A survey just published by The Business Journals has some sobering statistics. Only 28 percent of owners of small and mid sized businesses responded that they are very concerned about ‘the safety and security of their firm’s technology, email and documents.’
What makes that particularly concerning is that it runs directly counter to the potential impact for small companies should they suffer a data breach. The Insights report said 60 percent of U.S. businesses with between 1 and 499 employees that suffer a data breach shut down within six months.
As a business owner or manager, if IT security isn’t one of your highest priorities, change your thinking and get some help. Proper IT security usually isn’t hugely expensive but it does require an understanding of the issues, threats and environment, and then implementing a comprehensive plan.
If you’re not sure where to start MicroData is offering a free, no-obligation IT assessment of your business. You’ll get detailed, specific information about the security of your IT environment along with recommendations for corrective actions. And of course we can handle all aspect of implementing and managing IT security for your business. Click here to learn more.
A new strain of ransomware is making its way around the Internet and what’s so nefarious about this version is that it disguises itself as a Windows update.
What happens is that an attachment in a phishing email, when clicked, actually launches a process that brings up a prompt advising the user that an important Windows update is available. People go along with it thinking that they are doing the right thing by keeping their computer up to date.
The ransomware itself is called “Fantom” and the actual executable that starts the process is “CriticalUpdate01.exe.” Once executed it extracts “WindowsUpdate.exe,” and the screen that displays as it begins to encrypt your files looks very much like the modern blue screen that Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 users are familiar with.
But what’s actually happening is that your files are being encrypted. The next thing you’ll see is a screen telling you all your data has been encrypted:
At this point your only options will be to restore all data from a backup or pay the ransom.
So what can you do to stay safe? Here are 5 basic steps to take.
Remind all your users never to open or click on links in messages they are unsure of
Don’t run Windows in Administrative mode
Make sure you have a good and up-to-date antivirus/anti-malware product installed
Be sure your Windows firewall is working and up to date
Don’t run old, out-of-date software. It often contains known vulnerabilities that cyber-criminals exploit
LeakedSource Sunday reported that 412 million accounts on the FriendFinder network had been exposed, making this one of the largest hacks in 2016. And worse, this is the second time that the FriendFinder network has been breached. The first time was in May 2015.
If you have an account on any of the FriendFinder sites you’ll want to change your passwords and check any credit card info you may have stored with your profile.
Think that professional IT services are expensive? How about the cost of your current provider making a mistake? Last month a California state court judge finalized the highest ever per-plaintiff cash settlement in a data breach case. St. Joseph Health System, based in Irvine, is set to pay upwards of $28 million to settle a 31,074-member class action. The dispute arose out of a 2012 incident that exposed over 31,000 patient records to the Internet. The cause was not malware in this case but rather simple mis-configuration of the hospital’s intranet.
The takeaway? Security for your network and data needs to be one of your highest priorities. Even a small business can have thousands of customer records with sensitive information that must be secured.
If you’re not sure about your organization’s IT security, I urge you to take advantage of a special, limited-time promotion we’re offering where we’ll review your IT systems and provide you with a detailed 57-Point IT Systems Security and Performance Assessment – all for FREE. Click here to learn more.