All posts by a4zz1c

Supply Chain Cyber Attack Infects 2.3 Million Users

Hacking comes in many forms, recently the trend in cyber crime has hackers going directly for the supply chain within an organization. The supply chain is a system of activities involved in handling, distributing, manufacturing and processing goods in order to move resources from a vendor into the hands of a final consumer. In reference to cyber-security, a supply chain attack involves tampering with the companies network in order to install malware that brings harm further down the supply chain.

One of the most popular supply chain attacks was data breach that occurred to the retail giant Target in 2013, Over 40 million customers credit card and debit cards were compromised after malware infiltrated one of Target’s third party suppliers and gained access to Targets main data network.

Recently, a computer cleaning software was compromised and left any user who downloaded the software between August 15th and September 12th with malware on their computer. CCleaner is an application that scans your PC for malware and junk files and cleans it up to work at maximum performance. It is an extremely popular software that has over 2 billion downloads, and ironically has caused the problem it tries to prevent. CCleaner was compromised when some unknown hackers infiltrated the download servers to the application and replaced the original version of the software with the malicious one and distributed it to millions of users for a month. The company that own the software is now recommending users to update their software to the latest version to protect their computer from being compromised.

These event have happened all to often, and can affect such a large group of users. These events are particularly a cause for concern to business owners. If your business computers are not being monitored and one of your employees accidentally downloads malicious software unknowingly, all of your important business data is now compromised. Not only is your data at risk, now your business if loosing precious hours trying to fix the problem and recovering from the cyber attack instead of focusing on your core business activities. These event could plummet employee productivity and could end up costing the business money that it simply cannot afford to lose. Be sure to always monitor end user activity and maintain backups of your important data.

 

 

Equifax Breach! Get the Facts

On September 7th the consumer credit reporting giant, Equifax, announced a cyber security incident that could have potentially impacted over 143 million U.S. consumers. The company discovered the unauthorized access on July 29th of this year and believes it may have been occurring from mid- May through July 2017. The information accessed includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver’s license numbers as well as credit card numbers for over 209,000 U.S. consumers.

Now before the panic ensues, the company acted immediately to stop the intrusion and utilized the help of an independent cyber security firm to conduct an in depth forensic review to determine the impact of the breach. While Equifax reported unauthorized access to limited personal information for some U.K and Canadian residents, the company found no evidence that personal information of consumers in other countries have been impacted. There was also NO evidence of unauthorized access to core consumers or commercial credit reporting databases.

If this issue concerns you, or you think you may have been one of those consumers effected, Equifax has launched a website dedicated to informing users if their information could have been impacted. Which can be found here.  On this site Equifax offers an opportunity to find out if your information was potentially hacked into as well as a chance to enroll in their TrustedID Premier, that the company is offering to every US Consumer for free for a year. This service includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and Transunion credit reports, copies of Equifax credit reports, the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports, identity theft insurance and Internet scanning for social security numbers.

This incident is not the first of its kind and will sadly not be the last. It is important for consumers to protect themselves as much as they can when handling their personal information online. This breach is also a lesson to all businesses, no matter how big or small that their IT security is one of the most important aspects to their business and core activities. A situation like this can leave a bad stigma on your businesses reputation for the future. The CEO of Equifax stated, “Confronting cybersecurity risks is a daily fight. While we’ve made significant investments in data security, we recognize we must do more. And we will.”

How to Identify a Phishing Email

You wake up and like many of us today, you immediately check your phone. Scrolling through your email you see a message in your inbox that reads “Microsoft account security alert” this email then goes on to explain how someone might have accessed your account and how they may have your password and access to personal information. The email then contains a button you can click through to “recover your account”. This email looks a little something like this.

Seems normal enough right? WRONG. This email contains an abundance of red flags that to someone not so tech savvy could fall victim to. This email is meant to be malicious and ironically while it is trying to get you worried about your information getting hacked into. It is trying to hack into your information. Let’s dive into what these red flags are so that others do not fall victims to these malicious emails.

