Category: Cybersecurity

How to Recognize Malware

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How to Recognize Malware?

Due to rapid advancement in technology and the use of digital devices, the risks of cyber attacks on individuals, organizations, government, and private sectors are increasing. A cyber attack attempts to access a computer system, a group of computers, or a network infrastructure to cause harm. Electrical blackouts, military equipment failures, and national security secrets leaks are possible outcomes of cyber strikes. They can lead to the theft of valuable and sensitive information, such as medical records. They can paralyze or interrupt phone and computer networks.

Cyber risks include computer viruses, data breaches, and DoS attacks. Malware is an example of an escalating cyber threat. Malware has been used to cause disruptions, make money, conduct cyber warfare methods and much more since the early 1970s.

  • Last year, 34% of firms had malware-related security issues.
  • Following March 2020, Google found roughly 600-800 malware-infected sites weekly, compared to around 3000 infected sites between January and March.

People have a habit of using loose security terms. However, it’s critical to understand your malware categories. Understanding how different types of malware spread is essential to containing and eradicating them. This article will help you know how to recognize malware.

 

What is Malware?

Malware or malicious software is software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, or access private computer systems. Malicious software, or malware, is designed to damage or disrupt computers and computer networks.

Malware comes in various forms and often varies in sophistication, but some things are common to most types of malware. They’re usually small programs trick people into installing them on their computers. Once the computer has been infected with malware, it may be slowed down, destroyed, or made vulnerable to malicious attacks from other sources.

 Malware includes computer viruses, keyloggers, and other malicious programs that damage or disrupt computers and networks. Malware attacks can range from simple annoyances such as pop-up messages to extremely damaging programs that cause financial loss or identity theft.

 

How-to-Recognize-Malware-middleWays to Tell if You’re Infected with Malware

The best way to tell if your computer has been infected with malware is to look for specific symptoms. Here are some tips on how you can tell if your device has been affected by malicious software:

  • Slow performance: If you notice that your device is performing slower than usual, there might be a problem with malware. When malicious programs run on your PC, they can affect its performance and make everything take longer than usual. For example, opening files or programs might take longer, and web pages may not load properly.
  • Unexpected behavior changes: If anything that generally happens on your PC starts happening when it shouldn’t — or doesn’t happen when it should — then this could be a sign of malware infection. For example, if your browser opens new tabs without permission or downloads files without asking permission, these could be malware infection signs.

If you have malware on your computer, it can lead to various problems. Some malware displays pop-ups and advertisements, some steal personal information stored on your computer, and some even try to access your bank account. If you believe your system contains malware, you must use an effective anti-malware program to remove the threat.

If you experience these symptoms, you may have malware on your computer. You are in danger when the virus starts to harm your system. You need to know how to know if you have malware or if malware will keep affecting your system.

 

How Malware Gets on Your Device

Malware can get onto your device in many ways. Here are some of them.

 

1.    Malicious Websites

Hackers often create malicious websites that trick you into downloading software onto your device by appearing as legitimate sites. For example, they may create fake social media pages for popular websites like Facebook or LinkedIn, containing malware links embedded in the website code.

2.    Email Attachments

Malware is delivered by email in 94% of cases. Phishing assaults are becoming more common. To steal personally identifiable information, cyber hackers imitate trustworthy institutions. These attachments often appear as files you need to open to view their contents (such as an invoice or document). A typical example of this type of attachment is a PDF document containing an executable file hidden inside it. It automatically downloads and installs malware on your computer without knowing when you open it.

3.    Downloading Apps from Unknown Sources

If you’re downloading a file from the Internet, you must be careful where you get it from and what kind of content it contains. Ensure you only download files from reputable sources — such as official developer websites or other trusted sources — and avoid peer-to-peer file-sharing networks.

4.    Not Updating Your Apps Regularly

While updating your apps on Android isn’t easy — you need to ensure that every app is compatible with the latest version of Android before doing so. It’s still important to keep up with updates to protect against new malware threats. Suppose you’re unwilling or unable to update your apps regularly. In that case, the best thing you can do is scan your device for malware once in a while using anti-virus software.

 

Effects Of Malware

Malware has become an increasingly serious threat in today’s business landscape. The bad guys are getting more innovative and creative as they develop new ways of getting into your systems. Malware can cause many problems that affect your company’s daily operation and long-term security. They could steal passwords and credit card numbers or make your computer inoperable by deleting files. In addition to these apparent problems, malware can cause company data to be lost or corrupted.

The following are some common symptoms of a malware infection:

  • Unexpected pop-ups in your browser or other applications. These are usually advertisements but can also be attempted by malicious software to trick you into installing more malware.
  • The presence of suspicious files on your computer. These may include executable files (.exe), dynamic link libraries (.dll), or scripts (.vbs). If you find any of these on your computer, it’s good to delete them immediately.
  • There are frequent crashes, program freezes, blue screens (BSODs), or other system errors. In some cases, these issues might be caused by a hardware problem, but they could also result from malware that has taken over part or all of the operating system (OS).

Conclusion

In this digital era, corporate device and network malware attacks are rising. Cybercriminals are spreading advanced variants of robust malware to infect endpoints. Not only have these attacks increased, but the level of sophistication has also improved.

Protected Harbor offers extensive protection from viruses, ransomware, spyware, and other malicious software. It also includes a firewall to prevent outside threats from compromising your computer. One of the most helpful features of this program is its real-time cloud scanning which keeps your computer safe even if you download a malicious program. In addition, you can schedule scans to make sure that your computer is always protected. With Protected Harbor, you get access to helpful 24/7 support as well. An ideal solution for such scenarios with complete protection against malware attacks. What are you waiting for? Get protected from malware today with a free IT audit.

