Archive for October, 2013:

October Newsletter: Is Your Business Prepared to Fight Cyber Crime?

Posting Date: 10/24/2013  |   Filed Under: Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. This annual event is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center. The aim of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to inform and educate all levels of our government, the private business sector and the general public about issues of safety and security in our cyber environment. Their tag line says it all: Stop. Think. Connect.

What does “cyber environment” actually mean? We can interchange that term with others such as information technology, computer networks, Internet, digital, wired and virtual. It’s the non-physical terrain created by computer systems that is keeping us more interconnected than ever before. The average American spends over five hours a day in online activities related to jobs, education, e-mail, mobile banking, health care, online shopping, travel, entertainment and social media communications. All of this digital convenience also presents a wide range of threats, dangers and responsibilities. Especially with more information shared via Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, we need to be increasingly vigilant about the security of our personal data.

Upgrade or Your Business Might Face the Consequences of Security and Compliance Issues

The Dangers of Cyber Crimes

For individuals, the ever-present danger of cyber crimes includes hacker theft of confidential information, money, credit, banking and even medical information. This type of crime often results in personal identity theft. Other facets of cyber crime include online bullying and stalking that can affect your children. Malicious business scams are probably the most common. The threats to businesses include the loss of intellectual property, stolen client data or harm to the business’ computer network. The statistics on cyber crime are sobering. In 2013, online scams had increased by 355%. Cyber attacks on small businesses had increased by 18% over the past two years, with over 60% of these targeted businesses closing their doors within six months.

How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Business from Cyber Crime

How to Protect Yourself, Your Family and Your Business from Cyber Crime

In both our professional and private lives, each of us needs to assume responsibility for our online activities. These responsibilities involve a combination of equipment maintenance and software updates coupled with appropriate online behavior and a constant vigilance against criminal activities. We suggest that you start with this brief checklist:

  • Maintain a Clean Machine by running the most recent operating system, security software, apps and web browser as a defense against online threats such as viruses and malware.
  • Firewalls and Encryption should be in use by businesses to secure their internet connection. Educate employees about passwords and internet security guidelines.
  • Spam and Phishing are hazards you can avoid. Don’t open e-mailed attachments from strangers and never click on unknown links contained within e-mails. Enable the filters on your e-mail programs to screen for spam. Beware of messages indicating upgrades, technical updates and special offers. These tactics are no longer limited to e-mail, so be vigilant when on social networking sites.
  • Backup Your Computer and Mobile Device in the event that your equipment is physically stolen or lost. You might have lost the device, but the data is preserved by the backup system. The theft of smartphones has become a major crime. Be aware of where your smartphone is at all times. If your phone is missing, consider using locator apps and you can even use a remote wipe to clear information from your missing phone.
  • Secure Your Device by activating the key-lock feature and using a passcode. A particularly complex password is suggested. Change your passwords periodically.
  • Safeguard Your Personal Information when using unsecured, public connection by avoiding apps or websites that require your password. These are the types of connections accessed in airports, hotels, coffee shops and libraries. You might want to reconsider doing your online banking in an airport.
  • Manage Your Social Network Privacy by reviewing the latest changes to privacy settings and be sure you are using these settings properly. Think twice about what you are posting on these sites – more people might see this than you think. Educate your children about social media behaviors. Hide your e-mail address from online profiles.
  • Disposal of Older Computers is another source for the theft of data. Remember when you delete files, the information is not actually erased. The hard drive should be overwritten, degaussed or physically destroyed. Never dispose of a computer that hasn’t been secured. Your information could end up in the hands of a criminal.

 

Geeks On Call Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Geeks On Call Can Help Your Business with Cyber Security

Geeks On Call is proud to be a Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Our entire team supports their mission throughout the year. Geeks On Call can do an assessment of your business’ computer network. We can also provide recommendations for establishing a strategic approach to cyber security and assist you with a variety of solutions to reduce the risk of a security breach.

We strongly encourage you to prepare your business for the threat of a cyber security crime.
Call your local Geeks On Call office today.

