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Be careful with social engineering scams that install malware

Reduce Malware Infections In 7 Steps

7 IT Solutions To Reduce the Risk Of Malware Infections

Friday, June 26 2020 The University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine paid over $1 million to regain access to data after hackers encrypted it with malware.

Situations like this happen all the time. Unfortunately, businesses and institutions across the world have failed to properly prepare for cyberattacks. In many cases it’s a matter of outdated infrastructure and insufficient funding. In other cases, it’s neglect or improper training.

Because of the fact that if your system is infected, you likely won’t be getting your files back unless you pay the ransom, you likely don’t want this to infect your work systems. One of the ways to limit the possibility of this is to educate your employees on how to minimize the chances their systems will be infected.

1) Watch out For Vulnerabilities

Cyber attackers are using all kinds of technology to exploit networks and systems. One piece of malicious tech they use are exploit kits. Exploit kit, also exploit packs, are programs used to deliver malware to a vulnerable network.

What do I mean by vulnerable? A vulnerability in software is a mistake, or error, in the code. The hacker manipulates the user into visiting a malicious or unsecure website and if any errors exist in the code of the system, the exploit can be implemented.

Furthermore, exploit kits function in the background making it difficult to determine when you’re experiencing an attack.

Update your operating system, browsers, and plugins. If there’s an update to your computer waiting in queue, don’t let it linger.  Additionally, updates to operating systems, browsers, and plugins are often released to patch any security vulnerabilities discovered.

You can protect yourself from these types of attacks by avoiding links and remembering to update your software. Many of us have the nasty habit of putting off systems updates. The little icon in the corner that reminds us of a new update is often seen as a bother. However, consider the alternative.

These systems updates fix any security vulnerabilities the developers and programmers uncover. There is actually a type of vulnerability called a Zero-Day vulnerability and it happens when hackers exploit undiscovered or unintended vulnerabilities. The malware is actually called zero-day exploits.

This applies to mobile phones as well. Software updates on your phone are meant to strengthen the software and patch any flaws the programmers missed when releasing the software. Software is constantly improving because code is constantly improving.

This explanation in many ways oversimplifies but it works for this purpose.

2) Remove Software and Files From your Systems You aren’t using

We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. We look through all the things we have and toss out what we don’t use. If we let things accumulate they create clutter and can create big problems. Well, the same thing applies to software on your devices.

You have to periodically look through all the software on your devices and determine which ones are outdated and which ones are worth keeping. For example, Microsoft no longer releases software updates for Windows 7 and Windows XP. Furthermore, using these applications without support or patch updates puts you in a position to get hacked.

How old are the applications you use? When did you last update them?

Do your homework and find out or someone else will.

3) Be aware of Social Engineering

Cybercriminals spread malware into your systems through social engineering tactics like phishing. There are older, less commons ways too that are worth going over. In some cases, a hacker will place an unlabeled USB in a public place or an office. The idea is that an unsuspecting victim will pick it up, consider it harmless and claim it as their own. This is also a form of social engineering because it still manipulates users into executing a certain action.

There are anti phishing tools you can use like Retruster that protect against fraudulent emails, phishing and ransomware. There are also many plug ins available for free that help users identify malicious links by creating a “safe to click” marker on them.

4) Inspect your Inbox Like Your business depended on it: Because it does.

Understand that the biggest vulnerability your business has walks on two feet. It doesn’t matter how many tools, tips and software updates you have if you fall for a social engineering scam. And it doesn’t just happen to small companies either.

Facebook and Google put together were victim to a payment scam of over $100 million. Between 2013 and 2015 a Lithuanian hacker managed to send each company fake invoices while pretending to be an Asian manufacturer they were in business with.

This is an example of Vishing, a.k.a. voice phishing. Leading to the next point:

5) Always Verify credentials with Cold Callers

Vishing is a bit more difficult to pull off on companies. However, when done correctly it can generate a huge amount of profit for the scammer like I mentioned with Facebook and Google.

