Tag Archive for: cybersecurity

The digital landscape is riddled with threats: malware attacks, phishing scams, and data breaches are just a few. But by taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, you can significantly reduce your risk and keep your business safe. Here’s a guide to fortifying your online defenses.

Create strong, unique passwords

Passwords are your first line of defense against unauthorized access to your accounts and sensitive information. This is why you should avoid using easily guessable passwords such as “123456” or “password.” Instead, create strong passphrases. A passphrase is a string of four or more random words. This extra length and randomness make them much harder for cybercriminals to crack but still easier for you to remember than a jumbled mess of characters.

For maximum security, use a different passphrase for each of your accounts. This way, if one account gets compromised, your other accounts are still safe.

Tip: Remembering multiple complex passphrases can be a challenge. Consider using a password manager, which stores all your passphrases in one place. This makes your passphrases easily accessible while keeping them safe from prying eyes.

Implement multifactor authentication (MFA)

MFA adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring additional verification beyond just a password, such as a one-time code sent to your phone or a fingerprint scan. By enabling MFA, even if someone obtains your password, they won’t be able to access your account without fulfilling the additional verification requirements.

Tip: Whenever possible, enable MFA on your important accounts, including email, banking, and cloud services.

Keep software and systems updated

Cybercriminals often exploit weaknesses in outdated software to gain unauthorized access to systems. To stay protected, regularly update your software, operating systems, and applications because these updates often include essential security patches that fix those vulnerabilities.

Tip: Set up automatic updates on all your devices so you don’t have to remember to update manually, and your devices stay continuously protected without any extra effort from you.

Use secure Wi-Fi networks

When accessing the internet, it’s important to use secure Wi-Fi networks. Public Wi-Fi in airports or coffee shops can be targeted by cybercriminals. Instead, use encrypted Wi-Fi connections, which require a password and scramble your data, making it unintelligible even if intercepted.

For an extra layer of security, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN encrypts all your internet traffic, creating a secure tunnel between your device and the internet, regardless of the Wi-Fi network you’re on.

Tip: Configure your devices to automatically connect only to trusted Wi-Fi networks that you know and use. Additionally, disable the option to connect to open networks to avoid accidental connections to unsecured Wi-Fi.

Conduct security awareness training for employees

Employees are often the weakest link in an organization’s cyber defense, as they may inadvertently fall victim to phishing scams or unknowingly compromise sensitive information. However, regular training sessions can empower your employees to recognize and respond to cyberthreats effectively.

Tip: Simulate phishing attacks to test your employees’ preparedness and reinforce training.

By following these simple yet effective tips, you can significantly enhance the online security posture of your business and minimize the risk of falling victim to cyberthreats. Remember, investing in online security is not just about protecting your data — it’s also about safeguarding the reputation and integrity of your business in an increasingly digital world.

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

Between infostealers, ransomware, and BEC attacks, SMBs are having a hard time remaining secure

Information-stealing malware, ransomware, and business email compromise (BEC), remain the three biggest cyber-threats small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) are facing, a new report from Sophos has warned.

The company claims almost half of all malware detected on SMB endpoints last year were either keyloggers, spyware, or infostealers – all malicious programs used to steal sensitive data and login credentials. 

For the researchers, this makes sense as the abuse of legitimate accounts is more difficult to spot, while opening the doors to many more criminal opportunities.

Ransomware and BEC

“The value of ‘data,’ as currency has increased exponentially among cybercriminals, and this is particularly true for SMBs, which tend to use one service or software application, per function, for their entire operation,” says Christpher Budd, director of Sophos X-Ops.

“For example, let’s say attackers deploy an infostealer on their target’s network to steal credentials and then get hold of the password for the company’s accounting software. Attackers could then gain access to the targeted company’s financials and have the ability to funnel funds into their own accounts.” 

