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“Know thine enemy” — it means to get to know them and their motives. In this blog, we take a close look at the five types of dangerous hackers, what their motives are, and how they operate.

Script kiddies

In terms of skill, script kiddies (or skids, for short) are at the bottom of the hacker totem pole. Their name comes from the fact that they use scripts or other automated tools written by others. They are often young people on a quest for internet notoriety or who are simply bored and in search of a thrill.

Script kiddies shouldn’t be dismissed so easily, however. The ILOVEYOU virus, considered one of the worst malware on the planet, was developed by skids.

Hacktivists

Hacktivists often hack into businesses and government systems to promote a particular political agenda or to effect social change. These so-called “hackers with a cause” steal confidential information to expose or disrupt their target’s operations.

Even if you’re a small- or medium-sized business (SMB) owner, you’re not immune to hacktivist attacks. This is especially true if your company is associated or partnered with organizations that are prime hacktivist targets.

Cybercriminals

Cybercriminals break into digital systems or networks with the intent to steal, destroy, taint, and/or lock away data. They usually target individuals, SMBs, and large companies that have exploitable weaknesses in their cybersecurity.

Cybercriminals attack using a number of methods, including social engineering tactics to trick users into volunteering sensitive personal or company data. This information is then used for identity theft, sold on the dark web, or leveraged to launch attacks against other businesses. Cybercriminals can also infect computers with ransomware and other types of malware.

State-sponsored hackers

True to their name, these hackers are backed by governments. The hackers’ goal is to promote their backer’s interests within their own country or abroad. In most cases, this involves taking down websites that criticize the state, swaying public opinion, cyber-terrorism, and leaking top-secret information, among others.

As they are, state-sponsored hackers are already dangerous to business owners, but even more so when they make it their goal to cripple an entire country’s financial system or disrupt commodity supply lines. This could involve interfering with the economy or disrupting business operations. Tech and pharmaceutical companies are a frequent target, but businesses in other industries aren’t safe from state-sponsored hackers either.

Insiders

The scariest type of hacker is the one that lurks within your own organization. An insider can be your company’s current and former employees, contractors, or business associates. Oftentimes their mission is payback. They’ll steal sensitive documents or try to disrupt the organization’s operations to right a wrong they believe a company has done to them. Edward Snowden is a prime example of an insider who hacked the organization he worked for — the US government.

Malicious hackers are always changing their tactics to meet their goals, making them an ever-present threat to any organization, including yours. It’s crucial that you stay one step ahead by working with cybersecurity experts who can help protect your company from dangerous hackers and other cyberthreats. Contact our team today to get started.

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

A year ago, no one could have predicted that countless businesses would shift to a remote work model. The pandemic hit hard and fast, and small businesses had to think on their toes. Many had only a few weeks to adapt. It was stressful and extremely challenging.

Looking back on it, many SMBs wish they’d had a plan in place that would have made things easier. When the pandemic hit in February/March 2020, SMBs had to absorb the huge cost of getting their employees up and running off-site. Not only was it costly, but it also took a lot of coordination and on-the-fly planning. This meant things slipped through the cracks, including cyber security.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. You may wish you had a plan in place or had more time, but you didn’t. A vast majority didn’t. However, you can still plan for the future! While you never know when disaster is going to strike, you CAN be prepared for it. Whether that disaster is a pandemic, flood, fire or even hardware failure, there are steps you can implement today that will put you in a better place tomorrow. Here’s how to get started.

Put Your Plan Into Writing.
First and foremost, you should have a standard operating procedure to call on should something go wrong. For example, in early 2020, many SMBs didn’t have a security plan in place, let alone a remote work security plan. They had to make it up as they went, which just added to the challenges they were already experiencing.

To get over this challenge, work with an experienced IT services company or managed services provider (MSP) to put together a plan. This plan should include a cyber security protocol. It should define what malware software employees should be using, what number they should call for 24/7 support, who to contact when they receive suspicious e-mails, how to identify suspicious e-mails and so on.

More than that, it should outline exactly what needs to happen when disaster strikes. Pandemic? Here’s how we operate. Fire? Here’s what you need to know. Hardware failure? Call this number immediately. The list goes on, and it can be pretty extensive. This, again, is why it’s so important to work with an MSP. They’ve already put together plans for other SMBs, and they know where to start when they customize a plan with you.

Invest In Security And Backups.
While every business should have network security already in place, the reality is that many don’t. There are a ton of reasons why (cost concerns, lack of time, lack of resources, etc.), but those reasons why aren’t going to stop a cyber-attack. Hackers don’t care that you didn’t have time to put malware protection on your PCs; they just want money and to wreak havoc.

When you have IT security in place, including firewall protection, malware software, strong passwords and a company-wide IT security policy, you put your business and all your employees in a much better place. All of this should be in place for both on-site employees and remote workers. With more people working from home going into 2021, having reliable IT security in place is more important than ever before.

On top of that, you should have secure backups in place. Investing in cloud storage is a great way to go. That way, if anything happens on-site or to your primary data storage, you have backups you can rely on to restore lost or inaccessible data. Plus, having a solid cloud storage option gives remote employees ready access to any data they might need while at home or on the go.

Where Do You Begin?
Some SMBs have the time, money and resources to invest in on-site IT personnel, but most don’t. It is a big investment. This is where partnering with an experienced IT services firm can really pay off. You may have employees in-office or you may have a team working remotely – or you may have a mix of both. You need support that can take care of everyone in your organization while taking care of the data security of the business itself. This is where your IT partner comes into play. They are someone you can rely on 24/7 and someone who will be there for you during a pandemic or any other disaster.

