TechBytes

Technology tips, tidbits, and useful information from the PremierePC team

Hackers and cybercriminals launch attacks every 39 seconds, which is an average of 2,244 times per day.

More than 8 Billion records were confirmed to be compromised in the last year alone.

By now I’m sure you’ve read or heard about our Dark Web Monitoring solution, combining human and sophisticated Dark Web intelligence with search capabilities to identify, analyze and proactively monitor for an organization’s compromised or stolen employee and customer data. Well, Dark Web ID just got an upgrade!

With the new release, PII Data capabilities have been enhanced. Dark Web ID now displays non-sensitive PII (Personal Identifiable Information) values when they available.

 

What does this mean for you?

Not only can you know the type of information the bad guys know, you can know what the bad guys know.

For example, you would previously be alerted of the email address, and type of PII (such as First Name Last Name and Address.)

Now, you will be alerted of the email address and PII values (such as John Smith 345 Main Street, Greenville, SC.)

This feature update continues to differentiate this solution from other dark web monitoring providers. Interested in learning more? Click here or call PremierePC today.

Unfortunately, yes. There are legitimate AND fake ransomware attacks.

Good news is, the end-user needs to take the same precautions to mitigate risks of real or fake ransomware attacks; remaining educated on cyber security is an asset.

Better news, we offer solutions to layer on to protect your environment, as well as Security Awareness Training to educate your end users.

Let’s talk ransomware.

What is ransomware? Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore their access to the data. This is especially dangerous because access to data on computer networks, mobile devices, and servers will all be locked until the victim pays the demanded ransom. For a business like yours, this can make or break you.

Attackers are aware that any sign of ransomware causes panic. Especially when using common attack methods – extortion, blackmail, threats, etc. – that are designed to generate fear in the reader. Attackers rely on this fear and panic to motivate the victim to give into demands regardless of how much money they are seeking.

These attacks have been so successful, the bad guys have realized they can simply create fake ransomware.

Rewind, what is fake ransomware?

Fake ransomware is simply a message stating false information that is sent to an end-user, demanding ransom.

These are often delivered in the form of emails spoofing a known address or pop ups that take focus on your computer and are difficult to close out.

These messages may tell a user their data has been stolen and encrypted and they must ‘click here’ to unlock data, enter credentials to check their account, review what files have been encrypted, etc. Essentially, the attacker does not presently have access to your environment but counts on your panic causing you to click a link which then does provide them access.

These messages may also exploit or blackmail, telling the victim they have videos, pictures, or screen shots of them that do not exist. They will then ask for a payout to delete this sensitive data and keep quiet.

However, none of this is true. These are simply messages used to induce fear and hope the victim pays.

The takeaway

Your organization needs a strong cyber security solution stack, regular end-user education and testing, as well as a plan in the event of an attack. This protocol must prevail even in fear and panic.

Having an IT partner that values and focuses on cyber security in every area of business is crucial.

Mitigate these risks with forward-thinking solutions and end-user training.

Have a plan in the event of an attack.

Secure an IT partner that can respond intelligently in a worst case scenario.

Read more here.

Ever open your email and immediately get a sinking feeling in your gut?

“WHAT‽ How do I have 37 messages from that one company‽ I want to keep these but I definitely don’t need to read them all. What do I do‽”

Introducing Sweep.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to your Inbox, select a message.
  2. On the menu bar, select Sweep.
    A screenshot of the Sweep button
  3. Choose how you would like to handle the email messages from that sender.
  4. Select OK.

Easy enough.

Stay tuned for more cool features to improve your daily workflow.

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of information about the importance of strong passwords. But what else are your doing to protect your employees’ account?

Are “strong passwords” your main defense against attacks?

Let’s start with common mistakes…

  1. Having a false security due to passwords meeting “complexity requirements”

    Often people create “complex” passwords using the poor criteria. (i.e. People love to use “mangling rules” – replacing letters with symbols like @ for a or 3 for e.) Hackers and cracking software know these tricks and can guess them easily.

