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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.Stop These 3 Hazardous File Sharing Habits Yesterday! Jan 03, 2020
File sharing is an essential portion of any business. It is the way we get information from one person to another. BUT, it can also be the way hackers gain access to your sensitive information – files or, worst of all, confidential data.
If you’re using Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, or other consumer-grade file sharing and cloud sync applications – or if you depend on file sharing of any kind to run your business (hint . . . you do)- listen up!
Here are 3 habits you should break yourself and your staff of immediately.
Top 3 File Sharing Habits to Break
1) Using Consumer Grade Solutions . . .
Consumer grade solutions are just that . . . consumer grade. You aren’t a ‘consumer’, you’re a business owner with sensitive data to protect. With more and more employees/businesses depending on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) as well as the ability to access files any time & any place, it is important that your file sharing system is professional grade. Look for enterprise grade security options like SSL Encrypted Transfer, Firewall Protection, Password Protection and Virus Scanning.
2) Emailing Files Without Proper Encryption . . .
You may not care if a hacker gets a hold of your grocery list or photos of the family dog, but when it comes to confidential data such as financial statements, medical records or other sensitive materials, it is safe to say you cannot afford criminals sniffing through your files. For this reason, NEVER send files via email without proper encryption. Business grade email and proper practices can nip this in the butt. You’d be amazed how many files fall into the laps of cyber criminals this way though.
3) Using Flash Drives…
You spend time and hard earned resources to protect your network from outside threats . . . only to destroy everything when you innocently plug in an infected flash drive you picked up innocuously enough at a trade show. Flash drives bypass security systems you have in place and may run automatically without being checked for infection by your antivirus solution. If you must continue using flash drives . . . at a minimum update your antivirus to prohibit autorun and mandate scans to all USB-attached devices when plugged into your PCs.
The post Stop These 3 Hazardous File Sharing Habits Yesterday! appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Financial Organizations Beware Of Documents Asking To Enable Content Feb 13, 2020
If you work in the financial sector, be advised that there's a large scale botnet-driven malware campaign underway. It has been targeting firms in both the US and the UK.
The malware at the heart of the campaign is Emotet, which began life as a banking trojan, but it has morphed into something quite different in recent times.
It's now a full-fledged botnet and its creators are leasing it out to anyone who can pay.
Make no mistake, the latest configuration of Emotet isn't a threat to be taken lightly. Last year, it accounted for almost two thirds of malicious payloads delivered via phishing attack. The malware was heavily used throughout much of 2019, suffered a marked decline during December, and then came roaring back to the fore in January of 2020.
While the major thrust of this latest campaign is aimed at financial institutions, a small number of attacks have been made against companies in the media, transportation, and food industries.
The campaign is being conducted largely by phishing emails that contain a Microsoft Word Document that pretends to be an invoice for a service recently rendered. The email subject line varies but in all cases it mirrors the invoice and/or bank details.
Naturally, if a recipient attempts to open the invoice, he or she will get a popup box indicating that Macros must be enabled in order to properly view it. If the recipient clicks the button to enable macros, the malicious payload will be installed.
This is time tested and a reliable method of getting malicious code onto target machines. It's been around for years, but it's still in use because it's so effective. Make sure your employees are aware of the threat and stay vigilant. If the early indications mean anything, 2020 is going to be a very trying year.