Tag Archives: Consultant

Why Your Current Antivirus, Backup, And Firewall Have Been Rendered Completely USELESS (And What You Need To Do About It)

16 Aug 17
lverbik
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At the end of World War I, German engineer Arthur Scherbius constructed a device that would become central in another worldwide conflict of unimaginable magnitude over 20 years later: the Enigma machine. The machines, which steadily became more complex with each iteration, consisted of a series of rotors that, by themselves, encrypted messages input via the attached typewriter. Each rotor performed a simple substitution cipher, but when run through multiple rotors, the encryption reached a staggering level of complexity.

Initially used for transmitting sensitive company secrets in the commercial sector, the technology was eagerly adopted by the German military machine prior to World War II. After war broke out across Europe once again, Enigma encoding became central to the operation of the Axis powers, used for sending vital, sensitive intelligence across the airwaves. Due to the complexity of the Enigma system, the Germans were certain that the code would not, and could not, be broken.

But the Germans were wrong. Using photographs of stolen Enigma operating manuals obtained by a German spy, the Polish General Staff’s Cipher Bureau managed to construct an Enigma machine of their own, enabling them to covertly decrypt substantial amounts of Axis intercepts. Ahead of the impending invasion of Poland, the Poles shared their knowledge with the French and British military to expedite the defeat of the Germans. A massive team at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, led by code-breaking master Alan Turing, became the central location for Allied efforts to keep up with Enigma operations.

Germany, still convinced the code was fundamentally unbreakable, continued using Enigma for a wide array of communications. But even the most complicated four-rotor Enigma systems were eventually decrypted. Great pains were taken to ensure the Germans never learned their precious code had been broken, labeling any intelligence gained from Enigma as “Ultra,” keeping the significance of Bletchley Park’s operations under wraps. Ultra-intelligence was used sparingly to avoid German suspicion.

The efforts of the Polish Cipher Bureau, Alan Turing, Bletchley Park, and the hundreds of men and women who contributed to the cracking of the Enigma code were described as “decisive” in theshortening of the war, and, at the high end, are estimated to have saved over 14 million lives.

Much like the Germans who assumed Enigma was uncrackable, most business owners believe their current, potentially outdated, cyber security measures will keep their data safe. But, in the contemporary age where digital information is as precious as gold, cybercriminals are working around the clock to penetrate even the most robust security solutions. You can bet they’ve already created a workaround for your current antivirus. What was good enough before may not be good enough today. After all, it’s simply impossible that a security solution from even two years back could be equipped to defend your precious data from a cutting-edge hacking technology that didn’t even exist when it was created.

Today, companies that fail to stay abreast of the latest cyber security trends — clinging foolishly to their own Enigma — are certain to pay the price down the line. Once the lock is picked, you need a new lock, and criminals are cracking new locks each and every day.

Luckily, as your IT provider, we’re cyber security experts, and we constantly seek the latest and most robust security solutions. Don’t leave your company’s security up to a false sense of confidence. Always be looking at options to upgrade your digital security and make it a sure thing.

The One Attack No Tech Can Stop

22 Sep 16
lverbik
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You can defend your data with all the latest and best technology. But if just one team member gets tricked into giving away the keys to the castle, it’s game over. Hackers know this. And that’s why so many use social engineering to break in.

And it’s not just the big companies you hear about on the news. On February 3, 2016 a suspect posing as the CEO of Magnolia Health Corp. obtained a spreadsheet with sensitive data about their employees. On February 23, someone posing as an employee of Central Concrete Supply Company obtained confidential W2 records and disappeared with them.

In a 2011 survey, Check Point Software Technologies found that nearly half of the companies surveyed reported one or more social engineering attacks resulting in losses ranging anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 per occurrence.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t any whiz-bang tricks or tools that will automatically prevent a clever “social engineer” (SE) from breaking in. The keys to protection are awareness and vigilance. To help you know what to watch for, here are five common ploys – and how to deflect them:

Familiarity – In this type of scheme, the hacker becomes familiar to an employee. Social networking sites can reveal an employee’s schedule and favorite hangouts. The hacker might then frequent the same bar or restaurant. After a drink or two, some key fact may slip out… The best way to bust this ploy is to be careful to not get lulled into a false sense of security around people you haven’t thoroughly vetted.

The Consultant – A social engineer poses as a consultant for hire. Once they get the gig they can scoop up all the info they need from you and your team because of their seeming authority. Watch for this especially with IT consultants. Do NOT trust blindly. Vet every consultant, and never give all the keys to the kingdom. Just because someone has the skills to fix your server or network doesn’t mean they won’t steal your data. Vet thoroughly, and, as Ronald Reagan said, ‘trust but verify’.

Piggybacking – The SE waits by a secured door for someone to use their passcode and enters right behind them. Or the SE struggles with a heavy box and asks a legit employee to hold the door open for them. Being kind and helpful, the employee helps the SE right into the building… free to do as they please. To foil this one, never forget the dangers of allowing a stranger in without proper clearance.

