Category Archives: Cybersecurity

What Is SaaS Ransomware & How Can You Defend Against It?

What Is SaaS Ransomware & How Can You Defend Against It?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has revolutionized the way businesses operate. It offers convenience, scalability, and efficiency. No more dragging software from one device to another. Everyone can collaborate easily in the cloud.

But alongside its benefits, SaaS brings with it potential threats. When software and data are online, they’re more vulnerable to attacks. One of the latest threats to move from endpoint devices to the cloud is ransomware.

Ransomware has been around attacking computers, servers, and mobile devices for a while. But recently there has been an alarming uptick in SaaS ransomware attacks.

Between March and May of 2023, SaaS attacks increased by over 300%. A study in 2022 by Odaseva found that 51% of ransomware attacks targeted SaaS data.

In this article, we’ll delve into what SaaS ransomware is and the risks it poses. And, most importantly, how you can defend against it.

What is SaaS Ransomware?

SaaS ransomware is also known as cloud ransomware. It’s malicious code designed to target cloud-based applications and services. These include services like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, and other cloud collaboration platforms.

The attackers exploit vulnerabilities in these cloud-based systems. The ransomware then encrypts valuable data. It effectively locks users out of their own accounts. Cybercriminals hold the data hostage. They then demand a ransom, often in the form of cryptocurrencies. The ransom is in exchange for the decryption key.

The Risks of SaaS Ransomware

SaaS ransomware adds a new layer of complexity to the cybersecurity landscape. It presents several risks to individuals and organizations.

  • Data Loss: The most immediate risk is the loss of critical data. You lose access to your cloud-based applications and files. This can cause productivity to grind to a halt.
  • Reputational Damage: A successful SaaS ransomware attack can tarnish your organization’s reputation. Customers and partners may lose trust in your ability to safeguard their data. This can negatively impact your brand image.
  • Financial Impact: Paying the ransom is not guaranteed to result in data recovery. It may encourage attackers to target you again. Furthermore, the cost of downtime and recovery efforts can be substantial.

Defending Against SaaS Ransomware

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. When it comes to SaaS ransomware, proactive defense is key. Here are some effective strategies to protect your organization against these threats.

Educate Your Team

Start by educating your employees about the risks of SaaS ransomware. Include how it spreads through phishing emails, malicious links, or breached accounts. Teach them to recognize suspicious activities and report any unusual incidents immediately.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA is an essential layer of security. It requires users to provide an extra form of authentication to access accounts. This is often a one-time code sent to their mobile device. Enabling MFA reduces the risk of unauthorized access. This is true, even if a hacker compromises an account’s login credentials.

Regular Backups

Frequently backing up your SaaS data is crucial. In the event of a ransomware attack, you still have your data. Having up-to-date backups ensures that you can restore your files. You won’t need to pay the attacker’s ransom demands.

Apply the Principle of Least Privilege

Limit user permissions to only the necessary functions. Follow the principle of least privilege. This means giving users the lowest privilege needed for their job. Doing this, you reduce the potential damage an attacker can do if they gain access.

Keep Software Up to Date

Ensure that you keep all software (SaaS applications, operating systems, etc.) up to date. They should have the latest security patches installed. Regular updates close known vulnerabilities and strengthen your defense.

Deploy Advanced Security Solutions

Consider using third-party security solutions that specialize in protecting SaaS environments. These solutions can provide many benefits. Including:

  • Real-time threat detection
  • Data loss prevention
  • And other advanced security features

Track Account Activity

Put in place robust monitoring of user activity and network traffic. Suspicious behavior can be early indicators of an attack. One example to watch for is several failed login attempts. Another is access from unusual locations.

Develop an Incident Response Plan

Prepare and practice an incident response plan. It should outline the steps to take in the event of a ransomware attack. A well-coordinated response can mitigate the impact of an incident. It can also aid in faster recovery. The sooner your team can respond, the faster business gets back to normal.

Don’t Leave Your Cloud Data Unprotected!

SaaS ransomware is a significant cybersecurity concern. The best defense is a good offense. Do you need help putting one together?

Our team can help you stay ahead of the cyber threats that lurk in the digital world. Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Beware of These 2024 Emerging Technology Threats

Beware of These 2024 Emerging Technology Threats

The global cost of a data breach last year was USD $4.45 million. This is an increase of 15% over three years. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to be aware of emerging technology threats. Ones that could potentially disrupt and harm your business.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It’s bringing new opportunities and challenges for businesses and individuals alike. Not all technology is benign. Some innovations can pose serious threats to our digital security, privacy, and safety.

In this article, we’ll highlight some emerging technology threats to be aware of in 2024 and beyond.

Data Poisoning Attacks

Data poisoning involves corrupting datasets used to train AI models. By injecting malicious data, attackers can skew algorithms’ outcomes. This could lead to incorrect decisions in critical sectors like healthcare or finance. Some actions are vital in countering this insidious threat. These include protecting training data integrity and implementing robust validation mechanisms.

Businesses should use AI-generated data cautiously. It should be heavily augmented by human intelligence and data from other sources.

