Cyber attacks have become a large issue and concern for many businesses. Since technology continues to change and develop everyday, it has revealed vulnerability in protective digital software. The result of this being the significant rise of security breaches, with any and all industries being at risk. However, there are those who are at a greater risk than others, and are commonly targeted by cyber attackers. Here are the 4 most vulnerable industries to cyber attacks, and why they require higher level security.
The healthcare industry is specifically targeted based on the amount of sensitive and personal data they handle. Ransomware poses a great threat to healthcare companies, with cybercriminals making their data inaccessible unless a payment has been made. With healthcare industries possessing multiple patient files, personal information, and payment statements, the attackers are aware that the organization cannot bear the expense of losing data.
When it comes to government data, there’s no surprise as to why cyber criminals would desire access. Government agencies contain personal identifying information, classified documents, and military secrets. These agencies face threats such as cyber espionage, which is the spying and installation of spyware to government devices. They also must look out for insider threats, which is the leaking of confidential information through their own employees. This can be both accidental and deliberate. Phishing can also trick employees into sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient.
Due to the large amount of money and financial information banks and other financial services manage, cybercriminals have all the reason to target them. Money has become extremely digital, which has created new ways to exploit any weaknesses in the system. Thieves will phish, use mobile malware, and hack into banking accounts and commit fraudulent transactions.
Shops in-store and online are vulnerable to the theft of valuable data. They struggle with the issue of credit card fraud, online data breaches, and identity theft. Credit card fraud can cause all kinds of unwanted trouble for retailers, and can lose profit at the hands of fraudulent purchases. Identity theft poses a threat because of thieves that steal other user information to create credit card accounts to make purchases. Customer credentials are at risk at the expense of data breaches, so security software should always be stable and secure.
These industries might be commonly targeted, but any company of any size can be at a risk of cyberattacks. Taking preventative measures will protect your company, your employees, and those who keep you in business. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!
Human errors can happen, and can be the cause of up to 95% of cybersecurity related breaches. With that being said, the best way to prevent these mistakes would be to implement solid training to your employees. The purpose of training is to strengthen your team’s knowledge and awareness of modern threats and how to combat them properly. Regular training will keep your employees up to date, helping your company steer clear of most errors. To achieve this, here are some of the best awareness training topics to consider.
Phishing attacks impersonate the company or professional you work for, luring users to click on suspicious links. Many attempts in the past have been easier to recognize, but phishing attacks have become more intelligent overtime. They pose a great threat due to how believable they can be, and can cause a cyber attack if fallen for. Train your employees on this subject to help them identify suspicious activity, messages, or attachments.
Passwords and Authentication
Passwords can seem like a simple log-in element, but they are what protects your company’s security. If you use a common or easily guessed password, you are putting yourself at risk for a cyber attack. Cyber criminals will attempt to log into your accounts in hopes of gaining access to your sensitive information. Bring this to your employees’s attention through complex training, reminding them of the importance of updating their work passwords. Authentication methods can be made more secure by adding questions that the employee will only know the answer to. Express the significance of passwords and why you should always keep them confidential.
Working remotely is a great way to meet a well balanced lifestyle between work and social life. However, utilizing personal devices can increase the risk of a security breach. Make sure your remote employees are trained to understand the importance of installing antivirus software to home laptops to prevent cyber attacks. It is also important to never leave your device unattended when containing important company files. To successfully work remotely without risking data security, educate your staff to be aware of these dangers.
Your security is to be protected, so administering training will improve standards of the company as a whole. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!
When it comes to IT work, it can take a village to keep everything up and running smoothly. There are a lot of important roles and responsibilities in this industry, and should all be recognized for what they contribute. Coming up on July 28th, 2023, we call all IT companies to celebrate and to show appreciation to their system administrators.
What is a System Administrator?
A system administrator or sysadmin, is a technology professional who upholds multi user computing systems to ensure smooth IT operation and performance. They are the ones who monitor the company’s computer systems and internet servers, while installing protective software and troubleshooting hardware. They keep the ball rolling smoothly, creating a functional computing environment. Specific tasks include but are not limited to patching unstable software, performing backup recovery, and identifying cyber security threats. These abilities are crucial and allow other parts of the department to function normally.
