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IT Defense in Depth Part II

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Defense in Depth Part IIIn our last blog we started talking about the different layers of security necessary to fully defend your data and business integrity. Today we will look at the human aspect of it, and network defenses. The human layer refers to the activities that your employees perform. 95% of security incidences involve human error. Ashley Schwartau of The Security Awareness Company says the two biggest mistakes a company can make are "assuming their employees know internal security policies: and "assuming their employees care enough to follow policy". Here are some ways Hackers exploit human foibles: Guessing or brute-force solving passwordsTricking employees to open compromised emails or visit compromised websitesTricking employees to divulge sensitive information For the human layer, you need to:Enforce mandatory password changes every 30 to 60 days, or after you lose an employeeTrain your employees on best practices every 6 monthsProvide incentives for securi…

IT Defense In Depth Part I

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In the 1930s, France built a trench network called the Maginot Line to rebuff any invasion. The philosophy was simple: if you map out all the places an enemy can attack, and lay down a lot of men and fortifications at those places, you can rebuff any attack. The problem is, you can't map every possible avenue for attack. What does this have to do with IT security? Today many business owners install an antivirus program as their Maginot Line and call it a day. However there are many ways to get into a network that circumvent antivirus software. Hackers are creating viruses faster than antivirus programs can recognise them (about 100,000 new virus types are released daily), and professional cybercriminals will often test their creations against all commercially available platforms before releasing them onto the net. Even if you had a perfect anti­virus program that could detect and stop every single threat, there are many attacks that circumvent anti­virus programs entirely. For exampl…

Data Security: A People Problem

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Phishing Scams – A People ProblemThere are some things that only people can fix. There are many security risks to which your data is susceptible, but there is one method that remains a wonderfully effective hacking tool. That is the phishing scam. This is a legitimate looking email that asks the reader to click on a link. If clicked, the link can infect the user’s computer with malicious software that can steal passwords, logins, and other critical data. Alternatively, the email appears to be from a legitimate source, perhaps even duplicating a legitimate webpage. The distinction is that the phishing email asks the user to enter personal information, including passcodes. In either case, that is how hackers easily get into your systems. What's the best defense against this one? The single biggest defense is education. Training your people to be constantly wary of all the emails they receive. One way some firms are educating their people is by sending out their own "fake" p…

What is Ransomware and How Can it Affect Your Business?

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This cyberattack scheme hasn't garnered nearly as much attention as the usual "break-in-and-steal-data-to-sell-on-the-Internet version," but it can be even more debilitating. Ransomware attacks have begun appearing in the last few years and its practitioners are so polished that in few cases they even have mini­call centers to handle your payments and questions. So what is ransomware? Ransomware stops you from using your PC, files or programs. The business model is as old as the earliest kidnapping. They hold your data, software, or entire PC hostage until you pay them a ransom to get it back. What happens is that you suddenly have no access to a program or file and a screen appears announcing your files are encrypted and that you need to pay (usually in bitcoins) to regain access. There may even be a Doomsday-style clock counting down the time you have to pay or lose everything. Interestingly, one of the more common "market segments" being targeted in the US has…

Data Breaches are a Question of When, Not If

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You hear on the news all of the time about big cyber attacks on large corporations, and even government agencies. The trouble with this news coverage is that is suggests a distorted view of where cyber attacks are taking place. These attacks are not solely hitting large organizations. Small firms represent a significant portion of those who face cyber attacks. Being small by no means keeps you immune. In fact, small firms can be used as conduits to larger organizations. That is likely what happened in the case of Target Corporation back in 2013 If  you're a small business, then you're a target for cyber criminals. Last year, 71% of small to medium size businesses were the victims of cyber attacks. Today's concern is how you would respond to an attack. 31% of small to medium businesses do not have a plan of action for responding to IT security breaches, and 22% admit that they lack the expertise to make such a plan. A data breach is disastrous. Your response determines whether…

Penetration Testing vs. Vulnerability Testing Your Business Network

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Hearing “all of your confidential information is extremely vulnerable, we know this because...” is bad news, but whatever follows the ellipses determines just how bad. Consider two scenarios.“All of your confidential information is extremely vulnerable... we know this because a hacker took all of your customers’ credit card info and locked all of your files behind ransomware.”

“All of your confidential information is extremely vulnerable...we know this because we did a vulnerability scan of your network, and have some suggestions on how you can improve.” 61% percent of small businesses are victimized by cyber attacks each year, and one in five victims do not survive. It is financially worthwhile to make sure that you end up being the person hearing the latter sentence.Scenario 2 describes the statement after you have had a vulnerability test conducted. A vulnerability test is a comprehensive audit of security flaws that a hacker could exploit, and the possible consequences. This is the…

Benefits of Using VoIP Technology

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Benefits of Using VoIP Technology More and more businesses are implementing Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP technology because of its versatility, flexibility and cost effectiveness. With new developments in this technology, the scope of its applications is widening. It is becoming more than just voice communications technology. That is why businesses of all sizes are migrating at an increasing rate. Here is a short list of some of the benefits. Versatility/Flexibility: There are many VoIP service companies that have been working feverishly to enhance the use of this technology. They are bundling up other communication applications into a single unified communication platform to increase the efficiency for businesses. This means all modes of communication such as voice, fax, video, web conferencing and emails can be utilized, using a single software application. The ability of this application to convert voice into an email or fax into an email can bring a tremendous amount of effi…