Category Archives: Cybersecurity

COVID-19 Phishing Scams Exploit Online Rumor Mill

There is an explosion of extremely believable COVID-19 phishing scams. They are precisely targeted spear phishing. This shows how cybercriminals exploit Dark Web information and the online rumor mill for profit. Months into the global pandemic, cybercriminals are still using COVID-19 messaging. They do this by taking advantage of the worldwide fear and uncertainty around the disease, what causes it, and relief efforts for those affected by it. Scams grow more imaginative and more believable. This is because bad actors fashion bait that capitalizes on the rumor to create COVID-19 phishing scams that look more genuine than ever. COVID-19 phishing scams are everywhere. Phishing scams are by far the biggest type of attack threat based on exploitation that businesses face. Phishing is up more thanRead Full Article


2020 Ransomware Statistics

If you ask a cybersecurity professional what threat keeps them up at night, the majority of them will tell you it’s ransomware. If you’re unsure of what ransomware is, it’s a type of a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It has been a problem for years. But it peaked during the current pandemic. This increasing threat takes down organizations of every size every day. And it’s only getting worse. Here are ten of the most important 2020 statistics to take into account as you consider how your organization plans to prevent ransomware from taking your data hostage. Here Are the 2020 Statistics Regarding Ransomware 1. 65% of ransomware infections are deliveredRead Full Article


Passwords – Outdated and Dangerous, But Necessary

It’s important to continually use best practices when creating passwords because hackers are constantly trying to obtain your credentials to be sold on the Dark Web. Are you protecting your data? Here’s a quick test. What do these seemingly random alphanumerical groupings have in common? 123456 password 123456789 12345678 12345 111111 1234567 sunshine qwerty iloveyou That is a list of the top ten passwords used in 2018. Recognize any of these? If you don’t, you’re not necessarily in the clear. However, your chance of becoming compromised or hacked is far less than someone who uses one of these. If you do recognize these, you’re certainly testing your luck. These days, it is increasingly challenging to create and remember so many passwords. If we had onlyRead Full Article


10 Facts about Cybersecurity

Get the facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 to protect your business. Emergency preparedness is essential for smooth emergency response – and the faster you respond to an emergency, the better. September is National Preparedness Month. Thus, as you’re reviewing the other disaster preparedness plans in your life, it’s time to make sure that you’ve got the facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 to plan for 2021. No two cybersecurity disasters are exactly the same. But most of them share certain characteristics. It’s important to learn the facts about today’s biggest threats. This can help you make an effective plan. You could be impacted by phishing, ransomware, insider threats, credential stuffing, or other Dark Web dangers. These basic facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 can helpRead Full Article


The Hidden Costs of Hiring an IT Tech

If your business is at the point where you’re thinking about hiring a fulltime IT tech, congratulations! Having enough consistent needs to fill this role means you’ve worked hard and made good decisions that drove business growth. Our best advice? Don’t stop now! Moving forward with hiring requires a lot of analysis to avoid major consequences down the line, though. One of the biggest decisions whether you’ll hire someone directly or use a third-party MSP (Managed Service Provider). In this article, we’ll get into the specifics of both scenarios. Why Do You Need an IT Tech at All? In the past, business people and tech people were two different breeds. Over the years, the gap has gradually shrunk to the point that many people areRead Full Article


Facts You Should Know About Cybersecurity Education

Why should businesses be concerned with the state of cybersecurity education? Because it brings unexpected risks to the table. As the world continues to evolve in the wake of the global pandemic, every aspect of life has changed. Students are headed back to school and most will be attending virtually at least some of the time. With many parents still working from home, that means that everyone is sharing a network – and the underwhelming state of cybersecurity education for kids creates unexpected cybersecurity risks for businesses. Cybersecurity isn’t a priority in most K – 12 curricula. But cybercriminals have learned that kids are easy targets for social engineering attacks, and schools are generally way behind the curve in internal cybersecurity, creating openings for themRead Full Article


The Importance of Business Continuity

The world is battling a crippling crisis today. The global economy is in peril and businesses have taken radical measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of economic decline. Companies have had to leverage the technology at their disposal to allow their employees to work remotely in order to attempt to achieve business continuity. Although technology has made remote work feasible, the unexpected magnitude of the situation has caught most small and midsize businesses off guard. One of the challenges most companies face right now is ensuring business continuity with minimal loss of productivity of their remote workforce. While this unprecedented crisis has certainly transformed the way businesses around the world operate, it has also provided companies with an opportunity to reinforce their IT infrastructure toRead Full Article


Identify and Defend Against COVID-19 Email Scams

COVID-19 email scams are on the rise and more clever than you’d expect. Don’t be fooled! We all know that opening strange email can have dangerous consequences, right? Unfortunately, that message hasn’t connected with many people as it pertains to enticingly designed new COVID-19 email scams. Here are some of the most devious scams we’re seeing right now, and recommendations for how to keep these scams from giving cybercriminals an open door into your data and systems. Training is essential to ensure that your staff isn’t endangering your compliance with data privacy laws or putting you in danger of a breach, and it’s ideal for combating the increased phishing attack danger that comes from a remote workforce. Attachments with “official information” about relief programs or health information from a government agency or the UN The fastest way to defendRead Full Article


Is the Dark Web all bad?

