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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.Start 2019 Out Right – Have a Network Security Assessment Completed Jan 04, 2019
Why have a Network Security Assessment at least once per year:
Our digital world is being attacked constantly and your corporate network is one of the biggest targets on the market. Why? Because it also tends to be an easy mark. Year after year we see large scale attacks against corporations, but did you know that the majority of cyber incidents occur against small to mid-size businesses? Ask yourself: When was the last time I had a professional network security assessment? We’ve listed out some of the top reasons why Network Security Assessments are a vital piece of a multi-layered approach to cyber security for your business.
Let’s start by stating something that you might not expect a tech company to express. Being a victim of a cyber attack is inevitable. No amount of effort or software can protect you 100% of the time. The solution is to implement as many precautionary steps as you can to lessen the likelihood of becoming a victim. No approach on the market can guarantee you will never be breached. If you ever run into an IT firm or product that tries to make this a “guarantee” . . . run and don’t look back because this is 100% false.
Now, there are the obvious steps that you can take to protect yourself and make it harder on the criminals:
- Proactive Email habits
- Anti-malware software
- Proper Employee training
- Professional Disaster Recover (DR) plan/device
However, there is another tool in the arsenal that you should use regularly and that is an annual (at minimum) Network Security Assessment.
What Does A Network Security Assessment Involve?
Your IT support company should perform an initial assessment; after, they should give you a detailed risk report displaying areas that need to be optimized or adjusted. If your IT company does not perform these, it may be time to start looking somewhere new. Cyber threats are more prevalent every day and it is important to partner with an IT company that recognizes this and protects your business accordingly.
We find that our assessment usually uncovers security threats and holes; even when a business has the right practices and has done their research. Cyber security is a daily battle for businesses of every type. When we run our assessment we use the results to constantly improve the defenses of our clients. And that is why, like most things in tech, an assessment should be a regular event.
The Network Security Assessment Is Done. What’s the Next Step?
The network security assessment itself is not the only thing to request though. It is equally important to make sure that your firm supplies you with a report of their findings. This report should be simple to understand, contain an overall score and give you a breakdown of each issue found, along with how serious those specific issues are. Ask for an action plan that goes over any adjustments in detail for any issues that are found. Why go through the assessment process if you aren’t going to apply any changes with the data?
How important and helpful are these reports? We are an IT company with a background protecting our partners from risk. We also put protections in place for our partners and still find ways to improve our customer cyber safety every time we run an assessment.
Why? Because cyber security is a dynamic, ever changing landscape and you need to proactively search for issues. Don’t let yourself learn the hard way. You never want to discover there is a hole in your cyber security when it’s too late from an attack or breach.
Interested in a Network Security Assessment?
If this article has you questioning your current setup, or peaked your interest in starting a conversation regarding the cyber security protections necessary for your business, a network security assessment with Andromeda is a great place to start. With this in mind, we will be discounting our network security assessment thru 1/31/19. Fill out the form below for access to our promotional rate and begin a discussion with one of our security experts.
Fill out the form below to receive a $500 discount on a Network Security Assessment valid for the month of January:
The post Start 2019 Out Right – Have a Network Security Assessment Completed appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.Google Chrome Users Should Update Immediately Nov 14, 2019
If you're using Google's Chrome browser to read this article, be advised that the company has announced the presence of a pair of major, Zero-Day vulnerabilities that put you at immediate risk.�Not only are the flaws of the highest possible severity, but hackers have already begun exploiting them.
The two issues are being tracked as CVE-2019-13720 and CVE-2019-13721.
The first of these impacts Chrome's audio component, while the second resides in the PDFium library.� The company has been reluctant to release any technical details on these issues for fear that it will lead to even more widespread exploitation.
Part of the official statement from Google on the matter reads as follows:
"Google is aware of reports that an exploit for CVE-2019-13720 exists in the wild...Access to bug details and links may be kept restricted until a majority of users are updated with a fix.� We will also retain restrictions if the bug exists in a third party library that other projects similarly depend on but haven't yet fixed."
The issues were discovered and reported by researchers from Kaspersky Labs and Google immediately took steps to patch the problem.
Google is urging all Chrome users to update to version 78.0.3904.87 immediately.� If you're not sure what version of the browser you're running, you can check by clicking the three vertical dots in the upper right corner, going to "Help" and then "About," which will tell you if your browser is updated or manually trigger the update process.
These issues are about as serious as they come.� Zero-day exploits are, as one might expect, exceedingly dangerous. Given that one of the two have already been seen being exploited by hackers makes updating your way out of harm's way a top priority.
Kudos to the sharp-eyed researchers at Kaspersky Labs for spotting the issues right away, and to Google for fast action in issuing the correction.