Security

Stop Ransomware with Effective Backups

It’s no news that ransomware is becoming one of the top issues in data security.

Ransomware is almost impossible to trace and so, once the hackers gain access, there’s very little we can do to restore without paying the ransom. Since it can potentially bring the organization down, many give in to the ransom demands.

So then, how can you stop the ransomware from wrecking your organization and gain access to sensitive information? Let’s find out.

What Can You Do in Times of a Ransomware Attack?

There are a few things you can do when you have become the victim of a ransomware attack.

  1. You can take the matters in your hands and try to crack the ransomware code, delete it and save your information. This is the rarest solution. You will have to use a malware detection tool to find out the source of the attack and delete those files and leave the encrypted files out of it.
  2. You can bring matters to the attention of law enforcement officials. The cyber cell would’ve seen many such instances of ransomware attacks and can, therefore, give you great pointers to handle the situation.
  3. You can get an external agency to help you, like an IT consulting firm or a company specialized in ransomware prevention. 
  4. You can plug out the infected computers from the network and prevent the ransomware from spreading to the other systems. 

In many situations where you handle ransomware attacks, you would often be compelled to delete your computer’s information. So, what would happen when you lose out all your essential data?

This is when having a data backup pays off.

Protecting Your Important Data from Ransomware Attacks with Backups

At LayerOne Networks, we’ve seen many companies manage such cyberattacks in the best way possible due to our managed backup services. When you have all your essential information backed up, you needn’t worry about losing these data in the time of a ransomware attack, or for that matter any cybersecurity threat.

Our backup as a service (BaaS) will help you to create a foolproof strategy to keep your sensitive information safe and away from the hands of the hackers. Here are a few important tips to protect yourself from ransomware attacks.

  • Go by the 3-2-1 Backup Plan

This is one of the most effective and proven backup strategies that has been used over and over by many companies.

What is the 3-2-1 backup plan?

  • Have 3 copies of data; one is your main data storage while the two more are backups.
  • Have two different types of media storage.
  • Have one offsite backup storage.

When you have your data on two separate backups, both of which are in different formats and locations, you have high chances of accessing and restoring the information even when you’re attacked.

The offsite backup should be saved in a location that isn’t anywhere near your office. This is to ensure that your backup will still be safe in the events of any physical calamities.

  • Keep Your Backup Separate from the Main Network

If you want to protect the backup during a ransomware attack, you shouldn’t save your backup on the main network. This is one of the very first things you must take care of. 

In any cyberattack, the virus tries to branch out more to the other storages in the network. So when you have your main storage unit as well as the backup storage in the same network, it can lead to adverse consequences like losing all of your data, including the ones in the backup.

So always make sure to save your backup data in a separate network.

  • Provide Sufficient Recovery Points 

Generally, when you want to recover the data from backup storage, you should be able to access it in the same state it was in before the attack. However, in the worst case that your backup is also affected by the virus, you need to position numerous recovery points through which you can restore and access data at previous stages.

You can ask your IT consulting firm to provide multiple storage blocks and create a storage memory that can’t be altered once the value is set.

  • Implement High Security for the Backup Server

This is an area that many organizations avoid. While you enforce maximum security possible for your main server, you should also give equal importance to the backup server.

Why so? The hackers generally do not know what a particular server is until they hack it. They go by the server which is most easy to crack. And when your backup server doesn’t have high security than the main server, it’s more prone to be attacked. 

There have been many instances in the past where ransomware targeted backup files like the Ryuk ransomware.

  • Backup Often

The backup frequency will determine the data you can access if you’re attacked by a ransomware. When you’re backing up the data once in a few weeks, you’ll lose out on loads of work that you’ve done during those weeks. 

Depending on the importance of your work, increase the backup time to at least once in a few hours to make sure that your recent work is saved and kept safe.

Summing Up

While there are several security measures to prevent the ransomware attacks, it’s best to always have a backup plan.

  • Follow the 3-2-1 plan for a multi-layered backup.
  • Your backup storage should be on a  separate server and should have multiple recovery points.
  • You should enforce high security for the backup plan to prevent the backups from getting attacked.
  • Make sure to increase the frequency of your backup to save your recently worked data.

If you’re looking to hire an experienced company providing managed IT services in Corpus Christi, then reach out to us now. Our IT experts will help you decide the best strategy for backing up your important data and protect it even during ransomware attacks.

Security

What Really Happens During a Cyber Attack?

New technology. New cyber threats. New security breaches. 

Cyber threats have become a recurring occurrence and common news nowadays. Every year, new cyber security threats are coming up. And as we begin the promising year of 2021, we need to steel ourselves for the new cyber threats.

To protect yourself against such cyber attacks, you need to implement foolproof cybersecurity systems to keep the hackers out. However, it’s easier said than done.

To enforce a security system customized to sensitive data, you need to understand what really happens during a cybersecurity attack. This blog will take you through the journey of cyber attacks, the information that can be tapped, and the risks involved.

The Journey of a Cyber Attack – The Possibilities of Security Breaches

Anyone can be a victim of a cyber attack. Just last year, the hackers even stole from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and so there’s no telling when or who might be attacked next. 

Our cybersecurity service experts at Corpus Christi have prevented many such attacks with our firewall protection and data security support. We also offer data security along with managed IT services for businesses in Corpus Christi to protect themselves against cyber threats. 

Let’s jump right in and what the hackers do during a cyber attack and how you need to protect yourself.

Hackers Spot the Vulnerabilities

Many cyber-attacks happen because hackers spot a security vulnerability and exploit it. This vulnerability can be in any form — by brute-forcing the password, eavesdropping on the communications, extracting personal information through phishing attacks, and many more. 

