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United Systems has been serving the Oklahoma City area since 1984, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Your Business Needs To Manage Mobile Devices For The Sake Of Its Security

Your Business Needs To Manage Mobile Devices For The Sake Of Its Security

Businesses can benefit from the use of personal mobile devices in the workplace, yet there are also potential dangers in allowing mobile and Internet of Things devices to access your network. In order to reduce these dangers, you need to put some limits and guidelines on the use of such devices in the workplace.

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Phyllis Burt
You need to manage the all mobile devices that were all for the sake of security of your business. This was the good part of this ... Read More
Tuesday, 19 February 2019 00:43
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Forget Backdoors, Hackers Can Now Infiltrate Garage Doors

Forget Backdoors, Hackers Can Now Infiltrate Garage Doors

Hackers have proven that they will do whatever it takes to get to your valuable assets, even if it means taking advantage of physical objects that work alongside a specific frequency. As it turns out, this is exactly how hacking a garage door works, and all it takes is a decade-old communications device to capture the frequency and unlock any garage door that utilizes it.


The contraption used to hack garage doors is built from a discontinued Mattel toy from 2007: the IM ME. The IM ME is a supposedly secure wireless instant messaging system that works similar to a mobile phone. It was meant to be a kid-friendly, secure alternative to a mobile phone for texting. The IM ME stores an address book for other users of IM ME, and used an Internet connection to communicate with each other. If you look at it now, you wouldn't be surprised to hear that it’s no longer supported and that it has no place in today’s computing world. Smartphones are largely more efficient and dynamic as communication tools.

Just last year, it was discovered that the IM ME could be turned into a device that can hack into any garage door that’s using an unsecured fixed code transmitted from a remote, rather than one which uses a “rolling code” that changes with every button press. This flaw was discovered by Samy Kamkar, an independent developer and technology consultant, who then proceeded to exploit the flaw to demonstrate its danger. He built the device using the IM ME as a base model, then added a simple antennae and open-source hardware attachment.

Kamkar, calling his device OpenSesame, explains that his device works differently from what are called “code grabbers.” An ordinary code grabber will snatch the code from the garage door button when it’s pressed, and reuse it to open the door at a later time. This requires the hacker to be present when the button is pressed (similar code grabbers also exist for automobile key fobs, which is a pretty scary concept on its own). OpenSesame can accomplish this same goal without being near the user, which makes it much more dangerous.

The most dangerous part of this hacking experiment is the fact that any hacker can walk up to a vulnerable garage door and have it open in around eight seconds. As reported by WIRED:

Using a straightforward cracking technique, it still would have taken Kamkar’s program 29 minutes to try every possible code. But Kamkar improved his attack by taking out wait periods between code guesses, removing redundant transmissions, and finally using a clever optimization that transmitted overlapped codes, what’s known as a De Bruijn sequence. With all those tweaks, he was able to reduce the attack time from 1,771 seconds to a mere eight seconds.

If you’re curious about how Kamkar’s device works, you can watch this video to see the device in action. Furthermore, if you want to see if your own garage door is vulnerable, you can view this video where he goes into detail about which doors are vulnerable, and why.

This more than proves the fact that hackers engage in some dangerous and unpredictable acts, and that the Internet of Things continues to be a major reason for this. With so many more devices connecting to the Internet and communicating with each other with near-field communications and Bluetooth, the situation could very quickly turn into a nightmare scenario for your business. If your network isn’t prepared to handle the dangers and threats that come from unregulated Internet of Things devices, it’s a very real possibility that your organization could suffer a data breach or worse. It’s your responsibility to ensure that you aren’t putting your district or business at risk.

United Systems can give your district or business a quality network assessment that can help your team accomplish its security-oriented goals. To learn more, give us a call at (405) 523-2162.

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Hackers use different kinds of tools for detection of weakness of any program and get ways for their operations. People read revie... Read More
Friday, 17 August 2018 06:11
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Alert: A New Malware to Worry About for PC Gamers Using Steam

Alert: A New Malware to Worry About for PC Gamers Using Steam

Hackers have always gone after industries that are profitable, or hold sensitive information that can be lucrative when sold under the table. As such, retailers that accumulate financial credentials are often hit by hacks. The entertainment industry is no different, and hackers continue to grow craftier in their pursuit of wealth and power. Not even Steam, the PC gamer’s most valuable software solution, is safe from the dangers of hacking attacks.


