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Category Archives for "computer security"

Is That Email a Phishing Scheme?

 
 

Research has revealed that over half of all users end up opening fraudulent emails and often even fall for them. Phishing is done with the aim of gathering personal information about you, generally related to your finances. The most common reason for the large number of people falling for fraudulent emails is that the phishing attempts are often so well-disguised that they escape the eyes of a busy email reader. Here are a few tips that help you identify whether that email really came from your bank or is another attempt at defrauding you…

1. They are asking for personal information – Remember, no bank or financial institution asks you to share your key personal information via email, or even phone. So, if you get an email where they ask for your ATM PIN or your e-banking password, something’s a miss.

2. The links seem to be fake – Phishing emails always contain links that you are asked to click on. You should verify if the links are genuine. Here are a few things to look for when doing that:

  • Spelling – Check for the misspellings in the URL. For example, if your bank’s web address is www.bankofamerica.com, a phishing scheme email could misspell it as www.bankofamarica.com or www.bankofamerica-verification.com
  • Disguised URLs – Sometimes, URLs can be disguised…meaning, while they look genuine, they ultimately redirect you to some fraudulent site. You can recognize the actual URL upon a mouseover, or by right clicking on the URL, and selecting the ‘copy hyperlink’ option and pasting the hyperlink on a notepad file. But, NEVER ever, paste the hyperlink directly into your web browser.
  • URLs with ‘@’ signs – If you find a URL that has an ‘@’ sign, steer clear of it even if it seems genuine. Browsers ignore URL information that precedes @ sign. That means, the URL www.bankofamerica.com@mysite.net will take you to mysite.net and not to any Bank of America page.
3. Other tell-tale signs – Apart from identifying fake URLs, there are other tell-tale signs that help you identify fraudulent emails. Some of these include:

  • Emails where the main message is in the form of an image, which, upon opening, takes you to the malicious URL.
  • Another sign is an attachment. Never open attachments from unknown sources as they may contain viruses that can harm your computer and network.
  • The message seems to urge you to do something immediately. Scammers often induce a sense of urgency in their emails and threaten you with consequences if you don’t respond. For example, threat of bank account closure if you don’t verify your ATM PIN or e-banking password.
Finally, get a good anti virus/email protection program installed. It can help you by automatically directing spam and junk mail into spam folders and deactivating malicious attachments.

Five Things You Should Do Right Now to Preserve Your Network and Systems

1. Backup Files Every Day – As catastrophic as data loss is, the number of businesses that still are not backing up their network is unbelievable. According to the Symantec Small to Medium Size Businesses (SMB) data, only 23% of SMBs are backing up their data on a daily basis and fewer than 50% are backing up data weekly. Any number of events can result in data loss, so the importance of frequently backing up your network cannot be overstated.

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data security and it backup services

What are the Most Important IT Services to Get Managed ASAP?

Businesses today rely more heavily on technology than ever before—but unfortunately, many companies still operate on a “wing and a prayer” when it comes to their IT services. They cobble together a system that works only somewhat—largely because they don’t understand the technology itself—and they only call an IT professional when there is a problem. However, by being more proactive with managing your IT services, you can save your company a lot of money and grief, letting the technology work for you instead of against you. Let’s look at a few aspects of your IT for which you should set up effective management as soon as possible.

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cybersecurity threats for small business in orange county ca

IT Security Tips for Orange County Businesses

The Internet and the Digital Age have opened up amazing possibilities and opportunities for small business to grow and thrive—even competing with large corporations on an international level. At the same time, the digital space sometimes also feels like the new Wild West. Cybercriminals lurk in every corner of the web, inventing new ways to hack into our systems and steal data, money and other assets. How can businesses protect themselves from becoming victims in the digital world? Let’s look at some key IT security tips that Orange County businesses like yours should always practice.

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accounting it technology

Prepping Your Accounting Firm’s Technology for 2019

Sometimes the rate at which technology evolves nowadays can feel downright dizzying—to the point that businesses can have a difficult time keeping up. 2019 promises to continue this trend as we expect a continued proliferation of “smart devices” and more integrations of machine learning and artificial intelligence in our hardware and software. That said, with a bit of advance preparation, it’s possible to get ahead of the curve, or at least keep up with it. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your accounting firm’s technology is on track for 2019.

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quickbooks security concerns

QuickBooks IT Vulnerabilities: What Accountants Need to Know

Accountants and small accounting firms face an ongoing conundrum today when it comes to IT security. They are required to work with online access and cloud-based systems which can be subject to cyberattack and hacking—yet they are expected to guard their clients’ personal data at all times. QuickBooks, the software of choice for many accountants, presents its own set of vulnerabilities when personal data is transmitted online—not due to its weaknesses as a system, but simply due to the fact that it carries personal financial information, which frequently makes it a target.

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Tips for Smart Password Creation and Management for Small Businesses

A favorite hacking technique among cybercriminals is simply to discover and use existing passwords. Weak or easy-to-guess passwords can be cracked in minutes using software, and stored passwords left unencrypted can easily be mined if the wrong person gains access to your computer or desk. As a small business owner, you must protect your interests not only by creating robust passwords, but also by managing those passwords safely. Let’s explore a few proven principles for creating and managing passwords effectively and safely.

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True Life Small Business Cybersecurity Horror Stories – Part 2

Many small business owners not only assume they are safe from hackers due to their size. Let’s continue exploring some true-to-life cybersecurity horror stories of small businesses that might convince you otherwise.

Go-Cart Racing Business Victimized by Phishing

Phishing scams can be very clever and can frighten business owners into giving out personal data under a false sense of urgency. Entrepreneur Rick Snow testified before Congress that he became such a victim, causing his Scarborough, Maine go-cart racing company to come up short on its payroll. As Fox Business reports, after receiving a fake email convincing him to update his banking passwords, Snow woke up one morning to find his business account completely drained—on a payday when his employees were expecting their checks. “We were supporting a number of families, many of which live paycheck-to-paycheck…” he said. “I was also very worried about our business’ reputation since a restaurant nearby had just bounced their paychecks and the company never recovered from the bad publicity they received…Phishing can happen to anyone, phishing attacks are meant to scare you and make you act without thinking.”

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True Life Scary Small Business Cyberattacks – Part 1

Small business owners are often lulled into a false sense of safety when it comes to their cybersecurity. They figure hackers and cybercriminals won’t be interested in them because of their small size. However, that false security is just the sort of thing the hackers count on—they love to target small businesses because they haven’t taken steps to protect their data and are usually easy to hack. If you’ve fallen into the snare of believing you’re “safe enough” as a small business, the following true-life horror stories might change your point of view.

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FAQs about Small Business Cybersecurity – Part 2

Cybersecurity can be a daunting topic for small business owners, and many have more questions than answers. Let’s address a few more frequently asked questions about how to protect your business’ online presence.

What are some cybersecurity best practices?

Every small business should have an individualized cybersecurity plan and strategy tailored to their needs. However, most companies can protect themselves at a baseline level with the following practices:

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