How to Celebrate
The system administrator position is consistently evolving at a rigorous pace, meaning that learning and developing never stops for them. To celebrate their commitment to making such a difference in the IT world, try and learn more about what their purpose is and what they do. As the specialized problem solvers they are, they deserve recognition for keeping everyone afloat. Treat these professionals with office cake, ice cream, or a well deserved day off! Order in lunch for the staff in lieu of the special holiday, taking the opportunity to shine that spotlight on your favorite sysadmin.
When it comes to IT, all positions are complex and play a huge role in a company. On July 28th, let us recognize the importance of system administrators and show them our gratitude for their role.
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USB flash drives have been a practical and reliable way to transport valuable files to and from different computers. Since the year of 2000, they have been a viable trinket to businesses and students when needing to back up data. Over the years, their storage capacity has reached a whooping 512GB, when it only started at 8 MB. For something so small to become so powerful is a huge deal, which is how it came to getting its own national holiday.
Benefits of the Flash Drive
In respect to the flash drive’s infamous reputation, let start by noting reasons why they come in handy when storing data. A flash drive is very simple to use, and can be easily stowed away because of its size and weight. It is a relatively fast way to transfer files over to different devices, as well as having plenty of storage options. While all these things make the flash drive great, security should remain the biggest concern and priority.
Is it Secure?
Flash drives can be secure if they have advanced enough features. Some are equipped with a passcode, preventing users from accessing private material if your flash drive becomes lost or stolen. The problem is that hackers utilize this nifty object to help invade your personal information to spread attacks. It’s important to be aware of what you insert into your computer, considering that a flash drive is capable of carrying dangerous malware. This kind of threat can rupture your IT infrastructure, creating various amounts of issues. These threats can be so serious that in certain situations, the damage is irreversible. Plugging a drive into the USB port can record and gather the information it needs. This information could include access passcodes, sensitive data, and business owned files. Attackers can also use flash drives to maliciously damage your PC all together, completely destroying anything it’s electronically attached to.
While it may seem far-fetched to assume something as tiny as a flash drive can wreak all this havoc, you must consider the importance of your or your business’s data to ensure proper security. Backing up digital data can be simple and secure with the right form of integrated security. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today!
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Something as simple as sending an email may seem like normal task, but every email sent out holds precious information that thieves prey upon. Whether it’s for personal or company use, any information can be utilized to expose any confidential details you may not wish to share. These details can be used to perform cyberattacks, which is more than ideal to avoid. With the use of email security, your or your company’s cloud can be protected from potential cyber threats.
Why is it Important?
Having cloud-based email security is important for a number of reasons, especially since email is the most vulnerable line of communication. This is because hundreds of emails go out each day depending on the size of your company, raising the overall probability of getting attacked. Since most employees are busy working, the chances of them noticing a suspicious link attached to an email may be slim. Clicking on this link could result in attackers collecting precious credentials or installing viruses to employee computers. To prevent this from happening takes a lot less exertion than trying to reverse it, so consider taking action before it’s too late.
Companies and personal users of email face potential consequences everyday when without cybersecurity. But what types of threats are there to look out for? Phishing emails take a hefty 90% of the blame for attacks for their talent of deception. These emails are sent to employees and usually consist of believable scenarios such as:
- Changing payment methods for certain services (Netflix, Amazon, ect.)
- Changing a password for an account under their name or company’s name
- Alarming notices regarding unwarranted purchases
There are other ways for phishing emails to trick your employees, and they continue to evolve every single day. Phishing emails are the starting point of cloud-email exploitation, which happens through the use of document sharing. Many companies rely on Google Drive and other document sharing tools, so a recognizable email may not strike anyone as suspicious. Without proper cybersecurity, attackers can access these private documents and other data found in the cloud.
How Can I Improve it?
Applying integrated security to protect company data is the best way to prevent cyber attacks. Email encryption prevents data leaks wherever there is vulnerability in the server. Adding this extra step to ensure security between emails will definitely help. It is also beneficial to educate employees of these scams and how to identify them before moving forward. Thieves become more intelligent with every passing day, so learning how to specify what to avoid will benefit you or your business greatly.
