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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:
3 Critical Steps You MUST Take To Avoid WannaCry And Ransomware Like It Jun 05, 2017
Last month the world was hit by one of the largest cyber security attacks in history- affecting more than 200,000 organizations in 150 countries. WannaCry ransomware, the perpetrator of this attack, took advantage of outdated patches and software licenses. Infected computers and business owners risked losing critical data if they didn’t pay the ransom.
As cyber security & prevention experts, we are happy to report that not a single client of Andromeda Technology Solutions was affected by this attack because of our security protocols and procedures. The same can’t be said for Cook County.
Industry experts predict that this ransomware attack will hit again. Tech experts remain unsure how the new approach might be deployed – in a similar fashion or with a new “2.0” virus. While the specifics of future cyber security attacks are uncertain, we know some things for sure. Proper protocol is CRITICAL for data security and the safety of your business.
Ransomware: The Numbers **
- Almost 50% of Small Businesses have experienced some form of cyber attack
- MORE than 70% of attacks target Small Business
- As many as 60% of small businesses that experience a data breach go out of business within 6 months.
These numbers are scary. Cyber security demands the attention of business owners globally and the efforts of hackers/cyber criminals are only increasing. These criminals want your money and they don’t care about the damage left behind.
That being said, there is hope and there are measures you can take to prevent your business from becoming a victim of ransomware.
3 Security Protocols You MUST Implement Immediately For The Safety Of Your Data, Your Business AND Your Wallet . . .
- Update ALL Microsoft Licenses to Windows 7 At A Minimum & Maintain Up To Date Security Patching – Cyber criminals are no dummies. WannaCry and other viruses like it take advantage of out of date licenses. Too often, business owners sacrifice the security of their network because they don’t want to go through the grief of updating to the latest Microsoft License. Andromeda recommends updating ALL PC’s to Windows 7 at a minimum and, more importantly, make sure you perform regular patch and security updates.
- Test & Verify ALL Data Backups – When is the last time you tested and verified your backups? Are you backing up your data at all? How long would it take your current IT provider to get you back up in running in the event of a disaster (virtualization time)? It is a FACT . . . you will be hit by some form of ransomware, malware or virus. The real question becomes, do you have the protocols in place to defend and beat the attack? One of the most important things you can do to safeguard yourself is perform regular backups. (We recommend daily at a minimum). A cybercriminal can’t hold your data hostage if you follow this simple practice. AND – don’t accept a verbal confirmation your data continuously remains backed up as proof. Your IT partner should provide you regular, real time, proof that your data is backed up securely and that it can be visualized in an agreed upon length of time. If your IT provider can’t give these stats and proofs to you, time to find a new partner.
- Educate Your Team On How These Attacks Work And Where They Come From – Every office has that one employee that will click on ANYTHING (hopefully it isn’t you). Continued education is one of the first lines of defense against these attacks. Employees should know:
- What to look out for
- What phishing scams look like
- What to do when they suspect an email or link is suspect
- NEVER to check personal email at work
Proper spam filters set by your IT group should prevent the majority of these emails from getting to your inbox. However, it only takes ONE CLICK and an entire network is infected before you know what happened.
Ransomware Prevention constantly changing, be sure to stay on top of newest trends
When all is said and done, cyber security is an everyday battle. Hackers and criminals will keep attacking until you don’t have something they want. These 3 Security protocols are only the tip of the iceberg and should be part of a multiphase approach implemented by your internal staff and your IT partner. If you have any questions, please reach out to a representative at Andromeda today.
If you’ve found this article on ransomware prevention interesting, you might also want to consider attending our upcoming Executive Lunch & Learn Seminar.
**Statistics sourced from the National Cyber Security Alliance
The post 3 Critical Steps You MUST Take To Avoid WannaCry And Ransomware Like It appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.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.Microsoft Ending Forum Support For Older Operating Systems Jun 20, 2018
Big changes are coming from Microsoft starting in July (exact date unknown), and it has potentially dire implications if you're using some of the company's older technology.
Microsoft announced that in July, they'll no longer provide forum-based support for a wide range of products and software, including:
- Microsoft Band
- Surface Pro
- Surface Pro 2
- Surface RT
- Surface 2
- Microsoft Security Essentials
- Internet Explorer 10
- Office 2010
- Office 2013
- Windows 7
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 8.1 RT
Although the company didn't cite a specific reason for the change, it seems obvious that this is another move to push people into buying the latest and greatest of the company's offerings.� Unfortunately for them, the announcement has been met with more than a little hostility, and for good reason.
Consider that the company has pledged to continue to support Windows 7 until 2020, and Windows 8.1 (and variants) until 2023.� Given that we're still quite some distance from those EOL dates, closing an important avenue of support for a product the company is still ostensibly supporting seems a bit premature.� Nonetheless, there's no indication at this time that the company has plans to extend the forum support for any of these products beyond July.
In some instances, this won't prove to be problematic.� Few people still use Internet Explorer 10 as anything more than a curiosity, and Zune was never especially popular, so the loss of those forums isn't likely to cause much backlash. However, �in the case of Windows 7 and 8.1, not only has the company pledged support for years to come, but those products are still actively used by a significant minority around the world, and those users aren't thrilled with the recent announcement.
In any case, given that the company is unlikely to change course, this is all the more reason to make upgrading a priority if you're still using any of the products mentioned above.