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What is the Dark Web and why it matters for your business Mar 29, 2019
Ransomware, cybercrime, hackers . . .
It’s safe to say that you’ve at least heard of these terms in the news and if you are like most people, you’ve heard them over and over on the news, in the office and just in everyday conversation for the past few years.
This progression in the cybersecurity world may come with unique phrases and buzzwords but the trend itself is nothing new. Since the internet’s beginning, there have been people working to cause chaos.
Think computer viruses, Trojan horses, scams, spam, malware etc.
Like most technology, the internet is used predominantly for good. But, there are always a few bad apples who take good technology and choose to use it with less than the best intentions. And while there have always been “bad guys” out there trying to disrupt good works from being done, over the last decade and specifically in the last few years we’ve seen an incredible increase in spending, vulnerability and rates of incident for large scale cyber-attacks.
To put this in perspective, spending on cybersecurity is projected to exceed 1 trillion dollars by 2021. In 2017, information security (a subset of the cybersecurity industry) spending hit over 86 billion dollars.
On top of this, there has been a dramatic increase of incidents in the small to medium sized business arena. When a local business gets hit, it may not make the 5 o’clock news like Home Depot or Target, but it hurts just the same – and maybe even more.
The crazy thing when it comes to cybercrime, ransomware and other infections is that you can be doing regular updates, implement antivirus etc. and you still can fall victim to identity theft, breaches and other cyber incidents.
All of this cyber-security and cyber-crime discussion lays the groundwork for this Dark Web discussion.
What is the Dark Web?
First, what is the Dark Web? In a simple and brief explanation, the Dark Web is a mostly anonymous space online that you need special software to access. The experience is much like a normal internet browser but the sites and activities available are very different.
Many times the Dark Web is described using an iceberg illustration.
- The internet as we know it is what you can see above sea level.
- There is a larger space just below the surface of the iceberg where the ‘darknet’ lives, this is dominantly used for large data stores. Financial records, academic databases, government records etc. live here.
- Then there is the bottommost layer of the iceberg, this is the Dark Web – here you’ll find illegal activity like drug trafficking, illegal gun sales, and even personal data for sale.
Now, you may be thinking,
“This is interesting information but what in the heck does the Dark Web have to do with me? Why do I care about it? I don’t use it. I don’t know anyone who does. . .” And we get that, but even if you don’t use the Dark Web you may be on it.
The Dark Web is one of the largest sources of stolen data available to criminals. While some may use it to buy goods, other criminals purchase pieces of your information like credit card information, passwords, social security information and more to use for their own purposes.
When cybercriminals go to places like your local grocery store, Experian and other sites to wreak havoc, the information they steal ends up for sale on the Dark Web.
All of this taken into consideration, the everyday consumer and business professional shouldn’t be scanning these areas of the web to try and protect their data.
Instead, a business professional like yourself should make sure that you are following proper security protocols:
- Anti-Virus Software Regularly Updated and on every device
- Proper Firewalls and regular updates
- Employee training
- Regular Professional Backups (also regularly tested and verified)
- Disaster Recovery Plan
- Spam filtering
- Encourage employees to speak up if they see a weird email or link
- Bring in professional cyber security consulting
With all of these items and a few more in place, you make it much more difficult for a cyber-criminal to get into your network and steal your data. This in turn will help keep your data and that of your employees off of the Dark Web. Of course, nothing is foolproof and that is why an exceptional cyber-security partner should offer Dark Web monitoring.
Dark Web monitoring is a program some IT professionals offer businesses where scans are going on constantly in the background and are looking for a specific domain. When the scan recognizes your domain in a database, it flags the software and you are alerted to change passwords or address the breach.
This way, you are always a step ahead of the criminals without lowering yourself to the “Dark Web” itself.
We hope you found this first installment in our Dark Web series helpful. Look out for our next article in February focused on 5 ways you can keep your information off of the Dark Web entirely.
The post What is the Dark Web and why it matters for your business appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Your Company Laptop Was Stolen – Now What? May 29, 2018
It’s another Tuesday in the airport, and you just cleared the TSA line and went to the pretzel shop for a quick bite before you catch your plane. You sit your laptop down to get a straw, and the next second…your laptop is gone. It’s not in sight, nor is the thief who stole it.
At first you’re confused, then the confusion starts to fade away and you realize that this wasn’t just a personal laptop. It was your work computer and had company files, sensitive information and access to company data that definitely doesn’t belong in anyone else’s hands.
But what do you do?
