The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said today that the amount of money lost to business email compromise (BEC) scams continues to grow each year, with a 65% increase in the identified global exposed losses between July 2019 and December 2021.

From June 2016 until July 2019, IC3 received victim complaints regarding 241,206 domestic and international incidents, with a total exposed dollar loss of $43,312,749,946.

“Based on the financial data reported to the IC3 for 2021, banks located in Thailand and Hong Kong were the primary international destinations of fraudulent funds,” the FBI said.

“China, which ranked in the top two destinations in previous years, ranked third in 2021 followed by Mexico and Singapore.”

This was revealed in a new public service announcement published on the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) site as an update to a previous PSA from September 2019, when the FBI said losses to BEC attacks reported by victims between June 2016 and July 2019 reached a total of over $26 billion.

According to the IC3 2021 Internet Crime Report [PDF], BEC scams were the cybercrime type with the highest reported total victim losses last year.

Victims reported losses of almost $2.4 billion in 2021, based on 19,954 recorded complaints linked to BEC attacks targeting individuals and businesses.

BEC scam?

BEC scammers are employing various tactics — including social engineering, phishing, and hacking — to compromise business email accounts which will get used to redirect payments to attacker-controlled bank accounts.

In this type of scam (also known as EAC or Email Account Compromise), the crooks will commonly target small, medium, and large businesses. Still, they’re also attacking individuals if the payout is worth it.

Their success rate is also very high, given that they generally impersonate someone who has the target’s trust, such as business partners or company executives.

However, “the scam is not always associated with a transfer-of-funds request,” as the FBI explained in the PSA alert.

“One variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting employees’ Personally Identifiable Information, Wage and Tax Statement (W-2) forms, or even crypto currency wallets.”

BEC defense guidance

The FBI also provided guidance on how to defend against BEC scam attempts:

  • Use secondary channels or two-factor authentication to verify requests for changes in account information.
  • Ensure the URL in emails is associated with the business/individual it claims to be from.
  • Be alert to hyperlinks that may contain misspellings of the actual domain name.
  • Refrain from supplying login credentials or PII of any sort via email. Be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.
  • Verify the email address used to send emails, especially when using a mobile or handheld device, by ensuring the sender’s address appears to match who it is coming from.
  • Ensure the settings in employees’ computers are enabled to allow full email extensions to be viewed.
  • Monitor your personal financial accounts on a regular basis for irregularities, such as missing deposits.

The federal law enforcement agency advises those who fall victim to BEC fraud to immediately reach out to their bank to request a recall of funds.

They’re also urged to file a complaint with the FBI at BEC.ic3.gov, regardless of the lost amount, and as soon as possible.

Published with consideration from BleepingComputer  SOURCE

Both two-factor authentication and two-step authentication are processes that can help keep your business safe from data breaches. But while they serve the same purpose, these two methods are vastly different. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between two-factor authentication and two-step authentication, as well as the benefits of each process.

According to the Allianz Risk Barometer, businesses are more worried about cybersecurity threats compared to other business disruptions like supply chain issues, natural disasters, or even the COVID-19 pandemic. This is why business owners are ramping up data security measures. One way they do this is by implementing two-factor and two-step authentication. Many businesses use the two terms interchangeably, but these processes are quite different.

Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a security measure used to ensure that people trying to access a system are who they say they are. 2FA requires users to provide two pieces of information before being granted access.

When you try to log in to a system that uses 2FA, you’ll be asked to provide not only your password but also another piece of information or form of identification. This second factor can be something you know, like a PIN or a security question, or something you have, like a physical token or key fob. If you have the correct password and the second piece of information, then you’ll be granted access to the system. Because of the additional authentication information required, hackers would have great difficulty breaking into a network using a 2FA system.

Two-step authentication

Two-step authentication (2SA) is an extra layer of security that can be added to your online accounts. 2SA requires you to enter both your password and a code that is sent to your phone or email before you can log in.

Adding 2SA to your online accounts can help protect your information from being hacked. Even if a hacker knows your username and password, they will still need the code that is sent to your phone or email before they can log in to your account.

There are a few different ways to set up 2SA. Some websites, like Google and Facebook, offer 2SA as an additional security measure that is especially useful when you or someone else is trying to log in using a new or different device. Others, like Dropbox and Twitter, require you to set up your authentication profile in the settings page before you can use their app. A 2SA setup is typically quick and easy, and only requires you to have your phone or email immediately accessible when you log in.