Often, such vulnerabilities are the silliest mistakes made by the employees, like using the most obvious password, accessing the official data from the home network that doesn’t have security, or leaving the system logged in at the end of the day.

The hackers find such loopholes in the website or the server and add a piece of their code to try and crack the vulnerability wide open. They may also inject malware or ransomware through the gaps in the system security.

Businesses Panic & Lose Evidence

As the data security of a business is compromised, people begin to panic.

They make absurd actions that they would never do in full consciousness otherwise and this leads to even bigger problems. Some companies make the mistake of not assessing the level of attacks or prioritizing the wrong thing to do. Often, one common mistake many makes is deleting the evidence of the attack, which is most valuable to assess and prevent future attacks. 

This is why every business needs a cyberattack recovery plan in place. In times of panic, the security team can refer to this plan and start taking the steps one by one. 

This recovery plan should be detailed, containing the complete SOP to identify and fix the vulnerability as soon as possible. While we can never predict what the cyber attack can be, it’s important to cover all possible grounds for the threats in the recovery plan. The recovery plan should also insist on the team save the evidence before deleting the other files. 

There are often a few important people who must be informed when there’s a cyber attack. For instance, when a data manager is informed of the attack, the person will initiate a risk management plan to backup the sensitive data and increase the security around it.

Similarly, several people in the organization should be kept in loop about the cyber attack. However, many teams, in the frenzy of saving the situation, fail to communicate properly or be prejudiced in the communication. This could complicate and even open the data up for more risk. 

The best way to tackle this issue — train the team for clear, quick, factful communication of the situation.

The Hackers Meanwhile Try Penetrating Deeper

See, there’s one thing about the hackers. Even if you keep enforcing more firewalls to keep the hackers out, they’ll keep trying and trying until they find another loophole. 

What can you do during such times?

Keep enforcing better security continually without resting for a minute even when it looks like the hacker is giving up. You may never know how and where the hacker can attack next. In the meantime, collect enough evidence about the attack which may give you an idea into the attack and take necessary steps. 

While not all cyber attacks have a direct impact on an organization, it can send the wrong message out to the public. The best way to do this is to analyze the attack once everything has calmed down and performed a complete, scrutinized security audit to identify and fix any other loopholes.

Final Thoughts

Doesn’t it look like a total mess in the face of a cyber attack?

Well, this is the common reality of many organizations when a hacker tries to gain access. You can avoid such frenzied mistakes and miscommunications during a cyber-attack by creating a risk management and recovery plan. 

Even better, you can improve your data security, conduct regular audits, and get the help of a company offering security services in Corpus Christi like LayerOne Networks. Our managed IT services for companies in Corpus Christi provides a wholesome solution for maintaining security, identifying the cyber threats and loopholes even before the hackers do, and fixing them.

Contact us to find out how we can make your systems secure.

Security

How healthcare SaaS is taking off in the medical industry?

Let us start with the numbers.

61.84 billion US dollars.

Is the number, global healthcare cloud computing market expects to generate by 2025? The integration of software in the medical industry is a revolution of sorts. With the pandemic revealing loopholes in the healthcare sector, this revolution is imperative.

At the heart of this revolution is the advent and growth of SaaS — Software as a Service. In today’s world, you are a few clicks away from an IT consulting firm. Most of them have evolved into providing quality cloud computing services.

The cloud-based solutions were never a go-to in the healthcare sector. Security concerns, coupled with compliance issues riddled its utility.

Now, to ensure SaaS is viable in the medical industry, stringent regulations are in place. With the equipping of firewalls, blockchain technology, etc, SaaS providers are now reliable.

The evolution of SaaS into a workable solution in the healthcare sector is pleasing. The most profound reasons for this evolution are:

  • Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI)

Healthcare runs on prior records. Every medication, every treatment in the past, impacts the patients’ health acuity. The medical conditions, the severity of the treatment are important records in healthcare.

The documentation of the same is a tedious task. The possibility of human error during documentation is high. When we scale it up to public health levels, it is alarming at the least.

Cloud-based documentation solves these problems. The real-time updates, coupled with ease of access make this solution a no-brainer.

CDI assists in easier collaboration across the healthcare center. This allows for the streamlining of the workflow. Since the physicians have the patient’s past at their fingertips, the diagnosis is easier.

During treatment, the recording of every needle and pill happens in real-time. CDI provides a comprehensive reflection of a patient’s clinical status. The utility of CDI furthers into maintaining macro records. From billing the patient to preparing the report card. It also assists in the documentation of public health data and disease tracking.

  • Telehealth

The efficacy of cloud computing is further enhanced with the advent of telehealth. With this, SaaS providers have eased major logistical issues in the healthcare sector.

An IT Consulting firm can now connect a patient with his/her physician in real-time. This solves the traditional issue of lack of accessibility to quality healthcare. Cloud computing services have enabled access to medical professionals, using the internet. This is also used to educate the patient on the best practices of healthcare. And even monthly or weekly tracking of health conditions is possible. All thanks to the flexibility of telehealth.

The pandemic and its associated restrictions on movement is a hassle. But, with telehealth, the patients’ connectivity with healthcare providers is seamless. This also furthers the reach of quality healthcare.

Remember, the internet has no geographical borders. Hence, even those living in rural areas too can access medical professionals.

  • Electronic HIE – Health Information exchange

A prolonged issue in the healthcare sector has been the exchange of information. With the advent of electronic health records, the logistical issues were less of a hassle. Yet, public sector healthcare providers never embraced it. The fear-factor was present. From misuse to data breaches, the potential for adversity is high.

Cut to 2020, most SaaS providers have used cloud-computing to make HIE workable.

