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What is the Dark Web and why it matters for your business Mar 29, 2019
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.
The post What is the Dark Web and why it matters for your business appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.4 Key Questions Any Business Owner Should Ask Before Performing A Cloud Migration Sep 28, 2018
The solutions, procedures and technologies business owners and staff depend on are continuing their move to the cloud at a steady pace.
Predictions and trends point to over 80% of all enterprise workflow to be managed by the cloud by 2020.
While total adoption of cloud in the workplace is still believed to be 10 or more years away, the benefits to business are clearly driving the adoption of cloud technologies and solutions.
This does not mean that you should perform a cloud migration just because everyone else is doing it. You want to make sure that when you migrate different elements of your business to the cloud, you are doing so in the most secure, compliant and pain-free ways.
That being said, there are some questions you should really ask yourself when planning for or considering your migration.
4 Key Questions About Cloud Migration
1. What are the long term costs for my IT when I migrate to the cloud?
There are quite a few different aspects of your budget that a cloud migration can impact. The first thing you will want to consider is the overall cost of the project. For example, if you have a server and you are considering the costs of a cloud migration vs. buying new hardware, there are a few things you want to look into.
- What is the physical cost of the hardware including labor for install and setup?
- What is the initial setup and migration cost if you move to the cloud?
- What are your anticipated maintenance costs for a physical server over the next 3-5 years?
- What are the maintenance costs and recurring costs for your cloud environment for the next 3-5 years?
- If you stick with an on-prem solution, how long until you have to replace your new hardware on average?
All of these questions you should ask yourself and your IT vendor/department when considering the cloud. Often, when you take long term maintenance and hardware replacement into consideration, you will end up being more cost effective with a cloud solution. But, this is not always the case.
2. What areas of our business will see benefit from a cloud migration?
The cloud has offered many benefits to business. The cloud environment lends itself to collaboration in many ways. Staff will likely enjoy the ability to access data, software and systems remotely. Departments will notice that different integrations are easier when software is in the cloud as well. Companies like Zapier, IFTTT and even Microsoft with Microsoft Flow are in the business of helping you integrate workflows and get a whole lot more done.
This means more productivity, automating repetitive tasks and hopefully better results for both your employees and clients.
3. Do you have specific security/compliance requirements?
Different industries have specific security requirements and compliance standards for data. This means that you will want to consult with experts in your industry to make sure that the solutions you choose are above board.
For instance, if you chose to migrate your email server to a hosted cloud solution, you still need to make sure that the email service is secure. Solutions like G Suite and Office 365 state in their user agreements that they are responsible for the security of the cloud environment but that YOU are responsible for all of your data.
Meaning – Microsoft or Google makes sure the cloud is secure, YOU make sure that you have backups of your emails and all of your data in case of emergency.
Additionally, if your industry has requirements for sending secure/encrypted emails, you’ll want to make sure that the solution you choose meets said requirements.
This was just an example of how security and compliance can impact your choice of cloud email solution. Depending on what you want to move to the cloud (infrastructure, software, OS etc.), you will want to consult with industry experts to ensure success.
4. Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud Solutions?
On the surface, the concept of public or private cloud solution is straight forward.
A public cloud is owned by a company like Microsoft (Azure) or Amazon (AWS). This company owns the physical space where the ‘cloud’ is hosted. In a public cloud, your business essentially leases space to host your environment. This space is technically shared but can be segmented for security purposes.
This decreases your overall time and material cost for maintenance of the environment. You access services and can manage your account by logging in from your internet browser. These public solutions are best for email solutions, office software, applications, testing environments, development environments and more.
A private cloud is owned and managed by one specific entity (either you or your IT service provider). There are no other businesses sharing your space or stored on the equipment. This is definitely a more secure solution for highly regulated industries.
A benefit with privately hosted cloud environments is that they are more customizable for specific business needs. Additionally, a private cloud is easily scaled to grow with your needs – you will just have to account for any additional hardware or bandwidth needs as you grow.
A hybrid cloud solution is a mixture of any or all solutions including: on-premises solutions, public cloud and/or private cloud.
For some industries, there may be specific elements of the business that must remain on site. In other instances, you may have proprietary software that just isn’t cloud compatible or doesn’t make sense to migrate.
You may also have certain needs that make sense to offload into a public environment where you aren’t responsible for maintenance.
The beauty of cloud migration solutions for business is that they are highly customizable. They help you get more done and stay connected in innovative ways. There is a reason that technology is steadily migrating to the cloud across our professional and personal lives.
If you have any questions about the cloud or want to discuss how the cloud can elevate your business, please give us a call at (815) 836 – 0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com. Our team is ready and eager to help you.
The post 4 Key Questions Any Business Owner Should Ask Before Performing A Cloud Migration appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Malware Focused On Mobile Banking Greatly Increased In 2019 Jun 10, 2019
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have been tracking a disturbing new trend.
In the first quarter of 2019, the company has noted a massive 58 percent increase in modifications of various banking Trojan families that have been used in attacks against more than a quarter of a million users around the world.
This increase is troubling in that it paints a picture of hackers taking much more interest in and developing tools that are specifically designed to target users who access banking services from mobile devices, which is a target rich environment indeed.
The company had this to say about their findings:
"As is customary, first place in the Top 20 for Q1 went to the DangerousObject.Multi.Generic verdict (54.26 percent) which we use for malware detected using cloud technologies.
Cloud technologies are deployed when the antivirus databases lack data for detecting a piece of malware, but the company's cloud already contains information about the object.� This is basically how the latest malicious programs are detected.
The rapid rise of mobile financial malware is a troubling sign, especially since we see how criminals are perfecting their distribution mechanisms.� For example, a recent tendency is to hide the banking Trojan in a dropper - the shell that is supposed to fly to the device under the security radar, releasing the malicious part only upon arrival."
The bottom line is that if you use your mobile device to access banking services of any kind, be aware that you are increasingly seen as a target.� In fact, given the latest findings, you're rapidly becoming the preferred target of a growing body of hackers.
As ever, your best defense is vigilance.� Don't install apps from untrustworthy sources. Before adding any new app to your phone, do some due diligence to minimize your risk of inadvertently installing something not just unwanted, but incredibly dangerous.