Blog

June 28th, 2014

ServicesAllowing access to private business data is a difficult thing for business owners to do. You want to make sure that every piece of valuable information is protected against any form of theft or loss. One great way to protect your data is to establish a two factor authentication system.

A two factor authentication system is one in which you are asked for a secondary layer of information before you are able to access private information. For example, if you log into your company’s administrative portal, you will most definitely be asked for a password. Then, you would be asked for a secondary code or a piece of information that only you would know.

This, of course, makes your documentation more secure and makes it more difficult for someone to hack into your account. However, you should be very selective in regards to your password and the secondary code so that no one would be able to guess your answer.

As you spend time with employees over the years, they begin to learn things about you because you talk about your families and interests together. If you are someone who owns a boat, for example, and boating is your most favorite thing to do, your employees might know that about you. If your password is the name of your boat, that might be a little too easy for your employees to guess if they were trying to access your data. In addition, if your secondary authentication is your mother’s maiden name, your employees might know that too. Make sure all of your passwords and questions are things that only you would know for optimum security and protection for your data.

Topic Security
June 27th, 2014

PerformanceImagine if your computer system failed, and you lost every piece of client information and financial information. For most businesses, this would be catastrophic. It would take weeks to months to recreate all of that data, and some of it would be lost forever.

It is impractical to trust your employees to manually back up your system as often as they should. They could forget, or they could just not feel like it that day. For many larger companies, losing one day of records would be a huge undertaking to restore. In addition, allowing your employees to back up your system gives them the ability to walk out the door with all of your data. How much can you really trust an employee with everything that controls your business?

Even if you had the most trustworthy employees on the planet, and they back up your system every single day, the back up can still be lost or damaged. If the back up is left at the company, and the office burns down that night, the entire back up is destroyed. If the employee takes the back up home with them, you risk exposure of personal information to unauthorized people. Of course, their house could also burn down too.

The only safe solution is to employ an off-site back up service that will automatically back up your data everyday and store it on their secure network. Then, you can rest better knowing your data can easily be restored in the event of theft or loss.

Give MIS Solutions a call today to ensure your computer’s data is backed up and able to be recovered in the case of a disaster.

Topic Security
June 21st, 2014

Crimeware is a concept that every single business owner should be familiar with. Most everyone has either heard of an instance of crimeware happening, or they probably have experienced it first hand. Crimeware is that email that has an attachment with it that when opened will distribute malware all over the computer system in an effort to gain access to private information. Or, it is the pop-up that tells the operator something is wrong with the computer system and to “click here” to fix it. Nothing good follows after the click here button is pushed.

Installing anti-virus programs on all computer systems is a necessary step to protect important data, but one should not assume that by simply installing an anti-virus program that they are protected from all forms of cyber-evil. The ones who want the company’s information have discovered ways to get around anti-virus software. This, once again, does not suggest that companies should not bother with anti-virus programs. They absolutely should because anti-virus does provide an enormous layer of protection. However, companies need to be aware that they need to do more to ensure their data is protected.

One thing that all companies should do is disable Java in the browser. This may be difficult with some software applications, but it is necessary. Java has created open spaces in security that allow access to unauthorized users. If it is disabled, that access is taken away.

Java in the browser can be the back door Atlanta companies don’t bother to look at in their network security protocol.  This is fast becoming one of the most common methods to launch a data attack against a company or individual.  Using Java in your browser carries more risk than bringing benefit at this point.

Give MIS Solutions a call today to discuss ways to protect your computer network from data security threats.

Topic Security
May 12th, 2014

Businesses tend to underestimate the value of their data. Cyber thieves use the fact that most companies fail to properly secure themselves from outside intrusion. This makes these businesses easy targets for both data theft and the heavy financial losses that can accompany it.

While it tends to be too expensive for a smaller business to afford adding enough IT professionals to ensure constant maintenance of their networks, it is possible to enable comprehensive security and network maintenance with IT services in Atlanta.

PerformanceIT services in Atlanta provide a cost-efficient way to secure your business against digital intrusion. Their qualified personnel can audit your network for security risks, patch up holes and provide a constant monitoring that will alert you of any security breaches as they occur. These services come together to create a comprehensive plan for defending your business’s sensitive data.

The security that they can provide isn’t the only thing that IT services in Atlanta can do. They can help you plan for integrating new technology into your business, aid in maintaining your hardware and software, and make delays from IT component failure become significantly less frequent.

Problems that would have otherwise gone undiagnosed can be spotted, repaired and prevent before they are able to put a halt to your business.

The most advantageous part about IT services in Atlanta is that their work tends to be provided on a pay-as-you-need-it basis. You’re paying for the work that they perform, rather than paying someone to be present at your company to tend to problems as they arise. This results in a greater cost-efficiency, which in turn makes these services affordable for businesses of every size.

