What Is An Andromeda C‑CAT?A C‑CAT (Client-Centric Action Team) is a dedicated team that includes one or more two Remote Service Techs, and one or more IT Field Techs whose activities are curated by a Service Coordinator(SC)—each specifically appointed to service your organization. With cat-like reflexes and precision, your Andromeda C-CAT will pounce on any IT issue, upgrade, or project. It's really the cat's meow for your IT needs!)
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5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web Jan 26, 2018
In our last IT article we discussed the Dark Web. Specifically what the Dark Web is and why it is something that matters to just about everyone. If you missed the article make sure to give it a read here.
There are many ways your information can be compromised and inevitably end up in the hands of wrong doers on the dark web. On top of that, there are numerous ways that hackers and criminals can steal your data that are completely out of your control.
It is important that you put defense in place where you can but it is also important that you manage your risk by educating yourself on some of the top vulnerabilities out there.
With that in mind we’ve gathered 5 of the top ways hackers and criminals get around you to steal your data for the Dark Web.
5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web
1. Visiting & Using Unsecure Websites
If a website isn’t secure, information passed between you and the site can easily be compromised. In a nutshell, websites pass information to your browser (google chrome, firefox etc.) and your browser displays that information for you to look at/use. Without proper security protocols like an SSL or HTTPs, sites don’t secure that information transfer. So, if you enter personal data into a form, make a purchase or put any data on the site that isn’t secured, it is easy enough for a hacker or cyber-criminal to intercept that data and sell it on the Dark Web.
If you are interested in how to secure your website or tell if the sites you visit are secure, we have an easy to understand article here.
2. Consumer Database Breach
While hackers and criminals will go after your personal data on a small scale, a larger customer breach is what their dreams are made of. Just think back to the Target, Home Depot and Experian breaches of recent years. Even social media databases are full of rich information that hackers can make use of. If a hacker gets ahold of your Facebook password they might have also gotten ahold of your date of birth, where you live and other personal information that they can use to access financial accounts or other personal accounts.
While you can’t keep hackers out of Target’s database, you can practice your own security protocols to decrease the likelihood of criminals using compromised data to ruin you financially:
- Use different passwords for different sites
- Change passwords often (every 90 days is recommended at minimum)
- Use strong passwords
- Look into a monitoring service that alerts you of suspicious activity on financial accounts
3. Firewall Issues
You don’t necessarily have control over whether someone else secures their website and you definitely don’t have control of the security procedures at your local grocery store, but you do have control over the firewalls you use at your business.
First . . . make sure you are using a professional or business grade solution for your firewall. Consumer grade solutions are meant for home use and will not have adequate protections in place to keep your company’s private data secure.
Additionally, make sure that you have regular updates and software patches scheduled. These devices are only as good as the software they utilize. If your firewall is out of date or your software is out of date, chances are they cannot defend against the latest hacker strategies and viruses.
You will also benefit from a regular system audit to ensure all ports are secure and no user changes are impacting your network security. It is pretty common for businesses to forget these updates and checks and this is an incredibly vulnerable access point into your network if not properly configured.
4. Outdated Systems/Devices On Your Network
While your firewall controls much of the inbound and outbound traffic on your network, there are countless other devices that can create vulnerabilities. For instance, if you consider the Target breach of 2013, it is rumored that the criminals gained access to Target’s network via an HVAC company that monitored temperatures in stores. This brings up the fact that it is not just your own network but anything connected to it and the security of those ancillary devices/networks that you must be aware of.
If you have smart devices in the office, if you subscribe to any type of service that needs access to your network, all of these items and programs open you up to vulnerabilities. Even the smart devices you use at home can cause you trouble on a personal level. Imagine if a smart device on your home network was compromised and used by hackers to get into your work files on your home computer. This stuff happens and your information ends up on the dark web because of it.
5. Downloading untrusted applications/Opening Malicious Email
Email is essential to running your business but it is one of the best ways for hackers and criminals to gain access to your network. All they have to get you to do is click a link or download a file and BAM! your data might be compromised.
Email isn’t the only culprit though. Downloading files off the web can also give hackers access to your network and in turn your data. There are tools that can help you avoid this as well as training that helps you spot malicious links/sites.
How Can I Prevent My Info From Getting Onto Dark Web
With proper firewall configuration, professional anti-virus software that is updated regularly and employee training, you will dramatically decrease your vulnerability and incident rate.
There are so many ways hackers access your data. They can get to you through stores, websites, your email, the smart devices at your office/home and those are just a few examples. The scary part is that no matter how secure you make things, they will come up with a new approach that no one expects.
All hope isn’t lost though, with certain protections like professional cyber security consulting, monitoring software (both professional and personal), and specific security devices, you can protect yourself from cybercriminals.
If you’d like to discuss your options and make sure you are truly covered, reach out to our team and schedule a network security assessment.
The post 5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.4 Reasons Office 365 is the Right Choice for Your Business Aug 03, 2018
By the end of 2017, Microsoft’s Office 365 Suite of applications had over 120 million active business and commercial users. Microsoft projects that in fiscal 2019, approximately two-thirds of all Microsoft Office users will be subscribed to Office 365 instead of the traditional licensing model.*
Cloud applications have made a great impact on business, connectivity, accessibility, and productivity. From the looks of it, more and more applications and even hardware solutions are moving to the cloud.
