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Welcome to our blog where you can find everything from tech-tips to keeping your data secure. Have any questions? We'd love to hear from you!

Business Ransomware Increases by 500%. 5 Tips to Make Sure You Aren’t Next.

Business Ransomware Increases by 500%. 5 Tips to Make Sure You Aren’t Next.

Originally published as "Tip of the Week: Ransomware is Exploding, is Your Business Ready for the Blast?"

When it comes to internet threats, ransomware is the one that causes the most fear, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, and the fear is based in reality.  According to the Malwarebytes 2019 Cybercrime Tactic’s and Techniques report, in comparison to last year, the rise of business ransomware has increased over 500%. It’s time to make sure that you’re doing what you can to stop your business from becoming another ransomware statistic. Here are five good tips that will help you avoid becoming a victim of the next big ransomware attack.

 

1. Get Smart: You and your employees are the first line of defense against ransomware - and all malware. You need to invest time to educate yourself and your employees about the dangers and consequences of an attack, and best practices to protect yourself, your data and your network from a cyber threat. Keep yourself apprised of the best ways to prevent victimization.
2. Back It Up: Regularly backing up data is the most effective way to prevent losing your data from ransomware. If a ransomware attack does find its way onto your network, you have a copy of that network and data backed up in its entirety from just a few minutes before. 96% of companies with a trusted backup and disaster recovery plan were able to survive ransomware attacks. The copy of your backup shouldn’t be stored on the infected network.
3. Keep Security Software and Patches Up-to-Date: New ransomware is always being introduced. New variants of malware are always being created, which threaten your network. Luckily, your operating system and software are always working overtime to come up with ways to keep your data and network security. Updating your security software and paying attention to patches is a great way to make sure that you’re protected when ransomware strikes.
4. Beware of Email: One of the primary methods of ransomware transmission and infection is email. According to Proofpoint researchers, nearly 30% of the most targeted malware and phishing attacks were directed at generic email accounts, like . Users should be cautious of any email that is unsolicited or unexpected, particularly if there is a link or attachment.
5. DON’T PAY THE RANSOM: Paying ransom is no guarantee that you’re going to get your data back. The first payment is often a gateway to increasing demands and your data is still gone. Don’t Pay the Ransom! Instead of paying the criminals who have hijacked your data - contact your IT service provider and let them know what is going on.

That is just for starters - for those of you who want to make sure they’re doing everything possible to reduce their chance of contracting ransomware, reach out to our security experts today at (508) 453-4700.

It’s estimated that ransomware attacks will reach 11.5 billion annually by 2019, and that number only includes those who pay the ransom. Imagine if everyone who was attacked paid their ransom. Are you familiar with these five ransomware tips? Is there anything else you have found to be effective? Let us know in the comments below.

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Being Smart & Social: The Importance of Cyber Hygiene on Social Media

Being Smart & Social: The Importance of Cyber Hygiene on Social Media

Blog post originally published on April 10, 2019 as "Social Media Users Should Consider Their Personal Information". Updated September 27, 2019.

Social media has completely changed the dynamics of how people communicate with one another. In an age where a picture can appear on thousands of devices all over the world, privacy has become a major concern for anyone using social media. According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans over 18-years-old use some social media platform. 

In relation to this increase, the number of cybercriminals looking to steal money, information, and identities has also risen. Privacy concerns are prevalent in today’s social media environment, and users must be aware of how their data is vulnerable.  For most people social media is a place where they can share their civil and political views, personal health information, learn scientific information, engage in job, familial, and society-related activities, and where they get most of their news. Between social media and online commerce, more personally identifiable information is shared with corporations than you would ever knowingly share with your best friends. Think about that.

As social media usage increases, (we currently spend 30% of our online hours on social media), we are sharing more and more personal information. App developers create more third party integrations that require you to share your personal info in order to use their service. But the more this happens, the easier it is to lose control over who has your data, how their storing it, and how they're monetizing it.

Why Stay on Social Media If It Makes You Vulnerable?

If you are at the beach and a lifeguard told you that they saw sharks in the water, would you wade around waist-deep trying to spot the sharks? No chance. We constantly warn people to protect their personal information, and they consistently don’t. Why? Because we all tend to think of data and privacy in small, targeted ways, but we now know that data breaches and big data gathering happen to anyone and everyone. While personally motivated cyber attacks occur, it's much more likely that your privacy will be compromised by a larger scale attack.

Here are some great tips for staying safe on social media, as posted by the Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Division, for more detailed information, check out the CISA website.

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post 
  • Remember that the internet is a public resource 
  • Be wary of strangers 
  • Be skeptical 
  • Evaluate your settings 
  • Be wary of third-party applications 
  • Use strong passwords
  • Check privacy policies 
  • Keep software, particularly your web browser, up to date 
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software 

Remember, less is more on social. Sure, your "Likes" may establish your online personality, style and preferences, but you might find yourself the target of more than just savvy marketers.

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The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

Picture this… In your office you have a bag filled with thousands of envelopes. In each envelope there is $242 in cash. Unbeknownst to you, a thief has gained access to your office, but you don’t realize this until 279 days later. How much is this going to cost your business?

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Why Managed Services: Proactive Maintenance and Management

Why Managed Services: Proactive Maintenance and Management

In order for one methodology to replace another, it has to provide more value than the one that came before. In terms of IT support, managed services can deliver far greater value than the familiar break/fix method. In this series, we’ll explore the value that managed services contribute to a business, starting with their proactive nature.

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Evaluating Your Business’ Information Technology

Evaluating Your Business’ Information Technology

It’s imperative that you keep your IT infrastructure under control, but many organizations push it to the side. The problem is that ignoring IT often makes it so that you aren’t properly evaluating your technology infrastructure and support, meaning that you could be wasting time and resources that would be better spent elsewhere. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not your IT systems are being maintained properly.

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