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Resources: IT Security

Beefing up communication security

Beefing Up Your Communication Security

When it comes to personal or business data security, you must know how to spot bogus links. Recognizing fake email links that might lead to fraudulent pages is a challenge for many people. The fact that hackers are using more advanced methods makes it worse for all of us. That is why beefing up your communication security is very important for your business data.

Indeed, hackers are using advanced methods to make the links they’re sending out will look legitimate. Unfortunately, this leaves people unsure of whether the link they’re following is legitimate or fraudulent. Luckily, there are ways to check whether a link is legitimate. That’s why, today, we’ll be looking at how you can incorporate spotting fake email links into your in-house security training. 

After focusing on fake links and their dangers in our previous blogs, today’s blog will summarize everything we’ve shown you so far. By doing so, we’ll help ensure you’re getting the right approach to your communication security and keeping everyone safe! 

How Communications Technology Can Threaten Your Security 

Modern communications technologies put many people at risk, and as a result, it’s crucial to be aware of how these risks threaten your security. There are many ways by which communications technology is problematic, and some of the risk factors include the following: 

  • Text message scams which include fraudulent links 
  • Emails sent to your address that include fake links to sites that seem genuine 
  • Fraudulent links through social media and messaging apps leading to malware-infected sites 

These are just a few of the most common communications technology threats. You and your staff should be aware of these possibilities when opening emails, texts, or social media communications.  

If you have been considering your next staff security training, adding fake link prevention is critical. Your security training sessions give your team an ideal opportunity to learn more about the dangers posed by clicking on bogus email links. This extra step helps ensure that your team knows how to stay safe while completing their daily tasks. By doing so, you can protect your client data from the risk of security breaches while also preventing hackers from getting access to your business funds.  

Moreover, giving your staff information they need helps them avoid the risks of falling prey to fake links in their personal life. This knowledge increases the chance that they will stay safe in the workplace. Fewer data breaches will lead to better overall employee morale. After all – it’s a well-known fact that happy employees are more effective and efficient workers. This efficiency is not only good for your staff but also your business.  

As such, it’s pivotal for businesses to incorporate fake link prevention and protection strategies into their staff security training. This step can also protect your business data while ensuring that your customers have confidence that their data is secure. Meanwhile, it can also help boost your staff’s morale by teaching them to be safe and protected in their personal life. So, the benefits can be numerous! 

Beefing Up Your Communication Security by  Staying Safe from Security Challenges

To stay safe and protected against security challenges, you should consider the following tips. These will help you avoid falling into the trap of fake email links, which could have numerous consequences for your personal and business security. 

First, it’s vital to check where the link in question will take you. This step is easy to do. To start with, if the anchor text is a visible hyperlink, check that this is legitimate by looking for any signs of fraudulent links. You should also check where the hyperlink is taking you by right-clicking on the link before following it. For example, if a legitimate website ends with .com, check that this hasn’t been tampered with in the link. An obvious sign of a false link would be if the address ends with .co.uk, .xyz, .club, or other uncommon domains. 

Second, check the sender’s details. You can search for email addresses and phone numbers online. If a quick search doesn’t yield much useful information, you could also directly contact the company. In this case, you should ask them whether this is their genuine contact number or address. Most companies will be more than happy to help! 

Finally, make sure you have your antivirus protection in place. Antivirus is surprisingly affordable nowadays. Your local IT service provider can help you choose the antivirus software that’s best for you. If you need help in beefing up your communication security contact us now!

modern-day communication

Modern-Day Communication, The Dangers Behind It

When it comes to IT security solutions, there are a large number of threats facing us. Modern-day communication technology has opened up a massive amount of potential for people; however, it also poses a significant threat in terms of security. Threats are increasingly advanced as time passes by, and this is endangering the safety and security of our data and private information. That’s why we have come up with this blog. We want to bring light to the dangers of modern security and how you can get professional support to avoid these risks. 

How Advanced Modern-Day Communication Systems Endanger Our Data 

Modern-day communication systems have transformed how we live our lives. However, these modern technologies have opened us up to a great deal of risk with our security. Many employees are at significant risk by using modern communication technology because they don’t understand the danger. 

Fortunately, though, our team is on hand to help you learn more about these threats. We’ll also discuss what makes internet communication risky and how you can protect yourself against these threats. 

Employees are Spending More Time on Technology 

A critical risk for people is that we are all spending more time on our electronic devices. Technology is a constant part of our lives. People spend more time on technology and the internet than ever before. That means the risk posed for their security is also growing. 

