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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.
Interested in reading more? Check out:
Part 2 Part 3
The post Dark Web Series Part 1 – What Is the Dark Web & Why It Matters To You appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts Oct 02, 2017
We’ve been polling our readers recently for topics of interest. Of course, cyber security and ransomware are hot topics but many of you mentioned that you are interested in quick tips you can follow or use yourself.
You ask – we deliver.
Without further ado – check out these 6 quick tips for best password practices
- Create passwords with multiple cases, symbols and numbers. Just be sure to avoid passwords such as “123456”, “qwerty”, “football”, “princess” or “password” – some of the most common passwords in 2016 according to SplashData.
- Don’t create a password based on personal details such as your birth date, an anniversary, phone number, social security number etc. While not everyone may know these details about you, they are among the first a cybercriminal or evildoer will attempt when trying to hack your account. Even worse, if your password data is compromised, imagine what a cybercriminal could do with that social security information if it was exposed.
- Avoid using the same password on multiple sites. We get it, remembering different passwords for all of your different sites and needs is difficult. It is important to create something unique for every login you maintain. Remember, if a hacker gets ahold of your password for one account, the first thing they will do is try that bad boy on bank accounts, social media, emails and anywhere else they can to grab sensitive information or even your hard earned money.
- Change your passwords regularly. We suggest changing passwords every 90 days. This can be a pain but if you maintain this practice you make getting into your accounts that much harder.
- Do Not keep a list of your passwords on your computer. Keeping a list of passwords is dangerous in any format. You open yourself up to great risk in doing so. The worst method for this is keeping a list of your passwords in a file on your computer. Instead, keep a list of each site and next to it write a specific clue that will only make sense to you. This can help jog your memory without spilling the beans if someone stumbles upon the file.
- Use Dual Authentication. Many apps and sites now offer dual authentication as an added security measure. Once you login to your account, you will be prompted for a code (either one you create or a randomly generated code). You put this code into the site as a second proof of your identity. This feature greatly reduces if not eliminates the likelihood of someone breaking into your accounts.
Password protection is difficult. The average Joe has anywhere from 20-200 passwords. We recognize that is a big gap but even memorizing 20 different passwords is a difficult task. With that said, we would like to provide you with a few useful tools that can free up your memory and manage your password security for you.
There are a variety of password managers on the market. We have used and enjoyed LastPass which comes with a free and premium subscription as well as an app for your phone. If you want to check out a variety of password managers and how they stack up – PC Magazine released their “Best Password Managers of 2017” earlier this month.
Password Security Tests
Platforms and websites do exist that will check the security of your password. There are even some websites out there that will tell you how long a hacker would have to spend to crack your code. Check out our recommended tool here .
Email Alias Tools
We’ve found an interesting tool that can help you keep track of your passwords but also creates aliases for your email address. This is useful because without your email address, a password is essentially useless. Now, of course you don’t want someone to have your password at all but this also helps you keep your inbox clear of spam and unwanted mail.
Any of these tools can help you out. If you have any questions feel free to reach the Andromeda Team Today!
The post Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Your PC May Have Security Risks From Old Loaded Software� Feb 11, 2019
When was the last time you conducted a company wide audit on all the software running on all the machines tied to your firm's network?� If you're not sure the answer to that question, it's almost certainly been too long.� The risk, at least according to the latest survey from Avast, is that there are almost certainly programs running on those PCs that are outdated. Outdated software, regardless of what it is, poses a very real security threat to computers and companies.
Sure, most IT professionals are quite good at keeping the OS's on company machines up to date, along with the big, high profile pieces of software that see heavy daily use.� The problem is that almost every company in existence relies on more than just these.� There are often dozens, if not scores of other programs installed on a few machines here and there. These rarely get the same level of attention that the bigger, more visible programs get when it comes to keeping them updated.
As a case in point, according to Avast's survey, in excess of 94 percent of the PCs that have Adobe Shockwave, Skype, or VLC's media player installed on them haven't been updated in more than a year, which puts them woefully out of date.� That, in turn, leaves a very large security hole in your company and offers any determined hacker easy access.
Worse, it's often the case that a company will retire a given piece of software, stop using it, but then fail to remove and properly uninstall all instances of it from the network. That means it's sitting there like a time bomb, waiting to be exploited.
The solution is simple, but fairly time-intensive.� If you haven't conducted a comprehensive audit of exactly what is installed across your network and how long it's been since those programs have been updated, the time to do so is now.