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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.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.CoronaVirus Scare Is Being Used By Scammers To Trick People Feb 20, 2020
There is no low that hackers and scammers won't stoop to.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning about a worldwide scam in progress relating to fears surrounding the CoronaVirus. The FTC's announcement speaks for itself.
Their announcement reads, in part:
"Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus. They're setting up websites to sell bogus products, and using fake emails, texts and social media posts as a ruse to take your money and get your personal information.
The emails and posts may be promoting awareness and prevention tips, and fake information about cases in your neighborhood. They also may be asking you to donate to victims, offering advice on unproven treatments, or contain malicious email attachments."
Even worse, it appears that there are multiple campaigns like this, running in tandem.
Francis Gaffney is the Director of Threat Intelligence for Minecast, which is one of several companies tracking the issue.
Francis added this:
"The sole intention of these threat actors is to play on the public's genuine fear to increase the likelihood of users clicking on an attachment or link delivered in a malicious communication to cause infection, or for monetary gain."
In short, this is about as despicable as it gets. Then again, hackers and scammers have been known to send emails targeting children, so it shouldn't come as a great surprise.
Even so, the standard precautions apply here. Unless you know and trust the sender of a communication, even if it's about something scary and important like the CoronaVirus, don't click on links or open attachments. You never know where it might take you or what type of malware might end up on your system. Better safe than sorry, and you can always get CoronaVirus information from official sources.