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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.5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web May 03, 2019
In our last IT article we discussed the Dark Web. Specifically what the Dark Web is and why it is something that matters to just about everyone. If you missed the article make sure to give it a read here.
There are many ways your information can be compromised and inevitably end up in the hands of wrong doers on the dark web. On top of that, there are numerous ways that hackers and criminals can steal your data that are completely out of your control.
It is important that you put defense in place where you can but it is also important that you manage your risk by educating yourself on some of the top vulnerabilities out there.
With that in mind we’ve gathered 5 of the top ways hackers and criminals get around you to steal your data for the Dark Web.
5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web
1. Visiting & Using Unsecure Websites
If a website isn’t secure, information passed between you and the site can easily be compromised. In a nutshell, websites pass information to your browser (google chrome, firefox etc.) and your browser displays that information for you to look at/use. Without proper security protocols like an SSL or HTTPs, sites don’t secure that information transfer. So, if you enter personal data into a form, make a purchase or put any data on the site that isn’t secured, it is easy enough for a hacker or cyber-criminal to intercept that data and sell it on the Dark Web.
If you are interested in how to secure your website or tell if the sites you visit are secure, we have an easy to understand article here.
2. Consumer Database Breach
While hackers and criminals will go after your personal data on a small scale, a larger customer breach is what their dreams are made of. Just think back to the Target, Home Depot and Experian breaches of recent years. Even social media databases are full of rich information that hackers can make use of. If a hacker gets ahold of your Facebook password they might have also gotten ahold of your date of birth, where you live and other personal information that they can use to access financial accounts or other personal accounts.
While you can’t keep hackers out of Target’s database, you can practice your own security protocols to decrease the likelihood of criminals using compromised data to ruin you financially:
- Use different passwords for different sites
- Change passwords often (every 90 days is recommended at minimum)
- Use strong passwords
- Look into a monitoring service that alerts you of suspicious activity on financial accounts
3. Firewall Issues
You don’t necessarily have control over whether someone else secures their website and you definitely don’t have control of the security procedures at your local grocery store, but you do have control over the firewalls you use at your business.
First . . . make sure you are using a professional or business grade solution for your firewall. Consumer grade solutions are meant for home use and will not have adequate protections in place to keep your company’s private data secure.
Additionally, make sure that you have regular updates and software patches scheduled. These devices are only as good as the software they utilize. If your firewall is out of date or your software is out of date, chances are they cannot defend against the latest hacker strategies and viruses.
You will also benefit from a regular system audit to ensure all ports are secure and no user changes are impacting your network security. It is pretty common for businesses to forget these updates and checks and this is an incredibly vulnerable access point into your network if not properly configured.
4. Outdated Systems/Devices On Your Network
While your firewall controls much of the inbound and outbound traffic on your network, there are countless other devices that can create vulnerabilities. For instance, if you consider the Target breach of 2013, it is rumored that the criminals gained access to Target’s network via an HVAC company that monitored temperatures in stores. This brings up the fact that it is not just your own network but anything connected to it and the security of those ancillary devices/networks that you must be aware of.
If you have smart devices in the office, if you subscribe to any type of service that needs access to your network, all of these items and programs open you up to vulnerabilities. Even the smart devices you use at home can cause you trouble on a personal level. Imagine if a smart device on your home network was compromised and used by hackers to get into your work files on your home computer. This stuff happens and your information ends up on the dark web because of it.
5. Downloading untrusted applications/Opening Malicious Email
Email is essential to running your business but it is one of the best ways for hackers and criminals to gain access to your network. All they have to get you to do is click a link or download a file and BAM! your data might be compromised.
Email isn’t the only culprit though. Downloading files off the web can also give hackers access to your network and in turn your data. There are tools that can help you avoid this as well as training that helps you spot malicious links/sites.
How Can I Prevent My Info From Getting Onto Dark Web
With proper firewall configuration, professional anti-virus software that is updated regularly and employee training, you will dramatically decrease your vulnerability and incident rate.
There are so many ways hackers access your data. They can get to you through stores, websites, your email, the smart devices at your office/home and those are just a few examples. The scary part is that no matter how secure you make things, they will come up with a new approach that no one expects.
All hope isn’t lost though, with certain protections like professional cyber security consulting, monitoring software (both professional and personal), and specific security devices, you can protect yourself from cybercriminals.
If you’d like to discuss your options and make sure you are truly covered, reach out to our team and schedule a network security assessment.
The post 5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Instagram User Information May Have Been Available To Hackers Jun 13, 2019
Do you have an Instagram account?
If so, be advised that David Stier (a business consultant and researcher for CNET) has recently discovered a flaw in Instagram's website that exposed thousands of users' email addresses and phone numbers for a period of more than a month.
Mr. Stier provided screen shots and other details to Instagram demonstrating that when the source code for some users' profiles were displayed in a web browser, supposedly confidential information was plainly visible.
The exposed information ran the gamut and included the contact and personal information of individual adult users, some businesses, and an unknown number of minors.� The company responded promptly and issued a patch that corrected the problem not long after they were made aware, but at this point, the damage may have already been done.
From a user's perspective, the best thing you can do is to change your Instagram password immediately and be on the alert that if a hacker made a copy of the information, you may be on the receiving end of phishing emails in a bid to collect even more information from you in the months ahead.
At this point, it is unknown whether any group or individual other than Mr. Stier found and made use of the exposed information. Instagram faced a similar issue several months ago, in which the company improperly protected a database containing the contact information of millions of their users, including several influencers and celebrities.� This database was initially uploaded and shared by a Mumbai-based marketing firm called Chtrbox, and the information it contained is unquestionably in the wild at this point.
Instagram's parent company, Facebook, issued a brief statement to the effect that they were working with Chtrbox to understand exactly how they came to posses the data and how it became publicly available.� At this time, however, no additional information is available.