Our increasing independence on IT solutions to facilitate our day-to-day processes also ushered in an increase in cybersecurity attacks, both in frequency and sophistication. In this FAQ, our corporate cybersecurity experts will discuss concepts that can help us understand what constitutes the most basic cyberattacks and what we can do to prevent them.
What is a Phishing Attack?
Phishing is a form of Cyberattack that aims to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details, personal identification numbers (PIN), One-Time Pin, etcetera from unsuspecting individuals by posing as legitimate entities and employing social engineering. Once they have obtained sensitive information, fraudsters may transfer cash from your account to theirs, conduct identify theft, and charge purchases to your credit card or apply for loans in the victim’s name.
What is Social Engineering?
Social Engineering is the psychological manipulation of individuals to convince them to perform specific actions such as falling for a phishing attack. It is also a collective term for the techniques employed by fraudsters to dupe their targets. The most common social engineering techniques employed and some of their examples are:
- Spoofing Legitimacy – Fraudsters would use websites names, emails, logos, language, and spiels, that resemble those of legitimate institutions.
- Negative Consequence – Targets are threatened with an impending closure or blocking of an account if unacted upon. Targets are told that the fraudsters have detected suspicious activity from their credit card and would require their PIN to reverse charges or block the card.
- Loss of Opportunity / Urgency – Targets are told they won a prize or opportunity that has to be claimed within a short period of time.
- Too Good to be True Claims – Targets are told they won the jackpot prize for a contest they have no memory of joining.
What makes a Password Strong?
According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the strength of a password is derived from its length, complexity, and predictability. To create a strong password, users can keep the following IT Solution tips in mind:
- Length – Making your password as long as possible (up to 64 characters) would make it stronger but the problem would be remembering it and the effort it would require to type it when prompted. Experts suggest stringing random words because that makes it easier to remember (remembering four 4-letter words is easier than recalling 16 random characters)
- Complexity – To increase the complexity of your passwords, experts suggest using both upper-case and lower-case letters as well as special characters. In conjunction with the first tip, users may opt to capitalize a certain letter in the order of the words (capitalize first or the last letter) and switch a special character in lieu of a letter that it resembles (e.g. @ for A, 5 for S, # for H)
- Predictability – Predictability would not be a problem if users followed the first two items. However, it goes without saying that users should not use words that hackers commonly use such as ‘password’ and ‘1234.’ Experts also advise against using personal information (birthdays, addresses, vehicle plate numbers) that hackers can easily obtain.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?
MFA is an authentication method where a user is required to provide two or more evidence (factors) in order to gain access to an application or website. The most commonly-used factor of course is the password. The goal of an MFA is to provide an additional layer of protection in case the password is compromised. Other types of factors that can be used for authentication are:
- Knowledge-Based – PIN, security question, pattern lock
- Biometrics – Facial recognition, fingerprint, voice recognition, iris scan
- Physical objects – Security tokens (USB sticks), bank cards, keys
- Location-based – GPS, Intranet connection
- Mobile-Phone Based (technically under Knowledge-Based but facilitated by a mobile phone) – One-Time Pin (OTP), Third-Party Authenticator apps (e.g. Google Authenticator)
Consult your Trusted IT Solutions Company
This FAQ is brought to you by BHT Solutions, an IT Company that has the experience you can trust. In BHT Solutions, we believe in harnessing the power of IT solutions and making it work for you. Schedule your free consultation now and help us transform your workflow!
BHT Solutions recognizes the power of IT solutions to transform organizations’ workflow. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic when many office processes migrated online, corporations and business entities have been using various software applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, and slide presentations to facilitate their daily operations. While the digitalization of work has undoubtedly improved the efficiency of workers, the arena where these applications operate—essentially the Internet—brought with it new sets of security problems. One of our focuses in BHT solutions is to help people make sense of these emerging technologies and to ensure that they are able to enjoy their benefits while minimizing their accompanying security risks. In this article, our IT company resident expert will discuss how Cybersecurity Solutions, specifically M365, can keep your office operations safe from cyberattacks.
