Protecting your business printers from malicious cyberattacks may be the last thing on your mind, but it should definitely not be. Hackers are always looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit, and, if left unprotected, printer systems can offer a trouble-free gateway into vast troves of sensitive data. To help safeguard against unforeseen risks, take these key steps to secure your company’s printers now.

Vulnerabilities of business printers

Printers are considered indispensable business tools, but their core functions can make them irresistible targets for cybercriminals. These devices process a plethora of valuable data such as tax forms, employee information, financial statements, medical records, and the like. And did you know? Even if you cancel print jobs, these data are still stored within printer hard drives. Without proper security measures, valuable data can fall into the wrong hands.

Organizations also need to take a closer look at their network printers since these are connected to the web. With the right tools and opportunities, hackers can easily intercept sensitive data traveling through open network ports. Printer vulnerabilities can open unknown backdoors that can give criminals an opportunity to launch far-reaching cyberattacks from within your network. Such attacks are difficult to stop once they’ve been launched.

Ways to protect your business printers

Keeping business printers secure should be an essential step when developing a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. To ensure your print devices aren’t vulnerable to attacks, following these best practices will safeguard them from potential threats.

  1. Keep an eye on your network and make sure to install printer software updates and patches right away.
  2. Update printers with web management capabilities by modifying their default passwords and administrator login credentials.
  3. Only company-owned devices should be permitted to connect to your printing network.
  4. Always use secure connections and avoid accessing your printer through a public internet connection.
  5. Maximize your network security by using a firewall to limit printer access.
  6. For improved security and to prevent unauthorized access, activate the PIN/password feature of your wireless printer to ensure that only authorized users are able to print documents on your device.
  7. Disconnect the printer from its main network and turn off out-of-network printing if you don’t use it for faxing or email purposes.
  8. Protect classified data by connecting printers directly to computers or using a thumb drive.
  9. Use your printer’s manual feed settings. This feature allows you to feed paper into printers manually, making sure that printed materials don’t end up in the wrong hands or left lying around for anyone to see.

Furthermore, working with an IT specialist can provide peace of mind when it comes to managing your printers. Trusted IT experts can make sure that any potential attack vectors are closed off while also helping you lower management costs and keep your devices at peak performance.

If you have any questions about securing your business printers, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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

Learn About Today’s Most Common Types Of Cyber-Attacks

If you’ve turned on the news sometime during the past few years, you’ve probably heard of more than one instance where a business closed due to a cyber-attack. You may think your business is small enough and hackers won’t target you, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every business is at risk of experiencing a cyber-attack and should be well-prepared to defend against these threats. With the right type of attack, a cybercriminal can gain valuable information about your business, customers and employees, which can be used to damage your reputation and hurt you financially.

If you’re a business owner or leader and you want to ensure your business is well-protected, check out the most common cyber-attacks that are affecting companies today. From there, you can implement cyber security plans and tactics to ensure your business is protected from cybercriminals.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a person into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or to deploy malicious software on the victim’s infrastructure. Phishing scams can wreak havoc on your business and personal life. You may have seen an e-mail from someone claiming to be Amazon or your credit card company asking for specific sensitive information. Often, the e-mail address does not line up with who the person is claiming to be.

When a phishing scam targets your business, they’ll likely request valuable information from your employees such as passwords or customer data. If your employees fall for the scam, they could give a cybercriminal unprecedented access to your network and systems. This may also allow the cybercriminal to steal private employee and customer information, leaving your employees vulnerable to identity theft. Phishing scams can be averted by using common sense and providing cyber security training to your employees. Most companies will not request private information over e-mail. That being said, if an employee receives a suspicious e-mail, they should do their due diligence to ensure the e-mail is genuine before responding in any way.

Malware

Malware is software installed on a computer without the user’s consent that performs malicious actions, such as stealing passwords or money. There are many types of malware, including spyware, viruses, ransomware and adware. You can accidentally download malware onto your computer by clicking on sketchy links within e-mails or websites. You might not even notice you have malware on your computer right now. If your computer is operating more slowly than usual, web browsers are taking you to random sites or you have frequent pop-ups, you should scan your computer for malware.

Prevention is key in stopping malware from affecting your business. Hiring and utilizing a managed services provider is the best way to protect your business, as they will continually monitor your network for exploitable holes. With malware, it’s always better to play it safe than sorry. If a cybercriminal is able to use ransomware on your network, your business could be stuck at a standstill until you pay the ransom. Even if you can pay the ransom, your reputation will still take a hit, and your business could be greatly affected. Be careful where you click on your phone, too, since malware attacks on cellphones have become more common over the past few years.

