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USB drives are super-convenient for transporting your files and documents between computers. Unfortunately, their small size means they are easily lost. If you carry sensitive information on your USB drive, the prospect of a lost USB can keep you up at night. Fortunately, there are secure USB drives on the market you can use to protect your data.Why Do I Need a Secure USB Drive?
Almost everyone has the needs to transfer files from one computer to another at some point. Thankfully, a USB drive can make this process quick and easy, not to mention that they are inexpensive and barely take up any space. That being said, USB drives are not very secure. All someone needs to do is plug your USB into any computer, and your files are laid bare for them to access. This is where secure USB drives are useful. They have built-in security features to prevent unauthorized access to the sensitive information you store on your USB.
One method used to keep your files secure is through encryption. Encryption scrambles the data, making it unreadable to prying eyes. Modern secure USB drives almost always employ 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) data encryption. Another method takes the form of physical locks that must be bypassed in order to even use the drive. This often comes in the form of a keypad or even a biometric scanner built in to the USB drive itself.1. Aegis Secure Key 3.0
The Aegis Secure Key 3.0 claims that it is “built tough from the inside out,” and they are not kidding. The Aegis Secure Key boasts an IP68 rating, meaning it can take a beating from the elements. On the data encryption side of things, the Secure Key relies on 100 percent hardware-based 256-bit AES and a built-in keypad for PIN authentication.
Using the Aegis Secure Key requires users to unlock the drive with a 7- to 16-digit PIN before connecting the USB drive to their computer. Failure to enter the PIN will lock the device, rendering it unreadable. Furthermore, because the PIN is entered on the keypad of the USB drive itself and not via the keyboard of the computer, there is no chance your PIN number can be retrieved through keylogging software that may be installed on your computer.
Additionally, the Aegis Secure Key USB drive also protects your data against brute force attempts to access the drive. If a PIN number is incorrectly entered a predetermined number of times, a protocol called Crypto-Erase is enacted. In this case, the device will delete its own encryption key, thereby destroying the ability to decrypt the data.2. Kingston IronKey D300
The Kingston IronKey D300 is so secure that NATO has awarded it “restricted level certification.” This means that NATO is comfortable with its staff using the IronKey D300 to transport sensitive information. In addition, the IronKey is FIPS 140-2 certified with hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption, making it US government-approved. The USB itself is made with a zinc alloy, making it rugged enough to be submersible in water up to four feet and to withstand temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius (-4 F).
The IronKey D300 also comes with a virtual keyboard. This means that when you plug in the USB, a keyboard appears onscreen. To unlock the USB and access the data, you must enter the PIN with your mouse via the virtual keyboard. This ensures that any potential keylogging software on the PC won’t be able to record the passcode for the USB drive. All encryption and decryption of the data is done on the drive itself. This means there is no trace of the USB or its contents left on the PC itself. Finally, the IronKey reformats itself after 10 consecutive failed attempts at unlocking the device.3. Datalocker DL3
Need more storage space? The DL3 from Datalocker is an external hard drive that boasts state-of-the-art security measures. First, the drive utilizes 256-bit AES hardware encryption. In addition, the DL3 has an integrated backlit keypad used to input a unique alphanumeric PIN to unlock the device. In an effort to make the device even more secure, the keypad randomly rotates the keys. This prevents anyone from determining the PIN based on fingerprints or pattern recognition. For additional piece of mind, the DL3 has a self-destruct feature that wipes all data from the drive if too many unsuccessful PIN combinations are entered.
The DL3 is a plug-and-play device, meaning there is no software or drivers needed. All device and admin management is done through the built-in keypad screen. Therefore, users don’t have to worry about any potential security concerns with the host PC.
The Datalocker DL3 can also be locked as “Read-only” by an administrator. This means that users can access the data on the drive but cannot change or delete any of the files. The Datalocker DL3 is available in a variety of storage capacities, starting at 500GB and into the multiple terabytes.4. Verbatim Store’n’Go Secure
Furthermore, the Verbatim Store’n’Go makes use of USB-C to ensure fast performance. Most importantly, the Store’n’Go Secure is very affordable when compared to other secure storage devices. At the time of this writing, the 1TB model is available for about $120, significantly cheaper than others with similar features.
