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VPNs vs Proxies

Data Privacy Laws in the US

Cyber Security for Startups

Best Video Surveillance Systems for 2022

Phishing Scams During the Holiday Season

What Are Deepfakes?

What is Cloud Jacking?

Top 3 Cybersecurity Threats Businesses Have Faced in 2020

What is HTTPS?

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

Posts Tagged ‘cybersecurity’

VPNs vs Proxies

 

In the new age of technology, everyone is wanting to protect their data, especially for their business. VPNs and Proxies can both be used as a barrier to protect vital information from being stolen or hacked. But which one is better for you and your business? Here is a breakdown of VPNs vs Proxies:

 

VPNs

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network is an established private service that is used when connected to a public internet network. It provides a user with a different IP address before connecting to the service. It creates a secure connection of different destinations that ensures the privacy of data and information. When using a VPN, it will encrypt any information being sent so it can further be protected. People can easily install a VPN through their computer or an app. Not only that, but certain VPNs give the user the ability to change their location of the IP address. 

Pros and Cons of VPNs

Pros of VPNs include:

  • Encryption of all data
  • Filter everything on the website 
  • Higher security coverage

Cons of VPNs include:

  • Can make connection speed slower
  • Some VPN softwares are expensive

Pros and Cons of Proxies

Pros of proxies include:

  • Cheaper than VPNs
  • Can balance traffic loads without slowing down the connection 
  • Can be used with big companies and servers

Cons of Proxies Include:

  • Less secure than VPNs
  • Some proxies can track certain information including passwords

Proxies

Proxies are simply a barrier between the user and the internet. The proxy acts as a filter when entering data on a website, securing any data that may be at risk. There are many different types of proxies including, forward proxy, reverse proxy, transparent proxy and anonymous proxy. All do the same thing but act upon it in a different way.

 

Which One is Better? 

When it comes to which one is better for you, there is no definitive answer. They both successfully protect user identity and information. They both have pros and cons and it is important to do research in order to find the perfect option for you. 

WesTec services can assist you with any IT questions or services. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on data security and how to protect yourself. 

Data Privacy Laws in the US

 

Today’s technology is constantly changing and evolving, oftentimes leaving our vital personal information at risk of being sold, leaked or taken. But did you know that there are certain laws in place to protect your data? Here is everything you need to know about data privacy laws in the US:

 

US Privacy Act of 1974

The US Privacy Act was passed by congress in 1974. The main purpose of this act is to protect the privacy of individuals and prevent unwanted invasions of their privacy or data from federal companies. This includes the closure of personal information. Some key points of this act include: 

  • All citizens have the right to any data held by the government
  • Citizens can correct or change any data 
  • Sharing information between different federal corporations is prohibited 

FTC Act

The FTC or the Federal Trade Commission Act is another important privacy act in the US. It was first introduced in 1914 and is used to enforce the protection of data and privacy of individuals. This act is also used in court to investigate data violations. Similar to other data privacy laws, the FTC focuses on the use of equality and prevents deceptive acts that may affect commerce. 

HIPAA

Personal medical information is one of the most vital pieces of data that is protected. HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects all forms of medical information. This act sets limits and uses disclosures in order to get medical information private and secure. 

FCRA

Credit scores and anything pertaining to credit card agencies are protected under The Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act’s purpose is to establish fair, equal and private information that credit card agencies might have. This also prevents certain companies from selling your information to other companies. 

 

Having all your information online can be scary, but just know that there are laws in place to protect you and your information. 

Technology can be confusing, and it’s important to know your rights! Have any further questions on internet privacy? Contact WesTec today! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn



Cyber Security for Startups

Are you interested in creating your own startup? Are you afraid of any cyber risks? Any business, especially startups, are at risk for cyber attacks. These attacks can be detrimental to a business or online presence. It is vital to know what these attackers are looking for and how to protect yourself. Here are some tips to secure you and your startup from cyber attacks:

Account Admin 

Depending on how big your startup is and how many accounts will be online, it is a good idea to have one admin account. This means the one admin account will have the authority to grant access to fellow accounts and ability to download data and software. This will cut back on online vulnerability as only one person will have access to important data. Along with an admin account, you can also unlock certain data and access to different accounts within the startup. For example, you can grant access to the financial department of bank account statements and billing information. Not only will this limit the risk of cyber threats, it will also cut back on time that the admin would have to grant access every time. 