As a company, it is a great responsibility to make sure your data is protected. As it’s been said before, prevention is a lot easier than finding a cure. Preparing for the worst scenario and staying aware of cyber threats will save you a lot of time and concern.
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Phone technology is constantly evolving. Although new tech toys are fun and functional, there are always underlying dangers. Here are 5 smartphone security risks and how to prevent them.
Unintentional Disclosure of Data
Malicious disclosure of sensitive or private information.
Scams made by actors pretending to be a trusted source or individual.
Type of malicious malware or software downloaded without the consent or knowledge of a victim.
Stealing money from a designated user through malware that uses hidden message service or numbers.
Network is overloaded with links and malware, causing lots of traffic.
Encrypt Mobile Devices
Encrypting is the process of converting information into secret codes which prohibits unknown users from accessing.
Update All Apps and Operating Systems
Updating apps and operation systems with frequency lowers the chances of your information being compromised – sometimes through improved bug fixes.
Set Strong Passwords
Strong passwords often include:
- A minimum of 8 characters
- At least one capitalized letter
- The use of special characters such as, @!#
- At least one numeric character
Consider Deactivating Smartphone Functionalities Such as Siri, Cortana, and Others
Smartphone functions such as Siri and Cortana save all data for future use. Make sure that if these functions are being utilized, no private information is shared — or do not use them at all.
Don’t Ignore Error Messages About The Validity of Certificates
A variety of websites do a proper job of calling out accounts or messages that are unsafe. Always read any error messages for certificates or accounts.
Remember: There are thousands of other smartphone security risks, but if you take the proper precautions the chances of any data leakage are slim.
Have any more concerns about smartphone technology? WesTec Services can help! Contact us with any questions you may have and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Most technology users are aware of the need to protect their devices but fail to understand that the mobile device can be a much bigger, and different, risk than a work desktop computer. Learn more about mobile security threats and how you can avoid them:
Is mobile security important?
While many people choose easy passwords or fail to password-protect their phone at all, mobile devices are a host to some of our most personal and sensitive data. Most users keep passwords, credit cards, and personal information all in their phones, a gold mine of information for any cyber-criminal. Protecting your cell phone is more important now than ever due to the increase of valuable data we store on it as well as the increase in mobile security breaches and cyber-criminals.
Mobile Security Breaches
Mobile security breaches are completely different from desktops. On mobile phones, there is not much need to log on, especially if the user does not have a password. Furthermore, most times apps are constantly running in the background and do not require passwords to access all of your different accounts.
Secondly, most mobile users are less likely to check the validity of a link before it is clicked on. The small phone screen makes it difficult to see an entire link and pages often show up differently or incorrectly on mobile. This makes it much easier for fake links and phishing schemes to attack your phone and threaten your security.
How to Protect Your Information
A key part of avoiding mobile security threats is understanding what apps are tracking your information and which information they are using. Many apps use information such as pictures, contacts, and internet data to make decisions about what to show you. It is important that users understand how their information is being used.
Another security recommendation is to avoid malicious apps. There are third-party app stores available on the internet with many different offerings but it is recommended that you only buy from official app stores like Apple or Google Play. These app stores are much more closely monitored and therefore safer than apps downloaded from deep in the Web.
If possible, avoid using public wifi networks. Using unsecured public WiFi can give people the opportunity to intercept your information and easily gain access to it. If you must use public WiFi, download a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a private network from the public internet, allowing you to establish an encrypted and secure connection while accessing the public internet.
Mobile security threats are very real and can very dangerous to the privacy of your personal information. Choose a business technology provider that you can trust. WesTec offers many different services, from IT consulting to smartphone support. For more information, visit our website or contact us today.
As our society leans more on technology, the opportunities for threats to interfere continue to increase. Safe computing requires more user awareness than ever before as well as maintenance of passwords and data security.
Here are a few tips on how you can keep your information safe online:
Secure your passwords.
