Are Pop-Ups Dangerous?

Are you tired of the constant “pop-ups” on your computer every time you try to surf the web? I know I am! These pop-ups bring advertising that usually has nothing to do with the website and often tries to convince the viewer that they need some type of security software by claiming that the system is infected. Worse yet are the pop-ups that have adult content or offensive ads that are not appropriate for younger viewers. But aside from being annoying and sometimes inappropriate, are they dangerous? Could these seemingly innocuous ads harm your computer? Let’s take a closer look.

 

According to the website The Insider, 50 percent of all ads are closed before they have even finished loading, and whilst this study was only based on a survey of 36 people, the over 10-million users of pop-up blocking extensions on Chrome says something about the popularity of these sometimes unwelcome website visitors. Over the years computer users have become accustomed to the occasional pop-up ad and have learned to either use blockers or ignore the ad altogether. Most pop-ups are harmless forms of advertising, but there have been pop-ups that are more sinister than the typical marketing ploy.

 

Safety When Dealing with Pop Ups

 

  • A general rule of thumb when dealing with pop-up ads is to not click on it if you don’t know the site or don’t fully understand the ramifications of activating the pop-up.
  • Clicking on an ad of this nature could redirect the user to another website that could be infected or geared to steal your personal information.
  • Some pop-ups are said to have malware embedded on the code of the ad. So be sure not to click unless you trust the source.
  • In addition, never reveal your email, name, personal I.D., or sensitive personal or financial information.
  • Do not fall victim to the Scareware pop-ups that want you to pay for a fake anti-virus software, drive-by download pop-ups, or pop-ups which install malware when you close them.

 

For those of us who live on the internet, whether it is for shopping, researching, or working, the best practice is to keep to well known sites like Google, Bing, Yahoo and other big-name blogs/sites/etc. then the likelihood of you getting propositioned by a malicious pop-up is small.

Physical Security – Best Practices

Safeguarding client and consumer information is a top priority, and many business owners spend countless hours researching and investing in the best antivirus, antispyware, and antimalware options out there. But while creating a great cyber defense is a good idea, it is also a good idea to make sure that you are doing the same for the physical security of your office as well.

 

  • Lock Up the Server Room – Your servers are the core of your digital information. Without them things will go from bad to worse in a heartbeat. Be sure to lock all server rooms and create policies requiring that those rooms be locked when not in use.

 

  • Protect from Fire – Be sure that your servers are protected in the case of a disaster such as a fire. Most server rooms and high tech companies are using fire suppression systems that use Halon to protect critical business systems.

 

  • Protect Portables – Most companies have numerous mobile devices that are used by employees. Be sure to have a system in place to lock these up after hours. All devices that would be easy to walk away with should be locked and stored in a special location or potentially go home with the employees nightly.

 

  • Surveillance – It is important to know who has physically accessed your computers daily, so it is best to not only have individual logins, but also consider surveillance that can keep an eye on your physical property.

 

  • Rack Mount Servers – When designing your server room consider using rack mount servers that take up less space and are easily locked and bolted to the floor.

 

  • Secure Workstations – If your office sees a fair amount of traffic you will want to create protocols for employees to lock or safeguard against someone logging in at their desktop while they have stepped away.

 

Do you have questions about securing your hardware? Call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&HConsults

Practicing Safe “Internetting”

We all love the internet. We shop, browse, read the news, network, hunt for information, and play on social media. But while we are busy doing all these things, there is always the risk of being vulnerable to a cyber crime. Do you know what to look for and what should raise a red flag? There are so many risks to be wary of, including: phishing, viruses, spyware, fraud, and malicious websites with the goal of stealing personal information. Here are a few steps to take to practice safe “internetting”.

 

  • Exercise common sense. If a website or link does not look legitimate, then do not click on it. For example, be wary of websites which promote schemes that involve the recruitment of others, receiving money for other people, or advanced payments.
  • Check the website info for errors such as address errors, misspellings, or things that look out of place. Make sure that names match and the website and email have common names so that it does not redirect you to another site.
  • If there is NO icon of a padlock in the browser window or ‘https://’ at the beginning of the web address to signify that it is using a secure link, do not enter personal information on the site.
  • Only download software from sites you trust. Carefully evaluate free software and file-sharing applications before downloading them.
  • Type in a trusted URL for a company’s site into the address bar of your browser to bypass links in an email or instant message.
  • Never open an email or a link in an email that looks suspicious, such as one from an unknown source.
  • Don’t click on an unknown pop-up as it may be spyware. Never click on pop-ups that claim you have won millions of dollars. These are scams.
  • Do not give out personal info to websites that you don’t know or have not dealt with in the past.

 

For more information or training for your clients or employees on safe browsing online, call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

You’ve Been Hacked! Now What?

Millions of Americans have had their personal information exposed over the past ten years with thousands of small- and large-scale hacks responsible for most. Maybe you opened an email you shouldn’t have or maybe a company that you do business with was vulnerable to cyber attacks. Either way, now you need to figure out what the next steps are and how to protect yourself moving forward.

