rocket-d 5 reasons why your Wi-Fi is slow (and how to fix it)

 

5 reasons why your Wi-Fi is slowFor the two decades that the internet has been in our lives, despite all the changes and technology improvements, one constant has remained: pokey connections. Frustration quickly sets in when pages won’t load, videos buffer, or email crawls to a halt. Here are five common problems and solutions to try.

1. Internet thieves

One of the best things about Wi-Fi is the easy access it provides to the internet. But, if your network password is too simple, there could be more people tapping into it than you originally bargained for.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want. Networks with weak passwords or no passwords can be accessed by almost anyone. Use a free program called Wi-Fi History View to review each device that has connected to your network, and look for IP addresses you don’t recognize.

Prevent this by first changing the password for your router. If you don’t know where to find it, a site called RouterPasswords can help you locate the manufacturer’s default password. From there, create a password that is complex and difficult to guess.

2. Congestion

This is a problem in crowded neighborhoods or apartments. When too many people try to connect at the same time on the same Wi-Fi channel, connection speed is significantly impacted.

When your connection slows during peak hours, usually in the evening when everyone gets off work, that’s a sure sign of congestion.

Fix this by selecting a different channel for your router. If you have a 2.4 gigahertz frequency router, there are usually 11 channels to choose from. Channels 1, 6 and 11 are recommended, but try other channels to find a faster connection. Or buy a new 5 gigahertz router.

3. Outdated equipment

Wi-Fi routers are not all created equal. “AC” routers are a step up from the older “B” and “G” models and even “N” models. They have more features and offer better performance. If you’re shopping for a new router, that’s what you want to look for.

AC routers have a maximum spectral bandwidth of around 8 x 160MHz, compared to the 4 x 40MHz standard of N routers. In other words, the increased bandwidth allows more data to be transmitted without slowing down.

4. Your router’s security settings

Aside from protecting your network from unauthorized bandwidth usage, which could slow down your network without your knowledge, did you know that the type of wireless security you use could impact your overall speeds too?

If your network is Open (no security) or is using WEP, change the security setting immediately! Obviously, an open network will make it easy for someone to steal your Wi-Fi, and the older WEP security is easily hacked, so avoid it at all costs.

This leaves you with WPA, WPA2 with TKIP, or WPA2 with AES.

WPA and TKIP are what you want to avoid. Not only are these protocols older and insecure, they can actually slow down your network.

The best option is WPA2 with AES. AES is a newer and more secure setting that lets you achieve higher speeds.

5. You’re too far out of range

Sometimes the easiest fixes are right there under our noses. Routers are not designed to transmit signals over long distances, so there may be hot spots and dead zones in your home.

To map out your network, use a tool called HeatMapper. It helps you see where Wi-Fi signals are strongest in your home or office. HeatMapper is a free download for Windows users. NetSpot is a good alternative for Mac users.

Once you’ve identified the problem areas in your home, you have a few options available. One option is to purchase a Wi-Fi extender that can boost the range of your router’s transmission. Wi-Fi extenders range in price from around $20 to $120, depending on the features included in the model. However, a mid-range extender should work just fine. Click here for a full breakdown of Wi-Fi extender options.

The second option is to purchase a mesh system. The $500 Eero Home Wi-Fi system promises “no more dead zones” in their product description. A mesh system consists of a series of smaller routers that sync with one another to boost the coverage area of your network. Spread these mini routers here and there throughout your home, and you’ll have a strong connection no matter what room you’re in.

rocket-d Email fraudsters scam US company out of nearly $100 million

U.S. officials said Thursday that an unidentified company was defrauded out of nearly $100 million by individuals who used a fake email to pose as one of its vendors.

Online-FraudReuters reported the U.S. government has filed a civil forfeiture lawsuit in federal court in New York seeking to recover nearly $25 million derived from the fraud which is being held in approximately 20 bank accounts around the world.

Authorities said about $74 million has been returned to the company, according to Reuters.

Tom Brown, the managing director of Berkeley Research Group’s cyber security practice, told Reuters the lawsuit “appears to be the largest email scam that I’ve seen.”

