Monthly Archives: January 2019

The Technology Blog

A New Year’s Resolution Fail

By | Cyber Security, Email, Uncategorized | No Comments

A New Year’s Resolution Fail

So your New Year’s resolution didn’t go as planned, don’t feel bad. When making or breaking a habit most people will stumble along the way. But what do we do after it goes from New Year’s resolution to New Year’s bust?

A-New-Year’s-Resolution-Fail

A New Year’s Resolution Fail

The Automatic Monthly Payment Catch

“Getting in shape” or “losing weight” are two common resolutions. Starting in December fitness clubs and gyms start their advertising campaigns to attract members, they know that the vast majority of new members will sign up in the next two months as they plan their New Year’s resolution. In the ads you’ll notice that more time is spent talking about rates, sign up fees, and easy monthly payments than there is about the services of the gym. With low or no sign up fee and easy automatic withdrawal payments of $10-15, gyms make it incredibly easy and affordable to join. But what happens after the initial fire to get in shape burns out? We miss one day, then another. A week goes by and we tell ourselves “next week I’ll go.” One week leads to another, leads to another, and the next thing you know a month has gone by and our resolution has been forgotten till next year. You may have stopped going, but that doesn’t mean you’ve stopped paying for it.
Did you know most people don’t remember to stop an automatic payment until one to two payments after they’ve stopped using the service? Remember to cancel automatic payments when you decide not to use the service. People lose money by paying for unused services all too often.

First Month Free Catch

While we’re on the topic of automatic monthly payments, it’s a good time to review “first month free” and “free trial” ads. Companies often use these ads to get people to use and then stay with their services. Usually when you sign up for the these free or trial periods you have to hand over your personal information and credit card number. Be Careful! Read the fine print before you enter you information! Many companies will automatically charge you after 30 days, whether or not you used their program or services during the free trial period. Set a reminder in your calendar to cancel or continue with the company after the free trial period. Rarely will the company send you a reminder that your free trial is coming to an end.

Look Before You Click

As always, check links and websites before clicking on them and entering any personally identifiable information. Cybercriminals know that people are looking to “lose pounds quickly” and for the “best home workouts” and set up fake ads to trick you into giving them your information.

Your first New Year’s resolution may not have gone the way you wanted. Make “being cybersecurity savvy” your new resolution.

Top Cybersecurity Threats To Your Business

By | Cyber Security, Uncategorized | No Comments

Top Cybersecurity Threats To Your Business

Maintaining a proactive approach to network and cybersecurity is the best practice for businesses. During 2018 we went through many of the scams and security threats that business face and steps that you can take to prevent becoming a victim. As your business looks to grow and achieve new goals in 2019, let’s review some of the most prevalent scams and security threats your business will face. Knowing the threats your business faces helps you to take the proactive steps necessary to protect it.

Top-Cybersecurity-Threats-To-Your-Business

Top Cybersecurity Threats To Your Business

Have Cyber Criminals Targeted Your Business

Too many small to medium sized businesses think that by “keeping their heads down” they won’t be targeted by malicious attacks and cyber criminals. They think that their company doesn’t have the information or capital that cyber criminals or after. Unfortunately, neither of these assumptions are correct, as so many businesses discover. Cyber criminals and fraudsters are equal opportunity criminals and they don’t discriminate due to the size of your business.