5G Network Vulnerabilities

The widespread adoption of 5G technology introduces new attack surfaces. With an increased number of connected devices, the attack vector broadens. IoT devices, reliant on 5G networks, might become targets for cyberattacks. Securing these devices and implementing strong network protocols is imperative. Especially to prevent large-scale attacks.

Ensure your business has a robust mobile device management strategy. Mobile is taking over much of the workload Organizations should properly track and manage how these devices access business data.

Quantum Computing Vulnerabilities

Quantum computing, the herald of unprecedented computational power, also poses a threat. Its immense processing capabilities could crack currently secure encryption methods. Hackers might exploit this power to access sensitive data. This emphasizes the need for quantum-resistant encryption techniques to safeguard digital information.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Manipulation

AI, while transformative, can be manipulated. Cybercriminals might exploit AI algorithms to spread misinformation. They are already creating convincing deepfakes and automating phishing attacks. Vigilance is essential as AI-driven threats become more sophisticated. It demands robust detection mechanisms to discern genuine from malicious AI-generated content.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Exploits

AR and VR technologies offer immersive experiences. But they also present new vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals might exploit these platforms to deceive users, leading to real-world consequences.

Ensuring the security of AR and VR applications is crucial. Especially to prevent user manipulation and privacy breaches. This is very true in sectors like gaming, education, and healthcare.

Ransomware Evolves

Ransomware attacks have evolved beyond simple data encryption. Threat actors now use double extortion tactics. They steal sensitive data before encrypting files. If victims refuse to pay, hackers leak or sell this data, causing reputational damage.

Some defenses against this evolved ransomware threat include:

  • Robust backup solutions
  • Regular cybersecurity training
  • Proactive threat hunting

Supply Chain Attacks Persist

Supply chain attacks remain a persistent threat. Cybercriminals infiltrate third-party vendors or software providers to compromise larger targets. Strengthening supply chain cybersecurity is critical in preventing cascading cyber incidents. Businesses can do this through rigorous vendor assessments, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring.

Biometric Data Vulnerability

Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, are becoming commonplace. But users can’t change biometric data once compromised, like they can passwords. Protect biometric data through secure encryption. Ensure that service providers follow strict privacy regulations. These are paramount to preventing identity theft and fraud.

Advanced Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the oldest and most common forms of cyberattacks. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted thanks to AI. For example, hackers customize spear phishing attacks to a specific individual or organization. They do this based on online personal or professional information.

Another example is vishing attacks. These use voice calls or voice assistants to impersonate legitimate entities. They convincingly persuade victims to take certain actions.

Ongoing employee phishing training is vital. As well as automated solutions to detect and defend against phishing threats.

Tips for Defending Against These Threats

As technology evolves, so do the threats that we face. Thus, it’s important to be vigilant and proactive. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Educate yourself and others about the latest technology threats.
  • Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for all online accounts.
  • Update your software and devices regularly to fix any security vulnerabilities.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages.
  • Verify the identity and legitimacy of any callers or senders. Do this before providing any information or taking any actions.
  • Back up your data regularly to prevent data loss in case of a cyberattack.
  • Invest in a reliable cyber insurance policy. One that covers your specific needs and risks.
  • Report any suspicious or malicious activity to the relevant authorities.

Need Help Ensuring Your Cybersecurity is Ready for 2024?

Last year’s solutions might not be enough to protect against this year’s threats. Don’t leave your security at risk. We can help you with a thorough cybersecurity assessment, so you know where you stand.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Does Your Business Have Any “Cybersecurity Skeletons” in the Closet?”

Does Your Business Have Any “Cybersecurity Skeletons” in the Closet?”

Let’s dive into a topic that might give you the chills—cybersecurity skeletons in the closet. You may not have old skeletons hidden away in the basement. But there’s a good chance of cybersecurity vulnerabilities lurking in the shadows. Just waiting to wreak havoc.

You can’t fix what you can’t see. It’s time to shine a light on these hidden dangers. So, you can take action to protect your business from potential cyber threats.

Let’s get started uncovering threats that could leave your business in danger. Here are some of the most common cybersecurity issues faced by SMBs.

Outdated Software: The Cobweb-Covered Nightmare

We get it; updating software can be a hassle. But running outdated software is like inviting hackers to your virtual Halloween party.

When software vendors release updates, they often include crucial security patches. These patches fix vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. So, don’t let outdated software haunt your business. Keep everything up to date to ensure your digital fortress is secure.

Weak Passwords: The Skeleton Key for Cybercriminals

If your passwords are weak, you might as well be handing out your office keys to cyber criminals. Using “123456” or “password” as your login credentials is a big no-no.

Instead, create strong and unique passwords for all accounts and devices. Consider using a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Password managers can be a lifesaver for generating and storing complex passwords securely.

As a business owner, you can’t expect your employees to do this naturally. Provide them with requirements for creating passwords. You can also set up software to force strong password creation.

Unsecured Wi-Fi: The Ghostly Gateway

Picture this: a cybercriminal sitting in a parked car. He’s snooping on your business’s unsecured Wi-Fi network. Scary, right? Unsecured Wi-Fi can be a ghostly gateway for hackers to intercept sensitive data.

