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 Account Coordinator(AC)—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 Forest Park, IL Businesses:
What A Few Of Our Clients Have To Say
Andromeda IT Service Offerings
Here is just a quick list demonstrating the breadth of IT services you can expect from Andromeda:
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:
HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LOSSES RELATED TO DATA THEFT & THE DARK WEB May 31, 2019
We’ve spent some time over the last two months dedicating our articles to the Dark Web. Specifically, what it is and how your information is stolen and sold on the elusive Dark Web.
Part 1 – What Is The Dark Web & Why It Matters To You
Part 2 – 5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web
In this final article in our three part series, we thought it would be valuable to introduce our readers to some of the popular strategies and tools used both professionally and personally to reduce risk and protect you from losses related to data theft and the Dark Web.
One of the things we make sure to talk about with our clients in regard to cyber security and the Dark Web is that no matter how secure you make yourself and your business, these criminals are always going to come up with something new. It’s what they do.
With that in mind, there are still things you can do and one tool that you should put in place as your failsafe against all cybercrime and data theft.
How To Protect Yourself From The Dark Web
Identity Theft Protection
You invest time and money into data security at the office, but what do you do to make sure that your personal data is secure?
Personal data is very valuable to hackers and criminals. They can use it to steal your identity, open up lines of credit, purchase goods and more.
This isn’t a new story . . .
According to the Department of Justice, the average identity theft victim incurs over $1300 in personal damages. Not to mention reputational damage, time, stress and credit damages.
Because of how big of an issue personal identity theft is, there are services available that monitor your personal information for suspicious activity.
Services like LifeLock, IDWatchdog or IdentityForce are available to you among many others.
These services provide monitoring tools and alerts so when a criminal gets ahold of your info and attempts to use it, you are alerted and can cut them off before the damage is done. Some of them also provide insurance as well.
Andromeda doesn’t provide consumer solutions for identity theft protection but these services are a great asset to you for your personal protections.
Password Management Service
Password management is a necessity when it comes to keeping track of and maintaining strong passwords.
As you probably know, you want to have a unique password for every account you login to. So that means you should have a different password for Facebook, your personal email, your professional email, your primary bank account, any other bank accounts, Netflix . . . you get the idea.
On top of making sure your passwords are different, you should also make sure that they are STRONG.
- No Personal/Guessable Phrases
- Both Upper and Lower cases
- At least 8 Characters
- Include numbers
- Include other characters – !@#$%&
Do you think that you’d be able to keep track of all of your passwords if each one were unique? Do you think that you’d be able to keep track of them AND change them every 90 days (at a minimum)?
If you answered no, you aren’t alone.
That is why so many people use the same passwords across many accounts.
But that is also how a hacker can get access to your Facebook or Gmail password and then log in to your bank account.
To avoid this, get your hands on a professional password management solution.
There are a lot of options out there and they offer different features. Some are free and some are subscription based.
If you want a great comparison of the leading options, check out this side by side comparison from PCMag here.
Add Cyber Security Tools to Your Data Security Arsenal
The previous two tools are great for protecting you both personally and professionally but Andromeda specializes in protecting and service your business so of course, we need to pay attention to professional tools too.
In respect to cyber security and your business, there are many different tools you need in place. Things like a professional firewall solution, spam filtering and professional anti-virus software (NOT Freeware) are the basics. Nonetheless, there are added layers of security you should request from your IT Service Provider.
Some of these might include:
- Professional Disaster Recovery/Data Backup & Recovery Solutions
- Dual Authentication Software
- Patch and Update Management (we recommend weekly updates)
- Employee Cyber Security Training
These are just a few things you can have a professional technology partner handle for your business. Once you have these in place, you’ll be more secure and hopefully you’ll sleep a little better knowing you are proactively fighting off the criminals who want to ruin your day, interrupt (or even destroy) your business and steal your data.
Dark Web Monitoring Services
The Dark Web is an area of the web most people can’t or don’t regularly access. As discussed in previous articles, the Dark Web is an area where cyber criminals go to sell and purchase digital credentials (email addresses, passwords, personal information).
You won’t know a criminal has access to this data or whether they are using it against you until it is too late.
Unfortunately, with all of the different ways hackers and criminals can steal your data (Read our previous article for more on that –), it is pretty much impossible to guarantee your data will NEVER be breached.
You should invest in password management, superior cyber security tools and identity theft monitoring. All of those services and tools will build up a strong defense system. However, you want to make sure that you are also proactively defending yourself from the attacks and strategies of tomorrow. You want to make sure you are defending yourself from the threats that haven’t hit the market just yet.
A tool that can help you defend yourself in this way is a Dark Web Monitoring Service.
In a nutshell, this tool scans the Dark Web for your businesses domain.
When an email address with your domain is found, an alert is sent out to your technology partner and appropriate actions are taken.
Password information changes before a criminal can get into your network and compromise data.
Andromeda Technology Solutions provides Dark Web Monitoring services to clients. We would love to discuss how we can help secure your info before compromise turns into catastrophe.
If you’re interested in taking a look at your current cyber security solutions and figuring out whether you are truly protected, give us a call or send us an email at Contact@WeNetwork.com. Mention this article when you contact our team and you’ll receive special pricing.
Interested in reading more? Check out:
Part 1 Part 2
The post HOW YOU CAN PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL LOSSES RELATED TO DATA THEFT & THE DARK WEB appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Ransomware, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: What Every Small Business Should Know Aug 30, 2019
The last few years have seen a large increase in ransomware incidents and 2019 has surely followed suit with many industries impacted. In the last few months manufacturing, municipalities, school districts and other small business sectors have all dealt with their share of attacks. Tens of townships in Texas were attacked in August 2019 with a total ransom of over 2.5 million dollars. School districts across the US were targeted for student and faculty data.