Internet security has never been more important, simply because we are all spending more time on devices. By spending more time on communications software, we are putting ourselves at a greater risk of losing our data to hackers and security breaches. Unfortunately, criminal methods used to get access to our data are becoming more sophisticated. It’s not easy knowing a genuine link from a dangerous or malicious link intended to harm us. 

How Hackers Trick us into Exposing Our Devices 

Hackers are becoming increasingly aware that their old tactics aren’t working as well as they once did. Yet, with the rise of advanced security systems, many hackers face new challenges to continue their devious ways. Now they are turning to communications systems for opportunities. 

This tactic is something that has taken the world by surprise, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Indeed, with the arrival of the pandemic, the world switched to online shopping almost overnight. As such, hackers quickly took advantage of this new opportunity for gaining access to personal data. This shift represents a severe security risk that is putting people at risk today. 

Fake Delivery Messages: The Most Common Security Challenge 

The most notable of these scams at present are the fake delivery messages. These scams have become incredibly common, and because so many of us have been ordering products online, it can be easy to fall into this trap. Indeed, most fake delivery messages require users to follow a link to “reschedule” an order that failed to arrive. But, of course, these ungenuine links are taking us directly to websites that are malicious in some manner. 

In some cases, they merely request us to pay a small sum of money and nothing more. But this is the lesser of many evils. Other scams include collecting personal data and even compiling card details, leading you to a substantial loss of money. As such, the risk posed by these fake delivery messages is staggering. 

Email Attachment and Social Media Communication Security Scams 

Another common scam that people should be aware of when it comes to communication security is email risk. Indeed, hackers are becoming increasingly crafty with the phishing and malware emails they are sending. These emails, designed to fool people into thinking that they’re sent from a legitimate sender, encourage the reader to visit the linked site. In turn, this can lead to malware or phishing software downloaded onto the device. Naturally, this can cause you a great deal of distress. 

Another common form of this scam is from hacked social media accounts. If you get a strange message from a friend or contact on social media, especially if it links to an external video or website, you might find that it takes you somewhere that infects your device. 

Final Thoughts About Modern-day Communication 

In any of these scenarios, the risks posed by communication security challenges are very much real. When using any communication technologies, be aware of the potential risks you could be facing. If you need any help in regards to internet security feel free to contact us.

clicking fake links

Clicking Fake Links, The Horror Behind It!

When it comes to using the internet, you know how things can go wrong. We all like to think that our online activities are safe and protected. However, the reality is that hacking methods are increasingly creative to get people to clicking fake links. As such, today, we’re here to draw attention to the horror stories that occur when people fall for bogus email links and the best tips for fake link prevention. 

An increasing number of businesses are targeted daily to trick them into clicking fake email links. Hacking methods are getting more and more creative. As such, recognizing which email links are legitimate and which are not can be incredibly difficult – and as such, you should always be alert when using communications software to make sure you don’t fall into these traps. 

Fake links come with numerous associated dangers. That’s why, today, we’ll be looking at a few of the implications that falling for these traps can have. 

Loss of Personal Data 

You must protect your data at all costs. Personal data includes information such as your name, address, date of birth, and banking info. Hackers use this personal data to target you. Your stolen information can create fake identification and credit cards. This data is also commonly sold on the dark web to bidders who collect personal data of this type. 

Consequences associated with the loss of personal data are irritating and a nuisance. However, if hackers use your data for false identification, the consequences for you could be severe. After a breach, you may find yourself in thousands of dollars of debt. Or, quite possibly, your bank account drained. As such, fake links prevention is imperative for protecting yourself from personal data losses. 

Financial Data Losses 

Financial losses are the most common, as this is the primary goal of the hackers. 

One of the most common forms of fake email links is the increase in home deliveries resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. This trick is a relatively simple scam. Hackers will send texts to thousands of random phone numbers. These texts inform the reader that their delivery failed, and a small redelivery fee is needed to reschedule. This form of fraud is usually opportunistic and low-value. However, some hackers will gather financial data and hack bank accounts or take out loans. This scam, in turn, gives criminals full access to your money. It’s easy to see where the risk lies. 

Another potential threat from clicking on fake links is that the website could download malware onto your device. Malware can gather data about your personal and financial information. Once again, hackers use the breached data to access your financial records. As we’ve seen, this can lead to substantial losses. 

Whether the information is volunteered readily or taken by force, these are risky situations to correct. As such, awareness of the best fake link prevention strategies is everyone’s goal. 