The seamless transfer of files and records enhances productivity. And this enhancement is possible even in the public health sector.

Electronic HIE also addresses a wide range of applications. It acts as a haven for the maintenance of population health management. This pandemic has reflected the need for transparent HIE. Ideal SaaS providers leverage the potential of technology to ease the HIE process.

The advantages of using electronic HIE by cloud computing services are as follows:

  • Reduces administrative work and time,
  • Avoids medication errors,
  • Improves diagnosis,
  • Removes unwanted testing,
  • Ensures transparency.
  • Data Security

Public healthcare is a data-intensive sector. The voluminous amounts of information are two-edged. It facilitates ease of access and reduces efforts in the treatment of individuals. But, the potential for data breaches, leaks, and hacks are aplenty.

Being a core concern for the use of cloud and technology, data security plays an integral role. The evolution of data security has been significant, and at pace.

Healthcare institutions store a multitude of data. Personal information, medical conditions, financials, is all part of the data. To secure them all, the need to invest in quality data security solutions is essential.

Since the data is cloud-based, the need for an on-site data security team is redundant. Using SaaS, healthcare institutions can afford high-security solutions.

Investing in these furthers the image of the institution in the minds of patients and others.

  • Learning Management systems (LMS)

Medical education is enduring. The extensive education, coupled with experiential learning takes years. Add to it the rapid evolution in techniques and standards. The call to remain updated is another prolonged process.

To solve this, cloud-based LMS is the key. This allows medical professionals to learn and educate themselves. Yet, with negligible to zero compromises in professional commitments.

Using SaaS, the LMS assists healthcare professionals with their continuing education (CE). This helps them be in line with industry standards. LMS is customizable. From a fresher to an experienced doctor, the tailoring of LMS is possible at an individual level.

LMS aligns the learning schedule of an individual with their professional commitments. This reduces the scope for compromises, while still helping them learn.

The facet of accessibility is ideal for learning. You can access LMS using a range of devices. Since they are cloud-based, LMS are cost-efficient and provide utmost utility.

Associating with an IT consulting firm for LMS can assist in the tracking of progress. The real-time monitoring of the learning process, also, assists in compliance.

Understanding the benefits of using SaaS, it is high-time, public healthcare embraces it. For IT solutions of the highest quality, LayerOne is your go-to IT consulting firm. We provide secure and reliable end-to-end solutions. We follow all regulations and privacy implications. Contact us and welcome enhanced productivity and efficiency.

Security

How to Prevent Brute Force Attacks with 8 Easy Tactics

Are you using an obvious, weak password?

If so, you must be wary of the brute force attack!

Unlike many other cybercrimes, brute force attacks don’t consider the vulnerability of the system. Instead, it relies on repetitively using a combination of passwords to gain access.

It’s one of the simplest ways of hacking. The basic concept of the brute force attack is that you’re bound to figure out the right password when you keep trying a combination of words, numbers, and symbols.

For example, if you are using a four-digit pin, then there are 10,000 possible combinations from 0000 to 9999. In the brute force attack, a bot will keep trying out these numerous combinations until it can log in.

In this blog, we’ll go through different ways of preventing such brute force attacks.

8 Simple Tactics to Prevent Brute Force Attacks

Ever since people started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been an increase in the brute force attack of Microsoft’s proprietary protocol, RDP.

You can notice that the attacks have increased by 12x in just a month!

While you can use many antivirus, cybersecurity software to prevent many online threats, there is no such tool to avoid brute force attacks.

As one of the top companies offering security service for Corpus Christi, our IT security experts at LayerOne Networks have listed out some of the best and simple brute force attack prevention techniques to keep the hackers out.

  • 1. Encourage User to Create Strong and Long Passwords

There’s a type of brute force attack called the dictionary attack that uses a list of commonly-used passwords to gain access to your account. This can speed up the time taken for finding the right password and can make users vulnerable. It’s important to encourage the users to create a password that doesn’t come under the common ones. The next important step is to have a long password.

Did you know that it takes an average of 555 hours to break a four-digit passcode?

If the hacker tries the dictionary attack and fails, the next is to go for the usual combination of characters, letters and numbers. As the password length increases, it takes a long time for the hacker to figure out the right password and can help you prevent it, if possible.

  • 2. Keep the Allowed Login Attempts to a Bare Minimum

Many services are now restricting the number of login attempts to 10 or lesser. This way, the hackers wouldn’t have enough opportunity to try out multiple password combinations.

You can lock the account after a certain number of failed login attempts, which can then be unlocked after a specific time. This way, the users won’t have to go through a long process of changing the password and the hackers’ attempt will also be interrupted by locking the account from any more password combinations.

  • 3. Use Captcha After a Certain Failed Login Attempts

Yes, captchas are annoying but are one of the most straightforward ways for brute force attack prevention. Captchas prevent automated bots from testing out multiple passwords since it requires manual entry. Captchas can either be audio-based or visual-based.

Sometimes, captchas can negatively impact user experience. So, you can include the captcha only after a certain number of failed login attempts to reinforce the security.

  • 4. Include Security Questions

Similar to the usage of captcha after some failed login attempts, you can instead include security questions. This is an extremely effective second layer of defence if the hacker finds the password through brute force attack.

  • 5. Encourage Users to Enable 2FA

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is one of the best ways to create an extra line of defence. It’s important to encourage users to enable 2FA to protect their accounts from hackers.

Usually, in 2FA, the contact number or the user’s email ID will be included to verify access after logging in with the right password. There is very little that hackers can do to gain access with 2FA.

Do you want to create a 2FA provision for your web services? Book a consultation session for security service with one of our experts at Corpus Christi.

