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5 Ways To Keep Cyber Criminals At Bay This Holiday Dec 04, 2017
The holidays are a magical time. Snow covered trees, festive lights decorating houses, time with family, parties . . . and an incredible increase in cybercrime and cyber criminals.
Didn’t see that one coming did you?
The cyber criminals think and hope so too.
While people hit the web to shop for holiday gifts, deals and plane tickets to visit loved ones, hackers are doing their best to steal your data and use it for their own purposes.
In the spirit of giving, check out these 5 quick tips to keep cyber criminals and hackers at bay during the holiday!
5 quick tips to keep cyber criminals and hackers at bay during the holiday
1. Make sure that you do your shopping at secure websites
Any time you are purchasing something online you want to make sure you are doing so from a secure website. A secure website will encrypt your information. The means that only the authorized parties (the seller) receives that information and it can’t fall into the hands of hackers or criminals.
You can tell if a website is secure by looking at the URL. If the URL begins with https:// that means it is secure. Specifically you are looking for the S after the http portion. You may also see a lock symbol. Make sure that you never enter information into a website without this. Look out for locks with warning symbols like question marks or red lines – this signals that the site is only partially encrypted and you should never trust it. Buy your stuff somewhere else.
2. Use Credit Cards instead of Debit Cards online – and probably in general where possible
There are so many different ways scammers attack your data. Think back to the big breaches of the last few years – Target, Home Depot etc. Your data can get stolen both online and at brick and mortar locations.
The most secure thing – aside from cash which obviously cannot be used for shopping online – is to shop with a credit card. Credit card companies are required to protect you from fraudulent purchases, if your account number is stolen or even if you purchase something online and it is never delivered.
The protections a consumer is guaranteed by credit cards far outweighs protections offered with debit cards and obviously, if your info is stolen, you’d much rather have that happen on a credit card than having your bank account liquidated.
3. Sign up for alerts
There are many options out there for alert programs and applications. Some let you know any time your social security number is used, some monitor your credit score and other vital information.
In regard to your credit cards and bank accounts specifically, you can have alerts sent to your email or your smartphone via text for activity. For example, you can have any purchase made on your bank card/credit card alert your phone. If that seems a bit overboard, you can set it up to alert you to purchases over a specific threshold.
Additionally, you want to make sure you are checking your bank account every day or so just to make sure nothing strange is occurring. That goes for holiday season and the rest of the year.
4. Check out third party payment systems
You’ve probably heard of PayPal but have you ever looked into why using a third party payment system like PayPal is beneficial for both the buyer and the seller?
Systems like these are middle men that help protect both sides of a transaction. The seller knows that the funds are verified but the seller also gets NO ACCESS to your account information. This is a great benefit to you. Instead of using your card and spreading your information from site to site and exposing your information to different destinations, your information is shared with one company.
Another benefit is that these third party payment options are readily available at most stores online and even at brick and mortar locations these days.
Some popular options are PayPal as mentioned, Apple Pay, Amazon Payments, Venmo, Samsung Pay and more.
5. Check Reviews and beware of the “Too Good To Be True”
It is the season for deals without a doubt. But be smart when you see an offer for something that is well below the market value.
That new iPhone isn’t going to retail for $200 no matter how great a deal they are giving you. Hate to say it but there is no free lunch and one of the best ways for criminals to get you on their sites is by advertising an incredible price for a product.
Even Amazon isn’t immune to this. Bogus retailers will advertise products that are never delivered or that have no resemblance to the pictures online. Pretty sure we have all fallen victim to that, holiday season or not.
But this time of year, make sure you read reviews. Do your research and take all the steps available to you to ensure you are protected.
We hope you have a great end of year and that you start 2018 without any personal stories about how cybercrime impacted your holidays.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach our team and shop safe!
The post 5 Ways To Keep Cyber Criminals At Bay This Holiday appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.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.
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.Download Your Data From Google Plus Before It Gets Deleted Feb 15, 2019
Google has kept no secret of their plan to eventually put an end to their social media experiment, Google+.� In case you haven't been keeping abreast of the company's announcements where the service is concerned, be aware that it will be shutting down on April 2nd of 2019.
The closer we've gotten to that deadline, the more details we've gotten from the company about how the shutdown will go.
Just so you're aware, this won't be a simple matter of turning off access and freezing posts as they are, or essentially preserving them for all time.� No, this is going to be an internet-wide absolute deletion of any and everything related to Google Plus.
That means your posts, your comments to other people's posts and your Google+ powered comments on Blogger and other blogging sites will all ultimately be deleted.� If you want to preserve any of your materials, it's long past time to start archiving.� You've still got time of course, but the clock is ticking more loudly than ever now, and depending on how much content you've got, you'll want to be quick about it.
Google+ never enjoyed the kind of popular success that Facebook and the other heavy hitters in the social media ecosystem enjoyed.� It was more of a panicked reaction to the meteoric rise of Facebook, with the fear being that Facebook might kill search if everybody simply gravitated to asking their friends for recommendations.
Obviously nothing like that happened, but it was of genuine concern when the company launched the service, and it's what prompted them to inject Google+ into every aspect of their product ecosystem, even in cases where it didn't make much sense to do so.
Given this deep integration, shutting down Google+ and deleting all traces of it won't be a quick or easy process, but it's coming, and that starts on April 2nd.� Note:� The shutdown applies to consumers only.� Enterprise users will still have access to Google+ functionality via the G Suite.