Category Archives: Cybersecurity

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What is Zero-Click Malware? How Do You Fight It?

In today’s digital landscape, cybersecurity threats continue to evolve. They pose significant risks to individuals and organizations alike. One such threat gaining prominence is zero-click malware. This insidious form of malware requires no user interaction. It can silently compromise devices and networks.

One example of this type of attack happened due to a missed call. That’s right, the victim didn’t even have to answer. This infamous WhatsApp breach occurred in 2019, and a zero-day exploit enabled it. The missed call triggered a spyware injection into a resource in the device’s software.

A more recent threat is a new zero-click hack targeting iOS users. This attack initiates when the user receives a message via iMessage. They don’t even need to interact with the message of the malicious code to execute. That code allows a total device takeover.

Below, we will delve into what zero-click malware is. We’ll also explore effective strategies to combat this growing menace.

Understanding Zero-Click Malware

Zero-click malware refers to malicious software that can do a specific thing. It can exploit vulnerabilities in an app or system with no interaction from the user. It is unlike traditional malware that requires users to click on a link or download a file.

Zero-click malware operates in the background, often unbeknownst to the victim. It can infiltrate devices through various attack vectors. These include malicious websites, compromised networks, or even legitimate applications with security loopholes.

The Dangers of Zero-Click Malware

Zero-click malware presents a significant threat. This is due to its stealthy nature and ability to bypass security measures. Once it infects a device, it can execute a range of malicious activities.

These include:

  • Data theft
  • Remote control
  • Cryptocurrency mining
  • Spyware
  • Ransomware
  • Turning devices into botnets for launching attacks

This type of malware can affect individuals, businesses, and even critical infrastructure. Attacks can lead to financial losses, data breaches, and reputational damage.

Fighting Zero-Click Malware

To protect against zero-click malware, it is crucial to adopt two things. A proactive and multi-layered approach to cybersecurity. Here are some essential strategies to consider:

Keep Software Up to Date

Regularly update software, including operating systems, applications, and security patches. This is vital in preventing zero-click malware attacks. Software updates often contain bug fixes and security enhancements. These things address vulnerabilities targeted by malware developers. Enabling automatic updates can streamline this process and ensure devices remain protected.

Put in Place Robust Endpoint Protection

Deploying comprehensive endpoint protection solutions can help detect and block zero-click malware. Use advanced antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. They establish many layers of defense. These solutions should be regularly updated. This ensures the latest threat intelligence to stay ahead of emerging malware variants.

Use Network Segmentation

Segment networks into distinct zones. Base these on user roles, device types, or sensitivity levels. This adds an extra layer of protection against zero-click malware. Isolate critical systems and install strict access controls to limit the damage. These help to mitigate lateral movement of malware and its potential harm.

Educate Users

Human error remains a significant factor in successful malware attacks. A full 88% of data breaches are the result of human error.

Educate users about the risks of zero-click malware and promote good cybersecurity practices. This is crucial. Encourage strong password management. As well as caution when opening email attachments or clicking on unfamiliar links. Support regular training on identifying phishing attempts.

Use Behavioral Analytics and AI

Leverage advanced technologies like behavioral analytics and artificial intelligence. These can help identify anomalous activities that may indicate zero-click malware. These solutions detect patterns, anomalies, and suspicious behavior. This allows for early detection and proactive mitigation.

Conduct Regular Vulnerability Assessments

Perform routine vulnerability assessments and penetration testing. This can help identify weaknesses in systems and applications. Weaknesses that enable an exploit by zero-click malware. Address these vulnerabilities promptly through patching or other remediation measures. These actions can significantly reduce the attack surface.

Uninstall Unneeded Applications

The more applications on a device, the more vulnerabilities it has. Many users download apps then rarely use them. Yet they remain on their device, vulnerable to an attack. They are also more likely to lack updates.

Have employees or your IT team remove unneeded apps on all company devices. This will reduce the potential vulnerabilities to your network.

Only Download Apps from Official App Stores

Be careful where you download apps. You should only download from official app stores. Even when you do, check the reviews and comments. Malicious apps can sometimes slip through the security controls before they’re discovered.

Get the Technology Facts from a Trusted Pro

Zero-click malware continues to evolve and pose severe threats to individuals and organizations. It is crucial to remain vigilant and take proactive steps to combat this menace. Need help with a layered security solution?

Give us a call today to schedule a cybersecurity risk assessment.


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Top 7 Cybersecurity Risks of Remote Work & How to Address Them

Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent times. It provides flexibility and convenience for employees. Additionally, telecommuting reduces office costs for employers. Many also cite productivity benefits due to fewer distractions.

Research shows a 56% reduction in unproductive time when working at home vs. the office.

But there are some drawbacks to working outside the office. It’s crucial to be aware of the cybersecurity risks that come with remote and hybrid work. Keeping an eye on device and network security isn’t as easy. About 63% of businesses have experienced a data breach due to remote employees.

