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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:
Dark Web Series Part 1 – What Is the Dark Web & Why It Matters To You Dec 29, 2017
Ransomware, cybercrime, hackers . . .
It’s safe to say that you’ve at least heard of these terms in the news and if you are like most people, you’ve heard them over and over on the news, in the office and just in everyday conversation for the past few years.
This progression in the cybersecurity world may come with unique phrases and buzzwords but the trend itself is nothing new. Since the internet’s beginning, there have been people working to cause chaos.
Think computer viruses, Trojan horses, scams, spam, malware etc.
Like most technology, the internet is used predominantly for good. But, there are always a few bad apples who take good technology and choose to use it with less than the best intentions. And while there have always been “bad guys” out there trying to disrupt good works from being done, over the last decade and specifically in the last few years we’ve seen an incredible increase in spending, vulnerability and rates of incident for large scale cyber-attacks.
To put this in perspective, spending on cybersecurity is projected to exceed 1 trillion dollars by 2021. In 2017, information security (a subset of the cybersecurity industry) spending hit over 86 billion dollars.
On top of this, there has been a dramatic increase of incidents in the small to medium sized business arena. When a local business gets hit, it may not make the 5 o’clock news like Home Depot or Target, but it hurts just the same – and maybe even more.
The crazy thing when it comes to cybercrime, ransomware and other infections is that you can be doing regular updates, implement antivirus etc. and you still can fall victim to identity theft, breaches and other cyber incidents.
All of this cyber-security and cyber-crime discussion lays the groundwork for this Dark Web discussion.
What is the Dark Web?
First, what is the Dark Web? In a simple and brief explanation, the Dark Web is a mostly anonymous space online that you need special software to access. The experience is much like a normal internet browser but the sites and activities available are very different.
Many times the Dark Web is described using an iceberg illustration.
- The internet as we know it is what you can see above sea level.
- There is a larger space just below the surface of the iceberg where the ‘darknet’ lives, this is dominantly used for large data stores. Financial records, academic databases, government records etc. live here.
- Then there is the bottommost layer of the iceberg, this is the Dark Web – here you’ll find illegal activity like drug trafficking, illegal gun sales, and even personal data for sale.
Now, you may be thinking,
“This is interesting information but what in the heck does the Dark Web have to do with me? Why do I care about it? I don’t use it. I don’t know anyone who does. . .” And we get that, but even if you don’t use the Dark Web you may be on it.
The Dark Web is one of the largest sources of stolen data available to criminals. While some may use it to buy goods, other criminals purchase pieces of your information like credit card information, passwords, social security information and more to use for their own purposes.
When cybercriminals go to places like your local grocery store, Experian and other sites to wreak havoc, the information they steal ends up for sale on the Dark Web.
All of this taken into consideration, the everyday consumer and business professional shouldn’t be scanning these areas of the web to try and protect their data.
Instead, a business professional like yourself should make sure that you are following proper security protocols:
- Anti-Virus Software Regularly Updated and on every device
- Proper Firewalls and regular updates
- Employee training
- Regular Professional Backups (also regularly tested and verified)
- Disaster Recovery Plan
- Spam filtering
- Encourage employees to speak up if they see a weird email or link
- Bring in professional cyber security consulting
With all of these items and a few more in place, you make it much more difficult for a cyber-criminal to get into your network and steal your data. This in turn will help keep your data and that of your employees off of the Dark Web. Of course, nothing is foolproof and that is why an exceptional cyber-security partner should offer Dark Web monitoring.
Dark Web monitoring is a program some IT professionals offer businesses where scans are going on constantly in the background and are looking for a specific domain. When the scan recognizes your domain in a database, it flags the software and you are alerted to change passwords or address the breach.
This way, you are always a step ahead of the criminals without lowering yourself to the “Dark Web” itself.
We hope you found this first installment in our Dark Web series helpful. Look out for our next article in February focused on 5 ways you can keep your information off of the Dark Web entirely.
The post Dark Web Series Part 1 – What Is the Dark Web & Why It Matters To You appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have Jul 03, 2017
We hear a whole lot about ransomware and cyber criminals these days. Andromeda helps our clients combat most data breaches with multi-tiered security solutions and employee training. But, every business is still vulnerable to incident. That is why a full proof and dependable Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity plan is an essential. Before you hit the world wide web searching for DR solutions and backup plans, take a look at these 5 critical components any professional disaster recovery plan must have.
Your disaster recovery plan should consider appropriate business continuity variables.
Disasters happen; they come in many shapes and sizes. Server crashes, accidental file deletion, physical disasters such as fire or flood and the increasingly common ransomware or malware infection are all scenarios.
