Implementing the Best Safety Measures for Your Business

When it comes to safety measures, you may not be able to stop the determined thief from visiting you, whether it is online or in person. However, you can make it so very difficult for them that they go and find somewhere else and leave your business well alone.

Cybersecurity

With cybercrime ever-present, it is more important than ever to keep your cybersecurity up to date. It is important to use the best security software for your business. The use of SOAR Security (Security Orchestration, Automation and response) is often used if you have remote workers working on personal equipment and saving data to multiple cloud storage facilities. There are alternatives available, though, so you may find it beneficial to speak to an expert to make sure that you have the correct product for your business, as protection given can vary greatly depending on what your business is.

Most reputable cybersecurity businesses will offer more services as well as support on their products, enabling you to get the best out of your software and helping your business in being safe and secure for all the data you hold.

Training Your Employees for Personal Security

One of the best ways in which you can enhance your security is to teach your employees about the importance of all security as well as their own personal online security.

It is a good idea that each of your employees has to have a password to access your database and that the password is unique and private for each employee. Your employees must understand the importance of changing their password regularly and not divulging it to anybody else.

Having a good strong password is imperative as cybercriminals are smart, cunning, sly, and resourceful. Using names, whether it is last names or pet names, important places, and other topics mentioned on social media is a big ‘no-no’ as cyberthieves watch social media sites to gain ideas for passwords as well as personal information.

Password Security

The best passwords need to be at least 12 characters long, preferably longer. It should contain special characters such as the asterisk or question mark. Have a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and contain some numbers too. It is a good idea not to use words that can be found in the dictionary as these are easy to guess but try misspelling or dotting numbers and special characters throughout your password.

Ensure that your employees understand why they are having to use keypads or swipe cards to enter your building and tell them the importance of not letting someone tailgate behind you to gain access to the building.

It is a good idea to have a person nominated as a go-to person should anyone see an unfamiliar face wandering around if they are not confident enough to challenge the person for work identification.

Physical Security

It is important that you make sure that your work premises are secure and safe for your employees, as well as the information you have on-site for your customers.

There are many things you can do in order to make your premises secure, such as erecting fences in order to keep trespassers out. Fences used in this way are usually over 6 feet high with razor edging to make them unscalable. Vehicle barriers are a good idea for car park entrances which can be activated by swipe cards or keycodes so that you do not have to have your parking lot patrolled. Warning signs are also a good idea to deter unwanted visitors, as well as security lights for exterior areas.

Control Access

When it comes to actually be able to gain access to your premises, it is a good idea to install key coded entry or personalized swipe cards which can be handed out to each employee with a lanyard, perhaps with their photo printed on to it. Make sure that you have a few for visitors clearly marked. This will help any intruder to be spotted as they will not be wearing a lanyard or have any visible form of identification on them.

When you have visitors on-site, make sure that they fill in a visitor book with their name, company, and who they are on-site to see. Do not let them wander around your business premises unchaperoned at any time, and make sure that they wear either a lanyard with visitor written on it or a badge of some description. It is important that you do not give them a way of entering your building by themselves and keep all key codes secret to outsiders.

5 Tips to Prevent a Data Breach

Data violation is a threat that can influence your life and business which can be far more than a temporary danger. When it comes to the information breach, any kind of company, specific and even federal government can deal with such dangers as well as you can deal with big problems if your delicate data or individual details are leaked. A data violation can have a great effect on your service if your sensitive information is leaked or a person obtains access to the business secrets as that can influence the credibility of the firm. Numerous firms have been a victim of the data breach.

Hackers or cybercriminals can reach you with different means like they can access your device via Bluetooth, SMS message, or the web that you are using. Internet is a platform on which every person is doing something, some are obtaining internet service for entertainment functions, some obtain internet service to do video gaming and after that, some get internet service for work objectives. If a person obtains access to your device, your identification can be stolen. Hackers usually access your device via the internet and you deal with the consequences afterward.

If one does not take data breaches seriously, it can be really harmful. You need a secured internet connection so no person can quickly access your data. If the data is not encrypted when you do streaming online or do any kind of work, the data on your devices would be easily available to hackers or unauthorized people and they can get access to your device or your computer system and your sensitive information can quickly be revealed. We are most likely to speak about how data breaches occur as well as what preventative measures we can take to avoid data violations.

How Does a Data Breach Happen?

Data breaches occur by various techniques used by hackers to enter into your device or system to access your sensitive information. The following are a few of the techniques used by hackers.

Phishing Attacks

Hackers usually trap internet users into clicking links that are not secured and then once you open up the link, they will get access to your system or device. Normally, hackers send phishing emails to enter your system. They use this method to obtain access to your personal data and also you can have a huge loss.

Public Wi-Fi

Using a public Wi-Fi hotspot is so typical in the U.S. state as there are different areas where public Wi-Fi hotspots are available. Making use of public Wi-Fi can cause a data violation as the data is not encrypted and also once your tool gets linked to the Wi-Fi, any person can conveniently access your data and also can mislead you right into clicking unprotected web links.

Weak Credentials

Most of the data violations occur due to the fact that people don’t pay attention to their credentials. They always leave a pattern while setting up their credentials and that benefits the hackers to enter your system and your account.

What to Do to Protect your Business

Following are 5 really important tips that help prevent data breaches and help in protecting your personal information and systems.

