Cyber attacks are getting bigger and smarter. Are you vulnerable?

Cyber attacks are getting bigger and smarter. Are you vulnerable?

Have you ever tried to buy tickets for a huge event and found that the seller’s website has collapsed under the weight of thousands of people all trying to do the same thing at the same time?

The ticket site falls over – usually temporarily – because the server is overloaded with traffic it doesn’t have the capacity for.

Criminal Distributed Denial of Service attacks – DDoS, for short – exploit the same principle.

When a DDoS attack targets a business, it floods it with internet traffic in an attempt to overwhelm the system and force it to fail.

This results in the business and its customers being unable to access services. That may trigger a temporary failure, or it could be more serious. Last year, the average DDoS attack lasted 50 minutes.

That may not sound like a long time, but it’s enough to create angry customers, or to bring business to a grinding halt. And downtime can be costly.

The really bad news is that DDoS attacks are not only lasting longer, but they’re becoming bigger, more sophisticated and more common.

Recently, the biggest ever reported DDoS attack was reportedly blocked. At its peak, it sent 71 million requests per SECOND to its target’s servers. Prior to that, the biggest reported incident stood at 46 million requests per second.

Worse still, more businesses are reporting being targeted by DDoS attacks where criminals are demanding huge ransoms to stop the attack.

What does this mean for you?

It’s important you check all your security measures are up-to-date and working as they should be. Are your firewalls up to the task, with DDoS monitoring and prevention tools set up? And is your team fully aware of the importance of staying vigilant?

We can help make sure your business stays protected. Just get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates

AI is making phishing scams more dangerous

AI is making phishing scams more dangerous

AI chatbots have taken the world by storm in recent months. We’ve been having fun asking ChatGPT questions, trying to find out how much of our jobs it can do, and even getting it to tell us jokes.

But while lots of people have been having fun, cyber criminals have been powering ahead and finding ways to use AI for more sinister purposes.

They’ve worked out that AI can make their phishing scams harder to detect – and that makes them more successful.

Our advice has always been to be cautious with emails. Read them carefully. Look out for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Make sure it’s the real deal before clicking any links.

And that’s still excellent advice.

But ironically, the phishing emails generated by a chatbot feel more human than ever before – which puts you and your people at greater risk of falling for a scam. So we all need to be even more careful.

Crooks are using AI to generate unique variations of the same phishing lure. They’re using it to eradicate spelling and grammar mistakes, and even to create entire email threads to make the scam more plausible.

Security tools to detect messages written by AI are in development, but they’re still a way off.

That means you need to be extra cautious when opening emails – especially ones you’re not expecting. Always check the address the message is sent from, and double-check with the sender (not by replying to the email!) if you have even the smallest doubt. If you need further advice or team training about phishing scams, just get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Support for Small Businesses

The Benefits of Outsourcing IT Support for Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you know that having reliable IT support can be critical for the successful operation of your business. Unfortunately, between cost and time considerations, you may feel it’s not the right time to hire an in-house IT team or continue tasking the task yourself. Luckily, there is another option – outsourcing your IT support to a dedicated service provider. Here are some of the advantages of outsourcing managed IT services for small businesses. 

The Benefits of Outsourcing Small Business IT Services

Services from Expert Managed IT Services expert managed IT services IT Haven Pro

Be honest for a moment; how knowledgeable and comfortable are you with the intricacies of small business IT services? Maybe you can back up your computer, but do you know how to set up encrypted email programs, perform dark web monitoring, or understand how to perform DNS filtering? If any of those words went above your head, there is nothing to be ashamed of. 

Like with every industry sector, there are people who do this day in and day out. They are the people who should be providing your small business with IT support rather than the nephew who is savvy with computers. By outsourcing IT support, you have access to industry experts who have obtained extensive experience in the field, pursue ongoing education, and are well-versed in every aspect of managed IT services you need to be performed. You can rest assured that you have up-to-date solutions which are tailored specifically to meet your specific business needs.

Access to the Latest IT Support Technology 

We live in a digital age that is constantly innovating and building stronger support systems. As a small business, your team is unlikely to have access to the latest technology or know how to use it without any prior training. Rather than attempting to learn how to process these highly technical IT programs, update to new technology as it is released, and do it all right on the first try, you can rely on your outsourced IT team to do it for you. 

Minimization of Extra Costs

Outsourcing IT services can offer significant cost savings over hiring internal staff or purchasing the latest technology solutions. Due to the fact that an outsourced IT provider has multiple clients, they have the scale to provide their services and related materials at a lower cost than a single organization operating alone. They have every program, and the skills to use them, to ensure your business’s IT services are managed appropriately. 