Understanding Cyber Attacks in The Cloud

Understanding Cyber Attacks in The Cloud

In today’s world of rapidly advancing technology, the need for understanding cyber-attacks in the cloud is paramount. Cloud computing has revolutionized how we store and access data, allowing faster and more efficient workflows and collaborations. However, it has also created a new avenue for cybercriminals, who can target cloud-based systems with sophisticated attacks. As such, organizations need to understand the various types of cyber-attacks that can occur in the cloud and develop strategies to protect against them.

Welcome to another episode of Uptime with Richard Luna! We are thrilled to have you with us. We explain best practices, highlight critical issues in the current threat landscape, and provide guidance on how to keep safe and secure online. This blog will overview the different types of cyber-attacks in the cloud and discuss what organizations can do to safeguard their data and systems.

 

Types of Cyber Attacks in the Cloud

There are several types of cyber-attacks in the cloud, including Denial of Service (DoS), Data breaches, Digital extortion, Viral infections, Theft of data, and Access control attacks. Let’s take a closer look at each attack to understand better the risks involved.

  • DoS attacks occur when a hacker floods a website with so many requests that the site cannot keep up with the load and goes offline. A hacker who wants to take down a website may use a DoS attack. This type of attack can be launched against websites that are hosted in the cloud, as well as on-premise systems.
  • Data breaches occur when a hacker is able to gain access to sensitive data stored on cloud systems. A data breach can occur through various attack vectors, such as malicious code, malicious insiders, and improperly configured security systems.
  • Digital extortion involves hackers obtaining access to sensitive data and threatening to publish it on the internet or sell it to others if a ransom is not paid. While this type of attack can occur on-premise and in the cloud, it is more common in cloud environments due to the lower barriers to entry.
  • Viral infections occur when a hacker uploads malicious code to a cloud service, such as a file storage system, and others unknowingly download and distribute the code. This attack can spread quickly as others download and upload the infected files, creating a viral infection.
  • Thieves can steal data from a cloud system by hacking into the system or by tricking users into downloading malicious code or applications that steal data.
  • Access control attacks often work around or bypass access control measures to steal data or user credentials. Malicious actors can easily bypass access control by logging in as authorized users and using their resources after obtaining the latter.

 

Strategies for Protecting Against Cyber Attacks in the Cloud

Given the different types of cyber-attacks in the cloud outlined above, it is clear that organizations must employ a comprehensive security strategy when using cloud-based systems. It is important to note that no single security strategy will completely protect against cyber-attacks. It is necessary to employ a multi-layered approach that includes a combination of security tools and processes, such as the following.

  • Strong passwords are essential to any security strategy, particularly in cloud environments where accounts are shared across different organizations and individuals. Follow these password best practices to create strong, secure passwords for all cloud accounts.
  • Two-factor authentication is another critical part of any security strategy. This feature requires users to enter a password and perform an additional verification step, such as entering a PIN or scanning a unique barcode with a smartphone. Two-factor authentication provides a significant additional layer of security against cyber-attacks by requiring two forms of authentication.
  • Firewalls provide an important layer of security between an organization’s network and the internet. This centralized system can be configured to block or allow specific data packets based on their destinations and types.
  • Encryption – Organizations should use encryption for all sensitive data to prevent hackers from accessing it and can breach a system. SSL/TLS certificates are a common form of encryption used by cloud computing providers to secure data between a user’s computer and a website.
  • Data audits are essential to any security strategy, particularly in cloud environments where users’ data is stored and shared across different organizations and individuals. Make sure to conduct regular data audits to identify potential security risks and find ways to mitigate them.

 

Final Words

In conclusion, cyber-attacks in the cloud are a significant threat that organizations must be prepared to defend against. By following the above best practices, organizations can better protect against cyber-attacks in the cloud and keep sensitive data safe.

Protected Harbor offers enterprise-grade hosting, 24/7 monitoring, and high availability to keep your business online. Our data centers are U.S.-based SOC 2 certified to meet the strictest data security requirements. Our expert engineers work around the clock to keep your data safe. Our private clouds are designed to provide secure, reliable hosting of virtualized corporate data and applications. Private cloud hosting is scalable and offers high availability. It also enables data backup and recovery, as well as system redundancy.

Protected Harbor’s mission is to make hosting your business online as simple and secure as possible. Sign up now to try our services risk-free.

Third-party Vulnerabilities: Stay Protected from Software Supply Chain Security

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Third-party Vulnerabilities: Stay Protected from Software Supply Chain Security

The global economy is becoming more interconnected, making it easier for hostile actors to carry out these assaults, which take advantage of the trust businesses and their partners have in one another. Supply chain cyber-attacks are on the rise.

In the past 12 months, 45% of respondents to the 2021 Global Security Attitude Survey by cybersecurity company CrowdStrike experienced a supply chain assault. This increased from 32% of respondents in 2018, indicating that hackers are becoming more comfortable using this sophisticated cyberattack.

Attacks on the supply chain increased by 42% in the first quarter of 2021. Surprisingly, 97% of businesses have had a supply chain breach, with 93% experiencing a direct violation due to a supply chain security weakness.

If you are well-prepared, you could be positively affected by a software breach you use or have an essential service or supplier of goods fall offline for several days due to a cyberattack.

Let’s take a closer look at software supply chain security.

 

What is a Supply Chain Attack?

A supply chain attack is a type of cyberattack in which malicious actors attack a company’s supply chain, which can be as simple as stealing money from an e-commerce site or as complex as stealing intellectual property.

In some cases, hackers wait for a company to make a purchase and then try to steal information about that transaction. In other cases, hackers might try to steal money directly from the company’s bank account.