Attacks Involving Passwords

How do your employees access your network or computer systems? They most likely use a password to log in to their computer, access their e-mail and much more. What would happen if someone with bad intentions gained access to one of your employee’s passwords? Depending on the individual’s access, they could obtain sensitive information about your business, customers and employees.

Your team should be using long, complex passwords for their accounts, and each password for every account should be different. Encourage your employees to use password managers that will allow them to create the most complex passwords possible and keep track of them more easily. You can also incorporate multifactor authentication to ensure nobody can steal a password and gain access immediately. You should make your employees aware of this during your annual cyber security training.

If your business falls victim to a cyber-attack, it could have lasting consequences for everyone involved. Now that you know the most common types of cyber-attacks, you can start implementing plans to ensure you and your business stay protected.

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

Phishing attacks are increasing and getting more sophisticated. Here’s how to avoid them:

Phishing is on the rise, and anyone who uses email, text messaging, and other forms of communication is a potential victim.

These attacks, in which a cybercriminal sends a deceptive message that’s designed to fool a user into providing sensitive information such as credit card numbers or to launch malware on the user’s system, can be extremely effective if done well.

These types of attacks have become increasingly sophisticated — making them more dangerous — and more common. An October 2022 study by messaging security provider SlashNext analyzed billions of link-based URLs, attachments, and natural language messages in email, mobile and browser channels over a six-month period, and found more than 255 million attacks. That’s a 61% increase in the rate of phishing attacks compared with 2021.

The study revealed that cybercriminals are shifting their attacks to mobile and personal communication channels to reach users. It showed a 50% increase in attacks on mobile devices, with scams and credential theft at the top of the list of payloads.

“What we’ve been seeing is an increase in the use of voicemail and text as part of two-pronged phishing and BEC [business email compromise] campaigns,” said Jess Burn, senior analyst at Forrester Research. “The attackers leave a voicemail or send a text about the email they sent, either lending credibility to the sender or increasing the urgency of the request.”

The firm is receiving a lot of inquiries from clients about BEC attacks in general, Burn said. “With geopolitical strife disrupting ransomware gang activity and cryptocurrency — the preferred method of ransom payment — imploding as of late, bad actors are going back to old-fashioned fraud to make money,” he said. “So BEC is on the rise.”

Criminals using phishing attacks based on tax season, shopping deals

One of the iterations of phishing that people need to be aware of is spear-phishing, a more targeted form of phishing that often uses topical lures.

“While it is not a new tactic, the topics and themes might evolve with world or even seasonal events,” said Luke McNamara, principal analyst at cyber security consulting firm Mandiant Consulting. “For example, as we are in the holiday season, we can expect to see more phishing lures related to shopping deals. During regional tax seasons, threat actors might similarly try to exploit users in the process of filing their taxes with phishing emails that contain tax themes in the subject line.”

Phishing themes can also be generic, such as an email that appears to be from a technology vendor about resetting an account, McNamara said. “More prolific criminal campaigns might leverage less specific themes, and conversely more targeted campaigns by threat actors involved in activity like cyber espionage might utilize more specific phishing lures,” he said.

What people should do to ward off phishing attempts

Individuals can take steps to better defend themselves against phishing attacks.

One is to be vigilant when giving out personal information, whether it’s to a person or on a website.

“Phishing is a form of social engineering,” Burn said. “That means that phishers use psychology to convince their victims to take an action they may not normally take. Most people want to be helpful and do what someone in authority tells them to do. Phishers know this, so they prey upon those instincts and ask the victim to help with a problem or do something immediately.”

If an email is unexpected from a specific sender, if it’s asking someone to do something urgently, or if it’s asking for information or financial details not normally provided, take a step back and look closely at the sender, Burn said.

“If the sender looks legitimate but something still seems off, don’t open any attachments and mouse or hover over any hyperlinks in the body of the email and look at the URL the link points to,” Burn said. “If it doesn’t seem like a legitimate destination, do not click on it.”

If a suspicious-looking message comes in from a known source, reach out to the person or company via a separate channel and inquire as to whether they sent the message, Burn said. “You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and you’ll alert the person or company to the phishing scam if the email did not originate from them,” he said.

It’s a good idea to stay up on the latest phishing techniques. “Cyber criminals constantly evolve their methods, so individuals need to be on alert,” said Emily Mossburg, global cyber leader at Deloitte. “Phishers prey on human error.”

