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Protect Yourself From Security Breaches

If you work with data online, there’s a good chance you know the importance of security and what it takes to maintain a secure website. But not everyone realizes how important your site’s security is, or what factors threaten it—or even whether you have any need for a secure site at all. That can be a problem if unsavory characters are looking for ways to exploit your website, steal your customers’ data or cause other harm.

Here are some of the most common threats to online security that businesses should be aware of, along with steps you can take to protect yourself and your customers.

Create Complex Passwords

A large percent of passwords are weak because users target easy passwords – taking an approach such as a dictionary word with a number at the end. It is recommended to have a password that has a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation.

A good way to prevent being hacked is to use a password manager. Password managers automatically generate a new and complex password for each site a user visits, and they save each password in an encrypted vault that only the user can access. The result of using weak passwords is that one weak password reveals all your accounts. If a hacker has access to your email, they can reset the passwords on every single account you have. Password managers help by generating and storing complex passwords for every website in one place.

Creating A Multi-factor Authentication

The importance of multi-factor authentication is that it reduces the risk of unauthorized access to accounts. It has become increasingly popular, especially with the rise in identity theft and numerous data breaches. There are many types of Two Factor Authentication (2FA) methods; some can be used by any person or business while others are more complicated and require advanced certifications. For example, SMS messaging is an extremely common way for account information to be protected but requires no extra action on behalf of the consumer if their phone number matches that which they want to protect their account. Another easy method is through Google Authenticator or Authy; these applications generate one-time passwords (OTPs).

However, not all 2FA uses cell phone technology. For example, companies can use hardware-based OTP devices to generate codes for users who wish to protect their accounts with 2FA. These usually come in the form of USB memory sticks or key fobs that are activated by pressing buttons before plugging them into a computer’s USB port. The text message method must be preselected in order for it to work so Google Authenticator and Authy are always available even when cellular service isn’t available.

Buy With A Credit Card

Why should you choose to use a credit card instead of cash for your purchases? Credit cards offer several benefits that cash cannot match. They allow you to build up points towards free merchandise, they can be replaced if lost or stolen, and they protect you by allowing you time to report fraudulent charges before your statement is due. Cash, on the other hand, offers no level of protection; someone could charge items to your account without permission (thus hurting its ability to keep you safe).

Credit cards are important for safety reasons because they help prevent fraudulence with money and give time to track transactions that don’t go through properly. When using a debit card people only have 2-3 days until their transactions show up in their bank account and if anything is wrong with the transaction, such as it being fraudulent then you will lose that money and not be able to get it back since debit cards are attached to your account. Credit cards on the other hand give you a longer time frame of 10-21 days depending on the bank/card company so if there was any fraudulent activity on your card or someone tried to steal your information, you would still have money in your bank and would be able to cancel the card and get a new one within those ten days. If this happened at least with a credit card, you could simply call up your bank and report it stolen instead of losing hundreds of dollars because all transactions made with that number (or online) can’t go through until it’s deactivated. If someone tried to hack your debit card information and stole all the money in your account, you would be left with nothing which is why it’s safer to use a credit card instead of cash or debit.

Remember these safety reasons when you consider using a credit card for purchases. Protect yourself from fraudulence, monitor your spending more carefully, and even get rewards points while making your financial decisions. It is definitely worth waiting an extra day or two to ensure that each transaction goes through without any problems. You don’t want to lose hundreds of dollars because of one small mistake and waiting until the very last minute to cancel a transaction can lead you right into losing that money forever. There are many benefits associated with using a credit card over cash and you should be aware of all of them.

Watch for Fraud Online

Consumers must always stay alert when they are about to conduct a transaction with any company or individual online. Fraudsters can easily take advantage of victims using fake websites and even collecting sensitive personal information such as their credit card numbers. If these criminals get away with this information, they can create duplicates of the cards and use them for their own personal gain.

To keep safe from these scams while shopping on the internet, it is important that people always check out the website before making a purchase and make sure that they don’t enter any details that could lead to identity theft. This includes checking if the site has been shut down by checking its security certificate or contacting reputable companies to see if they accept transactions through said site. In addition, internet users should also consider using a service like PayPal to make it more difficult for the fraudsters to get their money and start shopping online without having to worry about where they enter their information.

This is important because it helps prevent any major data breaches from happening, which could lead to very serious consequences.

