the form.

Best wishes,

Randall and Julie Garner and the entire Garner IT team of professionals

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