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Your Company Laptop Was Stolen – Now What? May 29, 2018
It’s another Tuesday in the airport, and you just cleared the TSA line and went to the pretzel shop for a quick bite before you catch your plane. You sit your laptop down to get a straw, and the next second…your laptop is gone. It’s not in sight, nor is the thief who stole it.
At first you’re confused, then the confusion starts to fade away and you realize that this wasn’t just a personal laptop. It was your work computer and had company files, sensitive information and access to company data that definitely doesn’t belong in anyone else’s hands.
But what do you do?
What To Do When You Can’t Find Your Stolen Laptop
Stolen Laptop Step 1: Get in touch with your IT team
Whether you outsource, have internal IT staff or a mixture of both, your first step is to alert your IT support teams of the incident. Time is critical on this.
Even if you have a password on your laptop, which will likely prevent the thief from immediately having access to your private documents. It won’t stop someone removing the hard drive from your laptop and connecting it to another computer. Suddenly your hard drive is sitting there, ready to browse – just like any other folder or drive letter.
Your IT Staff/Vendor should be installing encryption and remote management software on all remote devices. With proper encryption, your data is secure AND with remote management, your IT staff can wipe the stolen laptop before any damage is done.
Without this encryption software and remote management, you’d be forced to report any theft like this as a data breach. That means the government knows about it, your employees need to be made aware and worst of all – you have to alert clients.
This is why in this instance, you call your tech staff first.
Stolen Laptop Step 2: Contact the Police and file a report
The next best thing to do in situations like this is to immediately file a police report for the stolen laptop. Having a police case number can help with any insurance and/or recovery endeavors that come up. Plus, having a police report can help catch the criminal who stole your sensitive devices.
Stolen Laptop Step 3: Change Your Passwords
If you don’t have encryption and even if you do – it is smart to change passwords to all personal, professional and financial accounts. Additionally if you used this computer to pay bills, check banking information or for any type of financial transactions, you’ll want to make sure to check those accounts.
Stolen Laptop Step 4: Recover Your data on another device
This step also involves your IT staff/company. Hopefully you’re IT pros have all of your company data backed up and readily available. It is important that you synch your portable devices regularly so that in ANY incident of failure or theft, you can be restored quickly without too much interruption.
To make sure that you’re covered on this front, we’d suggest requesting regular tests of your backups anyway. That way, no matter the issue, you know your data is secured, backed up AND ready to deploy in an emergency or urgent situation.
There are many steps you’ll want to take after a theft occurs but with proactive IT support you won’t have nearly as many headaches to deal with.
These things happen more often than you’d think too.
On average a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds!
So – take the following actions and get ahead of the issue before a stolen laptop happens.
- Find out if your company’s remote devices are encrypted with the ability to wipe all data on command
- Make sure that you train employees with remote devices not to leave them unattended and to lock them in the trunk of their cars instead of leaving them in a front or backseat.
- When travelling put your laptop on the TSA conveyer belt last – that way it is less likely to remain unattended.
- Look into your company backups and business continuity protocols.
- How often are they tested?
- How often are remote users synching and backing up data?
- How long will it take to restore a PC when you need it?
Our team is here to help you set up and manage any of the technical details listed above.
In fact, fill out the form below or call the office to receive 10% off of your initial setup fees for our remote encryption software!
Just mention the code “Encrypt4Me” when you call (815) 836-0030 or fill out the form below.
The post Your Company Laptop Was Stolen – Now What? appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches Sep 04, 2017
When you think of data encryption, you might imagine top-secret files and espionage. Historically, militaries and governments protected messages and sensitive information using encryption. These days encryption has many more uses. And with hackers and cyber criminals constantly after your data, it is important that you make use of this security measure.
Encryption is defined as scrambling data or text to make it unreadable. This protects stored data and personal information from displaying to those without a proper clearance or key to decode that information. There are all kinds of pieces of information you have on file that a disgruntled employee or criminal could make use of:
- Home addresses
- Email Addresses
- Drivers Licenses
- Credit Card information
- Social Security Numbers
- Date of birth
- Medical history or records
- Financial information – routing numbers, account numbers etc.
Depending on your industry, this information may be subject to state and federal regulation, hefty fines and, in cases of negligence, even jailtime (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars). Businesses close their doors over this stuff.