This news doesn’t mean that you must risk security to enjoy remote working. You can strike a balance. Be aware of the cybersecurity concerns and address them to do this.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the top cybersecurity risks associated with remote work. As well as provide practical tips on how employees and employers can address them.

Remote Work Risks & Mitigation

1. Weak Passwords and Lack of Multi-Factor Authentication

Using weak passwords puts accounts at risk of a breach. Also, reusing passwords across several accounts is a big cybersecurity risk. Remote workers often access company systems, databases, and sensitive information from various devices.

To mitigate this risk, you should create strong and unique passwords for each account. Additionally, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification.

Employers can set up access management systems. These solutions help automate the authentication process. They can also deploy safeguards like contextual MFA.

2. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Working remotely often means connecting to different Wi-Fi networks. Such as public hotspots or home networks that may not be adequately secured. These unsecured networks can expose your sensitive data to hackers.

To protect company data, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Turn on the VPN when connecting to public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. A VPN encrypts the internet traffic. This ensures that data remains secure even on untrusted networks.

3. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks remain a prevalent threat, and remote workers are particularly vulnerable. Attackers may send deceptive emails or messages. These messages trick users into revealing their login credentials or downloading malicious attachments.

To defend against phishing attacks, be cautious when opening emails. Especially those from unknown sources. Avoid clicking on suspicious links. Verify the sender’s email address.

Also, be wary of any requests for sensitive information. If in doubt, contact your IT support team to confirm the legitimacy of the communication.

4. Insecure Home Network Devices

Many remote workers use Internet of Things (IoT) devices. These include smart speakers, home security systems, and thermostats. These devices can introduce vulnerabilities to your home network if not properly secured.

To address this risk, make sure to change the default passwords on your IoT devices. Also, keep them updated with the latest firmware. Consider creating a separate network for your IoT devices. A “guest” network can isolate them from your work devices and data.

Employers can improve security for remote teams using an endpoint device manager. Such as Microsoft Intune, or similar. These devices make it easier to manage security across many employee devices.

5. Lack of Security Updates

Regularly updating your devices and software is crucial for maintaining strong cybersecurity. Remote workers may neglect these updates due to busy schedules or limited awareness. Cybercriminals often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain unauthorized access to systems.

To mitigate this risk, enable automatic updates on devices and software whenever possible. Regularly check for updates. Install them promptly to ensure you have the latest security patches.

6. Data Backup and Recovery

Remote workers generate and handle a significant amount of data. The loss or corruption of this data can be devastating. Implementing a robust data backup and recovery plan is essential.

Back up your important files to a secure cloud storage service or an external hard drive. This ensures that if a hacker compromises a device, your data remains safe and can be easily restored.

7. Insufficient Employee Training

Remote workers should receive proper cybersecurity training. It helps them to understand security risks and best practices. Unfortunately, many companies neglect this aspect of cybersecurity. This leaves employees unaware of the potential threats they may encounter.

Organizations must provide comprehensive cybersecurity training to remote workers. This training should cover topics such as:

  • Identifying phishing emails
  • Creating strong passwords
  • Recognizing suspicious online behavior
  • New forms of phishing (such as SMS-based “smishing”)

Get Help Improving Remote Team Cybersecurity

Remote work offers many benefits. But it’s important to remain vigilant about the associated cybersecurity risks. Address these risks head-on and put in place the suggested measures. If you’d like some help, just let us know.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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7 Advantages of Adopting a Defense-in-Depth Cybersecurity Strategy

Cybersecurity threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and prevalent. In 2022, ransomware attacks jumped by 93%. The introduction of ChatGPT will only increase the potential damage of cyber-attacks.

Protecting sensitive data and systems requires a comprehensive approach. One that goes beyond a single security solution. This is where a defense-in-depth cybersecurity strategy comes into play.

In this article, we will explore the advantages of adopting a defense-in-depth approach. As well as its benefits for safeguarding your network and mitigating cyber risks.

What Does a Defense-in-Depth Approach Mean?

First, let’s define what it means to use a defense-in-depth approach to cybersecurity. In simple terms, it means having many layers of protection for your technology.

Just like how you might have locks on your doors, security cameras, and an alarm system to protect your home. A defense-in-depth strategy uses different security measures to safeguard your digital assets.

Many layers are better than one when it comes to security. A defense-in-depth strategy combines various defenses. This is to make it harder for cyber attackers to succeed.

These defenses can include things like:

  • Firewalls
  • Antivirus software
  • Strong passwords
  • Encryption
  • Employee training
  • Access management
  • Endpoint security

A defense-in-depth strategy also emphasizes early detection and rapid response. It involves using tools and systems that can quickly detect suspicious activities. This enables you to catch an attacker early. And take action to reduce any damage.

A defense-in-depth cybersecurity strategy provides a strong and resilient defense system. Its several layers of security increase the chances of staying secure. This is especially important in today’s dangerous online world.