Higher Security & Compliance small business IT service outsourcing with IT Haven

IT security is essential for any business, but implementing and maintaining complex network security measures can be difficult for those with limited technical knowledge. An outsourced provider can conduct regular security audits and update security software as needed so that your system remains secure. They are also able to detect external threats more quickly since they monitor all clients’ systems on a continuous basis.

In addition, many small businesses must meet specific IT requirements to stay within compliance with their industry. Even if you are an expert in your field, the technical security aspects of compliance may go far beyond your knowledge, but that is something you can never skimp out on. Small business IT services are well versed in keeping your organization within compliance regulations, even as they continue to evolve. 

Increased Business Efficiency through IT Support

As every small business owner knows, time is money! When it comes to small business, many solo entrepreneurs or small teams where many hats – research, development, accounting, marketing, communication, and more. Outsourcing IT provides the benefit of having trained professionals take care of complex tasks quickly and effectively without needing technical resources from within your organization – freeing up valuable time for those other crucial tasks that cannot be handled by someone else. 

Packages Designed for Your Business Needs

As a small business, your organization will go through chapters of development as it continues to grow. At this point, you may be a small team that needs the above benefits to free up time and resources. In the future, however, you may need more. When organizations outsource processes, they open themselves up to opportunities that expand beyond their existing resources, especially regarding agility and scalability in changing customer demands or industry regulations. When you outsource your IT support, you can relax knowing that they will grow with you, adapting to new needs, and providing consistent support as your business achieves new heights. 

IT Haven – Your Partner for IT Solutions Paul Haven owner of IT Haven Pro

If you are ready to enhance your small business, gain access to the brightest minds and latest technologies, and ensure your organization is protected, you need outsourced managed IT services. At IT Haven in Tri-Cities, WA, we offer security management solutions to ensure that the security of our client’s systems and data is a top priority. We deliver the technical expertise that small businesses need at a far lower expense than hiring an IT staff and without all the wasted hours of trying to do it solo. 

At IT Haven, we offer a wide range of IT support services, including anti-virus/anti-malware technology, DNS filtering, email spam filtering, encrypted email, backup and recovery, remote monitoring management, dark web management, HIPAA compliance, and password management. 

For a free consultation on how we can elevate your business and to request an estimate, all you have to do is choose a meeting date and time! 

Is your security focusing on the right things?

Is your security focusing on the right things?

To protect your home from an intruder you make sure your doors and windows are all locked and secured. You might go further: build a fence around the perimeter, perhaps even get an angry-looking dog to stand guard.

But there’s no point going to all that effort if someone’s already broken in and set up camp in the basement.

Yet that’s the security policy of thousands of big businesses trying to protect their data from cyber criminals.

They do many of the right things. They invest in security software. They take a strong, multi-layered approach to security – including all the things we recommend, like multi-factor authentication, encryption, reliable backup systems and staff training.

But they don’t pay enough attention to detection and response. That involves constantly scanning systems for any sign that a crook may have gained entry somewhere, and having a process to stop an attack in its tracks.

A new study shows that only a third of businesses place detection as their main priority, while two thirds say prevention is their primary focus.

That means, they could be building 10-foot walls around their systems with intruders already inside.

In-house security teams might be super-confident in the security measures they’ve put in place. But the data suggests that they’re being too complacent. The study reveals that more than eight in ten businesses experienced more than one data breach last year – even with good security in place.

Criminals are constantly finding ways to evade security. That tells us that we need to take a rounded approach, with strong prevention AND detection policies providing the best protection against today’s determined criminals.

If you need world-class security, get in touch today.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Young employees have different attitudes to cyber crime

Young employees have different attitudes to cyber crime

If you employ anyone aged between 16 and 19, you need to pay special attention to the cyber security training you’re giving your team.

A new study has revealed that a host of worrying online behavior has become almost normalized among many young people. And much of this activity is illegal.

We’re not talking serious cyber crime such as ransomware attacks or stealing data.

But one in three 16 to 19-year-olds have admitted to digital piracy; and a quarter have tracked or trolled someone online.

Most of these behaviors may not directly affect your business. But some are so commonplace that too many young people view them as a part of everyday life.

That’s not something you want them bringing to work.

Casual software piracy or illegal downloads on devices used for work could open the door to a massive security breach.

The answer is simple: Hold cyber security training for all your employees on a regular basis.

This training should:

  • Highlight the impact of bad online behavior and potential for security breaches
  • Help everyone understand how this kind of activity can harm people – and your business
  • Make everyone aware of the scams and attacks that your business is vulnerable to, as well as the part they play in keeping everyone protected
  • Make the consequences clear for anyone found to be engaging in this behavior

If this is something you need some expert help with, it’s what we do. Get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.