Get an Internet Security Suite

While getting internet service, make sure to get an internet security suite as that will help in securing your data and it will not be simple for hackers to obtain access to your personal information. Getting an internet security suite will certainly be beneficial for the business or even for individuals. There are several internet service providers like AT&T internet that provide a web security suite. You can take a look at the AT&T internet packages and can see how you can get internet security in addition to internet service. This suite will secure your data and will also protect your devices from unsecured web links and also phishing attacks.

Perform Regular Vulnerability Assessments

Companies must do routine vulnerability assessments to make certain that everything is protected at their end. Companies must have a department that analyzes on a normal basis instead of doing it once a year or a month as that gives the hackers time to find out the new patterns you adhere to.

Educate Yourself as Well as Your Employees

Firms need to educate their workers on safety to make certain that the devices they are using are secured. You need to inform on your own and also your children about internet safety due to the fact that the majority of data breaches occur because people generally do not take this seriously which causes data breaches, and afterward, you face the consequences. Your identification can be stolen and your firm’s secrets can be exposed.

Beware of Phishing Attacks

A lot of the violations happen due to human mistakes. You should beware of phishing emails and also web links and also must never ever click any web link which you are not aware of. Never ever open any kind of email that you receive from an unknown individual as that will certainly be the reason for data breaching. Immediately report to your security team regarding such emails as well as internet links so that they can take action promptly.

Backup and Encryption

Make sure that your tools are encrypted as well as you are doing a backup of your data by utilizing the cloud solution so if by any chance someone hacks your systems, your data continues to be safe.

Conclusion

Information breaches can have a great effect on your business’s reputation if the company’s personal data gets leaked. We have numerous examples of the damages brought on by data breaches. Ensure that you take all the safety precautions so you do not end up being a victim of it.

7 Tips to Protect Your Privacy on the Web

It’s a scary world out there. With the Internet, you are no longer protected by distance and physical barriers from your enemies. With just an email address or phone number, someone can find out more about you than they could in days of old when all you had to worry about was a nosy neighbor. And with so many people online nowadays, it is likely that at least one person will be able to figure out who exactly you are and what your secrets might be. 

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep yourself safe on the Web; this article outlines five of them:   

1. Manage Your Cookie Preferences

Managing your cookie preferences is a great way to protect your privacy on the web. Your browser uses cookies to keep track of what you do on websites and applications. So if you don’t want your browsing habits tracked, you need to be able to manage those cookies.

You can check cookies stored in your browsers manually using browser settings.

Most websites use cookie banners to ask for consent to use cookies. You should be able to manage your preferences for cookie consent using their settings. However, here are some quick tips for managing cookies on your browsers:

  • Disable third-party cookies (this may break some websites)
  • Turn on Do Not Track
  • Use private browsing mode
  • Clear out cookies regularly
  • Clear out old browsing history regularly

2. Don’t give up too much information on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter  

This is very important because you don’t want to be one of those people that stay connected with everyone they have met in their entire lives. It makes you a prime target for manipulation as even the least tech-savvy person can try and find out more about your life from these social media sites. Social media sites are also a good place to look for information. 

For example, if you have someone’s social media username on Facebook and they put their phone number down as public information, then you can go ahead and call them up to talk. You might even be able to find out where they live or work based on the places that they frequently visit or mention in their newsfeed. And remember that everything you post online is permanent and cannot be deleted (except through complicated processes like asking Google to delete your entire account).

3. Use a VPN

Using a VPN service is one of the most important things you can do to protect your online privacy. A VPN allows you to create an encrypted tunnel between your computer and a server run by your VPN provider. This means that all of the data that leaves and enters your PC is encrypted (and thus prevented from being read). It also prevents websites from seeing who you are or where you are located, making it appear as if you’re in another country on the other side of the world. Also, the VPN hides your IP address, which is another way for someone to find out who you are. You can find a list of the best vpn services curated by Forbes.

4. Don’t email pictures of yourself or any other information that could be used to identify you! 

Because of the sheer amount of information that you can obtain from a single email address, emails are one of the least secure ways to share information! It is particularly important not to include pictures or any other kind of identifying information in your email.

If you must send an email with personal information attached, consider using encryption software like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) that will allow you to encrypt this data so that it cannot be read if intercepted. In even more extreme cases, some services like Hushmail offer completely anonymous accounts where no traffic logs are kept at all.  

However there are several situations when sending an encrypted file is not enough: for example, when multiple people have access to the same device and they might extract the files while spoofing your identity.

 5. Use the right browser settings so that your activities are not tracked by advertisers, search engines, and others 

This is important because most websites can track your activities on their site in several ways. The tracking software might be embedded in the website code or it may come from a third-party service like Google Analytics. Either way, you need to make sure that both your browser and any plugins/extensions are configured so they do not transmit data about what web pages you visit or which search terms you use. 

To do this with Chrome, click the Customize and Control icon, then Settings (under Privacy) > Show advanced settings… > Content Settings > Manage exceptions. You will see a list of domains; simply remove those that you don’t want to send information to by clicking on the Remove button on the right side.

6. Use search engines that do not track you.

This one is a bit tricky since even the Google search engine tracks your searches. In addition, most of the alternative search engines can be configured to use encryption so that they don’t store local copies of your data and it is sent directly instead of to their servers.  You can also search directly from the address bar if you don’t want to use a browser plugin.

