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Cyber Security Tips For Daily Life

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On any given day we find ourselves coming and going as we stick to schedules and meet the demands of daily life. Throughout the day we stay connected through our phones, tablets, PCs, watches and any number of other devices. We bounce between home, work, mobile and public networks with ease and often without even thinking about it.


Cyber Security Tips For Daily Life

Cyber Awareness For Home, Work & Play

If you could separate your life into 3 categories where time is spent it would probably be Home, Work, and Play. For today’s post, we’re going to look at some easy cybersecurity steps that you can take to protect your device and identity during daily life.

Cybersecurity Tips For The Home

With the average American spending over 10 hours of screen time per day, understanding simple cybersecurity principles is crucial. Afterall, you are your first line of defense against cybercrimes.

  • Password Strength & Management – Most people have multiple online accounts, from social media sites and email to mobile banking and work accounts. The challenge of remembering all those passwords can lead to a “standard” password that you use for multiple sites. What happens when a hacker gains access to that password? All of your account are compromised. Create unique, strong passwords for each online account and if you’re nervous about forgetting them, use a Password Manager. Password Managers are an invaluable tool to protecting your accounts and information.
  • Anti-Malware & Antivirus Software – Make sure your antivirus and malware software gets automatic updates. This will help keep your devices safe from new cyber threats. Also, take the time to review your software features. Depending on what you use your home network for, upgrading or purchasing additional software may be required to keep your family’s devices secure.
  • Smart Devices – Our homes are going more and more digital with everything from thermostats and lightbulbs to washers and dryers. We can now sync our phones to various appliances and devices throughout our home. All of these devices have generic or default usernames and passwords.Change them immediately after the device is set up since they are typically public knowledge.

Cybersecurity Tips For Work

Everybody wants to do their best at work. Completing projects on time, communicating effectively, and performing job duties can mean the difference in earning that coveted promotion or getting a raise. No one want to be the person who causes or leaves the company vulnerable to a cyber threat. Following these steps will help you be more cybersecurity savvy while in the workplace.

  • Report Incidents & Suspicious Activity – From phishing to vishing, successful scams and frauds typically have one thing in common, during the scam an employee didn’t report or question a request. Reporting suspicious behavior, emails, or upper management requests may seem trivial, but keeping your direct manager and IT informed of these events ensures a fast incident response.
  • Respecting Clearance Levels – Businesses of all sizes restrict access to information and physical spaces. For example, only HR has access to sensitive personally identifiable information and there a specific policies in place to protect it. Also, access to data for certain work areas is limited to people who work in that specific department, for security reasons.Don’t let others use your credentials to access areas or information that they don’t have clearance to, and report it if a coworker asks you to do so.
  • Know & Follow Company Policy – We’ve talked about a number of scams email compromise All too often, cyber criminals are able to steal from businesses because employees don’t know or follow company policy. Don’t be that employee. Understanding your company’s policies and procedures will not only protect your company’s assets but also your standing within the company.

Cybersecurity Tips For Public Wifi

From our favorite coffee shop to limited mobile network access, we all use public access wifi at some point. These hotspots are convenient for customers and can increase foot traffic for many businesses, but be wary when using them. Areas with public wifi access are a prime spot for cybercriminals. Take steps to protect your devices when using public wifi.

  • Use a VPN – If you find yourself using public networks often, use a VPN (virtual private network). When you use a VPN you gain the security of a private network while using a public internet connection.
  • Remember Your Device – Our phone may be always on us so it’s surprising how often they get left behind. Make sure your phone or tablet is protected by a password and set up the remote services so that you can find your phone and protect the information that is on it.
  • Connecting Is Key – Check your wifi settings on your phone or mobile device. Some devices have an auto-connect feature which allows the device to search for and join networks automatically. It’s a convenient feature, but it leaves you open to attacks by criminals. The best practice is to manually go into your wifi settings and select the network you wish to join.

want you to stay safe and be cybersecurity savvy in 2019! Read on in The Technology Blog to learn more cybersecurity tips. Looking to improve your business’ cybersecurity? Contact us today to discuss Managed IT Services, Cloud Server Solutions, Data Backup & Recovery, and more.

Ransomeware: Small Business Network Security Threat

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Small businesses are being targeted with Ransomware as often as big companies.

It’s Monday morning: you pour your coffee and sit down at your computer. A message pops up on your screen: your files have been encrypted and you can’t access them, unless you pay a ransom in untraceable bitcoin to a faceless criminal over the internet. Your computer has been infected with a Ransomware virus.

Shock. Panic. Confusion. Your business comes to a screeching halt.

Ransomware is a specialized kind of malware virus used for cyber-crime. This particular virus has become a huge threat for small businesses, where network security is typically far more lax than larger corporations, and data backups may not be available. Ransomware viruses work by encrypting files on the compromised computer. They start slowly… locking up files that you may not use all the time. Maybe you try to open one and get a message that says the file is corrupt, but you shrug it off. Eventually, the ransomware encrypts all the files on your computer, making them inaccessible.

When the dirty work is complete, a message pops up on your screen that says something like “Your important files were encrypted with CryptoLocker virus. The only way to get your files back is to buy our decryption software.” If you pay the ransom, you are given a decryption key. If you don’t, you may lose your files forever. If you try to remove the malware, there is no way to retrieve them. If the infected computer has network access, ransomware can infect your entire network, and the ransom amount typically goes up with the number of files that are encrypted.

CryptoLocker warning message Pros 4 Technology Plymouth Wisconsin

Many people we talk to have no idea that this type of computer virus is out there, or that it could happen to them. Cybersecurity and network security deficiencies that can expose your data to cyberattack by Ransomware and other viruses are some of the most important things we uncover with our No-Cost Network Audit for new clients. Current Pros 4 Technology clients with Managed IT Services rely on constant network monitoring to identify issues and threats early, before they can devastate their business.

Common network security vulnerabilities we identify include:

  • Firewall problems: sometimes there is no firewall. More often, a firewall has been installed properly, but it has actually been turned off by a frustrated user in an attempt to make some piece of software work.
  • Anti-virus issues: Most businesses have an anti-virus program installed, but you wouldn’t believe how often we discover that no updates have been installed. The bad guys are always coming up with new ways to break into your computers, and the anti-virus software developers are constantly updating their programs to find the new cyberattack threats. If you don’t install the updates, there is no way to find and remove those new viruses.
  • Risky employee practices: We want to trust our employees, but the fact remains that human error is the single biggest cause of computer virus infection. Sometimes it is as innocent as employees being gullible enough to open a suspicious email attachment, or click a link in a spam email. Visiting inappropriate websites can be a source of exposure as well.

Would you believe that our team fields calls about ransomware 2-3 times per week?

Imagine if ALL your business data was locked up. All your emails. All your invoices. All your client files. Would you pay the ransom? Would you have a choice?

Pros 4 Technology clients DO have a choice. We make sure that every client’s anti-virus protection, firewall, and network security is fully updated and functioning to prevent exposure to cyber-attack from malware and viruses, including CryptoLocker and other ransomware. Our Managed IT Services include constant monitoring of client networks that allows us to identify and address problems and threats early, before they can devastate a company.

Despite these precautions, sometimes ransomware still finds its way on to workstations. Employees can expose their work computers by opening an email with a malicious attachment or even by visiting certain websites. The mechanisms for infection are constantly changing. It’s critical to design employee network accessibility to minimize the potential for infection of your entire network by a single workstation.

The good news – Pros 4 Technology clients don’t have to pay the ransom.

  • We are constantly looking for suspicious activity through remote monitoring of our clients’ networs. If something isn’t right, we’re notified, day or night. If one of your employees is leaving you open to cyber-attack, we can find that, too.
  • We minimize the risk to your business from any malware attack by making sure that network settings are appropriate, so one infected computer can’t bring down your entire server.
  • We make sure all of our clients are protected with updated anti-virus protection and security software.

But suppose the worst does happen, and one of our clients is greeted with an ominous ransomware message some Monday morning… what then? Our automated, scheduled system backups ensure that our clients never lose their data. By having a clean, verified backup of your files standing by, we can have you up and running in hours, without paying the bad guys.

Don’t leave your business open to this kind of extortion. Pros 4 Technology can help. Contact us today to schedule your No-Cost Network Audit and begin protecting your business!