The Interview – Key information often escapes during interviews. A smart social engineer will gain an interview and deftly pick up all the information they need to hack into your network. Make sure any data provided during an interview offers nothing in the way of secrets. Keep the conversation light, or even superficial to avoid leaking critical data.

Angry Man – You may have seen this on TV… Somebody has an angry tone on the phone, or is grumbling to themselves as if they’ve just had an argument. We all tend to avoid people like that. Enough people avoid them and the way is cleared into the heart of the company – and your data. Don’t go along with it. When you see this exploit unfolding, call security.

The key to preventing social engineering attacks is a well-trained workforce. You and your people may be your company’s greatest asset. Yet without regular, proper training, human beings can be the weakest link in your company’s data defenses.

Contact a TechnoPro for more information.

Help Grow your Business with Help Desk Support

30 Dec 15
lverbik
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Here at Techno Advantage, we believe that a major advantage we offer IT clients in our integrated family of IT management products and services is our Help Desk. Because partnering with you is a priority, your outsourced IT Help Desk is here for you 24-7, at the ready to help you should your system experience a down.

Because IT management can be so complex, we keep things simple—when employees have an IT issue or question, we’re right here. Following are a few key reasons why our Help Desk can mean good things for your business.

  • Knowledge that can save you money. Taking care of your business’s IT needs sounds like it could become a costly endeavor, and it could if not handled correctly. Our Help Desk can provide guidance and wisdom to move your IT program where it needs to go without unnecessary spending. In the long run, you’re going to be glad you saved money that you can funnel into other areas of importance.
  • Keeping everyone efficient. Before small IT issues become big ones, a Help Desk can step in and head off potential trouble. From top management on down, efficiency is higher and workflow is not disrupted when you have a Help Desk to rely on.
  • Save valuable man-hours. A dedicated team solving your IT issues for you means your employees are free to stay productive and focused on the work at hand. We’re your crack IT troubleshooting snipers picking off whatever threatens to slow down your office.
  • More than problem solvers; problem avoiders. Our Help Desk not only provides help choosing the right technology, systems and software that can increase workflow but we follow up with your employees to ensure problems stay solved and employees stay productive and satisfied.
  • The go-to people for technology. Keeping up with the fast-evolving IT industry can be tough. But with our Help Desk professionals, you have the advantage of built-in expert advisors who are tracking with the latest innovations and trends to give you that edge you need to stay competitive.

Techno Advantage provides the technology to support your business with customized solutions in a true partner relationship. Our Help Desk is just one way we can take the burden from you. Contact us for more ways we can help grow your business.

Looking Forward into New Technology in 2015

28 Dec 14
lverbik
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Technology changes quickly. Just when you think you have the latest technology solution for your business, something newer and better is being touted as the “next big thing.” As 2014 draws to an end, we wanted to share 4 trends that are expected to affect small business technology in 2015.

The Cloud

Cloud computing is becoming more and more attractive due to its affordable computing capability, storage and apps available on-demand and to everyone in an organization. Businesses buy only the capacity they need and receive updates with minimal hassle. However, this tool also comes with many questions: What’s the right cloud structure? Should we host our own cloud? Should we invest in the infrastructure? In many cases, a cloud solution may be more affordable, but there are some concerns about control and security. There can also be questions about migrating across competing ecosystems, such as Microsoft Office and Google apps. Read our other posts about the Cloud here:

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Since most individuals only want to accommodate one smartphone at a time, these devices ushered in the era of BYOD. Saying no to personal devices can be a productivity buster that can be tough to enforce. However, there are still many issues with which many small businesses are wrestling. These include making sure that a phone or tablet isn’t an easy access point to disrupting the network while keeping employees data safe and separate.

Device Crossover

Once, the roles of devices were clearly defined–the desktop for stationary productivity and more demanding processing tasks, laptops for mobile productivity, and smartphone for nomadic connectivity. However, the entrance of new operating systems such as iOS and Chrome OS have made choosing the right equipment a lot more difficult; this issue is of course interwoven with that of BYOD. Small businesses can now tap into low-cost Chromebooks as well as Windows notebooks and even affordable two-in-ones that can work as a laptop or tablet.

Security Management

It seems that every day we hear about data breaches at large companies such as Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan Chase and, most recently and infamously, Sony Pictures. The bread and butter of antivirus is still important, but even small businesses must be concerned with the integrity of customer data. There are lots of options in the marketplace that can help with this. We want to help you and your business stay secure. Check out these previous posts about security:

 

While there may be many questions around where small business IT will go in 2015, it seems clear that there are more choices than ever to best match a small business’s needs.

Techno Advantage is here to help you explore the technology solutions that are right for you. CONTACT US

 

The Team at Techno Advantage Wishes You A Productive, Safe and Prosperous New Year!