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CTN Solutions has been serving the greater Philadelphia area since 1997, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Smartphone Addiction and Its Effects

Smartphone Addiction and Its Effects

Nowadays, most of us use smartphones. Yes, probably most of us use them more than is healthy. There are those, however, that have come to depend on their mobile device so much that it completely dominates their lives. As people become even more attached to their phone, the impact of this behavior becomes more and more detrimental. 

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Alert: Hackers Target Mobile Banking Apps, Warns FBI

Alert: Hackers Target Mobile Banking Apps, Warns FBI

More people than ever are utilizing the conveniences of the Internet and mobile apps to avoid unnecessary human contact during the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, mobile banking alone has increased by 50 percent over the last few months, nationwide. In a recent PSA, the FBI warned that hackers are likely to be targeting mobile banking apps.

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Smartphone Malware Is a Serious Threat

Smartphone Malware Is a Serious Threat

We all know how important it is to protect your desktop and laptop computers from malicious threats. Installing antivirus and security software is one of the first steps you take when you get a new computer, and for good reason. An unprotected device is at great risk. With that said, a lot of users don’t think about the threats that target their most-used devices, their smartphones.

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How Your Smartphone Keeps Your Data Safe

How Your Smartphone Keeps Your Data Safe

Smartphones are the predominant mode of communication, as well as the devices most used to access the Internet. With so much depending on the modern smartphone, it has become one of the largest, and most competitive, markets of any consumer item. As a result, manufacturers are building devices with software that is able to encrypt the phone against unauthorized access.


When a person, who doesn’t have access to a device, tries to get into the device through one of the options, whether it be code, pattern, or biometric access, he or she is repelled. Without entering the credentials or biometric data that allows for a device to open, it will remain closed to the user. In fact, most modern smartphones won’t actually connect to a Wi-Fi network without the proper credentials. This is handled differently on the different mobile platforms.

Apple
The iPhone ships with 256 AES encryption. It is not stored on the phone (which could result in more successful hacks), a correct passcode combines with data stored on the Secure Enclave chip to generate a key that unlocks the device. This chip also holds biometric data (fingerprint and facial recognition) that can be used to open the device or use Apple Pay. Any Apple product, that has the incorrect access controls entered repeatedly, will lock, stopping unwanted parties from getting into your iPhone.

Android
Since so many more people use the Android mobile OS, Google did not make device encryption standard until devices that run their Android 6.0 Marshmallow mobile OS. If your new Android device runs 6.0 Marshmallow or better, it now ships with encryption enabled. Since Google’s implementation of encryption depends on the manufacturer, some phones will use a key generation system similar to the iPhone’s, while others will use a more complex system called file-based encryption. File-based encryption allows for varying levels of decryption and provides unauthorized users access to a limited number of the features on the device.

In the News
Over time, there has been a push for mobile OS developers to build in “backdoors” to ensure that law enforcement can get into a device if/when needed. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google have had to field their fair share of criticism, but strongly defend their position. Apple CEO Tim Cook states the following, “In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks - from restaurants and banks to store and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.”

Encryption is for the user’s benefit. If you would like more information about modern digital cryptography or any other mobile security, visit our blog.

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Secure Your Android During the Holiday Season

Secure Your Android During the Holiday Season

Android is a very common operating system on mobile devices around the world, and because of this, you won’t be surprised to hear that hackers are always trying to one-up security developers. If your business takes advantage of Android devices like smartphones or tablets, you’ll want to consider these 11 security tips that will help keep your organization safe.


Be Wary of Connected Apps
How many apps have you granted access to your Google account? Sometimes you’ll need them for a single instance, and others will have you continuously returning to them for use. If you no longer use one, it’s wise to cut it off from your Google account simply because the more connected your account is, the more likely it is to be compromised. To edit your account’s permissions, go to https://myaccount.google.com/permissions.

Maintain Your List of Connected Devices
Every time you log into your Google account with a new device, it’s added to a trusted list. This list needs to be updated and changed frequently to ensure that your account is only accessed by approved devices. You can check which devices can access your Google account by going to https://myaccount.google.com/device-activity. If you see a device that’s not familiar, remove it and change your password as soon as possible.

Organize Your Devices in Google Play
Every time you make a purchase in the Play Store, you’ll be given a list of devices that are connected to your Google account. You’ll then choose the device that you want to install the app on. This same list is used to find your device if you happen to misplace it. To remove a device that you no longer use from the menus, just uncheck the box for Show in Menus. You can also assign names to your devices so that you can find them easier at a later date.