For example, if you’re using Chrome, install the Startpage extension and configure it by clicking on Options (under Identity). Then click Customize on MyStartPage and then Privacy. In the Never send personal information to these services section change both of them to Google Search (it will be automatically selected). To use this type of encryption for DuckDuckGo, Firefox or Startpage simply add “https” in front of the URL while leaving off “www.”  (e.g., https://duckduckgo.com/ )

 7.  Don’t use open wifi if you want to protect your information.

This one is important because it doesn’t come down to how well or poorly a company encrypts the data that passes through its servers—the simplest way would be just to not send any of it! This also applies to corporate networks, where many employees use VPN software and other encryption technologies already in place for their security needs. 

However, these same tools can also prevent an employer from monitoring employee-side traffic (e.g., using GeoLite2 IP databases to geolocate broadband subscribers). So always think twice before logging on with your work account on the local coffee shop’s free wifi!

8.  And finally, don’t assume that anything you send or store is secure and can’t be hacked.

While this might seem like an obvious one, many people have gotten into trouble in recent years by thinking that a service was secure when they actually weren’t. For example, there has been a huge influx of new investors into digital currency due to coins like Bitcoin having huge price increases. This in turn has led to a sharp rise in cyber attacks on people’s crypto wallets in order to siphon off investors’ profits. Keeping these assets secure by using cold wallets, encrypted passwords and two-factor authentication is the bare minimum in cybersecurity. Again, there are two sides to the story. Companies must do as much as possible to protect user-information from outside attacks, which sometimes means sacrificing convenience (i.e., forcing users to use longer passwords).

Protecting Your Privacy Online

If you follow these tips carefully, anyone who wants to find out more about you will run into brick wall after brick wall trying to get information about you; at least, this will buy time for you to protect your privacy more fully if you decide to do so. 

What are the Common File Storage Options for Small Businesses?

For most businesses, data ranks high in the list of most valuable assets. It follows that every small business owner must have a good strategy for data storage to ensure its safety and ease of accessibility. The good news is that there are plenty of secure storage options for small businesses. 

Before we look at some of the common data storage options for small businesses, let us first understand why security is vital when choosing a storage option.

Security is critical when considering a storage option for your business.

As many businesses shift to remote working, the question of data security has become a big concern. 

Many businesses turn to virtual private networks, often referred to as VPNs, as a way to minimize data security risk. Unfortunately, this storage option may not be as secure as most people think and may be somewhat overwhelming, especially if your employees are not quite tech-savvy. 

Luckily, you can find better alternatives to VPN, such as a file server, which is a simple and secure way for remote and in-office workers to share daily work.

Other alternatives to VPNs include IAM (Identity and Access Management) platforms, PAM (Privileged Access Management) tools, and third party security platforms.

Common data storage options for small business

On-premises

As the name suggests, an on-premises data storage solution involves having servers owned and managed by the data owner themselves. 

For larger organizations, the servers could be located at a private data center facility. However, a data storage system could consist of only a few machines in a dedicated room or closet for small businesses. 

Whatever you choose to work with, the defining factor of an on-premises storage option is that the data owner will have full responsibility for the premises on which the infrastructure holding the data is located. That way, you have greater control over the security and the accessibility of the data. 

However, on-premises storage may be a bit costly to set up compared to other file storage options for small businesses.

Colocation 

In the initial stages of your business, you may be content with an on-location data storage solution. But you may soon realize that your storage could be more demanding as your business begins to experience growth.

Fortunately, colocation may be a good option to help continue enjoying the control that is almost equal to an on-premises solution without having to deal with managing your equipment. In other words, you will collocate your equipment with a data center facility, which allows you to enjoy the features of the data center’s network infrastructure, such as equipment management and comprehensive security.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is another excellent option for file storage for small businesses. Much like in colocation, the physical environment (or servers) is typically owned and managed by the hosting company.

One of the biggest advantages of using cloud storage is that it is cheap in that it does not require much in terms of investment. Additionally, cloud solutions provide for easy scalability, and your business can always source more storage space as needed without the need for extra hardware.

The main drawback to a cloud storage solution is its security risks due to its open nature. However, that doesn’t mean you could never use cloud storage for your business. 

For greater security, you may opt for private cloud deployments, which are implemented through vitalized infrastructure and offer better levels of security.

Final words

File and data storage is critical for any business. That is why you shouldn’t wait until you run out of space to create more. Instead, always plan ahead of time to avoid inconveniences that could cost you time and money.

3 Simple Bot Mitigation Techniques

More than 40% of all internet traffic comes from bots, and a quarter of total internet traffic comes from malicious bots. 

This is why it’s important to detect the presence of bad bots as soon as possible and manage their activities accordingly. In short, a functional bot mitigation strategy is crucial for any business and even individuals with an online presence. 

What Is Bot Mitigation

A key aspect of bot mitigation is to identify the bot traffic and properly distinguish bots from legitimate users, but there are other aspects to bot mitigation we should consider. 

First, it’s crucial to understand that not all bots are bad. Bots are by nature, just tools. They are computer programs that are programmed to execute automated processes without any human intervention. These bots can execute repetitive tasks at a much faster rate than any human user ever could, and so they aren’t necessarily good or bad, it all depends on how the process/task it performs. 

