Protecting Yourself Against Cyber Attacks

As companies do more and more business online and keep personal information in the cloud, it is essential to take extra precautions regarding cyber security. Gone are the days when all you had to do to protect valuable information was store it in a safe. In today’s fast paced world, businesses are becoming increasingly dependent on using technology. While this is not necessarily a bad thing as technology helps us with many tasks, it simply means that security measures must be taken. Here are some of the best ways on how to protect yourself against cyber attacks.

Many companies do not realize that not only do you have to protect yourself from outside attacks, there needs to be protection from within as well. Oftentimes, employees can cause harm without even realizing it by unknowingly opening up malware from an email. Since you cannot constantly be looking over the shoulder of your employees, there are still a few things you can do to help. For example, if employees use their own mobile devices at work to access sensitive company information, make sure to have them install anti-virus software and to use firewalls, especially if they are accessing this information when outside the confines of the workplace.

Another way to have employees help out with security measures is to have them create strong passwords. Simply using a word followed by a string of numbers, as sometimes people do, is not a strong password. In fact, strong passwords should not contain any words at all, even if you use numbers instead of vowels for example. In addition, be sure to never use the same password for all your different accounts. The strongest passwords will simply be a string of numbers, letters and symbols.

One final best practice for preventing a cyber attack is simply by keeping your computers updated. This practical strategy is also probably the easiest thing you can do to help keep your business safe. Sometimes getting notifications all the time can become annoying. Despite how easy it is to ignore these notifications, ignoring security updates leaves you vulnerable from outside attacks.  For professional help on how to secure your company from a cyber attack, call us for a Quote today!

Protecting Yourself Against Cyber Attacks
In the technical world we live in today, protecting yourself from a cyber attack is crucial. Strong passwords, protection from within, anti-virus programs & keeping your computers updated are all ways of keeping yourself & your company safe from cyber attacks.
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Phone: 888-806-0525

Cyber Crime Trends of 2015

As businesses move more towards doing business online, the amount of sensitive information that is being shared online increases. With this information stored and accessed via the web, there is more and more opportunities for cyber attacks to occur. With most of the year behind us, here is a look at some of the cyber crime trends.

As more and more business is done through the cloud, there has been more attacks aimed at the cloud than ever before. What professionals have found is that the trend of putting commercial and personal data onto the cloud for safekeeping has grown at a faster rate than security for the cloud has been able to be created. As a result, there has been a widening security gap in the cloud and more and more cyber attackers have taken advantage of this gap. The Internet of Things has also been a growing problem, but not for the reason you may think. Something as innocent as your refrigerator, car, or electronic picture frame can be the weak link for cyber attackers to gain access to your personal information. With more and more items being connected through the Internet of Things, there are more items that need to be secured. Since these items that are being connected are relatively new, the cybersecurity community still needs time to work on creating new security to protect against malware threats.

While targeted attacks against specific corporations have been popular, attackers may soon come to find that some of the tasks they underwent to perform targeted attacks can become automated. This means that attackers can now create wide nets and spread it through the web, waiting to see who will fall prey. As a result, while targeted attacks may still remain popular, we may find that smaller, personal attacks may begin to affect customers as well. The trend of targeting online payment systems has also grown. Researchers believe that the use of poor passwords is a large factor regarding these attacks. These are just a few of the trends that have occurred just this year. Maintaining proper security systems on your devices can help you not fall victim to cyber attacks.

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Be aware of these current trends in cyber crime and keep your sensitive data safe.
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The Importance of Data Security

With the amount of personal information that businesses collect through client information, personal files, payment information, bank account details etc., data security is extremely important. If this personal information is leaked, it cannot only cause damage to the clients but it will also sully your company’s reputation. The good news is that your company can keep this information safe from hackers or malware infections. Here are some reasons that data security is important.

With proper data security, you will be able to prevent data breaches. You can avoid disclosure of client information; not only is this important to your clients but it also will save your company money as data breaches are costly incidents to repair. Not only will data security help to prevent breaches, it will also ensure the integrity of your data. This means that outside sources will be unable to make any unauthorized changes to the data including data structures, logs, and configuration files. With data integrity, you will be able to have complete visibility over the trends and patterns of your data, which help keep information secure. Data security and privacy go hand in hand. Data security can prevent the disclosure of sensitive information by make the information unidentifiable with the client. Data security will mask this data found in applications, databases, and reports.

Data security will also protect from physical threats such as power outages, fires, malicious data, or theft. Be sure to have a plan of attack when it comes to each of these things. Other things that should be considered to maintain data security are who is allowed access to information, who has access to email systems and the internet in your company, and who is restricted from information. Are passwords used and how will they be maintained? The type of firewalls and anti-malware you use are also important. These are just a few reasons that data security is important for your company.

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When recycling old electronics, take them somewhere that practices certified and secure data destruction services.
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Phone: 888-806-0525
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The U.S. Government has Passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act!

It’s no surprise that cybersecurity is a hot topic in today’s world. There are constant reports of large companies’ private systems being hacked into, resulting in many individuals’ personal information being stolen. This can be worrisome to hear, because one would think that these large companies spend a ton of money trying to keep their systems secure to prevent this from happening.

