Here’s how cyber criminals try to hack your accounts while you sleep

Here’s how cyber criminals try to hack your accounts while you sleep

Have you ever felt frustrated by the flood of notifications from your multi-factor authentication (MFA) app?

Well, cyber criminals have too. And they’re taking advantage of “MFA fatigue” to try to gain access to your sensitive business data.

MFA is essential for keeping your data secure. It adds an extra layer of security to your apps and accounts by asking you to verify your identity in two or more ways, such as a password and a code sent to your phone.

The constant alerts can be overwhelming though.

Attackers know this and will bombard employees – sometimes in the middle of the night – with a constant stream of MFA notifications. Which makes it more likely someone will authenticate a login attempt through frustration, tiredness, or just to get the notifications to stop.

But now there’s a new weapon in the fight against MFA fatigue.

Microsoft Authenticator has introduced number matching as a way of making sure your MFA notification is from the correct login attempt, preventing cyber criminals from taking advantage of notification fatigue.

How does number matching work?

When you receive an MFA notification, the app will display a randomly generated number. You then need to input this number to authenticate the login attempt and prove you’re not a cyber criminal trying to access your business data.

That’s not all. Microsoft Authenticator also allows for biometric authentication, which means you can use your face, fingerprint, or other unique physical features to prove your identity and combat the threat of MFA fatigue attacks.

With these security measures in place, your business can stay ahead of cyber criminals and keep your sensitive data better protected.

If you already use Microsoft Authenticator, number matching is ready to use. Simply make sure your app is up-to-date, and you’ll be protected.

If you use another MFA system and want to look at how to make your security better or easier, we can help. Get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

The final curtain call for Windows 10: What you need to know

The final curtain call for Windows 10: What you need to know

Microsoft has announced that the current version of Windows 10, released in 2022, will be its final release.

If you’re currently using Windows 10, you might wonder what this means for your day-to-day operations.

The good news is that your computers won’t suddenly stop working. The current updates and security patches for Windows 10 won’t disappear anytime soon either.

However, you may want to consider upgrading to Windows 11 sooner rather than later. Microsoft has made it clear that it will be devoting all its attention to the new operating system from now on, so future developments and innovation will be focused on Windows 11.

Upgrading can be a daunting task, but moving to Windows 11 has so many benefits:

Enhanced performance

Windows 11 has been designed to maximize efficiency and performance across all types of devices, making it a no-brainer for businesses looking for faster and more efficient technology.

Improved user experience

The interface has been updated with a more modern look, making it easier to navigate and customize.

Increased security

Windows 11 comes with Microsoft’s most advanced security features, making it harder for cyber criminals to breach your system.

Better integration with cloud services

Windows 11 gives you access to a range of cloud-based services, making it easier to collaborate with other team members and enhance your business’ productivity.

If you’re still hesitant about upgrading, keep in mind that Microsoft will eventually stop releasing security updates for Windows 10. We’re expecting it to be in late 2025. This means staying with Windows 10 for too long could put your business at risk of security threats.

The sooner you upgrade, the better your protection against these threats, and the more significant the benefits you’ll be able to reap from Windows 11.

Like any big project, making the move to Windows 11 needs to be planned and implemented properly. Your hardware needs to meet certain requirements and, of course, you’ll need to make sure it’s done without affecting day to day operations.

If you’d like help making the transition with as little disruption as possible, get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Windows 11 optional update: Why it’s better to wait

Windows 11 optional update: Why it’s better to wait

Microsoft has just announced an option for people to trial new features before their general release in Windows 11.

This isn’t about fixes to security flaws – everyone gets those at the same time.

This is an opportunity for businesses to jump the queue to receive new features and updates first.

Sound exciting?


Worth the risk?

Not quite.

Our advice?

Patience is a virtue!

Sure, it may be tempting to give in to the tantalizing prospect of new features… nobody ever wants to wait. But jumping aboard any trial phase comes with risks.

Bugs, errors, and other stumbling blocks could have a significant impact on your operations, potentially causing chaos in your daily workflow.

Waiting until features have completed a thorough trial process gives you the advantage of other people’s experience. They’ve already dealt with the complexities so, by the time you get the new features, they’ll be polished and dependable. And isn’t that more important for the smooth running of your business?

Trust us, the safe road is the smart road, especially when your business systems are involved. The benefits of being an early adopter may seem enticing, but you don’t want to end up being the guinea pig.

Remember the old adage… good things come to those who wait!

We’re all for keeping up with the latest technology and software updates, but there is a time to exercise caution, and this is one of those times. Don’t be tempted by the shiny new features.

