Security Matters In A Digital World
Computing, whether at home or in the office needs to be done safely. Far too many people mistakenly think that the Internet is risk free... it is not. It is just a "digital highway" with many different types of drivers using it. Use the information here to evaluate your business & personal habits to ensure a safer computing experience.
Precautions like AntiVirus and AntiMalware software are absolutely necessary to avoid becoming infected, or worse, losing data, account passwords or crashing your computers & network. These guides give basic ground rules for safer computing.
BrainBoxUSA shows you how to remain safe & protected online.
Start With Security
Small Business Guide
Safer Computing Guide
Why People Hack Computers
There are so many reasons people hack computers it is like why people rob banks... It's about the money and what the data can be used for. There are many participants is these illegal enterprises; State Actors (foreign governments), individuals seeking profit, organized crime seeking profit, or politically motivated groups seeking to embarrass and so many more, too numerous to name.
HP Enterprise has provided a breakdown and analysis of the economics of hacking (link at left). It covers many of the monetary motivations behind the dark world we call Hacking. Download and read this free report.
The Business Of Hacking
From HP Enterprise
The Anatomy Of One Form Of Hacking
Lifecycle Of A Successful Spearphishing Operation - From Homeland Security
Russian Grizzley Steppe
From Homeland Security
FAQs About Security
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Click on questions to open and close answers.
Indepth Excellent Read
New York Times Magazine
Change Your Password
Largest Hack Ever
It Can Happen To You
BrainBoxUSA can advise you on the available options best for your needs and provide ongoing service to keep your business or organization safely connected.
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Failure To Follow Basic Security Protocols Results In Big Losses
The Business Of Hacking - It's About Money & Data!
Actual Questions Asked Over And Over Thoughout The Years
- Using Free vs Paid Security Software?
- Most FREE programs require manual updating by each user or a professional to update, scan and deal with the results. PAID versions will update automatically, BUT, they run non-stop in the background on your computers, potentially interfering with specialty software programs. Further, knowing what to do when a threat is found requires knowledge & skill.
Allowing unskilled staff to administer their own protection can end in disaster too. Accidentally deleting Operating System files or other critical system files can render software unusable and computers unbootable. It is also very inconsistent as some staff do the updates and scans and others will not, leaving holes in your systems.
Adequate testing is needed if you use Architectural Design programs, CAD & CAM programs, Professional Accounting or other high end software to do business. Seek the consult of a professional before you leap. The tradeoffs are real. Being protected is critical, yet conducting your business is too.
- Why Bother To Hack SMBs?
- People have the misguided idea that hacking is always a 1 to 1 relationship of a Hacker targeting just one system. This is not the case today. The exception is the DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attacks, using millions of infected computers to target large entities and government systems to interrupt their ability to provide services. Different Hack Attacks use varying methods. See diagram of a Grizzley Steppe Attack above.
Many Hacks and infections are done on mass scales where millions of computers across the Internet are probed and the ones that can be accessed are hit. This makes your computers tools in a broader attack. Also, Public networks in airports, hotels, restaurants, etc... can provide easy access to improperly shared files & folders on your computer as well.
Keeping every computer protected across the Internet is the best way to stop this activity... unfortunately that is not and will never be the case. A friend or co worker's email account gets breached and infected, it can send infected emails to everyone in his or her address book without their knowledge. One click of a bad link or opening an infected attachment starts the chain of events.
Stay current on all security software, scan often and DO NOT open attachments directly from your email account. Save attachments to your hard drive allowing the AntiVirus programs to scan them BEFORE opening.
- How Often To Update Security Programs?
- In short, every chance you get! Security programs rely on "definitions" of Malware & Viruses identified by the major companies to know what to look for.
There are approximately 6000 new Malware & Viruses discovered each month. Skipping your updates for even a short period of time means your programs cannot find the latest threats.
Paid programs will update themselves throughout the day as new threats are discovered. You still have to remember to leave your computers on for this to occure on a regular basis.
- Do I Really Need Security Software?
- YES! You cannot control what other people do. If their email accounts get infected or they download infected files or music & send to you, you are at risk.
No one is safe from today's security threats. Even if you never went online and had no Internet, a Word document or Excel file or Picture shared via USB flash drive can wreak havoc on your system if they are infected unknowingly and you open them on your system.
Social media sites are now rife with malware and virus infections because they are huge gathering points. Assume the worst and plan for it and you will be safer computing.
- I'm Never Infected, Why AntiVirus?
- How are you sure? Today's infections are sophisticated enough to not let you know you're infected. Instead they send out thousands of infected emails or other Malware to your friends, family & coworkers infecting them instead.
