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Category Archives: Security

What Should You Do If You Think You Have Been Hacked?

Small business owner upset over being hacked in the workplace. Leaning head on crossed arms over a laptop

Being a small business and being hacked can put you out of business if your not prepared

There are a couple of questions many business owners ask when it comes to hacking, and those two questions are:

  • How can I tell if I have been hacked?
  • What steps do I take if someone has hacked my business?

Unfortunately, many small business owners do not know they have been hacked. Apart from ransomware, there are many cybersecurity events that go unnoticed. Can you believe that many small businesses and medium-sized businesses can have data breaches that go unnoticed for a significant period of time, including several years? The breaches that are noticed are eventually noticed by someone outside the business, including law enforcement officials.

Can you imagine being breached and not knowing this has occurred until a third-party notifies you? If you data breach occurs and it goes undetected for a substantial period of time, you may never identify what actually caused the breach to occur in the first place. When you do not know how, why, or where the data breach took place, you may start questioning if all of your company’s data has been compromised.

How Do You Know If You Have Been Hacked?

When you have a full understanding of the different types of hackers and what their intentions are, you will be able to understand how anyone can be hacked. There are different businesses, small, medium, and large, that can all become a target for hacking. Hackers look for sensitive data that has not been carefully protected.

What Type Of Hacks Are More Common?

It does not matter if a hack is basic or advanced because even a basic hack can cause severe damage to a business. A small or basic hack can result in your computers or any devices doing things that they should not be doing. Some of the common hacker techniques include the following,

  • viruses
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) or Denial-Of-Service attack (DoS attack)
  • fake Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
  • phishing attacks
  • in-house attacks

What Should You Do After A Hack Takes Place?

Do you have a plan in place if a hack does take place in your workplace? Your employees need to be trained well enough so they will be able to identify an attack on the business. When your employees are trained, they will be able to help your business get back to operating at its normal pace. Your business needs to get back to business as soon as possible after an attack has been identified.

If you have noticed that your system is behaving unusually and if you notice suspicious files that seem to be harmful, an attack has likely taken place. Professional and experienced hackers know how to carefully cover all their tracks. We suggest that you look carefully at your systems’ log files.The hackers also know how to delete those log files as well.

After you have identified you have been hacked, you should make sure the attack has been confirmed. Once there has been confirmation of the attack, you should check your computers, devices, and your networks to determine if anything else has been compromised. You will need to identify how much information the hackers have obtained.

When security breaches occur, critical data and information can be lost when your systems are down, include your network connections and content that is stored in your RAM. You will need to consult a professional so you can fully understand the options you have at this point.

It is extremely critical that you have the proper backups in place. It is also important that you have the right Managed Service Provider (MSP) that will provide you with the tools and resources you need to conduct business as usual after an attack has taken place. Contact us today for more information on how you can protect your business from hackers.

What Can You Do To Defend Yourself Against Ransomware?

Recent Virus Release Starts In Ukraine And Spreads Across The Globe

obal Hacking Attack

Cyber security is a critical component in preventing downtime in your network

An international cyber attack, known as “Petya”, struck computer systems across the globe, starting in Ukraine. Tens of thousands of machines in Ukraine and the United States were impacted. Automated teller machines stopped working in the capital of Ukraine. Workers all across the globe had to quickly scramble to make the necessary adjustments.

It has not been determined who is responsible for the cyber attack. No details have been released at how impactful the cyber attack was. The attack started on the Ukrainian government. This is not the first cyber attack that has taken place as of late. The difference between this cyber attack is that it seems to be one of the most advanced attacks that have taken place since the National Security Agency had some of its hacking tools stolen.

This global hacking attack took control of all the computers. Since the hackers obtained control of the computers, the attackers demanded ransom in order for them to release access to the owners of the computers. This recent attack used the hacking tool, Eternal Blue. Eternal Blue was also used in the WannaCry attacks. Not only did the attacks use Eternal Blue, but there were also other methods that were used to carry out the cyber attacks.

There has not been any acknowledgment on the National Security Agency’s behalf regarding the use of their hacking tools. However, there have been many computer security professionals who have requested that the National Security Agency to help everyone across the globe protect itself against tools that they created.

Microsoft releases patches for its software and operating systems, but this does not always mean that the patch will be installed quickly and correctly. Since the ransomware used more than one method to spread across the computers, even some computers that were actually patched correctly and patched quickly were not excluded from the attack.