Activate Find My Device
On that note, Google has a system set up that lets you find your misplaced devices. Open the Settings app and locate the option for Google. You can then select Security and then Find My Device. Make sure to toggle on the setting. Furthermore, you want to make sure that your Location settings are turned on so that you can locate the phone in the event you misplace it. If you access the Find My Device tool in your web browser, you’ll be able to ring your device or find your phone in case you lose track of it.

Use Android’s App-Scanning System
You don’t need a third-party security app to scan your applications for suspicious activity. Google has this feature built into the Android operating system. To set this feature, simply go to Settings and navigate to Security & Location. You’ll see the option for Google Play Protect. Make sure that the option for Scan device for security threats is checked. This sets up an automatic scanning system that can run in the background and make sure your device isn’t threatened. In fact, you’ll hardly notice it’s there, unless you encounter a legitimate issue.

Reconsider Your Approach to Downloading Apps
No technological system is perfect, so you should always be wary when downloading any app for use on your Android device. Consider where the app came from--even if it’s from the Play Store. You never know when you could run into something threatening. Often times, you can check the app’s permissions before downloading it as well, which is a great way to make sure you’re not being tricked into giving access.

Check Your Security Basics
Do you lock your device when it’s not in use? You should have at least a PIN in use for when you set your phone down for a moment. Preferably, you want to take advantage of biometric technology that allows only you to access the device. Make sure that you have at least something standing in the way of any unauthorized access in case you lose your phone while in a public setting.

Watch Your Smart Lock Passwords
Google will frequently save passwords to the device to make it easier for you to go about your business, but this isn’t necessarily safe. You should frequently check which passwords are being saved. If you don’t periodically update it, you might encounter complications when accessing an account.

Do You Have Two-Factor Authentication?
Speaking of security for your Google account, two-factor authentication is one major way you can keep unwanted users out of your account. By using Google Authenticator, you can create single-use codes that must be used alongside your password for access to your Google Account. There are other options available too, but you will want to speak with an IT service provider to make sure that your 2FA solution is business-grade.

Run a Google Security Check
Google has a built-in security checker that can give you an idea of how you’re doing in terms of protecting your account from unauthorized access. To use it, go to this link: https://myaccount.google.com/security-checkup.

Do You Need Third Party Security Apps?
While the security of the Android operating system is a great start, you may find yourself wanting more. If you’re still not satisfied with the quality of your mobile device’s security situation, you can always reach out to a managed service provider like CTN Solutions, who can recommend solutions designed to keep your business secure.

For any lingering questions, thoughts or concerns about mobile security, don’t hesitate to reach out to CTN at (610) 828-5500.

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Tip of the Week: The Only Feature Android Oreo Is Missing Is the Cream Filling

Tip of the Week: The Only Feature Android Oreo Is Missing Is the Cream Filling

The latest version of Android, Oreo (version 8.0), was released earlier this year. Has your phone received the update yet? Either way, you’ll want to know what features it has, including how it can help you get more done. Here are five of the many new additions offered by this update to Android Oreo operating system.


Auto-populate Passwords for Apps
Using your smartphone applications, rather than a browser-based application, has various advantages, but only recently has Google allowed users to automatically fill in password fields in anything outside its Chrome browser (with the exception of LastPass users). You can now use it to store passwords for applications that you access frequently, which will surely save you some time.

Picture in Picture
A video conference on your mobile device used to limit what you could do with it. What if you wanted to open an email or collect information from another application? Ordinarily you would have to close the app briefly before reopening it, but now you can simply press the home button, which starts up Chrome’s picture-in-picture mode. This can let you continue your video call while collecting information, taking notes, or looking up something.

Brand New Emojis
We know what you’re thinking--the world could use even more emojis. Although there is hardly any practical use for emojis in the business environment, Android Oreo presents mobile device users with even more little images to augment their communications. Which of the new emojis is your favorite?

Smart Text Select
The desktop keyboard shortcuts, like the Select Text, Copy, and Paste functions, are incredibly valuable for work. Oreo has managed to increase their functionality by implementing a Smart Text Select feature on Android smartphones. It’s much easier to use than dragging your finger along the screen to highlight text.