The Cyber Threats You Face

  1. Phishing Scams – Did you know 75% of organizations are targets of a phishing scam every single day? Phishing scams don’t have a followed template, but the goal is always the same: compromise your business’ security and information. There are many ways to build a defense and develop good business practices to protect you and your business from phishing attacks. To learn more, check out Protect Your Business From Phishing Scams  and Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks .
  2. Business Email Compromise (BEC) Scams – BEC scams account for some of the most high-profile and costly cyber crimes. In July of 2018, the FBI reported that total global losses to BEC scams was over $12.5 billion (October 2013-May 2018). BEC scams typically rely on advanced social engineering tactics and bypassing your company’s security measures by targeting the weakest link of cyber security, the human element. Read Ceo Fraud Scams and Why They Are Successful  to learn more.
  3. Ransomware – Ransomware is a malicious attack where the cybercriminal encrypts your data and then demands a ransom payment to get your data back. Ransomware attacks affect business in every industry and of all sizes. Today, the average ransom payment is $500, but depending on the organization and the type of information that is being held hostage, the ransom payment can be much higher. Read more about ransomware attacks here .
  4. Cloud Compromise Threats – As more of our business information is stored or shared on the cloud, the threats have increased as well. From dealing with vendors and quick file transfers to staying in touch with your off-site team members, cloud services have made doing business in a mobile world a whole lot easier. Working on public wifi and weak passwords pose the largest threats so review How To Create Strong Passwords and protect your business on the cloud.
  5. Cyber-Mining & Cryptojacking – 2018 saw the rise of this particular cybercrime. Cybercriminals hijack your computer by infecting it with malware, they then harness your computer’s processing for their own purposes. Experts believe criminal hijacking of computers will see a significant increase in 2019, especially for the mining of cryptocurrencies. Learn more about cryptojacking and protect your business.

To learn more about the cyber security threats your business faces and check your business’ preparedness through a No-Cost System Audit, contact Pros 4 Technology today. Your trusted managed IT services provider and cyber security specialist.

Top 5 Reasons To Use Managed IT Services

By | Business Network Security, Cyber Security | No Comments

Top 5 Reasons To Use Managed IT Services

2019 is officially here and it’s the time to make (and try to stick to) resolutions. For businesses, January is a time for looking back on the year that was and for looking forward to the year that will be. This process typically centers around revenue, efficiency, how to grow, and ways to save. For most small to medium sized businesses, how IT fits into this big picture can be a headache or just downright confusing.

Top-5-Reasons-To-Use-Managed-IT-Services

Top 5 Reasons To Use Managed IT Services

Most large businesses have their own IT department that keeps their network, software, and cyber security up-to-date and running smoothly. Another, less glamorous, aspect of IT is keeping systems up-to-date with regulations and cyber security laws. How businesses handle their customers or clients information and the steps they take to protect it are governed by regulations and businesses that fail to follow these regulations leave themselves open to liability lawsuits. For small to medium sized businesses that “troubleshoot on the fly,” these regulations are sometimes unknown and therefore not followed.

How Managed IT Services Can Help Your Small to Medium Sized Business

For most small to medium sized businesses, the cost of having a fulltime employee(s) handling IT services is too high or there is simply not enough for them to do to justify the position. What happens without IT support is that a owner, manager or other tech-savvy employee usually assumes the role and does the updating and troubleshooting when it comes up. While this may work for a short period of time, in today’s world of advanced cyber-security threats stop-gap methods leave your business susceptible to cyber attacks and network failures. When you work with most Managed Service Providers you’re able to set up an IT support and service plan that fits your needs and budget.

Top 5 Reasons Your Business Needs Managed IT Services

 

  1. Cost of Professional IT Services – Using managed IT services allows you to set up a plan that uniquely fits your business and needs. You don’t pay for services you don’t need or use. Most managed service providers also have monthly or yearly rates, allowing you to set cost and business expenses. One other benefit, is that managed services help reduce your risk of network failures, again, reducing the cost of doing business.
  2. Access to Professional IT Services – Since most small to medium businesses aren’t able to justify having a full-time IT professional on the payroll they often leave themselves and business open to cyber threats and networks disasters. When using a managed service provider, you have access to highly trained IT professionals that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. With managed services your business has access to IT professionals just like larger companies, which helps your business compete.
  3. Stay Up-To-Date With New Technology – IT professionals stay in the loop with all the new technology, apps, and software. They keep your business informed of cost-effective solutions and upgrades that you may otherwise not know of.
  4. Cyber-Security & Reducing Risks – There are a myriad of cyber and network risks that face you business. From compliance and network updates to phishing scams and employee error, managed service providers help defend your business from the daily threats it encounters; helping to eliminate downtime and saving our business money.
  5. Letting You Focus On Your Business – Unless your business is IT, you probably didn’t start your business so you could spend all your time focused on your network. Managed services can eliminate all those extra hours you and your employees spend on network issues allowing you to spend more of your work day focused the business of doing business.

