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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.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.Another Point Of Sale Data Breach Hits Retailers Mar 15, 2019
Another week, another data breach. This time, the target of the breach was North Country Business Products (NCBP), a company that makes point of sale (POS) terminals for businesses.
Although NCBP was the target, they weren't the ultimate victims of the breach. Hackers infiltrated NCBP's network and installed malware onto the company's POS terminals.
These were then sold to businesses around the country. In all, according to the latest information published by NCBP about the incident, a total of 139 business locations received these poisoned POS terminals. This allowed hackers to gain control of any payment information processed through those terminals.
In all, NCBP POS systems are installed in more than 6500 locations nationwide, meaning the scope and scale of this breach was approximately 2 percent of the company's installed terminal base.
So far, North Country's handling of the incident has been admirable. The breach occurred on January 3rd, 2019. The company discovered it on January 30th, but noted that the attackers ceased all activity on January 24th when they began detecting investigators probing for their presence.
NCBP has informed law enforcement, enlisted the aid of a third-party forensic investigator, and have published a list of all infected POS terminals on their website. All of the invested terminals are bars, coffee shops, or restaurants, with an even mix of standalone businesses and franchises.
The investigation into the matter is still ongoing. As yet, NCBP and the agencies assisting them have not determined exactly what the impact is or has been for each of the affected businesses.
All that to say, if you own an NCBP POS device, be sure to head to the company's website to find out if your business is on the list of impacted customers. If so, you may have already been contacted by the company.