What is proactive cybersecurity, and how do you implement it?

To keep cyberthreats at bay, you need proactive cybersecurity solutions in your arsenal. They identify and contain threats before they wreak havoc on your systems and cause significant productivity and financial losses. Here’s all you need to know about proactive cybersecurity and how to implement it.

What is proactive cybersecurity?

Traditional cybersecurity is reactive — your IT team or managed IT services provider (MSP) will be alerted of a cyberattack after it has happened, leaving them to alleviate the impacts. In contrast, proactive cybersecurity is preventative — it takes into account all potential threats and seeks to identify vulnerabilities so that they can be addressed before they lead to larger, downtime-causing issues.

Many organizations have adopted proactive cybersecurity measures along with reactive ones and are now reaping the benefits, including the ability to stay one step ahead of cyberthreats and improved data compliance.

How to implement proactive cybersecurity

In adopting a proactive approach to cybersecurity in your organization, you must follow these steps:

  1. Understand the threats you’re facing
    Before you can work toward preventing cyberattacks, you must know exactly what you’re up against. Seek the help of your in-house IT staff or MSP in identifying the types of attacks that are most common in your industry.
  2. Reevaluate what it is you’re protecting
    Once you have a list of the biggest threats to your organization, you need to take stock of how each can damage the various components of your network. Map out every company device that connects to the internet, what type of data they have access to (regulated, mission-critical, low-importance, etc.), and what services are currently protecting those devices.
  3. Choose proactive cybersecurity measures to put in place
    Depending on the risks and assets uncovered in steps 1 and 2, your IT team or MSP may recommend any of the following measures:
Proactive measure What it entails
Security awareness seminars for all internal stakeholders Train everyone from the receptionist to the CEO about effective security practices such as password management, proper mobile device usage, and spam awareness.
Updated anti-malware software or cloud-based service Protect your data and systems against the latest and most menacing malware.
Routine software patches and upgrades Minimize the chances of leaving a backdoor to your network open.
Web filtering services Blacklist dangerous and inappropriate sites for anyone on your network.
Perimeter defenses (e.g., intrusion prevention systems and hardware firewalls) Scrutinize everything trying to sneak its way in through the borders of your network.
Policy of least privilege Limit users’ access only to the data they need to fulfill their tasks.
Data segmentation Rank data according to sensitivity and build micro-perimeters around high-value datasets.
Full-disk encryption Make data stored in computers and portable devices unreadable so that if these machines are stolen, the files they have inside remain secure.
Virtual private networks Make data transmitted across unsecured connections unreadable so that intercepting it would become futile.
Strict access controls Prevent unauthorized access to accounts by using strong passwords, multifactor authentication, and auto screen locks and logouts for idle users. 
AI-powered network monitoring Identify suspicious user and software behaviors such as employees accessing files outside their departments.

If you’re looking to implement a proactive cybersecurity strategy to protect your business’s critical systems, give our professionals a call today. We’ll assess your needs and recommend the best, most effective solutions to address them.

This post was originally published on this site

Shopping for antivirus software? Consider the following points

As viruses, ransomware, and spyware become more dangerous these days, it’s more important than ever to have powerful antivirus protection. When choosing the right antivirus program for your computer, however, there are many things you should consider. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.

Cost

There are free antivirus programs in the market, but they only offer basic protection that advanced malware can easily evade. There’s also a risk that they contain adware, which collects data and sells them to third parties. Antivirus companies may even bundle potentially unwanted programs to generate revenue.

Speed and performance

Antivirus programs are notorious for consuming a lot of system memory, resulting in sluggish computer performance. Thanks to new technology, however, this problem has been addressed. Still, remember that antivirus performance is more important than device speed. What’s the point of a fast computer if it’s quick to succumb to hackers and malware?

Compatibility with multiple devices

Most people these days use or own more than one device, such as smartphones and tablets. Look for antivirus software that can protect all your devices, regardless of their operating system or date of purchase. It’ll be inconvenient and expensive to have different security software per device.

Comprehensive protection

Your antivirus should protect your devices from a wide variety of cyberthreats. These should include popular malware and phishing attacks, as well as malicious downloads, denial-of-service attacks, cryptojacking, and other damaging threats.

Customer support and service

Take the time to learn more about the antivirus software manufacturer. Does the company have a good reputation? Do they actively discover zero-day vulnerabilities and new cyberthreats? And are they at the forefront of developing cybersecurity solutions? If they tick all the boxes, you’re sure that their products and services are worth your investment.

Cybersecurity is not a luxury but a necessity for all businesses. If you’re looking for the right antivirus protection, then let our experts help you. We’ll provide you with the robust security your devices and network need.

This post was originally published on this site

Shopping for antivirus software? Consider the following points

As viruses, ransomware, and spyware become more dangerous these days, it’s more important than ever to have powerful antivirus protection. When choosing the right antivirus program for your computer, however, there are many things you should consider. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.

