Posts Tagged: ‘Cyber security’

Are You Protecting Your Data from Cybercriminals?

Posting Date: 12/16/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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cybercrime

Do you remember when JP Morgan Chase was hacked earlier this year? Maybe you remember it vividly because you were one of the 76 million customers affected by this enormous data breach? The theft of digital information has actually exceeded physical theft.

Big retailers and financial institutions are continuously fortifying their networks against cyber attackers. As a result, smaller businesses are increasingly becoming the targets of cybercriminals and hackers. Why? Because smaller businesses are typically less prepared in the fight against cybercrime.

If you are the owner of a small business or are self-employed, Geeks On Call recommends that you safeguard your data with following tips:

 

  • Cybersecurity Awareness: When it comes to protecting yourself or your business, education and training is your first line of defense. Get informed and establish a plan. Follow appropriate internet safety guidelines while on the job or at home.

 

  • Clean Machines: Upgrade to the newest operating system, web browser and security software to guard against malware and viruses. Use a firewall software that prevents outsiders from accessing your network

 

  • Passwords and Authentication: Use unique passwords and change your passwords every three months. For greater security, use multi-factor authentication because it requires additional information to gain entry. If you work with vendors that are handling your business data, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to find a vendor that does.

 

  • Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: A major misconception is that by simply having a router on your network this will provide the protection you need.  Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.

 

  • Financial Transactions: Use encryption software to protect your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Also, don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.

 

  • Mobile Devices: Require employees or other users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.

 

Geeks On Call can help you defend your business and home computers against cybercrime by strengthening your network and using security solutions. Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you.

Conquer Your Customers’ Online Security Concerns With These Measures

Posting Date: 07/15/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Technology  |   No Comments
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We live in an era where online privacy is dwindling. But it’s also an era of consumer empowerment, where average people are taking control of their online behaviors and protecting themselves against unnecessary outside intrusion. Consumers are concerned in light of the recent news of the National Security Agency’s snooping, the Heartbleed bug and other cyber security issues.

The 2014 Internet Security Threat Report suggested targeted attacks increased 91 percent in 2013 and 552 million identities were exposed to breaches. E-commerce businesses have started feeling the pressure to provide more secure sites to protect customers’ data. Companies that have access to their customer’s credit card numbers and other personal information online should take extra care, given the recent data breaches, to make sure customers are safe.

Block Hackers

E-commerce sites are easy targets for hackers. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as oftentimes, the budget for a highly sophisticated data security system simply isn’t there.

CIO.com says that an e-commerce platform should use a “sophisticated object-orientated programming language” Open-source platforms can be made inaccessible to hackers based on the strength of that language. CIO.com has two other key suggestions: 1. Use a secure connection at checkout, and 2. Avoid storing sensitive data. Online purchases should be protected by Secure Sockets Layer, more commonly known as SSL, which authenticates transactions and encrypts the data; this is most commonly where hackers breach the system, so storing credit card numbers and similar information could be catastrophic in the event of a breach.

Server Message Block technology, or SMB, is also a popular tool for e-commerce businesses that applies “more modern and nimble applications that allow them to move quickly” when securing data, according to Heather Clancy of Small Business Matters.

Even WordPress has similar solutions for small businesses. The Krux SMB plugin, for example, is designed to authenticate and secure data sent through your site via social media channels.

Promote Online Safety

Any of these security measures could easily be explained via your company’s website to increase consumer confidence; it’s actually pretty common for wary shoppers to verify your platform’s security before entering any personal information. By providing resources to your customers on staying safe and secure online, you’re also advocating that they take control of their personal data and prepare for the unexpected. For example, Aol has partnered with identity theft company Lifelock to offer a complimentary protection advantage plan benefit for Aol members. Lifelock also caters to businesses of all sizes to protect internal data.

Like the security features noted above, some companies are listing their protection measures for customers to learn how they can fully secure their online information. As an online merchant or e-commerce business, it’s important to engage conversation with customers about how your company is protecting their data. Be transparent about the security measures you’ve taken and encourage customers to seek additional assistance from outside companies. In the end, concerned customers will see your company as open, honest and allied in the fight against online thieves.

Protecting Your Business from Cyber Security Threats

Cyber Security is a concern for all business and residential computer users.

We are delighted to present Protecting Your Business from CyberSecurity Threats conducted by Michael Kaiser, Executive Director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

Geeks On Call was proud to have been a 2013 Champion of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. During October we presented information about Cyber Security safety through our monthly newsletter, blog posts and a social media campaign. We felt that this webinar would continue to help educate and make everyone understand how to be safe and protect their business online.

Leave us a comment and  let us know how you are protecting yourself from Cyber Security Threats!

 

Creating a Technology Plan for the New Year

Posting Date: 11/22/2013  |   Filed Under: Data Back-up, Security, Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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We all make personal New Year’s resolutions on January 1st. This year, why not commit to a few professional resolutions for your business, too? Geeks On Call strongly encourages you to put a new technology plan at the top of that list for 2014. We are offering some technology planning guidelines that can help you form a strategy as you think about your business resolutions and professional goals for 2014.

Technology Solutions That Can Benefit Your Business in the New Year

Backup Services: Cloud services include data storage and backup systems plus access to software programs. Information stored on the cloud can be shared with other users anywhere and at any time. Data shows that 61% of surveyed small businesses are currently using some form of cloud-based service with another 5% planning to add cloud services by 2014. If your business is not currently using the cloud for backup service, it’s time to make a plan for switching over. The cloud can provide data storage plus a variety of services and benefits. Put the cloud at the top of your list.

Security Measures: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) research shows that over two-thirds of surveyed companies already have employees using their own computers on the job. The advantage is that BYOD makes it easier for employees to stay in constant contact and also work from home more productively. The efficiency of BYOD comes with the responsibility on the part of the business for training employees on security policies and standards. Safeguarding your network and ensuring the confidentiality of your data is critical to the security of your business.

Disaster Recovery: Within the past year unexpected weather-related disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, have raised the business community’s concerns over data recovery solutions. As you consider your disaster recovery plan, try to consider the consequences of losing all of your business’ data. Think of the lost revenue if your business is off-line for several days. This will remind you of how important it is to have a solid disaster recovery plan in place. There are a variety of disaster recovery plans available. After the disaster occurs, it’s too late to wish you had kept that New Year’s resolution for a disaster recovery plan! Commit to a disaster recovery plan now.

Managed Services: Technology is a key component tied to the success of your business. It enables your business to stay efficient, productive and competitive in today’s marketplace. That is as long as your technology systems are up to date and functioning properly. Have you considered a managed service plan? A managed service provider develops a customized IT service plan that will suit the budget and the needs of the client’s business. A service plan can help your business reduce IT operational costs while actually providing a higher level of IT service. The need for a managed service provider has become increasingly important as business owners need to make informed and increasingly complex choices about technology solutions.

Please visit our blog  for additional information about technology planning in the New Year.

Prepare for 2014 – TODAY!

Geeks On Call can work with you to assess your IT needs and develop a customized plan for your business. If your business needs to develop a backup system, move to cloud services or develop a Mobile App – we can help. Geeks On Call is here to help your business stay productive, efficient and competitive in 2014. Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and one of our computer professionals will be happy to help you.

 

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/.

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