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Tech & Innovation

Work-from-home cybersecurity tips

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home and using that to their advantage. They are using ransomware, phishing scams, malware, and more to gain access to companies’ systems for profit.

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Photo by Steve Halama from Unsplash.com

Since the pandemic began and the majority of people’s lives was forced online, cybercrime has soared. The Cyber Division of the FBI recently released to incredible statistics on what they are seeing during the pandemic. At one point, the division was getting up to 4,000 complaints of cyberattacks a day. That number is a 400% increase from the number of complaints before the pandemic started.

It is not just a US issue either. The European-based international police organization, Interpol reports that “with organizations and businesses rapidly deploying remote systems and networks to support staff working from home, criminals are also taking advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits and cause disruption.”

The global pandemic has forced people to work from home and criminals are taking advantage of this with a growing number of attacks.

These statistics and statements both point to the same thing. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home and using that to their advantage. They are using ransomware, phishing scams, malware, and more to gain access to companies’ systems for profit.  

Who are Cyberattackers Targeting?

The short answer is, ransomware attackers will attack anyone with a computer and an internet connection without thinking twice about it. Big companies, small businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and even individuals are all seen as potential targets. This is a crime designed to make the criminals money so the more people and organizations they attack, the more chances they have that their ransom will be paid.

That said, there are institutions that these criminals are attacking at a much higher rate and with much more intensity than others. Right now, because of how hectic these organizations are due to the coronavirus and how many people they have – many of whom are working from home – these places are more susceptible to attacks than others. This includes large, multinational companies, the healthcare industry, schools, and local governments.

Recent Attacks

No one can be sure from the outside that all the recent, major cyberattacks are due to working at home. Only when a skilled cybersecurity company like MonsterCloud reviews the attack can the true source of the attack be found. However, the sheer increase in successful attacks paired with the COVID-related stay-at-home orders makes it a good bet that the two things are related.

Here are some tips to deal with (possible) cyberattacks:

Tip #1: Make Sure Systems are Up to Date

Still hitting “Remind Me Tomorrow” on that system update prompt the computer has been reminding about since the pandemic started? If so, it’s way past time to install any updates that are needed.

Tip #2: Make Sure Anti-Virus Software is Up to Date

The tip is to keep anti-virus software up to date, but that is assuming the software is being used. If not, stop reading this right now and go install one. Anti-virus software is the easiest way to protect from hackers. Like in most situations, the criminals will always be ahead of the people trying to stop them but anti-virus software will catch the majority of attacks before they harm the system.

Tip #3: Watch Out for COVID-19 Phishing Scams

When MonsterCloud reviews the ransomware attacks that have happened during the pandemic, the company has found that many have started with pandemic-related phishing emails. These emails are designed to take advantage of people’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge about pandemic-related topics.

Tip #4: Watch the Wireless Internet 

Whether logging onto the internet-based cloud or a company’s in-house servers to access the company’s systems, chances are people are using WiFi to do so. Securing WiFi is of critical importance when working from home. If the home WiFi is not password protected, that is something that needs to be done. If it is, make sure that the password is a strong password and not the default one the router came with. Using something like an address or “password1234” is also not a good idea.  

Conclusion

Cybercrime, especially ransomware is a huge problem right now. The global pandemic has forced people to work from home and criminals are taking advantage of this with a growing number of attacks. By following these few simple tips though, everyone can be better prepared to work from home and have less of a chance of being the cause of a cyberattack on their company.

Unfortunately, even if people follow all these tips and more, cybercriminals are so good at what they do these days, someone may still find themselves the victim of a ransomware attack no matter what they do. If this happens, don’t panic. Don’t pay the ransom. Don’t leave it to an in-house IT department. Call the cybersecurity experts.

Strategies

6 Simple tips to refresh your online privacy

Here are six simple steps that you can take in order to get some of your privacy back from social media and apps.

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Photo by Jakob Owens from Unsplash.com

Avast, a global player in digital security and privacy products, is calling on all online users to take back their privacy across their digital lifestyle.