Guard Against Identity Theft

Every time you swipe your credit card, use your ATM or debit cards or log into any of your online accounts with financial information, there is a chance that it could be compromised along the way. There are many different ways for this information to get in the wrong hands. Being conscious of how much personal data you are putting out on the internet is the best way to protect yourself from identity theft.

When you give little pieces of information away here and there to who-knows-where about yourself, it leaves your wallet open to being taken advantage of by cybercriminals and hackers who can then access your bank accounts, credit cards, and purchase items over the internet. Everyday companies are getting hacked by people who want access to your information that is tied to financial institutions.

As stated by Investopedia, “In 2016, 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft.” Shocking statistics like this prove how important it is to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft. Protecting yourself from identity theft typically starts at the very beginning: your home computer. You have been warned out there on the internet not to click links in emails or downloads from unknown sources because you never know what kind of malware could be attached to them, but unfortunately many do still fall for this trap every single day. This has given hackers a reason to come up with new and creative ways to get you to download their viruses and programs onto your computer by contacting you through means that do not look suspicious.

Set Up Account Alerts

Security breaches are becoming more common in the corporate world. That is why it should be important to set up account alerts, which make your passwords less of a liability for hackers looking to gain access to your accounts. When you sign up for an alert, you’re also joining other people who have opted in to that service. This way, if there is any suspicious activity on your account then you will receive an email or text message notification about what that suspicious behavior was and how many times it happened so far. Additionally, this avoids having to worry about the responsibility of remembering whether or not someone logged into your account because they definitely didn’t since you would have been notified by now. Be aware though that this isn’t 100% effective due to the false positives that can also send notifications. So, in order to prevent this, you should only sign up for an alert when there is a high chance of someone else accessing your account or if you are very particular about the security of your information.

Sometimes, it is the little mistakes that lead to the demise of a company. This means that even if you are careful with all your big data hacks and security practices, but you do not pay attention to smaller things like leaving passwords on sticky notes on monitors or having unprotected wifi addresses out in public, then you will still be hacked or have a data breach. However, even though it may be very hard to protect your employees from making small mistakes with their security protocols, you should still have an airtight plan in case of some sort of hacking so that your company does not lose any of its clients or money. These are just a few steps that every business owner or manager should take to make sure that his or her company does not fall victim to a data breach. 

 

Six Apps That Make Life Easier

It is easy to get overwhelmed when there are so many apps available. So which ones are worth downloading? Here’s a list of six apps that will make your life easier: 

Evernote

Evernote is an app that you can download onto your phone or computer. It allows you to capture any information that you may need, like notes for work or recipes for dinner. The great thing about Evernote is that it will save all of the things that you put in there, even if your phone crashes. You can store anything from notes to recipes, photos and even voice memos. You can download Evernote on your iPhone or computer for free.

Evernote is perfect if you are always taking notes for work or just want to get organized. It’s great because it will save all of the things that you put in it, even if your phone crashes. You can download Evernote for free or upgrade to the premium version for $4.99 per month, which means that articles that are saved into the app will be there forever instead of disappearing after 30 days.

Pocket

Pocket is an app that you can download onto your phone or computer, and it allows you to save anything that you may want to read later on.  It’s great for saving recipes, funny stories and even travel guides when you’re going somewhere new. You could also use Google maps to find the place that you want to go and then save it into pocket so that if your internet stops working suddenly while traveling, you will still be able to follow the map offline. Pocket allows you to store travel guides for when you are traveling or funny stories that you would like to read later. Pocket saves things from the internet for free, but they do have a premium version if you would like extra features like getting rid of ads or saving more than five articles at once. You can download Pocket on your iPhone or computer for free.

Calm

Calm is an app that can be downloaded onto your phone or computer. The great thing about the calm app is that it will give you different sessions based on what you are looking for. You could use it when you are wanting to fall asleep or if you are feeling stressed out during the day. All of the sessions are guided, so there isn’t anything too distracting happening while trying to relax. There are over 100 different sessions to pick from in the Calm app, which means that there should be something in there for everyone! Some examples of sessions include mindful breathing, getting rid of anxiety and even imagining yourself somewhere relaxing like a beach or park. Calm offers their full version starting at $12.99 per month, which gives users access to an assortment of different meditations and soothing music. You can download Calm for free, but there is a premium version if you want extra features like playing soothing music during your sessions.