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

COVID-19 has forced companies large and small to rapidly retool the way they do business, with even the smallest businesses making remote work arrangements for employees. But while the pandemic has inspired an unprecedented surge of cyber attacks, including a heap of new security challenges for business, many small companies aren’t rewriting cyber security policies or implementing new security measures at the same rate as larger companies, and it seems the smaller the company, the fewer the changes.

With the economy beginning to contract, many small businesses may be struggling to find the funds or staff to address evolving cybersecurity concerns. Small businesses already make up 43 percent of cyber crime targets in the U.S., and in 2019, data breaches cost small businesses an average of $200,000, with 60 percent of those attacked going out of business within six months.

Improving cyber security might cost some money, but it’ll surely be worth keeping your business afloat — and it might even be cheaper than the cost of a data breach. Protecting yourself is often as simple as implementing a few smart policies, and using the right security tools.

Update Your Policies to Address the Realities of Remote Work

If you have employees working remotely during the crisis, you need to implement some policies that acknowledge the unique security risks of working from home. First of all, employees won’t be behind a company firewall, and might not have company security software running on their systems.

Require that employees access company data over a private network — anyone who doesn’t have access to a home network should be required to work onsite, where they can access a secure connection. Public connections, like those in coffee shops or libraries, might not be available anyway, and if they are, they’re not safe — hackers can jump on them to access your data. Clarify that employees shouldn’t save company data to their personal devices, including storage like flash drives, personal cloud storage, or personal email. All of these are insecure places to store data.

Use the Right Tools

Software solutions are available to give you and your employees the tools you need to stay secure while working in a challenging situation. Employees can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access your company’s internal network and even use a virtual desktop there, which provides both storage solutions and an extra layer of security.

Employees will also need endpoint security, including anti-malware protection and firewall protection. Advanced threat protection will include security for endpoints and other network devices and email, as well as malware protection. The best advanced threat protection offers real-time monitoring to catch breaches and other attacks before they do too much damage.

Train Your Employees

Of course, employees will need regular security check-ins to make sure their security features are optimized. However, they’ll also need additional training in cybersecurity, especially as everyone is on-edge and stressed-out at the moment — in other words, employees are more likely than ever before to be in the perfect state of mind to fall for a phishing email or other social engineering tactic. Regular training, even if it’s just videos and online quizzes, will help keep employees on their toes, and will maybe help you single out individuals who need further attention.

Supply Devices

If you can, it’s safest to supply your employees the devices they need to work from home. It’s more fair to the employees, who may otherwise have to use old or underpowered equipment, or scramble to come up with what they need on their own. But it’s not just about fairness — you have much more control over what happens on company devices, and you can, at least in theory, keep employees from using them for personal stuff. This can help keep hackers from compromising your company data, since you don’t know what emails your employees are answering in their downtime, or which questionable websites they might be visiting. Their personal devices could already be compromised.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been dangerous in all kinds of ways, some more predictable than others. Make sure your company is aware of the dangers COVID-19 poses for your cyber security, so you protect yourself on every front.

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

In April 2020, Microsoft launched Microsoft 365, the successor to its popular Office 365. But it’s not a mere name change. The tech giant is also introducing improvements to its productivity software that will enhance how your business deals with cyberthreats every day.

Name change

Microsoft has time and again shown that they are willing to make drastic changes to their products and services in the name of development. Their Windows 10 operating system (OS), for instance, is a far cry from its predecessor Windows 8. Microsoft made the jump from what they thought would be a revolutionary tile-based design in Windows 8 to a classic, ergonomically designed Windows 10.

The tech giant has once again made drastic changes, this time to their award-winning line of productivity apps Microsoft Office 365. O365, as it was lovingly referred to for nearly a decade, is now the sleeker, more powerful, Microsoft 365 Business.

Microsoft 365 Business is available to small- to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) on three different subscription plans: Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium.

Available plans

MICROSOFT 365 BUSINESS BASIC

Microsoft 365 Business Basic comes with many standard features, including web and mobile app access, full email and calendaring tools, secure file storage, collaboration tools, and support. Rest easy knowing that you have a powerful enterprise-grade software for a fraction of the cost such as:

  • Web and mobile app versions of Office apps
  • Real-time coauthoring
  • Email hosting with 50 GB capacity
  • 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • Automatic syncs regardless of work platform choice (between OneDrive and SharePoint).
  • Teleconferencing and unified communications via Microsoft Teams for up to 250 users
  • Automatic threat defense via Exchange Online Protection
  • A complete array of cybersecurity tools and protocols, such as automated password policy tools

MICROSOFT 365 BUSINESS STANDARD

With the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan, you’ll get everything Business Basic offers plus:

  • Desktop versions of Office apps for up to five PCs or Macs per user
  • Easy and smart appointments management with Microsoft Bookings
  • Real-time mileage tracking and reporting with MileIQ

MICROSOFT 365 BUSINESS PREMIUM

Microsoft 365 Business Premium is the brand’s flagship plan, a great tool for businesses ready to take their operations to the next level. It comes with everything Business Standard offers plus:

  • Advanced security tools to protect from zero-day threats and ransomware, via Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • Remote wiping tools for stolen or lost devices, via Selective Wipe from Intune
  • Restricted copying or saving options for unauthorized apps and locations
  • Complete control of company data, via Information Rights Management
  • Pre-breach threat resistance policy options, via Windows Defender Exploit Guard
  • Malware protection, via Windows Defender
  • Unlimited cloud archiving of emails, via Exchange Online Archiving
  • Setup wizards for Windows 10, iOS, and Android
  • Total security policy deployment — even for mobile apps — via Mobile Device Management from Intune

Microsoft 365 Business will change the way your staff powers your business. Contact us today to discuss how you can avail of a subscription.

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