The goal of a supply chain attack is to disrupt the flow of goods from the factory to the store shelf. This can allow attackers to take advantage of the lack of visibility into their supply chains and move more quickly than companies would otherwise be able to do on their own.

 

How Do Supply Chain Attacks Work?

Supply chain attacks are not just about stealing intellectual property like trade secrets or confidential data; they also involve stealing physical assets such as manufacturing equipment or companies.

Supply chain attacks work by taking advantage of vulnerabilities within the supply chain itself. These vulnerabilities could be in the form of human error or poor security practices for the companies involved in making and shipping products.

 

Different Forms of Supply Chain AttackThird-party Vulnerabilities & Software Supply Chain Security middle

Supply chain attacks can take many forms, including firmware, hardware, and software attacks.

 

Supply Chain Attack on Software

One compromised application or piece of software is all needed for a software supply chain assault to spread malware throughout the whole network. Attackers frequently aim for the source code of an application to introduce malicious code into a reliable program or computer system.

Supply Chain Attack on Hardware

Similar to the USB keylogger we previously stated, hardware attacks rely on actual physical objects. To maximize their impact and harm, attackers will aim for a device that travels through the entire supply chain.

Supply Chain Attack on Firmware

An attack that introduces malware into a computer’s booting code can be launched instantly. The malware starts to run as soon as a computer starts up, endangering the entire system. Attacks on firmware are swift, frequently unnoticed if you’re not looking for them, and very destructive.

 

Best Practices to Counter Supply Chain Attacks

Companies can implement various strategies to combat supply chain assaults, from fixing problems with their overall cybersecurity infrastructure to ensuring endpoints are protected against intrusion.

Attacks on the supply chain can be challenging to identify and prevent because they take advantage of organizations’ confidence in their suppliers. Fortunately, there are still methods companies may take to prevent or lessen the effects of a supply chain attack.

 

Install Backup Vendors

You run a considerably more significant chance of downtime if you sell widgets and only have one supplier for a particular component needed for that widget than if you had two vendors.

For instance, most businesses would view themselves as inoperable and unable to function without their internet. If your primary ISP goes down, having a backup provider will help prevent extended downtime.

Use a Model of Zero Trust

Businesses should request that their IT department use a zero-trust approach whenever possible. This restricts the kinds of activities carried out within a network because it presumes that no user or application should be trusted by default.

Implement Security Tools

Firewalls and antivirus software are security solutions that can only sometimes stop supply chain attacks. They might be able to let you know if an attack is happening. For instance, firewalls may be able to identify and halt significant volumes of data from leaving a network, which would indicate a breach. Still, antivirus software can identify malware, such as ransomware.

Include Third-party Threats in Your Threat Intelligence Program

Vendors, suppliers, service providers, resellers, agents, channels, joint venture partners, and intermediaries like payment processors, utilities, nonprofits, subscription services, contractors, affiliates, rating agencies, governmental organizations, and trade associations are all your supply chain.

In the supply chain, businesses and applications work together to deliver products. Security measures in software or physical form could be used to achieve this. On the other hand, more high-risk endpoints result from each additional link. Make careful to double-check all integrations and risks. After all, you cannot defend that which you do not comprehend.

Impose Stringent Shadow IT Regulations

All IT equipment that a company’s security staff has not vetted is called “shadow IT.” As a result of the recent widespread acceptance of a remote-working paradigm, many employees are setting up their home offices with their own personal IT equipment.

All IT equipment should be registered, and there should be clear rules regarding what can and cannot be linked, according to IT security agencies. To identify DDoS assaults conducted through the supply chain, all authorized devices (particularly IoT devices) should be monitored.

 

Conclusion

Although attacks on the software supply chain have increased recently, they have been around for almost a decade. Software developers must follow the best practices to safeguard their build, deployment, and delivery systems.

When protecting the software supply chain, you need to be proactive. For most organizations, security isn’t something they do but rather something they have. They’re likely not setting up or implementing the right solutions and need to address security concerns in their software supply chain. And when the issues arise and are exploited, they’re forced to deal with them later.

You require a well-organized and experienced third-party risk management staff like Protected Harbor to handle supply chain vulnerabilities. The team should frequently and early involve essential suppliers. And to secure the entire supply chain, your technology team should consider blockchain and hyper ledger technologies.

To ensure that your developers and vendors always provide certain products, the best defense is one you build yourself. To delve further into this topic or for more information about software security, contact us today!

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT and Patient Record Security

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How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT and Patient Record Security?

The apex court of the US recently overturned Roe v. Wade(1973) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey(1992) in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org (2022). The court returned the responsibility for controlling abortion to the individual states after concluding that the US Constitution does not provide a right to abortion.

For healthcare organizations countrywide, the seismic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision by the Supreme Court has caused upheaval and confusion regarding patient privacy issues and providers’ obligations for data protection.

If you are a healthcare provider, the Dobbs ruling will not impact your ability to use electronic health records or to communicate and share that information with other providers. This ruling only applies to patient information, not in an “active clinical setting,” Any documents transmitted outside of these settings must still be protected health information under HIPAA.

 

Question of Vulnerability of Reproductive Health after the Decision

In addition to the decision’s clear systemic ramifications, Dobbs has presented several difficulties for pharmacies and prompted concerns about adhering to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy regulations.

Many reproductive health proponents of HHC have expressed concerns about protecting reproductive health information after last month’s decision. This includes information saved in period tracking apps, text messages, web search history, and other places.

Modern Healthcare fears using the information to prosecute those who seek an abortion or even medical attention after a miscarriage and those who help them. Right now, HIPAA only protects the privacy of health information gathered by covered entities, such as health plans, clearinghouses for health information, and healthcare providers. Data collected by electronic devices and outside apps or organizations are not covered.