Airtasker

Airtasker is an app that allows people to either offer or request services from others in their community. Some of the categories for this app include cleaning, babysitting and even fetching specific items at a store. This is a great application if you need help doing errands around your house or if you’re looking for someone who can watch your dog while on vacation. You can use Airtasker for free by just putting up an ad about what it is that you are wanting to do so other users will see it when they check out the app. It’s also helpful because users have the option of viewing how many positive reviews a person has gotten before deciding whether or not they want to accept their job offer.

RunKeeper

RunKeeper is an app designed for tracking different types of workouts. Some of the categories for this app include cycling, running and even walking outdoors. This is helpful because it tracks your progress while also motivating you to keep going with positive feedback from the app. Runkeeper allows users to track their route while they exercise so that they can see how far they have gone and what type of workout they did each time. RunKeeper offers a premium version starting at $9.99 per month which includes additional features like more detailed graphs and advice from professional trainers for all levels of athleticism. You can use this application on your phone or computer for free by just downloading it from the website but there are extra features if you want them available through a monthly subscription plan.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the apps that are out there right now that can make your life easier. Once you have downloaded them to your phone, they will be readily available for whenever you need them. These applications can help people with busy lives by doing everyday tasks like grocery shopping or getting errands done in less time. These apps might not be completely necessary but can still make things simpler if you end up using them.

 

The Fight Against Ransomware

What is Ransomware? 

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s files and holds them hostage, demanding a ransom for their decryption.

The Increasing Threat of Ransomware

Ransomware attacks have been increasing in scope and frequency over the past few years; one recent estimate suggests there were more than 150,000 new ransomware samples in the beginning of 2017 alone. Because of this rising threat, many security companies are releasing tools to help the user decrypt their files without paying these ransoms, but it has seen limited success because users typically only care about recovering their own data. Many files that are encrypted with the same key can be reversed. It is common for the encryption to be cracked in a few days or weeks

Types of Ransomware

These shorter-lived ransomware samples account for only a small fraction of all ransomware attacks, however; most ransomware encrypts victims’ files using asymmetric (public-key) cryptography. This type of cryptography requires that the attacker demonstrate knowledge of the decryption key without revealing it to anyone who does not possess the corresponding private key. This type of encryption is much more secure than other types because it protects against things like antivirus software and file recovery utilities.

Ransomware authors often release “cracked” versions of their malware after a few months so they can cash in on users whose files were lost at an earlier time before their decryption key was known. This delayed decryption process is often done as an alternative revenue stream, but it can also encourage victims to pay the ransom because they will only need to do so once (instead of for every file that needs decrypting).

Ransomware as a Problem 

The most common form of ransomware uses bitcoin as its “currency” and operates through a command-and-control server; these servers make it easy for anyone with a computer and internet connection to generate new ransomware samples and inject them into incoming network traffic. They can even create variants by changing existing binary files slightly or uploading entirely different executables that have been compiled from the same source code base. It’s difficult for security researchers to purchase all the necessary tools on the black market, so many anti-ransomware tools have been developed in a way that can be easily cloned and customized to target new variants.

Ransomware authors often combine their malware with information-stealing trojans, so users must defend against both threats at the same time when it is active on their computer. The risk from these two types of malware together is enormous because they can steal login credentials for online banking accounts, social network profiles, and other sensitive data that could lead to significant financial loss or even identity theft. To add insult to injury, ransomware will continue encrypting files until its “job” has been completed (e.g., if a user’s administrator account is encrypted by CryptoLocker, any non-administrator file shares will be inaccessible after reboot).

Current Trends in Solving Ransomware Problems 

Many security companies have developed new approaches to help protect users from ransomware, but these tools are often not worth the cost because they only work on a single version of one threat family. Most new protection tools also rely on behavior blocking techniques that have proven unreliable in the past. Some tools offer dynamic analysis features that can detect unknown malware by placing it into a virtual machine and carefully monitoring its behavior, but this technique cannot reliably stop ransomware because it takes several minutes for most samples to encrypt files (and many will exit before then). Behavior blocking methods like whitelisting (approving known good executables) and blacklisting (blocking known bad executables) can be effective for stopping ransomware; unfortunately, neither method is reliable enough to be used without expert oversight in mission critical environments.