Depending on the company you might get a call from someone pretending to be Microsoft. In other cases it’ll be a vendor or a bank checking in. It’s difficult to say in what form these scams will come because the scammers tailor them specifically for a business.

In the case of Facebook and Google, for example, the scammers had to know they two companies were working with that specific vendor.

For your company it will be different according to your specific circumstances. If it isn’t believable then the victim won’t fall for it.

6) Make sure You have a Secure Connection

Whether you’re working in the office or remotely, you need to ensure your connection is secure. If you’re working from home, perhaps you’ll need a VPN to protect your Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, when you’re browsing on the web make sure the website is secure.

7) Use strong passwords with Multi-layer authentication

A large percentage of people reuse the same passwords for the personal and professional logins. It’s time to change that habit. Companies like Google and Apple created password generators that create strong, complex passwords. However, don’t leave it up to google.

If your business doesn’t use multi-layer authentication for access to important documents, files or websites, you’re living in the past. Nerds Support uses multi factor password authentication to ensure whoever is logging in can only do so if they are the right person.

Our systems require a mobile phone confirmation, email confirmation and password confirmation in order to provide access to our systems. That way, if a device gets stolen or a hacker gains access to a password, neither will be enough to access files alone.

Conclusion

Malware attacks are growing. Now that businesses are moving towards remote work, protecting against these types of attacks are more important than ever. Cyber security is not just about the technologies that protect your important data. It’s also about what you are doing to protect your business. It is the first and the last line of defense.

 

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Three Things Your Miami IT Strategy Needs to Succeed Now

Cyberattacks are among the biggest concerns in today’s world. A Varonis study reveals 62 percent of small businesses experience a cyberattack in 2018. However, this problem doesn’t simply affect small business.

The following companies were affected by cyberattacks in 2017

  • Whole Foods
  • Equifax
  • Deloitte
  • Yahoo

This doesn’t even begin to talk about other major breaches in cyber security. But nonetheless, the message is clear: cybercrime is at an all-time high and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Our Business IT Support team at Nerds Support is making it their resolution to keep providing their clients with the best IT services in Miami and to give prospective clients a new IT Strategy, designed to make their businesses efficient.

If you are looking to plan an IT strategy for your business, then the following three components are key to making your business safer.

1. Miami Data Backups:

Ransomware ignited a new fear within business owners. For months, business owners without an IT strategy imagined what they would do if their company was under a ransomware attack.

  • Should they pay the fine and hope the hacker would return the files?
  • Should they find someone to help them?

They struggled to make a solid choice.

Nerds Supports clients, on the other hand, did not have to make such a choice. Not only did our 24/7 IT Support team carry extensive knowledge on how to take down such malware, but Nerds Support also conducts daily backups.

This means that at the end of the work day, Nerds Support always saves a copy of all your company data. That way, if something happens the next day, at least you still have the data from the previous work day. Having a data backup plan not only makes a company feel safer, but also guarantees their company safety.

2. Miami Cloud Security:

The 2020 Lockdown proved that working at a secure office location might not always be possible.

Many businesses across multiple industries were forced to continue operating remotely. Although technology has enabled successful transition to a remote work environment. That doesn’t mean your business is safe with any security system.

If you can’t guarantee that all the devices of your employees are secured with advanced security features like multifactor authentication, compliance review and network security checks then you are taking a big risk.

When our Managed IT team explains cloud solutions to our clients, we always drive the point that the cloud’s strongest advantage is the security that cloud solutions provides. Nerds Support’s data centers are heavily monitored and constantly scanned to make sure your company files stay safe.

Our Business IT Support team also makes sure your company files are secure, so you may work from any place, at any time, with complete ease. Our cloud ran efficiently with no problems in 2017 and it is just as ready to take on Cyber Security.

3. Business Continuity:

How many businesses shut down after a hurricane hits?

During 2017, South Florida hit a major setback with Hurricane Irma. Businesses were left in the dark for anywhere between days up to weeks, leaving Miami business owners anxious to get back to work. But at Nerds Support, all the company’s clients were able to continue running their business through the hurricane. This was because Nerds Support’s servers were running at 100% capacity before, during and after the hurricane. That meant that nothing happened to all of our clients’ company data and even if their workplace was inaccessible, employees could have just opened their laptops from other locations and resumed working.