Infostealers may be the most wide-spread threats, but ransomware remains the biggest. Fortunately for SMBs, the number of ransomware attacks “stabilized”, Sophos said, suggesting that growth slowed down. At the same time, ransomware attacks continue to evolve. Between 2022 and 2023, the number of remote encryption attacks rose by almost two-thirds (62%). Remote encryption happens when threat actors use an unmanaged device belonging to the victim organization, to encrypt files on other systems.

BEC attacks are the second-highest type of attack, right after ransomware, Sophos concluded. The attackers engaged in BEC are growing increasingly sophisticated, and often engage in a series of conversational emails with their victims, and sometimes even phone calls, before deciding to strike.

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 TechRadar SOURCE

Employee monitoring has become a widely debated topic today. With advancements in technology and the increasing reliance on digital communication and work platforms, many employers are choosing to monitor their employees’ activities. This practice has many benefits, but it’s not without drawbacks. Here, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of online employee monitoring to help you decide if it’s right for your business.

Defining online employee monitoring

Online employee monitoring refers to the practice of tracking and analyzing employees’ digital activities in the workplace. This is often performed using specialized employee monitoring software that is installed on employee devices. The software can track various aspects of employee behavior, such as internet usage, email communication, screen activity, and even keystrokes. By leveraging monitoring tools, employers gain insights into how employees interact with digital resources, enabling them to identify patterns, assess productivity levels, and mitigate security risks.

Benefits of online employee monitoring

The adoption of online employee monitoring offers several tangible benefits for organizations:

  • Enhanced productivity – By gaining visibility into employee workflows and identifying bottlenecks, businesses can optimize processes and improve overall productivity. For example, if employees are spending too much time on non-work-related websites, monitoring can help address the issue and boost efficiency. At the same time, simply knowing that their activities are being monitored can motivate employees to stay on task.
  • Data security – Monitoring digital activities allows employers to detect unsafe online behavior and warn employees who violate security protocols before they fall victim to a cyberthreat. For instance, if an employee often visits malicious websites or downloads unsanctioned applications, employers and system administrators can put a stop to these actions to minimize the risk of a data breach.
  • Compliance management – Employee monitoring can aid in compliance management by ensuring that employees follow industry regulations and internal policies. This is especially important when it comes to industry-specific data policies where employees must handle sensitive information with utmost confidentiality and only share data with authorized parties.

Potential drawbacks of online employee monitoring

While online employee monitoring offers various advantages, it also comes with several drawbacks:

  • Privacy concerns – Monitoring employees’ digital activities can raise significant privacy concerns, potentially eroding trust and morale within the workforce. This is particularly problematic if employees are not aware that their actions are being tracked or if monitoring extends to personal devices.
  • Ethical issues – The use of employee monitoring software raises ethical questions about the balance between employer rights and employee privacy. Employers must consider implementing clear policies on how and when monitoring takes place to avoid violating employee trust.
  • Employee resistance – Excessive monitoring may lead to employee resentment and resistance, undermining morale and negatively impacting retention rates. What’s more, anxiety levels toward performance may increase if employees feel that their every move is under scrutiny.
  • Inaccurate assessments – Monitoring alone does not provide a complete picture of an employee’s performance. Some activities, such as brainstorming or working collaboratively with colleagues, may not show up in monitoring data and could lead to inaccurate productivity assessments.

Finding the right balance

To effectively leverage online employee monitoring while mitigating its potential drawbacks, companies must strive to find the right balance. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  • Transparency and communication – Foster open communication with employees regarding monitoring practices, clarifying the objectives, scope, and implications of monitoring activities.
  • Purposeful monitoring – Focus monitoring efforts on specific areas or activities relevant to business objectives, avoiding unnecessary intrusion into personal or non-work-related communications.
  • Privacy protections – Implement safeguards to protect employee privacy, such as anonymization of data, access controls, and clear policies governing data usage and retention.
  • Employee involvement – Get feedback from employees about the monitoring practices and be open to making changes based on their input. Once you’ve found the right balance, ensure that policies and practices remain consistent, fair, and respectful of each employee’s rights.
  • Regular evaluations – Assess the effectiveness and impact of monitoring on both employees and the organization regularly. If employees report that monitoring is deeply affecting their well-being, privacy, and productivity, you may have to consider adjusting your monitoring policies or even abandoning them altogether.