Advantages of Adopting a Defense-in-Depth Approach

Enhanced Protection

A defense-in-depth strategy protects your infrastructure in many ways. This makes it harder for attackers to breach your systems. Implementing a combination of security controls creates a robust security posture. Each layer acts as a barrier. If one layer fails, the others remain intact. This minimizes the chances of a successful attack.

Early Detection and Rapid Response

With a defense-in-depth approach, you have many security measures that can detect threats. As well as alert you to these potential dangers.

Some systems used to detect suspicious activities and anomalies in real-time are:

  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Network monitoring tools
  • Security incident and event management (SIEM) solutions

This early detection allows you to respond quickly. This minimizes the impact of a potential breach. It also reduces the time an attacker has to access critical assets.

Reduces Single Point of Failure

A defense-in-depth strategy ensures that there is no single point of failure. Such as a single vulnerability that could compromise your entire security infrastructure. Relying solely on one security measure, such as a firewall, could prove catastrophic. Especially if it fails or if attackers find a way to bypass it.

It’s better to diversify your security controls. You create a resilient defense system. One where the failure of one control does not lead to a complete breach.

Protects Against Advanced Threats

Cybercriminals continually evolve their techniques to overcome traditional security measures. A defense-in-depth approach accounts for this reality. It incorporates advanced security technologies. Such as behavior analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. These technologies can identify and block sophisticated threats. This includes zero-day exploits and targeted attacks. They do this by analyzing patterns and detecting anomalies in real-time.

Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

Many industries are subject to specific compliance and regulatory requirements. Such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Adopting a defense-in-depth strategy can help you meet these requirements.

By implementing the necessary security controls, you show a proactive approach. It’s proof of your efforts to protect sensitive data. This can help you avoid legal and financial penalties associated with non-compliance.

Flexibility and Scalability

A defense-in-depth strategy offers flexibility and scalability. This allows you to adapt to evolving threats and business needs. New technologies and security measures emerge all the time. You can integrate them seamlessly into your existing security framework.

Furthermore, you can scale your security controls as your organization grows. This ensures that your cybersecurity strategy remains effective. As well as aligned with your expanding infrastructure.

Employee Education and Awareness

A defense-in-depth approach extends beyond technology. It encompasses employee education and awareness. Educating your employees about cybersecurity best practices can significantly reduce risk. Especially those coming from human error and social engineering attacks.

Training and awareness programs create a human firewall. This complements your technical controls. It’s also a key component of any defense-in-depth cybersecurity approach.

Protect Your Business from Today’s Sophisticated Cyber Threats

We are in an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving. They are becoming even more sophisticated with AI. A defense-in-depth cybersecurity strategy is a must. Having many layers of security can significantly enhance your protection against cyber threats.

Looking to learn more about a defense-in-depth approach? Give us a call today to schedule a cybersecurity chat.


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Is Your Online Shopping App Invading Your Privacy?

Online shopping has become a common activity for many people. It’s convenient, easy, and allows us to buy items from the comfort of our homes. But with the rise of online shopping, there are concerns about privacy and security.

Not all shopping apps are created equally. Often people get excited and install an app without checking privacy practices. Apps can collect more data from your smartphone than you realize. Whether you use your phone for personal use, business use, or both, your data can be at risk. So can your privacy.

Shady Data Collection Practices from Popular Shopping App SHEIN

Recently, security experts found a popular shopping app spying on users’ copy-and-paste activity. This app was tracking users’ keystrokes, screenshots, and even their GPS location. This raises the question: Is your online shopping app invading your privacy?

SHEIN is the app in question, and it’s a popular shopping app with millions of users. According to reports, researchers found the app collecting data from users’ clipboards. This included any text that users copied and pasted. This means that if the user copied and pasted sensitive information, the app would have access to it. Including things like passwords or credit card numbers.

Not only that but the app was also found to be tracking users’ GPS location. SHEIN was also collecting data from device sensors, including the accelerometer and gyroscope. This means that the app was able to track users’ movements. As well as collecting information about how they were using their device.

The app’s developers claimed that the data collection was for “optimizing user experience.” A very vague explanation that’s used by other app developers as well. The developers stated that the collected data was only used for internal purposes. But this explanation wasn’t enough to please privacy experts. Those experts raised concerns about the app’s data collection practices.

Temu Data Collection Practices Questioned

This isn’t the first time people caught an app grabbing data without users’ knowledge. Many popular apps collect data from their users, often for targeted advertising purposes.

The popularity of the shopping app Temu has been exploding recently. Since the app appeared in a Superbowl Ad in 2023, people have been flocking to it.

But Temu is another shopping app with questionable data collection practices. Some of the data that Temu collects includes:

  • Your name, address, phone number
  • Details you enter, like birthday, photo, and social profiles
  • Your phone’s operating system and version
  • Your IPS address and GPS location (if enabled)
  • Your browsing data

So, what can you do to protect your privacy when using online shopping apps? Read on for a few tips.

Tips to Protect Your Privacy When Using Shopping Apps

Know What You’re Getting Into (Read the Privacy Policy)

Yes, it’s hard to stop and read a long privacy policy when you just want to use an app. But, if you don’t, you could end up sharing a lot more than you realize.