The email scheme is believed to have taken place between August and September after a Cyprus-based bank identified some suspicious transfers, authorities said. The fraudsters carried out the scheme by creating a fake email address posing as one of the company’s legitimate vendors in Asia.

The individuals posed as a vendor while communicating with a separate company that was hired to handle the logistics of vendor payments to the American company, the complaint said.

The American company sent $98.9 million meant for the vendor to a bank account in Cyprus, according to the suit. Authorities said at least $25 million was laundered through separate accounts in Cyprus, Latvia, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Hong Kong. The Cyprus bank was able to restrain nearly $74 million.

Authorities believe that this case is the latest example of fraudsters targeting businesses with foreign suppliers or that regularly complete wire transfers.

The FBI issued an alert to companies last week that businesses have lost $2.3 billion globally from wire fraud from October 2013 to February of this year.

Published By: FoxNews.com

rocket-d Why Bother Trying to Stay Private Online?

It’s so difficult to keep your privacy anymore.  In fact, 59% of American web users have given up trying to be completely anonymous online, according to a Pew Research Study. And unless you are running for public office, then why not let Google and Bing and Facebook track your online web habits? The intent is to tailor and target web advertisements, which is pretty benign, right? And your social media presence is safely set to ‘friends only’ viewing, right?

Well, truth be told: targeted advertising is not a life-changing benefit for anyone other than the advertisers. And there are negative social and legal consequences to online tracking which most people are unaware of. And social media is NEVER private, even if you set your Facebook to be ‘friends-only’ viewing.

We strongly suggest that you should cloak at least some of your online habits. We have 10 reasons why we suggest this, and we’re pretty sure that reason #10 applies to everyone.

1.  Avoiding Awkwardness When People See Your Computing Device:
You don’t want to leave a web trail when you search for treatments for your sensitive medical condition or your illicit hobby. It will be awkward if you lend your smartphone or computer to someone, and targeted ads for ‘depression’, ‘herpes’, and ‘how to have an affair’ appear on your screen.

If you are using Google or Bing or Facebook to search for sensitive topics, definitely make some effort to cloak your habits with an incognito window, at the very least!

2.  Avoiding Potential Revenge in Your Social Circles:
Your social media friend might one day become an enemy, and seek to exact revenge on you by revealing your web habits to the world. Yes, people can be that petty and passive-aggressive. And yes, this really happens.

What would the vindictive person use to publicly shame you?  Well, in addition to any personal photos you’ve shared with that person, look at reason #1 above.

3.  Avoiding Legal Incrimination:
One day, you may be accused of a crime, and law enforcement will trace your web travels to build a case against you.  While this is low probability for most of you, the day that you get accused of a crime is the day that you’ll be glad you took measures in advance.  There’s no need to give the prosecutor any more ammunition, regardless if you are guilty or not.

4.  Avoiding Being Profiled by Authorities:
If you have controversial interests, it is smart to keep your tastes and interests private;  there are private corporations and government institutions who assemble profiles based on how you surf the Web.

Maybe you are a gun collector, a user of medical marijuana, or someone who advocates for a side in a religiously-charged debate.  Or perhaps you vigorously disagree with the current government, a particular senator, or some local business, and vocalizing your thoughts will get you unwanted attention.  In any case, cloaking your web habits is a smart thing to do  (see #3 above).

5.  Risking Your Job Because You Were Identifiable Online:
Maybe you have a high-profile professional job in the government, public service, or legal/medical/engineering world where it is imperative that you never be accused of impropriety in your personal life. If you participate in controversial hobbies, or have strong opinions that are politically-charged, it could be a career-limiting move to have such information documented.

6.  Possibly Getting Your Credit Cards Hacked:
If you regularly publish your online purchasing tastes and personal life habits through social media, you are very attractive to cyber-savvy crooks.  These criminals will sniff out your information by following your posts about your pets and children, your Amazon and eBay buying habits, and where you like to shop and eat.  And then as soon as you publish that you’re on vacation to Hawaii, then these online crooks get really excited about the possibilities you present!

7.  Protecting Your Family from Predators:
If you have young children, definitely curtail how much of your personal life you broadcast on the Web. Cyber-savvy predators love to know what your favorite grocery store and favorite park is.