  2. Recycling passwords

    Everyone reuses passwords, even though we know that’s not smart. Remember, once a password is stolen, it can never be safely used again.

  3. Not requiring MFA

    MFA (multi-factor authentication) may take a few extra seconds to log into each account, but do not underestimate its power.

Think about this…

How many employees do you have?

How many accounts does each employee have?

Multiply these numbers and you are looking at the approximate number of security holes in your system.

Any one of your these passwords may only take THREE DAYS for a hacker to crack.

Now what?

  1. Deploy mandatory multi-factor authentication

    MFA may save your organization. This simple solution can protect your accounts and data even if a password has been compromised. Requiring MFA can stop 100% of all automated attacks, 96% of bulk phishing attacks, and 75% of targeted attacks.

  2. Maintain control of your network

    Do you have IT policies in place for offboarding an employee? Are you in control of employee email access on their mobile phone once terminated? Do you restrict access to data based on role? Ex employees can create a huge gaps in your security, whether intentional or not.

  3. Train employees

    When employees are unaware of security risks and unable to recognize threats, they are not able to protect the organization. Do you offer Security Awareness Training? Do you simulate phishing attacks? You may not be aware of just how vulnerable you are to attacks.

  4. Invest in your security stack

    Layering on multiple, intelligent solutions could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in a cyber attack. What’s your security posture?

Sounds like a lot?

You focus on what you’re good at – running your business – let PremierePC handle what we’re good at.

It’s no secret that cyber attacks are on the rise – hackers are attacking at a rate of once per 39 seconds.

Did you know 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error?

How about that only 5% of companies’ files are properly protected?

Let’s look at five common mistakes made frequently by businesses like yours.

  1. Many SMBs believe they are too small to be a target.

    FALSE. Hackers are not only interested in large organizations. The bad guys know that large companies have more resources, and a more robust cybersecurity stack. Makes sense to target a smaller firm that still handles sensitive payment and bank data for their clients.

  2. Sharing passwords doesn’t seem like big of a deal, right?

    They’re easier to remember, and surely you can trust your coworkers. Think again. There are many issues with this one. Sharing passwords creates giant holes in your security, makes accountability near impossible, you lose control over where your password is stored or used, etc.

  3. Ever click “later” on suggested software updates?

    Ever click “later” 12 times on that same update? You’re not alone. Again, seems like a small decision. However, think about this. Any time there is a security hole found in software, the developer seeks to correct it. They may come out with an update. With that update, they report the security hole they found. Enter hackers; anyone using a previous version of the software now has a known security hole in their system.

  4. Free Antivirus: you may be thinking, “What a gift! This is surely just as good as any other antivirus.”

    Let’s look at the facts. Free antivirus software offers low detection rates, collects data about your usage, may issue false positives to appear useful, carries bloatware and intrusive ads that slow computers, and suffers from data breaches making them counterproductive.

  5. How often do you train your employees on cyber security?

    Do you have a training protocol or standard operating procedures around this? Employee negligence is the number one cause of data breaches. Some of these actions seem harmless, like connecting to Wi-Fi at Starbucks and checking your email. Reusing your work password, or a variant of that password, across multiple accounts. Some actions could be as simple as clicking a link in an email from a seemingly safe sender. Hackers will even go so far as to drop a USB drive containing malware into the parking lot or hallway of your business; do you feel confident that none of your employees would pick that up and plug it in?

These are just five, in a list of many, common mistakes made by SMBs that leave them open to cyber security attacks.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to formulate a solid defense against these types of attacks.

The average cost of one of these attacks is $200,000.

Can your business afford that?

Click here to learn more.

Have you ever thought about the health of your computer?

If not, it may be time to start!