Steam is a widely-used web-based distribution platform developed by Valve Corporation that’s used for online multiplayer gaming, as well as many other video game-related situations. It’s actually relatively similar to cloud computing. Steam is one of the biggest online gaming retailers with over 140 million users. In October 2013, it was estimated that 75 percent of all games purchased online were through Steam. If nothing else, Steam is a valid online computing outlet that hackers want to take advantage of.

As anyone who has a hobby will understand, a gamer’s collection of games, virtual items, or online currency, will accrue a self-perceived value of sorts. While this might seem like a worthless asset to compromise, it’s introducing a new type of hacker to the online environment. People who want to steal games, achievements, and other in-game assets are capable of doing so with a new malware called Steam Stealer. Perhaps the most terrifying thing about Steam Stealer is the fact that it’s so easy to use. If hackers find that they can get away with stealing seemingly benign in-game items, they might find that they want to go for something with a little more practical use, like credit card numbers. This presents a unique situation which could provide amateur hackers with the skills and confidence they need to attempt more risky and detrimental hacks.

Since Steam Stealer is easy to use and afford, even the average citizen can experience the bittersweet taste of hacking. With included instructions, user manuals, APIs, and a price tag of $15, people with no knowledge of malware can easily use Steam Stealer. Compared to other Malware as a Service offerings, Steam Stealer is a small price to pay and is relatively simple to use. Once people experience the adrenaline of using malware to steal fellow gamers’ in-game objects, what’s stopping them from pursuing the rush even further?

The end result could very well be hackers who won’t be satisfied until they’ve hit the motherload; financial information and other products purchased through Steam’s online interface. Unsurprisingly, Steam experiences quite a large amount of takeovers -- around 77,000 accounts suffer from breaches each month. There’s a definite precedent for this type of hack, and criminals obviously see the potential for profits.

The best way to keep your Steam account safe from hackers is for users to practice a combination of two-factor authentication, and to always keep an eye out for potential phishing scams. Changing passwords regularly is an ideal way to keep hackers from accessing accounts, and closely monitoring URLs that are sent through chats will keep you from visiting potentially malicious sites.

These tips probably sound familiar; for good reason. They’re valuable tips that help you stay safe whether you’re working on important work, or you’re on a quest to “slay the goblin lord.” Even if Steam is an online gaming platform, there are still valuable lessons that can be learned from it. While a business owner might see their data as an immensely valuable asset, gamers view their libraries in a similar way.

If you want to know how to best protect your district's business’s data, reach out to us at (405) 523-2162

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This Breakthrough By MIT Will Propel Artificial Intelligence to New Heights

This Breakthrough By MIT Will Propel Artificial Intelligence to New Heights

No security solution is perfect. Each one has its own set of pros and cons. For example, relying completely on an automated solution is thorough, but it will flag plenty of threats that aren’t really threats (aka, false positives). Meanwhile, a human overseeing security is great for spotting worrisome trends, but a human can’t possibly catch every single attack. With this dynamic in mind, a team of researchers from MIT has successfully blended the two.


The team, hailing from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, developed a security platform combining the strength of human involvement with the effectiveness of artificial intelligence. Given the name A.I.², this new platform is capable of detecting 85 percent of incoming attacks while reducing reported false positives by 20 percent.

How A.I.² combines AI and human involvement is actually quite genius. To begin, the “untrained” machine reports a sample set of results to a human expert. These results are informed by machine learning and are checked against the 200 most important problems. The human expert then checks over and corrects the machine’s work, with the intention of finding mistakes and false positives. Subsequently, the human-checked results are inputted to A.I.², the machine learns, and the next set of tests will have fewer errors. This process is then repeated with the security platform adapting each time to look for what its human teacher looks for.