How Does the Dobbs Ruling Affect Healthcare IT middleResponse of Organizations

In the wake of the decision, several companies have taken steps to preserve and prevent using their users’ health data, particularly those about reproductive care. For example, Google announced that it would remove the location information if its search engine determined that a user visited an abortion clinic or another medical facility.

According to Planned Parenthood, a breach of protected health information has not occurred. It deleted marketing trackers from its search sites for abortions that shared data with third-party companies out of caution. It also mentioned that it offers a different appointment scheduling and confirmation tool that is, according to it, HIPAA-compliant.

Similarly, Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital civil liberties organization, advised users to pay attention to privacy settings on their services, switch off location services on apps that don’t need them, and utilize encrypted messaging services to protect their electronic health data.

Some applications for tracking periods have also made efforts to reassure their users that their health information is safe and secure. As an illustration, Flo said it is creating an “anonymous mode” that will let users delete their names, email addresses, and other unique identifiers from their profiles.

 

Response of the Government

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published guidance on June 29, 2022, outlining how HIPAA constricts disclosures by covered entities and business associates to law enforcement agencies without a court order or other legal mandate.

In light of new state laws forbidding abortion, the guideline offers valuable insight into how OCR may employ HIPAA enforcement to prevent illegal disclosures of protected health information (PHI) to law enforcement personnel.

OCR makes it plain that it wants to protect the privacy of people getting abortions and other reproductive health care. According to OCR, regulations that forbid specific conduct do not authorize the sharing of Personal Health Information(PHI) concerning an individual and such prohibited behavior. Instead, all other requirements in the HIPAA Privacy Rule must be followed, and the law must expressly require such disclosure or disclosure following a legally recognized process. The guidance states that disclosure is only allowed without causing a HIPAA breach.

However, depending on the state, laws that permit criminal or civil action against

  • Someone who seeks an abortion
  • Someone who performs an abortion,
  • Someone who provides the means for an abortion may be used as the justification for revealing PHI for law enforcement purposes, and in states where relevant laws are in force, disclosures may be allowed.

Therefore, HIPAA may not offer the amount of protection against disclosure of PHI that may be inferred based on OCR’s recommendations in light of new state laws that forbid particular conduct by third parties.

To avoid unauthorized disclosure of PHI and HIPAA violations, healthcare organizations should caution their employees and providers not to conflate mandatory reporting laws with state laws that forbid abortion. They should also remind them that legal counsel should review any mandatory reporting. Otherwise, there is a chance of breaking federal or state laws requiring secrecy.

In a nutshell, OCR’s guidance reminds consumers that HIPAA protections do not apply to apps used on personal devices like smartphones that are not directly offered by a Covered Entity or its Business Associate. This covers the numerous applications that provide healthcare-related services but are not offered by Covered Entities, such as period trackers.

However, disclosures needed by law or for law enforcement purposes may apply to Covered Entities and their Business Associates. Additionally, HIPAA does not apply to cell phone service providers, and HIPAA generally does not protect communications made using a mobile device, including calls, messages, and emails. Due to these factors, it will be crucial for people to decide whether and how to communicate with providers electronically for tasks like scheduling appointments.

If privacy is an issue, people should also limit the amount of personal information shared through mobile devices, including apps that might offer health-related services but are not provided through Covered Entities.

 

Final Words

Regulations concerning data privacy will continue to change in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. Legal counsel should be consulted before pharmaceutical shops or businesses disclose PHI to stay current on the legal climate and guidelines. Reproductive health information will remain a significant concern for patients and application users.

The healthcare industry and application developers should consider updating their online privacy policies to address potential patient and user privacy concerns. Law enforcement agencies should not overstate the protections provided under HIPAA and other state privacy laws against disclosing health information.

With a vision to make the world a healthier place, Protected Harbor’s products are designed to secure and protect the health information of patients and providers in the hospital and clinical environments.

We offer tailored solutions to protect healthcare organizations against current and future cyber threats. Our offerings include network security, endpoint protection, remote monitoring and management, and other cybersecurity services. We have a team of certified engineers who are experts in their fields. A continuous learning and improvement culture helps us stay updated with evolving technological trends and best practices. We are focused on improving the health and wellness of our customers and their customers, which we accomplish by building trust, reliability, and transparency in every aspect of our service.

We are working to protect millions of Americans’ health information and critical data. Contact us today for a free security risk assessment.

How can Schools Increase Security to Protect Private Student Records

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How can Schools Increase Security to Protect Private Student Records?

Schools handle numerous sensitive pieces of information about students and their families. Administrators must actively secure the data from unlawful disclosure by following laws, regulations, and ethical commitments.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which gives kids control over their educational data, is one of the statutes that the U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to upholding to protect students’ privacy. Schools, faculty, and employees must follow regulations governing internet safety and the protection of student data.

Data on students can easily be accessed thanks to technology. All student data must be strictly confidential to safeguard students’ rights, security, and dignity. Federal and state laws and regulations may have requirements governing the kinds of security measures that must be implemented concerning this data, but they might not list specific actions.

Unluckily, not all school districts might offer a more thorough analysis of those rules and regulations. As a result, particular precautions must be taken when protecting student data.

 

What is Student Data Privacy?

Student Data Privacy is a term used to describe the protection of student data, which can be anything from academic records to health information.

It aims to ensure that only authorized parties have access to student data and that it is used for the purpose for which it was collected.

State and federal governments enforce Student Data Privacy laws. The U.S. Department of Education has policies regarding student data privacy, and each state has its regulations.

 

Why is Student Privacy Important for Schools?