Keeping your workers safe and productive is a challenge, and online employee monitoring is just one tool in the toolbox. If you need more ideas on how to optimize productivity and address cybersecurity risks, call us today.

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

Email attacks against businesses have increased dramatically as hackers continually use generative AI tools to optimize their content and streamline malicious campaigns, new research has claimed. 

A new report from Acronis based on data collected from more than a million unique endpoints across 15 countries, found AI-powered phishing affected more than 90% of organizations last year, and that AI helped email attacks grow by 222% between the second half of 2023, and today.

“There’s a disturbing trend being recognised globally where bad actors continue to leverage ChatGPT and similar generative AI systems to increase cyberattack efficiency, create malicious code, and automate attacks,” said Candid Wüest, Acronis VP of Product Management. “Now, more than ever, corporations need to prioritize comprehensive cyber protection solutions to ensure business continuity.”

Leveraging Chat-GPT

Email attacks, mostly phishing, remain the primary vectors of infection, the report further states, with organizations experiencing a notable 54% increase in the number of attacks, per firm. Most of the attacks happened in Singapore, Spain, and Brazil, and Acronis identified a third of emails (33.4%) as spam. An additional 1.5% contained malware, or phishing links, it said.

Phishing is the primary infection vector for a number of reasons: email is omnipresent, it’s simple to use, and it’s cheap. It’s also easy to automate. Finally, victims overwhelmingly trust their email service providers to keep them safe from threats, often clicking on links and downloading attachments without second-guessing their good nature. 

In the pre-ChatGPT era, the easiest way to spot a phishing attack was to just use common sense and read the email message. Hackers are rarely English majors (many don’t live in English-speaking countries), and their messages were full of spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as clumsy wording and different inconsistencies. However, since the introduction of generative AI tools, email messages have become significantly more convincing. 

“The Acronis Cyberthreats Report H2 2023 highlights the continued threats faced by businesses of all sizes worldwide,” said Michael Suby, Research VP, IDC. “Unfortunately, bad actors continue to profit from these activities and are leveraging AI-enhanced techniques to create more convincing phishing schemes, guaranteeing that this problem will continue to plague businesses.”

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 TechRadar SOURCE

Security is a top priority for many businesses, but the speed at which the cybersecurity landscape is evolving and the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks means a detailed understanding of where some of the biggest risks are coming from is limited amongst many CISOs and IT managers.

By 2025, the cost of cybercrime for businesses is predicted to reach $10.5 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2023. Despite this trend, many businesses are overlooking and neglecting high-risk areas such as print security, inadvertently leaving them subject to attacks.

In fact, according to research from Quocirca, printed documents represent nearly one third (27%) of IT security incidents, yet print security is low on the agenda when compared to other elements of the technology stack like cloud, email, and public networks.

Despite this fact, 61% of organizations have experienced data losses due to unsecure printing practices over the past year. At a time where cyberattacks are on the rise, and will become increasingly common, it is critical that businesses do not overlook the importance of securing the print environment as a crucial building block for a robust security infrastructure.

The impact of hybrid working

To address the evolving security challenges posed by people working both in the office and remotely, businesses need to implement additional measures to safeguard their networks and the sensitive information that travels on them.

When everyone worked in the office full-time, organizations heavily relied on traditional security measures to protect their documents, including office security, traditional password encryption, network security and firewalls. In fact, recent research from Quocirca found that 39% of organizations are finding it harder and harder to keep up with print security demands as the workplace has evolved into the hybrid spaces they are today.2

The combination of remote and office working has increased the use of personal and mobile devices, which are not protected by the organization’s robust security infrastructure. This leaves private end-user devices susceptible to breaches when working away from the office. As a result, security leaders are forced to reassess their cybersecurity strategies to specifically address document protection in this new landscape.

