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5 Cyber Security Features/Protocols Your Business Needs To Protect Against Scammers, Hackers & Cyber Criminals Oct 30, 2017
Sometimes it sounds like the news and cyber experts are on loop or a broken record. Every day there is a new report about cyber security, threats and the like. But while these stories and warnings may start to seem like white noise in the background, the threats are still here and they are very real.
The upside of all of this coverage and conversation is that business owners are wising up and with the topic of cyber security taking center stage, users and business owners alike are being more proactive when it comes to protecting and educating themselves.
In the spirit of education we’d like to dive a little deeper into 5 features/protocols you can set up at your office to beef up your IT Security.
Top 5 Cyber Security Features/Protocols
Multi Factor Authentication
This feature is nothing new but it is becoming more and more common across all kinds of accounts. Financial services, email, social media and other applications/accounts are making use of multi or dual factor authentication. Essentially you have a password and second form of identification to prove your identity. Sometimes this is a randomly generated code – think Facebook’s code generator.
Another type of multi or dual factor authentication uses biometric data for identity verification. Things like a fingerprint or a retina scan are examples of this type of security measure. In fact, last month we took a look at biometrics, integrated security and banking applications – read more about that here.
An Employee Training Program
Statistically over 80% of all breaches and intrusions occur after an employee error. Clicking a link in an email, downloading a malicious file, visiting an infected website . . . there are so many ways this can happen and most of the time it isn’t intentional either. The best way to prevent this from happening is an ongoing security program for yourself and employees. A good program will have a varied focus: compliance standards for personal and customer info (commonly known as pii or personally identifiable information), strategies for recognizing and avoiding email scams, proper security protocols for best practices at the office and more. In 2017 Andromeda recognized this need and released our PII Protection/Cyber Security Training Program. See full details here.
Business Grade Firewall
A good firewall is your first defense against intrusion. With proper intrusion detection and intrusion prevention settings you arm yourself against cyber criminals and hackers. On top of that, a business grade firewall solution is an important piece of hardware when you want to set up public and private networks. You definitely don’t want guests at your building or passersby accessing company documents or networks because of low cyber security protocols.
Regularly Scheduled Updates/Patching
New viruses and threats hit the market every day. On top of that, hackers and criminals discover new vulnerabilities almost as fast as developers can protect against them. This is why keeping up to date and on top of patching and updates is so important. For instance, the WannaCry virus everyone heard so much about this year took advantage of a vulnerability that had already been addressed by a Windows patch. If companies had proactively updated and maintained their updates/patches, they wouldn’t have been as vulnerable to an attack.
This ties into both firewall protocols and employee training but of course, the fewer random emails that make it into your employee inboxes, the fewer links and files you need to worry about employee’s (or even yourself) clicking on. A professional spam tool can be configured to your liking and can do a whole lot to prevent content from making it to those that might accidentally infect your network. See the photos below for a few examples of emails we protect customers from on a daily basis.
As always, Andromeda is here to help you protect yourself and your business from these ongoing threats. Take the first step today and sign up for a cyber security audit with our team of experts.
The post 5 Cyber Security Features/Protocols Your Business Needs To Protect Against Scammers, Hackers & Cyber Criminals appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.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.TicketFly Customer Information May Have Been Hacked Jun 18, 2018
Another week, another high-profile data breach, but this one can be filed under "Missed Opportunity."� The site in question is "TicketFly," which is a web-based event ticket sales website owned by a company called Eventbrite. The TicketFly website was down since May 31st, and the normal homepage had been replaced by an image of Guy Fawkes with the message "Your Security Down I'm Not Sorry."
The page formerly contained links that pointed to compromised customer information, but those have subsequently been removed by the company, which is still scrambling to recover.
Unfortunately, TicketFly was given every opportunity to avoid the incident altogether.� The hacker responsible for taking the site down goes by the handle "IsHakdz," and claims that he contacted TicketFly, warning them of serious security flaws that would allow a hacker to take control of the site and all of the company's databases.� He asked for 1 Bitcoin to reveal the technical details.� When the company failed to respond, he decided to show them he was serious, and did exactly as he claimed he could do.
While you might question the hacker's actions, his motives seemed pure enough, and the reality is that many companies have "Bug Bounty" programs where they pay researchers who find critical security flaws.� The bounty payouts are typically less than a bitcoin, but the idea is the same.� Unfortunately, TicketFly didn't have such a program and even after having been warned of the flaws in their system, they took no meaningful action until the hacker forced them to do so.
While it's not impossible to envision a scenario in which this hacker would resell the data he was able to get his hands on, the actions of this particular individual seem to point in the opposite direction.� Even so, if you've made a purchase on the TicketFly database, it's better to be safe than sorry, and carefully monitor the payment card you used to make the purchase. It goes without saying that you should change your TicketFly password immediately.