While employee training and proper cyber protocols are great at protecting you and your business from user error and data breach – encryption is an added layer of security every business benefits from.
3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches
- Encryption Saves Your Reputation – More and more employees are working on the go in 2017. With employees working from home, sales staff in the field and the hustle and bustle of every day, you don’t want to hold your employees back or decrease productivity by preventing devices from leaving the office. But imagine your employee runs into the neighborhood Starbucks and leaves their company laptop in their front seat. While they are ordering their venti latte, a criminal breaks into their car and steals their belongings – your laptop included. Now you’re out the hardware but more importantly, you have a criminal at large with sensitive data. If this data has any sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) on it, you are required to report the incident. Do you want your customers losing valuable trust in your company? In fact, this fear of reputational damage is the reason that three out of every four victims to ransomware, data breach or cyber-attack do not report the incident. Think back to 2013 when 41 million people found out Target compromised their sensitive data. You’d probably think twice about shopping there again if you were one of them. If the stolen laptop had been encrypted, you wouldn’t have to report an incident. The criminal would have no way of deciphering data on the equipment.
- Encryption Keeps Designated Information Private – Let’s bring this example back into your office for a moment. Even if you don’t keep sensitive customer information on file or process credit cards. You have personal information for employees on file: Performance reviews, social security numbers, salary information and more. You don’t need a hacker or even a disgruntled employee gaining access to these records. With encryption you can ensure that even if an employee accidentally or intentionally stumbles into an area they shouldn’t be, they can’t make sense of any of that information.
- Encryption Can Save You From The Unexpected – Whether a device goes missing from the office, is stolen from a front seat or possibly snatched by a disgruntled employee, you can’t have sensitive information at large. Your reputation aside, as mentioned earlier, these types of breaches can result in very large fines, prosecution and years in prison. Nobody needs that on their mind every night. With encryption you can rest easy that even in the wrong hands, your data can’t be manipulated or exposed. To take this a step further, certain encryption management tools have the ability to remotely disable and even wipe devices. This comes in handy in all of the examples we have described. So now, not only is the information on your device useless, but after your IT company takes necessary steps, the device shows nothing but the “blue screen of death”.
Encryption is a powerful tool. It is an incredibly useful and we would say necessary piece of your cyber security and data protection plan. It is important that you protect sensitive information. Even if you don’t want to believe it, there are criminals and people out there that would wreak havoc with that data if given the chance.
For more information on our encryption software and other cyber security training, protocols and plans, give us a call at (815) 836-0030.
And be sure to click here and explore our Unlimited Security Training Program. Over 80% of data breaches are a result of human error and the first step to prevention is education.
Mention this blog and receive 50% off your first annual subscription.
The post 3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.New Versions Of Ransomware Continue To Wreak Havoc Sep 11, 2018
2017 was "The Year of Ransomware." It saw an incredible number of ransomware attacks and infections, paired with a tremendous number of innovations.
Although 2018 hasn't seen quite the same level of ransomware activity, it's still a major threat with one company coming under attack about every ten minutes.
Although there haven't been as many innovations so far this year, that doesn't mean they're not occurring, and some of the new ransomware strains are particularly nasty.
Of interest, this year has seen a rise in 'Cryptojacking', which is a variant of a classic ransomware attack where the malware mass encrypts files on the victim's machine while simultaneously installing cryptocurrency mining software.
This should come as no surprise given the rise in popularity of cryptocurrency, but it does add a disturbing new wrinkle to ransomware attacks. Even after you get your files back, lurking in the background there is a rogue process that's slowing your system and ultimately putting money into the bank accounts of the hackers.
Most recently, an Obama-themed cryptojacker has been making the rounds.
The ransomware itself is nothing out of the ordinary. It predictably locks your files, demands payment, and installs a Monero miner in the background.
Obama is not the first world leader to unwittingly become the face of ransomware. In 2016, Candidate Trump was featured in a malware strain that proved to be a work in progress. It would infect machines, but didn't actually encrypt files. It's unclear if a working version was ever deployed in the wild.
The Obama strain contains code fragments that indicate Chinese origin. There's circumstantial evidence that leads some security researchers to believe it may be the work of a Chinese hacker known only as "Rocke," but so far, there's no definitive proof.
As things stand now, there's no good defense against this most recent threat, save for continued vigilance.