Strong Passwords

Having strong passwords isn’t a surprise when it comes to cybersecurity. But, the top way hackers get into systems is going through weak passwords. In order to stop this, it is recommended that every password should have a capital letter, special characters and numbers. It is also important to never share passwords. 

Multi-Factor Authentication

No matter how strong passwords can be, hackers can still find a way in. Thankfully, more systems are requiring a multi-factor authentication process when logging into an account. This means that even if someone has your password, it can require a phone number or email to fully login. Most online softwares offer this level of security, you just have to authorize it. 

Knowing how to protect you and your startup from cyber attacks is crucial. With selecting admin accounts, strong passwords and multi-factor authentication process, hackers will have a harder time logging into your accounts.

 

Cyber threats can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Video Surveillance Systems for 2022

 

Video surveillance systems are one of the most effective ways for protecting and monitoring a space or business. With loads of surveillance services on the market, it can be hard to choose the best one for you. Here are the top video surveillance systems predicted for 2022.

 

Protection 1

Ranked the highest, Protection 1 video surveillance company offers a wide variety of services for many companies and areas. Each hardware can be customized to your specific liking. They include 24 hour surveillance that is protected, leaving the most accurate video data. This data can be located through their mobile application. Pricing is dependent on what plan is chosen, but the only downside is that you must sign a three year contact with every plan. 

 

Blink by Amazon

Blink by Amazon is a user-friendly and cost effective option for surveillance. Popular for their no monthly fee or contracts, this device is becoming more popular for everyday users. Like other popular companies, they also work through an app, however it requires wifi in order to work. 

 

Alibi Security 

Alibi is a system that is usually paired with an already existing company. This simplys upgrades the performance of the system and is considered a hybrid option. You can pair this with the previous system, IP or analog, without changing the camera itself. It allows you to connect the old device with the new system allowing you to still access the data. For pricing, you must contact an Alibi Security representative. 

 

No matter what surveillance system you decide on, it is important to do research and make sure the system is perfect for you. 

 

Let Westec Services help you decide on and install the best video surveillance system for you or your business. We offer our expertise in all IT issues and are willing to work diligently and professionally for all of our clients. Feel free to contact us and check out the  services we offer. 

Phishing Scams During the Holiday Season

With holiday’s right around the corner, this makes for a scammer’s perfect opportunity to conduct phishing scams. Researchers have stated that this year, phishing scams are going to increase significantly. More phishing scams are done via mobile devices, making it easier than ever to have your information stolen. But how do we protect ourselves during this vulnerable time? 

 

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are intensified during the holiday season due to the high traffic of online shoppers and the urge for people to look for deals. One popular way scammers do this is by sending emails or text messages about an offer that is too good to be passed up. For example, they list a popular technology device for cheap. Most people would just look at the price and proceed with the scam. Another scam is when they mimic bigger companies online to get credit card information or being able to log onto the device when a certain URL is clicked. These mainly happen through emails. They might send an email about a recent fake purchase to get you to click on the URL. These scams are going unnoticed and can do lots of harm. It is important to know how to prevent these scams and protect your information. 

 

Prevention 

It is inevitable that these scams will make their way to you. One way to identify a scam is to check the grammar of the message. Usually scams will be misspelled or the message came from a third party source. This is the easiest way to quickly identify the scam. 

 

Be cautious about providing personal information such as phone numbers or credit card numbers. Make sure before you provide information that it is a reliable and trustworthy source. 

 

If a phishing scam is sent to you, it is best to not respond. A response to these scams lets the scammer know you are a ‘real’ person and will likely be targeted again. If this does happen, there is an option to report the scam to the Spam Reporting Service. 

 

Holidays make for a great time to buy gifts for loved ones, but this also means it is more likely to come across a phishing scam. It is important to know how to identify the scam and how to prevent and protect yourself. 

 

Scams can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself. 

What Are Deepfakes? - WesTec Services

What Are Deepfakes?