With that being said, there are actually many good bots that are beneficial to our site, application, and/or business, like Google’s crawler bot. Yet, there are indeed bad bots operated by cybercriminals to perform many malicious tasks. 

Thus, a crucial aspect of bot mitigation is distinguishing between good bots and bad bots based on signatures, behaviors, and other factors. 

Another important aspect of bot mitigation is what we will do to malicious bot traffic once it has been properly identified. 

Completely blocking the bot and denying it from accessing our site’s resources might seem like the best and most cost-effective approach at first glance, but it isn’t always the best approach in all situations. 

Block or Not Block Bot Traffic

There are two main reasons why blocking bot traffic isn’t always the best approach. 

The first has been briefly discussed above: we wouldn’t want to accidentally block good bots, and even worse, legitimate human traffic. This is an issue we know as false positives

The thing is, today’s bad bots have become so sophisticated in masking their identities and impersonating human behaviors. Bot programmers are now really advanced and many have adopted the latest technologies, including AI to hide the bot’s presence. 

So, even distinguishing between bot traffic and human users is already challenging enough, much worse differentiating between good bots and bad bots. When we aren’t sure about the identity of the suspected malicious bot, then blocking is not a good idea. 

The second reason is that blocking will not stop persistent cyber criminals from attacking your site. They will simply modify the bot to bypass your current bot mitigation measures, and they may also use information you’ve accidentally provided, for example in your error messages when blocking the bot, in upgrading this malicious bot. 

In such cases, blocking the bot can be counterproductive, and this is why there are other bot mitigation strategies you should consider. 

Bot Mitigation Approaches To Consider

If blocking the bot isn’t always the best approach, what are the alternatives? Here are some bot mitigation techniques to consider: 

1. Rate Limiting

A key principle to understand when mitigating bot activities is that bots run on resources, which can be expensive. Thus, all bot operators would like the bot to execute the tasks as fast as possible while also using as few resources as possible. 


Rate limiting, or throttling, works based on this principle: by slowing down our reply to the bot’s requests (i.e. lowering bandwidth), we can significantly slow down this bot’s operation without letting it achieve its objective.

The hope is that by slowing it enough, the bot operator will be discouraged and will move on to another target. 

2. Feeding Fake Data

Similar in principle to rate limiting, but here instead of slowing down our bandwidth, we’ll reply to the bot’s requests with fake content. For example, we can redirect the bot to a similar page with thinner or modified content to poison its data. 

Again, by letting the bot wastes resources, the hope is that the attacker will simply move on to another website instead of persistently attacking yours. 

3. Challenging The Bot With CAPTCHA

When we aren’t completely sure about the identity of a client (whether it’s a bot or a human user), a fairly effective approach is to challenge the client with CAPTCHAs or CAPTCHA alternatives

Keep in mind, however, that CAPTCHAs are not a one-size-fits-all solution and might not be ideal in certain cases: 

  • The most sophisticated bots with AI technologies can effectively solve CAPTCHA challenges.
  • While we can make the CAPTCHA more difficult and challenging for bots, it will also increase the difficulty for human users, which may ruin our site’s user experience
  • With the presence of CAPTCHA farms, CAPTCHA isn’t effective in stopping persistent attackers who are ready to invest in the services of these CAPTCHA-solving farms. 

It’s worth noting, however, while CAPTCHA isn’t bulletproof, it is still a fairly effective bot mitigation technique in various situations to defend against less sophisticated bots. Use it tactically and sparingly. 

When To Block The Bot Traffic

Blocking the bot traffic altogether remains the most cost-effective approach in theory since we wouldn’t need to process the bot traffic and use our resources in any way. 

However, blocking the bot traffic is only ideal if we have an adequately strong bot detection solution in place that can consistently distinguish between good bots and bad bots, and can keep detecting the presence of malicious bots even after they’ve been modified and improved. 

An AI-based bot mitigation solution that is capable of predictive, real-time behavioral analysis is essential, and by investing in one, you’ll get the easiest and most effective bot mitigation solution to implement in protecting your business from various bot threats. 

Kaseya Ransomware Attack – 5 Things to Do to Protect your Business

Ah, lovely holiday weekend. We closed early on Friday. All the staff is enjoying family time. Many are out of town. The ideal time for a horrific ransomware attack to shut down hundreds of businesses and cost millions of dollars. Happy Independence Day!

In my 30 years of running our business servers, I have noticed that system penetration attacks, denial of service attacks, and brute force email spam increases at the times and dates when US staff is away from their server. Clearly the attackers hope that people are not watching the server messages that hint that a system has been compromised.

Starting mid-afternoon on July 2nd, an nefarious group succeeded in compromising a network security reseller named Kaseya. Through Kaseya’s VSA management tools, they hit IT related businesses with ransomware. Ransomware is software that locks a server or data files and then demands a ransom to unlock them.

Kaseya Underwhelms in Response

True to holiday mode, the response from Kaseya has been underwhelming. They claim to be the victim. They claim only a few customers are affected. They state they had complete control of the attack within two hours. They offer a solution to turn off any server using their service. Meanwhile, because of the attack, a chain of 500 stores is closed in Sweden, paralyzed 200 US Companies, and caused thousands of network technicians to return to work to mitigate the damage. What is missing in Kaseya’s response is a sense of responsibility and scope. It is clear that Kaseya’s management is still by the barbecue and not in the office.

