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The Importance of Security Systems for Businesses - Westec Services

The Importance of Security Systems for Businesses

For a business owner, securing the business property is a top priority. Because commercial business security is so essential, it is important to ensure the appropriate security systems are installed.   In addition to promoting a professional business appearance, camera systems provide long-term benefits to a company. Here are a few reasons why camera systems should be implemented within commercial business premises:
  1. Protect Assets – As a business, valuable assets include the property itself, equipment, and private information. Businesses with security systems intact are less likely to have theft take place than those with none.
  2. Detect Criminal Behavior – With cameras, crime is less likely to occur because most criminals are deterred by security. However, if in the case it doesn’t, criminals can be caught sooner and are more likely to be identified with cameras in place.
  3. Preventative Measures – CCTV systems include access control systems and intruder alarm systems to alert authorities of suspicious activity. If a criminal appears at a business and notices cameras, it could prevent the crime from occurring altogether.
  4. Save on Insurance – If businesses invest in security systems for their property, they may be qualified to receive insurance discounts depending on their provider.
  5. Safeguard Staff – A business owner has the responsibility of protecting all work personnel. Installing high-tech cameras on the property can reduce liability risks and allow employees to feel comfortable and safe in the workplace.
WesTec Services offers cost-effective security products and installation for commercial businesses–providing a true turnkey solution for property safety. At WesTec, our professionals will survey the designated area to determine how many cameras are needed, where the cameras should be located, perform camera installation requirements, and ensure camera functionality–while remaining compliant with any budget. If your business is ready to take security to the next level with reliable CCTV or IP systems, contact WesTec today.

4 BYOD security risks you should prepare for

4 BYOD security risks you should prepare for

 August 23rd, 2018
4 BYOD security risks you should prepare for

Personal computing is with us wherever we go. Thanks to the rise of the mobile industry, smartphones and tablets allow us to take work home with us. And with the bring your own device (BYOD) strategy, businesses have never been so productive. However, BYOD can pose a number of security risks if you’re not careful. Here are some BYOD security issues you should know before implementing it.

Data leakage

The biggest reason businesses are wary of implementing a BYOD strategy is because it can leave the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by company firewalls and security systems.

Employees might also take work with them to places outside of your company premises that don’t have adequate security settings, thus leaving your system vulnerable to inherent security risks.

Lost devices

Another risk your company has to deal with is the possibility that employees will lose their personal devices. If devices with sensitive business information get lost and fall into the wrong hands, anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company data stored in that particular device. Therefore, you should consider countermeasures and protocols for lost devices, like remotely wiping a device of information as soon as an employee reports it missing or stolen.

Possible hacking

Personal devices tend to lack adequate data encryption to keep other people from snooping on private information. On top of this, your employees might not regularly update their devices’ software, rendering their devices and your IT infrastructure susceptible to infiltration.

Connecting to open WiFi spots in public places also makes your company vulnerable and open to hackers, because hackers may have created those hotspots to trick people into connecting. Once the device owner has connected to a malicious hotspot, attackers can see your web activity, usernames, and passwords in plain text

Vulnerability to malware

Viruses are also a big problem when implementing BYOD strategies. If your employees use their personal devices, they can access sites or download mobile apps that your business would normally restrict to protect your system.

As your employees have the freedom to choose whatever device they want to work with, the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. So if you’re thinking about implementing BYOD strategies, make sure your IT department is prepared for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices.

BYOD will help your business grow, but it comes with IT security risks that you should be prepared to handle.
Need help mitigating these BYOD risks? Call us today, and let’s find the best IT security solutions for your company.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

New Spectre-style attack discovered

New Spectre-style attack discovered

August 7th, 2018
New Spectre-style attack discovered

Security experts are constantly discovering new potential threats, and quite recently, they’ve found a new type of Spectre-style attack more dangerous than the original. Here’s a quick rundown of the new Spectre variant.

Spectre 101
For those who don’t know, Spectre is a vulnerability in modern computer chips like Intel and AMD that allows hackers to steal confidential information stored in an application’s memory, including passwords, instant messages, and emails. Malicious code running on a computer or web browser could be used to exploit this vulnerability, but ever since Spectre was discovered, Microsoft, AMD, Intel, and other tech companies released a series of updates to fix it.

