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A business owner trying to secure their business

Why Cloud Security is Better for Your Business

In May 2017, there was a massive, worldwide ransomware attack known as WannaCry that targeted computers running on Microsoft Windows operating system. Organizations that had not installed the Microsoft security updates were affected by the attack.

 If you’re reading this thinking, “That’ll never happen to me or my business,” you’re not alone, but you’re likely to be wrong. Malware attacks are becoming more frequent.   85% of all attachments emailed daily are harmful according to Cyber Defense Magazine. The same magazine states the expected cost of online crime is $6 trillion by 2021. Moving your IT to the cloud may seem laborious and intimidating, but it’s actually the best thing you could do in today’s era of tech-dependence. Your business has the most chances at growth and security with the cloud.

Here are a few reasons why:

1.You are not an IT security expert

You’re running a business; there’s no way you should be expected to keep up with all the new IT security threats that are coming out on a seemingly daily basis. Cloud services providers, like Nerds Support, however, have both the resources and expertise necessary to keep up with new threats. They’re exposed to a huge range of vulnerabilities and threats because they protect businesses daily.

Nerds Support works on all IT related matters exclusively. Giving you periodic updates and staying vigilant of any discrepancies or anomalies within your system. This means they can spot systemic issues that may affect your business long before you can.

2. You can’t stay focused on IT Security around the clock

 To ensure that your business is secure, you need to monitor and manage your IT security at all times. This requires important resources and a budget. Nerds Support’s team monitors, manages and responds 24/7, ready and willing to protect your business from criminal hackers and toxic viruses.

Your data stays encrypted when you transition to a cloud-based infrastructure. It’s how we keep your information safe in transit and storage so that even if it is somehow accessed or acquired by some malicious third party, it’s unreadable. With the cloud you’re always protected by advanced levels of security.

3. You probably don’t have a “Business Continuity Plan

Protecting your data from a cyber-attack is just one way the cloud can be of great value to a business owner. However, another frequent issue that you have to be aware of is network downtime. If your IT is on-premises, the resilience of your network is only as good as the robustness of your server. If this is compromised, damaged or destroyed, your system goes down. If you have on-site infrastructure, the fortitude of your network is highly reliant on your server, and, therefore, vulnerable. If your server is damaged destroyed or compromised in any way, your system will go down.

Cloud service providers, like Nerds Support, don’t rely on one server alone. They have a host of back-up systems both on and off-site, all protected by the most robust network and security available. If a server goes down it gets switched to another server and your business can continue uninterrupted. This allows you the flexibility to do something called ‘virtualize’ your IT infrastructure in the cloud. You can generate multiple copies of your applications, files and even desktops, storing the original in a separate and secure location.

Learn more about the cloud here

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A business owner working on her laptop

3 Big Security Lessons for Growing Your Business

Ransomware is rapidly becoming the most pervasive cyber threat in the world today. It’s affected large companies like Arizona Beverages and FedEx to government institutions like police departments and schools across the US.

Although many of these organizations are large is size and scope, you don’t have to be a multinational bank or the National Health Service to become a victim of ransomware and other types of malware. As a matter of fact, small and medium-sized businesses are just as likely, if not more, to be attacked by ransomware because in many cases they’re more vulnerable and less likely to recover.

What is ransomware? Ransomware is a computer program or virus that encrypts and freezes your data files unless you pay the perpetrator a fee. These are some things to consider when navigating a business in today’s world. There are the dangers everyone faces.

3 big security concerns for business owners

1.You’re never too small to get hacked

About 70 percent of ransomware attacks in 2018 target small businesses, according to a March report from Beazley Breach Response Services.

Ransomware finds its way into your system by exploiting flaws in your security perimeter, but, more likely, it gets downloaded by an unsuspecting user through an ostensibly harmless email or file. It can infect not only the machine that opened the corrupted file, but all the programs it shares throughout the network, spreading like a dangerous contagion, encrypting all the files on that network.  If the initially infected machine has access to back-up files, it’ll encrypt them as well.

It’s easy to assume big businesses would be the main targets of something like this, but cyber criminals go after small, lower risk payments instead of one large payment. Smaller attacks are likelier to keep them under the radar. It’s also important to know that one cybercriminal alone can target thousands of businesses with little to no difficulty. They use social engineering to manufacture a huge email list and infect countless links and files before sending them off to as many people as possible. All it would take is one staff member or employee in the office to click on a single link. Some businesses may avoid this kind of attack but it’s a numbers game. All it takes is patience and eventually a cyber-hacker will get what they want.

2. Paying Won’t be Easy

So what if you pay the ransom? That’s always an option.  You can pay, get your files back and move on. Well, not exactly.

Hackers and cybercriminals don’t use traditional bank accounts when conducting “business”. They’ll want to be paid in Bitcoin to an anonymous account on the Dark Web. It’s untraceable and easy to manage for even the most novice of hackers. Adding insult to injury, you’ll have to spend time you may not have trying to get your hands on crypto currency you need to make payments to someone that’s extorting you. Even if you go through this strenuous process and pay the hacker their fee, it’s not a guarantee you’ll get your data back.

