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Do IT security terms like “phishing” and “intrusion protection” sound extremely foreign to you? If so, it’s time you familiarize yourself with these and other common cybersecurity terms. By learning these basic concepts, you’ll be more aware of the depth and scope of online dangers and, hopefully, be better prepared to deal with them.

Malware

For a long time, the phrase “computer virus” was misused to refer to every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt computers and networks. The more appropriate term for these harmful programs and files would be “malicious software” or “malware.” Whereas a virus is a specific type of malware that is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as malware.

Ransomware

Don’t let all other cyberthreats ending in -ware confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is “ransomware,” which is malware that encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid.

Intrusion prevention system (IPS)

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but an IPS is quickly becoming one of the nonnegotiables. An IPS sits inside your company’s firewall and looks for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. Experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of “social engineering” to succeed. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or protected information. For cybercriminals, complicated software is totally unnecessary if they can just convince potential victims that they’re a security professional who needs the victims’ password to secure their account.

Phishing

Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of defrauding people using an app or a website that impersonates a trustworthy or often well-known business in an attempt to obtain confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean that it is. Don’t take such emails at face value — always verify the source, especially if the emails are requesting your sensitive data.

Antivirus

Antivirus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well-known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to fix the gap in security. However, if cyberattackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.

Patch

When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and “patch” this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest malware.

Redundant data

When antivirus software, patches, and intrusion prevention fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

Our cybersecurity professionals are always available to impart more in-depth knowledge of the many different kinds of cyberthreats. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you with your IT security woes.

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

Your employees are your first line of defense when it comes to protecting your business from cyberthreats. Human error is one of the single biggest culprits behind cyber-attacks. It comes down to someone falling for a phishing scam, clicking an unknown link or downloading a file without realizing that it’s malicious.

Because your team is so critical to protecting your business from cyberthreats, it’s just as critical to keep your team informed and on top of today’s dangers. One way to do that is to weave cyber security into your existing company culture.

How Do You Do That?

For many employees, cyber security is rarely an engaging topic. In truth, it can be dry at times, especially for people outside of the cyber security industry, but it can boil down to presentation. That isn’t to say you need to make cyber security “fun,” but make it interesting or engaging. It should be accessible and a normal part of the workday.

Bring It Home For Your Team. One of the reasons why people are often disconnected from topics related to cyber security is simply because they don’t have firsthand experience with it. This is also one reason why many small businesses don’t invest in cyber security in the first place – it hasn’t happened to them, so they don’t think it will. Following that logic, why invest in it at all?

The thing is that it will eventually happen. It’s never a question of if, but when. Cyberthreats are more common than ever. Of course, this also means it’s easier to find examples you can share with your team. Many major companies have been attacked. Millions of people have had their personal data stolen. Look for examples that employees can relate to, names they are familiar with, and discuss the damage that’s been done.

If possible, bring in personal examples. Maybe you or someone you know has been the victim of a cyber-attack, such as ransomware or a data breach. The closer you can bring it home to your employees, the more they can relate, which means they’re listening.

Collaborate With Your Employees. Ask what your team needs from you in terms of cyber security. Maybe they have zero knowledge about data security and they could benefit from training. Or maybe they need access to better tools and resources. Make it a regular conversation with employees and respond to their concerns.

Part of that can include transparency with employees. If Julie in accounting received a phishing e-mail, talk about it. Bring it up in the next weekly huddle or all-company meeting. Talk about what was in the e-mail and point out its identifying features. Do this every time phishing e-mails reach your employees.

Or, maybe Jared received a mysterious e-mail and made the mistake of clicking the link within that e-mail. Talk about that with everyone, as well. It’s not about calling out Jared. It’s about having a conversation and not placing blame. The focus should be on educating and filling in the gaps. Keep the conversation going and make it a normal part of your company’s routine. The more you talk about it and the more open you are, the more it becomes a part of the company culture.

Keep Things Positive. Coming from that last point, you want employees to feel safe in bringing their concerns to their supervisors or managers. While there are many cyberthreats that can do serious damage to your business (and this should be stressed to employees), you want to create an environment where employees are willing to ask for help and are encouraged to learn more about these issues.

Basically, employees should know they won’t get into trouble if something happens. Now, if an employee is blatantly not following your company’s IT rules, that’s a different matter. But for the day-to-day activities, creating a positive, educational, collaborative environment is the best way to make cyber security a normal part of your company culture.

Plus, taking this approach builds trust, and when you and your team have that trust, it becomes easier to tackle issues of data and network security – and to have necessary conversations.