Which one is better?

Relying on a single-factor authentication process is no longer sufficient in ensuring the safety of your network. Securing the authentication process and making it difficult for cybercriminals to access your network should be on top of your priorities. Deciding whether to use two-step or two-factor authentication largely depends on your business’s specific security requirements. To take the stress out of choosing which between the two methods better suits your needs, call us today for expert cybersecurity advice.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

You might wonder if now is the right time for your small business to turn to cloud computing for all your data storage needs.

While you’ll find many benefits with cloud computing, you might also have concerns over potential security issues. Fortunately, you can embrace the advantages of cloud computing while still keeping your small business and your customers’ private information safe.

Look into ideas such as hybrid cloud computing, which costs less money and gives similar advantages to companies. You’ll still gain the safety net of a third-party provider, but for a fraction of the cost.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering whether cloud computing is a secure option for your small business.

1. Train your workers to identify attacks.

Phishing usually starts with an email made to look as though it’s from an official source.

Teach your staff to go directly to a website and never click on links within an email. You can significantly reduce social engineering attacks by training your workers to recognize them.

Phishing can also look like an email from someone higher up in a company, but will actually be from someone trying to gain access to accounts. It’s always best to double-check requests for passwords or personal information by calling the other employee directly.

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, approximately 36% of breaches come from phishing attacks. Phishing is quite avoidable if you train your workers to recognize and avoid it.

2. Install virus and malware protection.

Make sure every device used by your company or its employees – even remote workers – has the latest virus and malware protection installed.

One of the biggest threats to the computing safety of your small business is workers not protecting their accounts. Hackers can do a lot of mischief if they get their hands on login credentials.

Make sure any device used to access accounts has protection installed. Remote workers may need to go through IT to ensure they add two-factor authentication and install all available software.

Companies should provide protection and follow up frequently to be sure it gets installed and updated properly.

3. Insist on strong passwords.

One way people allow hackers into their accounts is by reusing passwords, not changing them frequently, or using easy-to-guess combinations.

At a minimum, you should change all your business passwords every few months, including any passwords to cloud computing software.

Encourage employees to use passwords that aren’t easy to guess and contain lowercase letters, capitals, numbers, and characters.

Don’t forget to watch the passwords you use for software as a service (SaaS) applications. A company with under 500 employees uses as many as 123 different SaaS apps.

For example, if you use several different websites for various tasks, make sure you change passwords when an employee leaves or you terminate them. Not keeping up with passwords opens your business to vulnerabilities.

4. Set clear security policies.

Avoid confusion over security protocols by setting some policies.

What happens to customer data when you no longer need it? How often do you change passwords? Are there tiers to data access?

Figure out what works best for your organization and set the rules. This helps current and future employees know what’s expected of them.

5. Comply with all applicable laws.

Know the rules surrounding data protection.

For example, if some of your customers reside in the European Union (EU), you fall under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and must comply with the rules or face fines.

States such as California have similar standards. Your state and local governments may vary, so be sure to check any applicable laws.

You also must comply with laws in areas where your out-of-state customers reside.

6. Set a budget.

McKinsey & Company recently noted most companies plan to have $8 of every $10 in their IT hosting budget go toward cloud hosting by 2024.

The pandemic brought many companies online with cloud access for remote workers they weren’t planning to implement yet.

The increase in data means an increase in online criminal activity.

So, is cloud computing safe for your small business? The answer isn’t always the same, but most cloud hosting providers invest quite a bit of money into the most recent security measures possible.

It’s likely as safe as any other method of storing data, short of keeping information only on paper, which isn’t practical. Set a budget that meets your company’s goals. You can always increase it if you feel your data isn’t safe enough.

Is cloud computing safe or not?

Cloud computing is as safe as any other form of digital data storage.

You should ensure any companies you hire have the latest in safety standards and security. Take steps to protect your information, such as training employees and frequently changing passwords.

With some good security practices and awareness, it’s much less likely that you’ll face a data breach.

While the cloud offers a wide variety of benefits and solutions, choosing the service which is best for your company’s needs can be tedious. To ease this burden, we can help you find the best solutions for your business. by talking to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment. We’ll you find the best solution your business needs, ensure proper migration and implementation allowing you to focus on running your business.