  • 6. Prevent Attacks Through SSH

SSH (Secure Shell) Protocol is one of the common protocols found in IT infrastructure. Hackers mostly use SSH to gain access to the servers by finding out the credentials using brute force.

To prevent such hacks into the server, you have to make the root inaccessible through SSH and use a non-standard port to make it harder for the hackers.

  • 7. Restrict Access from New IP Addresses

To make things difficult for the hackers, you can set up an additional security layer that prevents users from logging in from IP addresses that aren’t the regular ones. Of course, you can let the user authenticate their identity if they are accessing from new IP addresses.

  • 8. Regularly Monitor the Logs

You can use any tool to monitor the server logs and alert the user in case of multiple attempts to access in a short time. You can warn the user to change the password and include stronger security measures like 2FA and unique security answers to reinforce their account.

Conclusion

Since brute force attack is one of the primary hacking techniques, many hackers out there are leveraging it. Any web service provider needs to use a combination of these security techniques to prevent brute force attacks and protect the user accounts.

At LayerOne Networks, we help organizations implement robust IT security against brute force attacks and many other cybersecurity threats. We have been working with many businesses providing security service in Corpus Christi, Texas. Speak with one of our IT security experts to determine how to protect yourself and your users from such cyberattacks.

 

Security

How Kerberos Authentication Works

If you think that having a strong password is enough for your data security, think again!

Every time you log in to a host using your password, you are exposed to attacks and security threats. If the hackers can get their hands on your password and login as ‘you’, they will have complete access to all your data.

Kerberos is an authentication protocol that prevents unauthorized access. It authenticates the service requests between the users and the hosts through unsafe networks. Kerberos authentication is being used by top global companies like Microsoft Windows, Apple OS, Linux, and Unix.

Kerberos was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a protection protocol for its own projects in the 1980s. Kerberos was named after Cerberus, which is a Greek mythological creature with three heads. Kerberos was inspired by this name and the three heads signify the client, server, and the Key Distribution Center (KDC).

What Are the Components in the Kerberos Environment?

Before we move on to the actual working on Kerberos, let’s take a look at the basic components.

Agents

The agents are the principal entities involved in a typical Kerberos workflow.

  • The client is the person who initiates the request for communication.
  • The application server hosts the service that the client requests.

Key Distribution Center (KDC) consists of three parts for authentication: A database (DB), the Authentication Server (AS), and the Ticket Granting Server (TGS).

Tickets

The tickets are the communications of permission sent to the users for performing a set of actions on Kerberos. There are two types:

  • Ticket Granting Service (TGS) is encrypted with the service key and used to authenticate a service.
  • Ticket Granting Ticket (TGT) is issued by the authentication server to the client for requesting the TGS.

Encryption Keys

Kerberos handles several keys that are encrypted securely to prevent The authentication server issues ticket Granting Ticket (TGT)corruption or access by hackers. Some of the encryption keys used in the Kerberos are:

  • User key
  • Service key
  • Session key
  • Service session key
  • KDC key

How Kerberos Authentication Works?

The prime purpose of Kerberos authentication is to secure the access of a user in service through a series of steps that prevent security threats and password access. Essentially, the user needs to access a network server to get access to a file.

You can go to any company offering managed IT services to implement Kerberos encryption. Even so, it’s essential to have a basic idea of how security is implemented and how the data access is encrypted. So, here’s are the steps of Kerberos security and authentication:

1. Initial Authentication Request from the Client

As the client tries to login to the server, they send an authenticator to the KDC requesting a TGT from the authentication server.

This authenticator has information like the password, the client ID, as well as the date and time of authentication request. Part of the message with the password is encrypted, which the other part is plain text.

2. KDC Checks the Credentials

KDC is the Kerberos server that validates the credentials received from the client. The server first decrypts the authenticator message and checks against the database for the client’s information and the availability of the TGS.

After finding both these information, the server then generates a secret key for the user using the password hash. It then generates a TGT that contains the information about the client credentials like client ID, date and time stamp, the network address and a few more authentication details. Finally, the secret key is encrypted with a password that the server only knows and sends to the client.

The TGT is then stored in the Kerberos for a few hours. If the system crashes, the TGTs won’t be stored anywhere.

3. The decryption of the Key by the Client

The client decrypts the message received from the KDC by using the secret key. The client’s TGT is then authenticated and the message is extracted.

4. Using TGT to Access Files

If the client wants to access specific files on the server, it sends a copy of the TGT and the authenticator to the KDC requesting access.

When KDC receives this message, it notices that the client is already authenticated. So, it decrypts the TGT using the encryption password to check if it matches.

If the password is validated, then it considers it to be a safe request.

5. Creation of Ticket for File Access

To allow the client to access the specific files requested, KDC generates another ticket. It then encrypts the ticket with the secret key and the method of accessing the files is included in this ticket.

This ticket now lies in the Kerberos tray for the next eight hours. This means the client can access the file server as long as the ticket is valid.

6. Authentication Using the Ticket

The client decrypts the message using the key and this generates a new set of client information, including client ID, date and time stamp and network address.

This is sent to the server in the form of an encrypted service ticket. The server decrypts the ticket and checks if the client’s details match the authenticator and within the file access validity. Once the details match, the server sends a message of verification to the client.

Wrapping Up

Kerberos authentication is regularly updated to meet the new security threats. It is one of the top-used authentications by the tech giants, which means it’s been authenticated against rigorous security attacks. If you want to protect your server and your user data from the prying eyes of unscrupulous people, then go for Kerberos encryption.

Our data experts at LayerOne Networks can help you implement such security and authentication protocols to protect your data. Reach out to us for managed IT services and securing your company from any online security vulnerabilities.