Is your Business Affected? Is your Business Next?

The year 2021 has been awash in cyberattack and ransomware news. If you are not now taking steps, then you should think about it. Like any disease, these attacks are like a virus, and you can take steps to avoid your company getting sick. This may save you thousands of dollars. Here are five steps you can take this month to lower your risk.

1. Recognize Phishing Email in all its Forms

Hillary Clinton would have become president if it wasn’t for a mistake made by Democratic Chairman John Podesta. The campaign was a target, and they already knew there were emails sent their way for information. John clicked twice and entered his email credentials. Within minutes, 50,000 campaign emails were in Russian hands, and Hillary’s campaign was toast. How could any high-level manager fall for a simple spoof?

The spoofs are getting pretty good. It takes an effort not to click. We all get them. What is typical now is they come in a short email, with no explanation and a simple and logical attachment. The only clue is that the sender is not known.

Sometimes the sender is known or even a known vendor. Here at CompanionLink, a quick view of our publicly available DNS reveals that we use Rackspace for business emails. You can guess we get many messages that claim to be from Rackspace. Things like “Phone message from Rackspace” (we do not get phone service from them), or Mailbox Full, or Mailbox Corrupted. My favorite is the ones that make you panic – “Your credit card has been billed for $6,533.32” or “Your bank account has been closed for fraud.”

Avoid the panic. Tell your staff to forward all odd messages without clicking. Then, if needed, log into your Email Portal or Bank to ensure there is no actual problem.

2. Train your Staff – Really – to Recognize and Mitigate Risks

We all know the drill. You have a 30-minute meeting with your Vice President to underscore the importance of security for your business and your customers. He tells the tech manager in 4 sentences and maybe sends an email to all. Your team managers respond upstream in glowing terms, and then behind your back, convey a “don’t screw up” message downstream. The line staff gets the message: “Please don’t leave food in the refrigerator more than 3 days, remember to buy a secret Santa gift, and do not take down the entire company with an insecure password.” Unfortunately, the line staff just treats it as another empty command from from the top.

The most common method of attack is phishing emails

The SolarWinds attack vector is not known. What is known, however, is that for five years, certain SolarWinds systems were available using the password Solarwinds123. While the company CEO claims they immediately locked out the password after being notified that it was publicly available, others dispute both the timeline and the extent of the password use.

This goes beyond simply choosing a good password. And it goes beyond any automated system that forces you to change passwords frequently. The best hygiene is to ensure every system you have has a different password and your passwords are stored securely. These are opposing goals but worthy of taking time to get it right.

3. Do not use Unnecessary Vendors

SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, and Kaseya show the vulnerability when an IT vendor becomes the source of a security breach. A company whose only fault is to purchase services from a vendor is suddenly left with a million-dollar mess.

For the most part, you can identify your IT vendors by looking at the bills you pay. If you pay for a service, your company may be vulnerable to a breach of that service. Keep a close eye on payments large and small because instead of paying them, they may cost you. Be sure the service is necessary and justified. Check your emails for unpaid providers like Facebook and Google, since these notices mean that you are paying by having your information sold (advertising) rather than from your bank account.

4. Do not Trust the Cloud

People who trust the cloud are the same ones that sign agreements without reading them. Their trust is misguided. You can be sure those click-through agreements have huge loopholes for data breaches. Your best security is not to be a target. Staying small and anonymous may work better than making waves and becoming a victim.

The Microsoft Exchange attack targeted corporations that run their own private Exchange servers. The problem was not systems that were up to date but systems that were lagging in updates. These were companies that made the best effort to run secure servers but that had fallen a bit behind on maintenance, which was not surprising during the COVID era. Most companies focused on how to pay staff and not on whether to install routine security updates.

For Email that is internet-based, you are safer using IMAP protocol that does not connect to LDAP logins which may allow system-level passwords. For in-house systems, like CRM, there are still many vendors that can supply an on-premise CRM that is a fraction of the cost of a cloud system and that ensures that even if your internet is down – your customer data is safe within your corporate firewall.

5. Beware of Security Dominoes

A security domino is any system that, when breached, leads to other systems that may be breached. Password vendors Lastpass and 1Password are targets for bad players. And it would be best if you kept in mind that Yahoo and AOL have been breached multiple times, as have Facebook and Twitter. Even Apple, who sticks its finger in Microsoft’s eye on viruses, has been found guilty of sickening silence when 128 million iPhone users were hacked.

For corporate servers, ensure that your logins are qualified not just by password, 2FA, and 3 Dimensions, but ensure their IP matches a minimal set of known IPs. Do not use IP location since any VPN user easily spoofs location. You need to limit access to the specific IP network that your team uses. Primitive firewalls like Iptables can sometimes block better than sophisticated ones that allow anyone to get to a login screen. The networks your team uses are limited and known. Strength lies in simplicity.

Ending

To the management of Kaseya, your company got attacked. Start your message by taking responsibility – until known otherwise – your company was vulnerable to an attack. If you did your job right, this attack would not have happened. Start by owning that fact.

Hundreds of IT workers got their holiday ruined. Reach out. Tell them that Kaseya management is called back at the office and will stay full-time to ensure the fastest possible response.