Ransomware authors often evade traditional antivirus software, but many security companies have developed powerful tools that can reverse the unpacking of the contents of malicious files. These tools are not effective for all ransomware variants because some pack their executables using more advanced techniques (e.g., polymorphic code, self-modifying code). Some researchers have proposed novel defense strategies like creating “vaccine” files that contain harmless dummy data instead of personal documents so they will not be encrypted during an attack, but key generation algorithms used by newer ransomware variants render this method ineffective after a few days or weeks.

One recent entry into the ransomware arena is a new family of ransomware that leverages on-the-fly encryption to avoid detection and sandboxing techniques used by security companies. It also uses a different distribution channel than traditional ransomware because it can be directly downloaded from some websites as a Windows executable file instead of being installed by other malware first. Many computer users have been tricked into infecting themselves because they were told they needed to update Adobe Flash (which is not true in this case).

What You Should Do Next!

The good news is that most ransomware authors are lazy and will reuse existing source code when creating new ransomware families. That means security companies can focus their efforts on analyzing only the few hundred known ransomware families and adapt generic detection techniques developed for each one of them to new variants. Protect yourself from ransomware attacks and call Bayshore Interactive today for a free network assessment at 321.710.0920.

 

4 Ways Technology Can Transform Your Business

You have probably spent months planning your business. There are four things that technology can help with. They are reducing your overhead, improving communication, enhancing security, and network monitoring. If you use these four things, then IT can help you grow in the future when compared to other companies.

1. Reduce Your Businesses Overhead 

Buying inventory-tracking equipment will help you save money. If you buy only the inventory that you need when you need it then your costs will be lower because there is less excess stuff. It will also free up money that can be used for other investments. Inventory-management systems allow employees to monitor their own reordering schedules based on the current inventory levels, so they won’t buy more than is needed. For example, if one employee works in the produce department stocking shelves and he notices that he is getting too many onions, then he can order more efficiently by ordering more before the reorder point. When employees can monitor their own reordering schedules, this helps reduce labor costs. Knowing how many employees you will need for the next rush hour also reduces costs and boosts productivity.

2. Improve Your Communication and Collaboration

One way is to use video conferencing like Skype and Google Hangouts allow you to chat face-to-face with clients and colleagues across the country, even the world. This takes out the need for awkward phone conversations where misunderstandings might happen — as long as your internet connection can handle it, of course! And if your computer can’t, just use a remote desktop service such as logmein that lets you gain access to any computer from anywhere in the world–perfect for those times when you forget to bring home work documents on a flash drive! Instead of storing important files on your computer, you can put them in the cloud. That way they will be safe and no one has to worry about backing up their files. Cloud computing is when your data is saved and then synchronized to other devices.

You can get the latest files that you need right on your phone. Lastly is to use instant messaging services such as Google Talk, Skype or MSN Messenger that allow you to send a quick message to a colleague instead of calling them over the phone or sending an email that might require a lengthy response time. For instance, think about how much easier it is for the head of your department to pick up an urgent request from you by being able to send out an instant message rather than having to wait until he gets back from his lunch break to respond to an email.

3. Enhancing Your Security

A firewall protects your data. It is a computer program that allows some people to go through and blocks others. The firewall makes it hard for hackers to get inside the network. If you know how different types of firewalls work, you can set it up so that employees have access but the network is safe from hackers. Next is virtualization, it is when you use different devices for email and other tasks. You can protect these devices with software. This creates a virtual computer on your existing one. This way, you can run multiple operating systems and copy entire hard drives into the “virtual” space without having to worry about losing data if your computer crashes. Lastly, you should use a VPN. It’s a way to make sure your network is secure from outside threats by using encryption. You can also use a VPN to give employees working remotely secure access to your office’s local area network.

4. Network Monitoring 

Network monitoring is one of many services Bayshore offers to keep your business up and running smoothly, no matter what the conditions are. As part of our complete IT service, we provide immediate on site troubleshooting, restoration/recovery and hardware replacement as an integral part of our ‘break/fix’ service for your computer network. Our Network Engineers can quickly identify any problem(s) with your current configuration and offer the most suitable solution based on the client’s individual requirements. Our goal is to give you the best possible advice that will eliminate or minimize disruption to normal operations whether it be a simple desktop issue or upgrading the complete server infrastructure.

Successful companies start by assessing every aspect of their business then determine their pain points and shortcomings. Productive businesses know how to work with employees and what technology to use. You can do that too. Do not spend a lot of money on software or hardware that you don’t need. Instead, look for more affordable options that will get the job done without breaking your bank account.