Cyber Security Month Champion Partner!

It’s Official! Geeks On Call is a Champion Partner for National Cyber Safety Awareness Month. We are  proud to be a champion partner and demonstrated our commitment to Cyber Safety!

Our franchise owners are dedicated to cyber security and its impact on residential and commercial businesses year round. Throughout October, we will be sharing cyber security information through newsletters, social media posts, blog posts, and available promotions.

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. This is a simple message that the National Cyber Security Alliance believes everyone must adopt. Everyone has to take safety precautions and understand the outcomes of our related to our on-line activity.

The National Cyber Security Alliance concentrates on these guidelines to ensure safety on-line:

•Awareness –Increasing public knowledge and understanding surrounds cybercrimes that are taking place on the Internet every day.

•Education – Informing everyone about on-line safe practices and who to contact with if they are a victim of cybercrime or think they may be a victim. Encouraging business owners to teach their about online safety measures and making sure parents are communicating with their children about being safe online.

•Culprits – Knowing what contributes to cybercrime, and what cyber criminals focus on puts you in a powerful positions.  Malware – short for “malicious software package” is many times a cyber criminals go to maneuver.   Malware incorporates viruses and software which is installed on your computer or mobile system without your knowledge. These programs could potentially cause your computer to be to crash or be used to monitor and control your web activity.

•Prevention – The number one line of defense is to avoid Malware, keeping a “clean machine” will help! Install the latest security software, complete automatic updates and protect all of your devices that connect to the Internet.

Since it is National Cyber Safety Awareness Month, we have assembled this short quiz to help you test your very own online awareness. We encourage that you put your Cyber Security knowledge to the test (but don’t worry, the answers are at the bottomJ).

1. You are deciding on what personal information to post about yourself in an online profile.      You decide to:

A. Review the information carefully before you post it because you do not want to post too much information about yourself.
B. In order to prevent misuse of your information, don’t post too much information about yourself on Facebook, personal websites, your blog, or in chat rooms.
C. Go ahead and post information about yourself online, because you can always choose to edit it later if you don’t want people viewing certain information. 
D. BOTH A & B.
2. You should be aware of pop-ups and downloads.  (True or False)
3. Malware is a type of software designed to cause viruses.  (True or False)
4. When you create passwords, you should make them easy to guess.  (True or False)
5. When it comes to online shopping, you can safely shop from any site. (True or False)

 

  1. D.  Own your online presence. When available, take the time to understand and set privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. You should know who will see the content before you post it.
  2. TRUE.  Pop-ups and downloads can contain viruses that could infect your computer. You can avoid viruses by Keeping a Clean Machine and having the latest operating system, software, web browser, anti-virus protection and apps on your computer and mobile devices.
  3. TRUE. Malware, short for malicious software, is designed to cause damage or disruption to a computer system or to use a computer to send spam, distribute malware or launch an attack on other computers. You can avoid malware by Keeping a Clean Machine and having the latest operating system, software, web browser, anti-virus protection and apps on your computer and mobile devices. Remember, all devices that connect to the Internet need protection.
  4. FALSE.  You should create passwords or use passphrases (a group of words) that are easy to remember, BUT hard to guess.  Make your passwords long, strong and unique by using a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for different accounts. Write your passwords down and keep them in a safe place away from your computer.               
  5. FALSE.  When shopping online, you should always shop from trusted and well-known websites and always with a parent or other adult present. When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

 

If you have questions about National Cyber Security Awareness Month or would like to get involved you can go to the National Cyber Security Awareness Website: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/landing-page/.

Make Sure to Stay Alert for Technical Support Scams

Posting Date: 10/21/2013  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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A blog post in August featured one of the most lucrative cybercriminal scams of the past year. This con involves fraudulent phone calls from cybercriminals posing as representatives from Microsoft tech support. A fake tech support representative places a call to home owners to alert them that your computer has any virus, and has alerted Microsoft to the issue. The fake tech support representative then tries to convince the home owner to allow them remote access of the computer so they can “fix” the issue.  The combination of the phone call allegedly from Microsoft along with the request for remote access to the computer catches many people off-guard and they allow them to access their computer.