Finally, reach out to your customers – who have been damaged – to help mitigate their future losses and explain what you are doing to make up for their current losses. You have insurance. They do not.

For everyone else – sit down on Tuesday with your monthly vendor bills, and go through one-by-one. Make sure you are protected if that vendor is breached. The year 2021 has seen an unprecedented rise in successful ransomware attacks, and the trend is not in your favor.

How did Windows 11 Leak? Is Microsoft’s Codebase Secure?

The Windows 11 official launch event took place on June 24, but the internet was already flooded with leaked Windows 11 ISO news on June 15. At first, the screenshots of Windows 11 appeared at Chinese site Baidu, and then the early build leak of Windows 11 ISO started revolving all over the internet. How does a tech giant like Microsoft let this massive leak happen? If Microsoft cannot handle its most important project’s privacy, how can we suppose that our data handed by them is secure?

There is no official announcement from Microsoft till now about how this leak took place. But Microsoft is issuing DMCA complaints to those sites that are distributing the leaked Windows 11 ISO. To have a closer look at how did Windows 11 leak, this blog presents some possible scenarios that could have led to this incident.

4 Possible Scenarios behind Windows 11 Leak

Different theories are rising related to Windows 11 leak. Some are considering it a marketing stunt, while others are considering it a serious security loophole. We have researched the possible scenarios that could have resulted in Windows 11 leak and come with the following 4 points:

1. Link to SolarWinds and Exchange Attacks

Microsoft has experienced significant cyber-attacks in the past couple of months. The prominent one is the SolarWinds attack that made thousands of global businesses, including government organizations and Microsoft its victim. The attackers even got access to Microsoft source code by gaining control of a few internal accounts. However, Microsoft later announced that the hackers just got access to view the code and the stolen source code had no impact on its products’ security.

After the SolarWinds attack, Microsoft experienced a second attack in 2021 on Microsoft Exchange Server. Four zero-day vulnerabilities were exploited by attackers from China. They deployed backdoors and continue to use them to conduct wide-scale malware attacks.

Microsoft is anxious to move on from these many cyberattacks. One hundred thousand corporate customers have spent significant amounts of money cleaning up the damage. Now the question arises, is the Microsoft codebase secure. Clearly, attackers managed to penetrate deep into the systems without being detected, so how can Microsoft be so sure about its recovery? Therefore, the recent cyber-attacks on Microsoft can be linked to the Windows 11 leak. There is no such clear evidence on it, but chances are there that it is a potential reason behind the leak.

2. Intentional Leak from Microsoft

There is a high possibility that Windows 11 was intentionally leaked by Microsoft to create the hype and gain the attention of users. Well, if this was Microsoft’s plan, then it seems to went perfectly. Windows 11 became a trending topic on the internet before its official release, and everyone started to explore what new offerings it is going to provide.

But why would a tech giant like Microsoft has to leak its OS when it can easily market it after the launch event? The possible answer could be the attention its competitors are gaining from users in the COVID-19 pandemic.

When Microsoft launched Windows 10, it was declared as the last Windows version. The possible reason was the growth of smartphones as the main computing devices and decreased use of PCs. The sales of computers dropped, while the sales of smartphones increased exponentially. So, that’s one possible reason why Microsoft decided to stop releasing new OS every two or three years.

But COVID-19 shifted things greatly. The demand for computers increased due to remote working and online studies. Chromebooks sales accelerated, while Apple also released its fastest-ever M1 chip for Macs. This possibly left Microsoft and its computer manufacturing partners in a miserable stage. So, that might have triggered the need for Windows 11 to bring market balance.

But since Windows 11 is mostly an improvement of UI and features-enhancement of Windows 10, so to bring solid market impact, Microsoft might have played the leaked Windows 11 ISO stunt. They have managed to gain attention on the internet, let users test out the leaked ISO, and also successfully shifted the attention hype from its competitors.

3. Insider Dishonestly

Microsoft is an ideal tech company to work in. From the diversified work environment to great salary, Microsoft employees experience both personal and professional growth. But not all employees have the same intention. Therefore, one possibility behind Windows 11 leak is that the employee(s) managed to steal the Windows 11 build version without getting caught and then sold/released it on the internet anonymously. Usually, tech companies ensure strict internal security measures, but there are always some chances of security loopholes.

4. Remote Working Vulnerabilities

COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the environment of remote working. Plenty of companies are running their businesses remotely. But remote working requires employees to have access to business-sensitive information from networks that are not that secure as the workplace networks. This is the reason that cyber-attacks are already rising since COVID-19. The chances that Windows 11 got leaked due to remote working vulnerabilities is quite rare, but still, it is one of the possibilities to consider.

Wrapping Up

Microsoft 11 leak is real, and Microsoft also agrees on it. But no one is answering how this huge mistake even occurred. One concerning element is that if Microsoft’s codebase is not secure, why should customers not consider its products may have hidden backdoors. Is every Windows and Office 365 user now vulnerable to privacy breaches, theft of investments, and ransomware? Everyone’s business is now susceptible to be shut down?

We now await to see how Microsoft responds to this leak.

Understanding and Preventing Privilege Creep

Businesses are in the midst of a transition. Many are trying to determine what the right path forward is for them after the pandemic, as far as remote work or hybrid work. Some companies are bringing employees back to the office full-time, while others are going to implement more flexible policies.