Another good practice is to use anti-phishing software and other cyber security tools as protection against potential attacks and to keep personal and work data safe. This includes automated behavior analytics tools to detect and mitigate potential risk indicators. “The use of these tools among employees has increased significantly,” Mossburg said.

Another technology, multi-factor authentication, “can provide one of the best layers of security to secure your emails,” McNamara said. “It provides another layer of defense should a threat actor successfully compromise your credentials.”

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 CNBC.com SOURCE

Businesses of all sizes can fall prey to cyberattacks that can cause major financial losses and even put companies out of business. And with more numerous and sophisticated threats like these expected in 2023, it’s more critical than ever for business owners to stay ahead of the latest cybersecurity trends and protect their organization from potential threats. Pay attention to the following trends to help keep your data safe this year and beyond.

Further emphasis on data privacy

As countries implement tougher data protection laws and the number of privacy regulations rises, organizations will be driven to adopt a privacy-first mentality out of necessity. For instance, Google has already taken a big leap in this direction by ending its use of third-party cookies and creating Privacy Sandbox. Apple has also included App Tracking Transparency as part of iOS 14.5 onwards, providing another layer of protection for their customers’ sensitive online information. Although these measures may not be flawless solutions yet, they’re still progressive strides being made toward greater security. Expect other companies to follow suit.

A harmonized global framework to govern the protection of information, privacy, and data

In 2023, countries around the world will strive for international cohesion regarding data privacy regulations. Standardizing security frameworks is expected to deliver better information and data privacy for all organizations and governments, as well as enable global commerce. Consistent data protection strategies and processes reduce risk while facilitating trust across supply chains and borders. Interoperable architectures that prioritize privacy and security can also help ensure the effective protection of information, which ultimately reduces the probability of a data breach or compromise.

A passwordless future

Passwordless security frameworks provide a real chance at fighting phishing while enhancing protection, privacy, scalability, and convenience. They not only improve overall organizational security by eliminating potential password breaches or credential stuffing attacks, but they also enable users to access services without worrying about forgotten usernames or passwords.

However, note that while passwordless authentication offers many advantages, it isn’t without risk. To ensure better security, you should also adopt a zero trust model along with identity access management practices and stringent safety measures. This will make the transition to passwordless authentication much smoother and more secure.

Growing Internet of Things (IoT) risks

Over the past decade, the IoT industry has been on a steady upswing, and is projected to remain so well into 2023. Unfortunately, as companies rely more heavily on this technology for efficiency and profitability, they will face a higher risk of cybersecurity breaches.

If you use IoT, then you should safeguard your connected devices by actively developing or revising relevant cyber strategies, maintaining device catalogs, and continuously patching endpoints. This will help secure your networks from potential threats and allow for more efficient monitoring practices.

The future of cybersecurity is ever-evolving. But by learning about the latest cybersecurity trends, companies can implement comprehensive approaches and protect themselves against malicious actors or incidents.

If you want to learn more about 2023 cybersecurity trends or if you have any questions about technology, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our IT experts are ready to help.

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

November 30th — is National Computer Security Day, an annual event observed since 1988 to help raise awareness worldwide of computer-related security issues. It should also serve as a reminder to small business owners to protect their computer networks from hackers, fraudsters and identity thieves.

Computer security is sometimes referred to as cybersecurity or IT (information technology) security. It applies to the protection of computer-based equipment, the information stored on and services related to it from unauthorized and unintended access, change or destruction, including unplanned events and natural disasters.

Recently, the public opinion research company Ipsos Reid released the findings of a survey of U.S. small businesses revealing that many of them do not fully comprehend the impact a data breach can have on them. As a result, they take a passive approach to safeguarding sensitive information that leaves them vulnerable not only to a breach but potentially devastating financial and reputational damage as well.

The survey also found that:

  • Sixty-nine percent of small business owners are not aware or don’t believe that lost or stolen data would result in financial impact and harm to their businesses credibility.
  • Forty percent have no protocols in place for securing data.
    More than one-third of the respondents report that they never train staff on information security procedures.
  • Forty-eight percent have no one directly responsible for management of data security.
  • Just 18 percent would encourage new data privacy legislation requiring stricter compliance and penalties to information security threats.

Computer Security Day is an excellent time to ensure that your company is following best practices to protect yourself from data breach and identity theft. They include:

  • Analyzing possible security gaps in your organization and within your supply chain.
  • Implementing ongoing risk analysis processes and creating a security policy specifically designed to limit exposure to fraud and data breaches.
  • Regularly training employees in proper document management and encouraging their adoption of security best practices.
  • Implementing a “shred-all” policy for unneeded documents and keeping sensitive materials under lock and key until they are destroyed.
  • Paying particular attention to hard drives on computers or photocopiers. The only way to destroy data stored on hard drives is physical destruction.
  • Installing and using effective computer network protection such as anti-virus software and a firewall.