Cost

There are free antivirus programs in the market, but they only offer basic protection that advanced malware can easily evade. There’s also a risk that they contain adware, which collects data and sells them to third parties. Antivirus companies may even bundle potentially unwanted programs to generate revenue.

Speed and performance

Antivirus programs are notorious for consuming a lot of system memory, resulting in sluggish computer performance. Thanks to new technology, however, this problem has been addressed. Still, remember that antivirus performance is more important than device speed. What’s the point of a fast computer if it’s quick to succumb to hackers and malware?

Compatibility with multiple devices

Most people these days use or own more than one device, such as smartphones and tablets. Look for antivirus software that can protect all your devices, regardless of their operating system or date of purchase. It’ll be inconvenient and expensive to have different security software per device.

Comprehensive protection

Your antivirus should protect your devices from a wide variety of cyberthreats. These should include popular malware and phishing attacks, as well as malicious downloads, denial-of-service attacks, cryptojacking, and other damaging threats.

Customer support and service

Take the time to learn more about the antivirus software manufacturer. Does the company have a good reputation? Do they actively discover zero-day vulnerabilities and new cyberthreats? And are they at the forefront of developing cybersecurity solutions? If they tick all the boxes, you’re sure that their products and services are worth your investment.

Cybersecurity is not a luxury but a necessity for all businesses. If you’re looking for the right antivirus protection, then let our experts help you. We’ll provide you with the robust security your devices and network need.

This post was originally published on this site

Basic cybersecurity terms everyone should know

If the only cybersecurity terms you know are “virus” and “hacking,” now is the time to expand your cybersecurity vocabulary. This will enable you to better understand the variety of risks in the online world and protect your computers, data, and yourself. Here’s a short yet handy list of cybersecurity terms you should know.

Malware

For a long time, the phrase “computer virus” was misused to refer to every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt computers and networks. The more appropriate term for these harmful programs and files would be “malicious software” or “malware.” Whereas a virus is a specific type of malware that is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as malware.

Ransomware

Don’t let all other cyberthreats ending in -ware confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is “ransomware,” which is malware that encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid.

Intrusion prevention system (IPS)

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but an IPS is quickly becoming one of the nonnegotiables. An IPS sits inside your company’s firewall and looks for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. Experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of “social engineering” to succeed. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or protected information. For cybercriminals, complicated software is totally unnecessary if they can just convince potential victims that they’re a security professional who needs the victims’ password to secure their account.

Phishing

Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of defrauding people using an app or a website that impersonates a trustworthy or often well-known business in an attempt to obtain confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean that it is. Don’t take such emails at face value — always verify the source, especially if the emails are requesting your sensitive data.

Antivirus

Antivirus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well-known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to fix the gap in security. However, if cyberattackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.

Patch

When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and “patch” this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest malware.

Redundant data

When antivirus software, patches, and intrusion prevention fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

Our cybersecurity professionals are always available to impart more in-depth knowledge of the many different kinds of cyberthreats. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you with your IT security woes.

This post was originally published on this site

Basic cybersecurity terms everyone should know

If the only cybersecurity terms you know are “virus” and “hacking,” now is the time to expand your cybersecurity vocabulary. This will enable you to better understand the variety of risks in the online world and protect your computers, data, and yourself. Here’s a short yet handy list of cybersecurity terms you should know.

Malware

For a long time, the phrase “computer virus” was misused to refer to every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt computers and networks. The more appropriate term for these harmful programs and files would be “malicious software” or “malware.” Whereas a virus is a specific type of malware that is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as malware.

Ransomware

Don’t let all other cyberthreats ending in -ware confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is “ransomware,” which is malware that encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid.

Intrusion prevention system (IPS)

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but an IPS is quickly becoming one of the nonnegotiables. An IPS sits inside your company’s firewall and looks for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. Experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of “social engineering” to succeed. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or protected information. For cybercriminals, complicated software is totally unnecessary if they can just convince potential victims that they’re a security professional who needs the victims’ password to secure their account.

Phishing

Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of defrauding people using an app or a website that impersonates a trustworthy or often well-known business in an attempt to obtain confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean that it is. Don’t take such emails at face value — always verify the source, especially if the emails are requesting your sensitive data.

Antivirus

Antivirus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well-known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to fix the gap in security. However, if cyberattackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.

Patch

When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and “patch” this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest malware.

Redundant data

When antivirus software, patches, and intrusion prevention fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

Our cybersecurity professionals are always available to impart more in-depth knowledge of the many different kinds of cyberthreats. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you with your IT security woes.

This post was originally published on this site

Simple ways to defend against Mac ransomware

Although a majority of ransomware attacks usually target Windows PCs, this doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe. Ransomware attacks for Macs have occurred before, and are growing more widespread over time. So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your Mac? We’ve compiled some helpful security tips for you.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid in gift cards, or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Macs are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s encrypted. Ransomware messages may also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay within a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because these organizations tend to have a lot of valuable assets, including money, and can’t afford to lose access to their critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

In 2016, the KeRanger ransomware was distributed through the popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade macOS’s built-in security measures and infect more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When launched, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. But the ransomware was poorly built, so there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

In 2019, the EvilQuest ransomware encrypted files and tried to trick users into paying a Bitcoin ransom. Much like Patcher, however, there was no feature to decrypt files after paying, leaving those who paid the ransom with nothing.