“It’s important to not be apathetic when it comes to online privacy and to regularly look at how you can stay in control over your privacy and the personal data you share online, including on social media and apps that many of us use every day,” said Shane McNamee, Chief Privacy Officer at Avast.

On February 4, it will be 16 years since Facebook launched and while it wasn’t the first social network, it has changed how willingly we are to share personal data about ourselves online. Platforms like Facebook and Google have developed complex advertising networks which rely on personal data for targeted advertising, which can seem ever-present at times. However, there are ways you can take back some control and limit the access that websites, social media platforms, and apps have to your personal data. You have more control than you think when it comes to deciding who can see your data and what they are allowed to do with it.

Here are six simple steps that you can take in order to get some of your privacy back from social media and apps.

1. Manage advertising

You can restrict what data advertisers use to target you on different social media platforms. Have a good look through your privacy and advertising settings and make sure you remove interests that the platform can use to target you, which you can do, for example, on Facebook and Twitter. Where possible, toggle off or remove any personal data that can also be used for ad targeting. You can also limit tracking and ad targeting by these platforms based on your browsing off social media, such as by turning off ‘Off-Twitter Activity’ on Twitter and removing ‘Ads Shown off of Facebook’ on Facebook.

2. Turn off location tracking

Location tracking and history, even location metadata in your photos, can allow social media platforms and apps to track and catalogue your precise locations and then serve you personalised ads. A good privacy-protecting move is to turn off your Location Services on your phone for all social media apps and your camera. If you have an iPhone, you can find this in Settings, Privacy, then Location Services. On Android, go to Settings, then Location to turn off Location Sharing, Location History and adjust location access for apps.

3. Don’t log in

On certain social media platforms, like Twitter and TikTok, you don’t need to log in to view content. By choosing not to log in, it takes away a really big amount of data that they could potentially collect, such as your user journey through the network, including content you search and engage with, and ads you click.

4. Revoke app and game permissions

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably signed into other apps and websites with your Facebook or Google login details. While this is super convenient, it also gives those sites access to your data and gives the platform you use to log in more information about you. Through your Facebook settings you can revoke permissions or you can choose what data the apps and games you still use have access to. Similarly, you can manage third-party access to your Google account through your security settings.

5. Don’t click on ads

Many social media platforms and apps track not only which ads you click on but also how long you spend looking at them or swiping through them. If you don’t want social media platforms or apps to have information about your interests, then get in the habit of really ignoring ads all together and don’t use the Shop feature you can find in Instagram and on Google, for example. If you see something that you like, you can search for it via your browser whilst using a VPN which makes it harder for third-parties to track your online activities.

6. Create a burner email address

If you’re going to truly take back some of your privacy, you can start from square one by creating a burner email address. A burner email — which is an email address that you only use for specific things and that isn’t linked to you elsewhere — makes it much more difficult for companies to track you. You can easily create one for free on Gmail, but just be sure not to link it to your main account. Even better, use a different email service than the one you usually use, so you don’t accidentally link them up.

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Strategies

Cybersecurity tips to help small businesses

Unfortunately, business disruption and reduced sales aren’t the only COVID-related issues small business owners dealt with in 2020.

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Photo by Nathan Dumlao from Unsplash.com

Unfortunately, business disruption and reduced sales aren’t the only COVID-related issues small business owners dealt with in 2020. This is why Breadcrumb Cybersecurity is sounding the alarm to small businesses that might be prey for accelerated fraud activity.

“We saw increased activity as threat groups leveraged the COVID-19 situation to defraud businesses from their funding,” says Brian Horton, CEO of Breadcrumb Cybersecurity, which helps companies navigate a wide range of advanced cybercrime, including ransomware, financial crime, intellectual property theft, destructive attacks and employee and insider fraud.

Threat groups are intentional and calculative regarding the timing of their strikes. They are keenly aware of when businesses are typically sending or receiving large amount of funds.

This is why Horton said that they encourage small businesses to reach out to security experts to establish a relationship now so they can jump in immediately if warranted. “Emergencies can happen to anyone, and every second matters.”