Security

How to Know If Your PC Is Hacked?

You must’ve heard in the news about the top companies getting hacked. 

You may have seen your acquaintances experiencing it.

Or, you may even be in doubt that someone has hacked your PC.

So, how can you find out if your PC is actually hacked?

There are so many different ways through which hackers can get access to your computer. And the symptoms differ based on the purpose of hacking. 

Before we begin, we want to make it clear that many computer problems aren’t a sign of hacking. It may be due to hardware or software issues. But, if the issue persists after fixing the problem or if the PC is acting weird with the following symptoms, then you need to be on alert.

7 Sure Signs That You’ve Been Hacked!

At LayerOne Networks, we provide security service for Corpus Christi companies and help businesses deal with hackers. With our practical knowledge in PC security service and cybersecurity attacks, we can differentiate between a computer issue and hacking and provide solutions for both situations.

1. Your Antivirus Program Is Shut Down

Some malware turns off the installed antivirus program to hide the warnings on your PC. If you notice that the antivirus is disabled or installed without any knowledge, then it’s a sign that you’ve been hacked. 

2. New Applications Are Installed

Do you notice any new applications on your computer? 

It can be a sign of a hacker to get access to your files. However, make sure that no one else using that PC has installed the application. Sometimes, a new program gets installed due to a software update. Or some new plug-ins or tools have a default ticked checkbox to install additional tools that you may have missed. 

If your application installed is downloading or uploading information and is accessing the files, then beware. Get the help of a good PC security service to quickly identify and solve the issue.

3. Your Internet Activity Is Too High

When you’re the only person using the computer and the network activity is skyrocketing more than ever, then it’s good to be cautious about hackers. Most malware and viruses use the internet to transfer and gain remote access.

Sometimes, the internet’s speed may slow down considerably if the hacker is remotely accessing your computer. 

You can check the applications that are using the internet the most using any simple tools. There are a few other simple ways to check if your computer is remotely accessed. Your security provider will know the best way to find out the reason behind the high internet usage.

4. Your Passwords Are Changed

If the local PC login password is changed, there are high chances that it may have been hacked. There’s no other way for the PC password to change on its own.

If your online passwords are changed, say your mail login or any other application login, then you can contact the provider and change your password as soon as possible. Some hackers may even change your security questions or phone numbers for the Forgot Password option.  During such times, it’s best to contact the service provider directly. The hackers may be using your application for unscrupulous operations. 

Usually, hackers get access to your password through phishing emails that collect your login credentials.

5. Your Browser Has New Toolbars

Not many of us are aware of the tools that are on our browser. And this is one of the main ways through which hackers gain access.

When our browser has multiple toolbars, we rarely take notice of what those are. Many hackers exploit this nature of ours and install toolbars that monitor and record our browser usage. 

So, the next time you’re unsure about when you’ve installed a particular toolbar, remove it immediately.

6. You See Too Many Pop-Ups and Unrelated Ads

Many of us have disabled the pop-ups on our browsers. When you notice pop-ups even during those times, then it’s a good sign that you’ve been hacked.

Hackers make money when you click on the ads and so you can see too many of these pop-ups if you’ve been hacked.

One more way hackers make money is by displayed ads that are totally irrelevant. Yes, it’s true that Google and other search engines display ads. But when the ads don’t match with your recent searches and browser history, then it’s time to watch out for the other signs of hacking.

7. Task Manager Is Disabled by the Admin

If your Task Manager disappears, stops or won’t start, then it’s an alarming sign that your PC may have been compromised. Malware programs gain access to the data on the computer by shutting down the Task Manager and taking control.

The best way to handle this situation is to perform a complete restoration of your PC. You never know how the malware acts. So, install a strong anti-virus program to deal with the issue. There are chances that the malware is ‘stubborn’ and doesn’t leave your PC. This is the time to call in the experts and take no more risks. You can contact our experts here at Layer One Networks to provide security service in Corpus Christi.

Wrapping Up

There’s nothing like being too careful when dealing with hackers. Taking high preventive measures is always better than trying to fix a problem. 

So get the help of an expert security service company in Corpus Christi, Texas, to install high-secure firewalls, malware protection programs, and anti-virus programs to safeguard yourself from the prying eyes of the hackers. Get in touch with us now to get a personalized security plan for your PC.

 

Security

5 Top Cybersecurity Threats & Their Solutions For2020

The technology is improving. The reach of the internet is improving. And so are the cybersecurity threats. 

With our whole lives revolving around the internet, we cannot ignore the fact that cybersecurity threats are rising. As our world adjusts to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot ignore those trying to profit from this situation even as they affect so many businesses and individuals.

Cyberattacks are everywhere, from the personal computers of 60-year-olds to the computers in multinational organizations. As much as we are happy for the technology to develop so much, it has, in a way, contributed to the increased cyber threats.

So how can we protect ourselves against cybersecurity risks? 

The best way is to identify cybersecurity threats and implement high-security protocols and tools to keep us protected.

The Main 5 Cybersecurity Threats You Need to Look Out for in 2020 [With Solutions]

Cybersecurity has been a part of the world for over 30 years now. And it doesn’t seem to dial down yet. Many companies are offering specialized IT security services to protect your data. Before you hire one, it’s essential to know how you can be attacked and what you need to do to safeguard yourself.

This is where our experts offering data security service in Corpus Christi comes in. Our data security experts at LayerOne Networks have helped many companies to protect their data against data breaches. From our experience, we have created a list of common cybersecurity threats we’ve come across.

  • 1. Phishing Attacks

Phishing is one of the most common forms of cyberattacks we’ve witnessed. Hackers create digital messages that are enticing to fool people into installing malware or stealing the data.