This is highlighted in a recent report from IDC, which shows that 43% of respondents cite security vulnerabilities and the ability to ensure that at-home print devices are compliant with corporate governance and security policies as a top challenge. With employees printing documents from their own homes and personal devices, the risks of potential data breaches and unauthorized access have significantly increased.

This paradigm shift in work dynamics calls for a more robust approach to print security. Organisations must adapt to the reality that sensitive documents may be accessed and printed on various remote devices that do not have the same level of protection as the wider business network. Consequently, security leaders are now tasked with reimagining their strategies, implementing measures to secure documents at every stage of their lifecycle, whether printed or electronic, and regardless of the device used or where it is located.

Robust security measures are the key for hybrid workplace safety

It’s imperative for organizations that don’t currently have robust measures in place to safeguard their documents sooner rather than later. Third-party providers can play a significant role in enhancing secure practices around remote printing devices. While many organizations already invest in third party services, only 32% are satisfied with their security offerings. As such, it is crucial for organizations to work with vendors that prioritize security from the ground up, ensuring it is implemented at every stage of the printing process.

Businesses should aim for services that offer a comprehensive, 360-degree approach to security, covering devices, software, networks, and cloud-based services. Many lean on third-party vendors that specialize in secure information management, to help ensure that sensitive documents are protected throughout their lifecycle, from storage and transmission to printing and disposal.

Leveraging external expertise can help strengthen organizational print security measures, promote a holistic approach to print security, and ensure a culture of secure practices is in place. In doing so, businesses can mitigate cyber-attacks by safeguarding the confidentiality and integrity of their printed materials, particularly when using remote end-devices.

Prioritizing print security for your business

It goes without saying that the safe moving and sharing of documents must be a crucial part of workplace security. Implementing robust measures to safeguard sensitive documents is essential to mitigate potential risks and vulnerabilities. This includes adopting a comprehensive approach that covers devices, software, networks, and cloud-based services.

By recognizing the importance of securing the print environment and implementing a proactive strategy, businesses can adopt a holistic 360-degree approach to print security and mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks from the ground up.

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 TechRadar SOURCE

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to prioritize investments in advanced threat intelligence, monitoring systems, and ongoing employee training.

In 2023, there has been a concerning surge in data breaches. During the second quarter of 2023, over 110 million accounts were compromised, a staggering 2,6 times more than in the first quarter of the year. Recent findings reveal that the average cost of a data leak has reached $4.45 million, including both direct costs, such as fines and legal proceedings, as well as indirect like reputational damage.

The good news is that the causes of such breaches are often trivial and are under your control, like neglecting to change passwords or using overly simplistic ones, or overlooking the deactivation of access by a fired employee. Businesses can readily mitigate risks to safeguard themselves from both data and the subsequent financial losses. So, what are the most common reasons for data leaks, and how can they be effectively handled?

Cloud misconfigurations

According to IBM, 82% of breaches involve information stored in the cloud. Cloud misconfigurations can lead to data exposure or even compromise entire environments. They take various forms, including improperly configured storage buckets, insecure access controls, and mismanaged encryption settings. These errors often stem from a lack of understanding of the cloud service provider’s security features or oversight during the configuration process. Attackers exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Solution:

– Adhere to recommendations from your cloud service provider, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. This includes configuring security groups, setting up proper identity and access management, and implementing encryption for data both in transit and at rest.

– Implement automated tools for configuring and enforcing security policies. For example, in Kubernetes clusters you may use Gatekeeper or Kyverno. They can significantly reduce the risk of human error.

– Additionally, look for software solutions and scripts to regularly check your cloud configuration against best practices and compliance standards.

Lack of permissions control

The human element remains a significant factor in 74% of data breaches, and the common reason is the lack of proper permissions control. It means that users may have access to data and systems beyond what is necessary for their roles.