October 4th, 2013

Although many businesses have been getting rid of Windows XP for at least the last 3 years, the fact remains that as of early this year, around 500 million business computers were still running Windows XP. While the witching hour for Windows XP is still a few months away (April 8, 2014), here are 7 of the top reasons running Windows XP should scare any business owner right now:malware

1. Tons Of Viruses. There is a huge library of viruses aimed at Windows XP and limited antivirus support still available.

2. XP Is OLD (almost 12 years old!). The 1st iPod was released the same year as Windows XP. In a world where the 5th iPhone has been released, no one should be left using an O/S that pre-dates the 1st iPod!

3. Least Secure Operating System (By Far!). ALL other platforms, including Linux, all versions of Mac OS X, Windows 7 and Windows 8 are more secure than XP by a huge margin. Windows Vista is actually a far safer option (scary!).

4. Built For A Simpler Time. XP was created for a simpler world of technology. It was formatted to fit to a screen only 640 pixels wide, and it showcased IE6 as a new product. The internet was a different place when XP was developed. Smartphones were non-existent, laptops were a luxury and tablet computers were science fiction.

5. No More Band-Aids. Only so many band-aid fixes on top of each other can be effective.

6. Support Is Ending. All support of XP will end on April 8, 2014. It’s time to replace your systems now while you can plan ahead.

7. Malware Everywhere. You can continue to use XP, but with more malware than ever. XP is by far, the most vulnerable platform to connect to the internet.

 

Our Free Service Call Will “Exorcise” The Ghosts, Gremlins And Goblins
Causing Problems In Your Computer Network

Call us between now and Halloween (October 31st) and we will come out to your office for free and we will…

  • Provide a full inventory of all of your computer equipment, including all of your Windows XP machines and the software programs on them. Diagnose slow, unstable PC’s (whether Windows XP or newer).
  • Verify your computer’s security patches are up to date and installed properly; miss one critical update and you’re a “sitting duck”.
  • Provide a technology roadmap to rid your company of Windows XP finally and forever, including how to move legacy software systems that still require XP to run!

To book your FREE Network Assessment, call us today at 678-730-2703 or email at Jennifer@mis-solutions.com.

October 1st, 2013

Over a billion dollars are lost each year in the United States through “ATM Skimming” – far more than any losses from bank robberies – and it’s growing at a rate of more than 10% every year.

atm-skimmer  ATM Skimming is a cyber-crime where the criminals steal (or “skim”) your ATM/debit card data when you’re using a typical ATM machine. They do this by fitting a small card reader over the typical ATM card slot, thus capturing your information. Additionally, the criminals install mini cameras above or near the ATM to capture your PIN number. The data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the cyber-criminals somewhere nearby. The average skimming attack usually lasts only an hour or two during peak ATM usage times (i.e. lunch hour or after work). Meanwhile, you have no idea that you’ve just been had and are at risk. These cyber-criminals will then sell the data on the cards to others so that they can either clone your debit card or wipe out your bank account.

5 Tips To Prevent ATM Skimming

1. Cover your hand as you type. Obstructing the view of your PIN from any cameras will render your data useless.

2. Pay attention to the area around the ATM card slot. If anything looks loose or out of place, pull to see if you can remove it.

3. Be aware of surroundings. Be extra careful of ATMs in dark or isolated places.

4. Does the machine look different? If anything looks out of place (extra signage, mirrors, etc.) then avoid the machine.

5. Notify the bank. If you find or suspect an ATM has been compromised, notify your bank and law enforcement immediately.

We recently met with our business bankers to learn about the latest scams that they are seeing here in Atlanta and you would be amazed at the things that happen with business checking accounts: unique check forgeries and a multitude of banking online scams. If you haven’t sat down with your banker to review the limits and controls on your business bank accounts, I highly recommend you do. If you have further questions about how to secure your network and online business banking for your employees, give me a call at 678-730-2703 or email me at Jennifer@mis-solutions.com.

October 1st, 2013

ghost    Was I having a nightmare? Was I just watching too many episodes of “Ghost Hunters?” Maybe taking the Halloween spirit too far? No – it simply occurred to me that you might not know the importance of having a solid backup and disaster recovery plan in place!

And if your server data was erased, corrupted or destroyed because of a hardware malfunction, system crash, fire, flood or some other random, unforeseen disaster, you might not be able to be back up and running again FAST!

 The Thought Of That Happening Scared Me Half To Death!

And quite honestly, it should scare you, too! Just imagine what would happen if your server went down and you…

  •  Lost all accounting documentation and history…
  • Lost all the work files you’ve spent YEARS developing…
  • Lost the work files and documentation you desperately need to service your customers…
  • Lost all the e-mails you had saved and couldn’t access your inbox…

Can you even put a price tag on it? Probably not – yet so many business owners aren’t 100% certain that they could be back up and running after a disaster and are purely hoping that their current tape drive or backup is working and storing a usable copy of their data.

