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

Protecting Your Business from Cyber-Criminals

Even small businesses can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which can compromise not only your company’s integrity, but possibly result in leaks of sensitive information, proprietary secrets, financial data, and client information. Ensuring your computer systems and online activities are protected will be an asset for you and your customers. B.S. Consulting offers a range of resources that can help keep your business operating in a safe and secure manner.

What is Cyber-Crime?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), cybercrime includes activities like email scams, identity theft, and the installation of ransomware that holds data captive in exchange for monetary payment. Malware and viruses can also compromise or shut down your network. Some types of cyber-crime are highly sophisticated, which makes them even tougher to identify and eradicate. Your best defense, in this case, is a good offense. Making sure your systems are secure and that you’re alerted to suspicious activity will keep you, your business, and your customers protected.

What’s the Damage of Cyber-Crime?

On the low end of the spectrum, small attacks can result in slow-operating systems, glitches, corrupted files, and reduced productivity. On the higher end of the scope, cyber-crime can be financially devastating for you or your clients. You also run the risk of having your reputation ruined if you have a data breach. Consumers need to know the companies they do business with are protecting their personal and financial information, so guarding against cyber threats is a critical function of business operations. 

How Criminals Target Businesses

The majority of cyber-crime is financially motivated, so hackers and bad actors look for opportunities to steal money. This might be in the form of lifting identities and getting new credit or access to finances under those names. Skimming credit card data is another approach, while phishing scams that trick people into sending money under the guise of legitimacy are another. Criminals may also target wealthy individuals, as well as businesses that have wealthy clients or are likely to have financial information for clients in their databases. Criminals look for unprotected systems that are easy to access.

Why You Must Train Employees

Having anti-cyber-crime protocols in place can help reduce your company’s vulnerability. According to PC Mag, instruct employees about proper online activity and information protection. Also, be detailed in explaining what type of information is shareable and what is not, and institute strict password guidelines to help reduce the potential for botnets that spread malware. Staffers should also be instructed to immediately report any activity that appears unusual or suspicious. If you have an IT staffer or consultant, regularly-scheduled diagnostic system reviews can also help identify areas of concern.

Be Proactive in Protecting Networks

Preparation is key to reducing the potential for security breaches. In addition to training employees, back up your systems regularly and update software as necessary. If you aren’t a cybersecurity expert, enlists the services of someone who is. This is a rapidly evolving field, and professionals who work in it every day are up to speed on relevant best practices. Consider hiring a freelance cybersecurity professional from a reputable job board. Weigh reviews, delivery time, and cost before retaining someone’s services.

The world of cyber-crime is continually advancing, evolving, and becoming more and more sophisticated. To protect yourself, your business, and your clients, ensuring the security of your networks is an issue of paramount importance. If you are hacked or otherwise infiltrated, fast action is a necessity. Contact B.S. Consulting to learn more about the best ways to prevent and appropriately respond to cybercrime activity in your business. Call (512) 434-0611 or reach out via email.

Photo by Pixabay

Small- and mid-sized businesses need cybersecurity

If your company has recently suffered from a data breach or a ransomware attack, then you know how costly it can be. You lose not just hundreds of dollars but also the reputation you’ve built through the years. That’s why you need cutting-edge cybersecurity solutions to protect your business from ever-growing cybersecurity threats. The good news? Even small- and mid-sized businesses can partner with managed IT services providers (MSPs) who can provide robust solutions and security expertise to protect businesses from huge losses.

The numbers

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) survey, cyberattacks have increased dramatically. Here in the United States, 76% of companies were attacked in 2019, a significant leap from 55% in 2016. Sixty-nine percent of US businesses reported data breaches in 2019, up from 50% in 2016.

The financial consequences have also increased considerably. The average cost spent by companies because of damage to or theft of IT assets and infrastructure increased from $1.03 million in 2017 to $1.2 million in 2019. Costs due to disruption to normal operations increased from an average of $1.21 million in 2017 to an average of $1.9 million in 2019.

The attacks

Globally, the most common forms of attack on SMBs are those that rely on deception: phishing (57%), stolen or compromised devices (33%), and credential theft (30%). Worse, cybercriminals are targeting SMBs more, with reported attacks having increased from 60% in 2017 to 69% in 2019.

Why managed services?

Partnering with MSPs is the most effective way to prevent attacks and protect your business from malicious threats. MSPs offer a full range of proactive IT support that focuses on advanced security, such as around-the-clock monitoring, data encryption and backup, real-time threat prevention and elimination, network and firewall protection, security awareness training, and more.

And because managed services are designed to identify and fix weak spots in your IT infrastructure, you’ll optimize the digital backbone of your business processes. You’ll have faster network performance, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, and minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist you for any technology problems you may encounter. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

Being proactive when it comes to cybersecurity is the only way to protect what you’ve worked hard to build. If you’d like to know more about how managed services can benefit your business, just give us a call — we’re sure to help.

This post was originally published on this site