 

If it is your personal computer that is compromised, then there are several steps you should take to rectify the situation.

 

  • Isolate the computer so it can not interact with other networks. This will prevent the hacker from continuing to be able to obtain files and other information.
  • Shutdown and remove the hard drive to stop it from damaging other files. If you don’t feel comfortable removing a hard drive yourself or you don’t have a spare computer then you may want to take your computer to a reputable professional who can help you.
  • Scan for Problems – Using antivirus, anti spyware and anti malware, scan for problems once your drive has been placed in a secondary computer. Remove all problems from the hard drive.
  • Back up important files if you have not already done so. Copy to a clean drive.
  • Decide on what to do with the old drive. Talk to a professional about scanning, cleaning and replacing the old hard drive back into your computer once it has been dealt with and can be reused safely and without threat to your system.
  • Reload the operating system and all security measures. Update software wherever possible to have the most recent security protocols available.

 

If you are a business owner and you have been hacked it is best to call in the professionals for a thorough investigation, notification to clients and solution to getting your system up and running again. If you have hacking issues or want to avoid them call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

Benefits of a Monitored Network

It is always nice to know that someone “has your back”, especially when you are a busy business owner who already has too much on his/her proverbial plate. Staying ahead of security threats and potential hacks can be a full-time job, so sometimes it is best for business leaders to hand over those responsibilities to a professional through a monitored network. A monitored network can have numerous benefits, such as freeing business leaders so they can focus on the company, staying ahead of outages and external threats, and having the ability to fix issues faster and more securely than companies that attempt it on their own.

 

Here are a few of the benefits of a Monitored Network.

 

  • Staying Alert for Potential Threats – In today’s digital age there are so many cyber crimes it is almost too much to keep up with. Having a monitored network means that someone is always on the lookout 24/7. Network monitoring allows a first line of security when something goes amiss or looks a little out of the ordinary.
  • Fixing Issues Faster – IT departments are notoriously overworked and sometimes overwhelmed with the day-to-day work. A monitored network means that solutions can be created fast for things like abnormal traffic fluctuation, wireless devices issues, server malfunctions, downed routers, or any of the number of things that can go wrong on any given day in the tech world.
  • Staying Ahead of Outages – Outages can happen for a number of reasons, such as human error, configuration issues, and environmental factors. By implementing a monitored network, you can avoid these issues or at least resolve them fairly quickly.
  • Manage Growing Networks – Companies that are growing need to deal with the growing needs of technology. With a monitored network, those needs can be handled head-on and in a timely manner.

 

Are you considering a monitored network? Call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

Keeping Client Information Safe

Business owners and managers have quite a lot on their plate. One of the more serious jobs is keeping client information safe and secure, especially if your company regularly maintains client data that includes sensitive information. Protecting this information is not just good business but it is also in compliance with the law. For example, the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows for significant company fines for businesses that don’t adequately protect client information. The Better Business Bureau also reports that protecting client data should be a top priority for all businesses. Here are a few ways that you can ensure you are providing the best possible protections for your clients.

 

  • Add Protection Layers – Every company should have multiple layers of security both for the physical hardware as well as the software and stored information. There really is no such thing nowadays as too much protection. Add firewalls, antivirus, and anti-malware programs to all of your computers.
  • Train or Limit Employee Access – Training employees, who are many times the first line of defense against a cyber attack, is critical. If that is not possible, limit who has access to certain data so that it can be protected.
  • Keep Updated – One of the best practices is to maintain periodic updates of software. Updated software means it has the most recent security updates as well.
  • Hire a Pro – Hire a professional IT consultant, like M&H Consultants who can evaluate your system for weaknesses. With the ability to think like a hacker, the professionals can create a security plan for your company.
  • Passwords – Obviously, passwords and multi-level authentication can assist with breaches, so discuss how you can take your passwords to the next level with an IT pro.
  • Notify When Breached – Notify clients and customers when your data has been breached so they can take appropriate action.

 

Do you need help protecting your client information? Call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

 

WiFi and Your Business

We live in a wonderful world where we can get work done just about anywhere with the wonders of WiFi. Whether it is at a public coffee shop or at a client meeting outside the office, WiFi has opened up many doors to conducting business wherever and whenever. Does your business offer WiFi? More and more businesses are doing just that. By offering WiFi to visitors, clients, and consumers, owners hope to increase customer satisfaction or possibly make doing business just that much easier.

 

Here are some more benefits of offering secured WiFi at your place of business.

 

  • Increase Marketing – Promote your business when allowing customers or clients to log in through your WiFi. For example, businesses can create a custom landing page when clients log in through their WiFi. And don’t forget about social media. Many people “check in” via social media when they log in to a company’s free WiFi.
  • Create Comfort – When clients or customers have access to WiFi they tend to stick around since they know they can access data at your place of business. This sense of comfort means that they will visit and revisit your business. This means they will potentially spend more money and feel more comfortable at your company than at those not offering WiFi.
  • The Competitive Edge – Most workers today rely on mobile devices, whether it is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to get some aspect of their work done. For those who are “on-the-go” regularly, they count on companies such as yours to give them access to files, data, and information while traveling. When your company offers this, it gives your company a competitive edge over other companies who do not offer secure WiFi and a means to get the daily work done.
  • Boost Profits – Companies that offer free and secured WiFi can see a boost in profits since they are encouraging clients and consumers to stick around. For example, if a business traveler sets up shop in your bookstore to get his/her work done they will most likely purchase a coffee, book, or other item while visiting. It is a small investment for a good return.