Cyberattacks Keeping Up with Cybersecurity Solutions
Owing to the ever-increasing connectedness of systems and peoples and their dependence on the internet, cyberattacks have also been increasing both in frequency and sophistication. The most common type of attack is Phishing and Identity Theft. Phishing is a type of cyberattack that aims to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card, and banking details, PIN numbers, and OTP (one-time PIN) numbers from unsuspecting individuals by posing as legitimate entities. Fraudsters are able to convince said individuals by employing Social Engineering techniques that have been used by con men even before the birth of the internet. The most common Social Engineering techniques used are creating urgency and loss of opportunity (limited-time promos or offers), negative consequences (closure or blocking of an account if not acted upon) or promises that are too good to be true (winning millions from an online contest one did not join).
M365 as a Cybersecurity Solution
As discussed above, passwords are the main target of Phishing attacks. This cybersecurity risk is addressed by M365 by introducing password replacement options such as Windows Hello and Microsoft Authenticator. Windows Hello replaces passwords with two-factor authentication using biometrics (facial recognition or thumbprint) and a PIN. Microsoft Authenticator, on the other hand, is an app that allows users to log in with a two-factor verification process or through phone sign-in. Essentially, what the two aforementioned processes do is provide an additional layer of security that is not susceptible to phishing such as biometrics or OTPs.
M365 also features the Azure Active Directory Identity Protection. It functions by using adaptive machine learning algorithms and heuristics to identify potentially compromised users and malicious activities indicative of a breach.
Our IT Company Can Help Your Business Determine Which Cybersecurity Solutions are Appropriate for Your Operations
The Cybersecurity solutions discussed above are just some of the features M365 has, specifically to prevent Phishing and Identity Theft. We believe that every business is unique and as such requires unique Cybersecurity Solutions. Call us now and schedule your free consultation so we can sit down and discuss your business. At BHT solutions, we acknowledge that our industry is one that is built on trust. We have over 47 years of experience you can trust, which we have cultivated through clear communication with our clients and experienced customer-oriented support. At BHT solutions we pride ourselves on coming up with IT solutions that are cost-effective, easy to use, and personalized according to our client’s needs.
A phishing scam is a type of cybersecurity attack where unsuspecting individuals unknowingly divulge sensitive information such as bank and credit card details, Personal Identification Numbers codes, and passwords to fraudsters. Fraudsters are able to obtain said information by convincing their victims that they are legitimate entities through social engineering. In a recent article, our cybersecurity solutions expert discussed the signs of a phishing attack so that your employees can easily recognize one and not fall for it. In this article, our cybersecurity company resident expert will discuss what to do if you or one of your employees falls for a phishing scam.
Falling Victim to a Phishing Scam
Terrible grammar, sloppy graphics, and suspiciously named links are markers of a phishing scam. However, scammers are innovating and improving on the believability of their phishing scams by using better syntax, logos, and email addresses (sometimes just adding a dot to a legitimate address, which is quite hard to distinguish from a legitimate one). This in conjunction with tested social engineering techniques can dupe an employee that is temporarily distracted, under stress, or tired. The first and most crucial step in minimizing the damage is to acknowledge your mistake and inform your superiors and the head of IT immediately.
Cybersecurity Solutions First Aid
Your company IT solutions head’s advice will vary depending on the sensitive data obtained or the type of breach. If the employee unknowingly downloaded a rogue program then the computer must be disconnected from the internet and the office’s network and scanned for viruses and unverified programs. If the scammers acquired email credentials then the employee will be advised to recover the email (if it was accessed) and change the password. It would also be sensible to change the password of other accounts that share login details and/or passwords with the compromised account. If the breach involves banking details then the employee must immediately contact his bank and have his account temporarily frozen.
Monitoring the Situation and Preventing Phishing Scams
Employees should be vigilant for suspicious activities involving their computers and/or bank accounts following the breach as these may not present immediately. The IT solutions our company offered above are just initial remedies your employees can undertake should they fall for a phishing scam. However, these remedies would not suffice for security breaches that were discovered late or rogue programs that have infected multiple computers. As is true with most cases, prevention is better than cure.
Our IT Company Can Help You Protect Your Business
Does your human resource training involve recognition of phishing scams? Do you have a protocol in place to secure your systems in case of a breach? Our cybersecurity company, BHT solutions is a Houston-based IT company with satisfied clients all over the country. Call us now to schedule an appointment. Leave your cybersecurity worries to us so you can focus on your business.
