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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.Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts Oct 02, 2017
We’ve been polling our readers recently for topics of interest. Of course, cyber security and ransomware are hot topics but many of you mentioned that you are interested in quick tips you can follow or use yourself.
You ask – we deliver.
Without further ado – check out these 6 quick tips for best password practices
- Create passwords with multiple cases, symbols and numbers. Just be sure to avoid passwords such as “123456”, “qwerty”, “football”, “princess” or “password” – some of the most common passwords in 2016 according to SplashData.
- Don’t create a password based on personal details such as your birth date, an anniversary, phone number, social security number etc. While not everyone may know these details about you, they are among the first a cybercriminal or evildoer will attempt when trying to hack your account. Even worse, if your password data is compromised, imagine what a cybercriminal could do with that social security information if it was exposed.
- Avoid using the same password on multiple sites. We get it, remembering different passwords for all of your different sites and needs is difficult. It is important to create something unique for every login you maintain. Remember, if a hacker gets ahold of your password for one account, the first thing they will do is try that bad boy on bank accounts, social media, emails and anywhere else they can to grab sensitive information or even your hard earned money.
- Change your passwords regularly. We suggest changing passwords every 90 days. This can be a pain but if you maintain this practice you make getting into your accounts that much harder.
- Do Not keep a list of your passwords on your computer. Keeping a list of passwords is dangerous in any format. You open yourself up to great risk in doing so. The worst method for this is keeping a list of your passwords in a file on your computer. Instead, keep a list of each site and next to it write a specific clue that will only make sense to you. This can help jog your memory without spilling the beans if someone stumbles upon the file.
- Use Dual Authentication. Many apps and sites now offer dual authentication as an added security measure. Once you login to your account, you will be prompted for a code (either one you create or a randomly generated code). You put this code into the site as a second proof of your identity. This feature greatly reduces if not eliminates the likelihood of someone breaking into your accounts.
Password protection is difficult. The average Joe has anywhere from 20-200 passwords. We recognize that is a big gap but even memorizing 20 different passwords is a difficult task. With that said, we would like to provide you with a few useful tools that can free up your memory and manage your password security for you.
There are a variety of password managers on the market. We have used and enjoyed LastPass which comes with a free and premium subscription as well as an app for your phone. If you want to check out a variety of password managers and how they stack up – PC Magazine released their “Best Password Managers of 2017” earlier this month.
Password Security Tests
Platforms and websites do exist that will check the security of your password. There are even some websites out there that will tell you how long a hacker would have to spend to crack your code. Check out our recommended tool here .
Email Alias Tools
We’ve found an interesting tool that can help you keep track of your passwords but also creates aliases for your email address. This is useful because without your email address, a password is essentially useless. Now, of course you don’t want someone to have your password at all but this also helps you keep your inbox clear of spam and unwanted mail.
Any of these tools can help you out. If you have any questions feel free to reach the Andromeda Team Today!
The post Password Quick Tips – 6 Do’s And Don’ts appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Apple Adds Physical Security Feature To New MacBook Nov 13, 2018
In recent months, hackers around the world have been finding new ways to invade people's privacy, hijacking an increasing number of cameras and microphones attached to smartphones and PCs.� Apple is responding to the evolving threat by introducing a new layer of physical security to their latest MacBooks.
The company has created a custom security chip which introduces a means of physically disconnecting the PC's built-in microphone any time the user closes the lid on the machine.
As the company explains:
"This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even the software on the T2 (security) chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed."
It's a good move that helps at the margins, but it's far from being a comprehensive solution.� After all, you're still vulnerable while you're working, reading, or watching something on your computer, but it is an undeniably good first step.
The new security chip does far more than merely serving as a means to disable the built-in microphone, however.� It provides a host of new security enhancements that, when combined with the macBook's Touch ID system, makes the PC more secure than it ever has been.
On top of that, the T2 chip provides a number of non-security features as well, including:
- Auto balancing the FaceTime HD camera
- Enhancing the Apple video encoder and audio controller
- Controls the ambient sensor and the system management controller (SMC)
- Acts as an image processer that enables enhanced tone mapping
In short then, it's a good addition that's destined to make an already great computer even better.� Unfortunately, it's just a matter of time before the hackers figure out ways around most, if not all the new enhanced security features. Then the arms race will continue to its next phase.