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5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web Jan 26, 2018
In our last IT article we discussed the Dark Web. Specifically what the Dark Web is and why it is something that matters to just about everyone. If you missed the article make sure to give it a read here.
There are many ways your information can be compromised and inevitably end up in the hands of wrong doers on the dark web. On top of that, there are numerous ways that hackers and criminals can steal your data that are completely out of your control.
It is important that you put defense in place where you can but it is also important that you manage your risk by educating yourself on some of the top vulnerabilities out there.
With that in mind we’ve gathered 5 of the top ways hackers and criminals get around you to steal your data for the Dark Web.
5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web
1. Visiting & Using Unsecure Websites
If a website isn’t secure, information passed between you and the site can easily be compromised. In a nutshell, websites pass information to your browser (google chrome, firefox etc.) and your browser displays that information for you to look at/use. Without proper security protocols like an SSL or HTTPs, sites don’t secure that information transfer. So, if you enter personal data into a form, make a purchase or put any data on the site that isn’t secured, it is easy enough for a hacker or cyber-criminal to intercept that data and sell it on the Dark Web.
If you are interested in how to secure your website or tell if the sites you visit are secure, we have an easy to understand article here.
2. Consumer Database Breach
While hackers and criminals will go after your personal data on a small scale, a larger customer breach is what their dreams are made of. Just think back to the Target, Home Depot and Experian breaches of recent years. Even social media databases are full of rich information that hackers can make use of. If a hacker gets ahold of your Facebook password they might have also gotten ahold of your date of birth, where you live and other personal information that they can use to access financial accounts or other personal accounts.
While you can’t keep hackers out of Target’s database, you can practice your own security protocols to decrease the likelihood of criminals using compromised data to ruin you financially:
- Use different passwords for different sites
- Change passwords often (every 90 days is recommended at minimum)
- Use strong passwords
- Look into a monitoring service that alerts you of suspicious activity on financial accounts
3. Firewall Issues
You don’t necessarily have control over whether someone else secures their website and you definitely don’t have control of the security procedures at your local grocery store, but you do have control over the firewalls you use at your business.
First . . . make sure you are using a professional or business grade solution for your firewall. Consumer grade solutions are meant for home use and will not have adequate protections in place to keep your company’s private data secure.
Additionally, make sure that you have regular updates and software patches scheduled. These devices are only as good as the software they utilize. If your firewall is out of date or your software is out of date, chances are they cannot defend against the latest hacker strategies and viruses.
You will also benefit from a regular system audit to ensure all ports are secure and no user changes are impacting your network security. It is pretty common for businesses to forget these updates and checks and this is an incredibly vulnerable access point into your network if not properly configured.
4. Outdated Systems/Devices On Your Network
While your firewall controls much of the inbound and outbound traffic on your network, there are countless other devices that can create vulnerabilities. For instance, if you consider the Target breach of 2013, it is rumored that the criminals gained access to Target’s network via an HVAC company that monitored temperatures in stores. This brings up the fact that it is not just your own network but anything connected to it and the security of those ancillary devices/networks that you must be aware of.
If you have smart devices in the office, if you subscribe to any type of service that needs access to your network, all of these items and programs open you up to vulnerabilities. Even the smart devices you use at home can cause you trouble on a personal level. Imagine if a smart device on your home network was compromised and used by hackers to get into your work files on your home computer. This stuff happens and your information ends up on the dark web because of it.
5. Downloading untrusted applications/Opening Malicious Email
Email is essential to running your business but it is one of the best ways for hackers and criminals to gain access to your network. All they have to get you to do is click a link or download a file and BAM! your data might be compromised.
Email isn’t the only culprit though. Downloading files off the web can also give hackers access to your network and in turn your data. There are tools that can help you avoid this as well as training that helps you spot malicious links/sites.
How Can I Prevent My Info From Getting Onto Dark Web
With proper firewall configuration, professional anti-virus software that is updated regularly and employee training, you will dramatically decrease your vulnerability and incident rate.
There are so many ways hackers access your data. They can get to you through stores, websites, your email, the smart devices at your office/home and those are just a few examples. The scary part is that no matter how secure you make things, they will come up with a new approach that no one expects.
All hope isn’t lost though, with certain protections like professional cyber security consulting, monitoring software (both professional and personal), and specific security devices, you can protect yourself from cybercriminals.
If you’d like to discuss your options and make sure you are truly covered, reach out to our team and schedule a network security assessment.
The post 5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Get More Done with 5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365 Aug 31, 2018
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. You can’t trick the system, you’ve got to travel the distance from point A to point B to get where you want to go – or at least that’s what we’ve all been told by physics and geometry.
In most cases, this concept also applies to our workdays and careers. The grind is long, the work keeps coming, the tasks continue to pile up but at the end of the day, you are consistently working on taking the necessary steps towards point B – whatever that may be for you and your business.
But what if there were tools available to you that might give you and your team an edge. Wouldn’t you want to take advantage of strategies and applications that improved productivity, helped you get more done and saved you time?
Did you know that Microsoft Office builds their tools with time saving, productivity boosting, organization strategies in mind?
Let’s take a look at some of these tools to help you get more done during your 9-5.