  • Be patient
  • Stay safe
  • And ensure that when the time comes, you’re getting something that’s proven to work

Microsoft already has a lot of (tested and approved) features that can boost productivity and make your work processes smoother. We spend a lot of time helping businesses find the right ones for them. If we can do the same for you, get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

What to Look for in a Business IT Services Provider

What to Look for in a Business IT Services Provider

In today’s fast-paced business environment, technology plays a critical role in ensuring smooth operations and optimal productivity. However, managing technology infrastructure can be challenging, time-consuming, and expensive. For small business owners, outsourcing their IT needs to a reliable business IT services provider is the best solution. To ensure you have the opportunity to find top-tier service, be sure to research if companies have these qualities and traits required for business IT services provider:

8 Traits of a Quality IT Service Provider

IT team working on the laptop IT Haven Pro

Comparable Industry Experience:

While there are many business IT providers out there, not all companies are the same, nor can they be treated the same. An IT service provider for an e-commerce store is going to need to provide different services from that of a local jewelry store. When choosing an IT service provider, we recommend hiring someone with comparable industry experience. A business IT services provider who understands your niche can offer valuable insights into the unique challenges and requirements of your business. They can leverage their experience to deliver tailored solutions that meet your specific needs.

Flexible Budgeting & Service Options:

Being in business requires continual flexibility. Your business will grow, face new challenges, and have new needs. No matter where your business is on its journey, a quality business IT services provider should be able to work within your budget constraints while still delivering high-quality services. They should offer flexible pricing models that suit your business’s unique needs and be willing to adapt to your changing service needs. 

Proactive & Consistent Maintenance:

When it comes to technology, preventing IT issues before they occur is critical to minimizing downtime and ensuring business continuity. A proactive and consistent business IT services provider can identify potential issues before they become significant problems, ensuring that your business remains up and running at all times. 

Reactive & Reliable Support:

Even with proactive maintenance, issues can still arise. A reliable business IT services provider should offer quick and efficient reactive support when you need it most, whether it is something simple as a network connectivity issue to something as lethal as a cyber attack. They should be available 24/7 to handle any IT emergencies that may arise.

Long-Term, Trusted Partnerships:

The best business IT service providers are those that invest in long-term partnerships with their clients. The last thing you want to do is spend all that time and money connecting with a provider to have them leave six months later. A quality IT provider will be committed to understanding your business’s unique needs and evolving with you as your business grows and changes.

Effective & Enjoyable Communication: IT team providing reactive and reliable support IT Haven Pro

Clear and effective communication is critical to the success of any business IT services partnership. A quality provider should be transparent, responsive, and provide regular updates on the status of your IT infrastructure. Additionally, you want to enjoy communicating with your IT services provider. Whether you are calling them in the middle of the night or during business hours, your provider should be helpful, kind, and willing to answer your questions as well as accept feedback graciously. 

Competitive Research & Adaptability:

Technology is constantly evolving, and a quality business IT services provider should pursue continuing education and be able to adapt to these changes quickly. They should be aware of emerging trends and technologies, take an active approach to ensure a competitive advantage, and be able to advise you on how to leverage them to benefit your business.

Virtual and On-Site Support:

A business IT services provider should offer both virtual and on-site support to ensure that your IT needs are met no matter where you are. There is no going halfway. You need them to be both on the ground and in the “cloud.” Virtual support allows for quick and efficient issue resolution, while on-site support is necessary for more complex issues or hardware installations.

IT Haven – Superior Business IT Services

IT Haven is a managed service provider (MSP) that specializes in delivering high-quality business IT services to small and medium-sized businesses. With years of industry experience, IT Haven has the expertise and knowledge needed to deliver tailored solutions that meet your business’s unique needs.  At IT Haven, we understand that every business is different, so we offer flexible budgeting options to ensure that our services fit your budget constraints. Our proactive maintenance services ensure that your IT infrastructure is always running smoothly, while our reactive support team is available 24/7 to handle any IT emergencies that may arise. For example, IT Haven provides Complete Network Infrastructure Solutions, including anti-virus and anti-malware, DNS filtering, encrypted email, dark web monitoring, HIPAA compliance, and even more.  We pride ourselves on building long-term partnerships with our clients, taking the time to understand their unique needs, and evolving with them as their businesses grow and change. Our effective communication ensures that you are always kept up to date on the status of your IT infrastructure, and our competitive adaptability ensures that we are always at the forefront of emerging trends and technologies. Whether you need virtual or on-site support, IT Haven has you covered. Our virtual support services allow for quick and efficient issue resolution, while our on-site support is available for more complex issues or hardware installations.