 

To find out more about WiFi at your business call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

 

Are Your Employees Adequately Trained for Digital Security?

Employees are the heart and soul of any company. They handle the day-to-day running of the company as well as anything that is thrown their way. They are on the front line when it comes to dealing with clients and customers. In short, they are what makes your company tick.

 

Unfortunately, employees are also the first to encounter a data breach, hack, or cybercrime. Are your employees adequately trained to identify malicious emails, strange digital events, or weaknesses in data security? Too many small- and medium-sized businesses falsely believe that cyber criminals have bigger fish to catch in larger corporations and are thus lulled into a false sense of security. In fact, in 2016, two-thirds of the breached companies were small- or medium-sized companies with fewer than 1,000 employees.

 

Here are some of the ways that employees can do their part in the digital security of your company. A specialized training for all employees ensures that your employees can do these tasks confidently.

 

Proper Security Training can help employees:

 

  • Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
  • Be aware of malicious links and emails.
  • Understand the importance of locking a computer when you step away.
  • Employ multifactor authentication methods.
  • Store passwords securely.
  • Use complex login credentials.

 

Does your company need specialized training in order to encourage employees to adopt the above protocol? Do you have questions about your IT security and need help tightening up your SMB? Call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

Safety and the Cloud

In today’s digital world your small- or medium-sized company is like a castle that needs to be defended from attacks by hackers, viruses, and cyber criminals. Like the moats and turrets of castles from the middle ages, your castle probably also has various lines of defense. While you may engage password, protections, firewalls, backups, and the latest cybersecurity, one defense that you still may want to consider is “the cloud.”

 

For many companies keeping data “in the cloud” has become a fact of life, but others still have yet to recognize the benefits of lower costs, operational agility, and adaptability that can come with a professional IT group managing your data in the cloud. The idea behind having a company manage your cloud data is that instead of overwhelming your IT Department with fending off cyber attacks daily, that security is managed through the cloud.  For example cloud security means that you have employed the security experts who are following best practices to keep your sensitive data safe.

 

Here are some questions to consider when choosing the security of a cloud company.

  • Does your company have a dedicated team focused on security? How many will be able to access your data?
  • Is data encrypted by default?
  • How is data secured when in transit across the public internet?
  • How are the physical data centers secured? What layers of security are operational?
  • What is the process for preventing, detecting, and countering network intrusions?
  • How are users authenticated? Get specifics on types of authentication.
  • Which security certifications have been done, if any?

 

Do you have questions about your IT security and need help tightening up your SMB? Call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults

Lessons from the Equifax Breach

Protecting your clients’ personal information is extremely serious business. There are examples all around us on a weekly, (and sometimes daily) basis about companies that have been subject to hackers or malware that allowed cyber criminals to access client information. The Equifax Breach is just one more recent example of the importance of maintaining and updating your security protocols, especially if your company has access to client or consumer information, such as social security numbers, credit card information, and/or financial statements.

 

Equifax is one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies. The breach lasted over three months from May-July 2017 and may have exposed sensitive information for more than 143 million Americans. Information such as social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, credit card numbers, and driver’s license numbers was potentially accessed. If you have a credit report, there is a good chance that you could be one of the people impacted by this breach.

 

From a business perspective, there are lessons that can be gleaned from this event as with many of the other recent hacking incidents. Here are a few things your company should consider going forward in regard to security for your system and network.

 

  • Review your Password Strategy – As a small- or medium-sized business, you may not have the time to think about changing your passwords often, but make the time! Not only should you change passwords regularly, but you should also use different passwords for each account and have a password manager create and manage the information.
  • Update Regularly – IT professionals will tell you that if your software is not up-to-date then you are not utilizing the most recent security updates as well. In this digital age, hackers are one step ahead and need to be held at bay with the latest security techniques.
  • Add a Second Layer of Defense – By enabling Two-Factor Authentication, your company is adding a second layer of defense. Two-factor authentication is highly recommended for all your online activity, such as your webmail, online banking, cloud accounts, and so on.
  • Use the Best Antivirus and Anti-Malware – Keep your company secure with the newest versions of all antivirus and anti-malware. Reputable anti-malware on all your devices – laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones can identify, quarantine, delete, and report any suspicious activity.
  • Back Ups – As with any digital information, always perform regular backups so that in the case of a hack, your data can be restored and accessed quickly.

 

Do you have questions about your IT security and need help tightening up your SMB? Call M&H Consulting today at 1-(866)-964-8324 or visit our website M&H Consults