Need help creating a cyber security company culture that’s positive? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your managed services provider or IT partner! They can help you lay the foundation for educating your team and ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to today’s constant 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

Although a majority of ransomware attacks usually target Windows PCs, this doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe. Ransomware attacks for Macs have occurred before, and are growing more widespread over time. So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your Mac? We’ve compiled some helpful security tips for you.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid in gift cards, or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Macs are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s encrypted. Ransomware messages may also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay within a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because these organizations tend to have a lot of valuable assets, including money, and can’t afford to lose access to their critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

In 2016, the KeRanger ransomware was distributed through the popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade macOS’s built-in security measures and infect more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When launched, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. But the ransomware was poorly built, so there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

In 2019, the EvilQuest ransomware encrypted files and tried to trick users into paying a Bitcoin ransom. Much like Patcher, however, there was no feature to decrypt files after paying, leaving those who paid the ransom with nothing.

Ransomware attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to be prepared in case of an attack.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain offline backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom fee, as there’s no guarantee that hackers will provide a decryption key and release your data even if you give in to their demands.

Instead, use an up-to-date anti-malware program to remove ransomware from your computer. Cybersecurity experts may also release free ransomware decryptor tools to remove the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools don’t work, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures, provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they still pose a great threat to your business. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Mac security threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

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

Managed IT Services

Today’s companies need technology to function. Without it, businesses cannot compete and succeed. But with technology comes the ever-constant threat of hackers and cybercriminals. That’s why small- and mid-sized businesses need to protect themselves with robust cybersecurity solutions managed by IT professionals.

The numbers

According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2019 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs) survey, cyberattacks have increased dramatically. Here in the United States, 76% of companies were attacked in 2019, a significant leap from 55% in 2016. Sixty-nine percent of US businesses reported data breaches in 2019, up from 50% in 2016.

The financial consequences have also increased considerably. The average cost spent by companies because of damage to or theft of IT assets and infrastructure increased from $1.03 million in 2017 to $1.2 million in 2019. Costs due to disruption to normal operations increased from an average of $1.21 million in 2017 to an average of $1.9 million in 2019.

The attacks

Globally, the most common forms of attack on SMBs are those that rely on deception: phishing (57%), stolen or compromised devices (33%), and credential theft (30%). Worse, cybercriminals are targeting SMBs more, with reported attacks having increased from 60% in 2017 to 69% in 2019.

Why managed services?

Partnering with MSPs is the most effective way to prevent attacks and protect your business from 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.

And because managed services are designed to identify and fix weak spots in your IT infrastructure, you’ll optimize the digital backbone of your business processes. You’ll have faster network performance, a solid business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, and minimal downtime. One of the best things about managed services is that you get a dedicated team of IT professionals ready to assist you for any technology problems you may encounter. This is much more effective and budget-friendly than having in-house personnel handling all your IT issues.

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.

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 smallbiztechnology.com  SOURCE

365 Phishing Scams

Microsoft is a known provider of top-tier business productivity software — and its commitment to its subscribers’ cybersecurity is integral to that reputation. To fight phishing, one of today’s most prevalent cyberthreats, the tech titan has equipped Microsoft 365 with powerful features.

Among the many business solutions that Microsoft offers is email hosting through Outlook. This service is protected by Microsoft Defender for Office 365. Defender has many key features:

1. Anti-phishing

The most dangerous types of phishing scams masquerade as emails from a party the victims know, such as their boss, colleague, business partner, or bank. A phisher may use crafty impersonation tactics, such as referring to the victims by their nickname, making it harder to immediately identify the scam as fraud. A cybercriminal may even take over actual email accounts and use these to completely fool their victims.

Using machine learning, Defender creates a contact graph of contacts that users normally exchange communications with. It then employs an array of tools, including standard anti-malware solutions, to differentiate good from suspicious behaviors.

2. Anti-spam

Generalized phishing campaigns utilize spam emails, which are sent to a large list of email addresses, to catch random victims. Stopping spam is, therefore, a great start to protecting your company from a phishing attack.

Microsoft 365’s anti-spam technology addresses the issue by examining both an email’s source and its contents. If an email is determined to have come from an untrustworthy source or has suspicious contents, then it is automatically routed to your spam folder. What’s more, this feature checks the activity of people in your company to ensure that none of them sends out spam emails.

3. Anti-malware

Malware, such as ransomware and spyware, can spread via phishing emails. Ransomware locks data and programs from users until a ransom is paid. Spyware, on the other hand, steals data by recording keystrokes, copying clipboards, and taking screenshots, among other methods.