To begin with, this email claims it is from the Microsoft team, however within the email itself we see no Microsoft branding of any kind, and is overall poorly designed. The next indicator of suspicious activity is that the email keeps mentioning a Microsoft account has been accessed, but shows a Yahoo email address. The person who received this email knew that their email address was not registered with any Microsoft account, especially being that they were a Mac only user. There was also not enough characters or asterisks that reflected any email this user had.

This is just one example of a phishing email and there are many more, some are formatted well, others are blatantly a scam, but paying close attention and really evaluating each point the email is trying to make is extremely important. Be sure to be on the lookout for other signs such as:

  1.  You are asked to send money to cover expenses.
  2. The message asks for personal information.
  3. The message contains poor spelling and grammar.
  4. The email contains mismatched URL’s.
  5. The offer of the email seems too good to be true.

Finally, if something in that email just does not seem right to you, there is most likely a reason why and immediately. If an email looks suspicious and catches you off guard or does not relate to any recent activity you have done online, it is best to not act upon that email and flag it as spam and delete the email immediately. Clicking through could cause major issues to your computer system or others if it happens in your workplace. Be sure to always be attentive, be curious and ask questions and stay protected!

 

My Coffee Machine Got Hacked

In today’s world it seems like anything can fall victim to a cyber attack. We all know that a computer, wireless network, server, (etc.) can be compromised. Now imagine that you’re at work and you see a ransomware message on your coffee machine’s screen. That’s right… a COFFEE MACHINE. This may sound ridiculous but it did happen and could happen to any workplace. Bet you didn’t know ransomware is now a part of the new continental breakfast.

A chemical engineer with a degree in computer science posted this instance on Reddit and explained exactly what happened that led to this attack on their workplace coffee machine. It all began when a factory worker encountered a ransomware message on his computer, he then called the help desk to get the issue resolved and stepped out to grab a cup of coffee. The worker then noticed the same message on the coffee machine’s screen. Now, this ransomware did not just shut down the employee coffee supply and hold it for ransom (which, that would be a whole other nightmare),this ransomware spread throughout the factory and shut down factory systems. So how did this all happen?

Coffee machines are supposed to be connected to their own isolated WiFi network, the person who was installing the network made the mistake of connecting it to the internal control room network, when they noticed the coffee machine still wasn’t getting internet they then connected it to the isolated WiFi network. While a hacker was poking around in their systems they noticed that huge security fall and managed to squirm their way into the system and gridlock the entire factory network.

A coffee machine is not the only issue, practically any computer- implemented or computer enabled device can be compromised, this then leads to a wild search for what else is connected to that same network that could also become infected? Network vulnerability is like a screen door. If you do not pay attention and their is the tiniest hole in the screen somehow at least one fly will manage its way through and get into your home.

Being proactive and making sure your systems are always being monitored for any issues is very important. Implementing the right security precautions and making sure your network is sealed tight is the only way to prevent malware from grid locking your network. Finally, please make sure your office coffee machine is installed properly!

Top 2017 Breaches That Could Affect Any Business!

Organizations with unused, exposed websites and unencrypted storage drivers have been a huge target for hackers in recent years, now in 2017 this trend of stealing valuable information is still running rampant on the dark web. Many of these breaches occurred within the healthcare industry, which had a huge network with very rich patient data. The mistakes made by these organizations can help the many businesses who have not yet been affected take a proactive step to ensure that they will not fall victim to these cyber crimes.

Let us take a look at some of the numbers…

 

14 Million Customers: Verizon Data Breach

After a user mistake which caused the database to go public online, close to 14 million customers of the company were exposed.

4.8 million patients: Molina Healthcare

Discovered that their patient portal had a huge security flaw which could allow any Molina patient to access other patients medical claims by just changing a single number in the URL.

1.1 Million enrolled in Indiana Medicaid & CHIP 

Indiana’s Health Coverage Program released that patient data was left wide open through a live hyperlink to an IHCP report. Their IT service provider discovered the link on May 10th and reported that link contained patient data including name, Medicaid ID number, address of doctors treating patients, patient numbers, procedure costs, and the amount Medicaid paid to doctors or providers.

1 Million Personal Data Files: Washington State University

Washington State University discovered a hard drive containing personal data of about 1 million people was stolen from a locked safe that it was contained in. The hard drive contained Social Security numbers, names and some personal health data.