Published with consideration from SmallBiz Technology SOURCE

Without technology, businesses cannot compete and succeed. But with the advancement in technology comes the ever-constant threat of hackers and cybercriminals. That’s why small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) need to protect themselves with robust cybersecurity solutions managed by reputable managed IT services providers (MSPs).

The numbers

Through the years, the number of SMBs falling victim to cyberattacks has drastically increased. Ransomware attacks, misconfigured systems, credential stuffing, and social engineering are among the many cyberthreats that SMBs face. Also, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, one in every five data breach victims was an SMB. What’s more, only 47% of SMBs are able to detect breaches within days.

The financial consequences have also considerably increased. IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 shows that “data breach costs rose from USD 3.86 million to USD 4.24 million.”

The numbers don’t lie, so it’s only about time SMBs take cybersecurity seriously. You can safeguard your business from cyberattacks and provide a more secure customer experience by working with a trusted MSP.

Why managed services?

Partnering with MSPs is the most effective way to prevent attacks and defend against 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. Here are some of the services an MSP can offer:

    • Around-the-clock monitoring – A cyberattack can happen at any moment. By having someone watching your networks and systems 24/7, MSPs ensure that any potential threats are identified and dealt with quickly.
    • Data encryption and backup – Data encryption transforms readable data into an unreadable format. This can be done through the use of a key, which is only accessible to authorized users. This way, even if the data is compromised, it can’t be read without the key. Meanwhile, data backup is the process of creating and preserving copies of data so that it can be restored in the event of data loss.
    • Real-time threat prevention and elimination – By using technology that can detect and stop threats as they happen, this security solution can minimize the impact of an attack and keep your business data safe.
    • Network and firewall protection – Networks and firewalls create a barrier between the business network and the internet, securing confidential data, such as customer information, employee records, and trade secrets. Networks can be configured to allow certain types of traffic through while blocking others, so that only authorized users can access specific resources.
    • Security awareness training – Now, more than ever, SMBs need to be aware of cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves. MSPs can facilitate security awareness training that can help employees spot red flags and know what to do (and not do) to keep company data safe.

Managed IT services are designed to identify and fix weak spots in your IT infrastructure, enabling you to optimize the digital backbone of your business processes. With managed IT, you’ll also have faster network performance, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, and minimal downtime. You’ll also get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist you with any technology-related problems. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having in-house personnel juggling all of your business IT needs.

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.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from techadvisory.org SOURCE

Hackers have found a clever way to get around anti-malware software — they’re using fileless malware, a type of malicious software that’s not as visible as traditional malware. This means it can infect your entire infrastructure without you even knowing. Let’s take a closer look at how fileless malware works and what you can do to defend against it.

What is fileless malware?

Fileless malware is malicious software that doesn’t rely on executable files to infect your infrastructure. Rather, it hides in your computer’s random access memory and uses trusted, legitimate processes, such as Microsoft Office macros, PowerShell, and Windows Management Instrumentation.

Fileless malware isn’t as visible as traditional malware. It uses a variety of techniques to stay persistent and can adversely affect the integrity of a business’s processes and the infrastructures that run them. Because there are no files to trace, fileless malware escapes detection by most anti-malware programs, especially those that use the databases of known threats. Most automated sensors cannot recognize illicit scripts, and cybersecurity analysts who are trained to identify them usually have a hard time determining where to look.

What potential damage can fileless malware do?

If it is not detected and removed, fileless malware can do a lot of damage to business systems, such as:

  • Steal or destroy data
  • Modify files without authorization
  • Act as a backdoor for other types of malware
  • Cause system crashes and instability
  • Disrupt normal operations by taking up CPU time or memory

Examples of high-profile fileless malware attacks include the Democratic National Committee hacking in 2016 and the Equifax data breach in 2017.

How big of a threat is fileless malware?

Cybersecurity provider WatchGuard Technologies’s Internet Security Report for Q4 2020 found that fileless malware attacks during the year jumped by 888% from 2019. Worse still, their Q2 2021 report revealed that just halfway through 2021, the number of fileless malware detections originating from scripting engines like PowerShell was already at 80% of 2020’s total script-initiated attack volume.

How can you defend against fileless malware?