Before downloading an app, make sure to read its privacy policy. This will give you an idea of what data the app takes and how it’s used. You can try searching keywords like “collect” and “your data” to save time. This can help you jump to data collection details.

If you do this before you download, you may change your mind. After learning how much data the app collects from you, you may decide it just isn’t worth it.

Turn Off Sharing Features

Turn off any data-sharing features you don’t need in your phone’s settings. Such as location services. Most smartphones allow you to choose which apps you want to use it with.

Explore both your phone settings and the app’s settings to restrict data sharing as much as possible.

Remove Apps You Don’t Use

If you’re not using the app regularly, remove it from your phone. Having unused apps on your phone is a big risk. Even if they’re not actively in use, those apps can still collect data. For example, browsing activity or your activity in other mobile apps.

Research Apps Before You Download

It’s easy to get caught up in a fad. You hear your friend talk about an app, and you want to check it out. But it pays to research before you download. Look up the app and check security and data collection keywords. Inform yourself first before downloading an app that might be compromising your device data and activity.

Shop on a Website Instead

You can limit the dangerous data collection of shopping apps by using a website instead. Most legitimate companies have an official website. One where you can buy the same things as you can buy using the app.

Improve Your Mobile Device Security

Mobile devices are regularly used more than computers. But they often lack the same type of security. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about protecting your mobile device data.


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How to Use Threat Modeling to Reduce Your Cybersecurity Risk

As cyber threats continue to increase, businesses must take proactive steps. They need to protect their sensitive data and assets from cybercriminals. Threats to data security are persistent and they come from many different places.

Today’s offices are digitally sophisticated. Just about every activity relies on some type of technology and data sharing. Hackers can breach these systems from several entry points. This includes computers, smartphones, cloud applications, and network infrastructure.

It’s estimated that cybercriminals can penetrate 93% of company networks.

One approach that can help organizations fight these intrusions is threat modeling. Threat modeling is a process used in cybersecurity. It involves identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities to an organization’s assets and systems.

Threat modeling helps businesses prioritize their risk management and mitigation strategies. The goal is to mitigate the risk of falling victim to a costly cyber incident.

Here are the steps businesses can follow to conduct a threat model.

Identify Assets That Need Protection

The first step is to identify assets that are most critical to the business. This includes sensitive data, intellectual property, or financial information. What is it that cybercriminals will be going after?

Don’t forget to include phishing-related assets. Such as company email accounts. Business email compromise is a fast-growing attack. It capitalizes on breached company email logins.

Identify Potential Threats

The next step is to identify potential threats to these assets. Some common threats could be cyber-attacks such as phishing. Others would be ransomware, malware, or social engineering.

Another category of threats could be physical breaches or insider threats. This is where employees or vendors have access to sensitive information.

Remember, threats aren’t always malicious. Human error causes approximately 88% of data breaches. So, ensure you’re aware of mistake-related threats, such as:

  • The use of weak passwords
  • Unclear cloud use policies
  • Lack of employee training
  • Poor or non-existent BYOD policies

Assess Likelihood and Impact

Once you’ve identified potential threats, take the next step. This is to assess the likelihood and impact of these threats. Businesses must understand how likely each threat is to occur. As well as the potential impact on their operations, reputation, and financial stability. This will help rank the risk management and mitigation strategies.

Base the threat likelihood on current cybersecurity statistics. As well as a thorough vulnerability assessment. It’s best this assessment is by a trusted 3rd party IT service provider. If you’re doing your assessment with only internal input, you’re bound to miss something.

Prioritize Risk Management Strategies

Prioritize risk management strategies next. Base this on the likelihood and impact of each potential threat. Most businesses can’t tackle everything at once due to time and cost constraints. So, it’s important to rank solutions based on the biggest impact on cybersecurity.

Some common strategies to consider include implementing:

  • Access controls
  • Firewalls
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Employee training and awareness programs
  • Endpoint device management

Businesses must also determine which strategies are most cost-effective. They should also align with their business goals.

Continuously Review and Update the Model

Threat modeling is not a one-time process. Cyber threats are constantly evolving. Businesses must continuously review and update their threat models. This will help ensure that their security measures are effective. As well as aligned with their business objectives.

Benefits of Threat Modeling for Businesses

Threat modeling is an essential process for businesses to reduce their cybersecurity risk. Identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities to their assets and systems is important. It helps them rank risk management strategies. As well as reduce the likelihood and impact of cyber incidents.

Here are just a few of the benefits of adding threat modeling to a cybersecurity strategy.

Improved Understanding of Threats and Vulnerabilities

Threat modeling can help businesses gain a better understanding of specific threats. It also uncovers vulnerabilities that could impact their assets. It identifies gaps in their security measures and helps uncover risk management strategies.

Ongoing threat modeling can also help companies stay out in front of new threats. Artificial intelligence is birthing new types of cyber threats every day. Companies that are complacent can fall victim to new attacks.