You must ask two important questions yourself in regards to business continuity:
- How much time can pass between recovery points, ie: how much data can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RPO – Recovery Point Objective
- How much time can pass between the disaster and recovery, ie: how much time can you afford to lose; this is commonly known in Business Continuity as RTO – Recovery Time Objective
Ideally, your RPO and RTO are as low as possible.
A good Disaster Recovery Plan will consider these factors and have various options for restoring files, folders or even whole servers. On top of that, it is important that these options take into account minimalizing data loss and interruption.
Data should be stored both locally and offsite.
Many people have an easy time seeing the value in the offsite backup. Whether that’s tape drives taken offsite daily, external USB drives treated the same, or data sent to the cloud for storage, it carries with it a feeling of great comfort knowing that “if the building burns down” the data is still safe.
What few realize is what we mean when we speak about downtime, for incidents that are not quite as catastrophic as a burning building. In those cases, it can take an unacceptable amount of time to get your hands on that offsite backup or to download an entire server from the cloud.
With a Disaster Recovery Plan option that offers backups both locally and offsite (cloud based), you are able to restore large quantities of files and entire server images quickly. Your onsite device should also have the capability to virtualize as a temporary server in the event your main server crashes.
Find a disaster recovery plan option that provides multiple restore options
When you think about restoring from a disaster, you may believe that so long as you have a version of your data somewhere, you are secure. In reality though, your recovery time objective can be greatly impacted by the different options available to you after a disaster. A disaster recovery plan with multiple options for virtualization, restoration and data access is an absolute must.
You may have heard the term “virtualization” before. Being able to virtualize your server either on a physical device at your location or in the cloud simply means that you have a temporary solution that will keep your business up and running while you resolve whatever issue corrupted your data, server or situation in the first place.
A catastrophic hardware failure can put your business down for hours, sometimes days. Rushing that process up can incur huge costs as well: rush delivery, emergency dispatch etc. In the event of a hardware failure, a virtual copy of your last backup can be spun up. Once completed, you can resume working swiftly. This quick recovery allows you to deal with hardware replacements, scheduling and budgets in an organized fashion.
A top tier solution will provide you with onsite virtualization and an option to virtualize in the cloud. Cloud virtualization is not as quick and can produce some lag time. Nonetheless, in the event your backups are stolen or disaster strikes your building (fire, flood etc.) – the ability to spin up and virtualize data from the cloud means that your business is not at a standstill.
Find out what type of support a vendor provides for disaster recovery plans.
Your company does not want to struggle to get their files restored. You can’t wait hours and hours to restore a file you accidentally deleted. Don’t wait for hours to hear back on the status of a data restore. Your IT partner should understand the solution they are providing and be able to work with you directly. Cut out the intermediary. Ensure your vendor monitors all the warranties, all the software support calls, and all monitoring; ensuring your backups are humming all day every day – as they should be.
Don’t trust just any business continuity or disaster recovery plan solution.
There are literally hundreds of options out there for Disaster Recovery. A quick Google search will give you pages of results. Comparing them is mind numbing, and if we are being honest . . . who takes the time to do all that? Your first step is to find an IT partner that you trust. Check their references. See if they have case studies to show how a disaster recovery functions with the product. Ask for a demonstration of the product. This is serious stuff and you need to trust the hands maintaining and protecting your data.
The post 5 Critical Components Any Professional Disaster Recovery Plan Must Have appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Almost Half Of Top Ranking Websites Are Vulnerable Feb 17, 2018
Menlo Security just released their third annual "State of the Web" report and it's not pretty.� The headline finding is that 42% of the top 100,000 sites as ranked by Alexa are more dangerous than you think.
The report defines a risky site as one that meets one of three criteria:
- The site, or one of its associated background sites (from which news articles or video is pulled), is running software with a known security vulnerability
- The site has been used to launch attacks or distribute malware
- The site has suffered a security breach in the past twelve months
This first point is key, and often overlooked by security professionals.� Any time your website is pulling content from another source, it creates an opening that a hacker could potentially exploit.� Worse, most security professionals lack the tools to properly monitor those connections.
As bad as that sounds, there's an even worse detail lurking in the pages of the report, and that concerns emails.
Hackers are increasingly moving away from setting up their own domains. �Instead, they're preferring to create a subdomain of a compromised, legitimate domain, which makes it harder to spot.� Amir Ben-Efraim, the CEO of Menlo Security, had this to say about the issue:
"It is far easier to set up a subdomain on a legitimate hosting service than use other alternatives - such as trying to hack a popular, well-defended site or to set up a brand-new domain and use it until it is blocked by web security firms. �Legitimate domains are often whitelisted by companies and other organizations out of a false sense of security, giving cover to phishing sites.
Also, hosting services typically allow customers to set up multiple subdomains.� For example, researchers found 15 phishing sites hosted on the world's 10 most popular domains."
The bottom line is:� The web and even the most popular sites on it, aren't nearly as safe as you think.