There are preventative measures you can take to prolong the life of your machine.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  1. Stay up to date
    PremierePC handles this. Windows updates are pushed from us to make sure security updates are always current.
  2. Scans/Anti-virus
    We also handle this. Webroot anti-virus is pushed to all service plan computers, running regular scans.
  3. Clean computer physically
    This can be useful. Make sure that computers don’t sit in places that accumulate dust or dirt, as an abundance of dust inside a computer and prevent it from cooling itself effectively. Computers also have built in fail-safes to slow down if they get too hot so the machine doesn’t completely break.
  4. Clean up files
    Saving files to the desktop is convenient and useful, but the operating system has to load additional resources when there are more files visible on the desktop. Additionally, files piling up in the recycling bin generally won’t have an adverse effect on computer speeds, but it doesn’t hurt to clean it out every once in a while.
  5. Close out programs not in use
    This is two-fold. One, it allows other programs on the computer to use more resources, and generally, run faster. Two, without getting overly technical, when a program is open for a long time, resources in memory can get “lost.” Closing or restarting a program can help flush out the system.
  6. Restart the computer
    It can be beneficial to turn off, and/or restart computers from time to time. Not necessarily every day, but once a week is a good time frame. This, similar to the previous tip, helps to clean things out that are stuck or wasting space in the background of the computers resources.

Want to learn more tips? Give us a call today.

Let’s face it. We are all extremely busy all the time; or so it seems.

So we LOVE shortcuts. Anything that can maximize efficiency and multi-tasking gets my vote.

Here’s a review some of the most commonly used Windows keyboard shortcuts. This can increase productivity and offer a smoother workflow in day to day computing.

Note: ‘Win’ refers to the Windows Logo Key pictured below

windows_logo_key_win

  • Ctrl + X
  • Ctrl + C
  • Ctrl + V
  • Ctrl + Z
  • Ctrl + A
  • Win + Arrow
  • Win + D
  • Alt + Tab
  • Win + L
  • Ctrl + R
  • Win + Shift + S
  • Win + I
  • Win + Shift + Arrow
  • Ctrl + N (Within Edge)
  • Ctrl + T (Within Edge)
  • Ctrl + Shift + N (Within Edge)
  • Cut selected item
  • Copy selected item
  • Paste selected item
  • Undo an action
  • Select all text or files
  • Snap windows
  • Show or hide the desktop
  • Switch between open apps
  • Lock your PC
  • Refresh active window
  • Take a screenshot
  • Open settings
  • Move active window
  • New browser window
  • New browser tab
  • New InPrivate Mode browser window

Looking for one you don’t see?

Windows lists many more shortcuts on this page.

Stay tuned for more fun and helpful info from the PremierePC team.

What’s the deal with Edge?

Microsoft Edge is the internet browser that was created to replace Internet Explorer. Edge runs faster and has more features than Internet Explorer, and comes preinstalled on all Windows computers. This browser is also offers faster performance speeds than every other browser.

Edge is a Chromium browser, meaning it can run hundreds of extensions that were meant for Google Chrome users in addition to the extensions in the Microsoft Store.

Let’s talk features:

*click each heading below to learn more*

Single Sign On

This browser uses the OS default account to auto sign into the browser. This may not sound like a big deal, but with necessary security measures you may find yourself signing in to different many websites each day, multiple times a day, slowing you down.

This option saves you the trouble of reentering your credentials to access your work websites and increases productivity.

For the techies: Edge supports signing in with Active Directory Domain Services, Azure Active Directory, and Microsoft accounts.

Syncing

This is one of my personal favorites – by signing into my Microsoft account in my Edge browser, I can sync all bookmarks, history, passwords, etc. across devices.

Collections

Multi-tasking more and more lately? Use collections to organize websites into different categories for later.

Vertical Tabs

If you’re someone who keeps many tabs open at once, this may be helpful. Vertical tabs allow you to easily find and manage many open tabs at once.

Smart Copy

This feature copies over the rich web format of selected text instead of reformatting the text from your browser into an ugly mess. Right click, choose “smart copy,” then paste – it’s that simple!

Tracking Prevention

Edge offers three options for tracking: basic, balanced, and strict. Depending on which is selected, Microsoft will adjust the types of third-party trackers blocked.

Password Monitor

This feature notifies you if any of the credentials you’ve saved in autofill have been detected on the dark web, then prompts you to take action.