Cost-effective Risk Management

Addressing risk management based on the likelihood and impact of threats reduces costs. It can optimize company security investments. This will help ensure that businesses divide resources effectively and efficiently.

Business Alignment

Threat modeling can help ensure that security measures align with the business objectives. This can reduce the potential impact of security measures on business operations. It also helps coordinate security, goals, and operations.

Reduced Risk of Cyber Incidents

By implementing targeted risk management strategies, businesses can reduce risk. This includes the likelihood and impact of cybersecurity incidents. This will help to protect their assets. It also reduces the negative consequences of a security breach.

Get Started with Comprehensive Threat Identification

Wondering how to get started with a threat assessment? Our experts can help you put in place a comprehensive threat modeling program. Give us a call today to schedule a discussion.


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Business Email Compromise Jumped 81% Last Year! Learn How to Fight It

In recent years, electronic mail (email for short) has become an essential part of our daily lives. Many people use it for various purposes, including business transactions. With the increasing dependence on digital technology, cybercrime has grown. A significant cyber threat facing businesses today is Business Email Compromise (BEC).

Why is it important to pay particular attention to BEC attacks? Because they’ve been on the rise. BEC attacks jumped 81% in 2022, and as many as 98% of employees fail to report the threat.

What is Business Email Compromise (BEC)?

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of scam in which criminals use email fraud to target victims. These victims include both businesses and individuals. They especially target those who perform wire transfer payments.

The scammer pretends to be a high-level executive or business partner. Scammers send emails to employees, customers, or vendors. These emails request them to make payments or transfer funds in some form.

According to the FBI, BEC scams cost businesses around $1.8 billion in 2020. That figure increased to $2.4 billion in 2021. These scams can cause severe financial damage to businesses and individuals. They can also harm their reputations.

How Does BEC Work?

BEC attacks are usually well-crafted and sophisticated, making it difficult to identify them. The attacker first researches the target organization and its employees. They gain knowledge about the company’s operations, suppliers, customers, and business partners.

Much of this information is freely available online. Scammers can find it on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and organizations’ websites. Once the attacker has enough information, they can craft a convincing email. It’s designed to appear to come from a high-level executive or a business partner.

The email will request the recipient to make a payment or transfer funds. It usually emphasizes the request being for an urgent and confidential matter. For example, a new business opportunity, a vendor payment, or a foreign tax payment.

The email will often contain a sense of urgency, compelling the recipient to act quickly. The attacker may also use social engineering tactics. Such as posing as a trusted contact or creating a fake website that mimics the company’s site. These tactics make the email seem more legitimate.

If the recipient falls for the scam and makes the payment, the attacker will make off with the funds. In their wake, they leave the victim with financial losses.

How to Fight Business Email Compromise

BEC scams can be challenging to prevent. But there are measures businesses and individuals can take to cut the risk of falling victim to them.

Educate Employees

Organizations should educate their employees about the risks of BEC. This includes providing training on how to identify and avoid these scams. Employees should be aware of the tactics used by scammers. For example, urgent requests, social engineering, and fake websites.

Training should also include email account security, including:

  • Checking their sent folder regularly for any strange messages
  • Using a strong email password with at least 12 characters
  • Changing their email password regularly
  • Storing their email password in a secure manner
  • Notifying an IT contact if they suspect a phishing email

Enable Email Authentication

Organizations should implement email authentication protocols.

This includes:

  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC)
  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)

These protocols help verify the authenticity of the sender’s email address. They also reduce the risk of email spoofing. Another benefit is to keep your emails from ending up in junk mail folders.

Deploy a Payment Verification Processes

Organizations should deploy payment verification processes, such as two-factor authentication. Another protocol is confirmation from multiple parties. This ensures that all wire transfer requests are legitimate. It’s always better to have more than one person verify a financial payment request.

Check Financial Transactions

Organizations should check all financial transactions. Look for irregularities, such as unexpected wire transfers or changes in payment instructions.

If you don’t perform these according to a schedule, it is easy for them to get forgotten. Set up a calendar item for the review of financial transactions. Use a schedule that makes sense for your business and transaction volume.

Establish a Response Plan

Organizations should establish a response plan for BEC incidents. This includes procedures for reporting the incident. As well as freezing the transfer and notifying law enforcement.

Use Anti-phishing Software

Businesses and individuals can use anti-phishing software to detect and block fraudulent emails. As AI and machine learning gain widespread use, these tools become more effective.

The use of AI in phishing technology continues to increase. Businesses must be vigilant and take steps to protect themselves.

Need Help with Email Security Solutions?

It only takes a moment for money to leave your account and be unrecoverable. Don’t leave your business emails unprotected. Give us a call today to discuss our email security solutions.


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9 NSA Best Practices for Securing Your Home Network

In today’s world, technology is ubiquitous, and connectivity is a must. Securing your home network has become more critical than ever. A secure home network is essential for protecting your personal data from hackers.

