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Why You Shouldn't Say “Humbug” to Your Security

Why You Shouldn't Say “Humbug” to Your Security

The IT guy, Jacob left last month: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. He left without an exit interview, and he didn’t seem very pleased with the way the situation played out. You could never tell if Scrooge cared or not. His demands have never wavered. He expected perfection and when mistakes were made, they were approached as catastrophic affronts to the sustainability of the business, even if that wasn’t the reality.

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During the Holidays, Cybersecurity Matters at Work and Home

During the Holidays, Cybersecurity Matters at Work and Home

We’re right in the thick of the holiday season, which means two things: one, there’s a lot of data being exchanged between businesses and consumers, and (on a related note) two: there’s ample opportunities for cybercrime, targeting business and consumer both. Whichever side of the coin you are on at any moment, you need to be aware of the risks, and how to mitigate them.

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Technology Has Played a Part in Shaping How We Celebrate the Season

Technology Has Played a Part in Shaping How We Celebrate the Season

The holiday season has always been one of deep-seated traditions, some that draw from ancient customs, and some that are inspired by more contemporary trends. These traditions have been shaped, and often inspired by, the technology available in the day. Today, we’ll reflect on how the technologies we have now have impacted our celebratory traditions.

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Are You Accidentally Gifting a Security Breach?

Are You Accidentally Gifting a Security Breach?

The holidays are a time filled with good food, visits from dear friends and family, and exchanging gifts with those you care about. However, to keep the season bright and merry, you need to be a little cautious during your next gift exchange, as many gifts can present some unexpected risks to your recipient’s security. Be mindful if you see the following items on someone’s wish list.

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This Halloween, Dress Like a Hacker and Terrify Your IT Administrator

This Halloween, Dress Like a Hacker and Terrify Your IT Administrator

Halloween is a time when people of all ages dress up as something spooky that they’re really not. For the scariest of hackers, every day is like a reverse Halloween as they try to scam victims by pretending to be someone safe and trustworthy--a persona that they’re really not. This Halloween, don’t get tricked by the haunted hack!


Tricks of this nature are categorized as social engineering, and unlike a child dressed as a ghoul on Halloween, scams of the social-engineering variety are much more difficult to spot. When it comes to protecting yourself from these targeted scams, it’s imperative that you know what to look for. Also, in the same way you check your kid’s trick-or-treat candy for anything that might be harmful, you need to view unsolicited digital communications with a degree of healthy skepticism.

Unfortunately, social engineering tactics like phishing scams work, which is why hackers increasingly use them. This begs the question; why is it that users so easily fall for these scams, even if they’re aware of the security risks? Researchers from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany sought to find this out by studying the reasons why people click on malicious links.

The findings were presented by Zinaida Benenson at the most recent Black Hat convention in Las Vegas. Benenson attributed the “success” of a malicious link to the hacker’s ability to understand the circumstances of the scam, and personalizing the link to appeal to their victim. “By a careful design and timing of the message, it should be possible to make virtually any person to click on a link, as any person will be curious about something, or interested in some topic, or find themselves in a life situation that fits the message content and context."

Translation; even with proactive training and education, the best employee could potentially click on a link if doing so fits into their current interests or piques their curiosity. ZDNet uses the example of a partygoer who attended a recent event and then receives an email containing a link to photos of the party. Naturally, the user will want to click on the link, regardless of where it’s from. In this example, the hacker effectively appeals to the natural curiosity of what might be contained within; when coupled with such personalized context, it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll click it.

Another example would be an employee who’s experiencing technical trouble with a workstation. They’ll then receive an email from “tech support” suggesting they click on a link and download remote access software. If the employee is frustrated and they can’t get their PC to work properly, they will follow the email’s instructions for two reasons: 1) The context fits the situation, and 2) People tend to trust tech support.

Like the work it takes to create an impressive Halloween costume, these hacks rely on a level of preparation and cunning by the hackers. This kind of personalized attention makes social engineering scams particularly challenging to protect oneself against.

Essentially, the possibilities for you and your employees to be tricked by spear phishing attacks and end-user errors are limitless, so long as a hacker knows how to appeal to what a user cares about. At the end of the day, having a staff that knows how to spot a trick, and a network that’s free from scary threats, is the greatest treat a business owner can ask for.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween from all of us at Machado Consulting.

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Unsent IE Error Reports Uncovered, You Won’t Believe Where!

b2ap3_thumbnail_old_ie_error_reports_400.jpgEven if you like Internet Explorer, you may have noticed that it can be a bit buggy at times. Perhaps if Microsoft had more information about the causes of its software issues, they could develop a better product. This is the purpose of software error reports, which largely go unsent and unread; or at least, that’s what Microsoft thought.

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Mark Your Calendars, Folks: World Backup Day is March 31st

b2ap3_thumbnail_world_backup_day_400.jpg2015 isn’t the year to go without backups. If there’s anything 2014 showed the world, it’s that businesses can fall victim to data breaches when they least expect it. You want to be prepared in the event of a data breach or data loss, and the easiest way to do that is by taking advantage of an external backup. Unfortunately, even an essential solution like data backup can be forgotten amidst the everyday operations of the average business owner.

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IT Techie, Hurry Up My Downloads Tonight

b2ap3_thumbnail_hurry_up_downloads_400.jpgAn IT parody song to the tune of “Santa Baby.”

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4 Holiday Tech Gifts for 2014

b2ap3_thumbnail_2014_gifts_400.jpgThe holidays are again upon us and if you are looking for the perfect gift for your favorite business professional, you don’t have to look too far. There are more consumer electronics available today than ever before, and most of them have some sort of novelty attached to them. We have made a list of four gifts that are not only cool, they serve a practical purpose and will probably avoid being re-gifted or recycled.

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3 Father’s Day Gifts that A Business Dad Needs!

b2ap3_thumbnail_fathers_day_june_15_400.jpgIf your Dad happens to be a business owner, then you know how hard it can be to give him a nice Father's Day present. Business owners tend to be good at buying themselves whatever they need or want. Every business owner can benefit from IT services. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

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