To further protect your files, you may want to do a full-disk encryption in Windows 10. If you are always sending sensitive text to your friends, you may also want to consider using PGP encryption.
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Your router is one of the most important entities on your network. It sits between the local network and the Internet. It can be configured as a firewall too, to protect your office LAN or home network. This post gives you five tips to secure your router. It also has a bonus tip to add more protection to the router and Wi-Fi.How to secure your WiFi Router
Here is a glimpse of what you are going to read below.
Good password for the router
Encrypt using WPA2 or later methods
Change password for Wi-Fi regularly
Filter MAC addresses (Media Access Control) addresses.1] Use a good password
Let’s start with the most basic thing – changing the router password. Router manufacturers keep the default ID “admin” and password as “password”. You have to change it before you connect the router, and thereby your whole home or office network, to the Internet.
To log into the router, open your browser and type 192.168.1.1 in its address bar. Enter “admin” in the ID textbox and “password” in the password textbox. If that doesn’t work, use “admin” for both ID and password. You may also try “password” in both ID and password fields. Do not include the quotes when typing in the ID and password. If you still have problems logging into your router, google with the router make and model or ask for it by contacting the manufacturer’s online support systems.
Create a good password for your router. Use at least 12 characters: a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, some numbers, and some special characters. Don’t use weak passwords – including your spouse’s name, your flat or plot number, and pin code for your area. All these can be easily broken by hackers so go for better passwords.
I recommend using one of the password managers such as Lastpass to your browsers so that you can have them log you in even if you don’t remember your passwords. You need to remember the master password only, in the case of password managers.2] Update Firmware
This method too requires logging into the router. Your router address is 192.168.1.1 which we’ve mentioned above. You have to enter the numbers into the address bar of your browser. Once on the router page, log in. From the list of sides or upper menus, look for the “Backup” option. It may also be titled “Update”.
Most routers upgrade themselves, but older routers still have to be manually upgraded. By upgrading your router, you are adding more protection: the latest bug fixes and patches for known issues.3] Encrypt Wi-Fi using WPA2 or later methods
This option too is available via the router control panel page. You have to log in and go to the page that contains the option to encrypt files using WEP, WPA, or WPA2. Always select WPA2 or later options. Of the three mentioned in this post, WPA2 is the most secure for your Wi-Fi.
Read: How to Enable or Disable Access Point Isolation on Windows computers4] Change the default name & password for Wi-Fi
You should change your default Wi-Fi name and password. You should also change this regularly. That will help the unwanted baggage to be removed from your Internet connection. It may happen that someone else is piggy banking on your Internet connection for personal needs. You can find out if there are any unwanted connections using software like Who is on my Wi-Fi?
Changing the password may mean logging into your Wi-Fi devices again, but it also helps in shedding unwanted baggage in the form of people using your Internet connection for their needs.
Read: How to check if your Router is hacked.5] Disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup
Some routers and gears come with a switch that enables Wi-Fi Protected Setup. Wi-Fi Protected Setup is generally known as WPS. The method may seem easier than giving away your password to clients. But the method is susceptible to brute force attacks and may let hackers hack into your router and from there, into your Wi-Fi.
Read: How to fix Public and Home Wi-Fi Network vulnerabilities.6] Filter MAC addresses (Media Access Control) addresses
Every device on your network has a MAC (Media Access Control) address. It is like IP addresses but is actually a separate address to identify devices on your computer network. Check out what all devices you wish to connect to the router. Note down their MAC addresses and configure your router so that only the devices with specified MAC addresses can connect to your Internet.
It is not that the MAC IDs can’t be spoofed. Hackers may spoof MAC addresses, but first, they need to know the MAC address to create a similar one on their devices for which, they’ll have to access your router.
I hope the above helps. Comment below to let us know about more methods to secure your router.
With mobile data prices being far more expensive than standard Internet plans and mobile apps become more and more data hungry, it’s become a necessity to keep track of daily, weekly and monthly data usage. Although all phones come with data monitoring settings, most are far from easy to use and don’t always offer user-friendly experiences. So if you are looking for an alternative app, that’s easy to use, check out 4 of our top recommended apps.
How to Back Up and Restore Task Manager Settings on Windows 10.