Ensure your Wi-Fi is password-protected. Make sure your router uses WPA2 or WPA3 encryption for an added layer of security. For critical business tasks consider a virtual private network (VPN). It can shield your data from prying eyes.

Lack of Employee Training: The Haunting Ignorance

Your employees can be your business’s strongest line of defense or its weakest link. Employee error is the cause of approximately 88% of all data breaches.

Without proper cybersecurity training, your staff might unknowingly fall victim to phishing scams. Or inadvertently expose sensitive information. Regularly educate your team about cybersecurity best practices.

Such as:

  • Recognizing phishing emails
  • Avoiding suspicious websites
  • Using secure file-sharing methods

No Data Backups: The Cryptic Catastrophe

Imagine waking up to find your business’s data gone, vanished into the digital abyss. Without backups, this nightmare can become a reality. Data loss can be due to hardware failures or ransomware attacks. As well as many other unforeseen disasters.

Embrace the 3-2-1 rule. Have at least three copies of your data, stored on two different media types. With one copy stored securely offsite. Regularly test your backups to ensure they are functional and reliable.

No Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): The Ghoulish Gamble

Using only a password to protect your accounts is asking for trouble. It’s like having nothing but a screen door at the entrance of your business.

Adding MFA provides an extra layer of protection. It requires users to provide extra authentication factors. Such as a one-time code or passkey. This makes it much harder for cyber attackers to breach your accounts.

Disregarding Mobile Security: The Haunted Phones

Mobile devices have become office workhorses. But they can also be haunted by security risks. Ensure that all company-issued devices have passcodes or biometric locks enabled. Consider implementing mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These will enable you to enforce security policies. As well as remotely wipe data and ensure devices stay up to date.

Shadow IT: The Spooky Surprise

Shadow IT refers to the use of unauthorized applications within your business. It might seem harmless when employees use convenient tools they find online. But these unvetted applications can pose serious security risks.

Put in place a clear policy for the use of software and services within your business. Regularly audit your systems to uncover any shadow IT lurking under cover.

Incident Response Plan: The Horror Unleashed

Even with all precautions in place, security incidents can still happen. Without an incident response plan, an attack can leave your business scrambling.

Develop a comprehensive incident response plan. It should outline key items. Such as how your team will detect, respond to, and recover from security incidents. Regularly test and update the plan to ensure its effectiveness.

Need Some “Threat Busters” to Improve Your Cybersecurity?

Don’t let cybersecurity skeletons in the closet haunt your business. We can help you find and fix potential vulnerabilities. As well as create a robust security posture that protects your business.

Give us a call today to schedule a cybersecurity assessment.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Strengthening Your Team’s Defense with Essential Cyber Hygiene

Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Strengthening Your Team’s Defense with Essential Cyber Hygiene

As technology continues to advance, so does the need for heightened awareness. As well as proactive measures to safeguard sensitive information.

Cybersecurity can seem like an insurmountable task for everyday people. But it’s not only a job for the IT team. Everyone can play a part in keeping their organization’s data safe. Not to mention their own data.

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It serves as a timely reminder that there are many ways to safeguard data. Following the basics can make a big difference in how secure your network remains.

What Is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CAM) is an annual initiative held every October. It promotes cybersecurity awareness and education. It aims to empower individuals and organizations by giving them knowledge and resources. It helps people strengthen their defenses against cyber threats.

CAM started as a U.S. initiative, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Then, it quickly spread around the globe. It’s led by two agencies:

  • National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)

This collaborative effort involves various stakeholders. Government agencies, industry leaders, and cybersecurity experts all come together. The goal is to raise awareness about cyber risks and best practices.

This Year’s Theme

This is CAM’s 20th year. To celebrate, the theme revolves around looking at how far cybersecurity has come. As well as how far it has to go. This year, CAM focuses on four key best practices of cybersecurity.

These are:

  • Enabling multi-factor authentication
  • Using strong passwords and a password manager
  • Updating software
  • Recognizing and reporting phishing

Let’s take a closer look at these four best practices of good cyber hygiene.

Essential Cyber Hygiene: 4 Keys to a Strong Defense

Central to Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the promotion of essential cyber hygiene practices. We follow good hygiene to maintain physical health. For example, we brush our teeth every day.

Cybersecurity also requires ongoing good hygiene practices to secure the online environment. These practices form the foundation of a strong cybersecurity defense. They help both individuals and organizations.

Enabling Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) adds a vital layer of security to all logins. In most cases, a hacker can’t breach an account protected by MFA. This is the case even if the cyber crook has the password.

According to Microsoft, MFA can block 99.9% of attempted account compromise attacks. With that strong track record, everyone really should be using it. And using it on every login they have.

Strong Passwords & a Password Manager

Passwords remain a critical aspect of securing online accounts. Despite the increased use of biometrics, passwords still rule. Encourage your team members to use strong, unique passwords for each account. Avoid easily guessable information like birthdays or names.