A school’s policy on student privacy should include information about what can and cannot be recorded, how often cameras will be used, and how long data will be stored. Schools should also provide students with clear information about exercising their rights under the law when school officials or third parties violate their privacy.

Students who feel their privacy has been violated should have an avenue for recourse available to them through their school’s disciplinary process.

Because there are ethical and legal limitations on the acquisition, use, distribution, and treatment of student data, protecting student privacy is crucial. Press the Tab to write more…

  • Make tailored adverts or email scam contact lists.
  • Find the emails and other contact details of your family members.
  • Grade adjustment for a student
  • View private information that should be kept confidential, including prescription medicines and learning and physical problems

Therefore, protecting student privacy is essential to averting issues like these.

 

Security Practices to Protect Private Student Records Middle7 Security Practices to Protect Private Student Records

Let’s look at some strategies schools can do to safeguard students’ privacy better.

 

1.    Purge Unnecessary Student Records

Purge unnecessary student records from your system so hackers cannot access these accounts. This is important because if hackers manage to break into your network and steal data from student accounts, there is no way for you to know who accessed it or for what purpose.

 

2.    Establish Transparency with Laws and Guidelines

Another thing that schools can do is establish transparency with laws and guidelines. These rules vary from state to state but often include policies for how long students’ records can be kept and what they can be used for after graduating high school or moving away from their home state.

This type of transparency will help ensure that students’ rights are being protected and help clarify terminology when discussing matters with parents or teachers.

 

3.    Choose Who can Access the Data

Yes, in daily life, your data must be protected, but what would happen if you had an electrical problem, perhaps in the thick of an emergency? Do you have access to the files and registers of every student?

You can purchase an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) unit, allowing you to continue working or accessing your files while on the premises. Alternatively, you might want to think about how to go outside the building to access your records.

 

4.    Encrypt Data

Likely, schools will still need to keep some sensitive information about children and their parents after completing minimization and cleansing efforts. Careful security should be maintained for those records using a combination of technical and administrative safeguards.

Adopting robust encryption technology to safeguard the information that is either at rest saved on a server or device or in transit, being transferred over a network, is the most significant technical control schools can apply to information. Schools should recognize equipment that houses sensitive data and implement encryption at the file and disc levels.

 

5.    Train Your Staff

Accessing student data comes with much responsibility. A school system cannot rely on the fact that staff workers always know how to handle this information in specific ways. Employees must understand how to access information safely, how to use a breach reporting system, and what to do in the event of a breach.

 

6.    Carefully Manage Data

You ought to be aware of the information that each individual or company has access to. If you handle the data correctly, you can ensure that it is treated correctly. Publishers of textbooks, for instance, do not require student addresses or phone numbers.

The precise forms of data that are required must be synchronized. Automated bi-directional data sharing is necessary for many contemporary learning management systems and can give you finer control over the data you send.

 

7.    Create a Student Data Policy

Make a plan to regularly assess the organization’s data privacy requirements since data privacy is a never-ending process. Make sure the schedule is consistently updated. Learn the fundamentals of the data gathering, storage, and sharing procedures used by your company first.

Create procedures for handling any data produced by the Internet of Things gadgets. There are more gadgets, which means there are more online targets. Preventive actions can be helpful, such as limiting bandwidth access and ensuring that devices are correctly patched and segmented.

 

Conclusion

Schools must use discretion and prudence to prevent inappropriate use of student and family information. Several basic security procedures can help educational institutions maintain public trust.

As such, a college or university must follow specific federal and state laws when handling student information. However, these laws can be tricky, especially when sensitively handling student information. For instance, a school may be required to follow specific privacy laws like the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) when handling student information. However, there are particular ways you can work with a school to help ensure that their student information is dealt with in a manner that complies with FERPA laws. One way to do this is to work with a cybersecurity provider expert to protect student records.

Employing a professional IT solution, such as Protected Harbor, is the best way to handle your data digitally, monitor it, and safeguard student privacy. Rated by Goodfirms as the top cybersecurity and cloud service providers in the US, we have been protecting data for all industries, including schools, for the last two decades.

From anti-malware protection, ransomware protection, and identity and access management to threat detection and response, we have you covered. Our 24×7 tech team and proactive monitoring redefine security. Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity audit.

Why do Cyber-attacks Occur?

Why do Cyber-attacks Occur?

As the digital world continues to grow, so do cyber threats. Cyber-attack is on the rise, and businesses of all sizes are becoming increasingly aware of the risk of a cyber-attack. Whether operating in a small business or managing enterprise IT systems, it’s essential to understand why cyber-attacks occur and how you can protect your organization from them. To achieve optimal cybersecurity and reduce risk from cyber-attack, businesses need to understand their threat level and know how attackers might infiltrate their systems. This article will explain why cyber-attack occur and what you can do as an individual or business owner to prevent them from happening again.

We are excited to welcome you to another video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna. We focus on important topics in today’s threat landscape, discuss best practices, and offer advice on staying safe and secure online. Today’s video will discuss cybersecurity, how cyber-attacks occur, and how to protect yourself against these attacks. Stay tuned.

 

What is a Cyber-attack?

A cyber-attack is any attempt to breach the defenses of a computer system. It’s a broad term describing malicious activity toward an organization’s network and data. A cyber-attack can be a denial-of-service attack, ransomware attack, phishing attack, or any other malicious activity. These types of attacks can cause damage to data and systems and can disrupt or shut down a business entirely. To protect your organization, it’s important to understand why cyber-attack occur and how to prevent them from happening again.

 

Why do Cyber-attacks Occur?

