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.

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Are your company mobile devices protected?

Mobile devices are indispensable. Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile gadgets play a big part in everyday processes, especially for individuals and companies that value connection and convenience. But as the number of mobile devices used in business operations increases, so do the cyberthreats that target them. Be sure to follow these steps to safeguard company mobile devices.

Ensure mobile OS is up to date

The updates to Apple and Android operating systems (OS) improve overall user experience, but their most important function is to fix security vulnerabilities. Reduce your business’s exposure to threats by installing updates for all devices as soon as they become available. Don’t delay updates, as doing so gives cybercriminals ample time to exploit vulnerabilities on devices that run on an outdated OS.

Install business applications only

Downloading apps seems harmless. However, lenient policies on what should and shouldn’t be downloaded on company mobile devices could lead to staff installing non-business-related apps, many of which are notorious for malicious advertising codes and other threats. It’s imperative that employees download and install only business applications necessary for their work on their company-issued mobile devices.

Be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks

Emergencies may compel your staff to use password-free Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airports, cafes, and other public places. Connecting to an open network can expose your confidential information and sensitive company data to cybercriminals connected to the same network.

You can avoid this by providing a practical internet data plan, preferably one that includes roaming services, for remote workers. And if connecting to a public Wi-Fi network is really necessary, using a reputable virtual private network (VPN) can help protect your sensitive data. A VPN creates a direct, secure connection for data from your end to your intended point on the internet.

Enable phone tracking tools

Losing a company-issued mobile device is unfortunate. Devices can be misplaced or stolen, but enabling Find My iPhone for iOS devices, GPS Phone Tracker for Android, or any device-tracking app helps users locate lost phones. Some also have the option to delete data on stolen devices. Downloading and setting up such an app takes only a few minutes and it will give you peace of mind knowing that even if your phone is lost or stolen, its contents will not be compromised.

Screen SMS carefully

SMS phishing can be used to trick you into clicking malicious links. Cybercriminals send messages purporting to be from someone you know, asking you to urgently disclose confidential information. Should you encounter such an SMS, you can either delete it or alert your IT department. You can also block unknown senders without even opening their messages.

Mobile devices are becoming more critical to operations. And with more devices open to attacks, businesses must bolster their cybersecurity efforts. Malicious actors will exploit every possible vulnerability and that includes those in unsecured smartphones and tablets. Get in touch with us if you need comprehensive security solutions for your business.

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How updated firmware keeps cyberattacks at bay

Your business may have all the latest cybersecurity solutions in place, but if you haven’t updated your computers’ firmware in a while, you may still be at risk of data breaches and other cyberattacks. Here’s how updating firmware can beef up your company’s cyber defenses.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every hardware component in computers, computer peripherals (e.g., keyboards, mice), printers, mobile devices, and Internet of Things devices. It’s also found in some household appliances and gadgets such as TV remote controls, as well as everyday objects like traffic lights.

Essentially, firmware controls the device it’s installed on, sending instructions for how the device communicates with its different hardware components. It is only compatible with the make and model of the particular hardware it is installed on, and it cannot be uninstalled or deleted.

Why is updating firmware important?

According to Microsoft’s 2021 Security Signals report, firmware attacks are on the rise. These attacks involve injecting malware into computer systems to tamper with the firmware on motherboards or hardware drivers. From there, cybercriminals can do any number of things to the infected computers, including remotely controlling the devices, disabling the antivirus software, exfiltrating data, and blocking access to the devices and the data they contain.

Experts recommend installing firmware updates as soon as these become available to effectively protect against firmware attacks and other threats to your business’s cybersecurity. Users will also enjoy increased speed and enhanced performance with a firmware update.

How to install firmware updates

The method for updating firmware differs from device to device. For instance, you can simply download and install firmware updates on both iOS and Android devices. However, for devices such as routers, you will have to apply firmware updates from the manufacturer’s website or administrative console.

Keep in mind, however, that updating firmware can be tedious and time-consuming. In some cases, a firmware update can reset your devices and restore factory settings, causing you to lose custom configurations on your computers, routers, and the like. And if you fail to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, you risk damaging your systems.

It’s therefore best to leave the installation of firmware updates to the experts. For more information about firmware security and how to safely install firmware updates, or for any questions related to business IT, give our specialists a call today.

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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

Protect your VoIP systems against denial-of-service attacks

Telephony systems are crucial to business communications and operations and therefore need to be highly secure. Although malware and viruses are some of the most common threats to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, there are other little-known threats too, such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. If your business heavily relies on VoIP, you should learn how to protect it from DoS attacks.

Denial-of-service attacks

The end goal of any DoS attack is to overwhelm a system with so many requests that it is eventually forced to shut down. Telephony DoS (TDoS) attack is a subcategory leveled at VoIP systems. Alarmingly, this attack is commonly used against hospitals and 911 phone lines. Some TDoS attackers even demand a ransom to halt the attack, which is similar to ransomware attacks. They take advantage of cryptocurrencies and caller-ID spoofing to make it incredibly difficult to identify attackers.