In a paper presented at the IEEE International Conference on Big Data Security, research scientist Kalyan Veeramachianeni summarized, "You can think about the system as a virtual analyst. It continuously generates new models that it can refine in as little as a few hours, meaning it can improve its detection rates significantly and rapidly."

Of course, the precedent of effectiveness set here by combining human expertise and oversight with A.I. has far-reaching ramifications for other A.I. initiatives currently in development; initiatives that have both humanity’s best and worst interests in mind. Although, for now, those of us in the IT world are celebrating this A.I.-enabled technology for being one giant leap forward in security analysis accuracy.

It’s important to keep in mind that a platform like A.I.² is still years away from being available to the average business. Therefore, we recommend that you stay on top of your network security by following best practices, which combines automated software solutions and human vigilance in order to combat the latest threats. United Systems is standing by to assist you with all of your company’s network security needs. To equip your business with the most comprehensive IT security solutions on the market, call us today at (405) 523-2162.

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Lucy Henderson
I love to know every new thing about the Artificial intelligence and I am finding all the articles written on web. This is another... Read More
Monday, 19 November 2018 07:14
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Add a PIN to Windows 10 Login to Improve Security

Businesses all over the world are taking advantage of two-factor authentication, causing the password’s value to depreciate over time. Passwords aren’t powerful enough to keep users safe from advanced threats. Hackers are finding ways to punch holes in even the most comprehensive security solution, forcing users to focus on improving security through other means.


One way to do this is by using Windows 10’s built-in PIN system. Here’s how you can set up a PIN number, including how you can change or reset it if need be.

Why Use a PIN?
Using a PIN offers a few unique benefits over the traditional password. For example, Windows 10 uses the same password as your Microsoft account, which means that if this password is stolen or compromised by a hacker, they can access other services tied to your Microsoft account. If you’re using a PIN to access your PC, the PIN is unique to your Windows 10 device, meaning that a hacker would have to locally enter the PIN, making it a much less risky gambit than using a password.

Add a PIN
First, you need to click on the search bar at the bottom of the screen and type Settings. Then, select Sign-in options in the left column. Scroll down to the PIN section in the right column, and click Add. You’ll then be prompted to verify your password. Once you’ve done so, click OK.

Next, you’ll be taken to the Set up a PIN page. All you need to do is type your desired PIN in the provided forms. The only criteria required for a PIN is that it needs to be between four and nine characters long, but you need to make sure that it’s not something that can easily be guessed. Be sure to keep these pointers in mind:

  • The longer the PIN, the better the security: You’ve heard all about how using a complex password is a best practice, and the same can be said for your PIN. Make it as long as possible-- this makes it more difficult for hackers to guess.
  • Refrain from using PINs from other accounts: Everyone has credit cards that they use a PIN for, but these numbers shouldn’t be used for every single account you have. You should have individual PINs for each of your different accounts. Otherwise, one account being compromised could lead to multiple breaches. 
  • Use as many different numbers as possible: In much the same way that a password should contain variable letters, you want to stay away from short PINs with largely the same number.

Change or Reset Your PIN
Windows 10 makes it easy to change your PIN. You need to navigate back through Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, and tap Change underneath PIN. You’ll then be taken to the Change your PIN screen.

If you need to reset your PIN, click I forgot my PIN next to the Change button. This will let you reset your PIN. Keep in mind that you’ll need to use your current account password to do so.

For more great tips, be sure to subscribe to United System's blog.

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Thursday, 26 July 2018 03:25
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What is your Identity Worth to You?

Your identity has quite a lot of value, especially in the wrong hands. Security firm ZoneAlarm put together some numbers in 2011 concerning identity fraud, and it even shocked us. Let's talk about a few of these statistics and what it means.

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How Safe is Your Email?

 

Email is (and has been) a prime method of communication for businesses of all sizes. With email comes a whole slew of issues that are essentially synonymous with the technology; spam, information overload, phishing, and information privacy. Even Oklahoma small businesses that only do business locally are at risk of these issues. Personal email accounts are equally at risk. Employing proper precautions and practices whenever communicating via email is very important to prevent the risk of security compromises, monetary loss, and even legality issues.

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Thursday, 06 December 2018 23:32
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