One of the most well-known computer attackers is viruses. Viruses can do a great deal of damage to computers, and an entire organization. There are various types of viruses that each have the ability to compromise a computer in multiple ways.

While many people think they will never download a file that is corrupt or that they will never click a website that is a scam, it is important that everyone remembers that a hacker is very intelligent. A hacker can create any type of virus and anyone can easily be tricked. Some viruses can even lead people to believe that they are software that will protect you from a virus.

Once your computer has been infected with a virus, your entire computer can be damaged beyond the point of repair. Your computer’s performance can be slowed down, critical files, photos, and videos can be damaged, lost, spread across other computers, etc. Viruses can cause you to spend up to thousands of dollars in computer repairs, replacements, etc.

Fortunately, there are tools you can use to help you protect yourself. One of those tools is Webroot Antivirus. The internet is not as safe as we would like it to be. Even if you are a computer whiz or extremely tech-savvy, you may still accidentally download malware, viruses, or you may even be a victim of identity theft.

When you are aware of the consequences of not having the proper anti-virus protection, you will be able to spread the word to others. Hackers are savvy, and they can easily trick anyone into clicking a link or downloading a file. We want you to protect your files, your computer, and your business. Contact us today for additional information on the latest virus releases and the best protection for your servers and workstations.

What are we learning from Microsoft’s recent emergency security patches?

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Are you running an outdated operating system?

This past May, the ransomware known as ‘WannaCry’ swept through 150 countries and affected hundreds of thousands of computers in organizations ranging from telecommunication companies to nationwide healthcare systems. Devices running older versions of Microsoft software (such as a Windows 7 operating system without key security updates) showed critical vulnerabilities to this powerful, rapidly propagating malware.

In response to WannaCry and to future threats of a similar nature or scope, Microsoft has recently taken steps to supply emergency security patches for various older software, including Windows XP, Server 2003, and Vista. Even when an older system does show some resilience to a WannaCry attack, it can still remain extremely vulnerable to other forms of malware.

The issue of updates and upgrades

Microsoft typically doesn’t support these older systems, and its recent release of free security patches is a deviation from how the company ordinarily operates. It’s an extraordinary measure for an emergency situation. However, where will Microsoft draw the line? What will happen during future occasions involving widespread malware or other security risks?

Some organizations that are reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10, for example, might take this is a sign that they can continue relying on Microsoft to support outdated versions of various Windows software when there’s an emergency. However, this is a flawed way of thinking.

  • Organizations can’t reliably depend on the fact that Microsoft will step in to fix old, unsupported software whenever there’s a major security problem. The company offers no such guarantee.
  • Upgrading to a supported platform like Windows 10 ensures that your organization benefits from the most recent updates.
  • Beyond updates or patches for specific security risks, an up-to-date platform like Windows 10 has also been designed with greater security built into it throughout. If you’re running an outdated system, there may be deep security flaws that can’t be comprehensively addressed just by performing certain updates. Older systems may be lacking in powerful security features that newer systems have adopted.

Managing your systems

Another key lesson we can take from the problem of rampant malware is how important it is to stay on top of managing your IT systems.

You need to make a full accounting of all the devices your business uses, and the information you must stay on top of includes the following:

  • The versions of operating systems and other software your computing devices use. (Maybe you’re using similar software across devices, or perhaps the software you use varies quite a bit from one device to another.)
  • The schedule of upgrades and updates you’ve developed for your systems. For example, have you made updates automatic, or are they manual? How often do you check for new updates?
  • The current vulnerabilities in your system, and your priorities for which to address first. Some security flaws are much more likely to be immediately exploited and cause potentially widespread damage, while others pose less of a threat, at least in the short-term.
  • What each device is connected to. For example, a major security risk comes from devices (ranging from laptops to digital security cameras) that are inadvertently exposed to the Internet and left unprotected. Configuring devices properly and limiting their exposure is critical for improved security.

To further discuss these issues and to receive assistance in strengthening the security of your devices and systems, please contact us. If you don’t manage your software and remain aware of the potential risks, you leave your business far more vulnerable to the threat of malware and other security breaches. The results can prove deeply damaging and include steep financial losses, damaged trust, and prolonged downtime. With our assistance, you can perform any upgrades or updates you need in a timely way and implement cyber security strategies that better safeguard you against the numerous threats out there.