Category Archives: Cyber Security

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A New Year’s Resolution Fail

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

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Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

The 2018 holiday shopping season is off to a great start with online sales leading the way. Cyber Monday far exceeded estimates with nearly $8 billion in sales! All of the ease and convenience of online shopping can quickly become offset by the added risk of identity theft. Every year during the holiday season, cybercriminals ramp up their efforts.

Shop-With-Confidence-This-Holiday-Season

Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

We want you to shop with confidence this holiday season and enjoy your time with family and friends, not worrying if your credit or debit card has been compromised or someone has gotten hold of your social security number.

Quick Tips To Secure Online Shopping

  • Don’t buy on public WiFi.  Sitting in your favorite coffee shop and searching for the perfect gift you may be tempted to buy right there while you have wifi. Don’t do it! Public WiFi users are prime targets for scammers and criminals.
  • Make sure the door is locked. Make sure the site your buying on has the proper security to safeguard your personal information and payment information. Always check for the little lock symbol and “https” to the left of the url. If you don’t see it, don’t enter in any of your information since the site is not secure and hackers could get their hands on your information.
  • Go to the website. Many of us get emails from our favorite online stores telling us of great deals and sales. During the holiday season phishing scams rise dramatically because scammers know people are looking for those deals more than ever. If you see a deal you want to take advantage of, go directly to the site. If it is a legitimate sale it will be advertised on their site.
  • Keep those updates coming. Make sure you’re computer and devices are getting the proper security updates so they stay secure. With the increase of scams and online shopping during the holiday season it’s more important than ever to keep your devices up to date.

Businesses Keep Your Customers Safe

For many businesses, the holidays are their busiest season, especially retailers. Providing the best customer service and a warm, welcoming environment for your patrons is important. Don’t let a technology and cyber security issues bring a blue christmas. Pros 4 Technology can assist you in providing confidence in your cyber security and IT. Contact us to schedule a consultation and to discuss your tech needs.   

Finding The Best Tech Support For Your Small Business

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Finding The Best Tech Support For Your Small Business

Business of all sizes use devices of all types to run and operate. From accounting and payroll to invoicing and selling products online, in today’s fast paced world if you don’t run your business online you’re behind the times. Unfortunately, with so many things for business owners to focus on, IT and tech support often go overlooked.  

Finding-The-Best-Tech-Support-For-Your-Small-Business

Finding The Best Tech Support For Your Small Business

Why IT & Tech Support Are Important

You’re running your business, you don’t have time to think about tech support. But what happens when computer issues occur and your ability to conduct business comes to a grinding halt? You do an internet search for IT support to get your computer issues resolved and hope your back to focusing on the important aspects of running your business. You want your problems fixed and fixed fast. Hackers and scammers know it too and it’s why every year small businesses fall prey to a wide array of scams.  

Tech Support Scams

There are some of the common ways that scammers try and take advantage of small businesses.

  1. One way that cyber criminals target small businesses is by setting up fake tech support companies. The scammer then takes out an add so when you search for a tech support company, their “tech support” webpage shows up near the top of the results. When you contact them they request access to your computer and a fee for their services. After taking your money, they may fix the problem, but they also access your business info.
  2. Scammers use popups saying that your computer or device has been infected by a virus. Usually they claim to be from a trusted IT security company or computer company. They provide a phone number for you to call in hopes that you fall for the scam and give them access to your computer.
  3. Scammers will also use old fashioned cold-calling claiming to be representatives from a tech support company. They tell you your computer has been affected by malware or a virus and that they can remove it for a small fee. 

Find A Trusted Local Tech Support Company

Many small business believe that they either don’t need tech support or that it will be too expensive. If you have company information stored on a computer or do online transactions, you need to protect your business. The best place to look for tech support is from a trusted local company. Local tech support companies typically offer a variety of options and will know which is best for your business needs. It’s not a question of IF computer issues will occur, but WHEN computer issues occur. Don’t wait, contact Pros 4 Technology today to discuss your business’ cyber security.

How To Create Strong Passwords

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How To Create Strong Passwords

In the world of internet security and prevent cyber crimes one of the most important things to do is to create strong, unique passwords. Just doing an internet search for “preventing identity theft” or “protecting against cyber crimes” will bring up countless sites offering advice. At or near the top of every list of how to protect yourself will be, passwords. In this week’s post we’ve combined our years of experience and the latest expert advice from tech experts on the best practices for personal passwords.

How To-Create-Strong-Passwords

How To Create Strong Passwords

Why a Strong Password is Needed

A strong, unique password is your first line of defense against identity theft and cyber criminals. Hackers and cyber criminals use many techniques to gain access to your online accounts, including programs that will keep guessing passwords from a predetermined list until one is successful. Once they have access to your account they will try and use the same password to gain access to your other accounts.

Unique Password

The vast majority of people come up with one or two passwords that they use for multiple or all of their online accounts. It might be a very difficult password to guess, something like “Jtk34Nm!78.” They think that because the password is so hard to randomly guess that it is a strong password and use it for all their accounts, thinking they can’t be hacked. However, if a hacker does figure out your password they now have access to all your accounts. Creating a unique password for each online account is essential.

Using Passphrases

The old standard advice when creating a password was to use a combination of letters (both upper and lower case), numbers and symbols. We were told to start with a word and then substitute numbers and symbols to create the password. So what started as the word “elephant” would be El3P@n# by the end. Not very easy to remember. Instead of relying on complex, hard to remember passwords, try using passphrases. Passphrases are long, complex passwords without all the numbers and symbols. Instead of writing “elephant” as “El3P@n#” using a passphrase you would use “elephantsgocrazy.” Complex, long, and unique.

Password Manager Programs

Since we all have multiple online accounts, remembering and managing passwords can be a monumental task. Using a password manager removes the hassle. Just remember, make sure the password for the password manager is strong and unique (and write it down in a safe place if you’re afraid of forgetting, don’t store it on a device!).

Multi-Factor Authentication

When possible use multi-factor authentication to secure your devices and accounts. The type of multi-factor authentication depends on the service or device. Some, like emails, will text you during the sign in process with a confirmation number. You can set your smartphone to require your thumbprint before purchases. Check your accounts and wherever possible set up multi-factor authentication for added protection.

Protect Yourself Against Malvertising

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Protect Yourself Against Malvertising

We all know spam emails. Those annoying emails that flood our inboxes and build up to the point of absurdity. Since we’ve all heard the warnings about opening suspicious emails or clicking on links inside spam emails, we ignore the urgent subject lines and delete our chances of inheriting millions of dollars from an African prince who was kind enough to leave all his riches to us. But did you know, that there is a new form of spam? Malvertising.

protect-against-malvertising

Protect Yourself Against Malvertising

What is malvertising?

Malvertising is spam in the form of internet ads. Cybercriminals use internet ads, even on trusted websites, as a vehicle for viruses. How malvertising differs from traditional spam emails is that you don’t have to click on the ad for your computer to become infected! And once the virus is installed onto your computer it can wreak havoc! Malware can delete and modify files, allow hackers to gather information about you or steal your personal information, or seriously affect the performance of your device.

Wondering how a virus from an ad can be downloaded without clicking on the ad? Security flaws in ad programming, most notably Adobe Flash. Just by visiting a website that has infected ads you become vulnerable to cybercriminals. They use ad networks to place the virus infected ads onto a publisher’s website which can then be automatically downloaded onto a victim’s device.

So how can you protect yourself?

  1. Use an ad-blocking browser plugin. This is the most effective way of making sure malvertising ads don’t get the chance to download viruses onto your device. However, using an adblocker will also block legitimate ads of the websites you visit.
  2. Make sure your plugins and web browser are up to date and routinely check for upgrades. As cybercriminals develop new threats, companies develop software and program upgrades to keep you safe.
  3. Have your browser flag malicious content. Under your browser’s “Settings” there will be a “Security” or “Privacy” section where you will find an option to turn on/off “Safe Browsing.” Turn on “Safe Browsing” and your browser will warn you if your visiting a malicious or questionable site.

There is no sure-fire-way to protect your device completely. Cybercriminals are always creating new ways to infect your device and sabotage your files and steal your information. However, there are proactive steps that you can take to protect your device, information and identity. If you own a business or handle IT, contact Pros 4 Technology to learn more and discover how we can help protect your business and your clients’ information.

Protect Yourself From Computer Viruses

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Protect Yourself From Computer Viruses

Grab Some Tissues, Your Computer Has A Runny Nose!
You’ve got aches, slight fever, cough and a runny nose. Chances are, you’ve got a virus. The next few days you’ll spend drinking a lot of water, sipping chicken soup and vegging out. If only computer viruses were as easy to diagnose and treat!

 Protect-Yourself-From-Computer-Viruses

Protect Yourself From Computer Viruses

What is a computer virus?

A computer virus is a malicious code or program that is written to alter the way your computer operates and performs. It acts much like a virus you or I may contract during the course of the year (especially if you don’t wash your hands after being in public areas…). A computer virus “infects” a computer and then can spread from computer to computer as the malicious code or program is shared or if the computer is part of a larger network, like at work. It can even remain dormant on your computer for a period of time showing no major signs or symptoms. Unfortunately, there isn’t any form of technology that is immune to viruses.

What does a computer virus do?

When we get sick, we know that the virus is trying to make our life miserable and make us watch afternoon TV gameshows. When a virus infects a computer there is a much more sinister reasons…Viruses are designed for various purposes; steal passwords or data, log keystrokes, corrupt files and operating systems, spam email contacts and even to take full control of your computer.

How to protect yourself from computer viruses.

Whether surfing the web, downloading apps and programs or opening links and attachments, it’s critical to use caution and protect yourself and your computer.

  • Use and run an anti-virus program. Most anti-virus and computer protection software will protect your computer and warn you when you visit sites that have been linked to distributing files containing viruses. Most anti-virus software also run daily or scheduled scans of your computer to find and eliminate viruses.
  • Make sure your programs and software are kept up to date. New viruses are being developed daily and software companies are continually creating important updates to their programs to protect them from viruses. Set your updates to happen on a regular basis, you can even have your computer update overnight so it’s ready for use in the morning.

If you think your computer has been compromised by a virus or you own a business with multiple computers on your network, contact Pros 4 Technology to discuss your security needs. Don’t wait till there’s a virus, protect your info now!