There’s a lot to think about and potentially reconfigure for businesses right now after they were thrown into having employees work remotely because of COVID-19.

IT teams, in particular, are taking on a lot of that work. The IT teams in many workplaces are trying to figure out how to balance changing needs with cybersecurity risks that can come with long-term remote or hybrid work.

They also have to think about what it might look like to manage day-to-day IT concerns when teams are dispersed some or all of the time.

One big issue that can become more pervasive with remote work is privilege creep. It can go under the radar more if workers are on a hybrid or fully remote schedule, and it creates a significant cybersecurity threat.

With that in mind, the following are some of the main things to know about privilege creep and preventing it from occurring in an organization.

What is Privilege Creep?

Privilege creep is also known as access creep. This occurs when an employee, often gradually over time, gets more access rights than are needed to do their job.

Privilege or access creep can be the result of not revoking access that was granted for temporary or special projects or not making the necessary changes to reflect different job duties or requirements. When someone gets a promotion or takes on a different role in a company and they get new access privileges, but their previous roles aren’t revoked, it also contributes to this issue.

Basically, the overarching idea with privilege creep is that employees have access to data, resources, and applications not needed for their duties, which then puts the system at risk.

The biggest risk with privilege creep is often the potential for insider threats to occur. Also, a hacker may be able to get into higher levels of a company network if they have just one set of stolen credentials.

There are problems with compliance that can stem from privilege creep too. If your organization is one that’s in an industry handling sensitive data, such as health records, and there is privilege creep happening, you may not be in compliance with laws and regulations.

Along with cybersecurity issues that can come from privilege or access creep, there’s also an impact on productivity. You want your employees to only use what’s absolutely necessary for their job. The more access they have, the more time they might waste on things like recovering passwords.

Preventing privilege creep can have the added benefit of streamlining workflows.

Conduct Regular Access Reviews

One of the most important things you can do on a regular basis is conducting access reviews.

An access review should be part of your overall cybersecurity plan. Access reviews allow you to get a view of who has access to what. Set a timetable when you’ll regularly conduct access reviews to audit existing permissions.

You can analyze all the user accounts that are part of your organization. Make sure that everyone within the organization has access to only what they need.

If you’re part of a larger organization, you might rotate audits across departments.

Each employee should have access privileges reviewed at least biannually. Their current permissions need to be both assessed and justified during an audit.

You also want to take away permissions they don’t need and delve into why they have those permissions and why they weren’t removed.

Formalize Your Employee Change Process

A good way to avoid privilege creep and other cybersecurity risks is to formalize the steps in the process when an employee goes through a change. This might mean a demotion or promotion or any kind of change in role.

The IT department should be in the loop on these changes in addition to human resources.

Always Follow the Principle of Least Privilege

The Principle of Least Privilege or POLP is a reference to best practices to reduce cybersecurity risks associated with privilege creep.

The idea is that any user, process, or program has the bare minimum privileges required.

By adhering to this principle, you’re reducing the likelihood of an attacker getting access to sensitive data or critical systems.

If there is a compromise in the system, it can stay confined to its origin area, or at least that’s more likely what’s going to happen with POLP.

To provide an example, Edward Snowden leaked millions of files from the NSA because he had admin privileges. His highest-level role was creating backups of the database. Now, in the time since that happened, the NSA uses the principle of least privilege, and around 90% of employees have had higher-level access privileges revoked.

Another example is Target. Hackers got access to tens of millions of Target customer accounts because an HVAC contractor had certain permissions. Target allowed itself to have a broad attack surface because it didn’t implement the principle of least privilege.

A few best practice tips to implement POLP include:

  • As was touched on above, you’ll need to do a privilege audit. You should check all the accounts that currently exist and programs to make sure they have only the permissions needed to do their job.
  • All accounts should, as a rule, start with least privilege. Any new account privileges should, as a default, be as low as possible.
  • All admin accounts should be separated from standard accounts.
  • If someone needs elevated privileges, restrict them only to the time periods when they’re needed.
  • Set it up so that you can track individual actions.

Limiting privileges and maintaining principles of least privilege is an important component of modern cybersecurity. It should be one of the biggest priorities for an organization because not doing so creates an enormous attack surface and opportunities for lateral movement at a minimum.

What is Data Protection in Cloud Computing?

Many businesses now use cloud computing as a way to store and share data across the business. However, with cloud computing, there is a risk that data protection laws could be breached if personal data is not effectively protected.

The main risks regarding data protection when using cloud computing are:

  • Loss or damage of data caused by your service provider.
  • Unauthorized disclosure or access.
  • Malicious attacks on your service provider (e.g. hacking and viruses).
  • Poor security processes compromise your data.

Most cloud hosting providers have extremely strong security processes to ensure data protection but when you are looking for a cloud computing provider, you should be checking that they have a good reputation for being secure and for protecting data, to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Before you agree to use a cloud computing provider, you should carefully check the service level agreement for the details related to the security measures that they have in place to protect your data. The types of security details and solutions you should look for include:

Cloud Firewall

This is an added layer of protection to help prevent malicious attacks, they block cyber attacks by forming a virtual barrier around cloud platforms, applications and infrastructure.

