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If you’re struggling to juggle your passwords, the solution to your woes is a password manager. See our recommendations.

Password managers are a safe, secure way of logging into your various online accounts. In fact, they’re vastly preferable to the alternatives of either trying to remember multiple unique passwords or re-using the same password over and over.

According to Pew Research Centre, half of users have up to 25 password-protected accounts online. That’s far too many for the average person to remember, making it hard to stay secure. A secure password manager will automatically store all your logins, meaning that you’ll never have to remember one ever again, and can even generate passwords for you.

Given that even industry-leader LastPass was once the victim of a hack, concerns remain over using password managers. Besides, you may be questioning the wisdom of storing all your passwords in one place. These are legitimate concerns, but research has shown that using a password manager is far more secure than not using one. The risk of your business getting hacked is high, particularly during the pandemic, so we’d strongly recommend getting one yourself.

As for which password manager you should choose? We’ve tested some of the best password managers around, and while they’re all safe and secure, the best on test was LastPass. This stands out thanks to a simple interface, secure setup, and brilliant family-sharing options. Plus, you can try LastPass for free to see if you like it.

Is it Safe to Use a Password Manager?

Yes – a good quality password manager is a safe, trustworthy and highly recommended security tool. In fact, security experts almost uniformly believe that password managers are infinitely safer than virtually every alternative there is, for businesses and individuals alike.

Top password managers, such as 1PasswordDashlane or LastPass, can be trusted to protect your account logins thanks to secure encryption that keeps your passwords secret.

Here’s how it works in practice. You create an account with a password manager, then create a single “master password” to log into it. To keep your password manager safe to use, it’s essential that your master password isn’t anything obvious. So that’s no to “12345,” “qwerty,” or “passwd.” Instead, pick a longer phrase or mix and match cases and special characters – just ensure it’s unique and memorable.

Then, the password manager can get to work automatically generating complex, unique passwords for every service you log into online – one for your Amazon account, email account, Facebook account and so on. You won’t need to memorize these – whenever you login in, the password manager will automatically apply the password (and you enable the password manager via that single master password).

This entire process is far more secure than re-using the same password over and over on multiple sites – the single biggest risk you can take with you and your business’ online security. It’s also far easier than attempting to remember multiple unique passwords.

So, if it’s all win, why are there any questions around password manager safety? Largely, these come down to an understandable concern over the security of handing over your logins to a third-party service. That’s why we’d recommend only using a trustworthy, well-rated password manager. So which ones would we recommend?

Most Secure Password Manager

If you want a secure password manager, you should opt for a paid one. Free password managers tend to be restricted in some way, and are usually supported with adverts. Additionally, free password managers are simply not set up to handle a full business’ security needs, which means paid for is always the way to go.

In our testing, we found LastPass to be the most secure password manager. For a few dollars a month, it could save you a lot of headaches, as well as time spent waiting for password reminder emails to drop into your inbox.

Do Password Managers Get Hacked?

No online system is infallible. Password managers – just like any other online service you use, such as Amazon, Twitter or Facebook – run the risk of being hacked. In fact, some have been.

The best password managers, however, will take your security very seriously – after all, you’re paying for the service. If you lose trust in them, they lose your patronage, and with it, your payment.

When LastPass was hacked in 2015, users were right to be concerned – after all, if a hacker could get into the system, they could, in theory, have access to every password that LastPass users had stored there. However, even though its security was breached, hackers were unable to steal any information – all of the passwords were protected by the users’ Master Password, which is not stored on the LastPass servers. This meant that the encryption on the passwords stored by LastPass was unable to be cracked. And that is why you should pay for a password manager.

Password managers are also a common target for ‘ethical hackers’ — those who like to test the security of online systems to flex their coding muscles. Password managers are their white whale – crack one of these open, and they’ll win the acclaim of the industry.

This isn’t as scary as it sounds though. In fact, ethical hackers are offering a great service, finding exploits in online systems before more nefarious people do. Once they’ve found a vulnerability, these hacklers will make contact with the service and let them know, allowing the provider to then fix the issue.

Verdict – Should You Use a Password Manager?

We can’t state this clearly enough – a password manager is a safe, recommended way to secure your online logins. The alternatives are far, far riskier – in particular, that old habit of re-using the same old password again and again across multiple websites (please, just don’t).

No system is guaranteed bullet-proof, and as the LastPass hack showed, even password managers can be vulnerable. However, as that very incident showed, there are serious protections in place, and these prevented the LastPass hack from being a disaster for any customers.

In the age of hybrid work and vast security breaches, we’d strongly recommend getting up and running with a password manager for proper online peace of mind.

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 Tech.co SOURCE

With remote work becoming the new normal for many businesses, employers can’t help but worry about how much work their employees are getting done. One way to determine this is by monitoring employees online. However, this practice can raise privacy concerns. This article will shed light on what employee monitoring is and how it can help your business.

