Posts Tagged ‘cybersecurity’
Do not always trust the password meterJust because a password meter says “strong password” does not mean it is. The meters can be helpful but are also extremely flawed, giving you a sense of false security. When deciding on a password, do not base it solely on the rating given by the website.
Avoid using keyboard patternsOn many password meters, passwords such as “querty”, “abc123”, and “Password” sometimes cannot be detected as problematic. Common letter combinations, such as going down a row of the keyword or commonly used words, are easily guessed and not always flagged on the meters.
Make passwords complicated and personalThe most secure passwords are those with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Choose combinations that seem difficult to guess by an outside person or computer. The more complicated and seemingly random the password, the stronger it will be. In addition to character variation, do not use the same password for all of your accounts. Change up your passwords so that if one is discovered, not all of your information is at risk. Secure your valuable data with the protection it deserves. Do you part to protect your information with a strong password, WesTec is here to do the rest. WesTec Services is dedicated to providing the highest quality of IT consulting as well as backup disaster and recovery planning. Give WesTecCall a call today to discover more about our available services.
RecognizeWhen 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.
ProtectInstall 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.
ReportIf 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.
Install Anti-Virus SoftwareInstalling an antivirus or anti-malware software is the first step to protecting your computer. Without some type of protection software, your computer is an easy target for hackers. It is important to make sure the software stays up to date as well. For the best protection, install updates regularly as they alert you on your computer.
Run Regularly Scheduled ScansYou should be scanning your computer regularly with the anti-virus software you install. To best protect your computer, schedule your scan one night every week. Make sure your computer does not shut down automatically or go into hibernation mode to ensure the scan completes.
Use a Secure NetworkAlways use a secure network for computers to connect to files, printers or internet. Using an open network makes it easier for hackers to access your information. This means you should avoid using your computer at places that offer free WiFi. If your business likes to offer complimentary wifi to customers, consider offering a guest wifi with a different password than your main network for added protection.
Think Before You ClickGood protection software will automatically scan any links or unusual emails on your computer. However, it does not hurt to always be cautious when opening an email from an unknown sender or making sure a link is taking you where it says it is.
Use Multiple Strong PasswordsFinally, never use the same password for all of your important accounts. We often use the same email address or username for all accounts. Knowing this, it becomes crucial to use multiple strong passwords to prevent hacks. Your passwords should be easy to remember, difficult to guess, and always avoids dates or names.
Following these tips can help protect your computers and information from viruses and malware. For more information on how WesTec’s IT experts can help your business keep its information safe from hackers, contact us.
Change Your Passwords Regularly…By regularly changing your login information and passwords, you make it harder for someone to steal information. This is increasingly important for accounts without two-factor authentication. Communication accounts, like email and chatting apps, should also be updated every so often for increased protection.
…But Don’t Change Them Too OftenTraditionally, experts recommended you change passwords every 30 to 60 days–this is no longer the case. Mandatory password updates lead to money loss and lack of productivity with minimal security payoff. Now, changing your password doesn’t hold near the protection it used to. Because cybercriminals continue to learn more advanced hardware and software, they can typically discover your password if they look hard enough.
As humans, we tend to create patterns. This is no different in password creation. Typically, we use similar letters, numbers and themes when updating a password. Updating your password too often leads to confusion with little added benefit.
Keep Your Data SecureAs a rule of thumb, update your passwords when there is proof of some sort of security breach or online attack. This includes unauthorized use of an account or evidence of malware. By doing so, you’re preventing a hacker from gaining access into your personal accounts and obtaining sensitive, private information or data.
There are other ways to protect your data. Contact the experts at WesTec Services for more information about our cybersecurity services.
If you’re not sure how to create a secure password that will outsmart the online hackers, read our recent article for tips.
During a spear-phishing attack, the perpetrator attempts to acquire personal details on the victim’s friends, hometown, employer, hang-outs, and their recent online purchases. This is typically done by disguising themselves as a trustworthy friend or entity through email, social media, phone calls, or text messages.