Encryption

Encryption is a security method that scrambles data so that hackers cannot read the data. Encryption can be used in lots of different ways including to protect data that is being stored and to protect data that is being sent.

Cloud VPS

A VPS (virtual private server) provides a private, dedicated hosting environment, as opposed to sharing a hosting environment, where there is greater risk of malicious attacks and other security weaknesses. A VPS is more expensive than a shared server due to all of the additional levels of security that this solution offers to businesses. If you have a business that uses customer data, it is definitely recommended to use cloud VPS to keep your customers’ data protected.

Identity and Access Management

IAM tracks the identity of a user to authorize or deny access if necessary. The user’s access privileges will determine whether they are permitted to access data. Access control services are an important data protection measure for businesses across all types of systems, not just cloud-based ones.

Backup Plans

Another important element of security when using cloud computing solutions, is to have an adequate backup plan. If your data is accidentally deleted or there is a technical fault that results in the loss of data, a backup plan takes a copy of the data, which is usually stored in another cloud. In the event of data loss, the latest backup copy can be re-installed.

Employee Training and Awareness

One of the top causes of data breaches is through an error made by a user, so it is vital that employees who have access to data are comprehensively trained in data protection. Regulated industries have mandatory training that employees must complete to be compliant with regulators, including data protection, which they must pass a test on to demonstrate their understanding. Records of employee training results must be provided to the regulators as evidence that the business is complying with the training requirements.

There are many benefits to using cloud computing and often it is a more secure way of storing and sharing data, as providers implement excellent security measures. Businesses can also reduce costs by using cloud computing and collaborate more easily while employees work remotely, or across different locations. As long as you check that the cloud computing provider has the key security measures in place, your business can greatly benefit from using this technology.

How To Improve Your Business Infrastructure And Grow Faster

When you own a business, it is common that at times you may feel stuck, but you want to expand your operations. There are different steps that you can take to grow your business and generate more revenue. Read on to learn how to improve your business infrastructure and grow faster.

Grow Your Business With SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective strategy that helps your business thrive online by improving its visibility. Effective SEO utilizes unique keywords to drive organic traffic to your website so that it ranks high on search engine results pages. Make sure you include quality content on your website that can add value to the users. Before users buy different products, they first look for information that can help them solve their problems. When the visitors to your site get the information they want, they can try your products. Conversions from clicks on your site can boost your sales and promote growth.

Prioritize Web Designing

A website is a critical and indispensable component that affects the entire operations of your business. You should design a user-friendly site that is easy to navigate. Apart from web design, you must also focus on other critical elements including the loading speed and bandwidth related to hosting. If you often experience downtime, knowledgeable web hosting individuals sighted that you must choose the right UK reseller hosting company to improve user experience. With reliable hosting infrastructure, you can significantly grow your business since your site can appeal to the interests of many users. All you need to do is to choose the best package that suits the needs of your company.

Utilize Appropriate Channels to Reach Your Customers

You can also use different social media platforms to engage with your clients to build strong relationships and loyalty. The advantage of using social media is that it provides a two-way communication system that allows you to get feedback from the customers. Start by making a short video to engage your customers with something they need. Conclude by offering to listen to their feedback. The feedback you get from the buyers is essential since it helps you make the necessary changes that can add value to your clients. You can also reach out to your loyal customers using the same channels if you have crucial information to share with your clients.

Use Management Software

You should use appropriate management or accounting software that helps you measure the performance of your business. You need to understand the metrics that help you track progress in your operations so that you avoid setbacks that can affect your operations. Carefully mapping your IT infrastructure will make it easier to spot bottlenecks and obsolete systems. With the right program, you can produce financial reports that reflect all business activities. More importantly, keep your IT infrastructure and computer networks in good working condition.

Build Strong Cybersecurity

Several small businesses, in particular, are victims of cyber attacks that often result in system crashes and data breaches. Cyber threats can impact the organization in many ways and cause great harm to its operations. The best way to address cyber threats is to choose an effective security system that you can add to your IT infrastructure. The cybercriminal elements continue to pose threats to businesses. Therefore, you need to strengthen your cyberinfrastructure to ensure that your business is ready for various threats that can affect the viability of your company.

Make Strategic Acquisitions

Another viable method of expanding your business involves strategic acquisitions of smaller businesses that offer ancillary services. The strategy of acquisition helps your company access expertise and knowledge from employees within the acquired businesses. This can help promote the growth of your business. You also gain new clients from the small organizations that you acquire if you do it well. You can also use an Online Service Marketplace to build unique online services to grow your customer base.

Improve Customer Service

The quality of service that you offer your customers determines the success or failure of your business. Buyers are interested in the good customer service they get from your company, instead of the products. Therefore, you must develop an infrastructure that supports exceptional customer service to the consumers. For instance, you need to utilize an email marketing strategy when you can send personalized messages to the customers to appeal to their emotional interests. You should also build a database consisting of customers’ contact details that you can use to connect with them.

The success of your business strongly depends on the type of infrastructure that you use to reach your customers. In this digital age, it is vital to improving your online presence to attract many buyers to your business. Make sure that your website is user-friendly and has a fast loading speed as well. It is vital to choose the right programs that help improve your operations through the automation of various tasks. You should also strive to build formidable cybersecurity that helps protect your business. More importantly, provide quality customer service to attract more buyers.