500,000 Patients: Michigan based 

 

Airway Oxygen

The medical supplier was hit with ransomware that shut employees out of the system where personal health information was stored.

 

Each of these breaches showcase how many people could be at risk of their personal information being completely exposed just because of one or two simple mistakes. In the case if Indiana Medicaid, if it wasn’t for their IT services provider, they may have not found the issue in a reasonable time and had major issues down the line with their business information. The main lesson for business owners to take away is that you MUST stay proactive and make sure you have backups and precautions set in place for your network to continue running smoothly, and securely.

 

ECMSI – Service in 19 min or less!!!

330.750.9412

 

 

 

What Does your Business IT and Car have in Common?

THEY BOTH NEED TO BE INSURED!

When we talk about car insurance the dark thoughts and questions begin to arise. What if I get into an accident? What if I’m travelling and left on the side of the road? What if someone hits me without my control? While all of these thoughts are very pessimistic, these things do happen, sadly, more often than we would like them to. This makes driving without some sort of car insurance seem completely ludicrous. So why should your business IT be any different?

Think about your business IT as the “vehicle” that keeps your company running. What if your network “crashes”, what if your employees are working and your computers decides to leave them on the side of the road? Or what if a hacker “hits” your network with ransomware or the many other hundreds/thousands of malicious malware that is out there today?

When talking about business IT “insurance”, we mean something a little bit different. You need to make sure that the technology in your business is secure, protected and keeps your employees as productive as possible in order for your business to stay viable. Like a car, you have to have some sort of disaster protection, or else a whole bunch of time, money and productivity of your business is lost on fixing the issue when it happens. The best “insurance” for your business network is using an outsourced IT service management provider, and here’s why.

When you outsource the management of your important IT resources they help optimize your networks performance, to make it work at the peak efficiency and reliability levels that your business demands. This can allow you to stay focused on running your business and not your network. This security, networking, data protection and user support is handled at a fraction of the cost than if your business decided to take on all of that cost itself. Risk is something your business deals with every day from market competition, to the state of the economy, don’t let your IT be another risk. Businesses have limited resources, and every owner/manager has limited time and attention. Outsourcing can help your business stay focused on your core business and not get distracted by complex IT decisions.

Secure your network today with ECMSI !

330.750.9412

 

 

Forgot Your Password? The Future May Help.

Probably one of the most annoying things about technology today is trying to remember all your passwords, from your desktop login, social media sites, down to your online financials, a combination of words and numbers can really start to all blend together. If you’re like most of us, you probably have the same password for everything. This practice is EXTREMELY unsafe, and not recommended by any IT technicians or service providers. So, is there any end in sight to the madness? Well, current trends in biometrics may just make passwords obsolete.

Today, many cell phone users are logging onto their phones and entering all their apps with their fingerprints. Apple’s “Apple Pay” on iPhones are becoming ever more popular and allows for users to pay with their cards at retail locations using their fingerprints to authenticate the purchase. The Samsung Galaxy S8 phone has an upgraded retinal scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and can be used as a second factor in authenticating any number of online services. Microsoft’s Hello is allowing Windows 10 users to login through facial recognition and a patent for the company indicates they are trying to develop ways to pair a touchscreen with gestures made on the screen to authenticate. Some ideas out there are even hinting at using brainwaves for authentication to unlock computers!

What will this mean for the future of passwords? Maybe soon all you will have to do is think about unlocking your Facebook page and like magic, it would work. While that may seem farfetched, who knows what the future can hold? Much of this research to eliminate passwords is being supported. In the U.K. the National Cyber Security Center is looking for proposals that will do away with passwords and is offering $32,160 in research funds per proposal.

However, while things are still in the works we will have to still stick to the “old-school” way of keeping our information safe, with your first pets name and your birth date numbers (did we get some of you??…). Until then, we recommend creating strong passwords (using capital letters, numbers and symbols) and using different passwords for each account you have.

 

Call ECMSI today for a free consult!