What is NetSpectre?
To perform Spectre attacks, malware would have to run on a targeted machine to extract sensitive data. But in late July, Austrian security researchers found a way to launch Spectre-style attacks remotely without locally installed malware. The new attack is called NetSpectre and it can be conducted over a local area network or via the cloud.

So far, it’s impractical for average hackers to use this method to steal data. In tests, researchers were able to steal data at a rate of between 15 to 60 bits per hour, which means it would take days to gather corporate secrets and passwords. As such, NetSpectre will probably be used by hackers who want to target specific individuals but don’t want to resort to obvious methods like phishing scams or spyware.

Experts also warn that while NetSpectre may be impractical now, hackers may develop faster and more powerful variants in the future.

How should you protect your business?
NetSpectre attacks exploit the same vulnerabilities as the original Spectre so it’s important to install the latest firmware and security updates. You should also secure your networks with advanced firewalls and intrusion prevention systems to detect potential NetSpectre attacks.

Last but not least, working with a reputable managed services provider that offers proactive network monitoring and security consulting services can go a long way in protecting your business from a slew of cyberthreats.

If you’re looking for a leading managed security services provider, why not talk to us? We provide cutting-edge security software and comprehensive, 24/7 support. Call us today for more information.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

IT security policies your company needs

IT security policies your company needs

July 23rd, 2018
IT security policies your company needs

When it comes to Internet security, most small businesses don’t have security policies in place. And considering that employee error is one of the most common causes of a security breach, it makes sense to implement rules your staff needs to follow. Here are four things your IT policies should cover.

Internet

In today’s business world, employees spend a lot of time on the internet. To ensure they’re not putting your business at risk, you need a clear set of web policies. This must limit internet use for business purposes only, prohibit unauthorized downloads, and restrict access to personal emails on company devices. You can also include recommended browsing practices and policies for using business devices on public wifi.

Email

Just like the Internet policy mentioned above, company email accounts should only be utilized for business use. That means your employees should never use it to send personal files, forward links, or perform any type of business-related activities outside their specific job role. Additionally, consider implementing a standard email signature for all employees. This not only creates brand cohesion on all outgoing emails, but also makes it easy to identify messages from other employees, thus preventing spear phishing.

Passwords

We’ve all heard the importance of a strong password time and time again. And this same principle should also apply to your employees. The reason is rather simple. Many employees will create the easiest to crack passwords for their business accounts. After all, if your organization gets hacked, it’s not their money or business at stake. So to encourage employees to create strong passwords, your policy should instruct them to include special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, and numbers in their passwords.

Data

Whether or not you allow your employees to conduct work on their own devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, it is important to have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. If your employees aren’t aware of your stance on BYOD, some are sure to assume they can conduct work-related tasks on their personal laptop or tablet. So have a BYOD policy and put it in the employee handbook. In addition to this, make sure to explain that data on any workstation is business property. This means employees aren’t allowed to remove or copy it without your authorization.

We hope these four policies shed some light on the industry’s best security practices. If you’d like more tips or are interested in a security audit of your business, give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Regularly evaluate your cybersecurity

Regularly evaluate your cybersecurity

July 5th, 2018
Regularly evaluate your cybersecurity

Experts estimate that the global market for cybersecurity products this year will exceed that of last year. At first glance, an increase in spending seems necessary and shows that businesses are becoming more aware of cybersecurity issues. But a closer look may prove otherwise. Learn why your company could be investing on cybersecurity products the wrong way.

Uncover threats and vulnerabilities

Every business should evaluate the current state of its cybersecurity by running a risk assessment. Doing so is one of the easiest ways to identify, correct, and prevent security threats. After discovering potential issues, you should rate them based on probability of occurrence and potential impacts to your business.

Keep in mind that risk assessments are specific to every business and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for small business technology. It all depends on your line of business and operating environment. For instance, manufacturing companies and insurance groups have totally different applications to secure.

