3 New Password Best Practices to Protect Your Company in 2017

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 8/17/17 8:00 AM

With the recent news that Bill Burr, who originally wrote the guidelines for government employees password polices that influenced the business world too, now regrets those complexity standards he developed businesses are now left to decide how they should handle these new standards.

NIST released a draft of its guidelines for review last year, and this summer, released the final version. It’s a four-volume document, written, as Fortune describes, “in turgid bureaucrat-speak.” We’ll save you the trouble of wading through it and highlight some of the biggest changes from the password best practices of the past.

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Topics: IT Security

Can Your Mac Get a Virus? 4 Myths About Data Security on MacOS

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 7/25/17 8:36 AM

Apple likes to cultivate a pristine image: hardware, software, and user experiences blending seamlessly together. And for the most part, image and reality are the same.

Apple products command a premium because they “just work.” Businesses owners will tell you they choose Macs — despite their higher price tags — because they’re powerful with less hassle. And the perception is that they’re more secure.

In fact, since Apple debuted Mac OS X (10.0) in 2001, the conventional wisdom has been that the operating system is nearly impenetrable to viruses and other malware due to it being built on Unix.

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Topics: IT Security

The 4 Worst Email Scams of 2017; Are You Next?

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 7/11/17 8:00 AM

2017 hasn’t even reached its halfway point and already it’s been a banner year for email scammers. The hackers may be rejoicing, but if you or your company has been on the receiving end of an email-based cyberattack, it’s hardly something to celebrate.

According to the FBI, email scams have been hitting American businesses hard, to the tune of a half a billion dollars per year. And the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing for 2017.

If your company hasn’t fallen victim to an email scam this year, count yourself lucky. Up to 85 percent of organizations have suffered phishing attacks, according to one report. (Phishing is the blanket name for the most common form of email scam.)

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Topics: IT Security, Email

Does Social Engineering Threaten Your Company’s Data?

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 6/6/17 8:30 AM

What came to mind? If your mental image of a hacker is informed by Hollywood stereotypes and stock imagery, you thought of a shadowy figure, bathed in the green glow of multiple screens, furiously pounding out complex algorithms and arcane programming.

If only that were accurate. The truth is, the perpetrators of some of the most devastating cyber attacks of recent years relied more on charm and quick thinking than on technical wizardry.

Hackers succeed by exploiting weaknesses. And long ago, they discovered that the weakest element of most systems is the human element.

It’s easier to talk someone into giving up their password then it is to crack it through sheer computing power. And hackers are all about what’s easier.

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Topics: IT Security, Email

3 Ways Your Network is Vulnerable to Hackers

Posted by Justin May on 4/21/17 8:08 AM

Every month it seems, another large company suffers a network breach or unauthorized access to sensitive information. The number of well-known hacking victims keeps getting larger:

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Topics: IT Security

Tax Season 2017 Is High Season for Spear Phishing Attacks

Posted by Andrew Josephides on 3/21/17 8:10 AM

It’s tax season. And that means, for internet scammers looking to filch your employees’ identities and steal their money, it’s phishing season.

According to a warning issued by the IRS, tax season triggers a 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents. The scammers’ target? The sensitive information found on your employees’ W2 forms:

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Topics: IT Security, Email

4 Steps for Designing an Effective Insider Threat Program

Posted by Andrew Josephides on 3/7/17 8:01 AM

The cost of cybercrime is going nowhere but up. Meanwhile, the news reports on staggering incidents of mass data theft on a regular basis. If you’ve become obsessed with combatting intrusion from outside hackers and scammers, it’s understandable.

But if you’re only looking outward, you may be missing one of the leading and most damaging risks to your cybersecurity: those who work in and with your organization.

No one wants to believe their colleagues and partners would compromise their data security – either deliberately or mistakenly – but it happens more often than you would think.

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Topics: IT Security

What Is Penetration Testing and Do I Really Need It?

Posted by Andrew Josephides on 2/9/17 8:00 AM

We don’t have to tell you your organization’s IT system is deeply complex. To provide even the most basic services to your users, many layers of hardware and software combine.

Lurking within these layers are vulnerabilities – weaknesses that can be exploited to inflict costly damage on yourorganization. And as the layers of your IT system multiply, so do their vulnerabilities, whether they’re problems in the operating systems, application flaws, or improper configurations.

How do you find these weak points before the bad guys do? That’s exactly what penetration testing is for and why it is a critical part of a company’s security policy.

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Topics: IT Security

Draft an IT Security Policy in 2017

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 12/27/16 8:14 AM

Nobody enjoys creating policy. It’s complicated, detail-oriented work and just asking for endless debates over minutiae. And the results of the arduous policy-making process are often overlooked or outright ignored. Sometimes it feels like people are going to do whatever they want to do, regardless of your well-crafted, comprehensive policy.

So why bother going to the effort of writing an IT security policy for your business? Surely, there are better ways to spend your time.

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Topics: IT Security

Why Laptop Encryption is a Must for All Businesses (Not Just Big Ones)

Posted by Steven Vigeant on 10/25/16 8:30 AM

You’re on your way home from work, your trusty laptop on the passenger seat beside you so you can pick up where you left off at home. You stop in at a coffee shop to refuel for the evening, and when you get back to the car — your laptop’s gone. Someone broke in and made off with it.

Losing a laptop is never fun. At minimum, you or your company will have to pay to replace it. But your laptop login is password protected. So at least your valuable company data is safe.

Right?

Not exactly. It doesn’t take much for a hacker to crack a password-protected laptop. He could use a USB stick to boot up a new operating system, for example, and see all the files on your hard drive. Or he could simply unscrew the hard drive and place it in a different computer.

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Topics: IT Security


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