Companies can help by setting strong password enforcement rules. This requires a strong password before it’s accepted in a system. For example, you may set up a policy that requires a password to have:

  • At least 12 characters
  • At least 1 upper case letter
  • At least 1 lower case letter
  • At least 1 number
  • At least 1 symbol

Updating Software

Outdated software creates vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit. Regularly update operating systems, applications, and firmware. This ensures the latest security patches are in place.

Automating updates is a good way to ensure they’re done promptly. Companies can use endpoint device managers to handle updates across all employee devices. Managers like Intune simplify the process and enhance endpoint security.

Recognizing and Reporting Phishing

Phishing attacks are a common vector for cyber threats. Train your team to identify phishing emails, suspicious links, and unsolicited attachments. Encourage them to verify the sender’s email address. As well as never provide sensitive information unless certain of the recipient’s authenticity.

It’s also important to educate employees about phishing beyond email. Phishing via text messages has been increasing significantly. Some criminals phish via direct messages on social media platforms.

Another important aspect of phishing awareness is to report phishing. If it’s reported, then other employees know to avoid that phishing trap. The organization’s IT team also needs to know so they can take action to mitigate the threat. Be sure to let employees know how they can report a phishing email when they suspect one.

We Can Help You Put the Best Cyber Hygiene Practices in Place

CAM offers a valuable opportunity to refocus on the significance of cybersecurity. As well as prioritizing essential cyber hygiene practices. Building a culture of cybersecurity awareness within your team is important. It can be the difference between vulnerability and resilience.

Need some help ensuring a more secure and resilient future? Our team of experts can get you going on the basics. Once those are in place, your organization will be more productive and much more secure.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Learn How to Spot Fake LinkedIn Sales Bots

Learn How to Spot Fake LinkedIn Sales Bots

LinkedIn has become an invaluable platform for professionals. People use it to connect, network, and explore business opportunities. But with its growing popularity have come some red flags. There has been an increase in the presence of fake LinkedIn sales bots.

These bots impersonate real users and attempt to scam unsuspecting individuals. This is one of the many scams on LinkedIn. According to the FBI, fraud on LinkedIn poses a “significant threat” to platform users.

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of fake LinkedIn sales bots. We’ll explore their tactics and provide you with valuable tips. You’ll learn how to spot and protect yourself from these scams. By staying informed and vigilant, you can foster a safer LinkedIn experience.

Identifying Fake LinkedIn Sales Connections

Social media scams often play on emotions. Who doesn’t want to be thought of as special or interesting? Scammers will reach out to connect. That connection request alone can make someone feel wanted. People often accept before researching the person’s profile.

Put a business proposition on top of that, and it’s easy to fool people. People that are looking for a job or business opportunity may have their guard down. There is also an inherent trust people give other business professionals. Many often trust LinkedIn connections more than Facebook requests.

How can you tell the real requests from the fake ones? Here are some tips on spotting the scammers and bots.

Incomplete Profiles and Generic Photos

Fake LinkedIn sales bots often have incomplete profiles. They’ll have very limited or generic information. They may lack a comprehensive work history or educational background. Additionally, these bots tend to use generic profile pictures. Such as stock photos or images of models.

If a profile looks too perfect or lacks specific details, it could be a red flag. Genuine LinkedIn users usually provide comprehensive information. They do this to establish credibility and foster trust among their connections.

Impersonal and Generic Messages

One of the key characteristics of fake sales bots is their messaging approach. It’s often impersonal and generic. These bots often send mass messages that lack personalization. They may be no specific references to your profile or industry. They often use generic templates or scripts to engage with potential targets.

Legitimate LinkedIn users, typically tailor their messages to specific individuals. They might mention shared connections, recent posts, or industry-specific topics. Exercise caution If you receive a message that feels overly generic. Or one that lacks personalization. Be sure to scrutinize the sender’s profile before proceeding further.

Excessive Promotional Content and Unrealistic Claims

Fake LinkedIn sales bots are notorious for bombarding users. You’ll often get DMs with excessive promotional content and making unrealistic claims. These bots often promote products or services aggressively. Usually without offering much information or value.

They may promise overnight success, incredible profits, or instant solutions to complex problems. Genuine professionals on LinkedIn focus on building relationships. They try to provide valuable insights and engage in meaningful discussions. Instead of resorting to constant self-promotion.

Be wary of connections that focus solely on selling. And that don’t offer any meaningful content or engagement.

Inconsistent or Poor Grammar and Spelling

When communicating on LinkedIn, pay attention to the grammar and spelling of messages. You may dismiss an error from an international-sounding connection, but it could be a bot.

Fake LinkedIn sales bots often display inconsistent or poor grammar and spelling mistakes. These errors can serve as a clear sign that the sender is not genuine. Legitimate LinkedIn users typically take pride in their communication skills. They try to maintain a high standard of professionalism.

If you encounter messages with several grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, exercise caution. Investigate further before engaging with the sender.

Unusual Connection Requests and Unfamiliar Profiles

Fake LinkedIn sales bots often send connection requests to individuals indiscriminately. They may target users with little regard for relevance or shared professional interests.

Be cautious when accepting connection requests from unfamiliar profiles. Especially if the connection seems unrelated to your industry or expertise.