What is employee monitoring?

Employee monitoring is the practice of using digital tools to track employee activity and performance, and the progress of their tasks. The data collected can be used to identify patterns, trends, and correlations across different teams allowing managers to gain insight into various work processes, and how they can be improved.

What are the benefits of employee monitoring?

Here are the key benefits of monitoring your employees online:

1. Improved productivity
Using employee monitoring tools can help you track how much time employees spend visiting non-work-related websites or chatting with friends. If an employee’s productivity goes down significantly because of these activities, you can address the issue by reminding that specific employee about the company’s policy regarding visiting non-work-related websites and/or limiting his/her internet access.

When employees know that their activities are being monitored, they’re more likely to focus on their tasks and avoid inappropriate internet use.

2. Better security
According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 85% of breaches reported in 2020 were due to human error. Monitoring the online habits of employees can help employers track and flag instant messages and emails containing sensitive and private information. In addition, managers can block employees from visiting phishing sites or websites that automatically download malware onto unprotected computers and mobile devices.

3. More efficient project management
Monitoring employee activity provides managers with continuous reports on workers’ progress, allowing them to stay on top of multiple projects. These reports can help managers delegate tasks and adjust schedules to meet deadlines.

What are the disadvantages of monitoring your employees online?

Despite its benefits, employee monitoring also comes with some drawbacks, such as:

1. Trust issues
Employees may feel that their privacy is being violated. This can lead to low employee morale and reduced productivity, as well as distrust between and among colleagues.

2. Legal issues
States and countries may have varying policies on employee monitoring, but one thing is constant ⁠— an employee’s consent is needed before any type of monitoring can be done.Without the consent of an employee, an employer can be charged with privacy violations and discrimination if the information collected is used to harm that employee.

To avoid potential problems that can arise from employee monitoring, employers should explain why monitoring is needed. A written policy should be created explaining how employees will be monitored, what information will be collected, and how that information will be protected.

If you want to learn more about employee monitoring, give us a call 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

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

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

Two-factor authentication

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

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

Two-step authentication

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

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

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

Which one is better?

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

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

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

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

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

What is fileless malware?

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

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

What potential damage can fileless malware do?

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

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

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

How big of a threat is fileless malware?

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

How can you defend against fileless malware?

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

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

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

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

Maintaining your WordPress website is not as hard as it seems — just follow this simple maintenance checklist we’ve prepared for you. We’ve outlined six essential tasks that you should perform regularly to keep your WordPress site running smoothly.

Create complete backups of your website

One of the most important things you can do to protect your website is to back it up periodically. This will allow you to restore your site if something goes wrong, such as a hacker attack or server crash. There are several ways to create backups, including using plugins or manually copying your files and database. But while plugins like BackUpWordPress and hosting servers like SiteGround automate the backup process, performing manual backups may still be necessary to cover all your bases.

Verify your backups

Just because you have backups doesn’t mean they’re doing their job. You should test your backups regularly to make sure they are working properly. This can be done by restoring a backup to a test site or simply downloading the files and checking them to make sure they are complete. The last thing you need is for your backups to fail on the day you need them most.

Perform daily security scans

One of the best ways to stay ahead of potential security threats is to monitor your website closely for any signs of compromise. A good way to do this is to perform daily security scans, which will help you track any changes or suspicious activity. There are a number of different tools and services that can help you with this, and one of the most popular ones is Sucuri. Not only does this plugin carry out inspections, but it also sends an SMS to notify you of any suspicious activity and emails you a daily status report of your website’s security.

Scan for malware

Cyberthreats are growing in both number and sophistication. With every passing day, new strains of malware are developed and released onto business networks and systems. Unless you are a bonafide hacker yourself, detecting malware might be a little tricky. WordPress plugins like Wordfence keep your website safe using the latest firewall rules and flagging the latest malware signatures and malicious IP addresses.

Conduct page speed audits

Slow and steady may be qualities valued by some, but not when it comes to your website. Plugins like Google Pagespeed Insights test how fast your site loads. If it takes more than five seconds, you should consider implementing caching and other measures to speed up your site. Slow sites put off visitors, and that further lowers those sites’ search rankings.

Review your site’s structure and content

Just as you should periodically review your website’s security, you should also take a look at its overall structure and content. Are the pages well organized and easy to navigate? Is the content relevant and up to date? If not, you may want to consider making some changes.

Forbes, National Geographic, and The New York Times are all powered by WordPress, which means you are in good company. By sticking to the checklist, you too can harness the power of this online, open-source website creation tool. Or, instead of signing up for half a dozen services that need daily check-ins, why not have us take care of all of it for you? If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to send us an email or give us a call!