TDoS attacks generally employ fewer resources than the DoS attacks that are designed to cripple IT systems, which include networks, servers, and software. At its most basic, a TDoS attack requires only an automated phone dialer that calls a target phone number and hangs up — over and over. That very simple strategy can stop anyone else from getting through the line.

What organizations need to do

While your first instinct may be to lock down your VoIP system with complicated security measures, doing so will only do more harm than good. Most businesses can’t operate if they can’t communicate with their customers, business partners, and other third parties.

Although VoIP may be a digital resource similar to other components within your IT systems, the very nature of phone lines makes hiding them behind firewalls and other protections impossible. Fortunately, there are now new security protocols that can protect your communication infrastructure against those who try to use force to gain access to your directory information. These protocols can also identify, reroute, and filter calls coming from known attackers. Get in touch with our team to learn more about these protocols.

If you’re experiencing any abnormalities with your VoIP system, or if you want to deploy the most advanced solution that the market has to offer, our expert team of IT professionals is ready to help you at the drop of a hat — just call today.

This post was originally published on this site

Protect your VoIP systems against denial-of-service attacks

Telephony systems are crucial to business communications and operations and therefore need to be highly secure. Although malware and viruses are some of the most common threats to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, there are other little-known threats too, such as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. If your business heavily relies on VoIP, you should learn how to protect it from DoS attacks.

Denial-of-service attacks

The end goal of any DoS attack is to overwhelm a system with so many requests that it is eventually forced to shut down. Telephony DoS (TDoS) attack is a subcategory leveled at VoIP systems. Alarmingly, this attack is commonly used against hospitals and 911 phone lines. Some TDoS attackers even demand a ransom to halt the attack, which is similar to ransomware attacks. They take advantage of cryptocurrencies and caller-ID spoofing to make it incredibly difficult to identify attackers.

TDoS attacks generally employ fewer resources than the DoS attacks that are designed to cripple IT systems, which include networks, servers, and software. At its most basic, a TDoS attack requires only an automated phone dialer that calls a target phone number and hangs up — over and over. That very simple strategy can stop anyone else from getting through the line.

What organizations need to do

While your first instinct may be to lock down your VoIP system with complicated security measures, doing so will only do more harm than good. Most businesses can’t operate if they can’t communicate with their customers, business partners, and other third parties.

Although VoIP may be a digital resource similar to other components within your IT systems, the very nature of phone lines makes hiding them behind firewalls and other protections impossible. Fortunately, there are now new security protocols that can protect your communication infrastructure against those who try to use force to gain access to your directory information. These protocols can also identify, reroute, and filter calls coming from known attackers. Get in touch with our team to learn more about these protocols.

If you’re experiencing any abnormalities with your VoIP system, or if you want to deploy the most advanced solution that the market has to offer, our expert team of IT professionals is ready to help you at the drop of a hat — just call today.

This post was originally published on this site

How do sites with HTTPS make web browsing secure?

If you shop online like many people, you need to make sure that the site’s payment page has HTTPS in its URL. Otherwise, entering your personal and financial information on this page can expose you to risks such as identity theft. Read on to find out why HTTPS makes for a safer online browsing experience.

HTTPS encryption

The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secured.” It was introduced in 1995, so older websites that have been left on their own without regular maintenance usually don’t have it. But even to this day, unsecure websites exist, and fraudsters can easily take advantage of them.

When you visit a site with an HTTP connection, everything you type or click on that website is sent without encryption. This means that anyone who intercepts the data transferred between the website and your computer can view them as is. Cybercriminals know this, and they can exploit this fact to gain access to your Social Security number, credit card information, and other personal data. This puts you at risk of identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

HTTPS certificates

When you visit a website, your computer uses an online directory to translate its alphanumeric name into a numerical address. It then saves that information on your computer so that it doesn’t have to check the online directory every time you visit the same website.

In case your computer gets compromised, it could be manipulated into directing a perfectly safe web address like www.google.com to a malicious website. Most of the time, users are sent to sites that look exactly like the legitimate site but are actually fake copies designed to trick them into divulging their credentials.

To prevent such incidents from happening, the online directories mentioned earlier issue an ecosystem of certificates that turn HTTP into HTTPS, making it impossible for anyone to be redirected to a fraudulent website.

How does this affect our daily browsing habits?

We often visit a multitude of websites in a short period of time without checking each one for padlocks and certificates. Unfortunately, we can’t ignore the importance of HTTPS, so here are a few things to consider the next time you browse the internet:

  • If your browser marks a website as “unsafe,” think twice about clicking “Proceed anyway.” Click the prompt only if you are absolutely certain no confidential data will be transmitted.
  • Add web browser extensions such as HTTPS Everywhere that create encrypted connections to unencrypted websites. These extensions encrypt your communication with websites and are compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
  • Always be vigilant. Some sites may have HTTPS, but it doesn’t mean they’re safe. For example, goog1e.com (with the “l” replaced with a one) could have a certificate, but the misspelling clearly indicates that it’s an untrustworthy site. Cybercriminals use similar spellings of authentic websites to fool people into thinking that they’re on a secure site. This is called typosquatting or URL hijacking.
  • And perhaps, just follow the easiest step of all: avoid sites that don’t use the HTTPS prefix.

If you want to learn more about safer browsing habits and endpoint security, give our office a call.

This post was originally published on this site

How do sites with HTTPS make web browsing secure?

If you shop online like many people, you need to make sure that the site’s payment page has HTTPS in its URL. Otherwise, entering your personal and financial information on this page can expose you to risks such as identity theft. Read on to find out why HTTPS makes for a safer online browsing experience.

HTTPS encryption

The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secured.” It was introduced in 1995, so older websites that have been left on their own without regular maintenance usually don’t have it. But even to this day, unsecure websites exist, and fraudsters can easily take advantage of them.

When you visit a site with an HTTP connection, everything you type or click on that website is sent without encryption. This means that anyone who intercepts the data transferred between the website and your computer can view them as is. Cybercriminals know this, and they can exploit this fact to gain access to your Social Security number, credit card information, and other personal data. This puts you at risk of identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

HTTPS certificates

When you visit a website, your computer uses an online directory to translate its alphanumeric name into a numerical address. It then saves that information on your computer so that it doesn’t have to check the online directory every time you visit the same website.

In case your computer gets compromised, it could be manipulated into directing a perfectly safe web address like www.google.com to a malicious website. Most of the time, users are sent to sites that look exactly like the legitimate site but are actually fake copies designed to trick them into divulging their credentials.

To prevent such incidents from happening, the online directories mentioned earlier issue an ecosystem of certificates that turn HTTP into HTTPS, making it impossible for anyone to be redirected to a fraudulent website.

How does this affect our daily browsing habits?

We often visit a multitude of websites in a short period of time without checking each one for padlocks and certificates. Unfortunately, we can’t ignore the importance of HTTPS, so here are a few things to consider the next time you browse the internet:

  • If your browser marks a website as “unsafe,” think twice about clicking “Proceed anyway.” Click the prompt only if you are absolutely certain no confidential data will be transmitted.
  • Add web browser extensions such as HTTPS Everywhere that create encrypted connections to unencrypted websites. These extensions encrypt your communication with websites and are compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
  • Always be vigilant. Some sites may have HTTPS, but it doesn’t mean they’re safe. For example, goog1e.com (with the “l” replaced with a one) could have a certificate, but the misspelling clearly indicates that it’s an untrustworthy site. Cybercriminals use similar spellings of authentic websites to fool people into thinking that they’re on a secure site. This is called typosquatting or URL hijacking.
  • And perhaps, just follow the easiest step of all: avoid sites that don’t use the HTTPS prefix.

If you want to learn more about safer browsing habits and endpoint security, give our office a call.

This post was originally published on this site

3 Simple tips for thwarting cybercriminals

Advances in technology have made life easier but have also enabled cybercriminals to improve their techniques. This can be a big blow to small-business owners who often take data security for granted. To keep your business safe, follow these simple tips.

Cover your webcam

If Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, former FBI Director James Comey, and National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden all believe their webcams could be compromised, there’s no reason you should feel safe. This is because cybercriminals can use your webcam to spy on you.

They can examine your surroundings, determine your location, and spy on the people you’re with. The attackers can record intimate and vulnerable moments and use these to blackmail you.

Fortunately, guarding yourself against this danger is easy. Covering your webcam should do the trick. You can use regular tape or you can purchase a cheap webcam cover online. Check as well if your webcam has a dedicated kill switch, as this disables the hardware, making it impossible for cybercriminals to spy on you.

Use a privacy shield

Also known as a privacy guard, screen, and filter, a privacy shield is a thin transparent sheet you apply on your computer, laptop, or smartphone screen to limit viewing angles. Once installed, anyone trying to look at your screen from anywhere — except straight on — will see nothing.

Privacy filters are commonly used to protect work devices that display or contain critical files with sensitive data or confidential information. However, work and personal devices are both vulnerable to “shoulder surfing,” the act of peeking at someone else’s screen, with or without ill intent. This is why it’s ideal to use protectors on all the devices you and your staff use.

Get a physical/biometric authentication key

Requiring more than one set of credentials to access sensitive resources has become the standard practice for established websites and applications. With multifactor authentication (MFA) in place, you can gain access to your account only after you’ve entered an authentication code.

Before, two-factor authentication relied mostly on text messages sent to mobile phones. But IT experts now discourage the use of SMS authentication because of the following reasons:

  • Text messages aren’t encrypted (i.e., these can be seen in plain text), and can be intercepted in man-in-the-middle attacks.
  • Text message notifications may display one-time pins (OTPs) that can be seen by unintended viewers.
  • Cybercriminals may redirect text messages to their own devices.
  • OTPs can be stolen via SIM swapping.
  • Users can be tricked into entering OTPs in a fraudulent login page.

If you’re looking for authentication services that can’t be easily neutralized, try a hardware key like a USB or Bluetooth key that you can always carry around. You can also use biometrics such as a fingerprint, retina, or facial scan. It’s difficult to copy a person’s fingerprint or facial features, making it a secure authentication method.

If you need help setting up two-factor authentication or IT security services, contact our experts. We’ll help you get peace of mind from knowing that your business IT is in good hands.

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