After tagging and ranking potential threats, you should identify which vulnerabilities need immediate attention and which ones can be addressed further down the line. For example, a web server running an unpatched operating system is probably a higher priority than a front desk computer that’s running a little slower than normal.

Tailor controls to risks

Instead of spending time and money evenly on all systems, it’s best that you focus on areas with high risk. You should address these issues immediately after an assessment, but also put plans in place to evaluate their risk profiles more often.

Assess existing products

Chances are, your organization has already spent a great deal of money on security products and their maintenance and support. By conducting risk assessments more often, you can improve the strategies you already have in place and uncover wasteful spending. You may discover that one outdated system merely needs to be upgraded and another needs to be ditched. Remember, your existing products were purchased to meet specific needs that may have changed immensely or disappeared altogether.

It’s much harder to overcome cybersecurity obstacles if you’re not regularly evaluating your IT infrastructure. Contact our experts for help conducting a comprehensive assessment today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Malware strain infects 200k more devices

Malware strain infects 200k more devices

June 20th, 2018
Malware strain infects 200k more devices

Yet another global malware infection has been making headlines and the story just took a turn for the worse. When the news of VPNFilter broke, experts warned that 500,000 devices were already infected, but now they believe that number is much higher. Thankfully, it’s not too late to protect yourself.

VPNFilter recap

A team of security researchers from Cisco released a report that a strain of malware had been discovered on hundreds of thousands of routers and network devices. Originally, researchers believed it affected only Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link devices.

Like many malware strains, VPNFilter infects devices that use default login credentials. But it’s worse than the average cyberattack because it can destroy router hardware and cannot be removed by resetting infected devices.

As if destroying 500,000 routers wasn’t bad enough, VPNFilter lets its creators spy on networks and intercept passwords, usernames, and financial information.

What’s new

Just two weeks after VPNFilter was discovered, security experts announced that it targets 200,000 additional routers manufactured by ASUS, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, UPVEL, and ZTE. Worse yet, VPNFilter can alter data passing through infected routers. That means when you enter a username and password into a banking website, hackers could steal that information and show you an incorrect account balance to hide fraudulent deductions.

How to stop VPNFilter

Rebooting a router won’t remove the malware, you need to factory-reset the device. Usually, all this requires is holding down the Reset button on the back of the device for 10-30 seconds. If your router has no reset button or you’re unsure whether pressing it did the trick, contact a local IT provider immediately.

Cybersecurity threats have become so prevalent that even large enterprises struggle to keep their digital assets safe. Outsourcing IT support to a managed services provider like us will give you enough capacity to deal with issues like VPNFilter as soon as they arise. Call us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

HTTPS matters more for Chrome

HTTPS matters more for Chrome

June 14th, 2018
HTTPS matters more for Chrome

HTTPS usage on the web has taken off as Chrome has evolved its security indicators. HTTPS has now become a requirement for many new browser features, and Chrome is dedicated to making it as easy as possible to set up HTTPS. Let’s take a look at how.

For several years, Google has moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt the Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTPS) encryption. And last year, Google began marking some HyperText Transfer Protocol(HTTP) pages as “not secure” to help users comprehend risks of unencrypted websites. Beginning in July 2018 with the release of a Chrome update, Google’s browser will mark all HTTP sites as “not secure.”

Chrome’s move was mostly brought on by increased HTTPS adoption. Eighty-one of the top 100 sites on the web default to HTTPS, and the majority of Chrome traffic is already encrypted.

Here’s how the transition to security has progressed, so far:

  • Over 68% of Chrome traffic on both Android and Windows is now protected
  • Over 78% of Chrome traffic on both Chrome OS and Mac is now protected
  • 81 of the top 100 sites on the web use HTTPS by default

HTTPS: The benefits and difference

What’s the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? With HTTP, information you type into a website is transmitted to the site’s owner with almost zero protection along the journey. Essentially, HTTP can establish basic web connections, but not much else.

When security is a must, HTTPS sends and receives encrypted internet data. This means that it uses a mathematical algorithm to make data unreadable to unauthorized parties.

#1 HTTPS protects a site’s integrity

HTTPS encryption protects the channel between your browser and the website you’re visiting, ensuring no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what you’re doing.