Take the time to review the requesting profile. Check their mutual connections, and assess the relevance of their content. Legitimate LinkedIn users are more likely to have a connection. They typically send connection requests to others with shared interests or professional networks.

Need Training in Online Security?

Spotting fake LinkedIn sales bots is crucial for maintaining a safe online experience. By being vigilant, you can protect yourself from potential scams.

AI is causing an increase in the sophistication of scams. You may need some help navigating what’s real and fake. Employees can also benefit by learning social media security.

Need help with personal or team cybersecurity training? We have a team of friendly experts that can improve your scam detection skills.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

What Is Push-Bombing & How Can You Prevent It?

What Is Push-Bombing & How Can You Prevent It?

Cloud account takeover has become a major problem for organizations. Think about how much work your company does that requires a username and password. Employees end up having to log into many different systems or cloud apps.

Hackers use various methods to get those login credentials. The goal is to gain access to business data as a user. As well as launch sophisticated attacks, and send insider phishing emails.

How bad has the problem of account breaches become? Between 2019 and 2021, account takeover (ATO) rose by 307%.

Doesn’t Multi-Factor Authentication Stop Credential Breaches?

Many organizations and individuals use multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s a way to stop attackers that have gained access to their usernames and passwords. MFA is very effective at protecting cloud accounts and has been for many years.

But it’s that effectiveness that has spurred workarounds by hackers. One of these nefarious ways to get around MFA is push-bombing.

How Does Push-Bombing Work?

When a user enables MFA on an account, they typically receive a code or authorization prompt of some type. The user enters their login credentials. Then the system sends an authorization request to the user to complete their login.

The MFA code or approval request will usually come through some type of “push” message. Users can receive it in a few ways:

  • SMS/text
  • A device popup
  • An app notification

Receiving that notification is a normal part of the multi-factor authentication login. It’s something the user would be familiar with.

With push-bombing, hackers start with the user’s credentials. They may get them through phishing or from a large data breach password dump.

They take advantage of that push notification process. Hackers attempt to log in many times. This sends the legitimate user several push notifications, one after the other.

Many people question the receipt of an unexpected code that they didn’t request. But when someone is bombarded with these, it can be easy to mistakenly click to approve access.

Push-bombing is a form of social engineering attack designed to:

  • Confuse the user
  • Wear the user down
  • Trick the user into approving the MFA request to give the hacker access

Ways to Combat Push-Bombing at Your Organization

Educate Employees

Knowledge is power. When a user experiences a push-bombing attack it can be disruptive and confusing. If employees have education beforehand, they’ll be better prepared to defend themselves.

Let employees know what push-bombing is and how it works. Provide them with training on what to do if they receive MFA notifications they didn’t request.

You should also give your staff a way to report these attacks. This enables your IT security team to alert other users. They can then also take steps to secure everyone’s login credentials.

Reduce Business App “Sprawl”

On average, employees use 36 different cloud-based services per day. That’s a lot of logins to keep up with. The more logins someone has to use, the greater the risk of a stolen password.

Take a look at how many applications your company uses. Look for ways to reduce app “sprawl” by consolidating. Platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace offer many tools behind one login. Streamlining your cloud environment improves security and productivity.

Adopt Phishing-Resistant MFA Solutions

You can thwart push-bombing attacks altogether by moving to a different form of MFA. Phishing-resistant MFA uses a device passkey or physical security key for authentication.

There is no push notification to approve with this type of authentication. This solution is more complex to set up, but it’s also more secure than text or app-based MFA.

Enforce Strong Password Policies

For hackers to send several push-notifications, they need to have the user’s login. Enforcing strong password policies reduces the chance that a password will get breached.

Standard practices for strong password policies include:

  • Using at least one upper and one lower-case letter
  • Using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Not using personal information to create a password
  • Storing passwords securely
  • Not reusing passwords across several accounts

Put in Place an Advanced Identity Management Solution

Advanced identity management solutions can also help you prevent push-bombing attacks. They will typically combine all logins through a single sign-on solution. Users, then have just one login and MFA prompt to manage, rather than several.

Additionally, businesses can use identity management solutions to install contextual login policies. These enable a higher level of security by adding access enforcement flexibility. The system could automatically block login attempts outside a desired geographic area. It could also block logins during certain times or when other contextual factors aren’t met.

Do You Need Help Improving Your Identity & Access Security?

Multi-factor authentication alone isn’t enough. Companies need several layers of protection to reduce their risk of a cloud breach.

Are you looking for some help to reinforce your access security? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Is It Time to Ditch the Passwords for More Secure Passkeys?

Is It Time to Ditch the Passwords for More Secure Passkeys?

Passwords are the most used method of authentication, but they are also one of the weakest. Passwords are often easy to guess or steal. Also, many people use the same password across several accounts. This makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The sheer volume of passwords that people need to remember is large. This leads to habits that make it easier for criminals to breach passwords. Such as creating weak passwords and storing passwords in a non-secure way.

61% of all data breaches involve stolen or hacked login credentials.