A working employee gets hundreds of emails in a month and phishing attacks take advantage of this volume to enter during vulnerable times.

1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack, which means an employee gets 4.8 phishing emails in a 5-day work week. Even with basic data security solutions, even if 10% of these escapes the scan, there are high chances for the malware to do its work.

How can you prevent phishing attacks?

  • Provide training to the employees about identifying the emails that are fake vs. real. 
  • Conduct regular awareness campaigns for the employees to stay cautious of suspicious emails that address generically. Advice the employees against checking twice before giving any information.
  • Install anti-phishing tools on the computers and use customized anti-phishing IT security services to detect such emails.
  • 2. Ransomware

Ransomware quickly rose to one of the popular cybersecurity threats two years ago. No one was spared. However, there’s been a decline in ransomware threats since the past year, at least among individuals. 

Big corporations are targeted more with ransomware than individuals because of what’s at stake for them. Also, some companies have yielded to pay the ransom amount with their good revenue and do away with the problem.

How can you prevent ransomware attacks?

  • Use robust firewalls and perimeter security to prevent malware from entering your computers.
  • Keep your software and hardware updated as the outdated applications are the gateway for the ransomware attacks. 
  • Disable options that run without click, through Java or Flash.
  • 3. Cloud Security Threats

With most of the employees working from home, the best way to work seamlessly is through a cloud platform. However, working with cloud exposes to so many cybersecurity threats like:

  • Misconfiguration
  • Insider threats
  • Account hijacking
  • Insecure interfaces 
  • DDoS attacks

Since the home network doesn’t have strong network security like the one in offices, the data breaches can be even more.

What’s the best way to enforce complete cloud security?

  • Improve the level of control and authentication to access sensitive information.
  • Invest in good online network security tools for the employees to work from home.
  • If possible, provide a highly secure laptop with all the security features installed.
  • 4. IoT-Based Attacks

Many of us are getting used to IoT devices. From IoT speakers to toothbrushes, the number of smart devices connected to our network is increasing. And the cybersecurity threats are growing along with it.

In an F-Secure report released in 2019, Telnet is the number one port targeted in the cyber attacks. Telnets are now rarely used outside of the IoT devices, which shows how much the IoT devices are making us vulnerable.

How can you prevent IoT attacks?

  • Keep the firmware of all your IoT devices up-to-date.
  • Take account of the different IoT devices you have and run updates on them regularly. 
  • Try to keep the IoT devices to a minimum so that you can keep an eye on them.
  • 5. Credential Stuffing

Hackers can steal the login credentials of your employees and use the information to access sensitive information. 

Most often, hackers use cloning sites or applications to trick the employees into giving in their login information, which they’ll use as access. Many companies have been victims of this attack as even the most cautious employees don’t think twice before entering the username and password, like they do numerous times a day. 

How can you prevent credential stuffing?

  • Implement 2FA authentication that gives an extra layer of protection.
  • Encourage the employees to use different passwords for different applications and the same has to be implemented for common platforms. This way, even if the hackers gain access to one, at least the others will be protected. 
  • Encourage your employees to never write down their password or share it with any others. 

Are you feeling wary of the numerous IT security threats out there?

You should be! With the possibility of security threats increasing, it’s crucial to take it seriously and get a good data security provider to enforce top-notch features. 

LayerOne Networks is a specialized company for data security service in Corpus Christi. Talk to our experts to know more about how you can avoid data breaches. 

Security

5 Security Tools for Small Business Owners

Your business generates a lot of data and the security of that data if not taken care can have significant consequences across entire organizations. Small businesses are at higher risk of being hacked as they have minimal cybersecurity and a moderate amount of data. Approximately half of small businesses face a cyber-attack.

Basic security considerations for a small business are very rare as they don’t have IT departments dedicated to monitoring their cybersecurity like enterprise companies.

If you are unprepared for a cyber-attack, your business is at higher risk. Hackers can steal employee details, customer information, vendor data, and money. A data breach can harm your relationships with customers, vendors, and employees. And, nearly half of small businesses that have a cyber-attack go out of business in six months.

Technology has been the base for data protection. Although cybersecurity threats continue to emerge, the tools preferred by businesses to prevent them also do increase. To counteract a next-generation threat, network security prevention methodology for a small to medium-sized business should be such.

Now let’s have a quick check on five on-boarded technology and easily accessible solutions for small business network security.

1. NGFWs with Intrusion Protection (IPS) or firewalls

The firewall monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and is the most recommended small business security solutions. They choose whether to block or allow specific actions on a network, at times based upon deep packet inspection (DPI) or advanced analysis.A firewall is often considered as the first line of defense for most companies/organizations. A good next-generation firewall (NGFW) when selected should easily cut risk exposure by 50%, but they are so pervasive, attackers precisely build their spells to be invisible to even the most cutting-edge firewalls and NGFWs on the market. Thus, there remains a need for a multi-layer approach to protection.

2. Cloud-based Security

Without having to onboard their own internal teams and infrastructure, small businesses can avail enterprise-grade security solutions by transitioning their data to the cloud. There is no need for any hardware or software and cloud-based solutions can be swiftly and easily organized and is far less expensive than hosting the system yourself.

It is necessary to request the maximum level of protection from the cloud provider as cloud-based solutions are not immune to attack. There might be challenges when using cloud storage if PCI and HIPAA regulations are not kept in mind. Before signing anything always ensure the storage is “compliant”.