Of the two main mobile operating systems, Android is by far the better of the two for providing data monitoring services, however, it is still quite lacking. Thankfully there are quite a few different options available for both Android and iOS devices 4 of which we have listed below in no particular order.
RadioOpt Traffic Monitor monitors both your data usage and your speed and mobile coverage. You can specify your data plan period and set limits as well as alarms that will signal when you are getting close to your limit. RadioOpt even keeps track of roaming data usage in a separate section, should you feel the need to compare.
If you like extra options and want to track your connection speed (WiFi/Mobile) you can also use the built-in speed test tool which allows you to check upload speed, download speed and your ping. My personal favorite about the app though is the coverage map, which allows you to check where you get the best mobile coverage, then compare it to other users.Glasswire Data Usage Monitor. Android
Glasswire is another great mobile data monitoring tool which originated on desktop. It allows you to monitor your data usage and keep track of your network usage and record app behavior/usage. As with both of the other apps, you can set your own mobile data and WiFi alerts, so you know when you are about to exceed your data plan limit. You can track data usage in real-time, and even go back in time to see which app used data on a particular day. Lastly, one feature unique to Glasswire is the option to whitelist apps from your data monitoring list, something you will find useful if your provider has free data for selected apps like Facebook or Instagram.DataMan Next. iOS
Last on the list is DataMan Next, a very minimalist data monitoring app, specifically designed for iOS. It’s clean, fast and easy to use. It allows you to monitor specific apps and their usage, combining the results into an overall total. There’s also a widget if you are really paranoid about running over your data limit. The most interesting feature about DataMan is the prediction feature which lets you know if you are going to stay within your data limits for the month or blow them by a mile.
Tiered storage is all about matching cost of storage to application priority — the most important applications get the fastest storage. While the first storage systems included three tiers of hard drive storage, and the next versions included a tier of SSD storage as a Tier 0 above the three hard drive tiers, today, there are multiple options for fast SSDs in multiple tiers.
Flash memory has become fast enough that one drive can overwhelm the SATA bus, or even the SAS bus. Newer versions of flash have been developed to use the faster busses — PCIe, NVMe and even the memory bus, which has enough bandwidth to support multiple fast SSDs on the same connection.
With tiered storage, each tier offers a jump in performance and cost over the one below it. The memory bus has the fastest transfer rates and very low latencies, but is expensive, while the PCIe bus and NVMe are very similar — a single NVMe connection is equivalent to a 4x PCIe slot, with lower costs than memory bus SSDs, while SATA SSDs are relatively inexpensive, but limited in bandwidth and latency by the SATA connection.
For lower-level memory tiers, the first versions of Optane are available in PCIe bus versions, and will later include memory bus versions. Currently available Optane drives are rated at about 1200 MB/s, or about half the speed of the NVMe Samsung 960 Pro, which is rated at about 2500 MB/s.Discover the Cost Advantages of SSDs
The PCIe SSDs consist of one or more NVMe drives mounted on a PCIe board. They can be used in systems that do not have separate NVMe interfaces built in. The upside is that they can be used on any motherboard, but the downside is that they are substantially bigger than M.2 or U.2 NVMe SSDs, meaning you may not be able to fit as many into a data center configuration.
For the purposes of tiered SSD storage, a system might have memory bus SSDs, NVMe SSDs and SATA SSDs as the three tiers; or an NVMe, SAS and SATA SSD configuration; or even NVMe and two different tiers of SATA-based SSDs with different performance.
Learning to Optimize Hardware and Software
With the right software and relative sizes of different tiers, a two-tier or three-tier SSD tiered storage system can provide the blazing speed of the top tier and the less-expensive capacity of the bottom tier by keeping the most often-used data in the top tier, and migrating the less-used data to the lower tiers.
Typically, 10 to 20 percent of data is hot, which means that the top tier only needs to be 10 percent of the size of the next tier. As long as all the hot data fits in the top tier, the overall performance of the system is the same as the top tier, while the remaining 80 percent of the data is stored on a slower but cheaper bottom tier.
When it comes to storage applications, it can take some time to figure out the right balance and ratio, but applying the right type of tiered architecture can ensure that your storage is optimized for scalability and changing data processing rates.