In recent years a better solution has emerged – passkeys. Passkeys are more secure than passwords. They also provide a more convenient way of logging into your accounts.

What is Passkey Authentication?

Passkeys work by generating a unique code for each login attempt. This code is then validated by the server. This code is created using a combination of information about the user and the device they are using to log in.

You can think of passkeys as a digital credential. A passkey allows someone to authenticate in a web service or a cloud-based account. There is no need to enter a username and password.

This authentication technology leverages Web Authentication (WebAuthn). This is a core component of FIDO2, an authentication protocol. Instead of using a unique password, it uses public-key cryptography for user verification.

The user’s device stores the authentication key. This can be a computer, mobile device, or security key device. It is then used by sites that have passkeys enabled to log the user in.

Advantages of Using Passkeys Instead of Passwords

More Secure

One advantage of passkeys is that they are more secure than passwords. Passkeys are more difficult to hack. This is true especially if the key generates from a combination of biometric and device data.

Biometric data can include things like facial recognition or fingerprint scans. Device information can include things like the device’s MAC address or location. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access to your accounts.

More Convenient

Another advantage of passkeys over passwords is that they are more convenient. With password authentication, users often must remember many complex passwords. This can be difficult and time-consuming.

Forgetting passwords is common and doing a reset can slow an employee down. Each time a person has to reset their password, it takes an average of three minutes and 46 seconds.

Passkeys erase this problem by providing a single code. You can use that same code across all your accounts. This makes it much easier to log in to your accounts. It also reduces the likelihood of forgetting or misplacing your password.

Phishing-Resistant

Credential phishing scams are prevalent. Scammers send emails that tell a user something is wrong with their account. They click on a link that takes them to a disguised login page created to steal their username and password.

When a user is authenticating with a passkey instead, this won’t work on them. Even if a hacker had a user’s password, it wouldn’t matter. They would need the device passkey authentication to breach the account.

Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Passkeys?

Passkeys are definitely looking like the future of authentication technology. But there are some issues that you may run into when adopting them right now.

Passkeys Aren’t Yet Widely Adopted

One of the main disadvantages is that passkeys are not yet widely adopted. Many websites and cloud services still rely on passwords. They don’t have passkey capability yet.

This means that users may have to continue using passwords for some accounts. At least until passkeys become more widely adopted. It could be slightly awkward to use passkeys for some accounts and passwords for others.

Passkeys Need Extra Hardware & Software

One thing about passwords is that they’re free and easy to use. You simply make them up as you sign up for a site.

Passkeys need extra hardware and software to generate and validate the codes. This can be costly for businesses to put in place at first. But there is potential savings from improved security and user experience. These benefits can outweigh the cost of passkeys.

Prepare Now for the Future of Authentication

Passkeys are a more secure and convenient alternative to passwords. They are more difficult to hack, and they provide a more convenient way of logging into your accounts. But passkeys are not yet widely adopted. Additionally, businesses may need to budget for implementation.

Despite these challenges, passkeys represent a promising solution. Specifically, to the problem of weak passwords. They have the potential to improve cybersecurity. As well as boost productivity for businesses and individuals alike.

Need Help Improving Your Identity & Account Security?

Take advantage of the new passkey authentication by exploring it now. It’s the perfect time to ease in and begin putting it in place for your organization.

Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

7 Smart Ways to Secure Your Wireless Printer & Keep Your Home Network Safe

7 Smart Ways to Secure Your Wireless Printer & Keep Your Home Network Safe

Many people worry about someone hacking their computer. But they’re not really thinking about their wireless printer getting breached. It’s a tool that most individuals use sporadically. For example, when you want to print out tax forms or mailing labels.

Printers tend to be out of sight, out of mind. That is until you need to print something and run out of ink. Well, they’re not out of the mind of hackers. In fact, unsecured printers are a classic way for criminals to gain access to a home network.

To illustrate this point, Cybernews purposely hacked printers. It hijacked nearly 28,000 unsecured printers globally. The success rate was 56%. What did it do once it gained access? Ironically, it made the printers print out a guide on printer security.

Are you wondering how exposed your network is from your printer? We’ve got some security tips below to help. These tips can enable you to better secure your network, which keeps data on all devices more secure.

1. Change the Default Login Credentials

When you buy a new printer, it will likely have included default information. Manufacturers give you a way to connect and set up your device. This usually involves default login information.

Immediately change that information during set up. Hackers use a master list of all these defaults. They plug it into an automated script and just keep trying them all until they get a hit. Change these, and make sure you create a strong password.

2. Keep Printer Firmware Updated

Keeping firmware updated is vital to keeping your printer secure. Hardware needs updating just like computers, software, and apps do. Those updates often contain important security patches.

Firmware updates aren’t usually as visible as software updates. Software and OS updates usually give you a popup notification. But updates to the drivers and firmware that run printers, aren’t so visible.

Some of the places you can check for firmware updates are:

  • The PC manufacturer’s utility app on a connected device
  • The printer’s information panel
  • The printer manufacturer’s app installed on a PC

3. Use a Network Firewall

A network firewall is important to ensure the monitoring of traffic. Firewalls can block suspicious activity to keep hackers out of your network. You should configure the firewall to watch incoming and outgoing printer traffic.

