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 Service Coordinator(SC)—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 Hoffman Estates, IL Businesses:
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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:
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 WannaCry ransomware, the perpetrator of this attack, took advantage of outdated patches and software licenses.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.3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches Sep 04, 2017
When you think of data encryption, you might imagine top-secret files and espionage. Historically, militaries and governments protected messages and sensitive information using encryption. These days encryption has many more uses. And with hackers and cyber criminals constantly after your data, it is important that you make use of this security measure.
Encryption is defined as scrambling data or text to make it unreadable. This protects stored data and personal information from displaying to those without a proper clearance or key to decode that information. There are all kinds of pieces of information you have on file that a disgruntled employee or criminal could make use of:
- Home addresses
- Email Addresses
- Drivers Licenses
- Credit Card information
- Social Security Numbers
- Date of birth
- Medical history or records
- Financial information – routing numbers, account numbers etc.
Depending on your industry, this information may be subject to state and federal regulation, hefty fines and, in cases of negligence, even jailtime (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars). Businesses close their doors over this stuff.
While employee training and proper cyber protocols are great at protecting you and your business from user error and data breach – encryption is an added layer of security every business benefits from.
3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches
- Encryption Saves Your Reputation – More and more employees are working on the go in 2017. With employees working from home, sales staff in the field and the hustle and bustle of every day, you don’t want to hold your employees back or decrease productivity by preventing devices from leaving the office. But imagine your employee runs into the neighborhood Starbucks and leaves their company laptop in their front seat. While they are ordering their venti latte, a criminal breaks into their car and steals their belongings – your laptop included. Now you’re out the hardware but more importantly, you have a criminal at large with sensitive data. If this data has any sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) on it, you are required to report the incident. Do you want your customers losing valuable trust in your company? In fact, this fear of reputational damage is the reason that three out of every four victims to ransomware, data breach or cyber-attack do not report the incident. Think back to 2013 when 41 million people found out Target compromised their sensitive data. You’d probably think twice about shopping there again if you were one of them. If the stolen laptop had been encrypted, you wouldn’t have to report an incident. The criminal would have no way of deciphering data on the equipment.
- Encryption Keeps Designated Information Private – Let’s bring this example back into your office for a moment. Even if you don’t keep sensitive customer information on file or process credit cards. You have personal information for employees on file: Performance reviews, social security numbers, salary information and more. You don’t need a hacker or even a disgruntled employee gaining access to these records. With encryption you can ensure that even if an employee accidentally or intentionally stumbles into an area they shouldn’t be, they can’t make sense of any of that information.
- Encryption Can Save You From The Unexpected – Whether a device goes missing from the office, is stolen from a front seat or possibly snatched by a disgruntled employee, you can’t have sensitive information at large. Your reputation aside, as mentioned earlier, these types of breaches can result in very large fines, prosecution and years in prison. Nobody needs that on their mind every night. With encryption you can rest easy that even in the wrong hands, your data can’t be manipulated or exposed. To take this a step further, certain encryption management tools have the ability to remotely disable and even wipe devices. This comes in handy in all of the examples we have described. So now, not only is the information on your device useless, but after your IT company takes necessary steps, the device shows nothing but the “blue screen of death”.
Encryption is a powerful tool. It is an incredibly useful and we would say necessary piece of your cyber security and data protection plan. It is important that you protect sensitive information. Even if you don’t want to believe it, there are criminals and people out there that would wreak havoc with that data if given the chance.
For more information on our encryption software and other cyber security training, protocols and plans, give us a call at (815) 836-0030.
And be sure to click here and explore our Unlimited Security Training Program. Over 80% of data breaches are a result of human error and the first step to prevention is education.
Mention this blog and receive 50% off your first annual subscription.
The post 3 Ways Data Encryption Can Save You From Unnecessary Stress, Spending & Headaches appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Are Graphics Processing Units Vulnerable To Hacker Attacks? Dec 04, 2018
Bad news for computer users everywhere.� Researchers at the University of California in Riverside have discovered that GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) are vulnerable to side-channel attacks like Spectre and Meltdown, which have been plaguing Intel CPU's for the better part of a year.
The team, (consisting of two computer science professors and two PhD students) reverse-engineered an Nvidia GPU and demonstrated three separate side-channel attacks. The attacks targeted both computational and graphics stacks, believing these to be the first ever side-channel attacks designed to work on GPUs.
All three of the newly discovered attacks exploit the user counter in the GPU, which is used for performance tracking and are available in user mode. This is significant because it means that literally anyone has access to them.� All three also require the victim to download a piece of malware designed to spy on the user's system to provide information back to the hacker executing the attack.
The first of the three attacks tracks a user's internet activity and is made possible because GPUs are used to render graphics in web browsers.� The attack is executed when a poisoned app utilizes OpenGL to infer browser behavior as it utilizes the resources of the GPU.
The second attack allows the hacker to glean password information, because GPU resources are used to render the login box on the user's screen.� By monitoring memory allocations in the chip, a hacker can identify the specific keys pressed when entering a password.
The third attack targets computational applications and is designed to target neural network architecture.� Its main purpose is to sniff out and steal neural network algorithms.
In terms of defending against these attacks, there's good news and bad news.� Turning off user mode access to the counters is a viable defense, but unfortunately, many applications rely on that functionality. Turning it off will cause a number of programs (that you probably need) to stop working.� Ultimately then, GPU manufacturers are going to need to engineer a fix in much the same way that Intel did for their impacted CPUs.
No instances of these types of attacks have been seen in the wild to this point, but now that the word is out, it's just a matter of time.� 2019 stands to be a brutal year until and unless a fix is found and pushed out.