The primary issues associated with this challenge include overprivileged accounts, with users having more permissions than necessary, thereby expanding the attack surface. Additionally, there is a concern about proper segregation of duties. For example, a single user may have the right to both create and approve transactions. This leads to an increased risk of fraudulent activities. Outdated settings also contribute to the problem. Imagine a fired support employee still having access to the company’s database. They could potentially download and sell sensitive data to competitors.

Solution:

– Implement least privilege concept to ensure that users and applications have only the minimum level of access required to perform their tasks.

– Utilize role-based access control to assign permissions based on job roles. This way your team members will only see resources and data necessary for their specific responsibilities.

– Implement multi factor authentication by requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before gaining access. Even if login credentials are compromised, MFA adds an additional security barrier.

Infrequent software updates

Outdated software often contains known vulnerabilities. When businesses fail to regularly update, they leave a window of opportunity for cybercriminals. An illustrative case is Memcached, a widely utilized distributed memory-caching system for enhancing the performance of dynamic, database-driven websites. Vulnerabilities in this software were uncovered in 2016, however, it wasn’t until 2018 when a novel method for DDoS attack amplification using Memcached was exploited in notable network incidents.

Solution:

– Update at least once in half a year. Ideally, implement a patch management policy that outlines procedures for identifying, testing, and deploying software updates in a timely and systematic manner.

– Utilize automated tools to streamline the process. Automation helps to guarantee that patches are deployed consistently across all systems.

Insufficient perimeter control

This risk refers to a situation when an organization’s network boundaries are not adequately secured, allowing for potential unauthorized access to critical information or systems. The network perimeter serves as the first line of defense against external threats. Today, it extends to cloud services, remote users and mobile devices. The attack surface has expanded even further with the proliferation of the Internet of Things. From smart thermostats to industrial sensors, these gadgets often become attractive targets for hackers. Recently, it was reported that the number of IoT devices involved in botnet-driven DDoS attacks had risen from around 200,000 a year ago to approximately 1 million.

Solution:

– Deploy firewalls (such as Web Application Firewall) at network entry points to control and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Configuring them correctly allows only authorized and necessary communication.

– Implement Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS) to detect unusual or suspicious activities within the network. They can automatically respond to potential threats, mitigating risks in real-time.

– Add encryption for data transmitted over networks, including local networks, for an extra layer of protection. This way, intercepted data remains unreadable without the proper decryption keys.

Other emerging threats

Among other emerging threats is the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence. Cybercriminals use it to assess attack strategies, significantly increasing their chances of success. It is also used to amplify the speed, scale, and reach of their attacks. For example, hackers now use cutting-edge AI to create convincing phishing campaigns in nearly any language, even those with fewer historical attack attempts due to their complexity.

While there are also other cyber threats, in reality, businesses rarely face them as they are typically targeted at large corporations, government systems and critical infrastructure with top grade security. These include advanced persistent threats (APTs) orchestrated by well-funded and persistent criminals and characterized by their long-term presence within a target network. Usually, these are state-sponsored cyberattacks driven by political, economic, or espionage motives.

Safeguarding your business: universal tips

Apart from all the measures already listed, there are a few general rules to keep your business protected. First of all, conduct regular security audits and assessments, whether they concern cloud infrastructure, the status of software updates, user permissions or the overall effectiveness of perimeter control. External audits or penetration testing can also help in evaluating the organization’s security posture.

Second, invest in advanced intelligence and monitoring solutions. They can detect threats and respond in real-time. Such systems can use machine learning, behavioral analytics, and pattern recognition to establish a baseline of normal network behavior and detect deviations. Upon identifying a potential threat, the system will automatically trigger response mechanisms: block suspicious traffic, isolate compromised devices, or alert security personnel for further investigation.

Third, regularly train your employees to recognize and counteract threats, especially phishing. The latter remains one of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data.

The effective employee training comprises two key elements, which I refer to as the “stick” and the “carrot.”