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.

The number of successful cyberattacks grows steadily every day, making it more important than ever for businesses to implement robust cybersecurity solutions. Part of a comprehensive cybersecurity infrastructure is a proactive cybersecurity strategy. This involves taking steps to prevent attacks from happening in the first place, rather than reacting after an incident occurs. In this blog post, we will discuss what proactive cybersecurity is and how you can implement it in your business.

Benefits of proactive cybersecurity

Proactive cybersecurity is a strategic approach to protecting computer systems and networks from cyberthreats. It involves identifying potential vulnerabilities before cybercriminals can take advantage of them and implementing measures to prevent these vulnerabilities from being exploited. This approach is in contrast to reactive cybersecurity. Rather than attempting to prevent cyberattacks, reactive cybersecurity focuses on responding to and recovering from attacks that have already taken place.

Having proactive security measures can provide your business with the following advantages:

  • Avoid playing catch-up with threats
    Taking action every time there’s a threat can be exhausting for your security team and your other resources. If you’re always playing catch-up with threats, you’ll never be able to get ahead. By utilizing both preventive cybersecurity strategies alongside reactive measures, you will be able to best protect your data and networks.
  • Improve security compliance
    Proactive cybersecurity measures can help you root out threats to your data and your clients’ data. This, in turn, enables you to meet data compliance requirements.
  • Boost business reputation
    Customers are more security-conscious today than in the past. With many data breaches impacting companies, your customers will want assurance that you have measures to safeguard their personal information in place. Having a proactive cybersecurity culture will demonstrate your commitment to keeping customer data safe and give your business’s reputation a boost. Showing that you can be trusted with clients’ sensitive data will also give you a leg up over your competitors.

Implementing proactive cybersecurity

To effectively implement a proactive cybersecurity strategy, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the threats
    Work with your in-house IT staff or managed services provider (MSP) to identify the types of attacks that are most common in your industry. By being aware of the threats out there, you can take steps to protect your business and keep it running smoothly.
  2. Assess your resources
    After you identify the primary cyberthreats to your company, prioritize them by determining how each security issue can damage various parts of your network. You can start by listing company devices that connect to the internet. Check the security measures these devices have and the type of data (regulated, mission-critical, low-importance, etc.) each device has access to.
  3. Implement proactive cybersecurity measures
    Your IT team or MSP may recommend these security measures based on the risks and assets identified in steps 1 and 2:
Proactive measure What to expect
Conduct security awareness seminars Educate every employee about security best practices, including spam awareness, password management, proper mobile device usage, and the like.
Regularly update anti-malware software or cloud-based services Keep your data and systems safe from the newest malware threats.
Establish schedules dedicated for software patches and upgrades Patches and upgrades decrease the chances of someone getting unauthorized access to your network by exploiting software vulnerabilities.
Recommend web filtering services Keep your network safe by blacklisting dangerous and inappropriate sites.
Set up perimeter defenses (e.g., intrusion prevention systems and hardware firewalls) Watch out for anything and everything that tries to access your network.
Initiate policy of least privilege Provide users access only to the data they need to complete their tasks.
Determine data segmentation Assess and establish micro-perimeters to protect high-value data.
Run full-disk encryption Encrypt data on electronic devices to prevent unauthorized access in case the devices are ever misplaced or stolen.
Secure virtual private networks Encrypt data transmitted across unsecured connections to make it impossible to read if intercepted.
Provide strict access controls Secure accounts from unauthorized access by using stronger passwords combined with multifactor authentication and automated screen locks that engage after a period of inactivity.
Utilize AI-powered network monitoring Be on the lookout for suspicious user and software behaviors, like when employees access files outside their departments.

Proactive cybersecurity is critical for businesses of all sizes. By taking steps to understand the threats your business faces and implementing measures to protect yourself, you can keep your data and your business safe. If you need help getting started, contact us today and our team of cybersecurity experts will be happy to guide you through the process of implementing proactive cybersecurity.

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

When it comes to protecting small businesses from cyberattacks, there is a constant balance between managing risk and applying limited resources between security, operational budgets, and convenience. Small businesses face critical resource decisions every day. Can my business afford to deploy optimal, strong cybersecurity solutions? And will my cybersecurity policies be a burden for my employees, trading partners, and customers?

