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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 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.

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.

Fake IRS Refunds: The Latest Tax Scam

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Fake IRS Refunds: The Latest Tax Scam

Each year, the IRS publishes the ‘dirty dozen,’ a list of the top twelve scams hitting taxpayers. Making this year’s list is the false tax refund scam. A growing number of identity thefts are from tax preparers with lax data security. Regardless of how they access your personal information, the scammers file a fake tax return in your name and then put a REAL refund into your bank account.

The False Refund Tax Scam

The scammer contacts you, posing as a law enforcement officer or IRS agent. The person claims the refund was a mistake and must be paid back. Hackers have even developed automated messages threatening their victims with arrest warrants, criminal charges or social security blacklisting if the refunds are not sent back. These calls usually give a case number and phone number where you can return the money. Don’t fall for it.

Keep an eye on your bank account this tax season. If you see a refund amount different than what’s on your filed tax return, take action according to the type of refund:

  • Direct Deposit – Contact the Automated Clearing House of the bank where the direct deposit was sent.
  • Check – Write ‘VOID’ on the endorsement line on the back of the check. Immediately return it to the IRS location listed on the check. The city will be listed on the bottom text line, in front of the words ‘tax refund’. This IRS Scam Alert article lists IRS mailing addresses for returning paper checks. If you’ve cashed the check, you will need to contact the office to repay it and inform the IRS of the scam.

How to avoid the false refund scam?

  1. Ask your tax preparer about their data security. The IRS publication, Safeguarding Taxpayer Data, outlines their legal requirements and data security best practices.
  2. File as early as possible. This has shown to reduce the likelihood of fraud.
  3. Monitor your bank account for a refund deposit amount that doesn’t match the return you filed.
  4. Don’t cash a refund check unless it matches the return you filed. Return it to the IRS and alert them to the discrepancy.
  5. Be suspicious of email from the IRS. This is almost always a scam. The IRS does not contact taxpayers via email.