Dark Web: (noun) Part of the world wide web that is only accessible by utilizing special software, allowing users and websites to remain anonymous or untraceable. It exists on an encrypted network that uses masked IP addresses to maintain anonymity for users and site owners. This way, people who use the Dark Web for illegal purposes can’t be traced. As you can see by the above definitions, the Dark Web can be a shady place where illegal transactions take place. Things like drugs, guns, counterfeit money, and credit card numbers can all be found, bought, and sold. And you can bet there are groups and chatter about the current crisis in the U.S., from those seeking to stir up unrest to those who need aRead Full Article


What is the Dark Web and Why Should We Care?

You’ve probably heard about the Dark Web more recently than ever before, especially considering the pandemic, protests across the country, and the conspiracy theories related to both. But what do you know about it? You can navigate your way around Google, Facebook, Amazon, and news sites. Did you know that you’re actually only visiting four percent of the internet. There’s a whole world  hiding beyond these safe surface-level sites, it’s a much less hospitable place. What exactly is it? The Dark Web is a conglomeration of websites that cannot be found on search engines or accessed via traditional web browsers because their location and identity is hidden through encryption tools such as TOR. TOR was originally created to protect military communication but now has aRead Full Article


Four Tips for Getting Back to Work during this In-Between

We’ve reached an in-between status of this quarantine as many are eager to get back to work. Businesses are starting to open back up (with restrictions), but a lot of employees are finding themselves in an awkward spot between working in the office and remaining at home. Doctors are utilizing video and teleconference appointments but are holding office hours to see patients and perform “elective” surgeries. Companies are requesting that their employees work from home, if possible, but they’re relaxing requirements for coming back into the office. Other organizations are welcoming people back from teleworker status to full in-office expectations. With “in-between” operations, we’ve helped our clients through a few technology hiccups and wanted to help you avoid them too. Here are the top fiveRead Full Article


3 Ways Cybercriminals Use Social Engineering to Steal Your Info

Cybercriminals use social engineering every day to attempt to hack into people’s personal information.  Social engineering preys on the human condition to gain trust, manipulate people, and get people to willingly give out personal information. In general, there are three major ways that cybercriminals use social engineering to steal your info. Email This is one of the most prominent ways that information is stolen. This side of social engineering has been around nearly as long as emails have. It’s guaranteed that anyone with an email account has seen at least one of the many phishing scams that come from cybercriminals. Perhaps a Nigerian Prince would like to wire you a ton of money because his inheritance is wrapped up in the bank for some reason.Read Full Article


Why Are You So Popular on Social Media?

As we spend more time than ever before on our devises, most people are aware of the many scams that exist on the internet now. It’s tough to simply look at your emails without noticing several phishing emails sitting in your inbox, and those are just the obvious ones! Then, there’s, “We need you to update your account info, just click the link below,” emails. It can even go deeper with hackers physically talking with you or conning you into giving them information you shouldn’t. Lately, the largest influx of scams has come from social media.  As of right now, it is estimated that worldwide social media users total 3.8 billion. That is a lot of people to target. Fake Facebook Profiles Facebook saw a lotRead Full Article


Breaking Down Social Engineering

Most people are aware of terms like phishing and malware, but did you know those are a part of a larger scheme called social engineering? This is not a new kind of fraud. In fact, it’s been used for many years to manipulate a wide range of people into giving up important data about themselves or their workplace. A prime example of social engineering goes back to Greek mythology with the Trojan horse. They infiltrated the city of Troy with a “peace offering” filled with soldiers, thus winning the war. With technology at the forefront of our lives, social engineering has entered a new era. Physical human interaction is not necessarily required anymore. These criminals can gain information through emails, pop-ups, and public Wi-Fi networks,Read Full Article