From phishing to smishing (SMS phishing), it’s getting harder to avoid a breach. Individuals often have fewer safeguards in place at home than at work. Yet many are working from home, which puts both personal and company data at risk.

About 46% of businesses saw at least one cybersecurity incident within two months of moving to remote work.

The good news is that there’s no lack of materials on home network security. Many of the steps are straightforward and can help you avoid a data breach at home.

The National Security Agency (NSA) has provided some best practices. These are for securing your home network. We’ll highlight some of the most helpful tips below.

1. Change Default Passwords and Usernames

The first step to secure your home network is to change the default login. This means changing the passwords and usernames of your router and connected devices. Default passwords and usernames are often well-known to hackers. Criminals can easily use them to access your data. Changing these default credentials is an essential step in securing your home network.

2. Enable Encryption

Encryption is a process of encoding information. This is in such a way that only authorized parties can read it. Enabling encryption on your home network is crucial to protect your data. It keeps hackers from intercepting and reading it. Most modern routers support encryption protocols such as WPA2 or WPA3. Ensure that you use the latest encryption standard, which would be WPA3, used in Wi-Fi 6 routers.

3. Update Firmware

The firmware is the software that runs on your router and other connected devices. Manufacturers release firmware updates to fix security vulnerabilities and add new features. Updating the firmware on your router is important to securing your home network. You can usually check for firmware updates from the router’s web interface. You can also find updates on the manufacturer’s website.

This is critical to remember because a lot of people never do this. They only see the router app during setup and rarely go back unless there is a need. Set a calendar item to check your router app at least once per month for updates.

4. Enable a Firewall

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls network traffic. This includes both incoming and outgoing traffic. Enabling a firewall on your router can help protect your network. It defends against malicious traffic and unauthorized access. Most modern routers have a built-in firewall. You can typically enable this through the router’s web interface.

5. Disable Unused Services

Most routers come with a range of services that manufacturers enable by default. These services can include file sharing, remote management, and media streaming. Disabling any unused services can reduce the risk of a hacker exploiting them. They often use these services to gain access to home networks. Only enable services that you need and are essential for your network.

6. Secure Wi-Fi Network

Your Wi-Fi network is one of the most critical aspects of your home network. Securing your Wi-Fi network involves several steps. These include:

  • Changing the default SSID (network name)
  • Disabling SSID broadcast
  • Enabling MAC address filtering
  • Disabling WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)

These steps can help prevent unauthorized access to your Wi-Fi network. If you need help with these steps, just let us know. We can save you some time and frustration and ensure your network is properly secured.

7. Use Strong Passwords

Passwords are a critical component of any security system. Using weak or easily guessable passwords can make your network vulnerable. Ensure that you use strong passwords for your router and other connected devices. A strong password should be at least 12 characters long. It should also include a combination of upper and lowercase letters. As well as at least one number and one symbol.

8. Create a Guest Network

Do you have guests, such as your children’s friends, who need to access your Wi-Fi network? If so, create a separate guest network. A guest network is a separate Wi-Fi network that guests can use. This gives them access the internet without accessing your primary network. This can help protect your primary network from potential security threats.

9. Limit Physical Access

Physical access to your router and other connected devices can be a security risk. Ensure that you place your router in a secure location, such as a locked cabinet or a room with limited access. Also, ensure that you disable physical access to the router’s web interface. Especially if you have guests or children who may tamper with the settings.

Schedule a Home Cybersecurity Visit Today

Securing your home network is essential for protecting your personal data from threats. By following the best practices, you can ensure that your network is better protected.

Want to save some time and have us do the heavy lifting? Give us a call today to schedule a home cybersecurity visit.


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What Is Push-Bombing & How Can You Prevent It?

Cloud account takeover has become a major problem for organizations. Think about how much work your company does that requires a username and password. Employees end up having to log into many different systems or cloud apps.

Hackers use various methods to get those login credentials. The goal is to gain access to business data as a user. As well as launch sophisticated attacks, and send insider phishing emails.

How bad has the problem of account breaches become? Between 2019 and 2021, account takeover (ATO) rose by 307%.

Doesn’t Multi-Factor Authentication Stop Credential Breaches?

Many organizations and individuals use multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s a way to stop attackers that have gained access to their usernames and passwords. MFA is very effective at protecting cloud accounts and has been for many years.

But it’s that effectiveness that has spurred workarounds by hackers. One of these nefarious ways to get around MFA is push-bombing.

How Does Push-Bombing Work?

When a user enables MFA on an account, they typically receive a code or authorization prompt of some type. The user enters their login credentials. Then the system sends an authorization request to the user to complete their login.

The MFA code or approval request will usually come through some type of “push” message. Users can receive it in a few ways:

  • SMS/text
  • A device popup
  • An app notification

Receiving that notification is a normal part of the multi-factor authentication login. It’s something the user would be familiar with.

With push-bombing, hackers start with the user’s credentials. They may get them through phishing or from a large data breach password dump.