Our warning to all consumers should you receive a call like this; is to NOT provide them remote access to your computer.  This access could result in a range of crimes including theft of your personal information, bank account details and PIN numbers to installing a virus and selling you the services repair your computer. This may sound like any far-fetched scam, but countless individuals have fallen victim to these phone calls. Over several years, millions of dollars have been lost to cybercriminals who use this scam.

If you can’t believe that this is actually going on, please continue reading!

Last month one of our franchise owners was contacted at home by a fake Microsoft tech support representative. Here’s how the conversation went with the fake Microsoft tech support representative (Support):

Support, “Do you have a computer on?”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “Are you in front of it.”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “You see there is a <Ctrl> key at bottom left corner of your keyboard?”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “You see right next to it, there is a “Window” key?”

Franchisee, “Yes.”

Support, “Now press that “Window” key and “R” keys”

Franchisee, “Ok.”

Support, “Now enter this….”

Franchisee cuts in, “So how do you know my phone number?”

Support, “Your computer sent us error information. We are then contacted to fix it, because we are your Windows manufacturer provider.”

Franchisee, “But Windows is made my Microsoft. Are you working for Microsoft? Plus, I never knew error messages from my computer will send my phone number out!”

Support, “Microsoft doesn’t fix your computer.”

Franchisee, “Then what is your company?”

Support, “We are Windows Service Department.”

Franchisee, “I heard that, but what is the company that your department is under?”

Support, “We’re here to fix your computer.”

Franchisee, “I will not allow anyone to have remote access to my computer!”

Click. Hang up.

Our franchise owner added, “The caller was unbelievably rude, then he simply hung up the phone on me. I’m sure he was immediately making another phone call to someone else running that same scam.  After enough phone calls, he must eventually gain access to someone’s computer. Otherwise, why would they continue to operate this scam?”

We are sharing this story to shed light on how easy it is to be caught off-guard.  We encourage you to put your home phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry.  If you do receive one of these suspicious phone calls, contact Microsoft and report the call. If you believe that your computer is infected with a virus, contact your local Geeks On Call.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Stop. Think. Connect. It’s a good policy. We encourage you, your family and your business to be vigilant against cybercriminals throughout the year. Stay safe!

 

FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE RULES – STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

Are you aware that October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month? Cyber security begins with a simple message that every Internet user must remember:

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.

This annual awareness month was created as a combined effort between United States government and the business community to guarantee that every American has access to the information and resources they need to stay secure and safe on-line. Since its beginning ten years ago under the guidance of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, this awareness month is growing by leaps and bounds annually.  It is focused on reaching everyday users, small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions, non-profits, and young people throughout the nation.

In 2013, on-line frauds and scams increased by 355% with this illegal activity disseminating through financial dealings, healthcare records, transportation systems and social media sites. Some scams even involve a phone call to gain remote computer access to computer in an effort to steal information.

Geeks On Call is invested in helping you, your company and your family, stay protected and informed on-line. During Nationwide Cyber Security Awareness Month, we have been sharing cyber security information on Facebook and Twitter.  Join our online communities because we will be sharing reports, information and tips regularly.

If you are interested in learning more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, here is a list of helpful resources:

Homeland Security and National Cyber Security Awareness Month: http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month

Keep Your Business Safe: http://www.staysafeonline.org/business-safe-online/

Keeping Your Machine Clean from Malware, Botnets and Viruses: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/keep-a-clean-machine/malware-and-botnets

Cyber Security Awareness Resources and Tip Sheets: http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/

ID Theft and How to Report a Cyber Crime:  http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/protect-your-personal-information/id-theft-and-fraud

Cyber Bullying Tips for Parents: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/for-parents/cyberbullying-and-harassment

FBI’s Alert on Cyber Crimes Against Children and Social Networking Sites: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/cac/social-networking-sites