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HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LOSSES RELATED TO DATA THEFT & THE DARK WEB May 31, 2019
We’ve spent some time over the last two months dedicating our articles to the Dark Web. Specifically, what it is and how your information is stolen and sold on the elusive Dark Web.
Part 1 – What Is The Dark Web & Why It Matters To You
Part 2 – 5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web
In this final article in our three part series, we thought it would be valuable to introduce our readers to some of the popular strategies and tools used both professionally and personally to reduce risk and protect you from losses related to data theft and the Dark Web.
One of the things we make sure to talk about with our clients in regard to cyber security and the Dark Web is that no matter how secure you make yourself and your business, these criminals are always going to come up with something new. It’s what they do.
With that in mind, there are still things you can do and one tool that you should put in place as your failsafe against all cybercrime and data theft.
How To Protect Yourself From The Dark Web
Identity Theft Protection
You invest time and money into data security at the office, but what do you do to make sure that your personal data is secure?
Personal data is very valuable to hackers and criminals. They can use it to steal your identity, open up lines of credit, purchase goods and more.
This isn’t a new story . . .
According to the Department of Justice, the average identity theft victim incurs over $1300 in personal damages. Not to mention reputational damage, time, stress and credit damages.
Because of how big of an issue personal identity theft is, there are services available that monitor your personal information for suspicious activity.
Services like LifeLock, IDWatchdog or IdentityForce are available to you among many others.
These services provide monitoring tools and alerts so when a criminal gets ahold of your info and attempts to use it, you are alerted and can cut them off before the damage is done. Some of them also provide insurance as well.
Andromeda doesn’t provide consumer solutions for identity theft protection but these services are a great asset to you for your personal protections.
Password Management Service
Password management is a necessity when it comes to keeping track of and maintaining strong passwords.
As you probably know, you want to have a unique password for every account you login to. So that means you should have a different password for Facebook, your personal email, your professional email, your primary bank account, any other bank accounts, Netflix . . . you get the idea.
On top of making sure your passwords are different, you should also make sure that they are STRONG.
- No Personal/Guessable Phrases
- Both Upper and Lower cases
- At least 8 Characters
- Include numbers
- Include other characters – !@#$%&
Do you think that you’d be able to keep track of all of your passwords if each one were unique? Do you think that you’d be able to keep track of them AND change them every 90 days (at a minimum)?
If you answered no, you aren’t alone.
That is why so many people use the same passwords across many accounts.
But that is also how a hacker can get access to your Facebook or Gmail password and then log in to your bank account.
To avoid this, get your hands on a professional password management solution.
There are a lot of options out there and they offer different features. Some are free and some are subscription based.
If you want a great comparison of the leading options, check out this side by side comparison from PCMag here.
Add Cyber Security Tools to Your Data Security Arsenal
The previous two tools are great for protecting you both personally and professionally but Andromeda specializes in protecting and service your business so of course, we need to pay attention to professional tools too.
In respect to cyber security and your business, there are many different tools you need in place. Things like a professional firewall solution, spam filtering and professional anti-virus software (NOT Freeware) are the basics. Nonetheless, there are added layers of security you should request from your IT Service Provider.
Some of these might include:
- Professional Disaster Recovery/Data Backup & Recovery Solutions
- Dual Authentication Software
- Patch and Update Management (we recommend weekly updates)
- Employee Cyber Security Training
These are just a few things you can have a professional technology partner handle for your business. Once you have these in place, you’ll be more secure and hopefully you’ll sleep a little better knowing you are proactively fighting off the criminals who want to ruin your day, interrupt (or even destroy) your business and steal your data.
Dark Web Monitoring Services
The Dark Web is an area of the web most people can’t or don’t regularly access. As discussed in previous articles, the Dark Web is an area where cyber criminals go to sell and purchase digital credentials (email addresses, passwords, personal information).
You won’t know a criminal has access to this data or whether they are using it against you until it is too late.
Unfortunately, with all of the different ways hackers and criminals can steal your data (Read our previous article for more on that –), it is pretty much impossible to guarantee your data will NEVER be breached.
You should invest in password management, superior cyber security tools and identity theft monitoring. All of those services and tools will build up a strong defense system. However, you want to make sure that you are also proactively defending yourself from the attacks and strategies of tomorrow. You want to make sure you are defending yourself from the threats that haven’t hit the market just yet.
A tool that can help you defend yourself in this way is a Dark Web Monitoring Service.
In a nutshell, this tool scans the Dark Web for your businesses domain.
When an email address with your domain is found, an alert is sent out to your technology partner and appropriate actions are taken.
Password information changes before a criminal can get into your network and compromise data.
Andromeda Technology Solutions provides Dark Web Monitoring services to clients. We would love to discuss how we can help secure your info before compromise turns into catastrophe.
If you’re interested in taking a look at your current cyber security solutions and figuring out whether you are truly protected, give us a call or send us an email at Contact@WeNetwork.com. Mention this article when you contact our team and you’ll receive special pricing.
Interested in reading more? Check out:
Part 1 Part 2
The post HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LOSSES RELATED TO DATA THEFT & THE DARK WEB appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web May 03, 2019
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.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.People Are Moving From Windows 7 To Windows 10 For Security Feb 18, 2020
Despite the age of the OS, Windows 7 has enjoyed a surprisingly large and loyal user base. That changed suddenly when Microsoft finally pulled the plug on Windows 7 support.
It couldn't have come as a surprise to many people. After all, the company has been sounding the alarm and has announced the end of support date for more than a year.
Even so, most Windows 7 users greeted the looming end of support with little more than a yawn.
Then, January came and Microsoft did exactly as they said they'd do. Support ended, and suddenly, broad swaths of the Windows 7 user base woke from their slumber and finally transitioned to Windows 10.
Statistics show that in January, the Windows 7 install base took a significant hit, dropping by some 4.2 percent, while the ranks of Windows 10 users swelled considerably, growing by almost the same amount. Based on the number of machines running Windows 7, that means that in January alone, some 50 million machines were moved off of the old OS.
In some respects, the sluggish response and then the sudden surge aren't too much of a surprise. Most people tend to put off doing unpleasant things until they simply have to. As long as Microsoft was content to keep issuing security patches to keep the venerable OS secure, the Windows 7 user base was content to trundle along as they always had. The moment that changed, it suddenly made a lot more sense to jump on the Windows 10 bandwagon.
If you're one of the Windows 7 holdouts, understand that every day you remain on the old OS, you're putting your network at risk. If you don't already have plans to upgrade, it's well past time to make them.