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stratecta - ransomware security

Overcoming The False Hope of a Ransomware Attack (Part 1)

Every modern business deals with a certain amount of technology. From tech companies that consist internally of nothing but professionals at computers to minimally technical industries that still rely on databases and business software to keep everything running smoothly, the need for a secure network and backups of archived business data is universal. When your data is in danger and it looks like there’s a chance of recovering anything that has been lost, most companies will jump through flaming hoops for any either planned or, worse, unplanned recovery method. That is exactly why ransomware is so terrible. The hope of getting your files back after a disaster is often more powerful than the fear of losing them in the first place.

While you may think that your files are being held hostage, your disaster recovery plan is much more reliable than any hacker’s “promise” that you’ll see your files again.

Malware Has Always Wiped Files

To understand the innovation of ransomware, it may help to have a better grasp on the history of malware as a whole. Ransomware is just one of the most recent innovations in a long chain of malicious, invasive software. In fact, while there has been a significant rise in the ability of malware to actually do something like steal credit card numbers or extortion, malware has traditionally been almost completely pointlessly evil. Worms have roamed the web since before the internet unification seeking out vulnerable systems and often infected websites are simply left up to hurt anyone who comes across them.

When an infection is successful, whether it was targeted or random, the malware’s goal is simply to cause pain. Spamware makes your system unusable with constant pop-ups, spyware steals your login information and uses it for fraud or more spam, and many forms of malware despite the name will simply explore your files, deleting or corrupting them as it goes. Hackers have always deleted files for fun and there’s no reason to assume that they’re going to stop now just because they’ve also figured out how to make a little side cash.

What Ransomware Does

When ransomware gets onto your computer, it’s first act is usually to lurk around for a while. During this time, it may finish installing itself, spread from the first computer into the local network, and map all your files. These processes usually happen quietly using background resources and the delay often masks the true infection point, whether it as a bad website, a phishing email, or an actual hacker security breach in which the ransomware was placed on your computer. Continue reading

security

5 Techniques to Help Dealership Staff Improve Cyber-Security (Part 1)

Car dealerships have everything that hackers and scam artists love. You deal with high-value items and handle large amounts of money. You deal with people’s banks directly and process stacks of personal information that could be used for identity theft. You process payment information like debit and credit cards and cars are a favorite way to blow through stolen money or ruin the life of someone whose identity has been stolen. To a hacker, a car dealership looks like a playground which means that it’s your job as the honest professionals trying to run a business to protect yourself, your customers, and your staff members from the inevitable attacks.

Cyber-Security and Social Engineering

However, having a strong firewall, encryption, and virus-scanning software isn’t enough anymore to stop the really determined cyber-criminals. The new name of the game is social engineering, using deception and false human connection to lure staff members into making a critical mistake. Sometimes, the scam isn’t even to get malware onto your computer, but rather to steal information directly from the employee themselves, tricking them into giving away important personal or account information about a customer or performing an action that they shouldn’t. In order to keep your employees safe, it’s vital that they are fully trained in data protection on every possible level.

1) Protect Line-of-Sight

Start by explaining that hackers aren’t the only criminals. People can and will come in under false pretenses, hoping to get a look at someone else’s account information. Guests claiming to be the spouses, friends, and family members of your customers may ask to check on information, then try to get a look at something else while the account is up on the staff member’s screen. There are several reasons why someone might want a peek at another person’s car dealership information including looking for financial information, an identity to steal, or stalking.

Because you can’t know who is scamming right off the bat, you are obliged to be helpful and go along with any reasonable requests but be very careful about line of sight. Never show someone another customer’s information and if your office door isn’t closed, don’t turn your monitor around at all just in case someone sees something from across the hall. Be aware of windows, people walking behind you, and reflective surfaces. Yes, scammers and stalkers get that devious to steal personal information.

2) Never Answer Personal Questions

People will come in person, call you on the phone, and send you emails asking for information about accounts, cars, services, and customers. Naturally, the vast majority of these contacts will be business-as-usual but every staff member needs to be on their guard for the one call in two hundred that is loaded and dangerous. To be ready even if you don’t see a scam call coming, never ever give out personal information on customers or your fellow employees. Continue reading

digital transformation

The Complete Digital Transformation Checklist – Is Your Company Up to Speed? (Part 1)

Though the first companies to ‘go digital’ did so as far back as the 90s, many industries and individual businesses have been putting off their digital transformation for decades. In the vast majority of these cases, the original decision to hold off on digitizing was a wise one. The industry software wasn’t ready and there were a few too many unknowns for the comfort of older well-established businesses with customers who relied on them to keep things running smoothly.

However, times change as they always do and we’re not in the 90s world of hit-or-miss HTML websites or primitive database EMSs anymore. Business software, data analysis, internet technologies, and the overwhelming social move to online communities have significantly changed the playing field. Where it once was a good idea to stick with paperwork or old management systems, no you’d be a fool not to have a full-featured online presence and AI-assisted data analysis for everything from marketing to bug hunting. Whether you’ve started your digital transformation or are still slowly considering your options, it may help to see the full scope of what a completely digital company would have in their IT suite.

  • Website
  • Mobile App
  • CRM
  • Industry EMS
  • VOIP
  • AI Data Analysis
  • IoT Devices
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cloud Documents and Backups

1) Website

If there’s one asset that pulled companies of the 80s into the modern digital world, it’s the business website. As people’s lives become more and more about what they do online, having a website is in many cases better than having a brick-and-mortar venue because the potential ‘foot traffic’ is infinitely higher and often determined by the effectiveness of your SEO to catch people looking for your services in a search engine.

Home, About, Services, Contact

Original business websites could be almost anything but these days a format and a precedent have been set. People now understand the basic layout of almost all business websites and expect a few key elements. Home is your landing page and should showcase the business itself. About is your page where you tell the company’s history, share your goals, and possibly introduce a few team members. Services can also be Products and enumerates what you have to offer. Contact, of course, is a quick and easy way for customers to send you emails.

Live Chat

Live chat is all the rage these days and is being incorporated into company websites by businesses all over the world. If you don’t have a live chat integration yet, consider getting one. When your customers are able to contact you while browsing your website, communication is instant, as is your access to their conversion funnel. Continue reading