 

Pros 4 Technology – Managed IT Services

Take your business into 2019 with Managed IT Services. At Pros 4 Technology we have training and experience to handle your business’ IT needs. Contact us today to get started with a No-Cost Network Audit. Let’s work together to achieve your business’ goals.

Time To Upgrade Your Wallet

By | Cyber Security, Identity Theft, Scams | No Comments

Time To Upgrade Your Wallet

We’ve all seen the commercials of people zooming through the checkout line with a simple “tap” of their credit card. You don’t have time to waste with swiping, inserting, and pin numbers. A simple “tap” and you’re on your way. It may make your shopping experience a breeze, but like all new banking technology scammers have found a way to exploit it.

How-To-Protect-Your-Identity & Credit Card

How To Protect Your Identity & Credit Card

The Traditional Pickpocket

In the 2015 film, Focus, there’s a great scene that shows a team of pickpockets easily separating people from their possessions. When we think of a “pickpocket” we probably think of some slight-of-hand work, misdirection, or an impish character straight out of a Charles Dickens novel. In today’s tech-savvy age, pickpockets don’t need any of these refined skills. All they need is a high-tech radio scanner and to be close enough to you to pick up the radio frequency emitted by your “tap and go” credit card. The technology of “tap and go” credit cards is known as Radio Frequency Identification Detection or RFID.  

How Radio Scanner Pickpocketing Works

It’s really quite simple and almost undetectable when it happens, making it a low-risk operation for a criminal. Your “tap and go” credit card emits a radio frequency that communicates your card information, this is how your card information passes to the credit card reader at the store. What criminals have discovered is that by using a radio frequency scanner they can steal your credit card information; card number, expiration date, security code, and the name on the card. All they have to do is have the scanner hidden on their person and get close enough for the scanner to pick up the frequency of the card.

How To Protect Your Identity & Credit Card

If you’ve ever read a travel guide book, one of the top ways they give for avoiding pickpockets is to conceal your documents, cash and checks in a travel belt wallet that can be hidden inside your shirt or pants. Essentially, it’s the same concept when it comes to protecting your identity and “tap and go” credit card from electronic pickpockets. There are several brands and styles of RFID blockers including wallets, purses and individual holders. Simply keep your “tap and go” credit in a RFID blocking case and criminals will not be able to electronically pickpocket you.

Not sure if your card is RFID enabled? The next time you’re in a store that is set up for “tap and go”, give it a try, but tP4he best way to be sure is to call your credit card company or bank and to ask.  

Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks

By | Business Network Security, Cyber Security | No Comments

Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks

We face cyber phishing attacks everyday. Most of us can spot the emails that come through our personal email accounts. The rich relative we never knew about, but wants to leave us “millions” if we only pay a small legal handling fee. The “too-good-to-be-true” sales and coupons that we need to download. But what about in our work and business life? What threat is posed by phishing attacks?

How-To-Defend-Your-Business-Against-Phishing-Attacks

How To Defend Your Business Against Phishing Attacks

Sophisticated Cyber Phishing Attacks

Phishing Attacks are one of the most common ways cyber-criminals infiltrate businesses. When it comes to gaining access to company information or using ransomware (malicious software that is used to hold a business network hostage until a ransom is paid), cybercriminals use advanced, sophisticated methods that aren’t easy to spot. These types of attacks are known as Advanced Persistent Threats, or APT.

What Are Advanced Persistent Threats?

Advanced Persistent Threat is the methodology behind sophisticated cyber-criminals. It is cyber-criminals playing the “long game.” Most of these types of attacks focus on particular businesses or entities and are not random. They are a culmination of research and the victim’s ability and willingness to pay. The best way to understand all the different facets of Advanced Persistent Threats is to talk about protecting your business from them at the same time.