3. Endpoint Protection

Anti-virus and Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools prevent entry point threats and constantly monitor every file and system process running on a business’s endpoints. Moreover, VPNs can be used to secure the communication channel to and from network resources. Advanced threats like malware and ransomware can be actively uncovered with these tools and administrators can accept which laptops or desktops, and mobile devices can access the network and from where. For added protection, VPNs particularly encrypt a device’s data stream allowing employees using (EDR) endpoint protection on their mobile system to use a public Wi-Fi signal without any additional security risk.

VPNs can be a good friend if the endpoint is secured but also they can be enemy if a machine connected to the small business VPN is conceded locally—unexpectedly providing a direct conduit to the small business’s data and network. It becomes increasingly challenging to find the attacker as it comes from your trusted machine. Small business cybersecurity plans like “Zero Trust” are deployed to help customers defend their data from cybercriminals.

4. DNS Protection

Domain Name Service (DNS) is used for every connection to the cloud, the Internet, and just about every connection to internal applications as well.DNS protection regardless of what type of device is communicating is very influential and when done correctly, can be the greatest investment you can make to protect your data on and from a network. Some of the top-rated DNS protection services also provide protection from “doubtful” sites that may be using an IP address when seen for the very first time on the Internet leveraging algorithms and data analytics. Just as firewalls are the first line of defense for networks touching the Internet, DNS protection is best to avoid cybersecurity threats for small businesses. It is the first line of defense for all network communications that cooperate with the small business, even from the firewall.

5. Email Gateway Security

Advanced malware and ransomware are still prevalent. Via email, this malicious code can enter your organization in the majority of cases. It thus becomes essential to secure your email gateways. The key to a good email security solution is the ability to identify and check access to malicious URLs, phishing, embedded code, and fraudulent emails (malicious emails that appear to be 100% authentic). Training your team plays a vital role in safe email use. One inadvertent click to bypass a security solution can cost millions hence cybersecurity should be given prime importance.

The above solutions are only a glance to solutions today’s small and midsized businesses can, and should, adapt to ensure their data security service. While these tools lay a critical base their efficacy depends on the processes and supportive teams using them properly. Every business has its own challenges and considerations and there is at all no end to a data security solution.

It has become a need of the hour for companies to invest in correct tools and required expertise to safeguard their company’s data security.

To conclude we can say cybersecurity begins with people and not the technology.

Layer One Networks can be your best data security service provider and your system will remain protected with us.

Reach out for any of your cybersecurity needs on 361.653.6800.

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Security

How to protect your business from inside attacks?

Businesses are increasingly awakening up to the insider attacks that pose a risk to the business and data security. Hacking and virus attacks are some of the mysterious threats that remain to be the biggest problems even to cloud computing security challenges. Most of us think cybersecurity attacks to be originating from external sources. But we are wrong inside attacks are more frequent than we realize.

In reality, email related cyber-attacks are increasing year after year. During the current COVID-19 pandemic. United Nations has reported a 600% increase in malicious emails. It has been observed that employees who work from home are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks as specific security controls implemented in the workplace are not possible at the individual computer level.

There is a need to upgrade data security efforts to prevent crises on digital devices and networks that have become extremely more vital to companies in current times. However, every business can mitigate the risk by taking up countermeasures against insider attacks which include detection, prevention, and recovery

Now you must be thinking how do you detect insider threats? 

So let’s get started.

In this content piece, we try to analyze insider threats, how to prevent insider attacks, and how to protect your business from them?

Type of Threats You Are Up Against?

Insider threats cover wide-ranging activities and can come from anyone in your company/organization.

An insider cyber-attack that occurs due to an internal source like an employee can be categorized into two types:

  1. Malicious: When an insider intentionally compromises or steals data from the company for which they work for it is known as a malicious insider attack.
  2. Accidental: On the other hand, an accidental attack is that in which an insider unintentionally causes harm by being casual or careless with the company’s cyber practices.

Traditionally there are 4 different types of insider attacks and they are: 

Unconscious/ Oblivious Insider: Insiders who have significant access to company information that has been compromised from outside. As the system is examined from outside, these workforces are usually Oblivious to the act.

Negligent Insider: Insiders who are usually uneducated on the subject of potential security threats. Or who to meet workplace efficiency bypass protocol are a negligent insider. Such employees are the most susceptible to social engineering.

Professional Insider: Insiders who build their career by exploiting company network weaknesses and selling that information on the dark web are called professional insiders.

Malicious Insider: Insiders that steal data purposely or harms company network e.g. an employee who deletes the company’s data on his/her last day of work.

Now let’s glance at how to prevent internal security threats?

  • Train your staff at regular intervals 

Even if you spend a huge amount behind security technology for your organization you cannot lessen the risk of human errors and blunders. A human being is still considered as the weakest bond in the cybersecurity chain. Hence there arises a need to provide your employees with proper training at regular intervals.

New joiners and permanent staff should be trained enough to identify the difference between strong and weak passwords, and provide assistance about identifying phishing emails and using personal devices in the office.

  • Keep a close watch on employee accounts and privileges

Insider threat prevention can be boosted by managing your staff accounts and privileges. When you keep a close watch, it will allow you to limit the amount of data available to employees who may be planning to carry out a malicious attack against your business.

Apart from this even if cybercriminals manage to gain access to an employee’s account they won’t have required permissions to access all areas of the business network.

One should not fail to include subcontractors, staff working remotely, and third-party vendors in the administration policies. It is also required that user privileges are timely reviewed and revoked as and when an employee leaves the organization.

  • Deploy proactive network checking

One should keep a close eye on their cloud environments, on-premises, and understand the typical functioning model and deviations if any. Organizations/businesses can increase awareness with this approach. An employee connecting from an unknown location to your business network for hours can be a sign of compromise. 24/7 network monitoring can help to quickly identify such events and whether they need a reply or not can be judged.