If you cannot operate under these conditions you are risking your business. Companies like Twitter, Square and Facebook are committing to a fully remote business model. Other companies like Goldman Sachs are looking into partially remote operations. That is because the world is waking up to the tentative nature of a business that depends on an office space to function.

Look around at all the retail stores that close down after a natural disaster or the COVID-19 outbreak. All of the major outlets and shopping malls that depended on their physical store to generate profit. However, we don’t have to look at the retail industry to see the breakdown of the old model.

CPA firms have struggled to migrate to the cloud and, therefore, integrate themselves to a remote work environment.  Some firms that had adopted the cloud partially are limited.  As this article in the Journal of Accountancy points out, firms that successfully migrate to the cloud are safer, more secure, more efficient and more productive as a result.

Business continuity ensures your business survives through any unpredictable event.  You wouldn’t buy a house without doors. You shouldn’t have a business without a business continuity plan.

Conclusion:

If you want to have a business IT strategy for 2018, you need to make sure it includes the following:

  • Data Backups
  • Cloud Security
  • Business Continuity

As a business owner, it’s easy to understand why developing an IT strategy from scratch can be difficult. But Cyber security is going to be so important, that it will be irresponsible to not have an IT Strategy on hand. The good news is that with Nerds Support, developing an IT strategy is as simple as making a phone call or visiting a website. Nerds Support’s clients are some of the most secure businesses in South Florida and our Business IT Support team is ready for anything cyber threats have in store. Call us today to see how you can kick off your year with a customized IT strategy.

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Why Every Miami Business Needs Hardware as a Service?

Today, the corporate dependency on IT in Miami has increased to a level where it is difficult for them to function properly without it. With the growing use of desktop computing, onsite systems, and cloud storage, it has vital for businesses to stay up-to-date with the current trends in IT. Miami Businesses are looking for ways to maximize their profits without having to extend their budget. The answer to this problem is Hardware as a Service (HaaS) Providers. It allows businesses to give the responsibility of all the businesses’ hardware need to a single IT company. The businesses have to pay their HaaS provider with a monthly fee in exchange for their services. But, not all companies offer HaaS to their clients. Nerds Support is one of the few Hardware as a Service Companies in South Florida and they are always ready to provide to businesses of every sector.

Why do Miami Companies need HaaS?

Since all hardware is a depreciating asset, it makes no sense for companies to own it. Most hardware technology is changing, and new innovative ones are being introduced. Sometimes, it can be hard for the modern Miami business owner to keep up, while staying focused on their business. Nerds Support offers hardware as a service in Miami to companies who do not want to be saddled with a particular hardware or cannot afford to update their software in a few years.

What are the benefits of HaaS?

Any company that wants to be successful must maintain and update their computer hardware. It is tough for any sized company to replace crucial hardware parts that might malfunction without notice. It can hinder the competitiveness of the company and lead to a loss of productivity and efficiency. In these terms, Nerds Support offers a way to turn this capital expense into an operational cost. They provide access to the latest hardware systems and guaranteed performance 24/7. They also offer scalable hardware. This means that clients can increase their IT equipment and components depending on the business needs. Hardware as a Service providers also allow businesses to be free from hardware hassles and concentrate more on their business growth.

HaaS and the Cloud

Cloud computing is essential in today’s IT landscape, and it only makes sense to pair HaaS and The cloud together. When used together, HaaS and the Cloud can improve the state-of-the-art development process in the company and offer more productive and efficient functioning. The best part is that Nerds Support also provides cloud solutions, so small businesses in South Florida will never have to worry about their technology and will only have to focus on increasing company profits.

Conclusion

Hardware as a Service Companies allows businesses to update their hardware even before it becomes outdated so that they can be efficient and profitable. Nerd Support’s signature “Hardware as a Service” package is perfect for businesses of all sizes in Miami. If you would like to learn more about how Nerds Support can help your business, you can fill out your information and request a free discovery session right here.