With the advancement of technology over time, new types of cybersecurity threats emerge for consumers and businesses to worry about. Lately, deepfake cybersecurity breaches have become more common. According to Tech Beacon, deepfakes are defined as “synthetic media in which a person in a video or audio is replaced with someone else’s likeness or voice.” This type of threat can ruin businesses quickly due to how convincing the synthetic media are.

The Dangers

Due to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, cyberhackers and criminals can create false audio and images pretending to be you or another coworker. Hackers are so precise, they can perform flawless impersonations. The frustrating part of the process is that if you don’t know this is a false video call or audio, hackers can easily obtain the information they need. Once financial details or unreleased company information falls into the wrong hands, it can be disastrous. 

Experts found that deepfake hacking methods have increased by 84% between December 2018 and October 2019. Research estimates $250 million in losses, as a result of deepfake hacking for the 2020 fiscal year.

 

Why It’s Popular Among Hackers

Businesses still struggle with high-level email phishing scams, making deepfakes harder to prevent. Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding this threat, deepfakes are becoming a new favorite method for cybercriminals who have the time and patience to implement this method. Deepfake hackers attack businesses in these ways:

  • Impersonating clients or suppliers asking for payments
  • Pretending to be supervisors and business owners, asking for fund transfers or sensitive information
  • Using fake blackmail audio and videos for extortion
  • Presenting fake pictures, videos, and audio files on social media to create slander campaigns

 

The Solution

The first step in preventing deepfake attacks is to be aware it is a method of cybersecurity destruction. Once you are informed, the next question is how you can protect your business. There are a few available solutions, like Deeptrace or Cogito. These software programs can be expensive for small- and medium-sized businesses. For those on a limited budget, here are some things to consider executing immediately:

  • Educate staff members about deepfakes, reporting odd situations before proceeding with any actions asked
  • Add two-step verification to your system for emails, phone calls, and video sessions, ensuring none provided over these communication methods are used over existing ones
  • Strengthen security measures for cybersecurity, adding systems if you currently have none or looking into upgrades for your current system
  • Add additional steps for fund transfer verification — this helps ensure the transfer is supposed to occur and can save your business thousands of dollars, if not.

Taking action now is the best thing you can do for your business. Employees and business owners should also periodically check in on the issue to see if better methods of protection are discovered. 

 

As new threats arise, you must be proactive! At WesTec Services, our IT professionals want to help you safeguard your business and its assets. If you’re unsure how to get started, contact us today.

Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn!

What is Cloud Jacking? - WesTec Services

What is Cloud Jacking?

With the rise of COVID-19, cloud-based remote work has become increasingly popular and necessary. With new and emerging cloud-based technology comes new cybersecurity threats, like “cloud jacking.” 

What is Cloud Jacking? - WesTec Services

What is cloud jacking?

Cloud jacking occurs when a hacker steals the information of a cloud account holder and gains access to the server. Hackers often use this act as a means to conduct criminal activities, such as identity theft.

Because businesses often store confidential, sensitive information on cloud servers, they are major targets for cloud jacking. When it relates to sensitive information, these kinds of security breaches can be devastating for a business’ clients, partners, and reputation. Cloud jacking is not simply a one-time offense, as it creates a web of victims.  

What is Cloud Jacking? - WesTec Services

How do I protect myself against cloud jacking?

There are several things you can do to protect your business, clients, and partners from falling victim:

  • Require strict, multi-factor user authentication
  • Limit internal access to your cloud server
  • Perform background checks before granting anyone access to your cloud server
  • Backup all data stored on the server, in the event that there is data loss
  • Use encryption to secure all data before storing on your server
  • Require all users to create strong, secure passwords
    • Here are the properties of a strong password:
      • The longer, the better
      • A combination of lowercase and uppercase letters
      • Numbers and symbols
      • Avoid words or terms that could be easily linked to your identity

 

The professionals at WesTec Services want to help you protect your network and business. We provide vital business technology and consulting services that can be tailored to your needs and budget. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

 

Top 3 Cybersecurity Threats Businesses Have Faced in 2020 - WesTec Services

Top 3 Cybersecurity Threats Businesses Have Faced in 2020

As we make new advancements in internet technology, hackers are getting smarter! Therefore, it is crucial that you stay informed on emerging cybersecurity threats. WesTec Services has compiled a list of cybersecurity threats to be aware of:

 

Cloud Jacking

As remote work has become more popular and necessary as a result of COVID-19,  cloud jacking has become more prevalent. Cloud jacking occurs when a hacker gains access to your cloud server. Often, hackers will hijack cloud accounts to steal identities and conduct unauthorized or illegal activities. Cloud jacking should not be taken lightly, especially if you store sensitive, confidential information on your cloud server.

