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5 Ways Your Information Gets On The Dark Web May 03, 2019
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.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.How A Third-Party Data Breach Impacts Cybersecurity At Your Business Aug 05, 2019
With the average American adult maintaining over 130 different accounts online, the risk of a data breach or data being stolen continues to grow. Between social media, financials, productivity applications, email, business applications, online shopping and countless other accounts online, your “online life” becomes more and more a part of your day to day physical life as time passes.
As more of our lives and data are shared online, criminals are focused on breaking into these databases to steal the valuable info they hold:
- Personal Info such as name, address, dates of birth, social security numbers etc.
- Financial information such as bank info, credit cards etc.
- Social Information on social media accounts
This is a real problem facing consumers globally but the impacts span beyond individual damages and stolen identities (though, those damages are bad enough).
When a criminal steals your password, or the password of a coworker, chances are – they’ve gained access to many pieces of your “online life”.
Here’s an example to illustrate how a third party data breach can lead a criminal back to your business.
Your HR manager helps book travel for employees at the business. He set up a business account at a national hotel chain to book rooms for whatever the business travel needs are. The hotel chain’s database suffers a breach and cybercriminals steal thousands of email/password combos including your HR manager’s credentials.
Your HR manager used the same password he uses for all kinds of sites online when he created the login at the hotel company site. This means that the criminals who have this breached data, now have access to your payroll software, servers and all the other things your HR manager interacts with.
The criminals either use this data themselves or take it to the Dark Web to sell for a few dollars (password/email combinations go for $3-$5 on average on the Dark Web).
Breaches like these happen daily and criminals use the information they steal to do as much damage as they can.
This creates a unique problem for business owners and managers because what can you possibly do to protect yourself from a data breach happening at a hotel chain or some other account online?
Things get even trickier when the average span of time between a data breach and disclosure to the public reaches 15 months. Meaning, criminals have a 15-month head start to get to your business and do damage before your are notified on the 5 o’clock news or your social media feed.
So, how can you defend against this kind of thing?
First, implement a password policy at your business:
- Strong Passwords Required
- Change Passwords Regularly (90 days minimum)
- Dual Authentication
- Lockout Procedures
Second, roll out a password management tool across your organization.
As mentioned earlier, the average adult in America manages over 130 accounts online. It is no wonder that we have a hard time creating strong and unique passwords for each of those accounts. It would be nearly impossible to remember all of that without writing things down – which isn’t secure.
To bridge the gap between security and memory, implement a password management tool. Look for something that is encrypted, secure and be sure to consider mobile capabilities. We recommend LastPass as a great option to start.
Third, invest in Dark Web Monitoring
Dark Web Monitoring is still a newer service offered to businesses and professionals. This is a monitoring solution designed to scrub different areas of the Dark Web (chatrooms, discussion boards etc.) for data connected to your domain.
If we apply Dark Web Monitoring to the example above with the HR Manager for instance – when the criminals stole data from the hotel chain and went to sell/share it on the Dark Web, the monitoring tool would identify your IT company to have the HR manager change passwords. That way, the criminals have useless data and you are protected well before you learn about the breach 15 months later.
The post How A Third-Party Data Breach Impacts Cybersecurity At Your Business appeared first on Andromeda Technology Solutions.People Are Moving From Windows 7 To Windows 10 For Security Feb 18, 2020
Despite the age of the OS, Windows 7 has enjoyed a surprisingly large and loyal user base. That changed suddenly when Microsoft finally pulled the plug on Windows 7 support.
It couldn't have come as a surprise to many people. After all, the company has been sounding the alarm and has announced the end of support date for more than a year.
Even so, most Windows 7 users greeted the looming end of support with little more than a yawn.
Then, January came and Microsoft did exactly as they said they'd do. Support ended, and suddenly, broad swaths of the Windows 7 user base woke from their slumber and finally transitioned to Windows 10.
Statistics show that in January, the Windows 7 install base took a significant hit, dropping by some 4.2 percent, while the ranks of Windows 10 users swelled considerably, growing by almost the same amount. Based on the number of machines running Windows 7, that means that in January alone, some 50 million machines were moved off of the old OS.
In some respects, the sluggish response and then the sudden surge aren't too much of a surprise. Most people tend to put off doing unpleasant things until they simply have to. As long as Microsoft was content to keep issuing security patches to keep the venerable OS secure, the Windows 7 user base was content to trundle along as they always had. The moment that changed, it suddenly made a lot more sense to jump on the Windows 10 bandwagon.
If you're one of the Windows 7 holdouts, understand that every day you remain on the old OS, you're putting your network at risk. If you don't already have plans to upgrade, it's well past time to make them.