This is exciting for business and the technology sector because there are many real benefits to business owners and employees built into cloud applications.
Office 365 offers different subscriptions and packages built to suit the specific needs of your business, but across their offering, there are many shared benefits.
Let’s take a look at the top 4 reasons Office 365 is the right choice for your business, and why Andromeda Technology Solutions recommends it.
1. Say Goodbye to Expensive Microsoft Licenses
Licensing for the Microsoft Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) can be very costly. Depending on which version of Office you are purchasing, each license can set you back hundreds of dollars. Even for the average small or mid-sized business, this adds up to thousands of dollars very quickly.
Microsoft also phases out legacy software over time, which means that your current professional Microsoft Office license will no longer be supported, maintained, or updated at some point. For example – Microsoft Office 2010 will reach end of life in 2020, and businesses with these licenses will need to purchase new ones for all machines or migrate to Office 365.
With Office 365, your software is always up to date and there are no licenses to worry about. Whenever a new version of the product becomes available, it is automatically pushed out across the cloud applications and your employees keep working without issue. Any documents, presentations, spreadsheets, or other items you’ve created within Office 365 will automatically update to the latest version of Office.
2. Office 365 is Budget-Friendly
Office 365 is a subscription-based cloud application. As mentioned before, there are several different subscription levels with multiple applications. This offers flexibility to suit most any business needs and budget. You can easily calculate and anticipate your annual budget with Office 365 and build it into your regular expenses.
The solution is billed per user. It should be mentioned as well that each user can install the application on multiple devices. This means that you only pay for one subscription per user – even if they access Office 365 on multiple computers, a tablet, and even their smart phone.
3. Work from Anywhere
While you’ll need an internet connection to collaborate with your coworkers in real time, or use certain applications, Office 365 lets you work from just about anywhere. You need an internet connection for the initial setup, migration, and sign up. After that, you have the option to install the latest Microsoft Office Suite directly on your computer. You can save your files directly onto your PC and host them in the cloud for accessibility on the go.
The real productivity magic with Office 365 lives in your ability to access and work on things from anywhere with an internet connection.
Whether you are in the airport, at home, drinking coffee on the go, or in your car before a big meeting, you can login to Office 365 to review your files or make last minute changes at any time: you can even do it from your smartphone.
You can also work with multiple teammates in the same documents from multiple locations. For example – teammates in 2 different locations can work together to complete presentations, spreadsheets, and other deliverables in real time without locking one another out of documents.
4. Increased Storage & Security
Microsoft knows that to make Office 365 attractive to businesses like yours, they have to make sure that the cloud environment and application is secure and trustworthy. There are many features and add-on security settings available to you like encrypted email, spam filters, data loss prevention services, mobile device management, and more (some may require additional fees).
On top of built-in security features, Office 365 subscribers benefit from increased storage capacity in Outlook and OneDrive. The Office 365 Enterprise E3 license offers 100GB mailbox storage and unlimited personal cloud storage as a standard. If that isn’t enough for your environment, or you outgrow any of your storage over time, Office 365 is built to scale and grow with you. This is possible by offering additional storage, security, and application options specific to your needs.
When it comes to accessibility, ease of use, budgeting, and ongoing support, Office 365 is the leading option for business. We anticipate it will continue to dominate the market for both small to mid-size businesses and enterprise.
If you are interested in Office 365 for your business, a great first step is a consultation with one of Andromeda’s local account managers. There are many different subscription levels, applications, and migration details that you will want to go over before making the switch. Additionally, you will want to make sure you are working with an IT Services Professional to make your project and migration as seamless as possible.
Simply reach our team by phone (815) 836-0030 or email: Contact@WeNetwork.com to schedule a conversation. You’ll be glad you did!
*For more on Office 365 users and statistics, check out this article from zdnet.com.
The post 4 Reasons Office 365 is the Right Choice for Your Business appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Video Embedding Feature In MS Word Has Security Vulnerability� Nov 10, 2018
Researchers have discovered a security flaw in MS Office 2016 and older versions that leave the door open to hackers who can take advantage of it to run malicious code on a target computer.
This latest hack exploits a flaw in the software's online video option, which allows users to embed a YouTube video via link inside the document.� The problem is that when the link is pasted into a Word document, the software automatically generates an HTML embed script which is executed when the thumbnail image of the video is clicked on inside the document.
Word contains a file called "document.xml" which is a default file used by the program to generate the code to embed the video.� It's a trivial matter to edit this file, only requiring removing the originally inserted URL and replacing it with a malicious one that would get executed by the IE Download Manager.
Alternately, a hacker could simply create a legitimate-looking Word document, insert a poisoned link into it, then send it to a target.� If the target clicked the link, whatever malicious code the hacker has staged at the other end would run.
The researchers reported the bug to Microsoft, but the company made no response and refused to acknowledge it as a security vulnerability.� After 90 days, the team made their findings public in hopes of spurring the company into action.
This did prompt a response from the company, but their response was simply that they had no intention of addressing the issue as the software is properly interpreting HTML as designed.
That's apparently the company's final word on the matter, so if your business is in the habit of using word documents with embedded videos for any purpose, be mindful of this exploit.� It could easily be used against you.