 

Endpoints 

In the past, centralized security measures were enough to protect a network from security breaches. However, the introduction of mobile phones and laptops posed new security threats — and brought awareness to security vulnerabilities (or “endpoints”). Using encryption, endpoint security seals any vulnerabilities in a network’s connection. This additional layer of security protects against threats if an infected device connects to the network. However, with the rise of remote work, we are seeing an increase in endpoint interception, as many are using mobile devices and laptops on networks that are not secure.  

 

Phishing

Phishing is still alive and well in 2020! Hackers are now targeting small businesses with spam emails. These emails will appear to be from companies that sell a product or service that may be of interest to small businesses — and of course, upon the user clicking a link or downloading a file, their computer has been infected. Furthermore, some emails will provide a link that prompts the user to enter their log-in credentials for a familiar website, while even displaying a reCaptcha security pop-up to appear more credible and secure.

 

It is important to use the internet with care. Cybersecurity threats can cause a variety of issues for your business, ranging from system failure to productivity loss. At WesTec Services, we believe there is power in educating yourself. As a business owner, you should familiarize yourself with potential threats and educate your employees on internet safety. Have questions about cybersecurity? Contact us today!

What is HTTPS?

What Is HTTPS? - WesTec ServicesYou have likely seen the acronym “HTTP” while navigating the internet. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) appears at the beginning of a web address and supports data transfer between the web browser and website.  You may have also seen the acronym “HTTPS” and wondered, “What’s the difference?” Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) derives from HTTP and is an encrypted security certificate that protects sensitive information in data transfer. HTTP refers to a standard, unencrypted server, while HTTPS indicates a server is secure. HTTPS is a necessary extension if your website requires log-in credentials or the entry of private information. Without HTTPS, hackers can easily extract sensitive information.  As the need for internet security increases, web browsers like Google and Yahoo! take HTTPS quite seriously. If you do not have this security certificate, your website will be flagged “not secure” – and who wants to enter their credit card information on a website that isn’t secure? Don’t fall victim to a security breach. Educate yourself on how HTTPS works and why it’s important:  

How It Works

HTTPS simply takes HTTP and adds a layer of SSL protection. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a connection that encrypts and decrypts a user’s requests and responses. SSL ensures that communication occurring between the user and the website server cannot be read or extracted by hackers.  

What Is HTTPS? - WesTec ServicesWhy It’s Important

Since its inception, the internet has changed life as we know it. With the introduction of e-commerce, we no longer have to leave our houses to shop for the items we need – we simply fill up our “cart”, enter our credit card information, and wait 5-7 business days for our items to arrive. We no longer have to mail a check or pick up the phone to pay our bills – we can conveniently pay our bills online! When we create a social media account or fill out a job application online, we are surrendering information like our full names, addresses, social security numbers, and more. Because HTTP websites are more susceptible to hacking, it is imperative that we make the transition to an entirely HTTPS web. We can have peace of mind, knowing that our personal information is safe. Additionally, HTTP does not protect against malware infection. When a website is infected with malware, its users are at risk of being infected as well.   A cybersecurity threat can cause data breach, system failure, and ultimately impact your reputation and productivity as a business. Therefore, it is important that you educate yourself on internet safety. The IT professionals at WesTec Services can answer any questions you may have about cybersecurity. Contact us today!
Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

A Password meter is an indicator of the strength of a password entered by a user on a website. In most cases, meters estimate the amount of tries necessary for your password to be guessed by an attacker by factoring in password length and complexity. A University of Plymouth study tested 16 of the most encountered password meters on the internet to test their effectiveness. Based on the results, here are a few tips on how to keep your passwords secure, regardless of an “approval” given by the password meter:  

Do not always trust the password meter

  Just 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 patterns

  On 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.   Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Make passwords complicated and personal

  The 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.   

Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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