The “stick” involves educating all team members on the company’s security policies and legislative initiatives, such as GDPR. It emphasizes the collective responsibility in safeguarding confidential data, which extends beyond the information security department’s duty. Training sessions should explain the consequences of breaches, including potential fines and even dismissals. It is important to conduct these events at least once in two years, if not more often. Moreover, businesses should incorporate them into the onboarding process for new employees.

The “carrot” aspect involves workshops, meetups, and webinars focused on various cyberattacks and the latest advancements in information security. This facet of training is designed to be more engaging and enjoyable. It may include some interactive activities, such as online games and simulations. Guest speakers can take part in these events, for example, employees from the IT department, representatives from other divisions sharing insightful cases, and external market experts.

Through the combined “stick” and “carrot” measures, team members cultivate a collective immunity to information security issues, fostering a culture of mutual accountability.

And, of course, always keep abreast of the latest cyber trends to develop countermeasures in time.

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 TechRadar SOURCE

In the race against cyberthreats, every update matters. This includes the often neglected firmware updates. This article sheds light on why updating your firmware is an essential step in securing your business.

What does firmware do?

Before we dive into the significance of firmware updates, it’s crucial to understand what firmware is and its role in the overall functionality of devices. Firmware is a specialized type of software embedded within the hardware of electronic devices. Unlike regular software that runs on an operating system, firmware is designed to control the device’s specific hardware components.

Firmware acts as the bridge between a device’s hardware and software, allowing them to work together seamlessly. It is commonly found in a variety of devices, including routers, printers, security cameras, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Why is it crucial to upgrade firmware?

There are several reasons why keeping firmware up to date is crucial, such as:

  • Security vulnerabilities – Over time, security vulnerabilities are discovered in firmware that could potentially be exploited by cybercriminals. Firmware updates often include patches to address these vulnerabilities, protecting your devices from unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Enhanced performance – Firmware updates not only address security concerns but also include improvements to the overall performance and stability of the device. This can lead to a more efficient operation and an extended life span for your hardware.
  • Compatibility – As technology evolves, so do the software and applications that interact with your devices. Firmware updates ensure that your hardware remains compatible with the latest software, reducing the risk of compatibility issues that could compromise your business operations.
  • Feature enhancements – Manufacturers frequently release firmware updates to introduce new features or enhance existing ones. Staying up to date ensures that your devices can take advantage of the latest capabilities, providing your business with a competitive edge.

What is the best way to install firmware updates?

While firmware updates are essential, improper installation can lead to issues or even device malfunctions. Here are some best practices for installing firmware updates:

  • Regular monitoring – Stay informed about firmware updates for all your devices. Most manufacturers provide release notes that detail the changes and improvements. Regularly check for updates and prioritize those addressing security vulnerabilities.
  • Back up before updating – Before initiating any firmware update, make sure to back up critical data. While rare, there is a slight risk that the update process could cause data loss or other unforeseen issues.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions – Each device manufacturer may have specific instructions for updating firmware. Always follow the recommended procedures outlined in the user manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
  • Schedule downtime – Plan firmware updates during non-business hours to minimize disruption to your operations. If the update requires device reboots, schedule it when there’s the least impact on your business.
  • Test updates before deployment – Consider testing the firmware update on a noncritical device first. This will give you an opportunity to identify and address any potential issues before deploying the update to all devices.

By understanding the role of firmware, recognizing the importance of timely updates, and adopting best practices for installation, you can ensure that your business remains secure and operates efficiently. Keeping firmware up to date is not just a precautionary measure; it’s a proactive step toward safeguarding your business in the ever-changing threat landscape.

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

A password is more than just an assortment of characters you’re required to enter in order to access your accounts. It is the first line of defense against potential threats and attacks. A weak password makes it easier for hackers or cybercriminals to gain access to your personal information, such as financial details or sensitive data. But there are many people who are completely misguided about what a strong password actually is.

The importance of secure passwords for your business

While many personal accounts are password-protected, securing your business accounts is equally critical. This applies not just to you but to your entire company. Every employee should use strong passwords to safeguard sensitive business data. Imagine the potential harm a cybercriminal could cause if they gained access to your data and systems. It could tarnish your business’s reputation and jeopardize both your employees’ and customers’ private information.

