Category Archives: Cyber Security

The Technology Blog

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.

Shop With Confidence This Holiday Season

By | Cyber Security, Smartphones & Tablets | No Comments

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

By | Business Network Security, Cyber Security, Scams | No Comments

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!

Employees, Your Business’ First Line of Cyber Defense

By | Business Network Security, Cyber Security | No Comments

Employees, Your Business’ First Line of Cyber Defense

Everyday we hear of a new scam, cyber security threat or instance of fraud and cyber crime. With all the cyber threats and scams out there, it’s easy to feel helpless in this world of cyber security issues. Especially since all the IT and cyber security experts agree that there is no fool proof, 100% guaranteed way to protect yourself from cyber threats and criminals. If it’s difficult for individuals to protect themselves, it’s even more difficult for businesses.

Employees-Are-Your-Business’-First-Line-of-Cyber-Defense

Employees, Your Business’ First Line of Cyber Defense

Cyber Threats To Businesses

Businesses have more identity information than an individual. If the business does transactions they have credit and debit card info, account information for businesses they work and do business with, their employees personal and tax information; all the information cyber criminals are after. Cyber security services protect your business with technology, but to protect against cyber crime you need to look at the human element.

Best Internet & Cyber Practices For Employees

Having a clear cut policy on internet activity, including personal email and social media use, is extremely important for businesses. Let’s walk through some ways to establish good practices and policies to ensure your employees know how to protect your business.

  1. Clear Responsibilities & Duties – Some of the most successful scams and crimes that are committed begin with and email or phone call. The scammer impersonates a company higher up, say a CEO or CFO, and asks for information from a department member that has access to sensitive company information. They may contact: HR to request employee files or tax information; Accounting for account information or financial reports; IT for security login information. It’s critical that your employees know company policy for requests for information. Also, make sure you foster a work environment that encourages employees to question and double check such requests.
  2. Clean Desk, Clean Work – We’re taught from the moment we begin school as a child to keep your workspace clean and double check your work. As we get older and enter the workforce it’s amazing how we can forget! IT experts say that human error is one of the top ways that systems are compromised and data loss occurs! Keeping desks and workspaces clear and clean means; important files aren’t left in plain sight where unauthorized personnel can view them, written usernames and passwords don’t get left out, it’s easy to spot if an unauthorized person has been snooping. Double checking work means; correct email recipients, policy adherence and proper handling of data and files.
  3. Working Around Non-Company Personnel – More and more people are working from home on a full or part time basis. Employees and employers alike are seeing positive benefits from allowing employees to work from home or away from the office. Even for trusted employees, the fact remains, important company information is being accessed away from the office. Make sure your employees follow best practices to avoid Shoulder Snoopers (public areas are prone to eavesdroppers) and while using public networks.
  4. Knowing Your IT Department – IT Department employees typically have access to all areas of a business. For larger companies, employees working in different departments often don’t know who is in IT or not. Make sure each department knows their IT Support Professional, scammers will often use the technique of calling or emailing employees claiming to be from IT in an effort to get information from the employee.

Let Pros 4 Technology Help Your Business

You love your business. We know that with all you have going on in a day, thinking about and developing cyber security policies and procedures can be put on the back burner. Contact us today to discuss your cyber security needs and protecting your business from cyber crimes.

Stop Cyber-Snoops & Peeping Toms

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Stop Cyber-Snoops & Peeping Toms

When you hear Peeping Tom, an image of someone hiding in bushes peering through windows probably comes to mind. A shadowy figure that preys on people and destroys their sense of privacy and security. What if, as you’re reading this, someone was watching you…

Stop-Cyber-Snoops-and-Peeping-Toms

Stop Cyber-Snoops & Peeping Toms

Hacking Your Webcam

In today’s world of smart phones, tablets, laptops, smart TVs and all manner of internet-enabled video and audio recording devices, the reality of someone hijacking your device is all too real. They’re Cyber-Peeping Toms, cybercriminals using your device’s built-in camera and microphone to spy on you and steal your personal information. It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but the threat to your personal information and privacy is real. In January of this year an Ohio man was charged and sentenced to 13 years in prison for hacking and remotely spying on people!