8.  You Like to Make Controversial Purchases Online:
Maybe you like to buy products online that could draw unwanted attention: fetish clothing and paraphernalia, ammunition, self-defense devices, anti-surveillance devices, books about weapons, and so on. 

While your hobby tastes are not necessarily illegal, they can get you unwanted attention, social judgment, and possibly threaten your credibility and job security at the office.

9.  You Enjoy Controversial Discussion Forums:
If you like to talk politics or religion or other controversial topics online, you definitely want to sheild yourself from reprisals in your real life.  When it comes to heated topics about abortion, labor laws, immigration, and other hot-button topics, people can get very emotional. Some people will actually wish you physical harm. They may even want to exact real-life revenge through vandalism, stalking, or even physical threats.  Definitely not a good idea to broadcast your personal details online in the event that you clash with a cyber-savvy hater.

10.  Privacy Is Something You Consider a Basic Human Right:
In a democratic and free world, this is the biggest reason of all to cloak yourself against digital tracking.

If you share the growing concern that authorities and corporations have more insight into your online tastes and spending habits than they should, then you should consider implementing privacy measures to cloak your online habits. Whether or not you participate in illicit activities or questionable hobbies, your privacy is a basic human right.  And until an enlightened government enforces that on your behalf, you need to take personal responsibility for your privacy.

11.  So, What Do I Do to Cloak My Online Habits?
Here’s the bad news:  there is no single easy way to cloak your web usage.
Here’s the good news:  if you make even some effort to cloak yourself, you dramatically reduce the chances of grief with each step you take.

Here are 4 privacy resources to get you started:
1. What Google Tracks About You (and How to Prevent It)
2. The Best VPN Services to Cloak Your Connection
3. Blocking Creepers on Your Phone and Desktop
4. 10 Ways to Cloak Yourself Online 

rocket-d Protect Yourself From Phishing

PhishingTrustedBankWhat is Phishing? “Phishing” is when criminals use email, phone and online scams to purposefully and maliciously trick people into sharing information such as passwords, Social Security numbers, account and credit card details and even your mother’s maiden name! Phishing is Fraud and it is a crime.

Defend Yourself:

  • Educate yourself, your family, and if applicable, your co-workers, clients and business partners on what Information Theft is, and what you can do to protect yourself.
  • No legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for personal information via email or phone unless you initiate the contact. If you receive such a request, DON’T RESPOND.

    Quick Facts:

    • According to a Federal Trade Commission report, Information Theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It occurs once every 79 seconds on average. In 2005, the cost to consumers was in excess of $5,000,000,000, while the cost to businesses was in excess of $47,000,000,000. The average consumer loss from a phishing attack is $1200.
    • According to a Symantec presentation, 1 out of every 125 emails sent is a phishing attack. In 2005, phishing attacks rose by 90%.
    • The Anti-Phishing Working Group reports that 5.7 billion phishing emails are sent each month, and that over 150,000 unique phishing attacks and 3,000 phishing websites are reported per month.
     What information are Phishers after?  Phishers are interested in gathering information which, by nature, is private and/or confidential, especially if this information can help them steal your identity. Information Theft targets a wide array of information, including, but not limited to:
        • Social Security Numbers.
        • Driver’s License Numbers.
        • Date and Place of Birth.
        • Mother’s Maiden Name.
        • Account Numbers.
        • PINs.
        • Usernames.
        • Passwords.
        • Personal Information.
        • Any confidential information that criminals can either directly use or resell.

    Defend Yourself:

        • Do not disclose any personal information unless the requester has a valid need for the information.
        • Don’t hesitate to ask how your information is going to be protected.
        • Never agree to have your information shared or sold.
        • Remember: No legitimate business or government agency will ever ask for personal information via email or phone unless you initiate the contact. If you receive such a request, DON’T RESPOND!
     How NOT to become a Victim. Phishing may appear to be an anonymous crime, but it is not a victimless crime. However, we have good news: simple techniques exist to NOT become a Phishing Victim. Simple Techniques:
        • Never provide confidential information unless you started the conversation. Never answer an email, pop-up, phone call, letter, etc. that asks for personal information. Legitimate companies do NOT ask for this information, ever!
        • Be suspicious! Because something is written down in an email or in a pop-up does not mean that it is true and legitimate.
        • Do not click on a link provided in an email or enter information in a pop-up window. Go to the website yourself and from there navigate to the area of interest.
        • Use anti-malware solutions that are updated. This will stop the installation of crimeware on your computer that could harvest your information.
        • Do not use public computers or wireless networks to conduct confidential activities. This includes wi-fi hot spots, kiosk computers, cybercafés.
        • Shred all documents that contain personal, sensitive or confidential information.
     What to do if you have been phished?  If you are a phishing victim, it is important for you to follow these simple instructions to minimize the damage caused by the criminals who stole your information. Report it!
    • Place a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report.
    • Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
    • File a police report.
    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims’ complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces.
    • Monitor your bank accounts, credit card accounts and credit report.

    Spotlight on Reporting Action Plan:

    • Write down the name of everyone you talk to, what he or she tells you, and the date the conversation occurred.
    • Follow up in writing with all contacts you’ve made on the phone or in person. Use certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company or organization received and when.
    • Keep copies of all correspondence or forms you send.
    • Keep the originals of supporting documents, like police reports and letters to and from creditors; send copies only.

    Remember:

    • If you are a victim of phishing, others in your community will be, too. The sooner you report it, the sooner you can help protect your community against these criminals!

    rocket-d Password’s Do’s and Don’ts

    Should you change your password?

    If you have a poor password your website is at risk!
    adl-change-passwordSpammers and Phishers constantly try to break into websites that have poor passwords, once in they use your website to host fake websites intended to deceive people into proving private information, or they use your website’s send mail service to send spam from YOUR email address. The #1 way to protect yourself is YOUR PASSWORD. We encourage all users to choose a difficult password using the following tips listed below.

    Passwords aren’t suppose to be easy, they are intended to protect you, so don’t make it easy!

    Some Password Examples:

    • Bad Password: charlie
    • Better Password: charl!e
    • Bad Password: password
    • Better Password: PaSsW0Rd!2

    Password Do’s

    • At least eight characters long – 16432794
    • A combination of upper and lower case letters- IE: PaSwoRDexAmPLE
    • Use interspersed numbers – IE: use 0 instead of o (zero instead of the letter o)
    • Use characters such as !@#$%& – IE: use ! instead of i etc…
    • Passwords aren’t suppose to be easy, they are intended to protect you, so don’t make it easy.

    Password Dont’s

    • Your first name, last name, or login name, in any form
    • Consecutive or repetitive numbers or letters
    • Adjacent keyboard letters such as qwerty or asdfghjk
    • Common and obvious letter-number replacements (e.g. replace the letter O with number 0)
    • Easily guessed personal information such as names and dates of yourself, family members, pets and close acquaintances
    • Easily obtained information, such as:
      • address
      • license plate numbers
      • telephone numbers
      • credit card or ATM numbers
      • Social Security or Social Insurance numbers
      • email addresses
    • Dictionary words, in any language, forward and backward
    • Popular book titles, movie titles, or phrases
    • Short passwords

    Additional Tips

    • Never share your password with anyone. Protect all passwords as you would protect your bank PIN.
    • Never store passwords unencrypted on your computer. Password management software is great for managing many passwords, but take great care to protect access to your password database with a strong password, access card or USB key! (Or better, a combination of these).
    • Never type your password when anyone is standing nearby.
    • Beware of phishing scams.
    • Change your password frequently.
    • Never use the same password in many places, especially online!

    rocket-d Hiring the Right Body Guard for your Business.

    SSL_iconLet’s take a look at what exactly website security is and why it is important to your online business. Let’s first put this in perspective- remember the movie “The Bodyguard” where Kevin Costner plays the true and trusted security to Ms. Whitney Houston and would do anything for her? She was an established talent in the media and needed protection from all the corruption that surrounded her.

    Now, in the technology world once you’ve established yourself as a business of any type of importance there are unfortunately “hackers” out there who want to steal your sunshine and bask in your limelight.

    They’ll take you out for a lobster dinner and pick up the tab…compliments of your clients credit card information! Here at EnterStellar.Com we pride ourselves in being a local bodyguard for our customers. Think that Kevin Costner would ever let Whitney down? We think not. And just like Costner- we will not let YOU down.