They take advantage of that push notification process. Hackers attempt to log in many times. This sends the legitimate user several push notifications, one after the other.

Many people question the receipt of an unexpected code that they didn’t request. But when someone is bombarded with these, it can be easy to mistakenly click to approve access.

Push-bombing is a form of social engineering attack designed to:

  • Confuse the user
  • Wear the user down
  • Trick the user into approving the MFA request to give the hacker access

Ways to Combat Push-Bombing at Your Organization

Educate Employees

Knowledge is power. When a user experiences a push-bombing attack it can be disruptive and confusing. If employees have education beforehand, they’ll be better prepared to defend themselves.

Let employees know what push-bombing is and how it works. Provide them with training on what to do if they receive MFA notifications they didn’t request.

You should also give your staff a way to report these attacks. This enables your IT security team to alert other users. They can then also take steps to secure everyone’s login credentials.

Reduce Business App “Sprawl”

On average, employees use 36 different cloud-based services per day. That’s a lot of logins to keep up with. The more logins someone has to use, the greater the risk of a stolen password.

Take a look at how many applications your company uses. Look for ways to reduce app “sprawl” by consolidating. Platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer many tools behind one login. Streamlining your cloud environment improves security and productivity.

Adopt Phishing-Resistant MFA Solutions

You can thwart push-bombing attacks altogether by moving to a different form of MFA. Phishing-resistant MFA uses a device passkey or physical security key for authentication.

There is no push notification to approve with this type of authentication. This solution is more complex to set up, but it’s also more secure than text or app-based MFA.

Enforce Strong Password Policies

For hackers to send several push-notifications, they need to have the user’s login. Enforcing strong password policies reduces the chance that a password will get breached.

Standard practices for strong password policies include:

  • Using at least one upper and one lower-case letter
  • Using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Not using personal information to create a password
  • Storing passwords securely
  • Not reusing passwords across several accounts

Put in Place an Advanced Identity Management Solution

Advanced identity management solutions can also help you prevent push-bombing attacks. They will typically combine all logins through a single sign-on solution. Users, then have just one login and MFA prompt to manage, rather than several.

Additionally, businesses can use identity management solutions to install contextual login policies. These enable a higher level of security by adding access enforcement flexibility. The system could automatically block login attempts outside a desired geographic area. It could also block logins during certain times or when other contextual factors aren’t met.

Do You Need Help Improving Your Identity & Access Security?

Multi-factor authentication alone isn’t enough. Companies need several layers of protection to reduce their risk of a cloud breach.

Are you looking for some help to reinforce your access security? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Is It Time to Ditch the Passwords for More Secure Passkeys?

Passwords are the most used method of authentication, but they are also one of the weakest. Passwords are often easy to guess or steal. Also, many people use the same password across several accounts. This makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The sheer volume of passwords that people need to remember is large. This leads to habits that make it easier for criminals to breach passwords. Such as creating weak passwords and storing passwords in a non-secure way.

61% of all data breaches involve stolen or hacked login credentials.

In recent years a better solution has emerged – passkeys. Passkeys are more secure than passwords. They also provide a more convenient way of logging into your accounts.

What is Passkey Authentication?

Passkeys work by generating a unique code for each login attempt. This code is then validated by the server. This code is created using a combination of information about the user and the device they are using to log in.

You can think of passkeys as a digital credential. A passkey allows someone to authenticate in a web service or a cloud-based account. There is no need to enter a username and password.

This authentication technology leverages Web Authentication (WebAuthn). This is a core component of FIDO2, an authentication protocol. Instead of using a unique password, it uses public-key cryptography for user verification.

The user’s device stores the authentication key. This can be a computer, mobile device, or security key device. It is then used by sites that have passkeys enabled to log the user in.

Advantages of Using Passkeys Instead of Passwords

More Secure

One advantage of passkeys is that they are more secure than passwords. Passkeys are more difficult to hack. This is true especially if the key generates from a combination of biometric and device data.

Biometric data can include things like facial recognition or fingerprint scans. Device information can include things like the device’s MAC address or location. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to your accounts.

More Convenient

Another advantage of passkeys over passwords is that they are more convenient. With password authentication, users often must remember many complex passwords. This can be difficult and time-consuming.

Forgetting passwords is common and doing a reset can slow an employee down. Each time a person has to reset their password, it takes an average of three minutes and 46 seconds.

Passkeys erase this problem by providing a single code. You can use that same code across all your accounts. This makes it much easier to log in to your accounts. It also reduces the likelihood of forgetting or misplacing your password.

Phishing-Resistant

Credential phishing scams are prevalent. Scammers send emails that tell a user something is wrong with their account. They click on a link that takes them to a disguised login page created to steal their username and password.

When a user is authenticating with a passkey instead, this won’t work on them. Even if a hacker had a user’s password, it wouldn’t matter. They would need the device passkey authentication to breach the account.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Passkeys?

Passkeys are definitely looking like the future of authentication technology. But there are some issues that you may run into when adopting them right now.