Password hacking is the easiest way for anyone to access your information and cause damage. Switch up your password on each website you use, store them in a safe place, and be sure to change them frequently for the most security. Include both uppercase and lowercase, symbols, and numbers for the most difficult-to-guess passwords.
Automatically download important updates.
Updates such as MacOS are critical to the integrity of your computer and should therefore be completed as soon as they become available. Adjust your updates in settings to download automatically.
Never access sensitive websites on public WiFi.
Your data could be easily copied or stolen on a sensitive network. In addition, do not access or share sensitive data on unreliable networks.
Be aware of phishing attempts.
Never open an email from someone you do not know. If there is a link or document attached in the email, absolutely do not open it. Hackers often use this to automatically download malware onto your computer when opened and to access your information or ruin it altogether.
Back up your important information onto an external drive.
Whether it be a full backup hard drive or a flash drive, secure sensitive data onto a protected drive in case of emergency and for extra protection.
A security threat of any kind can disrupt productivity and impact business. What precautions are you taking to ensure your company does not fall victim to these disruptions? Here are 3 security solutions you should employ as a business owner:
Don’t let yourself become the next hacked credit card or identity theft. Practice safe computing and protect your valuable information with the security it deserves. WesTec Services is a trusted and experienced IT services provider located in the Houston area. Allow us to keep your data safe by giving us a call today or visiting our website.
System failure can occur for a variety of reasons, such as virus infection, human error, and natural disaster. Regardless, system failure occurs without warning and could easily put you out of business if you are not prepared. Therefore, it is crucial you implement some sort of backup and data recovery software to protect your network. If you store important or confidential files on your computers, you simply cannot afford to be without backup and data recovery.
Access Control Systems
Another way to protect your business against security threats would be to implement an access control system. With access control systems, facility owners may install security technology such as ID key entries and finger-printing scanners in order to track who enters the building. This technology can also record the time and date guests arrive and leave.
CCTV or IP Security System
Video surveillance is another great solution for businesses looking to increase security efforts, especially when paired with access control systems. Installing cameras at key entrances and exits will allow a facility owner to better monitor who enters the building. Unlike backup disaster/recovery, access control systems and CCTV protect against external security threats.
Why wait until you need a solution in order to implement preventative measures? Most IT consultants simply react to problems instead of looking for ways to prevent them from happening in the first place. At WesTec Services, we believe prevention is better than a cure; prevention is key to maintaining productivity and cash flow. Protect your assets – call WesTec Services and schedule a meeting with one of our IT professionals to discuss what security solutions are best suited for your business!
Are you sure that email came from a real company? Individuals are commonly targeted by cybercriminals claiming to be a large organization, copying the format legitimate companies and phishing for personal information.
This poses a real security threat to recipients but thankfully, there are steps you can take to spot phishing attempts:
When it comes to identifying phishing attempts, there are a few important things to learn. Scammers are constantly switching tactics and creating new ways to trick email recipients.
Upon receiving a possible phishing email, check the sender for a domain email. If you have received an email from the person before, check to make sure alterations have not been made to the spelling of the name or email domain. Many scammers adjust a number or letter in the email to trick the recipient.
Real companies will not ask you for sensitive information over email. Most legitimate companies will call you by your name in the email, redirect you to a secure webpage, and ask you to log in before asking for or updating sensitive information.
Install proper security measures on your personal computer. While spam filters attempt to sort legitimate emails in your inbox, cybercriminals try new methods to slip through the cracks and outsmart this system.
If your email account or other websites offer a multi-step authentication option to prove your identity before accessing your information, always take advantage of this. Take any extra opportunities to better secure your data and ensure it cannot fall into the wrong hands.
In cases where you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message and files or hyperlinks are included, do not click on or open them. These often contain malicious software that attack your computer and gain access to information.
If you find yourself in a situation with what you believe to be a phishing scam, contact the company using an email or number you know to be real. The company could confirm if that email was truly sent by them or not.
If you have received a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at email@example.com. You may also report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
For your business technology needs, WesTec Services is here to provide the security and support you need. Contact us by phone at (713) 682-4000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what we can do for you.