What makes a password strong? (Hint: It’s not about complexity)

Contrary to popular belief, the strength of a password is not solely determined by its complexity. While including a combination or letters, numbers, and symbols can enhance password security, it’s not as effective as using a longer sequence.

A long password is far stronger because it increases the number of possible combinations that an attacker needs to guess. This means that even if your password contains common words or phrases, it will still be significantly more difficult to breach if it’s longer. In fact, a lengthy passphrase consisting of a series of unrelated words can often be stronger than a shorter password filled with complex characters. For instance, “PurpleBananaSunsetRiver” is not only easier to remember but also more secure than something like “P@ssw0rd1” because of its length and randomness.

Furthermore, longer passwords are more resistant to brute force attacks, which involve using automated programs to guess different password combinations until the correct one is found. The longer the password, the more time and computational power it would take for an attacker to crack it, making it a far less appealing target. So, when creating strong passwords for your business accounts, prioritize length and complexity to bolster your online security effectively.

Educating your team on password security

If you manage a team, it’s crucial to educate them on the significance of strong, lengthy passwords. Ensure your team receives training on cybersecurity practices, including password creation. A single weak password could open the door to a cyberattack, emphasizing the importance of collective diligence.

Simplifying strong password creation

Creating robust and lengthy passwords doesn’t have to be a tedious process. If you struggle to create or remember them, consider using a password manager. This tool can generate long and unique passwords for each account based on your preferences. It will then store them securely so that you only need to remember one master password to access all your accounts.

Passwords are often the easiest to overlook when it comes to online security, but they are also the most critical. If you need further guidance or assistance in enhancing your cybersecurity practices, get in touch with us. Our team of experts is ready to help you navigate the digital world securely.

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

Cybercriminals are relentless in coming up with new ways to steal our personal information and financial data. That’s why it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect ourselves online, and these steps include visiting websites that use HTTPS.

What is HTTPS?

When you visit a website, you may see a padlock icon in the address bar. This icon indicates that the website is using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), which is a secure communications protocol that encrypts all data transmitted between your browser and the website.

Without HTTPS, all the data you enter or click on is sent in plain text. This means that anyone who intercepts the traffic between your browser and the website can see everything you do, including the information you enter on the website.

HTTPS also verifies the identity of the website you are visiting, protecting you from cyberattacks involving spoofed versions of legitimate websites that are designed to steal your information.

Compared to the standard HTTP, HTTPS offers a higher level of security, making it essential for online banking, eCommerce, and any other website that handles sensitive data.

How do HTTPS certificates work?

When you go to a website, your device uses an internet directory (i.e., DNS server) to convert the website’s name into a number (i.e., its IP address). This number is saved in a cache so that your device doesn’t have to look it up again every time you visit the website. However, if your computer gets compromised while using an HTTP connection, an attacker can change the directory so that you are redirected to a malicious website, even if you type in the correct address. Victims are usually redirected to spoofed versions of legitimate websites, where they are tricked into entering their sensitive information, such as their login credentials.

To prevent this, internet directories issue HTTPS certificates that transform HTTP into HTTPS. This makes it impossible for anyone to redirect you to a fraudulent website. HTTPS certificates include data about the website, such as its domain name, company name, and location. They also contain a public key for encrypting communication between your browser and the website.

More ways to stay safe online

Here are a few tips for staying safe online, whether you’re just browsing or doing work-related tasks:

  • Think twice before clicking on a website flagged as “unsafe” by your browser. Proceed only if you are sure that no confidential data will be transmitted.
  • Use trusted web browser extensions, such as HTTPS Everywhere, to encrypt your communication, especially when visiting unencrypted websites.
  • Don’t go to websites that don’t use the HTTPS prefix.
  • Be vigilant. Even if a website has HTTPS, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s safe. For example, amaz0n.com (with the “o” replaced with a 0) could have a certificate, but the misspelling suggests that it’s an untrustworthy site. Cybercriminals use similar spellings of real websites to trick victims into believing they’re on a secure site.