That’s why I desperately urge you to contact us today to schedule your FREE Data Security and Backup Audit – a $495 value. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Call Jennifer at 678-730-2703 and mention this newsletter.

2. Email Jennifer at Jennifer@mis-solutions.com

Hurry, this offer ends October 31, 2013.

October 1st, 2013

login  You’ve got one for every site and every application you use–e-mail, online banking, social media sites, and your CRM system, just to name a few. With so many password protected sites to keep track of, the inclination is to always use the same password for every site or to make it so easy you can’t possibly forget it (like using Password123).  Unfortunately, this compromises all of your data and makes it easy for cyber-attackers to steal sensitive, confidential information.

Studies have shown that password security is still the weakest link in keeping data safe. There are some simple things you can remember when creating a password that can help protect your information.

Here are 7 tips to consider:

1. Use special characters and numbers.

2. Mix up upper case and lower case letters.

3. Make sure your password is a minimum of 10 characters.

4. Be sure it’s not something that can be guessed easily (zip code, phone number, birthdate, your name).

5. Randomly replace letters with numbers, e.g. shake becomes $h@ke

6. Pick a sentence or phrase, and reduce it to first letters of each word only, e.g. “A Golden Key Can Open Any Door” becomes AGKCOAD.

7. Reverse the spelling of a word, e.g. partnership becomes pihsrentrap.

Not all cyber-attacks can be avoided, but don’t make it too easy for them. Be proactive and update all of your passwords so they meet the above criteria.

August 26th, 2013

   A recent AOL online article titled “The Scary Truth Of How Terrorists Could Crash Your Car” freaked a lot of people out by implying that terrorists could easily hack into your car’s computer systems and wreck your car (or hundreds of cars terroristsat a time) at speeds exceeding 100 mph. While that is a scary thought to consider, the facts are quite a bit less severe than the article suggests. Nothing like some great sensationalist journalism, eh?

What really are the facts? Could you really be hacked driving your car?

• Cars are more and more dependent on software and electronics to run everything in the car, including GPS, music, brake systems, your power train, throttle and more.

• A new car is a rolling computer with 80 to 100 microprocessors and 100 million lines of software code.

• Researchers from the University of Washington and UC San Diego recently were able to successfully hack into an ordinary sedan, lock and unlock the doors, turn the engine on and off and listen to a conversation going on.

  • In another experiment, researchers compromised an auto repair “pass-through device” that helps technicians diagnose problems, which then allowed them to install software on every car that touched that device, potentially allowing them to control a wide range of auto functions on those cars.
  • New studies are being done on how to use wireless connectivity in cars to help avoid accidents, route traffic more effectively and make our travels even more safer (over 90% of accidents are due to human error and smarter cars can potentially fix that).

   But the truth of the matter is that, although cars are packed with computers, very few systems can currently be controlled wirelessly from outside the car. In all reality, someone would likely need to install an additional attachment to your car’s computer system to really take it over. Stay tuned, however, as I’m sure that this is going to be an ongoing discussion for many years to come.

 

August 6th, 2013

cyber crime   Do you have Java turned on in your web browser?  If your answer is “Yes” or “I’m not sure” then it’s time to take action to find out.  Why?  The biggest threat to your computer systems in 2013 (and beyond) is no longer Microsoft Windows – it is Oracle Java. 

    After 20+ years as the poster child for insecure software, Microsoft’s newest operating systems (Windows 7 and 8) have gotten their act together. Cybercriminals like to get the greatest bang for their buck and therefore they’re attacking the Java platform because of its huge market share and because it’s an easier platform to hack than the Microsoft operating system.  Java is now installed in over 1.1 billion desktops and 3 billion mobile phones.  That’s a big target that is very attractive to hackers. Hackers also love that Java is multi-platform, which means it’s capable of corrupting PCs running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. And since many Mac users don’t have anti-virus, hackers were able to infect over 600,000 Macs with serious malware via the Java software installed on their machines.   

    Right now, cybercriminals are aware and are exploiting any security flaws in Java that could lead to infections on your computer.  There are even automated kits now available to capitalize on any security hole found within days, if not hours of them becoming known.  It’s not unusual to see hackers use Java as a first attack to weaken the defenses before serving up an Operating System specific attack.  Even the Department of Homeland Security suggested that “To defend against future Java vulnerabilities, their users should consider disabling Java in web browsers.”

 Here are 3 steps you can take today to minimize your risk:

 1. Disable or uninstall Java wherever you can.  If you don’t need it, remove it. 

2. Where Java is necessary, use a separate web browser only used for Java based websites and be sure to patch Java regularly.

3. Have your staff report the first signs of slowness, possible infections and web browser popups to your IT guy as soon as they happen.