There are multiple reasons why cyber-attack occur. They can be carried out by curious teenagers, state-sponsored hackers, or cybercriminals. All of these scenarios pose serious threats to businesses of all sizes. Cyber-attacks occur in three ways:

  1. Theft of Information – Cybercriminals may want to steal your valuable information, such as credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other sensitive data.
  2. Damage to Systems – Hackers might want to damage your systems by deleting information, corrupting files, or shutting down your systems.
  3. Extortion – If hackers have taken your systems hostage, they might demand ransom in exchange for releasing them.

 

Why Are Cyber-attacks So Successful?

There are a few reasons why cyber-attacks are so successful. First, it’s hard to identify an attack in real time. It’s difficult to know if your systems are under attack because it happens outside your network.  Another reason why cyber-attacks are so successful is that it’s hard to predict who will be targeted next. Economies of scale have made developing and executing large-scale cyber-attack more economically viable.

 

How to Protect Your Organization from Cyber-attacks?

Implementing a solid cybersecurity plan is the best way to protect your organization from cyber-attack. This includes conducting thorough risk assessments, identifying vulnerabilities in your systems, and implementing best practices for your employees.

Conduct a Risk Assessment – Before implementing a cybersecurity plan, you must perform a thorough risk assessment. This involves identifying your organization’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Identify Vulnerabilities- After identifying your organization’s weaknesses, you can determine where you’re most vulnerable. Common vulnerabilities include being attacked online, having unsecured devices on your network, or being hacked through a mobile app.

Implement Best Practices – Once you’ve identified your vulnerabilities, you can implement best practices. For example, you can use two-factor authentication on your online accounts or install antivirus software on your computers.

 

Final Words

Whether you’re operating in a small business or managing enterprise IT systems, it’s important to understand why cyber-attacks occur and how you can protect your organization from them.

With a partner like Protected Harbor on your side, you can rest assured that your business is protected against any threat. Our solid cybersecurity plans are flexible enough to accommodate changes in the risk environment and ever-evolving threats. Therefore, partnering with a company that offers a customized cybersecurity solution is important.

Contact our expert today to receive a comprehensive cybersecurity solution that keeps your company safe.

DIY Cybersecurity Solutions for Small Businesses

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DIY Cybersecurity Solutions for Small Businesses: The 8 Best Tips

Cyberattacks are increasing by the minute; not even small businesses are considered safe anymore. However, most hackers aren’t looking to steal money or valuables. Instead, they’re looking for information that can be used against the company for future attacks. Cybersecurity needs to be taken seriously regardless of your business size, especially in today’s world, where employees have access to your systems at home and in the office.

We are all about supporting businesses and want to help those in need, specifically those who either don’t have a cybersecurity partner or can’t afford one. If you want to try and maintain your cybersecurity on your own, here are eight DIY cybersecurity solutions for small businesses that may help keep your operations safe without spending much money or time on them.

 

Malwarebytes

There are two options available regarding this software: a free version and a paid version. The free version of this anti-malware tool will scan your system and remove the most common threats. The paid version of this tool includes a real-time scanner that detects malware before it can infect your computer.

CryptoPrevent

Many enterprises and individuals are turning to tools like CryptoPrevent to help protect themselves. CryptoPrevent is a tool that blocks ransomware before it can do real damage. It also has a self-defense mode that prevents the attack from spreading.

Macrium Reflect

It’s a powerful tool that allows you to create backups of your entire computer system. You can even schedule your backups regularly. It’s no wonder why this tool is a favorite among enterprises as a safe backup option.

Windows Defender

The Defender antivirus program is built into Windows and is one of the most powerful and reliable antivirus tools. It has several excellent features that protect your computer against viruses and malware and regularly scan for issues.

 

The-8-Best-Tips-DIY-Cybersecurity-Solutions-for-Small-Businesses-middleSpamHero

Protecting your computer from spam is critical to keeping your systems safe. Fortunately, there are many options available to do this. The most popular is SpamHero, an easy-to-use interface that prevents unwanted emails from being sent to your computer.

Duo 2FA (Two-Factor Authentication)

This app provides an easy-to-use access 2FA solution and is perfect for ensuring your organization’s safety. Multi-factor authentication is the most recommended security practice by experts, and Duo 2FA makes it simple.

Snort

Snort is a powerful open-source Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) and Network Intrusion Prevention System (NIPS) that you can use on your computer and network to keep hackers out.

Squid

Squid ranks highly on the list of best free software to protect businesses from online threats like spyware, ransomware, and phishing.

 

Conclusion

We have to face the facts; no business nowadays is safe from the wrath of cybercriminals. Though these DIY solutions are helpful, they are only temporary. More advanced cybersecurity will be needed to protect your organization.

There are many ways to stay safe online but starting with awareness is essential.

You can check out our latest eBook, The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs, for more information on how to keep your business safe from ransomware attacks. Also, check out our Protected Harbor website, where we keep a regularly updated blog filled with cybersecurity advice. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss any news or events!

If you’re interested in receiving a free cybersecurity assessment, fill out our form and take the next step to secure your business today.

The Cybersecurity Minute: What is Cybersecurity?

The Cybersecurity Minute: What is Cybersecurity?

Everyone is talking about cybersecurity, but what does that mean? In simple words, Cybersecurity is the security of computers, networks, and software from attackers. It’s a combination of both technology and process. In today’s high-tech world, there are more ways than ever for someone to gain access to sensitive data. Hackers are looking to exploit any weaknesses in your digital access points.

As businesses become more dependent on computers, internet connectivity, and cloud storage platforms – cybercriminals grow more interested in acquiring information that can be used for financial gain or identity theft.

Welcome to another video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna, the Cybersecurity series. You must have heard the term Cybersecurity but what does it mean, and why it’s essential for your business? Keep watching the video, and don’t forget to download “The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs Ebook” below.