How To Avoid Becoming A Victim of Business Phishing Scams

  1. Know Your Information – Do your employees know what information they can and cannot access? Do they know the value of the information? Do they respect current policies and procedures? Performing routine Risk Assessments will help you better understand the nature of the information your employees have access to and help you develop policies and plans to protect it. If your company handles large quantities of personally identifiable information or financial information of clients and customers, cyber-criminals will know it and makes your business more of a target. Make sure your employees know what your company policies are and the consequences for not following them.
  2. Keep Your Network Strong – You have all the bells and whistles you need to keep your network safe, or so you think. When was the last time you had your system tested? Having your network and its security tested by an expert can help find weaknesses that need to be addressed. Know which employees have access to what information. Audit positions and roles on an ongoing basis so that employees have access only to the information they need to do their jobs. By controlling and monitoring these access points, you’re adding layers of protection against phishing attacks.
  3. The Human Side of Network Security – With these Advanced Persistent Threats, cybercriminals are researching you, your employees, and your business. They’re looking for a way in. Oversharing on social media sites is one common way cyber-criminals gain information about your company structure and possible ways of constructing a successful phishing attack. Make sure your employees, especially upper-management, are aware of the threats posed by sharing company information on personal social media accounts. Training your employees on proper information sharing is key.
  4. Cyber Security Rules Everyone Should Follow
    • Check links and double check before you click. Take time to be sure of the source and the download. When people rush through tasks mistakes happen.
    • If you receive a phone call, text or email scam, report it! By reporting it you are making sure your colleagues and coworkers are on the alert.
    • Don’t be afraid to double check a request. Always err on the side of caution and make sure an information request is coming from a legitimate person who is authorized to receive the information.
    • Always have policies and procedures that are clear and concise. Too often business fall prey to phishing attacks because of personnel not following or understanding what company policy is.

Keep your business is safe from cyber phishing attacks. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Vishing Scams

By | Scams, Smartphones & Tablets | No Comments

Vishing Scams

There are so many different types of cyber-scams out there. Over the last few months we’ve made it our mission to keep you safe by providing you with tips on avoiding cyber threats. This week, we continue our mission with the subject of Vishing Scams.

How-To-Avoid-Vishing-Scams

Vishing Scams

What Are Vishing Scams

Vishing (voice-phishing) scams or phone fraud scams are a very common form of fraud and identity theft. Vishing is low-tech, but it is one of the most successful types of scams because it targets the weakest link in the IT and cyber security chain – the human element. The scam doesn’t depend on sophisticated malware, but rather advanced social engineering tactics. Criminals and fraudsters use vishing scams to target individuals or businesses in order to obtain personally identifiable information, fraudulent payments, or other information that can be sold or used to commit other crimes.

Vishing Scams On Individuals

When targeting individuals through a vishing scam, scammers impersonate a representative of a business such as a bank, the police, or insurance company. They typically use information they obtained from a previous data breach so that they have just enough information about you to make the phone call seem legitimate. For example, the fraudster impersonates a representative from your bank. They call and tell you they just need to verify some information because they noticed irregular transactions. They then tell you a list of fake purchases and ask if it’s you. When you say “no” they ask you to confirm your account info so they can decline the transactions and just like that they have access to your bank accounts. The fraudster has used your fear of identity theft to commit identity theft against you.

The best way to protect yourself from Vishing Scams is to ask the caller to provide company info, their name and title, case number, and telephone number. After you have the caller’s information, hang up and confirm the information provided. Call back only if everything checks out.

Vishing Scams On Businesses

When scammers target a business using a vishing scam, they typically assume the identity of an account holder with the purpose of gaining access to the individual’s account. The account holder information has usually been obtained through identity theft or a previous data breach. Using their social engineering skills, the scammer calls the business and provides a believable backstory and gains access to the account. For example, they might tell the customer service representative that either they were recently in a car accident, their apartment or home was broken into or that they experienced a birth or death in the family and that they can’t remember their password or login info. Whatever the story, it will be emotionally charged and designed to create sympathy so that the representative doesn’t follow company policy. Next thing you know, the business representative has given temporary login information to a fraudster and criminal. In this case, the fraudster has used a sympathy play to get an employee to ignore company policy and procedures putting the account holder and the business at risk.

For businesses, no matter what size, the human element of IT and cyber security is one of the most critical. Most scams, from BEC Scams to Phishing Scams, are successful due to human error. Making sure your employees have the proper training and are fully aware of company policy and procedures are just as important as keeping your IT systems up to date and secure.

Protect your business with proven IT solutions. We provide system analysis, employee training, and Managed IT Services. Contact us to schedule a No-Cost Network Audit today!