  • Document policy for personal devices

Today work from home has become very common practice and employees use their devices and data to access company networks. This can be a serious botheration for businesses although convenient for employees. Data security of an organization can be on the stake with unsecured devices that are connected to an organization’s network.

It becomes a need that all personal devices used should have endpoint security software installed and the networks should be segregated to control some of the risks. Although all the advantages and disadvantages of permitting staff to use their personal devices for business should be weighed.

  • Recycle your old hardware and document it correctly

Ensure that no data is remaining or can be recovered before you discard or recycle a disk. Older IT devices and hard disks that contain vital data should be physically destroyed. You can employ an experienced IT engineer to do the same.

Final Words:

Finally, keep on changing your passwords from time-to-time to control insider threat prevention. Remember a business whether small or large can suffer from insider attack. It has become a need of the hour for companies to invest in correct tools and required expertise to safeguard their company’s data security.

Layer One Networks can be your best data security service partner and your system will remain safe with us.

Connect with us for more. Call us on 361.653.6800.

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Security

Safe Back to Work Plan for Your Business

The COVID-19 (respiratory illness caused by a novel virus) has had a widespread impact across the Globe. All the businesses from Aviation, IT Consulting, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Hospitality, Cinema, etc. have been adversely affected. 

As the states across the country begin reopening, stay-at-home orders are lifted, business owners get ready to reopen.

As the post-pandemic planning continues to progress, adhering to the laws that apply to business reopening and the local and state regulations as well as guidance from trusted organizations such as the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be strictly followed.

There is no proven formula for how to go back to work safely once COVID-19 has receded. The entire world has not faced this ever before. Post COVID-19 world has begun thinking about best practices for returning to work and how to re-consider the wheel to keep your team safe. 

COVID-19 has harmed each one of us in some way or the other.  Right now the real changes and challenges are:-

  • Business Hiring
  • Unemployment Resources
  • Educator Resources
  • Rural Resources
  • Rental & Mortgage 
  • Food and Cash 
  • Mental Health Resources

Before you open your doors, consider the following measures for returning to work safely and responsibly.

As per CDC, if your answer to the following is “yes” then you can consider reopening

  • Location of your business – Is it located in an area which no longer needs significant mitigation?
  • If you reopen, will that comply with local and state rules?
  • Is your business that much prepared to protect your staff at higher risk for severe illness?

Reopening a business should address some of the important safety measures like a strategy for encouraging healthy hygiene practices, means for cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, possibilities for telework, restrictions to use shared spaces and items, training staff on safety procedures, etc.

Post pandemic most employers from IT consulting firms to other businesses will find their workplace different.

Make Health Screening Protocols

Allowing your staff to return to work and customers back to your business will need additional safety measures. Make screening protocols mandatory for all the employees, customers, job candidates who enter your workplace. Formulate policies to control access to public and common areas. Consider social distancing guidelines whenever needed.

Keep Social Distancing Plan

Ensure your entire team and customers meet the social distancing guidelines (6-feet) for workplaces and public areas. Review the layout of your office/workplace to regulate ways of seating areas, workstations can adhere to the latest safety guidelines.

Conduct your Workplace Assessment

To help guide your process for reopening, take your employee’s feedback, and gather important stuff. Consider all the different phases and scenarios of reopening v/s opening all at one go.

Classify Employees Required for Reopening

At each phase of reopening, identify the essential positions. To avoid unnecessary allegations, document your selection process. Stay aware of COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEOC laws. Plan ahead and train your employees.

Evaluate your Employee Benefits Program

You might have made staffing adjustments that might have prompted changes in your benefits program. Check with the relevant authority to determine if your plan requires any change post-pandemic.

Assess Employee Classifications

Post-pandemic planning will play a major role when you re-open your business. To avoid a hefty violation, make sure your employees are correctly classified.

Check your Workplace Rules and Regulations

Make necessary adjustments for changing regulations after reviewing your existing procedures. For e.g. work hours, attendance, remote work, travel policies, leave policies, vacation, or paid off, using different equipment and technology. 

Make Necessary Policies for Employees with COVID-19 Diagnosis or Symptoms – Develop your workplace COVID-19 policy using CDC recommendations.

Plan Proper Accommodations for Workers at Risk

Make special accommodations for employees considered as high risk like providing them telework or reworking assignments so that you can minimize the contact and plan accordingly before you reopen.

Ensure Your Surroundings Are Clean and Safe

Clean and disinfect your workplace and surroundings as per guidelines by OSHA and CDC. Always prefer approved cleaning chemicals for cleaning and disinfecting areas. Ensure to have adequate supplies of hand sanitizers and masks before reopening.

Develop Proper Training and Communications Procedures

Communicate the new safety plan and procedure to your team and clients. Post necessary guidelines on the entrance of your workplace and do not use the services of those who do not adhere to the same.

Evaluate the Technological Capabilities

The equipment, systems, and technology tested properties should be efficient enough.

  • Before investing check if you need any additional technology or equipment.
  • Evaluate the efficacy of the procedures used.
  • Determine the capabilities of your present software program to make sure if any additional modifications are needed.
  • Make sure you have required security and privacy protocols to safeguard your business.

Consider Long-term Strategy

To limit the risk of outbreak, think and plan for the long term including remote working, redesigning your office, and maintaining social distancing.

Once the COVID-19 vaccine is out, get your employees and their families vaccinated as soon as possible.

Always remember the pandemic has not ended; it’s just that the shelter-in-place orders are being lifted gradually across the Globe. Best practices for returning to work should be followed as your business plans return to work safely. Reopen safely and call for help to reduce your COVID-19 risks.