    What is a SSL: Secure Lockets Layer:

    If you plan on entering into the world of E-Commerce by offering any goods or services on your site- you MUST enable an SSL to keep your information safe. Here is an overview of what an SSL is and what it can do for your business:

    • A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a type of protocol that enables a security system within your site- making online transactions safe.
    • SSL certificates are especially important for any E-Commerce sites where money transactions are taking place.
    • Once personal information is entered on a site- an SSL will encrypt the data and scramble it into random letters, numbers and symbols. By doing this, it makes the info unreadable to anyone trying to intercept.
    • Only the particular SSL you have installed can descramble the useless data and turn it back into readable material once it hits the banks system. It does this by issuing a “key” within your computers server and can lock and unlock personal information as needed or when detected.
    • There are multiple types of SSL certificates you can order and the costs change based on the levels…highest being the most expensive. The cost will be worth it however since more customers will be apt to buy from your site when they feel like their information is being protected. *Secret Tip: Another great benefit of having an SSL certificate if you have a business website is that you can write it off as a tax deduction at the end of year.

    Why Hire EnterStellar.Com as a Bodyguard: 

    EnterStellar.Com will purchase, install and test your Security Certificate for you. No hassles, not fuss! Click here for more informaiton

    rocket-d Cyber Security Awareness: Are you and your website protected?

    Security concept: Lock on digital screenInternet security has always been a major concern for businesses and website owners. In today’s online world, these threats are becoming more and more widespread and diverse in nature. With so many attack vectors and vulnerabilities being discovered daily, it’s more important than ever that you keep a close eye on potential security risks. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best practices you can employ to keep yourself and your website protected.

    Protect Yourself
    On the local level, individuals should ensure they are running all of the latest up-to-date software versions and actively updating your virus protection definitions. It’s always a good idea to change your passwords regularly, use stronger passwords, and never store them anywhere in plain-text. There are several password management applications out there that use encryption methods against your master password database which will make it very difficult to decrypt should the database fall into the wrong hands. An example is KeePass, a free open-source password manager  that uses the best, and most secure encryption algorithms.

    Protect Your Website
    Unlike most local home networks protected by a gateway router’s firewall, your website is purposefully exposed to the entire internet. If it wasn’t, no one would be able to access your site. Because the internet never sleeps, our system administrators are actively watching our servers and networks 24 x 7 x 365 for potential security threats. We log and analyze malicious activity from every region of the globe at all times of day. This assures your hosting server remains secure and the integrity of your data is never compromised.

    That being said, it is important to be aware that your website itself may still be vulnerable to several malicious attacks, such as Cross-site Scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL Injections (SQLi), Inclusion Vulnerabilities (LFI and RFI), Brute Force attacks, and many more. Many websites these days are built on content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc. Each of these engines have third party themes, add-ons and plugins that can easily be installed to enhance website functionality. Unfortunately, as with any software source code, there is always the potential for bugs to be introduced, discovered and exploited. Your first line of defense in keeping your website secure is to consistently apply updates as they are released. If your CMS supports it, we also highly recommend enabling auto-updates which will take care of updating your site for you as new versions become available. If you are unsure how to do this, EnterStellar.Com Hosting’s support center has additional information and instructions to guide you through the process.

    While it’s always important to be vigilant in updating and managing your own website, rest assured that when a widespread vulnerability is disclosed, our security experts are immediately engaged. Often times, by identifying a unique pattern or string inside the attack vector, we are able to deploy defense mechanisms such as writing custom mod_security rules to protect our customers.

    Password Best Practices

    We’ve mentioned the importance of regularly rotating your passwords, but if your password is weak it can still easily be compromised via brute forcing or cracking, even if it was just changed yesterday. Here are some tips and suggestions which will keep you secure when choosing your next password:

    • Passwords should be at least 12 characters in length (the longer, the better)
    • Passwords should contain at least 1 character from each of the following groups:
      • Lower-case letter (a-z)
      • Upper-case letter (A-Z)
      • Number (0-9)
      • Common Symbol (e.g. %; &; +; ?)