Because spear-phishing is the most successful form of acquiring confidential information online, it is important to practice how to avoid an attack.
1. Beware what you post: Review your online profiles. How much personal information is available for potential attackers to view? If there is something you do not want the public to see, delete it, or ensure your privacy settings are properly configured.
2. Use smart passwords: It is not wise to use the password for every account you own. In this case, if an attacker has access to one account, they effectively have access to all of your accounts. Passwords with random phrases, letters, and numbers are secure.
3. Use logic with emails: If an organization sends you a link in an email requesting a specific action or sort of personal information, go directly to the organization’s site rather than clicking on the link. Calling the organization can also help clarify the issue. Real businesses will not email you asking for your username and password.
4. Update your software: Software systems include security updates that should help protect you from spear-phishing attacks, as well as others. If you receive notice of a new update, be sure to take advantage, or enable automatic updates.
To learn more about how you can protect your data or sensitive information, contact the experts at WesTec.
Follow Current Encryption PracticesEncryption practices change regularly to evolve and combat cybercriminals. Often, organizations who failed to stay up-to-date with the latest data protection trends fall victim to cyberattacks. To help protect customer data, create a recurring reminder to analyze your company’s security practices and make updates as necessary.
Limit Access to Customer InformationFor additional protection, limit who within your business can view customer data. Not every employee needs access to customers’ personal information. When only necessary employees have access to customer information, hackers have a harder time finding a weak point to break into company databases.
Don’t Ask for Unnecessary InformationAs a company, it is important to only collect the information you need to complete a transaction or service to your customer. Customers get weary when a business asks for unnecessary information. By only collecting necessary information, there is less for a hacker to steal. This protects customers and their livelihoods.
Educate All Employees on Security PolicyWhile you may limit who can view customer data, make sure every employee knows and understands the company security policy. Even though an employee may not have access to the customer database, their actions could affect the privacy of customers. For example, if someone were to take a company laptop to a coffee shop and used the open wifi, a nearby hacker could potentially break into the company’s database through the network and steal personal information.
Analyze Email Advertisements and DealsMost attacks are a result of commodity malware. Scammers send phishing emails, often posing as your favorite brand, to try and steal your financial information. These emails often include misspelled words and misused grammar. If you suspect any email you receive is a scam, avoid clicking any URLs. This is how scammers steal your data or install malware on your computer. Instead, to verify the email came from the true brand, visit their website and see if they are offering the same deal.
Shop from Established BrandsSometimes deals look too good to pass up. If an unknown website is offering a seemingly impossible deal, you could be looking at an online scam designed to steal your credit card information. Shoppers can look for the https in a retailer’s site URL, compared to http. The ‘s’ stands for secure and ensures all communications between the browser and website are encrypted.
Avoid Public WiFiIf you plan to shop online, avoid purchasing on public WiFi. These networks are often unsecured, meaning anyone with a computer acumen can view what you are browsing and steal your personal information.
Use a Credit CardPay with a credit card when making gift purchases. A credit card offers the best liability protection against potential fraud, unlike debit cards. If scammers gained access to your debit card information, they could drain your accounts.
Make Sure All Passwords are UniqueIt’s easier to use the same password for all accounts. But is it safer? If a hacker discovered your login credentials, they could easily hack into other accounts and steal your information. To best protect yourself, your data, and your financial information, make sure each account has a random and unique password. For more information about password security, visit our recent blog post. With the holiday season quickly approaching, be proactive in identifying online scams. For more information about cybersecurity and avoiding attacks from scammers, contact us.
How Hackers Get Your PasswordsBefore you can better protect your accounts, you must understand how cybercriminals access steal your information. Typically, a hacker will compromise your account in one of three ways.
- Personal attack: Hackers target your account specifically. They will typically guess your email password and use password recovery options to access other accounts.
- Brute-Force attack: Hackers systematically check all possible passwords until the correct one is found.
- Data Breach: Hackers attack large companies, resulting in millions of compromised accounts.