Snooze Notifications
Chances are that your device blows up with notifications frequently throughout the day, but you don’t always want to check them at that particular moment. In cases like this, you can use Android Oreo’s capability to snooze notifications. Swipe to the right on the notification until a clock icon appears. Next, select the time that you want the notification to appear again. You’ll be able to get back to business and check those notifications at the designated time.

What are your thoughts on this latest version of Android? What are your favorite new features? Let us know in the comments below.

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Lessons Your Business Can Learn From the Galaxy Note 7 and 8

Lessons Your Business Can Learn From the Galaxy Note 7 and 8

Samsung fans are getting geared up for the release of a new smartphone, the Galaxy Note 8. Even though it might seem as though the technology world has moved on from the exploding Note 7, you can be sure that Samsung is still feeling the reverberations from last year’s debacle.


As many of you will remember, the Fall of 2017 saw the debut of the Galaxy Note 7 met almost immediately with a permanent halt in production. A massive world-wide recall was issued by Samsung because of an issue that caused the Note 7’s battery to produce excessive heat and catch on fire. Reports of exploding Note 7s, and the resulting bad press, damaged Samsung’s reputation so much that they’re now struggling to regain market share, with the upcoming release of their Note 8.

What precautions has Samsung taken to prevent Note 8 from exploding? For starters, their phones are now put through an ‘eight-step battery safety test,’ which includes: durability testing, visual inspection, X-rays, charge and discharge tests, tests of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), disassembling tests, accelerated usage tests, and open circuit voltage tests. Many of these steps were in place before, but have been ‘enhanced’ since the exploding Note 7 batteries.

Additionally, the Note 8 has a smaller battery than its predecessor and is equipped with a stronger barrier between battery and rest of the phone. There have been no safety concerns reported thus far, with the Note 8 still in the infancy of its launch.

One thing that Samsung has had to focus on throughout the last year is mitigating the damage to its reputation. In February 2017, the annual Harris reputation poll showed Samsung ranked as the 7th highest regarded company in 2016, before the Note 7, now to 49th in 2017, after the exploding phone was recalled and discontinued.

The development and production of the Note 8 has Samsung being uncharacteristically transparent with processes, going the extra mile to demonstrate their attention to safety concerns and details. They are aware that the damage caused by the Note 7 will likely be a point of hesitation to many consumers considering a newer Note 8.

We’d love to hear your opinion on this technology hot button issue! Are you going to give the Note 8 a shot? Or are you still hesitant because of the exploding Note 7? How many of you decided to move away from Samsung products all together? Let us know in the comments!

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3 Ways to Prevent a Smartphone Thief From Also Stealing Your Data

3 Ways to Prevent a Smartphone Thief From Also Stealing Your Data

While it’s certainly a bummer to have your smartphone stolen, it’s even worse if the thief accesses your data. To help prevent this nightmare scenario, security professionals have developed some clever solutions.

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Tip of the Week: Notifications are What’s Draining Your Battery, Not Open Apps

b2ap3_thumbnail_dont_close_apps_400.jpgWe’ve all run into the trouble of keeping our smartphone’s battery preserved for as long as possible. Many people think that the apps themselves are what bogs down the battery and drains its charge, but we’re here to tell you that this is not the case. Instead, let’s determine what really drains your device’s battery.

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Uber Used Technology to Break the Mold, Can Your Business?

b2ap3_thumbnail_what_about_uber_400.jpgAt a September tradeshow event, Travis Kalanick, cofounder and CEO of Uber, said five words in an interview that made everyone give pause to the potential for technology to shape our world for the better, “Every car should be Uber.”

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Tip of the Week: Practical Ways to Make Your Smartphone Distraction-Free

b2ap3_thumbnail_no_distraction_celly_400.jpgMobile devices like smartphones and tablets are marketed as powerful productivity tools. However, some workers may find their device’s time-wasting apps to be more of a distraction than an aid to productivity. What’s a distracted smartphone owner to do?

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Tip of the Week: A Step-By-Step Guide to Broadcasting WiFi From Your Android Device

b2ap3_thumbnail_android_wifi_hot_spot_400.jpgWe all know how touchy WiFi can be, especially when you need it most. A shoddy wireless signal can be especially troublesome if you have tasks that need to be completed, and you need a WiFi connection to complete them. Instead of getting all flustered and calling your ISP, try using your Android smartphone as a mobile hotspot.

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