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The risks of unpatched applications and unsupported equipment

Alyssa Sisco

Everyday more technology processes are automated, saving us from performing tedious tasks over and over. However, the technology that helps us and makes our lives easier is also used by hackers and cybercriminals to take advantage of us. Hackers use automation to build bots that continuously search the internet for unpatched and vulnerable devices to infect. In fact, almost 30% of all internet traffic is made up of bad bots such as hacking tools, impersonators, scrapers and spammers. Once a hacker finds and accesses your vulnerable computer, it only takes about 20 minutes to infect it. As soon as that one device on your network is infected, it doesn't take long before your whole network is breached.

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Topics: Network Security, Equipment Purchases, Data Breach, Security Threats

IT Security in the Information Warfare Age

Galen Winkler

Back in August, Wired Magazine published a fascinating look at the NotPetya attack and more specifically its unforeseen effects on the shipping giant, Maersk. The article itself is worth a read if you are interested in IT security, but more pertinent to small and medium business owners is this lesson:

Damaging cyber-attacks propagate themselves quickly without any human intervention, and may go well beyond their original intended targets, so it's important to use layered security tools. An organization like Maersk was “splashed" by an attack intended to bring the Ukrainian government down. That attack was carried out with tools developed by the United States National Security Agency, which were leaked in a breach earlier in the year, and used by cyber attackers took and use for their own purposes.

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Topics: Network Security

How to keep your business secure while allowing staff to work remotely

Alyssa Sisco

With the right company culture and technology tools, it’s possible to work effectively and efficiently while outside of the office. Given access to email, chat, video conferencing, cloud collaboration tools, and more, there aren’t a lot of office jobs that can’t be done off-site. Studies show that flexible work options reduce turnover, improve morale and to top it all off, over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters.

Taking all this into consideration, it's no wonder why the number of people spending at least some of their hours each week working remotely is continuing to rise. When a business decides that allowing their staff to work remotely could positively impact their business, there are some steps they need to take to ensure that they have the proper security measures in place. Here are a few items your business should implement to thwart a cyber attack:

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Topics: Network Security, Owners & Managers, Trends

How to identify Social Engineering

Alyssa Sisco

Social engineering involves the manipulation or deception of people in order to obtain information or access they shouldn't have. Social engineers could be after a password, bank account information, access to your corporation's network or anything else that could benefit them. Their end goal could be to steal money, company secrets, to disrupt your business or to shut it down entirely.

Because social engineering preys on human behavior, it's one of the most dangerous threats to cybersecurity. Can you rely on each staff member at your company to successfully identify and protect against these attacks?

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Topics: Network Security, Staff Training, Security Threats

Windows Server 2008 end of support

Alyssa Sisco

Support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 is ending on January 14, 2020.

This means that no more security updates will be developed or released after January 14, 2020. Running unsupported software on your server can leave your business vulnerable to any number of cybersecurity attacks and may keep your business from meeting compliance requirements.

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Topics: Network Security, Microsoft Products

End of life for Windows 7

Alyssa Sisco

A constant drive to create new features, combined with limited resources, leaves software with an expiration date. Since the goal of most tech companies is to evolve and innovate, they can only lend so much time, money and energy on their old programs. So, software is given what's called an end of life date. On that day, the developer will no longer fix any issues found in the software. Not even Microsoft has the resources to keep software supported forever. So, it's coming time to say goodbye to Windows 7. Windows 7 will no longer receive patches for new bugs or holes discovered as of January 14, 2020.

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Topics: Alert, Microsoft Products, Network Security

Are you an easy target for phishing scams?

Alyssa Sisco

The sole objective of any phishing email is to trick you into clicking it. If you aren't vigilant, it can be easy to fall for. It doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, or what company you work for, you can be targeted and it's important to know how to protect yourself.

Since Amazon and Uber are so well-known and widely-used, cybercriminals have often chosen them to impersonate. Their aim? To lull you into a false sense of security at seeing the familiar brand name. With the addition of a subject line that will illicit a response, anyone could find themselves clicking on a link before even taking a second to think.

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Topics: Network Security, Staff Training, Security Threats

The shift from ransomware to cryptomining

Alyssa Sisco

In its earliest days, ransomware wasn’t much of a threat, because it couldn’t actually encrypt data. But that was in the 80's and 90's, those days are long over in the field of technology. Within the past few years, not only has ransomware become a formidable threat but it has also grown exponentially. The world experienced a growth from 3.2 million ransomware attacks in 2014, to 3.8 million in 2015. Then, in 2016, ransomware attacks jumped to a staggering 638 million. Not only did the amount of attacks increase, but the ransoms themselves shot up from an average of $373 per computer in 2014, to $1,077 per computer in 2016. With 241,000 new variants of ransomware created in 2016 (about 660 new variants per day) anti-malware software was struggling to keep up.

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Topics: Trends, Network Security, Security Threats

The proactive approach to IT

Alyssa Sisco

Sitting around and waiting for bad things to happen is not a recommended strategy for any aspect of life, so why take that course of action when it comes to your IT network? Stay on top of your network’s health by running preventative scans and taking proactive measures to keep your system running efficiently. Trying to fix every little bump or disruption after it occurs, is a lot more time consuming than running automated scans. Often, they are able to identify the root cause of issues, sometimes even before symptoms appear. Here are some of the automated scans we offer and what the benefit is to your business:

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Topics: Network Security

What can a computer hack really cost you?

Alyssa Sisco

Being the target of a cybercriminal is not a fun experience for anyone, but it’s definitely a lot worse if you don’t have a plan to get back on your feet afterwards. Cybercriminals have caught on to the fact that small and midsize businesses don’t spend as much money on IT security, making them easier targets than large, multimillion-dollar companies. It’s important to note that 62% off all cyber-attacks are carried out on SMBs, according to IBM. Additionally, the National Cyber Security Alliance states that about 60% of SMBs who experience a hack, go out of business within a six-month period after the attack.

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Topics: Security Threats, Data Breach, Network Security