Fake links are, unfortunately, all too common. Hackers are using these tactics more regularly, and they are also becoming more creative in their attempts. For the average employee, fake link prevention is increasingly difficult. Recognizing these dangerous email links is a genuine challenge for many people. Being aware of avoiding dangerous email links and protecting your precious personal and financial data is more crucial than ever. There is a lot of pressure on employees these days. 

Luckily, our team is on hand to give you a few tips to help you avoid falling prey to malicious hackers. 

First of all, before clicking any links in messages, emails, or on social media, make sure to check the URL to ensure it looks legitimate. Hackers use this common tactic to convince people to click on a fraudulent link. Often, this will be something as simple as changing the domain from .com to .xyz or .club, or something along these lines. Many people won’t recognize this subtle change, so it’s always worth checking before clicking unknown links. 

Next, check the link’s source. If you have any doubts about the sender’s legitimacy, navigate to the supposed firm and send a request to their official customer support team. They should be happy to answer whether the email address is a legitimate one. 

As a final protection, make sure you have the best defence in place for your device! Having anti-virus software and an updated firewall is crucial protection. Don’t leave this to chance. If you have any questions and need help please contact us. We are happy to help!

Spot Fake Links in your Emails

Opening unknown links can be a risk factor for your business and staff. As a result, more and more business owners have incorporated fake link prevention strategies into their security training. We’ve come up with a few tips to help ensure that your staff members have the critical information on how to spot fake links. This training can help prevent hackers from gaining access to your business. In cases like this, it is better to be proactive rather than reactive after a breach. 

If you have been considering covering bogus links with your staff security training, you’ll want to consider the following how to spot fake link prevention tips. These security training tips will help to give your staff the tools they need to stay safe and protected against the dangers posed by malicious links. 

Staff Security Training Tip #1: Check URLs Before Following Them 

One important tip for your staff as part of their security training is to check all URLs. A URL is the web address that you follow when you click a link. A common trick used by hackers to make the URL seem authentic is to use a similar URL mimicking a legitimate website.  

For example, one switch would be disguising bogus links by changing the website name from ‘example-site.com’ to example_site.com.’ This tiny change often goes unnoticed but could lead to your staff getting caught by a fake link. 

Here are more examples: 

If you regularly deal with Amazon, you’ll notice that their URLs look like these: 

orders@amazon.comservice@amazon.com, or membership@amazon.com 

But bogus URLs will look like these: 

hurry@amazon-$75.combuddy79@my_amazon.com, or service@amazon-helpmenow.com 

Often, the URL won’t contain the name of the sender at all. You may see URLs like these: 

clickhere@davisneedsshoes.orgholographic_iris@$9di4!wow.net 

Question any link that seems out of place. If your staff doesn’t check these carefully, it can be easy to fall into a trap.  

As part of this staff security tip, make sure they’re aware to check both the name of the link and check where the hyperlink goes. Hackers can easily disguise malicious links as legitimate links by using a website name as the anchor text. But, instead of taking you to the legitimate website, the link redirects you to a fake site. Luckily, checking the destination of a hyperlink is easy, especially on computers; simply right click and you’ll get an option to see or edit the hyperlink. 

Staff Security Training Tip #2: Don’t Open Unknown Emails 

A second crucial tip is to ensure that your staff does not open unknown emails. For many people, this is not easy to do. After all, how can you tell whether a sender is legitimate or not? It’s easy to understand why this is so difficult. Some people struggle to decide whether the contact details for a firm are legitimate addresses or not. Luckily, we have a few tips for this. 

Firstly, for text messages and telephone contacts, look up the telephone number from the source. A quick search will often give you the information you need to know. Most companies will have these numbers listed on their website’s contact details. Alternatively, if the phone number is not legitimate, many sites now exist to display shady phone numbers; as such, searching the phone number alone may be enough information to help you decide if the text was legitimate. 

As part of checking a sender’s identity, you can also search for a specific email address to see if any information comes up. Most companies will have their contact email addresses displayed on their website. Check If the email address in question is on the website so you can confirm that the links are legitimate. If the exact email address does not appear on the website, you should question its authenticity.  

If you struggle to find the correct information directly from a search, don’t be afraid to contact the company in question. Most companies are more than happy to help if it means preventing a scam from occurring in their name.  

Checking the legitimacy of the phone number or email address is one of the best ways to check whether a link is legitimate or fake. Ensure that your staff knows to do this for any communication containing a link. 