It’s been a rough one to say the least.
The best defense against ransomware for yourself and your business is still education and Andromeda can help with that. Read on to learn more about the threat of ransomware to your business and what you can do to prepare yourself.
Ransomware is a type of malicious program that encrypts a segment or all of your data. At that point, the data can only be decrypted with a key. The criminal ransoms your data until you pay them to decrypt it.
This means that whatever they get their hands on, is no longer of use to you until you pay up. Things like accounting information, client information, HR information – anything data related at the business.
With more and more incidents on the rise, it is important that you proactively defend yourself against this threat and have a plan in place to respond in case your business faces a ransomware incident of its own.
Employee Cyber Security Training
Over 90% of cyber security incidents facing businesses today originate with some kind of human error. Your staff and teammates don’t mean to make these mistakes and an honest error can happen to anyone. Clicking on a bad link, falling for a scam online, downloading an infected file – these things happen to the best of us.
Tricking you into downloading malicious files to your PC is still a method criminals use to try and get into your computer but the primary two methods to gain access and do damage to your systems in 2019 are via third party data breaches (learn more about third party breaches here and phishing email attacks (learn more about phishing scams here .
To help your employees stay ahead of criminals and defend your business, you want to invest in regular training for the team. Professional cyber security training programs include simulated phishing email tests, individual scores, weekly quizzes, newsletters and more.
Data Backups & Disaster Recovery Planning
Employee training will do a good job at helping your staff defend the business but there is still always a chance that ransomware can happen.
When it comes to ransomware, there is little you can do to remove the damages. There is no ‘debug’ or troubleshooting technique that will make it go away. To get the encrypted data, you have to have the decryption code.
The only alternate solution available to you would be to restore from a backup. That way, you don’t need to decrypt anything. Of course, this is dependent on the quality and safety of your existing backups.
We recommend looking for a backup solution with an on premises copy as well as a secure cloud copy of your data backups.
The best data backup and recovery solutions take regular snapshots of your environment. Even better solutions can spin up a virtual ‘copy’ of your environment so you can keep working while your IT team works in the background to get systems back up and running like normal.
Make sure to ask the team or individual who handles your backups how often they test them. It’s also good to have a clear understanding of what it takes to get you back up and running in the event of an incident (what does it look like if we have an equipment failure? How do you respond if we are hit with ransomware?).
Training staff on how to avoid scams and criminal tactics online is a great way to defend against Ransomware and other incidents.
Having a good data backup and disaster recovery plan is what you want to do to make sure your business can handle this type of attack.
The final piece of the Ransomware puzzle for now is going to be your business continuity plan.
When it’s said and done, you are most likely going to experience some amount of downtime in the event of a Ransomware attack. It’ll take time to recognize what is happening, to contact the proper parties (IT staff or your outsourced team and decision makers), respond to the incident etc.
All of this time costs your business money, productivity and opportunities. This is why many vendors suggest coming up with Business Continuity plans for different types of incidents at the office.
Have a plan for equipment failure (like a server crash), a plan for a major cybersecurity incident (ransomware across the network), have a plan for minor cybersecurity incidents (single user hit with malware or a virus). You get the idea.
Some great questions for Business Continuity plans:
- How does my business or staff respond to this incident?
- Do you unplug workstations?
- Does the employee call you first or IT?
- Is there anything you should do on site while your IT team gets to work?
- How long will it take to get us back up and running? (this will differ depending on what you face)
- How do we keep the business running while designated teams respond?
- Can we make use of the cloud?
- Do we need to work from pen and paper while things resolve?
A professional team will help you work through these questions and come up with the solutions your specific business and business model needs to keep things running in the event of a disaster, accident or incident.
The key is really in the preparation.
If you have any questions about any of the topics above or want to discuss your own disaster recover, data backups or business continuity plans, please give us a call at (815) 836-0030 or contact our team via email at Contact@wenetwork.com.
The post Ransomware, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: What Every Small Business Should Know appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Wawa Data Breach Includes Information On 30 Million Customers Feb 04, 2020
Another week, another high-profile data breach. This time, it's a big one.
In December 2019, the convenience store chain Wawa disclosed that they had discovered malware on their point of sale system and that tens of millions of customer records were at risk. Those at risk were potentially anyone who had paid for their gas and other sundries with a debit or credit card.
Further, they admitted that the breach impacted all 860 of its locations. Worse, the company discovered that the malware had been in place for at least four months, which makes it a positively massive breach.
A recently published Gemini Security Advisory described it this way:
"Since the breach may have affected over 850 stores and potentially exposed 30 million sets of payment records, it ranks among the largest payment card breaches of 2019, and of all time. It is comparable to Home Depot's 2014 breach exposing 50 million customers' data or to Target's 2013 breach exposing 40 million sets of payment card data."
It was only a matter of time before a haul that large showed up on the Dark Web, and that has now happened. Recently, security researchers have spotted a file called "BigBadaBoom-III." The payment card data it contains traces back to Wawa.
At present, the records are being sold for an average of $17 each. Given the size of the breach, that represents a breathtaking payday for the hackers.
If you've been to a Wawa convenience store in the last six months, the safe bet is to assume that your payment card has been compromised and proceed accordingly. Doing nothing is a recipe for disaster, especially given that the database containing the card data is already up for sale. It's only a matter of time until someone gets their hands on your payment data and starts making illicit use of it.