What To Do When You Can’t Find Your Stolen Laptop
Stolen Laptop Step 1: Get in touch with your IT team
Whether you outsource, have internal IT staff or a mixture of both, your first step is to alert your IT support teams of the incident. Time is critical on this.
Even if you have a password on your laptop, which will likely prevent the thief from immediately having access to your private documents. It won’t stop someone removing the hard drive from your laptop and connecting it to another computer. Suddenly your hard drive is sitting there, ready to browse – just like any other folder or drive letter.
Your IT Staff/Vendor should be installing encryption and remote management software on all remote devices. With proper encryption, your data is secure AND with remote management, your IT staff can wipe the stolen laptop before any damage is done.
Without this encryption software and remote management, you’d be forced to report any theft like this as a data breach. That means the government knows about it, your employees need to be made aware and worst of all – you have to alert clients.
This is why in this instance, you call your tech staff first.
Stolen Laptop Step 2: Contact the Police and file a report
The next best thing to do in situations like this is to immediately file a police report for the stolen laptop. Having a police case number can help with any insurance and/or recovery endeavors that come up. Plus, having a police report can help catch the criminal who stole your sensitive devices.
Stolen Laptop Step 3: Change Your Passwords
If you don’t have encryption and even if you do – it is smart to change passwords to all personal, professional and financial accounts. Additionally if you used this computer to pay bills, check banking information or for any type of financial transactions, you’ll want to make sure to check those accounts.
Stolen Laptop Step 4: Recover Your data on another device
This step also involves your IT staff/company. Hopefully you’re IT pros have all of your company data backed up and readily available. It is important that you synch your portable devices regularly so that in ANY incident of failure or theft, you can be restored quickly without too much interruption.
To make sure that you’re covered on this front, we’d suggest requesting regular tests of your backups anyway. That way, no matter the issue, you know your data is secured, backed up AND ready to deploy in an emergency or urgent situation.
There are many steps you’ll want to take after a theft occurs but with proactive IT support you won’t have nearly as many headaches to deal with.
These things happen more often than you’d think too.
On average a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds!
So – take the following actions and get ahead of the issue before a stolen laptop happens.
- Find out if your company’s remote devices are encrypted with the ability to wipe all data on command
- Make sure that you train employees with remote devices not to leave them unattended and to lock them in the trunk of their cars instead of leaving them in a front or backseat.
- When travelling put your laptop on the TSA conveyer belt last – that way it is less likely to remain unattended.
- Look into your company backups and business continuity protocols.
- How often are they tested?
- How often are remote users synching and backing up data?
- How long will it take to restore a PC when you need it?
Our team is here to help you set up and manage any of the technical details listed above.
In fact, fill out the form below or call the office to receive 10% off of your initial setup fees for our remote encryption software!
Just mention the code “Encrypt4Me” when you call (815) 836-0030 or fill out the form below.
The post Your Company Laptop Was Stolen – Now What? appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Latest Windows 7 Update Could Cause AntiVirus Program Issues Jun 14, 2019
If you're still using Windows 7, you probably already know that Microsoft recently threw users of some of it's older operating systems a bone when they issued a rare, emergency security patch designed to better protect their systems. Unfortunately, there's a problem.�According to the UK security firm Sophos, and backed up by sporadic user reports, installing the new patch creates conflicts on startup with a number of antivirus programs.
This is causing some systems to freeze on restart, getting stuck �at about 30 percent into the configuration process.
Microsoft has acknowledged the issue in a bulletin, which expands on Sophos' findings. The bulletin revealed that what the company is describing as a "glitch" also impacts Windows Server 2008 R2 users and the patch causes problems for users who have McAfee Endpoint Security Threat Prevention 10.x, McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.8, and McAfee Host Intrusion Prevention 8.0.
Sophos reports that they're working with Microsoft to resolve the issue, but to this point, no time frame for resolution has been given. Although at present, the company has not listed the problem as a known issue on their site.
This puts Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 users in a tricky spot.� The recent security patch is critical. It closes the door on a wide range of high severity security issues, making it much more difficult for hackers to gain unauthorized access.� On the other hand, if it doesn't work with the antivirus programs you're using, installing it might give you pause.
Microsoft has offered no guidance on this point, so each business owner and department manager will have to weigh the risks and proceed accordingly. �Just know that the company is actively working to resolve the issue, and when they do, you'll have at least a bit more protection. Although again, if you haven't already begun making plans to migrate away from your older operating system, the time is now.