While HTTPS is not a silver bullet for online security, it is an essential measure for protecting yourself online. Reach out to us today to learn more about HTTPS and other cybersecurity best practices.

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 SOURCE

In recent years, remote work has become more popular. While this working arrangement offers many benefits, it also creates numerous security risks. This blog post will provide tips on how to improve your and your employees’ cybersecurity when working remotely.

Create clear remote work policies

Your company should have clear policies in place that outline the security measures that employees must follow when working remotely. This includes using strong passwords, connecting to secure networks, and being careful about what information they share online. Make sure to communicate these policies to all employees and that they understand and adhere to these.

Secure home networks for remote workers

Home Wi-Fi routers are often less secure than business routers, so remote workers need to take extra steps to secure their home networks. These steps include changing the default router password, installing the latest firmware updates, and using WPA2 encryption settings.

Use a virtual private network (VPN)

A VPN is a crucial cybersecurity tool for remote workers, especially when they need to connect to public Wi-Fi networks. It encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a secure server, making it harder for cybercriminals to track your online activity or intercept your data.

Use a password manager

A password manager stores all your passwords securely so that you don’t have to remember all of them. It can also generate strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts, so you won’t be tempted to use weak passwords or reuse the same password for multiple accounts. Weak passwords are easy for cybercriminals to crack, and if you reuse them across multiple accounts, all of your accounts at put at risk if even just one account becomes compromised.

Implement firewalls and anti-malware software

Equip all work devices used by remote workers with firewalls and anti-malware software. Firewalls monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic. They can be configured to block specific types of traffic, such as traffic from known malicious IP addresses or ports, or traffic that is associated with known malware. Firewalls can also be used to create whitelists, which allow only specific types of traffic to pass through.

On the other hand, anti-malware software scans files and devices for malicious programs, such as viruses, Trojans, and spyware. It can also block malicious websites and emails, and remove or quarantine malicious programs that have already infiltrated devices.

Keep your software up to date

Software updates often include security patches that address known vulnerabilities. It is important to install software updates as soon as they are available. You can configure your devices to automatically install software updates to make sure you are always protected.

Alternatively, your company can use patch management software to track patches on all registered devices and deploy the most recent updates across all of them.

Back up your data

Regularly backing up your data can help you recover from a data loss event due to device failure, theft, or other unforeseen circumstances. There are two main types of data backups:

  • Local backups: Local backups are stored on a physical device, such as an external hard drive or a USB flash drive. Local backups are relatively inexpensive and easy to set up, but they are also more vulnerable to physical damage or loss.
  • Cloud backups: Cloud backups are stored on a remote server. Cloud backups are more convenient than local backups because you can access them from anywhere, but they can be more expensive and may require a reliable internet connection.

It’s best to use a combination of local and cloud backups for the best protection. This will ensure that you have a copy of your data even if one backup fails.

Be careful of phishing scams

Phishing scams typically involve emails or messages that look like they are from legitimate companies, such as banks or government agencies, to trick victims into revealing personal information, such as passwords or credit card numbers.

To reduce your chances of falling for a phishing scam, follow these tips:

  • Check the sender’s email address carefully. Phishing emails are often sent using email addresses that are slightly altered versions of those of legitimate companies.
  • Be wary of clicking on links or opening attachments in emails or messages, especially if they seem suspicious or come from unknown senders.
  • Look for signs of a fake website, such as a misspelled URL or a missing lock icon in the address bar.
  • Don’t enter personal information into a website that you are unsure is legitimate.
  • If you are not sure if an email is legitimate, contact the sender directly to verify its authenticity.

Remote work setups can pose many cybersecurity risks, but you don’t have to address them alone. Our technology experts can provide IT guidance, implementation, and maintenance to help you protect your business and its data. Contact us today to learn more.

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