Fixing Your Weakest Link: Your Employees

You can have every piece of security hardware in the books: firewall, backup disaster recovery device, and even anti-virus. However, your employees will still be the biggest vulnerability in your organization when it comes to a phishing attack. How do you mitigate as much risk as possible? Create and Strictly Enforce a Password Policy Passwords should be complex, randomly generated, and replaced regularly. In order to test the strength of your password go to howsecureismypassword.com. This is a perfectly safe service sponsored by a password protection platform that tells you how long it would take a hacker to decode your password. When creating a password policy, bear in mind that the most prevalent attacks are dictionary attacks. Most people utilize real words for their passwords.Read Full Article


How to Spot A Phishing Attack

Would you know if you were the subject of a phishing attack? Many people claim that they’d be able to tell right away if they received an email from an illegitimate source. There had been 1.5 million new phishing websites every month. A 65% increase in attacks in one year! However, it has gotten much, much worse. According to this article, “Google says it saw more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 scams just in the past week.” How do you spot a phishing attack and avoid falling victim yourself? Look for these red flags: Sender Email Address: Always check to make sure that the email address is legitimate. Amateur hackers will send things from Gmail or Hotmail accounts and hopeRead Full Article


What Is Phishing & How Are Hackers Using It?

While the number of people falling for sending personal information to the crown prince of Nigeria in hopes of receiving his promised wealth and riches seems to be dropping, phishing remains a major issue. In fact, the number of phishing campaigns pursued by hackers around the world increased 65% in the last year. And as you may have read, the COVID-19 pandemic has motivated hackers to be even more aggressive since they know everyone is receiving more emails than ever before. They know that people are filing for unemployment, checking on stimulus checks, filing for CARES Act relief, and more. And they are taking advantage of the fact that personal information is being submitted and confirmed online on a daily basis. What exactly is phishing? HackersRead Full Article


Coronavirus and Your Business

The Center for Disease Control has provided some very good guidance for business owners in the face of the threat of the coronavirus (or, more specifically, COVID-19). It includes helpful suggestions regarding hygiene, sick leave, and other practical advice. The CDC also urges business owners to allow employees to telecommute, if possible. Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that youRead Full Article


Technology Tips for Local Businesses Part 1

We all rely on technology and all businesses have some sort of computer network. How organized is yours and is it up to date? Here’s part one of two blogs that offer questions to contemplate regarding your technology needs. This blog focuses on hardware/software and cybersecurity. When creating a checklist for hardware/software purchase, use, and installation, answer the following questions. How do you determine what hardware/software is needed? What about installation? Who will be doing it? Incorrect installation can end up resulting in loss of time and, in case of faulty hardware installation, it can also mess up the new hardware What is the process for the procurement of new hardware and software? Do you have regular vendors who you approach or do you startRead Full Article


Migration to Windows 10

You’re prepared, at least mentally, to begin your migration to Windows 10 because you’ve read What Does Windows 7 End of Life Mean to My Business?  and Getting Ahead of Windows 7 End of Life. Is your hardware ready, though? How you handle your IT (on your own, as needed support, or with a fully managed agreement) will change how you will have to deal with your transition.  The following items should help you decide how to prepare your hardware for the Windows 10 migration. Do It Yourself If you own all of your own equipment and deal with IT issues in-house, then you will want to get started on migrating your devices now. The good news is that Windows 10 is highly compatible withRead Full Article


Getting Ahead of Windows 7 End of Life

With Windows 7 end of life quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what needs to be done to prepare. Technically, regular Windows 7 support has been dead since 2015, however, the extended support period is over January 2020, which means no more updates or security patches. What should you be aware of for EOL? Get ready, you may have some work to do. Many are concerned that their PCs will stop working. That is not the case. Your Windows software will work, but its security will depreciate rather quickly, which could put your PC in danger of cyber-attacks and viruses. Back in 2014, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. It affected 40% of computers worldwide. Now, years later, it is estimated that aboutRead Full Article


What does Windows 7 End of Life Mean for My Business?

You’ve all heard the panic. Windows is cutting off support for its widely popular version 7 software. January 14, 2020 will officially mark Windows 7 End of Life. Many companies have used Windows 7 since it launched in 2009 and are still actively using it today. So, what’s the big deal? Can you just stick with Windows 7 or will your computer self-destruct? The good news is that your computers will work just fine after the End of Life (EOL) date. However, just because your computer will function doesn’t mean it’s wise to hold onto outdated software. The largest concern for Windows 7 users is security. Since updates and support will no longer be available, your device will be extremely vulnerable to cyber threats. InRead Full Article