 

What Should You Know About Cybersecurity?

The word cybersecurity is a combination of both security and computers. It protects systems and networks from attacks, damage, or disruption. Cyberattacks are a real threat from many sources, including malicious software, cybercriminals, and even nation-states.

Due to the nature of the Internet, it’s hard to know who might be behind an attack. The key to protecting data and networks is a combination of both technology and process. Organizations must have security protocols to protect their systems and data. Employees must also understand how to protect themselves while working with these systems.

 

Protect your Organization from Cyber Threats

The best way to secure your organization against cyber threats is to have a plan. You should have policies and procedures in place to secure all systems, data, and employees. This plan will require employees to follow safe practices and be diligent about securing their devices.

  • Employees should follow these best practices:
  • Install security and patch software on all devices.
  • Use multi-factor authentication for all accounts.
  • Avoid clicking on links in emails and other messages.
  • Protect login information, and don’t share it with anyone.
  • Use strong passwords that include letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Delete sensitive emails as soon as they are no longer needed.
  • Regularly scan for breaches and vulnerabilities.
  • Report any suspicious activity to IT.
  • Update software and operating systems as soon as new versions are available.

These eight DIY cybersecurity solutions for small enterprises help keep your operations secure without costing a lot of money or time if you wish to try to maintain your cybersecurity on your own. Download the infographic here.

 

Conclusion

As we have seen recently, cyber-attacks have become widespread and dangerous. So every business needs to protect itself from these attacks. Moreover, cybersecurity is the most important thing for every business these days. If a business is hacked, it can cause much damage to the company. A successful cyber-attack can lead to data theft, financial loss, and reputational damage. Therefore, it is essential to protect your business from cyber threats.

Protected Harbor provides a safer environment for your business data by securing the entire data lifecycle. A robust security plan by us can prevent all types of cyber-attacks from protecting your business data. It has a host of features that make data security management a lot easier. Some critical elements of the Protected Harbor security plan are: multi-tenant architecture, deployment flexibility, on-demand scaling, works with any cloud provider, secure data transfer, data privacy, regulatory compliance, data backup and disaster recovery, workflow management, and easy integration with other tools.

Still trying to understand the best cybersecurity services? Protected Harbor was rated the top cybersecurity and cloud service provider in the US by Goodfirms. Contact our expert today and get a free cybersecurity audit.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats

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The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business

Even though cyberattacks on small and medium-sized enterprises don’t always make news, they pose a real threat to many professionals’ lives, their jobs, and the clients they represent. Because small and medium-sized businesses may lack the backup and mitigation capabilities of some of the more prominent players, SMB cyberattacks frequently impact them.

A new report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) finds that small businesses are the most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. The study, which was conducted in partnership with Norton by Symantec, found that small businesses make up 99% of all companies and are responsible for nearly half of all jobs in the United States.

 

Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats and Their Prevention

The research revealed that the most common SMB cybersecurity threats include social engineering, physical access to networks and data, malware (DDOS), phishing, ransomware, etc. Let’s discuss this in detail!

 

DDOS

A distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack overwhelms your network’s capacity. The United States targeted about 35% of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2021. With slightly under 20% of attacks, the United Kingdom came in second and China third. The most common target is the computer and internet sector.

Using numerous compromised computer systems as sources of attack traffic, DDoS attacks are practical. Computers and other networked resources, like IoT devices, can be exploited by machines.

When viewed from a distance, a DDoS assault resembles unexpected traffic congestion that blocks the roadway and keeps ordinary traffic from reaching its destination.

How to Prevent DDOS

It is not enough to choose a good hosting provider; you also need to ensure that your website is configured correctly so that it will not be susceptible to a DDoS attack. You should use an effective Content Delivery Network (CDN) if possible because CDNs can help reduce the load on servers operated by your website and thus reduce the stress placed on them during an attack.

 

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks can also come through social engineering because they use spam messages that look authentic but contain links or attachments that look like something else. Financial institutions targeted 23.6% of all phishing attacks during the first quarter of 2022.

These attacks can be hazardous for small businesses because their employees may not know how to recognize fake emails from their bosses or co-workers.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

The simplest way to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to educate your people on how to respond if they encounter one. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t click on links in emails that aren’t from someone you know.
  • Never enter personal information into forms in emails
  • Don’t open attachments unless they come from someone you know and trust.

Malware

Malware is malicious software that can infiltrate a network, damage files, steal sensitive information, and encrypt data. It can spread through email attachments or links in social media posts. The professional sector was the first worldwide industry affected by malware assaults between November 2020 and October 2021. There were 1,234 malware incidences in the industry throughout the measurement period. With 775 such events, the information sector was in second place.

How to Prevent Malware?

  • The good news is that there are several ways to protect yourself against malware attacks.
  • Use antivirus software
  • Keep your operating system up-to-date
  • Use antivirus software with real-time protection
  • Perform regular backups

 

Ransomware

In ransomware, data on a victim’s computer or mobile device is encrypted, and the victim is demanded to pay to have it decrypted. Ransomware affected 68.5% of businesses in 2021. This was the highest figure reported thus far and increased from the prior three years. Each year, more than half of all survey respondents said their employer had fallen victim to ransomware.

To release the data, cybercriminals demand ransom money from their victims. A vigilant eye and security software are advised to guard against ransomware infection. Following an illness, malware victims have three options: either they can pay the ransom, attempt to delete the software, or restart the device. Extortion Trojans use the Remote Desktop Protocol, phishing emails, and software flaws as attack vectors.

How to Prevent Ransomware?

A ransomware infection can’t be removed by turning off one computer and switching to another due to encryption. Getting your data back requires either recovering from a backup or paying the attackers. A malware infection can take anywhere from days (if it’s relatively simple) to weeks (if it’s more complicated).