InPrivate Mode

Edge’s private browsing will delete history, cookies, and site data upon closing the tab.

Increased security, increased productivity, and increased performance? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Unfortunately, malware is a hot topic these days. SMBs are a target for the bad guys, and your data could be at risk.

So let’s make sure we know what malware is, what forms it can take, and how to mitigate these risks.

malware

Malware is a piece of software designed to cause damage to a computer, server, or network of computers – this is the umbrella term for malicious software.

Virus

A computer virus modifies the system files of the host computer to execute malicious code and infect other files. This is the only form of malware that modifies other files on a computer. Viruses can be attached to emails and then downloaded by the end user.

Ransomware

This type of malware encrypts data in an information system and demands payment in exchange for regaining access. These types of attacks have increased drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic, think 72% or more. However, many ransomware variants refuse to unencrypt data and some even delete the files after ransom is paid. Ransomware is often spread through spam emails.

Trojans

This malicious software looks and behaves like legitimate software but contains malicious code. The most common entry point of a trojan is from pop-up banners on websites that indicate that the user’s computer is infected with viruses and needs antivirus software to clean it up. The “antivirus software” user download contains malicious code designed to gain backdoor access to systems, steal sensitive data, or spy on user or network activities. The important thing to remember about trojans is that the user must take some action for this to take root in the computer.

Spyware

Spyware tracks the activities of the user on the infected computer including keystrokes, passwords, pin codes, payment-related information, personal messages, and other identifiable information. This can come in the form of adware – a malicious advertisement designed to force clicks from users – spoofing emails, and freeware – bundled with other software. Spyware can infect a device when a user agrees to the terms and conditions of a legitimate software program – so always read the fine print!

Worms

Worms are able to replicate themselves in different computers in the same network as the infected computer. Software backdoors, vulnerabilities in operating systems, and flash drives all provide opportunities for worms to gain access. Once a worm has gained access, it will replicate itself, spreading from device to device, with no action from the end user. These worms can then be used to initiate a DDoS attack, steal data, or give attackers control over the system.

Bots

Bots are hybrid forms of malware, often originating in spam messages, than can execute automated tasks through remote instruction. Many bots are used for legitimate purposes, but can also be appropriated for nefarious actions. A large set of these bots creates a botnet, a swarm of bots, attacking a number of systems in sync, making them capable of large-scale attacks.

 

Now what

  • Understand the risks
  • Educate yourself and employees on malware and prevention strategies
  • Build your security stack
  • Stay up to date on cyber criminal’s attack methods
  • Contact PremierePC today

Ever experience a client call running over and you need to get on the road?

Have you taken a call in your car on the way to work and need to transfer to your desk phone when you get there?

GoTo offers three ways to answer any call: the desktop app, mobile app, and the physical desk phone. This can be extremely convenient for you if you move around the office, take calls on the road, work remotely, etc. A useful feature many users are unaware of is the ability to switch active calls between devices.

Calls can be flipped that are active, waiting in queue, in the process of being transferred, or even calls that have not yet been answered.

Currently, there are no permission checks. Keep in mind if there are multiple active calls, you can’t pick which one flips.

Follow these steps to flip a call:

GoToConnect Desktop

  1. While on an active call on another device, open GoToConnect desktop or web.
  2. Hover over Your active call on another device in the left sidebar and then click to complete the switch to the desktop app.
    • The call will be automatically ended on the original device. This change will be transparent to the other party.

GoToConnect Mobile

  1. While on an active call on another device, open GoToConnect mobile.
  2. Tap Active Call at the top of your screen.
  3. Tap Take the call to complete the switch to the mobile app.

Desk phone

  1. While on an active call, dial *77 from the desk phone.
    • The call will automatically end on the original device. This change will be transparent to the other party.

Want another pro tip? When a colleague’s phone is ringing, you can pick up the call by dialing *97 from your phone then entering the colleague’s extension.

Interested in VOIP phones? Contact PremierePC today.