Without encryption, someone with access to your router or internet service provider(ISP) could intercept (or hack) information sent to websites or inject malware into otherwise legitimate pages.

#2 HTTPS protects the privacy of your users

HTTPS prevents intruders from eavesdropping on communications between websites and their visitors. One common misconception about HTTPS is that only websites that handle sensitive communications need it. In reality, every unprotected HTTP request can reveal information about the behaviors and identities of users.

#3 HTTPS is the future of the web

HTTPS has become much easier to implement thanks to services that automate the conversion process, such as Let’s Encrypt and Google’s Lighthouse program. These tools make it easier for website owners to adopt HTTPS.

Chrome’s new notifications will help users understand that HTTP sites are less secure, and move the web toward a secure HTTPS web by default. HTTPS is easier to adopt than ever before, and it unlocks both performance improvements and powerful new features that aren’t possible with HTTP.

How can small-business owners implement and take advantage of this new interface? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts to get started.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

June 6th, 2018
Microsoft Office 365 to block Flash

A few weeks ago, Microsoft made an announcement to block future content that is embedded with Adobe Flash, Shockwave, and even their own Silverlight platform from Office 365. While the developers have their reasons for implementing this, they should have pulled this feature earlier to avoid many irate customers.

Microsoft recently announced plans to eventually stop the activation of Silverlight, Shockwave, and Flash content in Office 365. This is not just the developers disabling bugs with an option to click a link or button to look at content. Within a few months’ time, Flash will be gone from Office 365 for good.

What media will be affected once this is implemented?

Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash or Shockwave content that uses Microsoft’s OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) platform and the “Insert Object” feature will be blocked. However, media that uses the “Insert Online Video” control via an Internet Explorer browser frame will not be affected by this change.

The following timeline shows the various changes that will take full effect by January 2019:

  • Controls in the Office 365 Monthly Channel will be blocked beginning June 2018.
  • Controls in the Office 365 Semi-Annual Targeted (SAT) Channel will be blocked beginning September 2018.
  • Controls in the Office 365 Semi-Annual Channel will be blocked beginning January 2019.

Why did the developers choose to take out the embedded content?

Microsoft pointed out various reasons for making their decision. It cited that malware authors have been exploiting systems through Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files with embedded content, and that most Office 365 users did not use or rarely use the controls anyway.

Aside from this, the developers at Microsoft decided to take action after Adobeannounced that Flash would reach its end-of-life cycle by 2020. Silverlight was discontinued in 2016, where enterprise customers would have support for the medium until 2021.

For businesses that still need to look at or embed Silverlight- or Flash-based content in an Office 365 document, Microsoft has provided a support page to guide users on re-activating the controls.

As more websites are transitioning away from Flash in favor of HTML5, Microsoft’s once-popular platform has experienced a steady decline over the years. According to Google, Chrome users who loaded a single web page per day that has Flash media had gone down from an estimated 80% during 2014 to below 8% in early 2018.

For more information about utilizing Office 365 features and other IT related concerns, feel free to get in touch with us today!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Healthcare: Prevent insider threats

Healthcare: Prevent insider threats

June 5th, 2018
Healthcare: Prevent insider threats

Healthcare is the only industry where insider threats pose the greatest threat to sensitive data, with 58 percent of security incidents coming from people working within the organization itself. Here’s a look at five ways to prevent such breaches.

#1 Educate – The workforce (meaning all healthcare employees) must be educated on allowable uses and disclosures of protected health information (PHI) and the risk associated with certain behaviors, patient privacy, and data security. For example, when a celebrity is admitted to hospital, employees may be tempted, just out of curiosity, to sneak a look at their medical records, so this must be emphasized as a definite no-no.

#2 Deter – Policies must be developed to reduce risk and those policies must be strictly enforced. The repercussions of HIPAA violations and privacy breaches should be clearly explained to employees. They can be penalized huge amounts of money and violations can also carry criminal charges that can result in jail time.

#3 Detect – Healthcare organizations should implement technology to identify breaches rapidly and user-access logs should be checked regularly. Organizations need to have a strong audit process and ensure that they are regularly monitoring and updating access controls so only authorized personnel are looking at sensitive patient data, and that attempts by unauthorized personnel don’t go unpunished.

