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How You Can Protect Yourself from the Personal And Professional Losses Related To Data Theft & the Dark Web Mar 02, 2018
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 – here), 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.
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.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.Windows 10 Adoption Continues To Grow� Oct 04, 2018
Windows 10 is far and away the fastest growing version of the OS in the company's history.� It recently hit an installation base of a staggering 700 million devices after about three years on the market.
Note that these installation figures include installs not just on PCs, but also on Surface Hubs, Xbox, HoloLenses and smartphones.
Unfortunately, as impressive as that number is, it falls well short of Microsoft's original estimate of a billion installs in three years.
The smaller than expected number of smartphone installations is the key reason behind the shortfall.� �Initially, the company had envisioned these devices adding several hundred million installations to the total count. However, when Microsoft switched gears and decided to abandon the smartphone market, it was inevitable that they would fall well short of their original target.
It matters because part of Microsoft's pitch to developers was the massive (projected) size of the Windows 10 market.� Now that the official numbers are in, and the final count is some 30 percent lower than anticipated, part of that appeal is understandably gone.
Even so, a market made up of 700 million devices is certainly nothing to sneeze at and developers are heavily invested in the platform, so it would make little sense for them to abandon it now.� Not to mention the fact that the number of installations is expected to continue to grow at a healthy clip for the foreseeable future.
Inside the Windows ecosystem, 43 percent of Windows PCs are currently running Windows 10, with another 45 percent still running Windows 7.� Given that support has officially ended for Windows 7, it's all but guaranteed that Windows 10 will ultimately reach one billion installations. It will probably �reach a bit more than that as users continue to slowly migrate away from Windows 7.
At the end of the day then, although Microsoft's time frame was a bit too aggressive, it looks like they're going to hit the magic number.