Category Archives: Cybersecurity

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


COVID-19 Phishing Scams Exploit Online Rumor Mill

An explosion of extremely believable COVID-19 phishing scams, especially precisely targeted spear phishing, 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 to take advantage of the worldwide fear and uncertainty around the disease, what causes it, and relief efforts for those affected by it. Scams have grown more imaginative and more believable as bad actors fashion bait that capitalizes on the rumor mill 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. With phishing up more than 600% since the start of the pandemic, this perennial favorite of cybercriminals has surged in popularity and creativity with disastrous results forRead 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


Passwords – Outdated and Dangerous, But Necessary

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, but your chance of becoming compromised or hacked is far less than someone who uses one of these passwords. If you do recognize these, you’re certainly testing your luck. These days, creating and remembering passwords has become increasingly more challenging. If we had only one device that required a password, we could probably manage it quite easily. But with every device we use, most programs we need to do our jobs, and sites that requireRead 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


Stay Cyber-Safe When Shopping Online

As the holiday season kicks off, shoppers everywhere are more and more frequently opting to use their credit cards from the comfort of their homes or offices, taking advantage of online deals. Since the shopping days known as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” are upon us, we thought we’d take a moment to provide some safety tips: 1. Careful with the Clicks We all receive more email promotions than usual around this time of year, and we must all use a little extra caution before clicking those links to promotions! You’ll also be tracking all the incoming shipping notifications for your time-saving online orders, and though you may have dodged the crowds, try to stay vigilant as you sort through those shipment and delay notificationsRead Full Article


IT Managed Service for SMBs

 Understanding Managed IT Services and How They Benefit SMBs   No doubt you’ve heard, or you’ve at least read about, the benefits of managed services as it relates to maintaining your technology. Managed services refer to clearly defined outsourced IT services delivered to you at predictable costs. You know the exact IT services you’ll be getting and what you’ll pay for them. There is no surprise sky-high bill for services rendered.    How Managed Service Providers Work   Managed service providers (MSPs) use remote monitoring and management tools to keep an eye on the performance and overall health of the IT infrastructure that powers your business operations. Your MSP should provide 24/7 remote monitoring, which will alert them to any issue with your servers, devices, hardwareRead Full Article


Business Continuity: What Every Business Owner Should Know

Technology is full of difficult jargon. To further complicate things, certain terms are often used in a different context between one publication or service provider and the next. An example of this is the usage of backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity. These terms are commonly used interchangeably, often resulting in confusion. In an effort to alleviate some of this confusion, let’s describe each physical process. You will see an overlay among all three, although they are each different processes. Backup  In IT lingo, the most basic description of backup is the process by which your data, as in files or programs, is copied from its original location to another. The purpose of this is to ensure that the original files or programs are retrievableRead Full Article


Business Continuity for SMBs

 8 Cold Hard Truths for SMBs Not Worried About Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity   The foundation of any successful business continuity solution is the ability to retrieve data from any point in time from anywhere. When the topic of data recovery and business continuity comes up, many decision makers at smaller businesses and organizations think that they cannot afford to put enterprise-level protections into place.   Further, so many people think bad things only happen to other people. Just because we hear about a fatal car accident on the morning news, doesn’t mean we fixate on that news when we ourselves get into a car and drive to work. So no matter how many times the owner or executive of a small to midsize businessRead Full Article