330.750.9412

 

Our systems are down!- A CEO’s Nightmare…

In this day and age, having some sort of computer to do your job is as necessary as air. Chances are, if you have a lot of computers in your business, you also have things like servers, routers, access points, and switches. These are all critical pieces to maintaining your business and your employee’s productivity level.

Have you ever stopped to think about what would happen if your business suffered a catastrophic event? How long would it take to get you back up and running? Do you know if your critical data is being backed-up and if it is, how often is that happening? If you are reading this and starting to feel a tightening in your chest because you aren’t sure of your answers, then it’s time to stop ducking your head in the sand.

In a survey done by IHS in 2015, the average of cost of outages totaled the $700 billion dollar mark. This number has only increased for the past year in 2017. This total includes the loss of employee productivity, revenue and the cost to the fix the issue, which surprisingly was the lowest cost of the three.

So how do you calculate downtime loss?  Our friends over at My IT Pros shared with this basic formula:

 LOST REVENUE = (GR/TH) x I x H

GR = gross yearly revenue

TH = total yearly business hours

I = percentage impact (a high percentage would mean you can’t complete any transactions, will lose clients and have a PR nightmare)

H = number of hours of outage

Finally, to calculate the expected annual cost, multiply this number by the number of expected annual hours of outage. If you do this and you are absolutely panicking, don’t worry. While all of this sounds like something out of a nightmare, the solutions are fairly simple. We would first recommend that you have incremental back-ups of your critical data that are stored both locally and in the cloud. This way, if your hardware were to fail, with the help of your IT provider, you can pull your data down from the cloud onto a backup server (part of the redundancy plan). Secondly, we recommend that you have a redundant environment. Now, this can mean a variety of things but at minimum, it would mean that you’d have a secondary server that is only for emergencies. At maximum, it would mean having clustered servers where there are more than 1 server and if something were to fail, the data just seamlessly moves to the next available hardware.

We don’t want to see any businesses have to deal with this nightmare. If you are unsure of what disaster recovery plan you have with your current IT Provider, it may be time to strike up that conversation. If you have any questions and would like to discuss how downtime could affect you and how ECMSI can help you prevent a disaster please feel free to contact us at 330.750.9412.

WannaCry Infection

You may have seen the news this weekend. Criminal hackers have released a new strain of ransomware that spreads itself automatically across all workstations in a network, causing a global epidemic. If you or a co-worker are not paying attention and accidentally open one of these phishing email attachments, you might infect not only your own workstation, but immediately everyone else’s computer too.

Be very careful when you get an email with an attachment you did not ask for. If there is a .zip file in the attachment, do not click on it but delete the whole email. Remember: “When in doubt, throw it out!”


The Initial Infection Vector Is A Well-crafted Phishing Email.
 
The initial spread of WannaCry is coming through phishing, in which fake invoices, job offers and other lures are being sent out to random email addresses. Within the emails is a password protected .zip file, so the email uses social engineering to persuade the victim to unlock the attachment with a password, and once clicked that initiates the WannaCry infection.
 
We take proactive measures to ensure all devices that we monitor are up-to-date on their security patches and Antivirus subscriptions. Having an IT company who understands and values a proactive approach to monitoring is key in keeping you focused on your business and not IT.

The benefits of Skype for Business

As soon as we were able to access email via our phones, the idea of a work day ending at 5pm pretty much went out the window. Add to that our laptops and a decent internet connection, office workers across the globe can now do their job virtually anywhere. But what happens when you need to collaborate on a project, have a face to face meeting or just need a quick answer?

Waiting on a reply to an email can be soul crushing if you are on a time crunch and the time involved with traveling back and forth to a client site or satellite office for a face to face meeting is less time you have to do actual work. So what’s the answer? I imagine these were the types of scenarios Microsoft were throwing out during the pitch meeting where they came up with Skype for Business.

This multi functioning tool isn’t just an IM service. Within its code, this application allows you to make phone and video calls, hold large conference calls, share data quickly, present desktops for easy presentation, coordinate schedules and so much more.  Plus, it works across platforms! Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Mobile Device, Skype for Business can be installed and used, just as if you were sitting at your desk.

So if you have been thinking that you need a tool to help bring your team together again, Skype for Business maybe just the thing you’ve been looking for!