Cybersecurity is the protection of systems connected to the internet such as hardware, software, and its users from cyberattacks. Cyberattacks include DOS or DDOS (denial of service or distributed denial of service) that aims to bring down a system by overloading its resources with a high number of bogus requests, which prevents the system from processing the legitimate requests. Another type of cyberattack is phishing: gaining sensitive data from users by posing as legitimate entities using social engineering techniques. These attacks can be prevented by a sound cybersecurity strategy that is put into place by an experienced cybersecurity company with multiple satisfied clients across the country, such as BHT solutions. In this article, our IT company experts will discuss how a Cybersecurity Assessment helps in ensuring that your systems are fully protected.
Is Cybersecurity Assessment Necessary?
When it comes to cybersecurity solutions, one size does not fit all. A cybersecurity assessment conducted by a competent cybersecurity company ensures that the strategy created is appropriate. The cybersecurity strategy in place for an IT company would vary extremely from that of a retail company. It would be reasonable to infer that an IT company’s cybersecurity solutions would focus more on its hardware and software—ensuring their assets are not vulnerable to attack, while a retail company’s strategy would focus more on its users (employees)—more in the vein of recognizing phishing attacks and adherence to password management best practices.
Is Cybersecurity Assessment Worth It?
As discussed above, it is only prudent that a Cybersecurity Assessment be conducted first not just to evaluate the effectiveness of the current security setup but also to discuss with the owners their specific needs based on their operations. This arrangement, while guaranteeing that the client ends up with a personalized IT solution, also allows for flexibility and ensures that the cybersecurity solutions implemented are within the client’s budget.
Do You Have the Appropriate Cybersecurity Solutions Infrastructure in Place?
Is your cybersecurity system up to date? Are there aspects of it that you want to improve on? Need help in assessing which parts of your current security setup are performing and which are not? Our company, BHT Solutions is an IT solutions company operating out of Houston that can work with any company all over the country to maintain their cybersecurity strategy. Call us now and schedule your Cybersecurity Assessment so that we can integrate cybersecurity solutions into your business strategy that are responsive to your needs.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 singlehandedly transformed how businesses conduct their operations. Remote work and telecommuting became the norm while on-site work became the exception and reserved only for processes that cannot be migrated online. This shift was facilitated by the existing IT solutions but the pandemic forced the adoption. However, this digital transformation did not come without its associated risks. During this ‘new normal’, cybersecurity solutions companies have also observed an uncharacteristic increase in cyberattacks. One of the most common types of cyberattacks is phishing. In this article, our IT solutions expert will discuss the makings of a phishing attack and how to recognize one.
What is Phishing
There are many types of phishing attacks such as credit card phishing, bank phishing, and email phishing, but at its core, phishing aims to obtain sensitive information from unsuspecting individuals by posing as a legitimate institution through social engineering. The aforementioned sensitive information includes login credentials, credit card and banking details, PIN numbers, and OTP numbers.
What is Social Engineering
Social engineering is a collective term for the techniques employed by fraudsters to persuade, manipulate, and deceive their victims. In phishing attacks, fraudsters would often employ urgency to pressure their victims to act quickly. For example, they would send emails or texts threatening a negative consequence (such as closure or blocking of an account) or a loss of opportunity (such as a prize that has to be claimed within a short period). In the target’s haste, they fail to realize that bank employees would never request sensitive details, especially over email. He also does not find it odd that he won something from a contest he did not join.
Cybersecurity Solutions for Preventing Phishing
In order to protect ourselves from phishing attacks, it would be wise to be wary of the following:
- Emails or calls demanding urgent action. If it was really urgent, your service provider would call you but would never ask for personal information such as passwords over the phone.
- Emails with bad grammar and spelling mistakes. If you have been receiving regular emails from a specific company, you would find that they tend to have a certain tone and choice of words. If there is a change in tone and words used then that is a sign. You can always confirm with the company the contents of the email by calling their office.
- Emails with links that send you to a site that requests your login credentials. If possible, bookmark all the critical sites that you regularly use such as your working email and online banking. Setting up two-factor authentication would also provide additional security.
- Emails that are too good to be true. Emails claiming you won a big prize are probably phishing scams.
Our IT Company Can Help Your Business Protect Its Employees
The tips our IT solutions experts mentioned above are just some of the ways your employees can detect and prevent phishing attempts. However, cybersecurity encompasses a broader area beyond its users, specifically hardware and software. Our company, BHT Solutions is a Houston-based IT company that can work with any company all over the country to ensure that their cybersecurity is in tiptop shape. Call us now and we can help you tailor-fit cybersecurity solutions that are responsive to your needs.