Wondering how to protect yourself? Breadcrumb Cybersecurity offers the following tips for small businesses to increase their security:

  1. Whenever possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for e-mail and banking services. By requiring multiple forms of verification, it increases your account security as passwords can be easily comprised.
  2. Fraudsters are improving their techniques, but malicious emails still typically contain broken English or improper use of grammar. If anything feels out of place, call and verify with the other party before clicking on a link.
  3. Always call to verify any requested banking/ACH updates. Even if the email looks legitimate, it’s wise to make a proactive call, using a number you find independently, rather than the one provided in the email.
  4. Be wary of an unsolicited email that implies a sense of urgency or threat; i.e. “we need funds now or we will turn off your account.” This is often a red flag for malicious activity.
  5. Have contact information at the ready so you can reach out to a cybersecurity company in response to a potential data breach.

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Tech & Innovation

5 Things to know about digital archiving

For businesses to embark on their digital transformation journey, they first have to make paper-based information ready to be accessed, analyzed, and quickly utilized, which means digitizing massive amounts of records. Here are some of the advantages that digital archiving provides to companies that embark on digital transformation.

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The only permanent thing in the world is change, and the companies see that the traditional practices of business operations are coming to an end. To continue their businesses and create a faster and more efficient way to conduct document workflow, transactions, and other processes, they have taken the significant step of digital transformation. 

However, for businesses to embark on their digital transformation journey, they first have to make paper-based information ready to be accessed, analyzed, and quickly utilized, which means digitizing massive amounts of records. Here are some of the advantages that digital archiving provides to companies that embark on digital transformation:  

Safely Stored Data 

Paper documents are always prone to damage that even a simple crumple can tear it apart, and it can also be lost or misplaced. Recovering damaged data can cost businesses large amounts of time and money, or they may need to make a whole new document since paper documents can be gone for good. Still, digitizing records solves this problem since it is safely stored in online archives where multiple copies can be made for backup and easy access of employees.  

Improved Productivity and Efficiency 

Looking for documents through numerous filing cabinets and other papers kills employees’ crucial time when they could have spent it on other priorities. Some business processes require original files rather than copies because of legal reasons. However, if the file is stored digitally, employees no longer need to waste time searching for it or settling on copies. 

Employees will only take seconds to find files if stored digitally, making them more efficient in finishing tasks and being free from the stress and discomfort of rummaging through piles of documents. In addition, they can now share important information between departments with ease. 

Eco-Friendly and Saves Space 

Another reason why storing vital data digitally, other than safety, is because the old way of storing data requires many resources such as papers, folders, filing cabinets, rooms, and other stationery materials. An archive room alone costs a huge amount of operational expenses, and the large amount of papers used in the process is not environmentally friendly. 

Switching to digital archives no longer requires large rooms and unlimited amounts of paper to keep records and vital documents stored. Employees will only need their office computers or laptops and immediately have the information they need to fall in front of them. 

Secured Records and Safe from Unauthorized Use 

Confidential data needs constant monitoring to ensure that it is where it needs to be. Personnel tend to misplace or lose paper documents permanently, endangering the personal information of the patient or the integrity of the medical facility. Digitizing documents and archiving it online can help personnel closely monitor the location of these files and ensure backup files for emergencies. 

Immense Flexibility 

Since files are stored online, it lets employees access the documents almost anywhere as long they have the gadgets and the authorization to retrieve it. For instance, hospital staffers can immediately have the patient profile they need without prolonging their waiting time. Business executives can access financial reports in their homes and instantly know the status of their companies. 

Digital archiving leads businesses to begin their digital transformation by converting crucial records into digitized documents, which is the cornerstone of every enterprise. For companies to start creating their digital archives, it must first find the perfect tool to digitize physical documents. 

Fujitsu’s document scanning solutions create a paperless organization to accelerate digital transformation efforts. From mobile-scanning and one-touch document imaging to production-level leading-edge imaging technologies, Fujitsu’s scanners are built to fit organizations’ unique needs. 

Fujitsu Philippines has made Japanese IT design and technology available through its server, storage, and scanning hardware and solutions. The company also offers cloud technology that provides relevant and cost-effective IT solutions to all organizations of various sizes and needs. 

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