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.
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 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.
Modern technology is a huge asset for businesses across all industries. However, with implementing new technology comes a major learning curve. So how do businesses properly execute new technology implementation in order to achieve the maximum sustainable results?As a business owner, outsourcing your technical support is not only cost-efficient, but will allow you to prioritize your business objectives. Here are a few benefits of IT consulting:
With IT consulting, you can rely on the expertise of seasoned IT professionals. When an IT mishap occurs or you simply require guidance, IT professionals can assist you in making decisions and producing solutions that will allow you to optimize your technology in order to support the growth of your company.
In an effort to cut costs, many companies are hesitant to invest in quality IT consulting. However, IT consulting can actually save you money! Without proper guidance on how to optimize your new business technology, you will be left to find solutions to problems you may not know how to address – and a simple human error can end up costing you a lot of money! Reduce unnecessary spending and consult with an IT professional.
With limited knowledge, you will likely encounter issues navigating your new business technology – and searching for solutions can take hours or even days! An IT mishap can put you behind schedule or even cause you to miss major deadlines. IT consulting is convenient, as you can team up with a professional to develop quick solutions that will put you and your business back on track.WesTec Services offers customized IT consulting for small and large businesses. Our professionals are trained to effectively guide clients in positioning their strengths so they can properly utilize their technology to meet the constantly changing marketplace and the influence of technology. Interested in learning more about IT consulting? Contact us today and schedule a call with one of our professionals!
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.
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.
Does your company have its own internal IT department? Do you feel that there is a misuse of time and resources due to inefficient practices within your company? Consider outsourcing your needs to someone with knowledge and focus on how to benefit your organization’s current technology needs.
There are four main reasons why you should consider outsourcing your IT needs:
Outsourcing to someone who specifically handles and is knowledgeable about technology is cheaper than hiring and training someone to handle it internally.
Having on-call technicians with training in the technology field will help avoid problems and system failures. The outsourced IT company will usually be knowledgeable in information backups and recovery in the case of a disaster. In addition, outside companies can more easily avoid the bad situations all together by being prepared specifically for them.
You decide how involved or not involved the outsourced company is in your day-to-day operations. Your company sets the pace and the outsourced support caters to your needs. You create the plan that best suits your business, allowing for the most optimal levels of business productivity and desired interaction between business and IT.
Remain Focused on Business
When delegating technology services to someone else, you are able to focus time and effort on the business side of things. No need to worry about the technology when you have a more knowledgable third-party source to handle it. Focus on what you know to optimize your time and efforts and allow for the best use of company time.
WesTec Services is skilled in handling all our outsources IT needs. We offer a full range of services and plans to handle your office technology. To learn more, contact WesTec Services today.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com to discuss what we can do for you.
When your computer slows down or begins acting in an unusual way, it may be infected with a virus or malware. While most malwares are annoying, others may be malicious and hijack your computer’s information. Here are some tips to keep your hardware safe and prevent your computer from becoming infected.
Install Anti-Virus Software
Installing 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 Scans
You 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 Network
Always 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 Click
Good 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 Passwords
Finally, 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.
Sometimes, accounts will ask you to update your passwords for security reasons. This often feels like an unnecessary task meant to make your life more complicated. However, in a world full of hackers and online predators, one must regularly update their password to protect valuable information.
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 Often
Traditionally, 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 Secure
As 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.
Doesn’t your computer always seem to lag when you have a rapidly approaching deadline? A slow computer can decrease productivity and increase frustration. To help eliminate frustration, try one of these tips to increase your computer’s speed and performance.
Uninstall Unused Programs
Programs take a lot of space on your computer. Over time, you accumulate programs that might run in the background without your knowledge. Uninstalling the programs you don’t use on a regular basis may increase your computer’s speed and response time.
Delete Temporary Files
Every time you download or install a file on your PC, it keeps a temporary file. If your computer is running slow, you can delete these files to free up space. To do this, find the “Temp” folder in your drive. Select older files and press the delete key. Make sure you empty the recycling bin to completely wipe files from the computer.
Invest in Hard Drive Storage
Sometimes you might need to have easy access to many files. However, keeping them all in once place will affect your computer’s speed. To keep your computer tidy, you can purchase an external storage drive to store thousands of files.
Random Access Memory (RAM) acts as your computer’s short-term memory. It quickly loads items it thinks it will need to access soon. But, if your RAM can’t handle several applications at once, your computer will lag. Increasing the RAM can be an easy and cost-effective way to improve your computer’s speed.
Work with Our IT Professionals
Our trusted IT professionals at WesTec Services can help diagnose why your computer is slow and offer solutions to improve its speed through our managed IT and IT consulting services. Contact us for more information.
Have you ever accidentally deleted a file and then realized you need it back? Unfortunately, it’s happened to most of us at least once–and we’ve all experienced the headache that follows.
Here are a few tips that can help you try to recover a deleted file from your device:
Make sure the file is really deleted – If you’re not sure whether you permanently deleted a file, be sure to look for it before making an assumption. When attempting to recover deleted files, check the Recycle Bin or Trash on your computer. Typically, you can choose the filter “Date Deleted” to make your search easier. If your file was stored in a cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive, check your deleted files there–it may still be recoverable.
Check your backups– Making regular backups of your most important files on your device can prevent you from losing critical data when you need it. If you do have a backup, you may be able to recover your deleted files. if you don’t have a backup, now may be the time to implement one.
Try to recover the file– If you deleted a file on a magnetic hard drive, shut down the computer immediately. With the computer shut down, you should remove the hard drive from the computer entirely and place it in another computer as a secondary drive. Use file-recovery software to scan the drive. If you deleted the file recently and haven’t written to the drive much, you have a fairly good chance of recovering it.
Professionally recover the file– If all other methods were not successful in recovering the deleted files, you may want to consider a professional data recovery service. Professional data recovery services deal with everything from deleted and overwritten files to dying hard drives that need to be disassembled and repaired.
To continually ensure the security of business data and important files, it is recommended to perform regular data backups to your computer. If you feel that you don’t have the time or expertise, WesTec Services performs data backup and recovery services provided by our expert IT consultants.
For more information on our data backup or recovery services, contact the experts at WesTec today.
Business mobile phones can be used for a range of commercial operations, including inventory control, customer relations, advertising, marketing, banking and more.
Here are few ways to ensure your mobile phone and its valuable data is protected against hackers and malware:
1. Update your phone.
Most of us are guilty of ignoring operating system updates on our business mobile phones. However, the longer you wait to update your phone, the more out of date your systems are, making you an easier target for hackers who can easily identify and exploit system vulnerabilities.
2. Lock your device.
If your business mobile phone contains private information about you or your business, it is important to always engage the four- or six-digit passcode on your device. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts and be sure to change your password occasionally for good measure.
3. Manage app permissions.
On your mobile phone, you can grant apps permissions, like access to the camera, microphone, your contacts, your location, your pictures, and more. Be sure to keep track of which permissions you’ve given to which apps, and revoke permissions that are not completely necessary.
4. Back up your data.
Things happen, but you can always be prepared. When you back up the data on business mobile phones, you are able to protect your important documents and images in case of any loss.
5. Ignore spam and phishing emails.
One of the easiest ways for hackers to access your information is through email. Be sure you don’t click on links in promotional emails, open suspicious attachments or run updates that are promoted through emails. If you need to access sensitive information, report directly to the organization’s website to login.
Connecting the dots with business mobile phones can be confusing, time consuming and costly. For a reliable business mobile phone provider in Houston, contact the experts at WesTec today.
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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2916 West TC Jester Blvd.,
Houston, TX 77018