In many cases, infections leave no tell tale signs on the users computer; all the while watching you log into your bank, favorite shopping sites etc... grabbing your credit card information and other personal data to be sold to the highest bidders across the globe. Remember, you can't wait to buy fire insurance until your house actually burns down. The same is true for AntiVirus programs.
Don't be foolish and assume you are safe. No one is immune from criminals.
- The Best Free Security Programs?
- This question depends on each situation and the answers change frequently as companies change their programs and add or take out features.
In general, a combination of CCleaner, MalwareBytes and an AntiVirus program, if updated and scans run regularly, can protect most individuals and small businesses. Windows 10 includes "Windows Defender" free and is updated with Windows 10 updates. While it provides baseline protection for most individuals and small businesses, larger organizations and networks need both endpoint and server security programs as the liabilities of a data breach are just too great.
The caveat of course is that you have to run all of them separately, in order and keep them all updated. You also MUST know what to do if infections are found and what to delete and NOT to delete. Deleting critical system files will cause huge headaches, potentially rendering a computer unable to start.
Small businesses and organizations should have a professional conduct updates and scans regularly to insure you remain as safe as possible.
- I Don't Sell Online So Why Hack Me?
- Do you have employee records, Social Security numbers on file? How about just watching your keystrokes as you log into your bank account.
How about sensitive email communications regarding upcoming business deals or government permits. What about pricing of your material sources or worse pricing for your company's products or services.
All types of data is of interest to different people for different reasons. Don't forget, much of the above mentioned data is governed by Privacy Laws that will come into play if some employee's data is stolen. YOU ARE LIABLE under many different laws.
Don't be complacent or uninformed about the legal and financial risks of NOT protecting your data!
- Is It OK To Share My Internet Account?
- NO! Not only does this violate the terms of service contract you signed and legally agreed to with your service provider & could lose your service it is also illegal and either a felony or misdemeanor in many states.
Service providers have the law on their side in these matters. The ONLY exception is allowing a "Guest" to your business or home temporary access. BUT, keep in mind that YOU are liable for all activities that occur through your account. A Grandmother was fined in Federal Court $180,000 for illegal music downloaded by her grandson while visiting her home. The court found her guilty of violating Federal Copyright Laws and using telecommunication lines to perpetrate the activity. The grandson was a minor & it was her account legally!
Do not take unnecessary risks. Let's face it, if someone wanted to rob a bank or business online, they would not be stupid enough to use their own Internet connection. They would use yours if they had access, so the crime would trace back to you not them. Change your Internet Acct. password & Wireless passwords periodically to be safer and don't grant access to others except very temporarily. You are responsible for any data transmitted on your account.
- Is Using A WiFi Network Secure?
- The answer is totally dependant on how it is set up and how you set up your device to use it. Several essential items MUST be correctly configured for a WiFi connection can be considered secure. Remember, NO network is perfectly secure, even wired.
In general, a public hotspot such as a hotel, coffee shop, airport or guest network should always be considered insecure by nature. These networks are made to be wide open to allow ease of use by guests. But this also means that the security features are either non existent or disabled. Always turn on your Operating System's Firewall and mark the network as a Public Network on your device.
Private business or home networks that have modern routers correctly configured can be a secure form of communicating online. They must support a hardware firewall inside the Router, have a WiFi Password system using WPA2 and have the SSID set to hidden. MAC Filtering is an added step to disallow anyone not on the approved list from gaining easy access. Remember, there are ways to "packet sniff" the SSID and WiFi passwords even with the best security practices, the signal is being broadcast through the air.
Corporate networks utilize technologies like Cisco's Iron Dome, putting an electronic dome around their facilities to prevent wireless signals in or out of specific areas. They also employ Radius Servers & VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to administer WIFI device credentials and ensure only securely approved devices get access. These cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and require full time administrative staff to manage.
As you can see, there are numerous issues that need to be addressed before you can consider a WiFi connection to be secure. If you have questions, seek the advice of professionals that are skilled in dealing with these configuration issues.
- Do I Need A Windows Password?
- A Windows Password (or User Password) is the most basic piece of the security puzzle to help keep your files and data protected from outsiders. It is also your last line of defense should someone get through your network security to your computer.
Failure to properly set up your User Account in Windows is asking for trouble and inviting disaster. A few clients over the years, thought that it was "inconvenient" to have to login to Windows all the time. After countless warnings that went unheeded, they all found the inconvenience paled compared to the lost time and expense of being hacked into and their computers rendered unusable. Having to go several days without their computers while they were being stripped & everything reinstalled made even the most obstinate people realize the importance of this basic security step.
Never mistakenly think to are immune from trouble. Error on the side of Security!