Find the best storage solutions for your business by checking out our award-winning selection of SSDs for the enterprise.
Many apps used in schools compromise student data. Here’s one way schools and districts can develop a comprehensive plan to keep that information safe.
Many school districts have seen an explosion in the number of apps and websites that teachers use with students in classrooms. Although digital tools can enhance learning, the expansion in technology has resulted in an increased number of cyber attacks and privacy breaches. Districts have the power and responsibility to promote student safety by ensuring the protection of student data privacy.
According to the Student Privacy Primer from the Student Privacy Compass, “Student data privacy refers to the responsible, ethical, and equitable collection, use, sharing, and protection of student data.” This data includes personally identifiable information such as a student’s name, date of birth, Social Security number, and email address.
Although there are certainly edtech companies that perform due diligence when it comes to protecting data, others do not use best practices. A recent report from the nonprofit Internet Safety Labs found that 96 percent of apps used regularly in K–12 schools have data-sharing practices that “are not adequately safe for children.”
Many of those apps shared children’s personal information with third-party marketers, often without the knowledge or consent of schools. There have also been some recent instances of edtech company data breaches that have shown those companies are not taking the safety precautions they claim to be taking, such as encrypting student information. It is imperative that districts take steps to protect student information.
6 steps to build a culture of student data privacy
1. Identify a point person. As districts begin to think about student privacy, the first step is to identify someone who can become the primary contact on student data privacy questions and decisions. This might be someone at the district office level (such as a director of technology or tech coach), or it might be someone at the school level (such as an assistant principal or instructional coach). This person can also provide teachers with guidance and best practices.
2. Develop a communication strategy. It is essential to create a plan that effectively communicates the district’s data privacy policies and procedures to all stakeholders (for instance, educators, parents, and students). Clearly communicating the plan at each step of the process will help build the relationships necessary to create an environment in which student data privacy is prioritized. If you need help getting started, check out the Student Privacy Communications Toolkit from the Student Privacy Compass.
3. Identify websites and apps being used in the district. Start with the apps that your district is paying for or encouraging teachers to use. Reach out to curriculum specialists, coaches, and anyone else that regularly provides professional development to teachers. I recommend starting with a small batch (10–20) of the most commonly used apps as you first start to develop procedures. Later, as you fine-tune your approval process, you might decide to utilize outside services to identify additional apps that are being used in the classroom.
For example, our district uses GoGuardian, which operates as an extension on student Chromebooks and monitors their browsing activity. The GoGuardian Director Overview dashboard shows us which apps, extensions, and websites are being used the most by our students. Another tool you can use is the LearnPlatform Inventory Dashboard. This is a browser extension pushed out to district devices that populates a dashboard showing all the edtech tools that teachers and students in your district are using.
4. Develop an understanding of pertinent laws and regulations. To effectively address student data privacy, the technology point person will need to be familiar with related legal requirements. One important federal law is the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which requires schools to protect the privacy of student education records.
Another federal law that applies here is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA requires operators of commercial websites and online services to obtain consent from parents before collecting personal information from children under the age of 13. While this rule applies to companies, not schools, it is still important to understand because schools can give consent on a parent’s behalf.
Depending on your state, you might also need to do some research about state laws that govern data privacy; plenty of resources exist to help you get started with FERPA, COPPA, and additional state laws.
5. Vet apps for compliance with laws and data privacy. Each app should go through a standardized vetting procedure. I would strongly recommend putting a team together to perform this vetting so that you get diverse perspectives and input from a variety of stakeholders.
Reviewing the TOS and Privacy Policies can feel overwhelming, especially when you are first getting started. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education released guidance to help with this evaluation process.
Another helpful (and free) resource is the Common Sense Privacy Program. Common Sense evaluates the privacy policies of individual apps and scores them in 10 different areas, including Data Collection, Data Sharing, and Data Security.
6. Create a list of approved apps to share with teachers. An important part of creating a culture of student data privacy is getting teachers on board, as they are the people making daily decisions about which apps to use with their students. One way you can help them make safe choices is to create a list of approved apps that have been vetted by a person (or group of people) trained to read through Privacy Policies and Terms of Service notices. With so many apps out there to choose from, teachers often have a choice between two that do similar things. A list can help them choose the app that does a better job of protecting data while still allowing them to use technology to enhance learning for students.