Your business should practice defense in depth in which you implement multiple safeguards to reduce exposure and mitigate damage. Such safeguards include keeping your systems updated, limiting user access rights and privileges, cultivating a security-aware workforce, and utilizing advanced security solutions that analyze behavioral trends. Lastly, you should also partner with a managed IT services provider that offers 24/7 network monitoring, security audit, and penetration testing. Call us today to get started.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

Be on guard against ransomware. Small businesses can fall victim to cybercrime even though many owners don’t think they are likely targets.

A little legal practice, a 35-person manufacturing firm, and a two-person charitable organization are all examples of technology-driven businesses. As much as any brand-name financial institution or international shop, their core operations depend on operating systems, software applications, and networks. And they have all been victims of ransomware.

However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) may be severely harmed, unlike large corporations, which are more likely to withstand a high-profile cyberattack.

A problem? Yes, but perhaps not as big as you think.

SMEs pay a high price for business disruption. They pay a high price for remediation and data recovery. They may lack the expertise and workforce to secure their essential IT infrastructure from cybercrime.

Enormous Ransoms for Small Businesses

According to NetDiligence’s Cyber Claims Study 2021 Report, ransomware has accounted for 40% of overall incident expenses connected to cyber claims in the last five years.

That is to say, the average ransom demand in 2020 was $247,000.

Research has estimated the cost of recovering from a cybersecurity breach affecting a small business to be roughly $352,000. These expenses do not account for the loss of client confidence due to the misuse of sensitive data.

Criminals know that small firms have weak or non-existent cybersecurity systems. As a result, they target them in large numbers, sending out repeated phishing attempts in the hopes of capturing a few victims in their automated nets.

Google has sent out 50,000 phishing or malware attack alerts as of October 2021, up 33% over the same month in 2020.

Since the Covid-19 epidemic, work-from-home and work-from-anywhere technologies have become more popular, exposing workers and small company systems to cyberattacks. According to one survey, approximately 70% of full-time workers in the United States started working from home during the Covid-19 epidemic.

Unfortunately, some small businesses infrequently take efforts to secure their remote employees. These efforts include implementing two-factor authentication (an additional login step) or encrypting computer disks. During the epidemic, millions of people lost their employment. Have they lost access to all of their email accounts and logins? Probably not.

Vulnerabilities in Small Businesses and Cybersecurity

Why are tiny firms such prey to predators? They could not have the operational know-how or staff to appropriately defend their IT systems and networks.

Meanwhile, here are a few examples of circumstances that put small companies at risk:

  • IT infrastructures are often outdated, are not regularly updated, and are poorly constructed.
  • The person in charge of IT — whether the CFO, the CEO, or a random employee — is seldom updated on the newest security risks and solutions.
  • Given the average pay of roughly $165,000, hiring a chief information security officer is often unaffordable.
  • A jumble of local hardware, networks, devices, and apps may make cyber protection difficult.
  • Employee cyber awareness training is poor or non-existent.
  • Backups may be unreliable or have not been thoroughly tested.
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery planning have not been emphasized.

Company executives may mistakenly believe that they are too tiny to be a cybercrime target, to their detriment.

Getting a Head Start On a Tough Situation

You don’t need any new gear or antivirus software to start boosting your company’s cyber security image.

Begin by taking a detailed inventory of your physical and digital assets, as well as a vulnerability assessment. It’s critical to create a “data governance” document that establishes guidelines for data management. People still record passwords on Post-it Notes on computer displays or taped on the bottom of mouse pads in small workplaces. Thus this technique is essential.

Above all, cybersecurity awareness training for employees is also necessary.

Phishing or other efforts at social engineering or getting individuals into vulnerable networks are a vital security threat vector for the ransomware outbreak. According to IBM’s 2021 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, phishing was responsible for one-third of all cyberattacks. Ascertain that your personnel knows what to look for in these circumstances.

For example, penetration testing is another technique to go ahead with.

“Pen testing” ensures that your security measures are effective. Therefore, few small firms, in all experience, have the competence to undertake penetration testing. Therefore you may wish to hire an expert.

Finally, some experts recommend that every company establish real-time network and server monitoring. While strong passwords, two-factor authentication, encrypted data, and network firewalls are necessary and will slow down attackers, complete protection is neither cost-effective nor practicable.

