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Common Cyber Security Considerations

Businesses need to identify security issues in their network before it’s too late.

Cyberattacks are on the rise and what’s even more worrying is the pace at which they are rising. British firms are among the hardest hit by data breaches and cyber attacks in the whole of Europe.

Which factors can businesses identify and eliminate in order to protect their business?

Staff
When it comes to your organisation’s cybersecurity, the weakest link is your own staff. Phishing attacks, which make more than 80% of total cybersecurity incidents, commonly target unsuspecting employees. In addition to this, employees sometimes end up sharing sensitive data with unintended recipients, and this mistake leads to almost a quarter of the total cybersecurity incidents in the UK.

Bad planning
Almost half of the businesses surveyed lacked cybersecurity defence plans. Given this fact and the rise in cyberattacks, it won’t be wrong to say that if a business isn’t well-prepared and hasn’t experienced a cyberattack so far, it can expect one in the near future.

Vulnerable Remote Workers
Even though most employers have allowed their staff to work remotely, they are still unprepared against the kind of security breaches that can result from this major shift. Many remote workers end up using personal devices and insecure public networks for work making their devices highly vulnerable to hacking and phishing attempts.

Misconfigured Hardware & Software
It is common for inexperienced IT professionals to misconfigure servers and essential security software such as firewalls. Unfortunately, businesses that are unable to identify and rectify such issues well in time usually fall prey to the malicious attacks.

Questions?
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The Internet of Things or IoT have tremendously transformed our lives, but experts worry that with the widespread use of smart tablets and internet-enabled home appliances, a cyber security epidemic might be on the horizon.

IoTs can lead you into privacy issues as it tracks your personal data and IP address, hence exposing the location that can be associated with you and the device.

What does an IP say about your identity and location?
Your IP reveals your physical location such as deeper information that includes your country, city, state or province, even your postal code.

Your location can be combined with websites that you have visited, your interests, people you have communicated with, and many more so they can learn about you and present you with more targeted ads and content, even sell all of your data to some bidders.

Internet Service Providers or ISP’s even privy to more information. It knows almost everything about you since you are a customer, such as your name, phone number, address, bank details, credit card numbers, transaction histories, and many more.

Conclusion
The security concerns have become an issue as IoT devices which can expose your real IP are perfect prey for attacks by third parties. Therefore, you may consider using a VPN router to secure all IoT devices as it can encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP address.

Microsoft have been informing business customers using older versions of Outlook to upgrade to newer software before the 1st November 2021.

After this date, only Outlook 2013 Service Pack 1 (with the most up-to-date patches) and later versions will be able to connect to Microsoft 365 Exchange.

Why use the newer versions of Outlook?
Microsoft wants to move away from the basic authentication systems used in older versions of Outlook and instead ensure everyone connecting to its Microsoft 365 services use more modern and secure protocols. This will also prevent cyber security problems from external threats so it does make sense.

Plus with it’s 365 business plans (Standard and Premium) that already include the Microsoft suite of apps to download to Macs and Windows PCs, there is no cost to upgrade to newer versions of Outlook.

There’s a saying in the IT industry that if a software is free, then the real product is you, the user. This is because the Internet’s advertising business model relies heavily on user data, such as location, age, gender, interests. As such, most free software is designed to track and then sell this type of data to advertisers.

Not only that, but free software comes with a lot of security risks such as browser hijackers and unwanted programs that might seriously slow down your PC.

What happens when you install the Top 10 Download.com apps?
You’ll never believe what happened! Well… I guess maybe you might have a good guess. Awful things. Awful things are what happens. See the article on howtogeek.com

Why would we choose Download.com? Because their policies page states clearly that they do not allow malicious software on the site, and further that they do NOT accept any software that contains the following:

Software that installs viruses, Trojan horses, malicious adware, spyware, or other malicious software at any point during or after installation.

Software that installs without notice and without the user’s consent.

Software that includes or uses surreptitious data collection.

Software that diverts or modifies end users’ default browsers, search-engine home pages, providers, security, or privacy-protection settings without the users’ permission.

Software that installs in a concealed manner or denies users an opportunity to read the license agreement and/or to knowingly consent to the installation.

Software that induces installation by making false or misleading claims about the software or the software publisher.

I mean, with all those protections in place from the trusty people over there at CNET, why would anybody worry? I mean, CNET News is a trusted source, right? Right.

Fake update notifications can easily trick even cyber savvy users and infect their devices with malware. This is the reason we decided to help you with 3 tips on how to identify them and examples to help you avoid such an attack.

How to tell if an update notification is fake?

1 – If you received an update link via email, ignore it and mark it as spam or phishing, according to the situation. Software makers will never send you links to update your apps via email.

2 – If you see an update prompt when you’re on a website, leave the website immediately and then scan your system for potential malware infections. Software makers never trigger update notifications on websites – those are infected websites trying to compromise your system and infect it with malware.

