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4 Cybersecurity Tips For Business Owners & Managers Jul 08, 2019
New cybersecurity stories hit the news every day. You’ve surely heard about large companies getting hacked or ‘breached’, passwords stolen, identities compromised and more.
The topic of cybersecurity gets brought up so much, it’s no surprise that it has become a kind of background noise in the business world. Warnings about security protocols, new viruses and ransomware scams are just the tip of the iceberg when you look into what is happening in the IT security world.
While the news stories keep coming and businesses continue falling victim, there is at least one thing that remains the same . . . the need for cybersecurity training and awareness is here to stay. If you are in business, you have data that cybercriminals want to steal. Simple as that.
Cybersecurity conversations and solutions don’t have to be daunting though. In fact, there are some quick, common-sense tips you can put into place that will make you and your business a harder target for those looking to do you harm.
Top 4 Cybersecurity Tips For Professionals
1. Use Unique and Strong Passwords For All Online Accounts
This tip is one you’ve surely heard many times before but over 85% of all adults reuse their passwords online. On top of that, most people don’t know how to create a truly strong password. Some characteristics of a strong password are:
- Minimum of 8 characters
- A mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters
- At least one number
- At least one special character (!@#$%^&)
- No personal details (pet names, family member names, birth dates, address info etc.)
The average adult has over 100 different accounts online (bank accounts, credit cards, social media, email, apps etc.). It’s understandably difficult to create and remember a different password for everything you do though.
What to do about it? Look into a password manager tool for yourself and your staff. A password manager will store and organize all of your unique passwords securely. Here at Andromeda, we recommend LastPass. It has some great features and is a trustworthy password management tool. If you have questions about that, feel free to reach our team.
2. Run A Network Security Audit At Least Once A Year
You can’t address things if you don’t know they are broken. An annual network security audit done by a third party IT support partner will give you visibility into the small cracks hiding in your network security.
This type of audit should check things like open ports on your firewall, password protocols, your backups, your disaster recovery plan, the status of your warranties, your antivirus and spam protocols and more.
You can engage your current IT services provider for this audit or look for a third party vendor to come in and take a fresh look at your setup.
It never hurts to get a new set of eyes on your setup. Andromeda provides these types of assessments to our clients with our professional 35 point network security assessment. If you’d like to speak with our team about this service, give us a call at (815) 836-0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com
3. Regularly Test Your Backups and Disaster Recovery Plan
One of the top methods a cybercriminal uses to make money is ransomware. Ransomware is classified as a cyberattack where a criminal gains access to your network (through brute force or stolen employee email/passwords). After accessing the network, the criminal then encrypts all or a portion of your business data and locks you out of it. The only way to recover the data is to pay a ransom (often in the form of bitcoin or other cryptocurrency). If you don’t pay up – they destroy your data.
These types of attacks cause serious damage. Businesses lose big money due to down time, reputational damage and in some cases, even government fines (in worst cases where evidence that a business intentionally ignored or neglected their data security, victims of ransomware/cybercrime can even face jail time).
Imagine that, you’re the victim of a cyberattack and you have to pay the government fines on top of it all?!
Ransomware and cyberattacks happen, there is almost no way to avoid them 100% of the time. But, with a proper disaster recovery plan including regular data backups (on site, in the cloud and off site) you can quickly and calmly restore your business data and win against cybercrime.
Don’t just accept anyone’s word when it comes to verifying your backups though. You should be sure that whoever is maintaining your backups and disaster recovery is running regular tests and providing you proof of valid backups. You should also run a demo scenario at least twice a year to test how long it would take you to be back up and running in the event of a breach or equipment failure.
4. Employee Cybersecurity Training Is Key To Your Defense
Cyber security is constantly changing and new attack strategies show up regularly. The one thing that shouldn’t change for you though, is your commitment to ongoing employee training.
After all, the #1 threat to your office network security is actually your employees! The staff are the people who will accidentally visit an infected site, click a bad link, download a file with a virus etc. and the only way to help stop those behaviors/accidents is through education and proper training.
A good employee training program will offer ongoing training and support. It may also score and rank your employees/office based on performance etc.
At Andromeda, we offer our clients an employee cyber security training in an online program. This allows employees to go at their own pace and complete training in the office or on the go. This solution provides weekly tech tips, training videos, micro quizzes, individual employee risk scores and more.
Make sure to look into training if your organization isn’t already offering this to employees. This really is a must have solution to protect your office.
These are only 4 tips you can use to improve security at the office. There are many more but if you cover these bases you have a great start.
If you have any questions related to cybersecurity or IT at the office, give our team a call at (815) 836-0030 or send a message to Contact@WeNetwork.com. We are always here to help you!
The post 4 Cybersecurity Tips For Business Owners & Managers appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.3 Critical Steps You MUST Take To Avoid Ransomware Feb 28, 2020
Ransomware usually takes advantage of outdated patches and software licenses. Infected computers and business owners risked losing critical data if they didn’t pay the ransom.
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 & 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 10 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.
**Statistics sourced from the National Cyber Security Alliance
The post 3 Critical Steps You MUST Take To Avoid Ransomware appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Major University In California Pays Large Ransom After Ransomware Attack Jul 13, 2020
The University of San Francisco (UCSF) is the latest organization to fall victim to hackers, running afoul of a group utilizing the Netwalker ransomware strain.
UCSF is a research university whose recent efforts have been focused on health sciences generally and COVID-19-related research specifically. On June 3rd, 2020, Netwalker published a notice on a site they use for data leaks.
It stated they had successfully breached the UCSF network, publishing a sample of the files stolen during their attack. The sample included a number of student applications, complete with social security numbers, and screen shots of folder listings that appeared to contain financial information, medical studies, university employee information and the like. Later the same day that the post and samples appeared on the Netwalker leak site, UCSF confirmed the attack.
Their formal statement on the matter reads in part, as follows:
"As we disclosed on June 3, UCSF IT staff detected a security incident that occurred in a limited part of the UCSF School of Medicine's IT environment on June 1.
We quarantined several IT systems within the School of Medicine as a safety measure, and we successfully isolated the incident from the core UCSF network. Importantly, this incident did not affect our patient care delivery operations, overall campus network, or COVID-19 work.
The data that was encrypted is important to some of the academic work we pursue as a university serving the public good. We, therefore, made the difficult decision to pay some portion of the ransom, approximately $1.14 million, to the individuals behind the malware attack in exchange for a tool to unlock the encrypted data and the return of the data they obtained."
It's a staggering sum that underscores just how serious these kinds of attacks can be. Worse, over the last several months, UCSF is the third university to be successfully attacked. With months to go in 2020, they will almost certainly not be the last.