Cyber-Crime and Security for SMBs

Did you know the illicit trading of personal data was worth $3.88 billion last year? Cyber-crime is a growing industry known for its innovation. It goes far beyond the image many of us have of some hacker kid in his basement. Many who engage in this activity are professionals and work in large teams. Some may even be sponsored by governments. If you follow the news, you can find large corporations and even government agencies who have fallen prey to hackers and had massive amounts of data compromised. Unfortunately, this has led smaller firms to feel they fly below the radar. In fact, the opposite is true. Small businesses–especially those in regulated areas such as medical, financial, and legal services–need to be hyper vigilant aboutRead Full Article


Computer Hackers 101

Most people are aware of terms like phishing and malware, but do you know those are a part of a larger scheme called social engineering? This is not a new kind of fraud, in fact it’s been used for many years to manipulate a wide range of people into giving up important data about themselves or workplace. A prime example of social engineering goes back to Greek mythology with the Trojan horse. They infiltrated the city of Troy with a “peace offering” filled with soldiers, thus winning the war. With technology at the forefront of our lives, social engineering has entered a new era. Physical human interaction is not necessarily required anymore. Cyber-criminals, better known as computer hackers, can gain information through emails, pop-ups andRead Full Article


Mischievous Malware

Unfortunately, malware is not a foreign term, in fact it’s pretty well known to anyone who uses a computer. There are several types of malware, as well as mediums in which you may receive it. So, before you click on that link for the free cruise you won, think about all of the personal data you could be giving away. First, let’s take a quick tour of the types of malware you may run into. Viruses: These act very similar to the flu virus. Once it gets into a computer, it propagates by copying itself and becoming part of another program. Then just like the flu at an elementary school, it spreads from computer to computer. However, a virus must be activated, by opening orRead Full Article


Phishing 101

Phishing 101 While the number of people falling for sending personal information to the crown prince of Nigeria in hopes of receiving his promised wealth and riches seems to be dropping, phishing remains a major issue. In fact, the number of phishing campaigns pursued by hackers around the world increased 65% in the last year. What exactly is phishing? Hackers mimic the emails, forms, and websites of legitimate companies in an effort to lure people into providing their private, personal information, like credit cards numbers, social security information, account logins, and personal identifiers. The victim typically doesn’t realize they’ve been compromised until long after the event, and oftentimes only after their identify or finances are affected. In the past, an attack was carried out relatively quickly.Read Full Article


Cyber Crime Tips for Local Businesses

Did you know the illicit trading of personal data was worth $3.88 billion last year? Cyber Crime is a growing industry known for its innovation. It goes far beyond the image many of us have of some hacker kid in his basement. Many who engage in this activity are professionals and work in large teams. Some may even be sponsored by governments. If you follow the news, you can find large corporations and even government agencies that have fallen prey to hackers and had massive amounts of data compromised. Unfortunately, this has led smaller firms to feel they fly below the radar. In fact, the opposite is true. Small businesses–especially those in regulated areas such as medical, financial, and legal services–need to be hyper vigilantRead Full Article


Creating a Strong Password

How strong is your password? Did you know that having a weak password is one of the biggest security risks you face? This blog focuses on the best practices related that you can follow to ensure passwords are not your weakest link. A recent article states that 81% of data breaches are caused by poor passwords! Avoid sequences and repetitions: How many times have you used passwords like dollar12345 or $$$BobMckinley. Passwords containing sequences and repetitions are just easier to hack. Avoid using your personal data: Do not make your birth date, bank account number, or address a part of your password. It puts your data at stake if your personal information is stolen. Don’t repeat passwords: Make sure you pick unique passwords every time.Read Full Article


IT Disaster Recovery: Human Error

Human error accounts for the highest percentage of  IT disruptions and emergencies requiring disaster recovery. That’s right, “Hurricane Human,” should be your top concern when considering the proper disaster recovery plan for your business. Did you know that your employees often unwittingly ‘help’ cybercriminals gain access to your system? Often, employees play a part in compromising the security of your IT infrastructure, even without them realizing it. For example- When your employees use their own devices for work purposes such as to access emails, to connect to work servers, or to work on office files. In the event their device gets infected by a malware or hacked, the virus or the hacker gets access to your data as well. Your employees may put your networkRead Full Article


Tech Tips for Small Business Owners

As someone running a small business, you probably have a lot on your plate. You are the core decision maker, responsible for growing your business, keeping your clients happy, and frequently even getting a lot of the work done. Often, when you have so much going on, one area that gets overlooked is IT. When you are so busy looking into other things, the start of IT issues may slip your watchful eyes. In this blog, we discuss the IT red flags that you need to watch out for. Of course, if your business’s IT is managed by Rent-A-Nerd, Inc., we are able to prevent most issues and are alerted to any before they become a problem, so that we can quickly address them. ReadRead Full Article