5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365
1. The Tell Me Function
Ever wonder how to do something in Word or forget where to find a specific function in a Microsoft Office program? The Tell Me function is located in the main navigation bar and can perform many useful functions for you. This function speeds things up and prevents you from having to Google how to do things like create columns in Word, pull up your recent commands, resend messages in Microsoft Outlook and more.
As mentioned, the Tell Me function is located in your main navigation – to the right of the ‘View’ section. You can see a faint blue lightbulb with the phrase “Tell me what you want to do…” next to it. You can also use the key combination alt + q to pull it up if you want to be even more productive!
For more information on this function and its’ use – check out this quick video
2. Real Time Collaboration
Have you ever tried to open a document at work when a popup informs you that you have to open a ‘read only’ copy because another user is currently in the file?
This can be a pain when you are trying to get work done at the same time as one of your teammates. It can also be frustrating if you have a teammate that regularly forgets to close files when they are done working with them (we’ve all done that right?).
With Office 365 you can take advantage of live collaboration. This means that multiple members of your team can be in a document, editing and making changes at the same time. For instance, if you have an upcoming presentation, your marketing staff can be editing content while your sale staff adds their spin.
Additionally, Microsoft has built other tools such as Microsoft Teams to help departments and teams in your organization collaborate via conversation and shared documents. You can also take collaboration outside of your office to work with vendors, clients and business partners via Inter-Tenant Collaboration which allows you to set up shared calendars, documentation spaces, IMs and more.
For more on how Office 365 can enhance collaboration in the office look here.
3. Microsoft To-Do
Do you have a list of tasks and to-do’s that never seems to end? Or maybe you just have a hard time organizing all of your tasks in one place?
With Microsoft To-Do you have an intelligent, cloud based task management system that is with you no matter where you are and accessibly on a variety of devices. The application is mobile friendly and synchs directly with Outlook.
To-Do allows you to take your larger list of tasks and review them daily to add them to your ‘My Day’ feature. By doing this you are able to locate which of your tasks have priority and knock them out one by one.
Where To-Do really shines is it’s security and compliance features. Microsoft has done a great job with the Outlook integration to make sure that your To-Do list is secure and compliant across the board.
You can also segment your To-Do’s into “steps” meaning you can break down a larger task into the sub-steps required for completion. You can even share your tasks with peers, friends, family or coworkers thanks to a recent update.
4. Automate Key Workflows with Microsoft Flow
Many businesses turn to Sharepoint to securely store, access and manage company documentation, Microsoft Flow can actually help you create workflow automation with integrations to other software as well.
For instance, you can set systems up so that when a document is uploaded, an email is automatically sent to a staff member to review the document. This can be useful for things like Time Off requests but can be applied to larger, more demanding tasks like onboarding or off boarding clients/vendors. Microsoft Flow is also integrated into SharePoint so that you can start flows directly from lists and libraries making it a great productivity booster, time saver and addition to the Microsoft Office Suite.
5. Microsoft Sway
Microsoft Sway is a presentation tool that some believe may replace PowerPoint. It allows users to put together professional presentations quickly with a drag and drop function for photos, documents, text and more.
It should be mentioned though that you cannot create charts or graphs in Sway – it is more geared towards visual presentations. So if you need to share numbers, statistics or charts, probably best to stick with PowerPoint.
You don’t have to have Sway installed on a device to present your work which means it is widely accessible as well as easy to use and intuitive. Sharing your presentation with another is as simple as sharing a link.
Microsoft wants to help you get your job done and they build tools/functions to help you get more accomplished in the office and on the go. With new Office applications and Office 365 you open a variety of doors to your business with respect to collaboration and remote capabilities.
You don’t have to have Office 365 to get the productivity boosts described above. Many of these programs and tools are available in the traditional license model. You may lose out on some of the cloud functions, live collaboration capabilities and accessibility though.
To discuss what migrating to Office 365 would mean for your business, simply give us a call at the office (815) 836 – 0030 or send an email to Contact@WeNetwork.com. You can also feel free to reach us if you want to learn more about a specific application not included in your current Office 365 Subscription.
The post Get More Done with 5 Productivity Hacks for Office 365 appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Video Embedding Feature In MS Word Has Security Vulnerability� Nov 10, 2018
Researchers have discovered a security flaw in MS Office 2016 and older versions that leave the door open to hackers who can take advantage of it to run malicious code on a target computer.
This latest hack exploits a flaw in the software's online video option, which allows users to embed a YouTube video via link inside the document.� The problem is that when the link is pasted into a Word document, the software automatically generates an HTML embed script which is executed when the thumbnail image of the video is clicked on inside the document.
Word contains a file called "document.xml" which is a default file used by the program to generate the code to embed the video.� It's a trivial matter to edit this file, only requiring removing the originally inserted URL and replacing it with a malicious one that would get executed by the IE Download Manager.
Alternately, a hacker could simply create a legitimate-looking Word document, insert a poisoned link into it, then send it to a target.� If the target clicked the link, whatever malicious code the hacker has staged at the other end would run.
The researchers reported the bug to Microsoft, but the company made no response and refused to acknowledge it as a security vulnerability.� After 90 days, the team made their findings public in hopes of spurring the company into action.
This did prompt a response from the company, but their response was simply that they had no intention of addressing the issue as the software is properly interpreting HTML as designed.
That's apparently the company's final word on the matter, so if your business is in the habit of using word documents with embedded videos for any purpose, be mindful of this exploit.� It could easily be used against you.