Small business owners face significant challenges, and their most important daily responsibility is ensuring their businesses grow and thrive. As an industry, we have not done enough to connect the benefits of strong cybersecurity practices and policies to business expansion, resiliency, and long-term survival.

There is no area of cybersecurity more indicative of the challenges we face in threading the needle between security and business-friendly policies than usernames and passwords. We still overwhelmingly rely on an insecure means of account and network access that has proven inefficient and insecure for more than 30 years.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

We know there are more secure methods that can be deployed. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) bolsters security by requiring users to present more than one piece of evidence (credential) whenever the user logs in to a business account (ex. company email, payroll, human resources, etc.). MFA usually falls into three categories: something the user knows (a 15-character password), something the user has (fingerprint), or something the user receives (a code sent to the user’s phone or email account).

MFA works, but companies remain extremely reticent to deploy. The Global Small Business Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) Study released by the Cyber Readiness Institute (CRI) found that only 46% of small business owners claim to have implemented MFA methods recommended by leading security experts, with just 13% requiring its use by employees for most account or application access.

Most companies implementing some form of MFA have not made it a requirement for all.

Only 39% of those who offer MFA have a process for prioritizing critical hardware, software, and data, with 49% merely “encouraging the use of MFA when it is available.”

According to Microsoft, 99.9% of account compromise attacks can be blocked simply using MFA. Yet, 47% of small business owners surveyed said they either didn’t understand MFA or didn’t see its value. In addition, nearly 60% have not discussed MFA with their employees.

Implementation of MFAs

Implementing MFA does not require hardware changes to company computers, mobile devices, or printers. Instead, there are numerous free and low-cost software-based tools users can download to their company and personal devices. For example, email providers usually offer (and encourage) MFA. Therefore, it can be as easy as clicking an option in email settings to turn on MFA.

There are several easy steps companies can take to implement MFA. First, organizations should update their policies and procedures with specific expectations. For example, all employees should implement MFA on their company email accounts. Next, hold workforce information sessions to communicate MFA policies and expectations. Employees need to know that it is easy to activate MFA on their accounts. Finally, designate someone in the organization who accepts the responsibility for cyber readiness to help employees troubleshoot as they begin using MFA.

Final Thoughts

At CRI, we fully believe strong cybersecurity is a business imperative, not an operational challenge. This requires a change in mindset from small business leaders, new questions must be asked, and behaviors need to change:

  • Can my business afford to suffer a cyberattack?
  • Will a cyberattack irreparably damage my brand?
  • Will a cyberattack burden my employees, customers, and trading partners?

Honestly answering these questions will change the importance of cybersecurity in a small business’s growth strategy.

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 SmallBiz Technology SOURCE

Watering hole attacks are on the rise, but many businesses are still unprepared against it. To avoid falling victim to a watering hole attack, it is crucial to know what it is, understand the risks, and take steps to defend your business.

How watering hole attacks work

The term “watering hole” colloquially refers to a social gathering place where a particular group of people often go to. As internet users, we all have unique “watering holes” or websites that we frequently visit. For example, a financial analyst is likely to visit websites related to financial investments and market trends.

In a watering hole attack, cybercriminals observe the watering holes of a specific demographic and infect their targets’ most visited websites with malware. A user who has the misfortune of visiting any of these compromised sites will then have their device automatically loaded with malware.

The malware used in these attacks usually collects the victim’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. In extreme cases, the hacker will also actively take control of the infected device.

But how does a cybercriminal choose which websites to hack?

With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. Hackers then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.

Tips to defend against this threat

Hackers these days are so highly skilled that they can exploit any website using a watering hole attack. Even specific ethnic communities and demographics have become targets of this scheme.

Protect yourself and your business from watering hole attacks by doing the following:

Update your software
Watering hole attacks often exploit security gaps and vulnerabilities to infiltrate computers and networks. You can significantly reduce the risk of an attack by regularly updating all of your software and browsers. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.

Closely monitor your network
Regularly conduct security checks using network security tools like intrusion prevention systems that detect and contain suspicious or malicious network activities before they cause problems. Consider using bandwidth management software to enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large data transfers or a high number of downloads.

Hide your online activities
Use a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature to hide you and your team’s online activities. You can also block social media sites from your office network, as these are often used as share points of links to infected sites.

Watering hole attacks can be devastating to businesses of all sizes. By staying informed and taking steps to protect your business, you can minimize the risk of becoming a victim. Contact us today to learn more ways to keep your business safe from watering hole attacks and other cyberthreats.

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