Contact IT Haven for Your Business IT Services Needs superior business IT service by IT Haven Pro team

If you are a small business owner needing reliable and high-quality business IT services, look no further than IT Haven.  Contact us today to learn more about our superior business IT services and how we can help your small business thrive in today’s fast-paced digital world. Our team is standing by and ready to help you take your business to the next level.

Can your business go green by switching to the cloud?

Can your business go green by switching to the cloud?

Cloud computing has quickly become a popular option for businesses that want to streamline their operations, reduce costs, and become more flexible.

But are you swayed by the idea that cloud services are automatically better for the environment? Could the need to do your bit ‘cloud’ your decision-making?

Sorry. Bad pun.

It’s true that cloud services have environmental benefits compared to using your own servers. These include reduced energy consumption and a smaller carbon footprint.

Yet you shouldn’t view the cloud as a “green solution” without fully understanding the environmental impact.

One consideration of using cloud services is the location of the data centers where servers are housed. Some providers have made commitments to use renewable energy, but it’s not a guarantee. It is essential to do your research and choose a provider that sources renewable energy and uses energy storage where possible.

When thinking about switching to the cloud, there are other benefits besides environmental sustainability. They include improved data security, ease of collaboration, and scalability as your business grows.

Another key advantage of cloud computing is data backup and recovery.

With all your data stored in the cloud, the risk of data loss due to equipment failure, damage, or theft is virtually eliminated. It means that in the event of an unforeseen disaster, like a fire or natural disaster, you can rest assured your data is safe and can be quickly recovered.

Cloud computing also enables better collaboration and communication, helping your team to work together more easily and efficiently, no matter where they’re working from. This can increase productivity and reduce your costs in comparison to maintaining traditional on-site systems.

Finally, cloud services provide better scalability as you grow, with the ability to increase storage and processing power as needed.

Can you see the benefits of cloud computing are huge? It’s why so many businesses have already ditched their servers.

If you’re considering migrating, get in touch – we can talk you through the process and what happens when.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Charging in public places? Watch out for “juice jacking”

Charging in public places? Watch out for “juice jacking”

Airports, hotels, cafés, even shopping malls, offer public charging points where you can boost your phone or laptop battery on the go.

They’ve been in the news after the FBI recently tweeted advice to stop using them. Crooks have figured out how to hijack USB ports to install malware and monitoring software onto devices as they charge.

The security risk of “juice jacking” was long thought to be more theoretical than real, but the tech needed to carry out an attack has gotten smaller and cheaper and easier to use. This means less sophisticated criminals are now turning their hand to it.

So how does it work?

The most common charging cables – USB-C and lightning – are dual-purpose. They have pins for charging and pins for data.

When you charge your device, you only use the charging pins. But a compromised charging port – or a cable that someone has left behind – could use both charging pins and data pins without you knowing.

When they use the data pins, criminals can install malware onto your device that gives them access to your credentials and other data. It’s a little like plugging your phone into someone else’s laptop.

To avoid the risk, the best solution is to always carry your own charger and cable, and plug it into a power outlet. If you have no choice but to use a public USB port, invest in something called a USB data blocker. This prevents data being transferred, but the device will still charge.

We help businesses stay secure and productive at the same time.

If we can help you, get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

LinkedIn takes action to tackle fake accounts

LinkedIn takes action to tackle fake accounts

LinkedIn is introducing new verification features over the coming months to help tackle fake accounts.

The business-focused social platform is a fantastic place to connect with like-minded businesspeople, and to find new employees, jobs and opportunities.

But thanks to this popularity, we’re seeing an increase in fake profiles, created by scammers for more sinister purposes.

Bot-like accounts have been cropping up all over the platform. They’ve been spamming people, tricking genuine profiles into downloading malware, and scamming them into giving away personal data.

LinkedIn holds a huge amount of information on each of its members, including their job history, contact details, professional interests and places of work – all valuable data that a determined criminal could put to use.

These fake accounts can be hard to spot. They look like real people (sometimes they’re AI-generated deepfake images), they seem to work for legitimate businesses, and the profiles have been carefully curated to look like the real deal.

LinkedIn is making changes over the coming months to help tackle these fake accounts, by way of an improved account authentication process.

Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, is partnering with secure identity platform Clear to help verify accounts using work email addresses, government-issued ID, and a phone number.

It’s initially only being tested in the US, but if it’s a success, we expect we’ll see a wider rollout over the coming months.

Once the relevant information has been provided, accounts will receive a verification mark, like the ones introduced by Twitter. However, unlike Twitter, LinkedIn will be offering verification free of charge.

We’ll keep you updated when we know more, but in the meantime, if you need help keeping all your accounts secure, get in touch.

Microsoft hints at some exciting Windows 12 developments

Microsoft hints at some exciting Windows 12 developments

We’re fickle creatures.

Windows 11 still feels like a new toy, yet we’ve already heard (reliable) speculation about Windows 12 arriving as soon as next year. And now it’s all we can think about!

What will it look like?

What improvements will we see?

Will there be new features?

We can’t answer these questions with certainty just yet, but there are whispers of new features that could be big news for businesses.

Three in particular have got us excited.

First (and probably most obvious) is the inclusion of more AI functionality. From automation to chatbots, AI has exploded in recent months. It just makes sense that Microsoft will harness this power to bring us a more impressive operating system.

We’re likely to see better AI analysis of our content, and prompts to help us begin projects or choose apps to help get things done. It will also help us speed up what we’re doing with improved intuition for what we’ll do next.

We do know that Microsoft wants to bring us faster updates and better security.

It’s likely things will be split into different sections rather than having the entire OS as a single entity as it stands today. That means updates to different elements will be able to run in the background while you continue to work, and different people may be granted access to each partition for improved security.

Microsoft also intends to make the Windows 12 experience more modular. The benefit of creating different components in this way is that higher-powered devices will get the maximum Windows experience, while lower-powered devices will still be able to do everything they need, running the Edge browser, Office tools, or web apps, for instance.

Some of these features may be reliant on dedicated hardware and upgraded equipment and we’re waiting for more announcements on that. As soon as we hear, you’ll be the first to know!

If you haven’t yet made the move to Windows 11, now’s a good time. Get in touch if you need any help or advice.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Criminals are exploiting AI to create more convincing scams

Criminals are exploiting AI to create more convincing scams

One of the many cool things about the new wave of Artificial Intelligence tools is their ability to sound convincingly human.

AI chatbots can be prompted to generate text that you’d never know was written by a robot. And they can keep producing it – quickly, and with minimal human intervention.

So it’s no surprise that cyber criminals have been using AI chatbots to try to make their own lives easier.

Police have identified the three main ways crooks have found to use the chatbot for malicious reasons.

1. Better phishing emails

Until now, terrible spelling and grammar have made it easy to spot many phishing emails. These are intended to trick you into clicking a link to download malware or steal information. AI-written text is way harder to spot, simply because it isn’t riddled with mistakes.

Worse, criminals can make every phishing email they send unique, making it harder for spam filters to spot potentially dangerous content.

2. Spreading misinformation

“Write me ten social media posts that accuse the CEO of the Acme Corporation of having an affair. Mention the following news outlets”.  Spreading misinformation and disinformation may not seem like an immediate threat to you, but it could lead to your employees falling for scams, clicking malware links, or even damage the reputation of your business or members of your team.

3. Creating malicious code

AI can already write pretty good computer code and is getting better all the time. Criminals could use it to create malware.

It’s not the software’s fault – it’s just doing what it’s told – but until there’s a reliable way for the AI creators to safeguard against this, it remains a potential threat.

The creators of AI tools are not the ones responsible for criminals taking advantage of their powerful software. ChatGPT creator OpenAI, for example, is working to prevent its tools from being used maliciously.

What this does show is the need to stay one step ahead of the cyber crooks in everything we do. That’s why we work so hard with our clients to keep them protected from criminal threats, and informed about what’s coming next.

If you’re concerned about your people falling for increasingly sophisticated scams, be sure to keep them updated about how the scams work and what to look out for.

If you need help with that, get in touch.

Published with permission from Your Tech Updates.

Best Practices for Managed IT Services in Small Business Environments

Best Practices for Managed IT Services in Small Business Environments

choose the best managed IT services provider IT Haven Pro Small businesses often face unique challenges when managing their IT systems. They typically have limited budgets, staff, time, and resources, making keeping up with the latest technology trends and security threats challenging. By hiring managed IT services, small business owners or team members don’t have to wear the IT Specialist hat along with all the other tasks they are juggling. 

Managed IT services provide small businesses access to a team of IT professionals who can help them manage their technology infrastructure. These services can include everything from help desk support to network monitoring and security to software and hardware management. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of managed IT services for small businesses and provide some best practices for choosing a managed IT services provider. 

Benefits of Managed IT Services for Small Businesses 

#1: Cost & Time Savings 

One of the most significant benefits of managed IT services is cost savings. Many small businesses end up with a long laundry list of apps, services, and programs they don’t fully understand to “manage” their IT needs. Often, these tools end up conflicting with each other and leave substantial gaps where hackers can slip through, or systems can fail. 

By outsourcing your IT needs to a managed services provider, you don’t have to worry about the ongoing costs of hardware and software upgrades. Your provider will provide all of the correct resources for your business, saving you on those overlapping fees. Plus, you have the added cost-effectiveness of avoiding the high expense of hiring and training an in-house IT team. 

#2: Increased Business Productivity 

Managed IT services can help increase productivity by minimizing downtime and resolving issues quickly. The last thing you want is for your staff to be sitting around while they wait for tech issues to be fixed! With a team of IT professionals available around the clock, you can ensure your systems are always up and running smoothly. 

Plus, forgetting to back up your computer systems and data constantly is commonplace. Sadly, it can lead to years of hard work going down the drain if your entire data network disappears overnight. Fortunately, managed IT services provide data backup, so you never have to worry about that again! 

#3: Improved Business & Client Security

As technology improves, so do hackers; thus, so much your IT team. Security is a top concern for small businesses, as they are often targets of cyber-attacks. It is never a good day when client information is stolen or systems fail due to a cyber-attack. Managed IT services can help improve security by providing regular security updates, monitoring potential threats, and implementing best practices for data protection.

#4: Access to Expertise & Continued Education

Unfortunately, small businesses may not have the budget or resources to hire a team of IT professionals with a diverse set of skills, nor can they juggle continued education in technology while managing a business. Managed IT services provide access to a team of experts with a range of knowledge and experience, ensuring that you have the right resources to address any IT needs that arise, now or in the future!

Best Practices for Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider managed IT services for small businesses IT Haven Pro Tri-Cities

As you can see, managed IT services are incredibly beneficial to employ in a small business. However, not all managed IT services are the same. Prior to choosing a provider, we recommend considering the following tips in your hiring process. 

Determine Your IT Needs 

Before choosing a managed IT services provider, it’s crucial to determine your IT needs. This includes assessing your current systems and identifying areas where you need additional support. We recommend having an in-depth chat with whoever has been managing your IT thus far. If that is you, we advise chatting with small businesses similar to yours that have hired managed IT services to see which services they need the most. You should also consider your budget and any specific compliance requirements for your industry. 

Research Local Managed IT Services Providers 

Once you’ve identified your IT needs, it’s time to research managed IT services providers. Look for providers with experience working with small businesses in your industry. Of course, you should check their credentials and certifications to ensure they have the expertise to support your specific needs. Plus, you want to verify their reputation and reviews. 

Evaluate IT Services Offered 

Not all managed IT services providers offer the same services. It’s essential to evaluate the services offered by each provider to ensure they meet your specific needs. Look for providers that provide a range of services, including help desk support, network monitoring and security, and hardware and software management. Conversely, you want your provider to solely work in this field. If they offer other industry services, like website building or social media management, they are likely a jack-of-all-trades rather than the expert you need. 

Consider Communication and Availability 

Communication is key when working with a managed IT services provider. Look for providers that are responsive and available around the clock to address any issues that arise. You should also consider their communication methods, such as phone, email, or online chat, to ensure they can provide support in a way that works for your business. Don’t forget about on-site assistance! Your managed IT services provider should be able to come to your location for assistance if needed, so you will want to avoid outsourcing your IT to other countries or states. 

Review Service Level Agreements

Service level agreements (SLAs) outline the terms of the services provided by a managed IT services provider. Reviewing these agreements carefully is important to ensure they meet your needs. Look for providers that offer SLAs with clear expectations and guarantees for response times and issue resolution. 

Check for Scalability and Flexibility

Lastly, as your business grows, your IT needs will change. Choosing an IT services provider that can scale its services to meet your changing needs is critical. Look for providers that offer flexible pricing models and can easily add or remove services as needed. Plus, check on their continuing education plans. The tech industry is constantly evolving, and you want to ensure that your IT team is keeping up with the latest trends, so your tech doesn’t turn into a dinosaur!

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IT Haven Pro – Your Local Managed IT Services Provider

If you are a small to mid-sized business in the Columbia Basin, WA, or Northern Oregon, IT Haven Pro offers you a safe and secure place for your data. Contact us today to learn how we can help you elevate your business and ease your worries.