3 – If you’re infected with adware, you may see notifications like the ones below. Never click on them! Scan your computer with a trusted (and paid) antivirus or a robust anti-malware solution to get rid of it. Adware can open backdoors into your system and feed your device with additional malware.

If you want to avoid the hassle of software updates altogether, you can use Heimdal FREE to automate them. Heimdal FREE will update your applications automatically and silently (without interrupting your activities), as soon as an update is released.

All that’s left to do is to install it (it takes under 3 minutes) and you’ll be good to go!

Cyber crime has been on the rise in the UK for some time, but the 2020 coronavirus pandemic has worsened the trend significantly.

The 2020 pandemic saw a spike in cyber crime and showed how unprepared some UK businesses are to handle cyber attacks. The Cyber Security Breaches Survey shed some light on why UK businesses may have undergone so much cyber crime in the past year:

– Only 83 percent of businesses have up-to-date anti-virus software.
– 47 percent of businesses have staff using personal devices for work, but only 18 percent have a policy on how to use those personal devices at work.
– Less than a quarter of businesses (23 percent) have a cyber security policy covering home working.
– In addition to the pandemic putting stress on cyber security, the increased use of cloud technologies has also opened up vulnerability to cyber attacks in the UK.

The Five Most Vulnerable Industries

Cyber attacks have a devastating impact on UK businesses. Poor cyber security can cost a company thousands or millions of pounds if they experience a data breach. The UK government’s Cyber Security Breaches Survey noted that where a data breach resulted in a loss of data or assets, the average cost of a cyber attack on a business is £8,460. For medium and large businesses, that figure rises to £13,400.

Although cyber crime is a risk for all businesses of any size, five particular industries tend to be targeted more often:

– Healthcare
– IT & Telecommunications
– Legal
– HR & Recruitment
– Manufacturing & Utilities

Healthcare
Healthcare industry is the most vulnerable to the risk of cyber crime in the UK because systems are outdated and there’s a fear that switching to new technology could disrupt working practices and patient care.

IT & Telecommunications
Telecoms and IT are also targets of state-sponsored cyber attacks because entire economies and businesses operate on these telecommunications structures. They’re also the gateway to other businesses; once a hacker infiltrates the telecom company’s infrastructure, they can easily intercept calls or impersonate subscribers.

Legal
Switching to remote working during the pandemic was a hard shift for many law firms, as methods for dispute resolution and transactional work didn’t support virtual methods. There’s also a lack of clear regulations surrounding data protection and security, leaving many law firms without contingency plans or a security framework to follow.

HR & Recruitment
Recruitment agencies are particularly at risk as well, because they build up lists of candidates and resources that become valuable intellectual property worth stealing. These agencies are also targets for malware because one virus can expose documents such as passport scans and visa details.

Manufacturing & Utilities
Like the healthcare industry, the manufacturing industry is reluctant to disrupt current processes and therefore operates with outdated systems. This hesitancy to update is critical, as the industry is one of the most technologically immature, having not kept up with modern security measures.

In short, a proxy is basically another computer that stands between your own computer and the destination site.

What is a proxy server?

A proxy server is basically another computer which serves as a hub through which internet requests are processed. By connecting through one of these servers, your computer sends your requests to the server which then processes your request and returns what you were wanting.

Why use a proxy server?

Proxies are used for a number of reasons such as to filter web content, to go around restrictions such as parental blocks, to screen downloads and uploads and to provide anonymity when surfing the internet. If you are wanting to surf the web anonymously then proxies can provide you with a means to hide your home IP address from the rest of the world.

There are a number of proxies that can provide you with service. Some are free and some charge a small fee, the choice is up to you but we have found that the paid services are more reliable, faster, and more secure.

Questions?
020 3637 6095
support@geekheads.co.uk

How does a password manager store your data?

What is a password manager?
A password manager is a software application which allows you to store, generate and manage all your passwords in one location. It can also store your sign-in URLs and online credentials such as usernames, credit card numbers, PIN numbers, and answers to your security questions.

How does a password manager work?
Web-based password managers store your passwords on a server—also known as “the cloud.” Unlike locally installed password managers, you can access and sync your data from different machines and devices as long as you have an internet connection, making it the most popular type of password manager. Your data is encrypted on your device before it hits the servers, so you know it’s safe and secure. Like locally installed password managers, web-based ones are also accessed using a master password.

Are password managers actually safe?
Password managers are incredibly safe to use for storing your data. Many of the most popular ones use “zero knowledge” encryption, which prevents the provider of the password manager from being able to access your data despite it being stored in the password manager itself.

To ensure the greatest level of security, password managers use military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. Many also offer two-factor authentication as an added layer of security in case someone ever happened to discover your master password.

In order for a hacker to get into your password manager account, they would have to break through all three layers of security: the encrypted data, the master password and the security key. It would be extremely difficult, if not near impossible, for even the most skilled hacker to be able to crack all three.

Lastly, password managers help you generate strong passwords using varied combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and characters. This ensures all of your passwords are unique and very difficult to guess.

Do you have any questions?
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