Passkeys Aren’t Yet Widely Adopted

One of the main disadvantages is that passkeys are not yet widely adopted. Many websites and cloud services still rely on passwords. They don’t have passkey capability yet.

This means that users may have to continue using passwords for some accounts. At least until passkeys become more widely adopted. It could be slightly awkward to use passkeys for some accounts and passwords for others.

Passkeys Need Extra Hardware & Software

One thing about passwords is that they’re free and easy to use. You simply make them up as you sign up for a site.

Passkeys need extra hardware and software to generate and validate the codes. This can be costly for businesses to put in place at first. But there is potential savings from improved security and user experience. These benefits can outweigh the cost of passkeys.

Prepare Now for the Future of Authentication

Passkeys are a more secure and convenient alternative to passwords. They are more difficult to hack, and they provide a more convenient way of logging into your accounts. But passkeys are not yet widely adopted. Additionally, businesses may need to budget for implementation.

Despite these challenges, passkeys represent a promising solution. Specifically, to the problem of weak passwords. They have the potential to improve cybersecurity. As well as boost productivity for businesses and individuals alike.

Need Help Improving Your Identity & Account Security?

Take advantage of the new passkey authentication by exploring it now. It’s the perfect time to ease in and begin putting it in place for your organization.

Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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7 Smart Ways to Secure Your Wireless Printer & Keep Your Home Network Safe

Many people worry about someone hacking their computer. But they’re not really thinking about their wireless printer getting breached. It’s a tool that most individuals use sporadically. For example, when you want to print out tax forms or mailing labels.

Printers tend to be out of sight, out of mind. That is until you need to print something and run out of ink. Well, they’re not out of the mind of hackers. In fact, unsecured printers are a classic way for criminals to gain access to a home network.

To illustrate this point, Cybernews purposely hacked printers. It hijacked nearly 28,000 unsecured printers globally. The success rate was 56%. What did it do once it gained access? Ironically, it made the printers print out a guide on printer security.

Are you wondering how exposed your network is from your printer? We’ve got some security tips below to help. These tips can enable you to better secure your network, which keeps data on all devices more secure.

1. Change the Default Login Credentials

When you buy a new printer, it will likely have included default information. Manufacturers give you a way to connect and set up your device. This usually involves default login information.

Immediately change that information during set up. Hackers use a master list of all these defaults. They plug it into an automated script and just keep trying them all until they get a hit. Change these, and make sure you create a strong password.

2. Keep Printer Firmware Updated

Keeping firmware updated is vital to keeping your printer secure. Hardware needs updating just like computers, software, and apps do. Those updates often contain important security patches.

Firmware updates aren’t usually as visible as software updates. Software and OS updates usually give you a popup notification. But updates to the drivers and firmware that run printers, aren’t so visible.

Some of the places you can check for firmware updates are:

  • The PC manufacturer’s utility app on a connected device
  • The printer’s information panel
  • The printer manufacturer’s app installed on a PC

3. Use a Network Firewall

A network firewall is important to ensure the monitoring of traffic. Firewalls can block suspicious activity to keep hackers out of your network. You should configure the firewall to watch incoming and outgoing printer traffic.

4. Put Your Printer on a Guest Network

Most of today’s home routers allow you to set up a guest network. This is a separate Wi-Fi that runs from the same router you use for your main network. It’s harder for hackers to get from one network to another.

Keeping a less secure device separated from computers and phones improves security. You can still print to your printer from devices on another network. You just need to have things configured correctly. If you need help with that, just let us know.

5. Disable Unused Ports or Services

IoT devices, like printers, often have many ways to connect. You may not need all the ports or services that come with your printer. These ports are risk areas where hackers could find a way in.

It’s best to disable any ports and sharing features that you don’t need. This reduces the risk of a breach.

6. Unplug It When Not in Use

Most home printers aren’t used as much as work printers. People may only use them once a month or a few times a year. If you’re not using your printer constantly, unplug it when not in use.

One surefire way to cut off a hacker’s access is to unplug the device. When it’s shut down, no access is available at all.

7. Teach Your Family Cybersecurity Best Practices

Your printer is one device on your network. Most families connect several devices to their home Wi-Fi. In 2022, the average number of connected devices per U.S. household was 22.

Families need to know and adopt good cyber habits. This keeps everyone’s data more secure. It also helps you avoid costly identity theft breaches. Or the takeover of things like baby monitors.

Some standard best practices to follow for good cyber hygiene are:

  • Always use strong passwords. (at least 10-12 characters & include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols)
  • Keep software & firmware on devices updated
  • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible
  • Enable device firewalls & other protections
  • All devices that should have a good antivirus installed
  • Never login to an account from a link you receive via email or text
  • Learn how to identify phishing & get a second opinion before clicking
  • Get a security checkup from a pro at least every year or two

Get Some Help Keeping Your Family’s Data Secure

IT pros don’t only work with businesses. We also help families ensure their data is safe & devices are running smoothly. Give us a call today to schedule a home security checkup.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.