4. Put Your Printer on a Guest Network

Most of today’s home routers allow you to set up a guest network. This is a separate Wi-Fi that runs from the same router you use for your main network. It’s harder for hackers to get from one network to another.

Keeping a less secure device separated from computers and phones improves security. You can still print to your printer from devices on another network. You just need to have things configured correctly. If you need help with that, just let us know.

5. Disable Unused Ports or Services

IoT devices, like printers, often have many ways to connect. You may not need all the ports or services that come with your printer. These ports are risk areas where hackers could find a way in.

It’s best to disable any ports and sharing features that you don’t need. This reduces the risk of a breach.

6. Unplug It When Not in Use

Most home printers aren’t used as much as work printers. People may only use them once a month or a few times a year. If you’re not using your printer constantly, unplug it when not in use.

One surefire way to cut off a hacker’s access is to unplug the device. When it’s shut down, no access is available at all.

7. Teach Your Family Cybersecurity Best Practices

Your printer is one device on your network. Most families connect several devices to their home Wi-Fi. In 2022, the average number of connected devices per U.S. household was 22.

Families need to know and adopt good cyber habits. This keeps everyone’s data more secure. It also helps you avoid costly identity theft breaches. Or the takeover of things like baby monitors.

Some standard best practices to follow for good cyber hygiene are:

  • Always use strong passwords. (at least 10-12 characters & include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols)
  • Keep software & firmware on devices updated
  • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible
  • Enable device firewalls & other protections
  • All devices that should have a good antivirus installed
  • Never login to an account from a link you receive via email or text
  • Learn how to identify phishing & get a second opinion before clicking
  • Get a security checkup from a pro at least every year or two

Get Some Help Keeping Your Family’s Data Secure

IT pros don’t only work with businesses. We also help families ensure their data is safe & devices are running smoothly. Give us a call today to schedule a home security checkup.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

6 Immediate Steps You Should Take If Your Netflix Account is Hacked

6 Immediate Steps You Should Take If Your Netflix Account is Hacked

Netflix is one of the most popular and well-known streaming services. It has nearly 231 million subscribers around the world. It has been growing steadily for almost a decade.

The platform has become an essential part of many people’s daily entertainment routines. They fire up their devices, log in, and pick right back up on their favorite shows.

Unfortunately, like any online service, Netflix accounts can be vulnerable to hacking. It’s a baked-in risk when you have a service that is only protected by a username and password.

If you experience an account hack, it can be shocking, confusing, and infuriating. You may not know exactly what to do and may react without thinking first. This is a dangerous space to be in because it can cause you to do things that only make things worse.

In this article, we’ll give you the steps to take when you suspect someone has hacked your Netflix account. Let’s first cover how hackers typically operate when deploying an account takeover.

How Does a Netflix Hack Typically Work?

Phishing overload is a problem that hackers take advantage of in these types of breaches. People receive fake emails all the time that spoof brands like Netflix. One common phishing ploy is an email stating, “There has been suspicious activity on your account.” It will include a link to log in to a spoofed site that looks like the brand’s normal login page. This is a classic trick to steal your login credentials.

Hacked Netflix accounts typically go for $12 each on the dark web.

People get numb to these emails because they get so many of them. They tend to tune them out, knowing that clicking on them could be dangerous. Hackers take advantage of this, hoping you’ll ignore the real ones from Netflix that warn you of a suspicious login (theirs!).

They lay low and don’t take any action yet that will lock you out. They wait for you to receive a few more of these emails, so you’ll completely ignore them. Then they attempt a takeover.

Accounts hacks can go in various ways. Here is one typical scenario of a Netflix hack:

  • The account owner gets an email about a suspicious login. Often it will be from a different country.
  • They may log into their Netflix account to see if there are any unknown devices logged in. Usually, none will show yet. The hacker logs back out. The goal is to get you to check and see that nothing is wrong, and assume the real notice is phishing.
  • This same scenario may happen 2-4 more times in the span of a month.
  • Once the hacker feels the user is ignoring the Netflix warnings, they’ll make their move.
  • They add their credit card to your account. This is so they can call Netflix and give them a method of verification.
  • They may increase your subscription plan to a higher level.
  • They also usually replace any user profile names on your account with numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.)
  • At this point, the account owner will typically receive an email. It will note a change in account information. This could be the account email, password, phone number, etc.
  • The hacker is now trying to lock the account owner out of their account.

What Do You Do If Someone Has Hacked Your Netflix Account?

1. Go to the Netflix site & try to log in.

If you suspect a hacked account, visit the Netflix site directly from your browser. Do not go through a link you received via email, DM, or SMS.

See if you can log in using your password. You may be able to if you caught the hacker before they’ve locked you out. If not, then skip to Step 4 below, calling Netflix support.

2. If you can log in, change your password immediately.

If you can log into your account, change the password right away. Ensure it’s a strong password that is at least 10-12 characters in length. It should also include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Do not use a variation of the breached password. You should not use any part of your old password to create the new one.