In response to all of the latest hacking incidents, the House of Representatives has recently passed a new bill titled the Protecting Cyber Networks Act. Essentially, this bill will allow corporations to share your data with other corporations and with the federal government. The government is hoping that by allowing federal investigators this access, they will be able to prevent future attacks and catch the initial culprits. There has been some backlash by the public regarding this bill for a few reasons. First, it involves the sharing of personal data with both other corporations and the government. Second, many believe that the bill is written vaguely and that it grants the government access to use the data they find in their investigation outside the scope of the cyber attack. The House and Senate still need to come together for final legislation of the bill.

It can truly be devastating to have your identity stolen. If your personal information gets into the wrong hands, not only can your credit potentially be ruined, but it can also take months and even years to get everything all sorted out. This can delay plans you have to buy a house, buy a car, or even take out a loan. One step you can take to protect your identity is to monitor your credit every so often. If you hear of a major security breach, such as the recent one with Target, you may want to check your credit an additional time to make sure you were not a victim. A second step you can take, that most people don’t often think of, is taking the time to make sure you properly destroy electronics that contain personal and sensitive data, such as computers. By taking these two steps, you are protecting yourself and will hopefully catch any type of identity theft early on.

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These are the ways the government is helping you protect your private information.
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New Tools for Corporations to Protect Your Data.

So much of what we do is now online. We bank, shop, share information with others and much more while online. While the Internet can be extremely useful, because we do so much on it, there is a lot of valuable information that is used on it, and therefore, information that can potentially be hacked. Knowing how to keep your identity secure online can be very difficult. In 2014, the US director of national intelligence stated that the breach of online systems and theft of valuable information online was the number 1 threat to America’s national safety. In fact, cyber security was put ahead of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Recently, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (the research agency of the Pentagon) showcased their latest cyber security system, which they are calling Plan X. This new type of cyber security uses a 3-D graphical touch interface that displays attacks on a network in real time. One of the biggest problems that networks, companies, and even governments are facing when it comes to cyber attacks is that more often than not, they don’t even realize that they have been hacked after the fact. By that time, much of the damage has already been done. With Plan X, it will allow the network to react in real time so the moment that they are being hacked, they will know. This will now allow for the system to fight back, which will significantly decrease the chance of the hackers being able to infiltrate the system. Meanwhile, Congress has also passed an act, which will help cyber security as well.

The Federal Information Security Modernization Act allows for federal agencies to be more effective in the development and implementation process of network security measures. The act promotes more enabling of real-time technologies such as Plan X, the sharing of potential cyber security threats and vulnerabilities across federal, state, and local government agencies, and the opportunity to provide recommendations on security measures to federal and non-federal entities. These are just some of the ways the US government is working towards more cyber security.

The Equation Group: A New Threat to Cyber Security

Earlier this month, researchers at the Kaspersky Lab in Russia discovered an incredibly sophisticated cyber espionage operation. This operation has been dubbed the “Equation Group” and has been using malware tools and spyware to infect a number of computers. The Equation Group seems to have a very specific end in mind though as they have mostly attacked the computers of government institutions, research groups, telecommunications companies, and other organizations such as nuclear research groups, and military groups in more than 30 countries with at least 500 victims that have been noted. Some of the countries that have been attacked include Russia, India, Afghanistan, and China. While the Equation Group seems to have no quarrel with everyday citizens, this is still something that everyone should be concerned about.

As security expert Bruce Schneier says, “technology democratizes.” This means that while the extremely sophisticated malware is, for now, being used to attack governments, the same technology can trickle down so that other hackers without such lofty plans can possess this knowledge. What makes this technology so dangerous is that it is nearly impossible to detect and even more difficult to completely destroy. Even wiping the hard drive and overwriting the system does not completely destroy the malware. The technology uses at least six malware platforms, which means only the highest skilled cyber security expert can detect it. Researchers at the Kaspersky Lab reported that it took them two weeks to even crack just one cryptographic element and they were trying more than 300 billion guesses per second. In the end, the best way to get rid of the malware at this point in time is to physically destroy the hard drive. While this is not ideal, it is so far the only proven way to completely destroy the malware. If there is a good side to this, it is that the leak is now out in the open and it is now up to antivirus companies to figure out how to keep your data secure.

Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center

Do you recall the recent hacking attack that occurred to Sony a few months back? The ordeal brought to light the need for a strong security system against hackers. As a result, the Obama administration has just recently announced that there will be a new security agency initiated due to the number of high-profile cyber attacks that have occurred to various companies in the U.S. This new program will be called the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center or the CTIIC, which will be modeled on the National Counter-terrorism Center that is located at the Wilson Center in Washington.

While there are already agencies in the U.S. Government that work to combat hackers such as the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI, there are no agencies that currently coordinates and shares threats. The CTIIC has been created in the hopes to fill these current gaps in security. President Obama recently said in his State of the Union address, “we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information”. The seriousness of the threat of cyber attacks is clear just from the number of major attacks that have been made against companies such as Sony Pictures, Home Depot, Anthem Inc., Target, and more. In the case of the hackers that targeted Anthem Inc., the hackers were able to access the personal information of over 80 million customers. In addition, according to the company, the hackers were able to remain in the system for more than a month before a problem was even detected. This is unfortunate news, especially since Anthem Inc. is the second largest U.S. health insurer and such a large company with resources should be able to protect its information and the information of customers from cyber attacks. Another thing that will set apart the CTIIC from other current agencies is that fact that the CTIIC will rely more on private companies for their information as opposed to only what the other intelligence agencies can come up with. The hope is these data security best practices can help to combat cyber-attacks from multiple angles will help.