 

Viruses

A security breach or loophole allows viruses to enter the equipment. Viruses come in various forms and are designed to damage your electronics. Computer viruses can impede computer performance, destroy or eliminate files, and impair programs. A virus can be acquired in several ways, including file sharing, corrupt emails, visiting malicious websites, and downloading destructive software. An increase in pop-up windows, unauthorized password changes to your account, destroyed files, and a slowdown in your network speed indicates that you have a virus on your computer.

How to Prevent Common Viruses?

There are many ways to protect from viruses attacks, but here are some of the most important ones:

  • Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Use antivirus software regularly. Antivirus software protects computers from viruses.

The Most Common SMB Cybersecurity Threats And How to Protect Your Business middleSQL injection

Relational databases can be accessed using the standard language known as SQL or Structured Query Language. Databases are used to store user information like usernames and passwords in apps and other forms of programming. Additionally, databases are frequently the most efficient and safe way to store various types of data, such as private bank account information and public blog postings and comments.

SQL queries frequently employ parameters to send data from users into a secure database or the other way around. Attackers can leverage the points where your app talks with a database using a SQL argument to access private data and other secured locations if the values in those user-supplied SQL arguments aren’t protected by sanitizing or prepared statements.

How to Prevent SQL Injection?

To prevent SQL injections, Use parameterized queries. Parameterized queries allow you to specify what parameters will be used in the question and what values will be permitted for each parameter. This prevents hackers from entering malicious data into your application.

 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid cyber threats. But you can protect your business from them by investing in cybersecurity solutions.

Even though small businesses don’t have the same resources as larger enterprises, they can still protect themselves from cyber threats. You can start with basic security measures, such as installing antivirus software, updating your computer’s operating system, and using strong passwords. Additionally, you should consider investing in a cybersecurity solution.

Choosing the right cybersecurity service provider is just as important as the other steps your company takes to protect its data.

Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have the resources to hire a full-time staff to manage their cybersecurity. That’s where a managed service provider like Protected Harbor comes in. Protected Harbor protects your data against cyber threats, including malware, ransomware, and data leaks. In addition, you have a team of experts at your side.

Our main focus is on risk reduction and breach prevention, so you can expect a lot of attention to detail regarding accounting monitoring and protection against malware, viruses, phishing scams, and other threats. The service also strongly focuses on data privacy, a highly sought-after feature among customers who work with sensitive data.

Get a free cybersecurity assessment, network penetration testing and secure your business today. Contact us today.

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Ebook Release

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Ebook Release

Ransomware is a new kid on the cyber-security block, and it’s bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “cybercrime.” With ransomware’s growing threat, Small and Mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) don’t have time to learn how to protect their online presence from ransomware. Now they need protection that is easily accessible and affordable.

The good news? With some preparation, SMBs can protect themselves from these cybercriminals without breaking the bank or sacrificing security effectiveness. Today we are excited to give you an exclusive sneak peek at our new eBook – Your Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs. Download it for free to read in detail.

 

What is Ransomware, and Why Should SMBs Care?

Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to computer systems or data by blocking inaccessibility by the owner, operator, or other authorized personnel. A ransomware attack may happen when you least expect it, and it has become increasingly common among businesses of all sizes.

It can infiltrate your business computer systems through unsecured networks, emails, social media, and even your employees’ infected devices. Once inside a computer system, it can be almost impossible to remove, and most importantly, it can be extremely costly to get rid of.

Ransomware can pose a severe threat to SMBs. Nearly half of SMB cyber attacks are due to ransomware, making it the number one threat.

 

Don’t Be Scared; Be Prepared!

While it’s true that the best defense against a ransomware attack is not to get infected in the first place, that’s easier said than done.

The best way to prevent a ransomware attack is to:

  • regularly back up your data
  • keep your systems fully patched and updated with the latest security patches and software updates
  • use antivirus software with behavioral analysis and real-time scanning enabled
  • use an internet firewall that blocks malicious URLs
  • use strong and unique passwords for all accounts
  • avoid clicking on suspicious links
  • train your employees to avoid opening attachments from unknown senders
  • have a plan of action in place in case a malware attack hits you

Complete-Guide-to-Ransomware-Protection-for-SMBs-middle-imageHow can an SMB detect a potential ransomware attack?

If you’re unsure if you have been infected with ransomware, you can check your system for indicators of a ransomware attack. Look out for strange network activity, your internet connection dropping out, your systems slowing down, or your employees receiving pop-up messages on their computer screens. Should SMBs pay the ransom if they get hit with a ransomware attack? There is no easy answer to this question. Every situation is different, and it is best to consult your company’s IT department to determine the best action.

 

The Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs: Sneak Peak

The dangers of ransomware are real. But they don’t have to spell disaster for your SMB. The key to protecting yourself is to have a proper backup strategy, keep your systems updated with the latest security patches and software updates, and use an internet firewall that blocks malicious URLs. Don’t let ransomware take control of your company. Be prepared for these malicious threats with the Complete Guide to Ransomware Protection for SMBs.

This eBook is the ultimate guide to defending against ransomware threats and protecting your SMB from potential ransomware attacks. We’ll show you how to keep your employees educated and informed on how to avoid ransomware attacks, how to avoid becoming an easy target, and what to do if they accidentally become infected.

We’ll also show you how to protect your computer systems and data with the best anti-ransomware solutions. We’ve compiled the best ransomware protection software, tips and tricks, and expert advice to help you withstand these malicious threats and keep your SMB safe from ransomware.

Download the free ebook today, and keep reading our other resources to stay safe. Contact us today to get a free cybersecurity audit.