Staff Security Training Tip #3: Get the Best IT Support and Antivirus Software 

As a third and final tip for your security training, we cannot stress the importance of good anti-malware and antivirus solutions highly enough. Having these in place and installed on all of your devices can provide a good security backup. This practice is vital in case someone accidentally follows an illegitimate link that tries to download harmful software.  

Antivirus software is highly affordable nowadays and doesn’t take long to set up in your office. If you have any questions about this, contact us today. We will help you find the best antivirus software for your needs, as well as offer training to your staff. 

Microsoft Exchange Server Vulnerabilities

As business owners, we are all keenly aware of how integral technology is in every industry these days. We have heard countless times how technology helps drive innovation and growth, improves communication in the organization, and increases your advantage over the competition. As a warning, new technology still has vulnerabilities. Recently, new security flaws were discovered on Microsoft Exchange Servers. That’s why we are running this blog: as a warning to anyone running Microsoft Exchange Servers. 

Your Microsoft Exchange Server may be Vulnerable to Attack 

We’re acutely aware of how many small businesses rely on these servers to augment their IT departments. And this means many small businesses are at risk. More than 60,000 companies and organizations have been compromised. This is a world-wide threat. Chinese hackers are confirmed at attacking and exploiting vulnerabilities in on-premise servers. Something to pay attention to is, if you’re running Microsoft Exchange ’13, ’16, or ’19 on-site, these were the servers that were vulnerable to attack. 

Attacks and Hacks 

In January, Microsoft was made aware of what were labeled ‘zero-day’ bugs. These bugs are flaws that we are aware of, but have not yet been addressed. As these weak spots are uncovered, there is a high probability of attacks and breaches. This means they’re highly dangerous for organizations and businesses that hold sensitive data. On March 2nd, Microsoft released updates to repair the zero-day bugs and said that there had only been a limited number of targeted attacks. Despite these fixes and patches, there is still a huge potential for attacks on individual Exchange Servers. This threat is due to the awareness and speed of the patch installation. This means the number of victims grows as more and more hackers continue to target un-patched systems. 

Who is behind these Hacks? 

Microsoft initially reported that their zero-day vulnerabilities were exploited by Hafnium, a Chinese APT group that is state-sponsored. The group achieved the hacks by using zero-day vulnerabilities to gain access to Exchange servers. As a result, hackers can access email accounts and install malware. These attacks create long-term access for future breaches. 

Hafnium has a reputation for targeting US entities in different sectors. Some of these attacks included NGOs, policy think tanks, defense contractors, higher education institutions, law firms, and infectious disease research facilities. Previously, the group compromised victims through the exploitation of internet-facing server vulnerabilities. Hafnium has used open-source frameworks such as Covenant, a legitimate piece of software, for control of the servers. After gaining access to the victim’s network, the group usually uploads the stolen data to a file-sharing site. 

Currently, Hafnium is often unsuccessful in its attempts to compromise customers’ accounts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the problem any less serious. You have to be aware that they are trying new attacks every day. Usually, if hackers want to find a way in, they will. 

Other Group Threats  

Since the initial hacking by Hafnium, other groups have exploited the flaws in MS Exchange Servers. A report was published declaring at least 10 groups that are hunting down un-patched servers. 

When Will we be Safe? 

According to DIVD (the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure), there are thought to be at least 46,000 un-patched servers still running that are at risk of being heavily exploited. Current estimates are that up to 40% of Exchange servers in the Netherlands are still open to attack. 

Protect Your Business! 

Check to see if your business uses Microsoft Exchange Servers. If you do, or if you’re not sure, keep reading. If you know you haven’t updated your Exchange Server recently, there are some things you should do immediately. First of all, passwords that are sitting in memory could be vulnerable. You should immediately reset all passwords. Next, run the latest patch for your system. As a safety measure, you might want to change your passwords after you run the patch. What this means is, when breaches like this occur, you can’t be too safe. 

Steps to Secure Your Server 

There are several things you can do to enhance your protection: 

  1. Patch your system with Microsoft updates. 
  2. Reset all passwords and change all credentials. 
  3. Double-check your backup device. Is the repository ok? Have you tested it? 
  4. Verify your router. You should also check your security with your vendor. Ask them when they last updated their signatures. 
  5. Scan for and investigate any malicious activities on your Exchange servers. 
  6. And finally, if you are unsure about your network’s safety, restore your Exchange server to a time before the compromises occurred. 

If you are not sure what kind of servers you are using, or you need help running the update patch, that’s what we’re here for. We are happy to help you figure out if you’re at risk from this threat. To help you ease your mind, contact us today! 

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