For teachers who would like to learn more about student data privacy, provide some resources. Here are two free training courses:
Creating a culture of student data privacy is challenging, but it is worth the effort to protect our students. Remember that you don’t have to do everything all at once. Take that first step and be a privacy leader!
With data being stored, there needs to be a data center security strategy if the data will be managed properly. Experience shows that it only takes one data breach to devastate a company and cause long-term financial, legal, and PR nightmares.
There have been several trusted data centers that have experienced massive data breaches. When these data breaches make headlines, customer confidence is shaken, stock prices fall, and the businesses responsible for maintaining the breached data may close their doors.
According to Forbes, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion records in the first six months of 2023 alone. Often, there is a link between data center breaches and the desire to cut corners to save money. The absolute last thing any organization wants is to end up spending millions of dollars to solve a problem that could have been avoided if they had not chosen a cheap hosting solution.
There are secure hosting solutions that don’t cost you a fortune, but they’re suitable for small businesses rather than large organizations. Your business needs an architecture that best meets your requirements, whether it be cloud-based SaaS or IaaS, on-premise or hybrid architectures. PAM as a service solutions are a great option as you can rely on experts to implement, optimize and manage solutions that can be challenging. Whatever the case is, cybersecurity infrastructure is something you must invest in to keep your sensitive data safe, secure, adequately protected, and taken care of the best way possible.
Many data center breaches can be prevented if there is a zero trust model that has been adopted. This zero trust mindset involves the design of the physical structure in which the servers are stored, how the network racks are designed, and every other component that is used when designing the data center.
What Is Zero Trust Architecture?
Zero trust architecture is a relatively new concept that has grown out of the need to provide protection against sophisticated hackers and malware. We live in a world where there are billions of Internet of things devices and devices being connected to the cloud. Zero trust literally means that there is no perimeter that is trusted.
Every single device that tries to connect to a data center is not trusted, and each device or user can only receive the least privileged access. Even after a device or user has been authorized, their access is capped at the lowest level. Zero trust architecture is designed to stop security breaches in their tracks.
Traditionally, security models operate on the assumption that an internal network can be trusted. However, trusting activities on an internal network have done little to minimize the number of cyber attacks and insider threats that have plagued data centers. Therefore, the zero trust architecture method has been employed.
This could require the use of the next generation of firewalls that have decryption capabilities. Current security models focus on protecting the perimeter of a network. However, once the threat is inside the network, it is free to grow and to adapt as it chooses. The result is that sensitive business data stored in a data center is vulnerable for extraction.The Role of Security Layers and Redundancies in Protecting Data Centers
You must use security controls and the system checks as part of the structure of a data center. This includes software systems and the design of the building. Security layers can fall into physical or digital categories.Physical Security Requirements for a Data Center
As with most things real estate, everything starts with the location. When determining the most secure location for a data center, it’s good to test the geological activity in the proposed construction site. Is there a risk of flooding? Are there other high-risk industries in the area? If so, these could impact the physical security of the data center.
There is a little flexibility in picking a physical location as some natural security risk can be mitigated with the construction of barriers or including extra redundancies in the building’s design to protect against flooding, earthquakes, etc. However, if the option exists, it is preferable to avoid conditions that could affect the physical security of the data center.
When it comes to the building and the grounds, there are several security measures that can be employed, including fencing and walls and minimizing entrances to the property and building. Extra backup power from UPSs and generators must be included in the infrastructure. Security features like man traps, which create airlocks separating two separate doors and require authentication to enter both doors, are a must.Digital Security Layers in Data Centers
A rise in the number of users who have elevated rights or who are accessing the system at random or at unusual times.
A jump in service requests that might show a distributed denial of service attack.
The appearance of large data sets or extensive data sets migrating around the system.
Enormous data sets being extracted from the system.
A rise in phishing scam attempts that target high-level privileged personnel.
To address these types of attacks, intrusion detection and prevention systems can store a baseline of typical system states. These are checked against network activity in real time. Abnormal activities trigger a response. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and artificial neural networks are increasing the effectiveness and potency of intrusion detection.
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