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!)
Professional IT Services that Andromeda Provides for Chicago Ridge, IL Businesses:
What A Few Of Our Clients Have To Say
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:
5 Ways To Keep Cyber Criminals At Bay This Holiday Dec 04, 2017
The holidays are a magical time. Snow covered trees, festive lights decorating houses, time with family, parties . . . and an incredible increase in cybercrime and cyber criminals.
Didn’t see that one coming did you?
The cyber criminals think and hope so too.
While people hit the web to shop for holiday gifts, deals and plane tickets to visit loved ones, hackers are doing their best to steal your data and use it for their own purposes.
In the spirit of giving, check out these 5 quick tips to keep cyber criminals and hackers at bay during the holiday!
5 quick tips to keep cyber criminals and hackers at bay during the holiday
1. Make sure that you do your shopping at secure websites
Any time you are purchasing something online you want to make sure you are doing so from a secure website. A secure website will encrypt your information. The means that only the authorized parties (the seller) receives that information and it can’t fall into the hands of hackers or criminals.
You can tell if a website is secure by looking at the URL. If the URL begins with https:// that means it is secure. Specifically you are looking for the S after the http portion. You may also see a lock symbol. Make sure that you never enter information into a website without this. Look out for locks with warning symbols like question marks or red lines – this signals that the site is only partially encrypted and you should never trust it. Buy your stuff somewhere else.
2. Use Credit Cards instead of Debit Cards online – and probably in general where possible
There are so many different ways scammers attack your data. Think back to the big breaches of the last few years – Target, Home Depot etc. Your data can get stolen both online and at brick and mortar locations.
The most secure thing – aside from cash which obviously cannot be used for shopping online – is to shop with a credit card. Credit card companies are required to protect you from fraudulent purchases, if your account number is stolen or even if you purchase something online and it is never delivered.
The protections a consumer is guaranteed by credit cards far outweighs protections offered with debit cards and obviously, if your info is stolen, you’d much rather have that happen on a credit card than having your bank account liquidated.
3. Sign up for alerts
There are many options out there for alert programs and applications. Some let you know any time your social security number is used, some monitor your credit score and other vital information.
In regard to your credit cards and bank accounts specifically, you can have alerts sent to your email or your smartphone via text for activity. For example, you can have any purchase made on your bank card/credit card alert your phone. If that seems a bit overboard, you can set it up to alert you to purchases over a specific threshold.
Additionally, you want to make sure you are checking your bank account every day or so just to make sure nothing strange is occurring. That goes for holiday season and the rest of the year.
4. Check out third party payment systems
You’ve probably heard of PayPal but have you ever looked into why using a third party payment system like PayPal is beneficial for both the buyer and the seller?
Systems like these are middle men that help protect both sides of a transaction. The seller knows that the funds are verified but the seller also gets NO ACCESS to your account information. This is a great benefit to you. Instead of using your card and spreading your information from site to site and exposing your information to different destinations, your information is shared with one company.
Another benefit is that these third party payment options are readily available at most stores online and even at brick and mortar locations these days.
Some popular options are PayPal as mentioned, Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, Venmo, Samsung Pay and more.
5. Check Reviews and beware of the “Too Good To Be True”
It is the season for deals without a doubt. But be smart when you see an offer for something that is well below the market value.
That new iPhone isn’t going to retail for $200 no matter how great a deal they are giving you. Hate to say it but there is no free lunch and one of the best ways for criminals to get you on their sites is by advertising an incredible price for a product.
Even Amazon isn’t immune to this. Bogus retailers will advertise products that are never delivered or that have no resemblance to the pictures online. Pretty sure we have all fallen victim to that, holiday season or not.
But this time of year, make sure you read reviews. Do your research and take all the steps available to you to ensure you are protected.
We hope you have a great end of year and that you start 2018 without any personal stories about how cybercrime impacted your holidays.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach our team and shop safe!
The post 5 Ways To Keep Cyber Criminals At Bay This Holiday 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.Are Graphics Processing Units Vulnerable To Hacker Attacks? Dec 04, 2018
Bad news for computer users everywhere.� Researchers at the University of California in Riverside have discovered that GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) are vulnerable to side-channel attacks like Spectre and Meltdown, which have been plaguing Intel CPU's for the better part of a year.
The team, (consisting of two computer science professors and two PhD students) reverse-engineered an Nvidia GPU and demonstrated three separate side-channel attacks. The attacks targeted both computational and graphics stacks, believing these to be the first ever side-channel attacks designed to work on GPUs.
All three of the newly discovered attacks exploit the user counter in the GPU, which is used for performance tracking and are available in user mode. This is significant because it means that literally anyone has access to them.� All three also require the victim to download a piece of malware designed to spy on the user's system to provide information back to the hacker executing the attack.
The first of the three attacks tracks a user's internet activity and is made possible because GPUs are used to render graphics in web browsers.� The attack is executed when a poisoned app utilizes OpenGL to infer browser behavior as it utilizes the resources of the GPU.
The second attack allows the hacker to glean password information, because GPU resources are used to render the login box on the user's screen.� By monitoring memory allocations in the chip, a hacker can identify the specific keys pressed when entering a password.
The third attack targets computational applications and is designed to target neural network architecture.� Its main purpose is to sniff out and steal neural network algorithms.
In terms of defending against these attacks, there's good news and bad news.� Turning off user mode access to the counters is a viable defense, but unfortunately, many applications rely on that functionality. Turning it off will cause a number of programs (that you probably need) to stop working.� Ultimately then, GPU manufacturers are going to need to engineer a fix in much the same way that Intel did for their impacted CPUs.
No instances of these types of attacks have been seen in the wild to this point, but now that the word is out, it's just a matter of time.� 2019 stands to be a brutal year until and unless a fix is found and pushed out.