3. Hacking is a reality that cannot be avoided

Most businesses and even government institutions haven’t taken cyber security as seriously as they should. 43% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, according to cyber defense magazine. Small businesses have minimal security and are therefore easier to breach.

In South Florida, it’s reasonable to assume you’ll experience a hurricane at some point. The environment in which you’re in often produces conditions favorable to those types of storms. In today’s world, with ever increasing reliance on technology and computer software in almost every industry, there will always be those looking to exploit vulnerability for profit. If you want to mitigate risks and continue to operate and grow your business, you’ll need to assume that getting hacked is inevitable. Prepare for the worst and you’ll have nothing to fear.

A Nerds Support partner, for example, has all of their files backed-up daily and monitored by our team of experienced engineers and IT professionals at all times. If there’s a questionable email, we can analyze it to ensure it’s safe and legitimate. Nerds Support has can help its partners establish a continuity plan in the case of an attack and snuff out potential risks before they become large vulnerabilities in your system.

A cloud based-infrastructure offers a level of security that is cost efficient and practical for any business. Contact us Today to Start Securing Your Business!

Riviera Beach Got Hacked : Forced to Pay 600K in Bitcoin

Cyber-attacks are becoming ever more frequent, affecting local business, schools and even cities.

Most recently, it was reported that Riviera Beach had to pay 65 bitcoins, which is the equivalent of $600,000, to hackers after a government employee clicked on a malicious email link three weeks ago.

This was a classic case of ransomware. A hacker uses social engineering to attack unsuspecting people to click on a link or an email attachment. Once they click, malicious software encrypts files, making them inaccessible until the victim pays to get it encrypted, hence the name ransomware. Ransomware, like in the case of Riviera Beach, is delivered through email via links, downloading attachments and in some cases social media messaging. Many Nerds Support partners who receive suspicious emails, send them to our IT and Software experts to analyze and vet to determine whether the email is safe to open or not. This is just one way to prevent a situation like the one in Riviera Beach.

According to a report by The Council of Economic Advisers, malicious cyber activity cost the US economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016 and since then, cyber-attacks have become far more common. Juniper Research, a cyber-security firm, projected cybercriminals will steal an estimated 33 billion records by 2023. Juniper expects more than half of all data breaches globally to occur in the US by 2023 as well.

Having Backups are Key!

The most important thing businesses can do is back-up their data regularly and consistently. Here at Nerds Support, we provide our partners with daily automated back-ups, for example, and filter out potential malicious websites and emails. Also having cyber security measures in place to mitigate the risks is a big step. Training staff in yearly, quarterly, or semi annual trainings is an effective strategy. Should your business suffer a ransomware attack, at the very least you’ll be able to access your important information, mitigating the impact of the attack. As an organization, you can also employ anti-ransomware software to prevent ransomware from successfully launching. Nerds Support has IT engineers along with sophisticated security software, monitoring suspicious activity 24-7 and alert our partners of any potential threats including strange files, email links, or attachments.

 The DOJ reported an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred per day in 2016 with over a billion dollars in ransoms paid. These numbers have increased since. A Beazley Breach Response study revealed, about 70 percent of ransomware attacks in 2018 targeted small businesses with an average ransom demand of over $100,000, the highest demand topping at $8.5 million.

Ransomware is becoming increasingly lucrative because it offers cyber-criminals a low-risk, high reward method for monetizing malware.  The malicious software typically isn’t very complicated because most businesses are underprepared to deal with ransomware anyway, which appeals to even the most amateur cybercriminal. In March, Albany New York, the state capital, admitted being hit with ransomware on a Saturday. There are minimal to no IT staff on Saturday’s. Neither the private nor public sectors are adequately prepared to handle even the most primitive malware attack precisely because IT security has traditionally been a minimal concern, only now are we seeing the damaging consequences of underappreciating it.

Nerds Support is working hard to protect medium and small businesses from experiencing any cyber breach, including ransomware with its dedicated team of engineers and IT professionals.

Contact us today at 305-551-2009 and hacker proof your firm!

Spam protection against your business

Should I Secure my Website? What is HTTPS?

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is an Internet protocol that protects the confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the website.

HTTPS was originally intended for passwords, payments and other sensitive data but now more websites are securing themselves by moving towards it.

You know you’re connected to a website with HTTPS if the website starts with “https://” and it shows a light green lock icon to the left of the web address.

In the United States, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is allowed to snoop on your web browsing history and sell that information to advertisers. A website that moves to HTTPS will prevent the ISP from seeing as much data. They would only be able to see that you’re connecting to a specific website, as opposed to which individual pages you’re looking at. When connecting to a website with standard HTTP, your browser looks into the IP address that corresponds to the website, makes a connection to that IP address and assumes it’s connected to the correct server. Data is sent over the connection in clear text and that provides an opportunity for your ISP or a government agency.