Microsoft 365 employs a multilayered defense against both known and unknown types of malware. This covers the different stages of email transmission, including filtering potentially harmful attachment formats, and real-time threat response. Microsoft also regularly deploys malware definitions to keep its defenses updated.

4. Safe Attachments

Some phishing emails contain file attachments that infect your computer with malware. Any email attachment should be handled with caution, but it’s not uncommon for some users to accidentally click on one, especially as they rush through the messages in their inbox.

Defender resolves this issue by opening all attachments in a sandbox first. This sandbox is an isolated environment, so even if the attachment contains malware, it would not affect your system. While in the sandbox, the attachment is meticulously scanned. If it’s clean, Microsoft 365 will allow you to open it as normal. If it contains a threat, the service will notify you of the issue. Microsoft uses some of the information collected by Safe Attachments to further improve the feature’s capabilities.

5. Safe Links

Instead of attachments, some phishing emails contain URLs that lead to websites — often spoofed versions of legitimate websites — that require victims to provide their personal information such as their account credentials. Some of these URLs lead to download pages that infect your computer with malware.

In a process called URL detonation, the Safe Links feature protects users by scanning the links in their emails and checking for malicious behavior, such as the transmission of malware. If the link leads to a malicious website, Defender will warn users not to visit it. Otherwise, users can proceed to click and go to the destination URL without a hitch. But even so, the service will rescan the link in the succeeding days and report any suspicious changes.

What’s great about Safe Links is that it doesn’t just scan links from unfamiliar sources. It also scans links in emails from people within your company and works on files uploaded to Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.

6. User Submissions

Microsoft 365 allows you to set a specific mailbox to send emails you deem a threat. The User Submissions feature lets you set criteria for both malicious and safe email and identify mailboxes besides your spam folder to keep these messages in. This feature gives your administrators greater control over which emails to flag and which to report to Microsoft.

7. Enhanced Filtering

If your company uses third-party services to route emails before they are sent to Microsoft 365, you will benefit from Enhanced Filtering for Connectors. Microsoft 365 uses inbound connectors to determine the trustworthiness of email sources. The more complex your routing scenario is, the more likely that an email’s inbound connectors will not reflect its real source.

Enhanced Filtering preserves authentication signals that may have been lost over the course of routing emails. This maximizes the effectiveness of Microsoft 365’s overall filtering capabilities, helping it detect spam and phishing emails.

If you need an email service that promotes efficiency while protecting your business, we can implement and manage Microsoft 365 for you. Just call us today to get started.

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

There really is an app for almost everything — including one that cyber-criminals use to hack into businesses’ systems. Cyberattacks have become so advanced that they are now aided by an app, like this one that poses serious threats to Office 365 users. If you’re using Office 365, here’s what you need to know.

A phishing scam that harvests users’ credentials

The latest cyberattack on Microsoft Office 365 involves harvesting users’ credentials. Scammers use this previously unseen tactic by launching a phishing message to users, asking them to click on an embedded link. What makes this scam more insidious than traditional phishing scams is that the URL within the message links to a real Microsoft login page.

How does it work?

The phishing message resembles a legitimate SharePoint and OneDrive file-share that prompts users to click on it. Once they do, they are taken to an Office 365 login page where they will be asked to log in if they haven’t already.

After they’ve logged in, they’ll be prompted to grant permission to an app called “0365 Access.” Users who grant permission effectively give the app — and the hackers behind it — complete access to their Office 365 files, contacts, and inbox.

This technique can easily trick lots of users since the app that requests access is integrated with the Office 365 Add-ins feature. That means that Microsoft essentially generates the request for permission. No, Microsoft is not aiding hackers to breach systems. Rather, the scam is made possible by a feature that allows users to install apps that are not from the official Office Store.

Ways to protect your Office 365 account — and your business

Given their fairly advanced approach, these scammers could effortlessly prey on careless employees. There are ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.

  • Always check the email’s sender account before clicking on any link or granting apps access.
  • Implement a policy that prevents staff from downloading and installing apps that are not from the Office Store.
  • Regularly conduct security awareness training that covers essential cybersecurity topics. Educate employees on how to spot phishing scam red flags (e.g., unknown senders, grammatical and typographical errors, suspicious requests, and the like). Increase their knowledge about more sophisticated attacks and keep everyone informed about current and future cybersecurity risks.

Successful attacks could result in an unimaginable catastrophe to your company. For tips on how to spot this and other nefarious scams and how to plan thorough security practices, contact our experts today.

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