Caution Must Be Taken to Avoid Online Payment Fraud

payment fraud

Cyberthreats are already difficult as is when cyber criminals aren’t trying to steal your hard-earned money. With increasingly advanced technology on the rise, hackers are now using data from online payments to steal valuable information during a security breach. Online payments make up about 41.8% of all payments done worldwide. You can be sure that there are many opportunities for fraud to occur during this type of payment. Continue reading to learn how you can make sure your credit or debit cards are protected from hackers when making online payments.

Digital Payments are Twice as Common as Payments Made by Card

With today’s technology, many people utilize digital wallets due to its convenience and ease of use. Digital wallets are used almost twice as much as the rate of card payments. Many retail stores and restaurants are switching to a more digital format of payment and are accepting digital walletss. Unfortunately, the system has its flaws; thus, making it easier to exploit by hackers. 

Lately, because of the advancement in technology, digital payments have been known to compromise personal and sensitive data, such as full names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and other similar information including addresses, medical histories, and drivers’ licenses. 

Cybercrime Threats Are Becoming Ever So Common

With some exceptions, the majority of the cyberattacks and vulnerabilities have either stayed consistent or decreased over time. The exceptions to this include phishing scams, ransomware, and malware. Over the last few years, from 2019 to 2021, the largest increase in attacks came from those three mentioned earlier: phishing scams, ransomware, and malware. On the other hand, the Identity Theft Resource Center reported that most, but not all, cyberattacks or vulnerabilities have either decreased or stayed constant during this same time period.

There’s a statistic that could potentially be the most worrisome for your clients. The most commonly stolen information in 2021 included victims’ full names which were involved in 1,803 breaches, full social security numbers that were found in 1,136 breaches, and date of birth which were involved in 688 breaches. This statistic can be quite concerning for most people since recent data proves that hackers can obtain really personal information from people and attempt to steal their identities or use their personal information for other means.

Protect You and Your Clients’ Personal Data and Information Today

You should not have to worry about whether or not your, your employees, or your clients’ personal and sensitive information is being misused by hackers or cyber criminals as a result of a security breach. At 4 Corner IT, you can help your company as well as your clients in preventing security breaches and protecting personal information by using our IT services to assist in properly securing your IT infrastructure. To learn more or for any additional questions, reach out to us today at 954.474.2204.

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What Happens When You Delete Data?

data

At some point, you have probably looked through old files and deleted some of that data to organize your computer. You would be surprised to know that the deletion of those files doesn’t really delete them, at least not completely. Continue reading to learn how to delete your documents for good in a secure manner if you replace your computer or upgrade your technology systems. 

How Does Data Get Deleted?

The answer to this question is complicated. In reality, it depends on the hardware one has. There are two types of storage media: hard disk drives (HDDs) and solid state drives (SSDs). HDDs are mechanical devices that utilize a spinning platter that allows a mechanical arm to write and overwrite data. SSDs save data through flash memory to chips that can be read quickly, while also eliminating the need for any moving parts. The type of storage media utilized will play a role in how data is eliminated. In regards to the SSD drive, the process is not that simple.

The Deletion of Data Works in Different Ways

HDDs are easier

Data deletion is simple and straightforward with a hard disk drive. The mechanical arm is placed over the disk to rewrite the data that was originally stored on it, making the process easy and efficient.

SSDs are somewhat more complicated 

SSDs utilize flash data that cannot easily be overwritten. The original information must be removed before any additional information can be added, making it a lengthy process that can potentially slow down the solid state drive.

SATA-capable SSDs can use TRIM

TRIM is a command that can assist your SSD to know which information can be erased. It is imperative to ensure the durability of the solid state drive is maintained and the processes are run as efficiently as possible. SSDs utilize an internal operation known as “garbage collection” which moves the important data from a block that needs to be deleted. TRIM ensures that the deleted data cannot be copied. Because this is a background process, you can work while the data is in the process of being deleted. In Windows, TRIM is automatically enabled as it replaces Disk Defragmenter.

Is Your Data Really Gone?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not that simple. SSDs deceive the operating system in regards to the amount of data blocks available. In other words, a process known as wear leveling is utilized to maintain the longevity of the SSD. Some data blocks may not be trimmed as expected as TRIM also incorporates buffer space that may continue to keep recent data on it as well.

The Answer is Yes… But No at the Same Time

Yes, the documents will be removed. Unfortunately, the security of those deleted files might not be deleted. Therefore, it is important to carefully dispose of old devices, especially if you are planning to donate or resell them. 

Ask Us About the Hardware Refresh Process

It is understandable that people always want to upgrade to the most recent and reliable technology. Therefore, it is important to be careful when getting rid of older devices. If you have a drive or device that needs to be wiped completely, 4 Corner IT can help you through this process so it may be completed in an efficient, timely, and safe manner without putting your information at risk. To learn more, please contact us at 954.474.2204.

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Unfortunately, Ransomware is Just Getting Worse

ransomware

Ransomware is a top threat, and it’s definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. To help you best combat it, let’s take a look at what you can do to keep ransomware from disrupting your organization and its operations. We’ll provide a brief overview of what ransomware is and what you can do to take the fight to it. 

What is Ransomware: A Review 

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks down a device or system until a ransom has been paid. It’s been around for quite some time, and it has only grown more dangerous since. Trend Micro reports that 84 percent of organizations have experienced either phishing or ransomware in the past year, with the two often going hand-in-hand. 

 

There are plenty of innovations that modern ransomware has brought with it, along with countless ways for it to weasel its way past even the most carefully-laid defenses. Instead of simply infecting devices, hackers now use ransomware to steal and leak data if the ransom is not paid, which creates a lot of problems from a compliance standpoint. Furthermore, some cyber criminals offer ransomware-as-a-service to anyone willing to pay for these attacks. Sometimes hackers will even fake ransomware attacks just to make a quick buck, claiming that they have infected a PC when in reality they simply haven’t. 

 

So, how does your business take the fight to ransomware? We hope to answer that question here. 

What to Do to Face Down Ransomware 

The precautions taken against ransomware have been consistent, but more advanced variants require more complicated measures. The best way to combat ransomware used to be storing a data backup off-site, but now that ransomware has started using the above-outlined double-extortion methods, this is not always guaranteed to be effective. While we always recommend data backup in the first place, a backup is not the best way to protect against ransomware anymore. The best way to secure your business is to utilize multiple measures, including the following: 

Keeping Defenses Up-to-Date 

Ransomware can be stopped by some basic security solutions, like firewalls and antivirus programs, so don’t neglect these protections. It’s important to keep them up-to-date. The same goes for any patches or security updates to your business’ chosen solutions. Of course, we do recommend using more advanced protections, as well. You should implement a monitoring solution to keep tabs on your infrastructure—especially with email. If possible, have your IT resource configure your email gateway to scan ZIP attachments and block executable files. Long story short, the fewer ransomware attempts that your employees are exposed to, the less likely you are to suffer from one. 

Educating and Evaluating Users 

On that same note, you need to make sure your team is aware of these threats and how to address them. Ideally, your staff will never encounter a ransomware attempt, but we rarely run business in an ideal world. Your employees will be the last line of defense against these attacks, so be sure they are armed with the knowledge to spot one. You should also make sure that you are regularly testing your employees to ensure they can put this knowledge into practice. Simulated attacks against your infrastructure can help to identify personnel who need a refresher on how to appropriately handle security issues with your business. 

Following Zero-Trust Policies 

There is always the possibility that one of your users will accidentally fall victim to a threat. This is why it is so terribly important to minimize the damage done as a result of an attack. A zero-trust policy is one way you can make sure this happens, as you are effectively limiting network access until you can guarantee the identity of the user. Furthermore, we also recommend enabling multi-factor authentication whenever possible. This gives you more of a buffer between threats and their targets. 

Maintaining Backup Practices 

Some attacks will take advantage of businesses that properly back up their data, but not all of them will. In any case, it never hurts to have data backup in place. It’s one cybersecurity practice that all companies should use, no matter what. 

Ransomware is a Challenging Threat—We Can Help You Address It 

4 Corner IT can help your business keep itself safe. To learn more, reach out to us at 954-474-2204. 

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How to Prevent Data Leakage with Microsoft Data Loss Prevention

microsoft data loss protection

Businesses using Microsoft Office 365 have new options to prevent data leakage from their business. Whether a company frequently handles sensitive information like patient information or wants to clamp down on sharing personally identifiable information (PII) via e-mail, the Microsoft Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools can help. A brief overview of the DLP capabilities will show why businesses that operate in industries with a lot of regulations need to deploy their IT team to shore up their defenses.

Microsoft DLP—Identifying Shared Information

The Microsoft Data Loss Prevention tools are a system within Office 365 that reads the information that you input in the Microsoft cloud software such as OneDrive, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online. Also, the DLP can be applied to offline sources for added security.

Essentially, an IT team sets up the DLP to process all the data that you send through these systems and flags information that you do not want to be shared. The toolset can identify credit card numbers, social security numbers, and other forms of PII.

The system can be localized to the country in which a company operates as well as those with whom they do business. For example, the system can be set so that Australian ID numbers and American ID numbers can both trigger the security protocols, protecting a wider swath of data without burdening the system with data that would never be used.

Each business is in charge of establishing the parameters that they would like followed as well as the desired results when the information shared does produce a red flag.

The system can be set to remove a file with PII or disallow the communication from going forth. Furthermore, the system will send messages to the appropriate members of management to provide documentation about the attempts to send out information.

DLP is easy to set up with the help of trained IT team members, and it goes into effect in less than an hour after establishing parameters.

Monitoring and Educating Employees

The vast majority of employees do not want to contribute to a leak of personal information for the people they serve or those they work with. However, there are still internal data losses every year where people within a company unwittingly give away valuable data.

As previously mentioned, an IT team can work to establish specific parameters for data sharing. These DLP parameters can identify when PII or other valued information is shared internally and externally in Microsoft software.

Not only will utilizing DLP tools cut down on the frequency of leaks, but they will give management the tools they need to teach workers about their specific vulnerabilities and how to prevent them from happening in the future.

Using Microsoft DLP to prevent data leakage is a step that every business operating with Office 365 should take. Simply identifying the types of information you do not want to be shared and enabling the parameters and alerts for data can prevent many common problems from occurring. The result is your company will identify which employees are responsible for data leaks so they can be properly re-educated and save information from falling into the wrong hands.

What is Data Privacy’s Status Going Into 2021?

what is data privacy

As a consumer, how concerned are you about the care that businesses give to your data privacy. Very? You aren’t the only one. 87 percent of Americans see their data privacy as a human right. However, despite these views, most people are far too lax when it comes to their own security. What is data privacy’s status going into 2021? Let’s take a closer look.

Consumers on Businesses and Their Data Practices

In a recent report from advisory firm KPMG, the results of a survey that asked American consumers about their expectations of corporations and the privacy of their collected data were revealed. These results showed a few concerns very clearly, while revealing that not all respondents were fully aware of today’s most pressing cyberattacks.

  • 86 percent of respondents to the survey felt that their data privacy was a rising concern.
  • 70 percent claimed to be “generally familiar” with how companies collect their personal data, while 64 percent were familiar with how it was used and stored, 63 percent say they understand how it is protected, and 57 percent say they know how it is sold.
  • Having said that, 68 percent don’t trust these companies to sell this data ethically, 54 percent don’t trust it will be used ethically, 53 percent don’t feel it will be collected ethically, and 50 percent don’t trust these companies to protect their data sufficiently.
  • Most consumers are concerned about the theft of their social security number, with 83 percent of respondents identifying this concern. Following closely behind come the 69 percent worried about their credit card numbers.
  • Surprisingly, only 16 percent are concerned about the theft of their medical records.

Data Practices Amongst Consumers

While this sounds like a decent start, the survey’s results showed a bit of hypocrisy. Most users agreed that repeating passwords, saving credit card information to a website, and using public Wi-Fi are risky behaviors, but more than 40 percent of them did these things anyways. 61 percent neglected to use all available tools to secure their accounts, as well.

What We Can Learn

It doesn’t matter if it’s your data at stake, or your business’… your highest priority needs to be your security.

In another study, this one conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, it was shown that almost half—46 percent—of consumers surveyed had stopped doing business with a retailer because of issues with that retailer’s privacy statement.

Are you willing to let half of your client base abandon your business?

It just goes to show that, from the consumer’s perspective, it is our responsibility to make sure that companies are accountable for the data they collect. From the business standpoint, it shows that data security is something that can’t be slapped together or neglected. Is ensuring data security simple? Far from it… but when compared to what you risk otherwise, it’s a no-brainer.

4 Corner IT is here to help. We can help you to implement the security solutions and processes that will help protect all your data. To learn more, or to get started, call our team at (877) 771-2384 today.