#4 Investigate – When potential privacy and security breaches are detected, they must be investigated promptly to limit the damages. When the cause of the breach is identified, steps should be taken to prevent recurrence.

#5 Train – Healthcare employees must undergo regular comprehensive training so employers can eliminate insider threats. From a privacy standpoint, training and education often start with the employees themselves; they learn all about data privacy right off the bat, from the first day of orientation. Still, organizations must remain vigilant and ensure that they are properly prioritizing privacy and security as cybersecurity threats continue to evolve. Healthcare organizations’ IT departments should send out different tips covering a variety of topics regularly throughout the year. And to keep these tips top-of-mind among employees, IT departments should send them via a variety of media, including emails, printed newsletters, and even memos.

Is your healthcare data secure? What other steps can you take to ensure protection for your healthcare provider from insider threats? Call today for a quick chat with one of our experts for more information.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

New malware infects SOHO routers worldwide

New malware infects SOHO routers worldwide

June 1st, 2018
New malware infects SOHO routers worldwide

Talos recently warned that at least half a million routers have been endangered by a new form of malware called VPNFilter. After an earlier version targeted devices in Ukraine, VPNFilter has spread rapidly in around 54 countries, affecting home and small business routers.

How VPNFilter Works

Talos cited the vulnerable devices as Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link networking equipment, as well as network-attached storage (NAS). Upon infecting a small office home office (SOHO) router, VPNFilter deploys in three stages.

In stage 1, the malware imposes its presence by using multiple command-and-control (C2) infrastructure to capture the IP address of the existing stage 2 deployment server. This makes VPNFilter so robust that it can deal with any unpredictable changes in C2. This stage of the malware persists through a reboot, which makes preventing reinfection tough in stage 2.

Stage 2 involves deploying modules capable of command execution, and data collection and exfiltration. According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), this can be used for intelligence gathering, information theft, and destructive or disruptive attacks. Moreover, stage 2 malware has a “self-destruct” feature that once activated by the hackers will overwrite a critical area of the device’s firmware so it stops functioning. This can happen on almost every infected device.

In Stage 3, a module with packet-sniffing capabilities is added to enable monitoring of internet traffic and theft of website credentials. And yet another module is installed to deploy communication support for the Tor network, which can make communicating with the C2 infrastructure harder.

Taking Action

According to Talos, the likelihood of the attack being state-sponsored is high, something the DOJ later backed up. The DOJ attributed it to a group of actors called Sofacy (also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear), the Kremlin-linked threat group believed to be responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee computer network two years ago.

On the night of May 23, the FBI announced that they have seized a domain which is part of VPNFilter’s C2 infrastructure used to escalate the malware’s effects. This forces attackers to utilize more labor-intensive ways of reinfecting devices following a reboot. With the seizure, the government has taken a crucial step in mitigating VPNFilter’s impact.

Stopping the Malware

Researchers agree that VPNfilter is hard to prevent. While vulnerability has been established, patching routers isn’t easy, something average users might not be able to do on their own. But as with any malware, the impact of VPNFilter can be mitigated, which is done by terminating the C2 infrastructure used.

To minimize exposure, the FBI recommends all SOHO routers be rebooted, which, according to a statement from the DOJ, will help the government remediate the infection worldwide. The justice department, along with the FBI and other agencies vowed to intensify efforts in disrupting the threat and expose the perpetrators.

For their part, Talos offers the following recommendations:

  • Users of SOHO routers and/or NAS devices must reset them to factory defaults and reboot them in order to remove the potentially destructive, non-persistent stage 2 and stage 3 malware.
  • Internet service providers that provide SOHO routers to their users should reboot the routers on their customers’ behalf.
  • If you have any of the devices known or suspected to be affected by this threat, it is extremely important that you work with the manufacturer to ensure that your device is up to date with the latest patch versions. If not, you should apply the updated patches immediately.
  • ISPs will work aggressively with their customers to ensure their devices are patched to the most recent firmware/software versions.

Combat the VPNFilter malware by rebooting affected devices. For more tips, contact our team.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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