One of the big problems with HTTP is that there is no way of verifying if you’re connected to the right website. Many cyber attacks take advantage of this and redirect you to a website posing as your bank, for example, and putting you in a situation where you’re likelier to give away your information. If you’re on an unfamiliar network make sure the web address is correct and that it has HTTPS and the lock icon, otherwise you may be connected to an imposter site.

Data sent using HTTPS is secured through a Transport Layer Security Protocol (TLSP), which provides three layers of protection to a site: encryption, data integrity, and authentication. Encryption modifies data that’s transferred between the browser and your computer to protect it from eavesdroppers. This means no one can track your activity through the web or steal information. Data integrity means the data exchanged cannot be modified or corrupted without being detected. Authentication proves the users of your site are communicating with the correct website and not being redirected to a scam site.

Many browsers are making HTTPS with new, more advanced features that make web pages load faster. Other browsers like Google are actually penalizing websites for using standard HTTP. Google often flags websites that don’t use HTTPS as unsafe in Chrome. Google also prioritizes websites that use HTTPS in Google search results, SEO. This can prove challenging if you’re looking to gain more traffic to your site or promote a business through your site.

Marketing and IT teams need to work together in implementing HTTPS in their website to remain competitive. If you move your site from HTTP to HTTPS, Google treats this as a site move with URL changes. This might temporarily affect your traffic numbers but the rewards outweigh the costs. In the end, the search algorithms will pick this up and your site should rank higher for selected keywords.

Hackers are getting smarter nowadays, and pose as real secure websites to take information from your clients and customers. HTTPS itself won’t guarantee a site is the real deal. There are phishers who’ve picked up on this trend and know people look for HTTPS as indicators of legitimacy. They might go out of their way to disguise their websites to resemble a secure HTTPS site. Scammers and hackers can also get certificates for their scam sites because in theory they are only prevented from impersonating sites they don’t own.

We’re Here to Help!

Through our Managed IT and Business Continuity Plans, we can help guide you in securing your website so your web visitors can access your site safely. We ensure every customer touch point is safe from hackers and other imposters. Reputation and first impressions are everything in today’s digital age. Why not impress potential clients with a safe and secure website? If your website is not secure, why should they trust your business?

Nerd Support can assist in answering all web related questions and ensure your website is secured and operational. We offer award winning managed it services to financial, logistics, and manufacturing firms and they have seen growth and improved processes after partnering with Nerds Support. Even if no hiccups were to happen, we can have a business continuity plan in place so you can rest easy if a hiccup happened!

 

A man looking closely at his emails to avoid phishing scams

Miami Phishing Emails and How Not to Get Ripped Off

There are many phishing email schemes in Miami that seem too good to be true. You might get an email or pop up as an advertisement, promising money or other luxuries. Then, as they expect, you go opening these without even thinking. Sooner than later, you might find that something horrible has happened to you, as a result of a scam.

You may have your identity stolen or money taken out of your bank account. But you also will experience an invasion of a malware that infects your computers. The truth is, you can never be too careful by having the proper programs installed.

Having your computer activity tracked is not unusual. It’s most likely to happen when you are using the internet. As a result, you could find more strange emails, bizarre ads or even worse.

The malware may also be starting back doors on your company. A hacker stealing company information is very common. So imagine if a hacker stole your company secrets and sold them to your competitors? What would happen in the event that they destroyed your backups?

One terrible instance of Phishing is when you click a link in an e-mail and your whole laptop goes black. Next, you get a message demanding a stressful fee before your files get deleted forever. This is a Ransomware attack and in 2017, attacks like these exploded into a full scale business model.

How to Avoid Miami Email Phishing Scams?

Nerds Support’s Email Protection team knows how important protecting your business can be. So it is important to know the common signs of phishing emails. Here are a few signs of phishing emails:

  • You do not recognize the sender’s email address
  • There are grammar and spelling mistakes
  • The email claims to be from a corporation
  • The email says you won a prize
  • You are required to give personal information
  • You are being asked to send money
  • There is a time frame in which you have to send your information

Using these tips will keep your company information safe, regardless of the email program you use. However, the best way to keep your information safe is by having a strong data protection plan. Nerds Support’s data protection plans are some of the best in South Florida. Our IT Support Miami specialists are always prepared to keep your business secure.

Clients who use our cloud are some of the most secure companies in South Florida. Our email servers filter through all the emails your company gets and throws away all the bad emails. That way, you only get emails that you need to make your business more efficient.

Nerds Support’s data protection team is also in compliance with the latest rules and regulations. With this, you don’t have to ever worry about company compliance. Nerds Support IT support Miami team will handle all that for you. That means, the only thing you have to do is keep your business profitable.

Looking for reliable IT security solutions in Miami? Contact Nerds Support!