Taking efforts to mitigate the potentially catastrophic effects of a cyberattack may be well worth the expense for small companies.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

You may not know it, but some of the websites you visit or apps you download leave a trackable digital footprint. One step you can do to avoid leaving your online behavior exposed to third parties is to use private browsers to surf the internet.

What is private browsing?

Your web browser — whether it’s Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, or Opera — stores the URLs of the sites you visit, cookies that track your activity, passwords you’ve used, and temporary files you’ve downloaded.

This can be convenient if you can’t remember your login details or if you’re trying to recall a website you visited a few days ago. The feature also helps speed up the loading time of websites you frequently visit. But if someone else uses or gains access to your computer, your most private internet activities are exposed for that user to see and exploit.

Private browsing is a feature known by various names across different browsers. For instance, it’s called Incognito Mode in Chrome and InPrivate Browsing in Edge. When you use this feature, the browser does not record your browsing history, passwords, and temporary files. Instead, all this information is discarded as soon as you close the browser. You’re also instantly logged out of all accounts you accessed using the private window, which comes in handy when you’re using a public or shared computer.

Furthermore, tracking cookies are not stored when you surf the internet with a private browser. Such cookies are small bits of data used to identify your computer. Sites like Facebook use cookies to know your preferences based on your online behavior, such as which sites you visit. By doing this, they can personalize the ads on their platform, ensuring that the ads you see are for products and services you’re likely to take interest in.

What are the limitations of private browsing?

Although private browsing prevents your web browser from storing your data, it doesn’t stop anyone from snooping on your online activities in real time. If your computer is connected to the company network, system administrators can still track what you’re browsing, even if you’re in Incognito Mode.

Also, if spyware or keylogger malware is installed on your computer, hackers will still be able to see what you’re doing online. Even though private browsing has quite a few benefits, you shouldn’t solely depend on it for online privacy. Instead, you should use a virtual private network (VPN) when you go online. This tool encrypts your internet connection and prevents anyone from intercepting your data. And don’t forget to use a strong anti-malware program to scan your computer and keep spyware and other malicious web monitoring software at bay.

If you want to know where you can get these solutions or learn more about web browser security, call us today. We have the tools and expert advice you need to prevent anyone from snooping on your internet browsing.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

We’re all aware of the dangers posed by cybersecurity threats. Without exception, we all want to protect ourselves. Not all of us know how.

There are those who wish to take advantage of any and every vulnerability. However, according to a recent survey of business owners and independent insurance agents in the United States, many businesses are simply not taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their assets.

This is bad news. It should give all SMB participants nightmares. Because a breach in one company can lead to a domino effect. More companies can fall within a matter of hours.

Some also seem to be attempting to persuade themselves that they are invulnerable, even though they are aware that they should be doing more.

The news has been full of small business technology and security trends this year. Following cybersecurity industry trends, knowing how hackers infiltrate networks, and taking the necessary safeguards to keep them out are important parts of defending your organization.

The following are the top cybersecurity trends to watch in the New Year.

1. Implementation of multi-factor authentication.

Multi-factor authentication is a method in which users must authenticate their identity by using two or more different devices at the same time.

Example: When trying to log into a program, users may input their password on their computer’s browser and then get a code on their cellphone, which they must enter on the computer once more to be successful. It increases the security of logins by certifying that the user is who they claim to be in at least two locations.

Businesses may utilize a variety of third-party programs. To incorporate multi-factor authentication into their systems. If you market to clients who use applications such as Facebook, Robinhood, and Netflix, you may discover that they are already acquainted with the process. This is because prominent apps such as these already employ the method.

While many firms still consider multi-factor authentication to be optional, others are using multi-factor authentication systems as an extra layer of protection against a cyber attack.

2. Increased cyber-threats to remote employees as a result of technological business advancements.

In the opinion of cyber security experts, the transition to remote or hybrid work that has been prompted by COVID-19 has placed workers at greater risk of cybersecurity attacks.

In addition, when individuals bring their personal networks and devices into the workplace, they become more vulnerable to phishing emails and ransomware assaults. Their preparation is lacking. They don’t have the security protections that a company would put in place on its internal systems.

Your workers will benefit from having better security measures installed on their cloud-based apps, home devices, and home networks if you provide them with tools and training.

Find out more about the best practices for cybersecurity training. Consult in-house or get a professional consultant. Don’t rely on your Uncle Fred or some online website!