How Cybercriminals Take Control of Your Device

Cybercriminals use remote access Trojans, or RATS, which are a type of malware. RATs create a “backdoor” to your computer, providing the cybercriminal access to your device’s camera and microphone, files, and the ability to record keystrokes. Cybercriminals either create or purchase the malware online. The malware is then hidden in other applications that can be downloaded or attached to emails or embedded in an email link. Criminals will also attempt to by-pass your computer’s firewall to gain access to your webcam.

Why Cybercriminals Hack Your Webcam

The reason why a criminal hacks a database or an individual’s computer is to access private or personal information that they can use or sell. By hacking your webcam the criminal is spying on you during your most private and sensitive situations. If your using your computer for work or personal reasons, cybercriminals can gather information from watching, listening and recording that can be sold or used to blackmail you.

How to Protect Your Identity

  1. Know your devices’ features. From TVs and phones to doorbells and vehicles, more and more products are being made with micro-sized built-in cameras.
  2. Keep your devices safe! Use strong passwords and make sure antivirus software is up to date.
  3. Know what your security software covers. Not all security software is created equal, make sure yours protects against malware intrusions.
  4. Cover the lens. Use a small piece of electrical tape to cover the lens while not in use.
  5. Don’t click that link. When you receive an email from an unknown source, delete it! Don’t be tempted to open it or click on any links.
  6. Only download from a trusted site. Make sure your downloading from websites that you know and trust.

Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to steal your information and identity! They want to watch and listen in on your private moments when you think no one is watching. Don’t let them in! Contact Pros 4 Technology today to keep your network private and secure!

7 Ways to Protect Your Company Against BEC Scams

By | Business Network Security, Cyber Security, Email, Scams | No Comments

7 Ways to Protect Your Company Against BEC Scams

You receive an email from a supplier notifying you of an unpaid invoice and asking you to verify your account info so they can withdraw funds. As a responsible business owner, you immediately verify the info so you’re back in good standing with your supplier. You call your supplier rep to let them know you’ve paid the invoice and you hear the words “you don’t have an outstanding invoice.” By the time you call the bank the money is gone and there’s no way of getting it back.

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Protect Your Company Against BEC Scams

The Growing Threat of BEC Scams

This scenario is becoming all too familiar in today’s world of wire-transfers and automatic withdrawals. Business Email Compromise Scams, or BEC Scams, target businesses of all sizes. Scammers target business owners and employees, trying to get them to perform an action that sends money to the scammers account or send sensitive information that can be used for other crimes, like Identity Theft.  BEC Scams have become so problematic that the FBI has started to warn about them. The FBI assess total damage of BEC Scams at over $3 Billion and counting! In June of 2018, over 70 people were arrested in one coordinated, international BEC Scam investigation!

Why are BEC Scams So Effective?

People and businesses fall prey to BEC Scams because they’re sophisticated and start with gathering intelligence. Scammers typically compromise a CEO or upper management personnel’s email account and study the business and company procedures. Scammers figure out the best way to attack a company before striking. They target all aspects of a business, but typically focus on:

  • HR Departments – Scammers can gain access to employees’ personal information and W-2 forms
  • Accounts Payable – Scammers try and access company accounts and scam employees into transferring money
  • Upper Management & Owners – They’re the initial “in” for scammers. They have all the info and clearances with the least amount of checks and balances

Seven Ways to Protect Against BEC Scams

  1. Verify all changes or updates for account info and payment instructions to vendors and suppliers. 
  2. Maintain hard-copy files and contact lists! In today’s digital world it’s easy to overlook the need for paper. But keep a printed record of vendor contact information and discuss with your supplier representative how accounts payable will be handled.
  3. Train your finance and HR team. Write and implement an action plan for the handling of sensitive information and who is authorized to request it.
  4. Limit the number of employees that have access and authority to use sensitive information or transfer money.
  5. Use two-factor authentication methods wherever possible. It may seem like a hassle but spending a little extra time could save you thousands!
  6. For larger companies and wire-transfers, use out-of-band authentication to verify any and all wire-transfer requests.
  7. Foster open communication in the work place. Make sure your employees know that if they receive non-verbal requests to do something out of the ordinary, that they should question it! Double or even triple-check requests to send money or sensitive information, even if comes their direct boss or upper management!

Pros 4 Technology Can Help

Your business faces cyber threats every day! Let Pros 4 Technology assist you and your company. We want to make sure your company and data is safe from BEC scams and other threats. Contact us  today!