Ransomware attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to be prepared in case of an attack.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain offline backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom fee, as there’s no guarantee that hackers will provide a decryption key and release your data even if you give in to their demands.

Instead, use an up-to-date anti-malware program to remove ransomware from your computer. Cybersecurity experts may also release free ransomware decryptor tools to remove the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools don’t work, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures, provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they still pose a great threat to your business. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Mac security threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

This post was originally published on this site

Simple ways to defend against Mac ransomware

Although a majority of ransomware attacks usually target Windows PCs, this doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe. Ransomware attacks for Macs have occurred before, and are growing more widespread over time. So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your Mac? We’ve compiled some helpful security tips for you.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid in gift cards, or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Macs are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s encrypted. Ransomware messages may also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay within a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because these organizations tend to have a lot of valuable assets, including money, and can’t afford to lose access to their critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

In 2016, the KeRanger ransomware was distributed through the popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade macOS’s built-in security measures and infect more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When launched, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. But the ransomware was poorly built, so there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

In 2019, the EvilQuest ransomware encrypted files and tried to trick users into paying a Bitcoin ransom. Much like Patcher, however, there was no feature to decrypt files after paying, leaving those who paid the ransom with nothing.

Ransomware attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to be prepared in case of an attack.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain offline backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom fee, as there’s no guarantee that hackers will provide a decryption key and release your data even if you give in to their demands.

Instead, use an up-to-date anti-malware program to remove ransomware from your computer. Cybersecurity experts may also release free ransomware decryptor tools to remove the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools don’t work, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures, provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they still pose a great threat to your business. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Mac security threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

This post was originally published on this site

Everyone has a role in proactive cybersecurity

As IT security consultants and managed service providers, we are business partners who provide clients with enterprise-level IT. We specialize in overwhelmingly intricate technology and keep ourselves abreast of the latest cybersecurity developments. However, as with all partnerships, you have a role to play, too. Here’s how you and everyone in your team can play a proactive role in your business’s cybersecurity.

Understand the threats you’re facing

Before any small- or medium-sized business (SMB) can work toward preventing cyberattacks, everyone involved needs to know exactly what they’re up against. Whether you’re working with in-house IT staff or an MSP, you should review what types of attacks are most common in your industry. Ideally, your team would spearhead this review a few times a year.

Reevaluate what it is you’re protecting

Once you have a list of the biggest threats to your organization, you need to take stock of how each one threatens the various cogs of your network. Map out every company device that connects to the internet, what type of data they have access to (regulated, mission-critical, low-importance, etc.), and what services are currently protecting those devices.

Create a baseline of protection

By reviewing current trends in the cybersecurity field and auditing your current technology framework, you can begin to get a clearer picture of how you want to prioritize your preventative measures versus your reactive measures.

Before you can start improving your cybersecurity approach, you need to know where your baseline is. Devise a handful of real-life scenarios and simulate them on your network. Network penetration testing from trustworthy IT professionals will help pinpoint weak spots in your current framework.

Finalize a plan

All these pieces will complete the puzzle of what your new strategy needs to be. With an experienced technology consultant on board for the entire process, you can easily synthesize the results of your simulation into a multipronged approach to proactive security.

Proactive measure What it entails
Security awareness seminars for all internal stakeholders Train everyone from the receptionist to the CEO about effective security practices such as password management, proper mobile device usage, and spam awareness.
Updated anti-malware software or cloud-based service Protect your data and systems against the latest and most menacing malware.
Routine software patches and upgrades Minimize the chances of leaving a backdoor to your network open.
Web filtering services Blacklist dangerous and inappropriate sites for anyone on your network.
Perimeter defenses (e.g., intrusion prevention systems and hardware firewalls) Scrutinize everything trying to sneak its way in through the borders of your network.
Policy of least privilege Limit users’ access only to the data they need to fulfill their tasks.
Data segmentation Rank data according to sensitivity and build micro-perimeters around high-value datasets.
Full-disk encryption Make data stored in computers and portable devices unreadable so that if these machines are stolen, the files they have inside remain secure.
Virtual private networks Make data transmitted across unsecured connections unreadable so that intercepting it would become futile.
Strict access controls Prevent unauthorized access to accounts by using strong passwords, multifactor authentication, and auto screen locks and logouts for idle users. 
AI-powered network monitoring Identify suspicious user and software behaviors such as employees accessing files outside their departments.

As soon as you focus on preventing downtime events instead of reacting to them, the productivity and efficiency of your IT infrastructure will increase to levels you’ve never dreamed of. Start your journey to enhanced cybersecurity by giving us a call for a demonstration.

This post was originally published on this site