3. Attacks against cloud-based computing business services.

According to a survey by Northeastern University, cloud-based computing services have grown in popularity in recent years, and businesses are using them more than ever across a growing number of international employees.

They make it simple for workers to access the resources they need to be successful from any location, and they are both accessible and reasonably priced to host and maintain. The downside is that they are a great target for cyber-attacks, as well.

As a precaution, make sure that your cloud-based systems are up to date. You should also run breach and attack simulations to identify any security system flaws.

4. Simulation of a breach and an assault.

When there is illegal tampering with your technological systems, this is referred to as a cybersecurity breach.

Test your system frequently with BAS. These breach and attack simulations (BAS) are crucial. Even for the smallest business. They help you discover the most vulnerable parts of your cyberinfrastructure. Once discovered, they can be quickly strengthened.

Implementing BAS may assist you in identifying and eliminating vulnerabilities in a timely manner.

Learn more about the ramifications of a data breach on your company. Do some simulations at the beginning of the New Year.

5. Managing the use of technology and gadgets.

For the purposes of this definition, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a structure of physical things. These devices contain sensors, automation, and other software technology in order to communicate and exchange data with other devices and systems through the internet.

The term encompasses anything from linked equipment on the factory floor to smart home items and automation technologies. It’s swiftly encircling us and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Begin to incorporate artificial intelligence and smart technology into your organization. Develop an enterprise-wide plan to detect and manage every connected machine.

This is critical to maintaining the security of your network and data. Don’t put off the hard work, because the payoff can be significant.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

Can business printers get hacked? The short answer is yes. Anything that connects to your business network can be exploited by malicious actors on the internet, even innocuous machines like your printers. These can be exploited to steal data and/or create entry points into your system to launch larger attacks. So make sure you follow these tips to protect your work printer environment.

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

When assessing network security threats, companies primarily focus on servers and computers not only because these are the most exposed to external threats, but also because they get the bulk of cyberattacks. Printers are often at the bottom of the list since they are not prime targets. What’s more, their functions seem to be internal at first glance, as they don’t interact with external systems.

But it’s exactly because of their primary functions, namely printing and scanning, that make print devices perfect cybercriminal targets. Businesses run important documents such as tax forms, employee information, medical records, and financial statements through print devices — information that hackers would definitely love to get their hands on.

And they can, easily.

Network printers store previous print jobs in their hard drive, sometimes including those that have been canceled. If anyone accesses the printer — even remotely — they may be able to see those documents by hacking into the printer using a specialized tool.

Files can also be intercepted during wireless transmission, as modern printers can now be connected to the web. Not only can hackers exploit printers’ open network ports to view data, but they can also take over vulnerable printers and transmit their own data through these machines.

Lastly, hackers can exploit vulnerable printers to bypass your cybersecurity system. Once they find a way in through your printers, crooks can then launch broader cyberattacks from within your network, which can be difficult to contain.

What can you do to protect your business printers?

Business printers should not be disregarded when planning a cybersecurity strategy. Keep your print devices secure by following these best practices:

  1. Monitor your network surreptitiously and always promptly install printer software updates and patches. Printer manufacturers often release software support or updates, so always be on the lookout for those.
  2. Change the default password and administrator login credentials of printers with web management capabilities.
  3. Allow only company-owned devices to connect to your printers.
  4. Always connect to your printers using secure connections. Conversely, avoid accessing your printers through a public internet connection.
  5. Restrict printer access by using a firewall.
  6. If your wireless printer has a feature that requires users to enter a PIN before they can print documents, enable it to prevent unauthorized access.
  7. If you don’t use your printer for fax and email, isolate your printer from your main company network and disable out-of-network printing.
  8. If you handle classified data, do not connect your printer to any network. Instead, connect it directly to your computer using data cables or print from a thumb drive.
  9. Secure your printouts by enabling manual feed. This setting requires a user to manually input paper (or any material to be printed on), reducing the risks of the printed document getting stolen or being left in the printing area.

Another way to secure your printers is by partnering with an IT company that can take care of your printer-related worries. From thwarting attacks to reducing management costs to keeping your printer at optimal functionality, our experts can help.

Are you interested in learning more about cybersecurity? Call us today and discover how our wide array of tech services can safeguard your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

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.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE