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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AndroPedia Tech Library
As part of our service, it is important to keep our client-partners well informed on IT developments, news, and best practices. Here is just a sampling of typical items from our AndroPediaSM library archive:
HTTPs Encryption: Why You Should Use SSL Certificates Jan 20, 2019
2018 was an eventful year for technology and it’s only going to increase in 2019. Between the Facebook security breach, the Google+ API vulnerability, and many other less famous incidents – one thing is for certain. Cybersecurity dominated 2018 and 2019 is expected to be no different.
With cyber attacks being so prevalent, businesses are starting to notice a shift in public perception when it comes to the companies they work with when it comes to data security. Feeling safe is priority: people don’t want to have to worry about their information being breached on or off the web.
While this has been a growing trend for a several years now, it has also transitioned cyber security from being a feature, to a necessity.
2019 is the year of HTTPs.
What Exactly is HTTPs?
To understand what HTTPs means and how it works, you need to know a few definitions.
HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): In simple terms, this is an application layer protocol. Essentially, HTTP is the protocol that involves information sent between a browser (ex: Google Chrome or Firefox) and a website itself. If you were to interrupt that connection and intercept it, you’d see in plain text what was being communicated between the website and the browser.
This can create extremely vulnerable conditions in certain situations. For example, if you are purchasing products on a website with a basic HTTP, your personal information like your address, credit card info and whatever else you submit can be intercepted and stolen.
The thieves are the only ones who want this to happen – so HTTPs encryption was introduced as a secure option.
HTTPs (HyperText Transfer Protocol Security): Adding additional security components, the language being transmitted between website and browser is encrypted and kept from being read cyber criminals.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer): This is a certificate that enhances your security protocol. This is just another way of saying that your site has the technology in place to securely encrypt transactions between the website and browsers etc.
The types of SSL Certificates may vary, but their basic coding provides security and encryption.
You can always tell if a website is secure by looking for certain factors:
- https:// shows before the URL destination (ex: https://www.google.com)
- A lock (sometimes green) icon may appear in the left corner of your navigation bar
Today, many users look for these key signals to see if they are using a secured website.
When this was first being used, its primary purpose was a security feature for websites that utilized ecommerce and to transfer personal information (ex: financial, medical, legal). However, it has transitioned into having an HTTPs encryption as a standard.
After going through the basics of this HTTPs encryption, you may still have some additional questions about which feature would best suit your business. Here are a few of the most common topics and questions below:
I Don’t Have A Large Business – Do I Still Need HTTPs?
Providing An SSL Tells Your Customers That You Care About Their Security
By utilizing an SSL certificate and transforming it from HTTP to HTTPs, you are providing an extra layer of security for your consumers. They know right away that your website is secure. Nothing they are viewing or how they are interacting on your website is being monitored or watched by a malicious user. It shows that you care about your customer’s user experience – and that reflects highly for company brand.
It Provides Additional Security Against Hackers
Having an SSL certificate installed on your website also helps protect your website from potential breaches or hacking attempts. The extra layer of HTTPs encryption provides an external wall that is difficult for hackers to break and infect. While you might not exactly need one for the style of your business’ website, it still helps protect against possible attacks and saves you capital on potential cleanup and patches once a website does get infected or breached.
HTTPs Improves SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Having this HTTPs encryption applied on your website shows popular search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing! that you take your user’s experience and security seriously. They are able to recognize this and return with increased rankings on their engines.
We all know that higher rankings lead to more traffic – this leads to more clients and customers.
Google has been favoring websites with HTTPs for awhile now. However, after recent technology-related world events, they have doubled-down.
Starting July 2018, websites that do not use HTTPs will be labeled “Not Secure”. The last thing you want your prospective clients to see when visiting your site is a message about poor security.
More than 70% of websites are utilizing HTTPs and Google is really trying to make it the norm across the board.
Failure to increase security on your site risks lower search rankings and even increases bounce rates. It is also proven that HTTP sites load slower, causing Google to penalize them for site speed. Overall, the industry is punishing sites that do not value security because they are striving to give the best user experience possible.
So, what should you take away from all of this?
An SSL does incur minimal extra costs, but failure to secure your website can cost you a lot more: potential customers, reduced website traffic and impact overall user experience.
Your IT partner or web hosting provider should have the necessary tools to help you with your website security. It should be simple and affordable enough to keep from breaking your budget.
Want to take the next step and convert to HTTPs, but not sure how?
Andromeda has trained technicians and developers that are more than happy to help you with the conversion. Just give us a call to get started today!
The post HTTPs Encryption: Why You Should Use SSL Certificates appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.4 Cybersecurity Tips For Business Owners & Managers Nov 05, 2018
New cybersecurity stories hit the news every day. You’ve surely heard about large companies getting hacked or ‘breached’, passwords stolen, identities compromised and more.
The topic of cybersecurity gets brought up so much, it’s no surprise that it has become a kind of background noise in the business world. Warnings about security protocols, new viruses and ransomware scams are just the tip of the iceberg when you look into what is happening in the IT security world.
While the news stories keep coming and businesses continue falling victim, there is at least one thing that remains the same . . . the need for cybersecurity training and awareness is here to stay. If you are in business, you have data that cybercriminals want to steal. Simple as that.
Cybersecurity conversations and solutions don’t have to be daunting though. In fact, there are some quick, common-sense tips you can put into place that will make you and your business a harder target for those looking to do you harm.