Ask yourself what your website is doing for you and whether it’s aligned with your business needs and objectives. The GCInfotech professional web design team is here to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. SOURCE

More and more companies these days are hosting their business components on the cloud, as it has proven to be reliable, cost-effective, and secure. However, many small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) experience certain operational pains on either the public or private cloud. Fortunately, they can now opt for a middle ground that offers the best of both worlds: the hybrid cloud.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. In private clouds, data and applications that require tighter controls are hosted either internally or privately on an off-site facility. Meanwhile, public clouds are managed externally by third-party providers with the express purpose of streamlining a company’s IT infrastructure.

Benefits of a hybrid cloud setup

Here are three significant advantages of hybrid cloud environments.

Adaptability
Having the ability to choose between internally or privately hosted cloud servers and public ones lets you pair the right IT solution with the right job. For example, you can use the private cloud to store sensitive files while utilizing more robust computing resources from the public cloud to run resource-intensive applications.

Cost efficiency and scalability
Does your business struggle to meet seasonal demands? With a hybrid cloud solution, you’ll be able to easily handle spikes in demand by migrating workloads from insufficient on-premises servers to scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud servers whenever needed, without incurring extra hardware and maintenance costs.

So if there are last-minute computing demands that your hardware can’t support, or if you’re planning for future expansion, you can easily scale capacity up or down with a hybrid cloud solution.

Security
Last but not least are the security advantages of a hybrid cloud solution. You can host sensitive data such as eCommerce data or an HR platform within the private cloud, where it will be protected by your security systems and kept under close watch. Meanwhile, routine forms and documents can be stored in the public cloud and protected by a trusted third party.

How to set up a hybrid cloud

The following are the different ways to set up a hybrid cloud model based on your SMB’s requirements and the providers available to you:

  • Employ one specialized cloud provider who offers comprehensive hybrid solutions.
  • Integrate the services of a private cloud provider with those of another public cloud provider.
  • Host a private cloud yourself and then incorporate a public cloud service into your infrastructure.

Our experts can help you transition to a hybrid cloud solution without interruption and huge costs. Contact us today to learn more about the business benefits of a hybrid cloud.

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 people think of monitoring employees’ online activities, they typically imagine tyrannical bosses who want to make sure their subordinates are working during their shift. However, there is much more to monitoring their activities than that — doing so can actually help increase productivity and protect the business in the process. Find out the pros and cons of monitoring your employees’ online behavior by reading this blog.

The case for monitoring

Monitoring your employees’ activities on company devices can be beneficial, as it helps:

  • Protect your organization from data theft or harm since careless or disgruntled employees may leak or steal your data.
  • Ensure members of your staff comply with policies such as not downloading illegal programs or visiting websites with illegal or hostile content.
  • Provide evidence in case of a lawsuit should an employee participate in illegal activities using your business’s computers.

Arguments against employee monitoring

Of course, you should also be aware of the potential downsides to monitoring. These include:

  • Reduced productivity, as monitoring can put a damper on employee morale and the perceived distrust may make your employees less driven to perform well.
  • Privacy or discrimination issues that may stem from you being privy to personal details about your employees that you would’ve never known about had you not monitored them. For example, you may discover their political or religious views, sexual orientation, or medical problems. This subjects your business to potential privacy or discrimination issues if you or your management team acts negatively based on any of this information.

Monitoring guidelines to follow

If you decide to monitor your employees, here are a few tips you should follow.

1. Create written policies
When you monitor your employees, ask yourself, “Am I doing this for security purposes? Is it to ensure my employees aren’t wasting time on games or social media?” Monitoring policies that are too strict could create an atmosphere of distrust.

Set guidelines for acceptable use of email and social media, web browsing, instant messaging, and downloading software and apps. Also, make sure to include how monitoring will be carried out and how data will be used, secured, and destroyed.

2. Inform your employees
It’s important to inform your employees about the scope of your monitoring policies. If they find out you’re doing it secretly, you could face legal issues.

Explain to your employees why you’re monitoring them and the risks your business faces from misuse of digital assets. Reassure them you’re not doing it to spy on their personal lives, but to create a compliant and law-abiding workplace. Because their activities will now be less private, encourage your staff to use their smartphones for personal matters. Also, provide your employees with a copy of your written policy for them to read and sign.

If implemented correctly, employee monitoring makes your business more secure and productive. For more information about security and other IT support tools, get in touch with 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

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

What is private browsing?

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

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

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

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

What are the limitations of private browsing?

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

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

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

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

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Implementation of multi-factor authentication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Attacks against cloud-based computing business services.

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

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

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

4. Simulation of a breach and an assault.

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

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

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

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

5. Managing the use of technology and gadgets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published with consideration from smallbusinesstechnology.com SOURCE

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

What makes business printers vulnerable to cyberattacks?

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

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

And they can, easily.

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

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

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

What can you do to protect your business printers?

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

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

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

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

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

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE