Securing your tablet and smartphone

Think for a moment about how much of your life is on a tablet or smartphone. Personal information such as texts, emails, apps, photos, passwords, financial information, as well as work related information.

As time and technology move forward, tablets and smartphones become an item we cannot seem to live without. These devices have become a necessity in the workplace, especially for those people who travel frequently – you can even translate signage abroad or do videoconferencing. They’re convenient, easier to carry, have built-in cameras, thousands of handy apps, and even offer GPS technology. There’s no doubting the convenience these devices offer – but, here are a few things to be aware of whether you use these devices for personal use, work, or both.

Now, with all this great technology comes the risk should your device(s) be stolen or lost. Losing your smartphone can be very stressful, and costly. With this in mind, there are some relatively easy steps you should take to secure your devices so that the door is not left wide open for a hacker or thief to steal your valuable information.

  1. Set a passcode/password. A passcode is a basic multi-digit code. Without a passcode, anyone who has your device in hand can access everything. Many of the newer devices also offer an option to use a longer alphanumeric password. Immediately after you have set your passcode or password, you should turn on the auto-lock function and set it to as short a time frame as possible. Usually 2 – 5 minutes is recommended. It will save a little bit of battery life, and by shortening the window, it’s much less likely that someone will stumble upon it while it’s still powered on.
  2. Be App-Savvy. Installing apps from Amazon Appstore, Microsoft’s Windows Store, Apple iTunes, or Google Play is much safer. Bad Apps can be loaded with Malware which can infect your device and steal your information. Be leery of third party app stores as they often host malicious apps, and are usually disguised as more “popular” real apps.
  3. Read the app permissions instead of blindly accepting the terms and conditions. Is there a reason a game wants access to your camera, microphone, and contacts?
  4. Update the Software. Updates to your mobile OS and any apps on your tablet or smartphone often include security fixes and should be downloaded as soon as they are available.
  5. Beware of Public Wi-Fi. Always use caution when browsing the Web on a public Wi-Fi. Since your traffic is public, it can be captured.
  6. Don’t be Gullible. Immediately delete suspicious text messages from people you don’t know, don’t click on any embedded web links or call any unknown phone numbers. Scammers and spammers are increasingly targeting smartphone users, be it through text messages, emails or even phone calls pretending to be someone they’re not. This could lead to them locking your device and extorting money from you to unlock it (“ransomware”).
  7. Enable Remote Location and Wiping. Preventing someone else from gathering your sensitive data is the most important task you have. One piece of good news is that the percentage of smartphone theft has decreased over the past few years thanks to the increased number of “kill switches” that make it harder to wipe and resell them. If your device is lost or stolen, tracking apps can tell you the location of your device. These types of apps can also let you wipe your sensitive or business data remotely. A remote wipe is similar to a factory reset; it erases all the data on a smartphone or tablet.
  8. Consider Antivirus. For those of you who are Android users, it’s highly recommended to protect your mobile data with security software. Not only do these apps protect your device from viruses and other malware, but it will lock down your privacy settings, scan apps and files for threats, and some solutions can snap a photo of someone attempting to log into your stolen phone via the front-facing camera, and send the image to you.
  9. Data Backups. Backing up data on your smartphone or tablet is relatively simple and it is something that should be done in the event the device is stolen, lost, or simply stops working. By using automatic online backups stored in the cloud or backing up data by syncing your device to your PC or office network are good options to help secure your device.

Regardless of which smartphone you use, it’s critical to prevent your personal (and professional) information from falling into the wrong hands. Even if your device isn’t lost or stolen, your data could still be accessible by a remote thief if not properly protected. No system or protective measure is completely foolproof, but the steps outlined above will make your device much safer.

Announcements, news, events, and promotions

Virginia Livingstone joins Bryley Systems

Virginia Livingstone joined Bryley Systems’ Services team. In her role as Kaseya Systems Analyst, she will continually optimize our use of Kaseya® VSA, the award-winning Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tool that provides a modern, fully integrated, and powerful IT-systems-management platform.

Mrs. Livingstone holds a degree in Computer Science from Clark University and has over 20 years’ experience troubleshooting and diagnosing client issues. She is well-versed in server databases and network support tools, and possesses strong debugging skills. Prior to Bryley Systems, Virginia was an IT Automation Engineer for Intel Corporation in Hudson, MA.

Bryley Systems donates a new 23” LED monitor to Assabet Valley Chamber

Bryley Systems donated a HP ProDisplay P232 23” LED Monitor, valued at $175, for the annual auction at the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce.

We’re looking for field-service and business-development employees

Bryley Systems is growing. We have an immediate need for field-service personnel with IT experience and we plan to add a salesperson to our business-development team. Interested applicants may email HR@Bryley.com or call 978.562.6077.

Winner of our monthly Service-Ticket Survey drawing

Monthly, we select a winner from all respondents to our service-ticket surveys. Congratulations to DG of FS, our survey-response winner from last month.

Our winner received a $10 gift certificate, compliments of Bryley Systems.

IF you Recognize these Signs, THEN it’s Time to Outsource your IT

It’s Time to Outsource your IT!

Do you Recognize these Signs?

Small business owners have to keep their budgets tight. It’s a fact of life. In today’s competitive world, decisions become difficult when it comes to hiring specialized positions – especially within IT departments.

IT is such an important topic because of the critical need to keeping your organization running efficiently and safely. There are technical challenges to overcome. For example, have you determined what hardware and software best fits your business needs? How will you manage all of this internally? Are you prepared to handle a data security breach?

When it comes IT support, it may seem advantageous to hire an IT Manager or CTO internally to maintain tight control over these functions. However, keeping these functions in-house may not be the best option for your budget.

According to recent research by CompTIA (the IT Industry Association), the most proactive approach is turning to a managed IT service provider. By doing so, your costs can be reduced by nearly 50%. Since managed IT service providers offer certified engineers with a wide range of capabilities, studies show that they will outperform your in-house team at a lower overall cost. Discovering this after an issue arises could put your organization at greater risk.

Take a look at our tips on when it may be time to begin outsourcing your IT:

  1. Staying Focused on Your Priorities. By outsourcing your IT you will be less likely to be sidetracked putting out fires. You can focus on priorities such as supporting your customers without having to deal with interruptions like trouble-shooting software, hardware, network, or user issues. There are major issues that can occur such as a breach to your firewall which threatens data, or your VPN failing, or disruptions in your VoIP phone service. Ask yourself, are you really prepared to handle these issues? And why would you want to? Offloading your IT support and leaving it in the hands of ‘experts’ will save you time, money, and frustration.
  2. Cost Management. Keeping an office running efficiently and safely with just one full-time computer expert on your staff is nearly impossible. The average help desk or systems admin personnel expenses can quickly add up to big dollars especially when you have to keep certifications current and training up-to-date. The main reason to outsource IT is to lower your costs by only paying for what you need, when you need it.
  3. The Need For Reliable IT Experts. The world of technology is always changing. If you don’t currently have the proper IT resources available, the symptoms of an IT problem may be bandaged but never addressed at the root. This leaves your technology in a break-fix cycle that is never ending. Having an outsourced IT provider will give you peace of mind and expert guidance. Your dedicated Managed IT Services Provider will understand your environment, make appropriate recommendations, and manage your infrastructure to avoid frustration, lost time and wasteful spending.
  4. Offloading Security Worries. There are many areas of IT security that challenge business owners. There is spam filtering, virus scanning, firewall management, data backup, and more. These tasks can be overwhelming and deciding what to do first can be confusing. By putting all of this in the hands of a managed IT service provider, they will have the time, talent, and resources to handle it. They will have the familiarity with the best tools available, and the experience to prioritize the tasks for you. Shifting the burden to meet standards and security requirements for your organization will allow you to sleep at night.

Bryley Systems has 30 years of experience taking the worry off of our clients’ shoulders and effectively managing IT environments at a predictable cost. For more information about about Bryley’s full array of Managed IT Services, please contact us at 978.562.6077 or by email at ITExperts@Bryley.com. We’re here for you.

Bryley Basics: Purchase Windows 10 with new PCs and laptops

We keep having the same conversation with clients over and over again, especially those who are buying new computers: What Windows version should I deploy?

If you are purchasing new computers for your organization, please consider installing Windows 10. We have clients who still want us to install Windows 7, however, that operating system will be end of life January 14th, 2020.  What that means is that Microsoft, after 1/14/2020, will no longer provide security updates for Windows 7, such that your computer will be more susceptible to getting malware and your organization will not be compliant. In less than 3 years, you will have to upgrade the operating system of that computer, which involves additional labor costs, software licensing, and employee downtime.

Note: We didn’t forget about Windows 8.1, but we find that a lot of distributors no longer stock computers that have Windows 8 (8.1) pre-installed. It also seems to be another operating system (remember Vista?) that Microsoft “abandoned” since it was only around for 3 years, making it one of the most short-lived operating systems.

Prior to installing Windows 10 on new computers, we will need to find out if current applications are compatible with the new operating system. With the name of the application and the version, we should be able to verify compatibility by searching the Internet and then verifying with the manufacturer directly.

For more information, please visit Migrating to Windows 10 – Now, later, or never, from the August 2015 issue of BITs (Bryley Information and Tips).

Making this type of transition isn’t always easy, but we are here to help; please reach out to us at 978.562.6077 or email ITExperts@Bryley.com.

 

How Bryley becomes an extension of you…

Bryley has something pretty special that seems to be missing from many other IT Companies.

It’s not about the number of Microsoft Experts we employ or the multiple Product Certifications they hold across company departments (but if you ask, we have those too). What we have that’s different is hard to measure, even though it can be designated in numbers. 5 years, 10 years, even 20 years! These are numbers that you’ll see from not only our long-term clients, but also our employees!

I have worked at Bryley full time for almost 8 years, much more if you count the years when I worked as an intern throughout High School and College. Many of the clients that I interact with are the same ones whose records I used to file away as an intern more than 10 years ago. We’re not interested in adding clients and employees for a year and then parting ways as friends. We’re looking to build relationships with you, both personally and professionally, so that together we can grow and succeed.

As a result of our long-lasting relationships with our clients, we are better able to address the technical issues they experience. We learn customized details about a company or user and create Client-Specific Documentation that allows a quick resolution for both Bryley and the end user. Sure, we could swoop in, fix something easily and be heralded as a hero for the day. But we prefer to go above and beyond the mere fix.

We enjoy being able to teach our willing clients what we’re doing. This reduces the urgency and the sometimes overwhelming stress that comes with a computer issue or technical request. End users can sometimes resolve issues on their own using the documentation we provide, lessons learned from a remote session, or just by receiving a few screenshots from one of our techs. The satisfaction and often faster resolution the client gets from fixing their own problem, well… that moment goes a little further than a Superman cape for an afternoon.

Our team has grown over the years and in that time the Tech team has learned how to best take care of our clients. The process starts with me: “Hi! Michelle here!” Whether you call in, send an email, or enter a ticket on our Bryley Portal, you will most likely get your first response from me. During this initial intake I obtain as many details about the issue as I can from you – the client. The information I gather includes a detailed problem description, screen shots, symptoms, and passwords. Then, I will have you install Kaseya, our remote access tool. If time permits, I may even remote in right away and see for myself what’s going on. In a perfect world, and if the problem is easy enough, I’ll take care of it right then and there for you. If I can’t, all the details of my call with you will be entered into your service ticket, and I will schedule a tech to remote in or go onsite to resolve the issue. My objective is to make life that much easier for you – and for our Techs, too.

We believe that our company’s long-term success – we’re celebrating 30 years in business – lies in our ability to strengthen and support this network of relationships in a way that advances the best interests of everyone. Bryley specializes in more than just IT support. We provide a broad range of Managed IT Services and Managed Cloud Services. We’re committed to understanding you and your business needs before recommending or implementing a solution. Our ultimate goal is to provide the highest quality technical and strategic computer support after taking your unique business needs into consideration. Our approach is simple. We strive to earn your trust and we value our clients – you.

To see how our tech team can help your organization, call us at 844.449.8770 or email us at ITExperts@Bryley.com.

Making Working Remotely Work

By Lawrence Strauss, Strauss and Strauss

Working remotely is trending. Yet, according to the American Community Survey, while telecommuting dramatically rose 79 percent between 2005 and 2012, telecommuters made up only 2.6 percent of the American work force; a pretty small percentage, and the true number is difficult to really get a handle on, as organizations have been shown to count answering emails after hours as working remotely.

What is generally understood as working remotely is working at least three days of a work-week from a location other than at an organization’s offices. People invested a lot of the last 130 years building our city-filled offices and suburban office parks, but no one foresaw today’s 94 percent broadband access to the internet; the world is now suddenly different.

“The seat of the pants to the seat of the chair,” was how Sinclair Lewis characterized the art of writing 100 years ago, but it may as well describe how to accomplish much of what we do today, whether it’s writing a manual or code, bookkeeping or administration, designing in Photoshop or AutoCAD. Global Workplace Analytics finds that 50 percent of the work-force holds jobs that are at least in-part compatible with remote work. So who cares the location of the chair?1

Workers care

Working from home eliminates the often tense and costly daily commute of almost an hour a day on average. Working at home means when you have a break, you can do things that would not seem to fit or be possible at the office, like weeding your garden or playing piano. Teleworking with flexible hours may make it easier for workers to balance their work and family responsibilities. Workers appreciate the ability to schedule their lives around their work rather than the other way around. (Studies have shown some place a greater value on flexibility than career advancement.)2 Also working alone helps people avoid office gossip and politics, and enables them to focus on their tasks and be more productive.3 In a 2013 study of a Chinese travel company, Ctrip, employees who were allowed to work remotely were more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave.4

On the other hand, “the absent one is always wrong”, goes a French proverb. And there is common sense wisdom to this: out of sight, out of mind. How much takes place in the little interactions between co-workers day-to-day? How does telecommuting affect collaboration? How does a remote worker feel engaged and motivated? Do projects get assigned to people who speak up because they are there? And do doubts nag at the telecommuter that what he’s contributed is being really understood and valued?

Organizations care

In 2007 Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, critiqued telecommuting as diminishing face-time, which he argued made it difficult for managers to see “how calm you stay in a PR crisis, how decent you are to new employees … how much you sweat during a tough deal, and how hard you work on a deadline without bitching and moaning.” In 2013, Yahoo! ended the possibility for employees to work remotely. Best Buy quickly joined the group of companies banning telecommuting.5 And there was a flurry of others, too, including Aetna last year. Unlike GE, though, these moves seemed a desperate reigning in of perks from companies in trouble, making it akin to the business adage, “nobody ever made a profit by cutting costs;” the way an organization treats customers, vendors and employees is revealing of the state of its health.

But in an echo of Jack Welch, when Yahoo! ended its work-at-home perk, then-Google CFO, Patrick Prichette, had this to say about the subject, “how many people telecommute at Google? as few as possible … there is something magical about sharing meals … about spending the time together, about noodling on ideas, about asking … ‘what do you think of this?’ these are [the] magical moments that we think at Google are immensely important in the development of your company, of your own personal development and [of] building much stronger communities.”

Conversely nearly 25 percent of employees work remotely at least part-time at UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth internally studies flexible work options to determine ROI. Heather Lemke, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, says their data shows “telecommuters have high quality performance, a low turnover rate and increased employee satisfaction.” As of 2015, 80 percent of companies offer some kind of flexible work options; notable leaders of work-at-home options include IBM, Dell and Deloitte.6

So businesses take different tacks on the telework issue. And maybe like the individual workers themselves – some of whom take to working remotely and others of whom want the routine and environment of the office – organizations are also not all the same, and what works for some, does not work for others.

Best Practices for the Organization

So let’s say you’re a business manager considering offering work-at-home options to your employees, how do you make it work?

Technology makes it seem so possible … what was inconceivable a generation ago, today we take altogether for granted. And we get annoyed if our instant connectivity does not work without a hiccup; and of course it’s all private and secure. And anyway, who would be interested in what I send? This thoughtlessness or naive vulnerability, makes for easy pickings for criminals, like walking a city alley alone at night. So the first thing that needs to be addressed is, how do you make sure working remotely will be secure? An IT professional, such as Bryley Systems, can get you set up fully and correctly; following are some commonly found compromises and defense strategies.

To secure your business and employees, the first protection is education. The vulnerabilities most associated with remote work are malicious Wi-Fi connectivity, malware and lost or stolen devices.

In early 2016, a survey of 882 IT professionals reported that 24 percent of mobile devices used in their organizations had connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot in the past, while 39 percent said those devices downloaded malware.7

Open, unsecured (or shared password) Wi-Fi networks, such as are common at hotels, libraries and coffee shops, can pose threats, especially if the employee passes confidential data like log-in or credit card information over that network. In such cases, the employee is opening himself up to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, in which a hacker can place himself between the two connected devices and steal information.

It’s ideal for the employee to avoid such networks and instead use his home Ethernet connection or his own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for access. But, for open Wi-Fi network circumstances, an organization should have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) in place, to which a mobile device connects directly, and through which the employee connects to the internet or organization’s server.

Cloud services can help an organization keep a high level of security. A Managed Cloud Service Provider (like Bryley Systems) can encrypt the data transmitted from remote locations to the organization’s intranet. Also encrypting company data on the remote device is an encouraged best practice.

Malware (which can steal sensitive data, among wreaking other havoc) is not all that different for remote workers or workers on site. It is mostly delivered via email or web links that look to come from a trusted source, but are anything but harmless. Training is critical to cut down on malware incidences. Best practices also include the separation, by partitioning, of company data from personal data, a feature associated with PCs, but also available now on many phones.

Also mobile devices can get stolen or lost; which means data can easily fall into an outsider’s hands if the devices are not secured properly. Employers must know the technical details about each of their employee’s mobile devices. Organizations need to establish policies about how employees can tell the company or its IT provider if the device is lost or stolen. The organization or its IT partner must know how to disable the device and turn off all applications and/or force password resets – and be able to respond immediately when a breach is detected. The organization must also inquire of the employee about so-called Shadow IT, unauthorized applications that may have seemed helpful, but circumvent the managed network, such as unauthorized Google Drive or Dropbox accounts.8

Relatedly, sensitive data should be wiped from employee devices when the employee leaves the company. Unwiped data can be stolen by unauthorized parties, risking the organization’s and its customers’ data.

The organization must also establish exact protocols for working. How will information be shared between the telecommuter and the organization? Who has authorized access from a remote location? Detail exactly the network protocols to be used. Is the remote worker using a company-supplied device? Or does the company allow/expect the employee to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)? Is he/she using more than one device to access or communicate with the organization? By what means? Emailing? And with attachments? Chat? Through Project Management software? If so, is it intranet- or internet-based? Texting? FTP? All these must be secured.

Best Practices for the Employee

If you’re an employee being given a work-at-home option, how do you make it work?

To combat “out of sight, out of mind”, and the lack of collaboration opportunities, as a remote worker, you have to establish your presence in other ways. Communication becomes especially critical for you: How will you do it (subject to the protocols allowed by your employer)?

First, it may be a requirement of your company that you work set hours, but part of the appeal of working at home is the flexibility to address family needs. If you are granted this flexibility, it is a good idea, so that you feel part of the team, to get in on the real-time conversations, by working some of the same hours as your co-workers.

Project Management Software may be part of your business’ routine communication. If so, you’ll definitely rely heavily on it not only to communicate your progress, but also to stay in the loop about the burdens team members are dealing with, so you can be supportive, and part of the team.

Email is probably the easiest form of communication between co-workers; emails are also easily misunderstood – people do not read emails carefully. And though emails can do it, they are not a great way to disseminate long items (attach longer documents as PDFs so that they can be printed with formatting that’s comfortable for reading).

Try instant messaging or chat for real-time communication and leaving communal messages. Get face-time with team members by video chatting or conferencing.

Because you’re on your own, it’s easy to feel overworked and underappreciated. So take it on yourself to measure your productivity. Set goals, track your hours, and review yourself critically to know how much you are getting done.

Get to know your co-workers. Read their social media pages, ask personal questions. It’s easy to throw people you don’t know under the bus. Be physically involved, too. Attend any non-work events. Visit the office as frequently as you can.9

Work It

Like the seeming knee-jerk reaction of companies in trouble that suddenly withdraw the work-at-home benefit, one of the problems is sometimes businesses offer work-at-home, while fostering a culture that maltreats those who make use of the program. Is telecommuting a new vacation days benefit in a business culture that counts it as a badge of honor the number of your days you leave on the table? Why else did Americans leave an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012?10

But there is frequent evidence that says not many really believe in allowing people to do their work off-site. And with some reason, in the Ctrip study it was found that the longer people were teleworking, the less grateful they were for the privilege. And so, the employees initially worked extra hard out of that gratitude, but that diminished as the out-of-the-office routine became more routine. Some workers have been shown to be cavalier with protocols made to keep an organization secure. Being on your own is a privilege.

So here is an even older principle than the Industrial Revolution model of clocking in at an office: both partners to the remote work arrangement ask themselves continually if they’re acting as they would want to be treated.

1 http://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/telecommuting-statistics

2https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ravi_Gajendran/publication/262387597_Are_Telecommuters_Remotely_Good_Citizens_Unpacking_Telecommuting%27s_Effects_on_Performance_Via_I-Deals_and_Job_Resources/links/544a82990cf2bcc9b1d2f529.pdf

3 https://hbr.org/2013/07/working-from-home-a-work-in-pr&ab

4 https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/your-money/when-working-in-your-pajamas-is-more-productive.html?_r=0

5 http://www.networkworld.com/article/2164133/infrastructure-management/best-buy-cancels-telework-program.html

6 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/270585

7 http://www.networkworld.com/article/3049185/mobile-wireless/one-fifth-of-it-pros-say-their-companies-had-mobile-data-breach.html

8 www.networkworld.com/article/3085433/mobile-wireless/dude-wheres-my-phone-byod-means-enterprise-security-exposure.html

9 http://www.success.com/article/working-remotely-heres-how-to-do-it-right

10 Harris Interactive, per http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/relax-youll-be-more-productive.html

Meet Your “Typical” Hacker – Know Thine Enemy

Imagine sitting in your chair watching TV after a long day in the office, you look up and there’s a stranger rummaging through your refrigerator… a little disconcerting at best! You would likely stand up and ask: “Who are you and how did you get into my house?” You would likely call the Police. This is very serious. When someone invades your home you are angry, scared, and possibly indignant.

The scenario described above can happen with your computer and network without you even knowing someone is there. Who are these people and what are they doing on your computer and network?

There are different tiers of hackers who might invade your home or business computers and network without your knowledge or consent. Who are they are they? Let’s have a look.

There is not a single “typical” type of hacker, but rather 4 types or variants of hackers who might invade your computer and your network at home or work:

  • Kiddie Hacker
  • Corporate Hacker
  • Military Hacker
  • Criminal Hacker

Their motives and methods vary but often result in similar consequences:

  • Stolen personal or confidential information
  • Disruption of the operation of your computer or network
  • Kidnapping your files and folders for ransom

Kiddie Hackers

The name sounds innocent, but the problems caused by these hackers can be debilitating or at the very least, time consuming and disruptive. This type of hacker can be the kids next door who are bored of playing video games and are just curious as to how far they can go if they attempt to walk into your computing environment. It can be your nosey neighbors who have familiarity with computers to the extent that they look for the easily available tools to penetrate your defenses (if you have them). These hackers look for the local Wireless Networks that neglected to impose security and show up as unprotected. Some go even further in their determination to invade and the results are the same. See Bryley’s IT Security Checklist for more information on how to protect your home and organization.

Corporate Hackers

These hackers are motivated and capable. They want to get information about your company or disrupt your business operations. They are usually professional IT people who have clear motives and directives. These hackers are concerned about being caught and in most cases take extreme measures to hide their activities.

Military Hackers

These are the patriots of their respective nations who are on the job 24×7 targeting other countries to find and potentially expose government intelligence and the vulnerabilities of their targets. Although they target national agencies, they will, in the process, uncover many unsuspecting individual users who might lead them to their objectives, so they are very opportunistic and aggressive. They have the tools, the time, and the determination to break into anything or anywhere they can to find their openings. This activity is common to around the world and includes players such as: US Military/Government, UK, France, Germany, Russia, China, Japan and many others. These hackers are also concerned about being caught and in most cases take extreme measures to hide their activities as well.

Criminal Hackers

DANGER. These are the truly bad guys. There are many organized criminal groups around the world who engage in hacking for profit. They are remorseless, determined, and capable. They enlist operatives who want to make a quick dollar, provide them with the tools of the trade, and take a percentage for making them capable of performing their work. This group is growing rapidly as is evidenced in the sharp rise of Ransomware and DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) Attacks. These people are performing many of the tactics that the Military Hackers employ. They just recently stole tools used by one of our national security agencies to infiltrate computers and networks and have made them available for sale on the Internet. These are the guys who send you that email with the attachment that when opened, will encrypt every file it can find on your computer or network, and then demand payment for allowing you to regain access to your files. These are the guys who initiated the DDoS attack recently that disabled the credit card verification ability of much of the country. There is one organization suspected of being capable of targeting a victim with up to 100Gb of Internet traffic, which can completely disable the Internet access for the victim. These are the guys who seed the Internet with their specifically designed software that makes innocent users’ computers part of a BOTNET for the distribution of SPAM or a component in a DDoS attack. These are the guys who likely invaded the DNC computers this past election.

The conclusion you can reach here is that the bad guys are out there working 24×7 to invade your computer or network for a variety of reasons. You must be aware that the danger exists from a variety of sources and if you don’t exercise due diligence, they will gladly give you the motivation to do so after you’ve been violated. Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of whether you will experience an attack; it’s a matter of when. No one is completely immune, but you can protect yourself to minimize your surface of vulnerability. In most cases, these hackers want the low lying fruit. If there is a barking dog at the door when they knock, they will likely be motivated to check the house next door.

Ask Bryley how you can reduce your surface of vulnerability in your business. It can mean the difference between an inconvenient disruption and an unmitigated disaster. Call us at 844.449.8770 or email us at ITExperts@bryley.com. We look forward to hearing from you.