3. If you can log in, remove any strange payment methods

If you can still access your account and settings, go to the payment methods area. Often hackers will add another payment card to your account. They use it to verify the account to Netflix support.

Remove any strange payment method that is not yours. But if you remove your own payment card, you will need another way to verify your account with Netflix. So, at this point, you may want to call before you do that.

4. Call Netflix support. (Don’t skip this step)

Everyone’s experience may be different. Some users that have gone through a hack have praised the fast and helpful support from Netflix.

Contact Netflix support whether you have or have not succeeded in logging in. There may be things the hacker has done that you aren’t aware of. They may have changed subscription information.

Let the support representative know you think you’re the victim of an account hack. They’ll walk you through the process of undoing what the hacker has done.

5. Watch your bank statements.

Continue to watch your bank statements for any unusual charges. You should do this after any account hack.

6. Change the password for other accounts that used the same one as your Netflix account.

People often use the same or the nearly same password for several accounts. Make sure to change the password for any accounts that used the one that was just hacked.

Get Help Securing Your Passwords & Accounts

Don’t wait until a hack happens to you. Give us a call today to schedule a chat about our password security solutions.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

What Is App Fatigue & Why Is It a Security Issue?

What Is App Fatigue & Why Is It a Security Issue?

The number of apps and web tools that employees use on a regular basis continues to increase. Most departments have about 40-60 different digital tools that they use. 71% of employees feel they use so many apps that it makes work more complex.

Many of the apps that we use every day have various alerts. We get a “ping” when someone mentions our name on a Teams channel. We get a notification popup that an update is available. We get an alert of errors or security issues.

App fatigue is a very real thing and it’s becoming a cybersecurity problem. The more people get overwhelmed by notifications, the more likely they are to ignore them.

Just think about the various digital alerts that you get. They come in:

  • Software apps on your computer
  • Web-based SaaS tools
  • Websites where you’ve allowed alerts
  • Mobile apps and tools
  • Email banners
  • Text messages
  • Team communication tools

Some employees are getting the same notification on two different devices. This just adds to the problem. This leads to many issues that impact productivity and cybersecurity.

Besides alert bombardment, every time the boss introduces a new app, that means a new password. Employees are already juggling about 191 passwords. They use at least 154 of them sometime during the month.

How Does App Fatigue Put Companies at Risk?

Employees Begin Ignoring Updates

When digital alerts interrupt your work, you can feel like you’re always behind. This leads to ignoring small tasks seen as not time-sensitive. Tasks like clicking to install an app update.

Employees overwhelmed with too many app alerts, tend to ignore them. When updates come up, they may quickly click them away. They feel they can’t spare the time right now and aren’t sure how long it will take.
Ignoring app updates on a device is dangerous. Many of those updates include important security patches for found vulnerabilities. When they’re not installed, the device and its network are at a higher risk. It becomes easier to suffer a successful cyberattack.

Employees Reuse Passwords (and They’re Often Weak)

Another security casualty of app fatigue is password security. The more SaaS accounts someone must create, the more likely they are to reuse passwords. It’s estimated that passwords are typically reused 64% of the time.

Credential breach is a key driver of cloud data breaches. Hackers can easily crack weak passwords. The same password used several times leaves many accounts at risk.

Employees May Turn Off Alerts

Some alerts are okay to turn off. For example, do you really need to know every time someone responds to a group thread? Or just when they @name you? But, turning off important security alerts is not good.

There comes a breaking point when one more push notification can push someone over the edge. They may turn off all the alerts they can across all apps. The problem with this is that in the mix of alerts are important ones. Such as an anti-malware app warning about a newly found virus.

What’s the Answer to App Fatigue?

It’s not realistic to just go backward in time before all these apps were around. But you can put a strategy in place that puts people in charge of their tech, and not the other way around.

Streamline Your Business Applications

From both a productivity and security standpoint, fewer apps are better. The fewer apps you have, the less risk. Also, the fewer passwords to remember and notifications to address.

Look at the tools that you use to see where redundancies may be. Many companies are using two or more apps that can do the same function.

Consider using an umbrella platform like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace. These platforms include several work tools, but users only need a single login to access them.

Have Your IT Team Set up Notifications

It’s difficult for users to know what types of notifications are the most important. Set up their app notifications for them. This ensures they aren’t bombarded yet are still getting the important ones.

Automate Application Updates

A cybersecurity best practice is to automate device and software updates. This takes the process out of employees’ hands. It enhances productivity by removing unnecessary updates from their view.

Automating device updates through a managed services solution improves security. It also mitigates the chance there will be a vulnerable app putting your network at risk.

Open a Two-Way Communication About Alerts

Employees may never turn off an alert because they’re afraid they might get in trouble. Managers may not even realize constant app alert interruptions are hurting productivity.

Communicate with employees and let them know they can communicate with you. Discuss how to use alerts effectively. As well as the best ways to manage alerts for a better and more productive workday.

Need Help Taming Your Cloud App Environment?

Today, it’s easy for cloud tools to get out of hand. Get some help consolidating and optimizing your cloud app environment. Give us a call today.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.