Top 4 Cybersecurity Tips For Professionals
1. Use Unique and Strong Passwords For All Online Accounts
This tip is one you’ve surely heard many times before but over 85% of all adults reuse their passwords online. On top of that, most people don’t know how to create a truly strong password. Some characteristics of a strong password are:
- Minimum of 8 characters
- A mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters
- At least one number
- At least one special character (!@#$%^&)
- No personal details (pet names, family member names, birth dates, address info etc.)
The average adult has over 100 different accounts online (bank accounts, credit cards, social media, email, apps etc.). It’s understandably difficult to create and remember a different password for everything you do though.
What to do about it? Look into a password manager tool for yourself and your staff. A password manager will store and organize all of your unique passwords securely. Here at Andromeda, we recommend LastPass. It has some great features and is a trustworthy password management tool. If you have questions about that, feel free to reach our team.
2. Run A Network Security Audit At Least Once A Year
You can’t address things if you don’t know they are broken. An annual network security audit done by a third party IT support partner will give you visibility into the small cracks hiding in your.
This type of audit should check things like open ports on your firewall, password protocols, your backups, your disaster recovery plan, the status of your warranties, your antivirus and spam protocols and more.
You can engage your current IT services provider for this audit or look for a third party vendor to come in and take a fresh look at your setup.
It never hurts to get a new set of eyes on your setup. Andromeda provides these types of assessments to our clients with our professional 35 point network security assessment. If you’d like to speak with our team about this service, give us a call at (815) 836-0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com
3. Regularly Test Your Backups and Disaster Recovery Plan
One of the top methods a cybercriminal uses to make money is ransomware. Ransomware is classified as a cyberattack where a criminal gains access to your network (through brute force or stolen employee email/passwords). After accessing the network, the criminal then encrypts all or a portion of your business data and locks you out of it. The only way to recover the data is to pay a ransom (often in the form of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency). If you don’t pay up – they destroy your data.
These types of attacks cause serious damage. Businesses lose big money due to down time, reputational damage and in some cases, even government fines (in worst cases where evidence that a business intentionally ignored or neglected their data security, victims of ransomware/cybercrime can even face jail time).
Imagine that, you’re the victim of a cyberattack and you have to pay the government fines on top of it all?!
Ransomware and cyberattacks happen, there is almost no way to avoid them 100% of the time. But, with a proper disaster recovery plan including regular data backups (on site, in the cloud and off site) you can quickly and calmly restore your business data and win against cybercrime.
Don’t just accept anyone’s word when it comes to verifying your backups though. You should be sure that whoever is maintaining your backups and disaster recovery is running regular tests and providing you proof of valid backups. You should also run a demo scenario at least twice a year to test how long it would take you to be back up and running in the event of a breach or equipment failure.
4. Employee Cybersecurity Training Is Key To Your Defense
Cyber security is constantly changing and new attack strategies show up regularly. The one thing that shouldn’t change for you though, is your commitment to ongoing employee training.
After all, the #1 threat to your office network security is actually your employees! The staff are the people who will accidentally visit an infected site, click a bad link, download a file with a virus etc. and the only way to help stop those behaviors/accidents is through education and proper training.
A good employee training program will offer ongoing training and support. It may also score and rank your employees/office based on performance etc.
At Andromeda, we offer our clients an employee cyber security training in an online program. This allows employees to go at their own pace and complete training in the office or on the go. This solution provides weekly tech tips, training videos, micro quizzes, individual employee risk scores and more.
Make sure to look into training if your organization isn’t already offering this to employees. This really is a must have solution to protect your office.
These are only 4 tips you can use to improve security at the office. There are many more but if you cover these bases you have a great start.
If you have any questions related to cybersecurity or IT at the office, give our team a call at (815) 836-0030 or send a message to Contact@WeNetwork.com. We are always here to help you!
The post 4 Cybersecurity Tips For Business Owners & Managers appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Watch Out For New Ransomware Called Phobos Feb 09, 2019
There's a new strain of ransomware making the rounds, and it's a nasty piece of work. Called Phobos by its creators, the latest threat on the ransomware scene first made an appearance in December of 2018.
While details are sketchy, what we know so far about it is grim indeed.
Researchers at CoveWare have been dissecting and sifting through the code, and they're finding a number of similarities with the Dharma strain of ransomware, which has plagued businesses around the world in recent years.
It would be a mistake, however, to call it a Dharma clone.� Phobos also contains elements of the CrySiS ransomware.� While CrySiS is itself a relative of Dharma, Phobos deserves recognition as its own variant, as it combines features and functionality in a new way.
At the end of the day though, it still spells bad news for business owners.� Anyone unfortunate enough to have their system infected by the malware will find all their files encrypted, their extensions changed to .phobos, and will receive a popup message demanding payment in Bitcoin to get their files back.
Dharma has the distinction of having been named one of the most damaging families of ransomware in 2018, so the Phobos strain is something that needs to be taken seriously.
As ever, vigilance is the best defense against these types of attacks, which generally find their way into corporate systems due to a momentary lack of awareness on the part of an employee.� In addition to education and awareness, IT managers can also take the step of securing their RDP ports and ensuring that all business-critical files are backed up on a regular basis.
Last but not least, it's essential that your IT staff tests those backups at regular intervals to ensure they can get your system back up and running fast.� While none of the above will outright prevent an attack, taken together, they will serve to minimize the impact of a successful attack against your company.