Security Issues You Can Encounter on Your Mobile Device

Many businesses provide their employees with a mobile device to help with their daily work tasks. When it comes to mobile devices, not many people are aware of the security risks that come along with using them. You want to be able to provide enough security for mobile devices to protect against external security threats without hindering productivity or your employees feeling overly restricted by your policies. To help you find appropriate mobile security practices, we put together a list of the three top issues you should plan for and how you can properly address them.

Malicious Applications

Applications are similar to the software of programs you download on your computer. Some applications can offer many services, from communication to data storage or communication. While many apps you shop for on both Android and iOS are legitimate, there are apps developed by cyber criminals designed to disguise themselves as credible apps that can provide you with a solution. You never want to download apps from developers you are unfamiliar with or that you don’t recognize. 

Unsecured Connections

When people use their mobile devices, they usually don’t want to burn through their data, so they opt to connect to whatever Wi-Fi is available. The big problem with Wi-Fi networks is that most publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks are unsecured. When they are secured, they aren’t appropriately secured. Using an unsecured Wi-Fi puts users at risk when sending data to and from devices. Hackers can easily steal information in transit. They can even mimic public Wi-Fi to trick users into connecting to it to steal their data. 

Lost or Stolen Devices

Mobile devices can be easily misplaced or stolen when they leave the office environment. Losing a personal device can cause a lot of stress, but losing a device with sensitive company data can be more stressful. It can be impactful to not only you but your company if anyone gets a hold of your device and can easily access the stored data.

Security Solutions

With such a diverse range of malicious mobile threats, you want to be sure you are optimizing security while still getting the most out of your mobile device. An effective solution needs to be able to detect and respond to security threats quickly and still provide a positive experience. These security solutions can help you safeguard your devices and data from external threats while ensuring your users can remain productive on their devices.

Mobile Device Management: Comprehensive MDM solutions allow you to control app downloads on devices and remotely wipe lost or stolen devices should the need arise. MDMs make it easy to track account access and information about the devices through a remote MDM tool.

Virtual Private Networks (VPN): One big way to protect devices is through a virtual private network or VPN. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the data it’s accessing, meaning hackers cannot simply observe or steal data being sent to or from each location.

To get started with any of the above security measures, contact AE Technology Group at 516.536.5006.

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What Might Cyberattacks Look Like in the Future?

Cybersecurity has been a major concern since the 1970s before the internet itself was around. As technology evolves, cybersecurity grows with it. If recent current events are any indication, cyber threats aren’t going away anytime soon. So, how can you protect yourself and your business from Cyber attacks in the future? And what will these cyber attacks look like?

Let’s take a few moments to consider some of the current cyber threats, how they’ll influence cyberattacks in the future, and what you can do to protect your information.

Modern Cyberthreats

To properly predict the future of cyber attacks, we need to dive into what’s happening today. Currently, there are a few specific threat vectors that are extremely popular among cybercriminals. These are the cyberattacks you often hear about in the news or read about on social media. To properly understand how to protect your business, you’ll have to gain some knowledge about what these threats are.

Phishing & Ransomware

One of the most common methods used by cybercriminals today is phishing. This is the use of deceit and deception to fool a person into divulging personal information, such as a password or credit card number, to a scammer. The scammer is typically pretending to be a reputable company offering its services.

Phishing is also often used to spread ransomware, which places malware on the target’s device, encrypting their information until the ransom is paid. They often target businesses with sensitive information that they cannot risk losing, so they are forced to pay the ransom to remove the encryption and regain access to their files.

Identity Theft

Unfortunately, and perhaps, unsurprisingly, the recent financial assistance given to so many citizens created a spike in identity theft cases. Cybercriminals gained information through the pandemic assistance, unemployment benefits, and data that was stolen from Facebook and LinkedIn.

Hacking

Hackers access your information through cybersecurity holes like weak passwords, IoT and IIoT devices without sufficient protections, and even insider threats. These all leave your business vulnerable to attack and should be corrected immediately.

How will Cyberattacks Change in the Future?

Based on how cyberattacks have evolved in the past, we predict that they’ll actually look very similar in the future. Cybercriminals simply learn to use new advances in technology to change their method of attack.

Some major cyber threats we’re predicting are the use of deepfakes and artificially mimicked voices to bypass access controls, and hacking voice assistants (We’re looking at you, Alexa) to gain sensitive information. 

While the method of attack may be slightly different, they’ll probably look a lot like how they appear today. So, what can you do to protect your business?

How to Protect Your Business from Cyberattacks

  • Lock Down your Hardware

We mean it… lock it down. Your hardware should be protected both by cybersecurity software on your devices and network and in terms of access controls and physical security. Cybercriminals are going to intentionally go for an easy target, so make it as difficult as possible for them to access your info.

  • 2. Encrypt your Data

Even the most secure cybersecurity plan may not be able to prevent your information from getting into the wrong hands, that’s where encryption comes in. Encrypting your data will ensure that, if it is stolen, it is effectively useless to the cybercriminal. 

  • Teach your Staff about Cybersecurity

Anyone who has access to even the slightest shred of your information should be up to date on modern cybersecurity threats and how to protect themselves. Schemes like phishing and hacking are typically successful because people are not educated on cybersecurity. Incorporating a security-first mindset into your company culture will do a lot more than you might expect it to.

As we mentioned, cybersecurity will only become more important as technological advances are made. To truly protect your business, contact a professional. 

AE Technology Group is here to help put your business on the right foot moving forward. Give us a call at (516) 536-5006 to learn more about the cybersecurity tools and protections we can implement for you.

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Firewalls: The Unsung Heroes Network Security

Shield Firewall protection hacker illustration

The term firewall is not a new one, and it’s not as old of a term as you might think. Before it became commonplace in the computing environment, it was first introduced to the world in 1983 when it was used in a movie titled WarGames. Nowadays, it is used mostly in regard to network security. Let’s take a look at what a firewall does and what the different types of firewalls do.

First, What Does a Firewall Do?

A firewall’s name comes from the structures built into connected homes and multi-family residences that protect individual units from fires. A residential firewall keeps a fire from spreading, while a computing firewall monitors your network traffic for unauthorized connections. A properly configured firewall is a critical part of any cybersecurity strategy.

Firewall Varieties

There are many different types of firewalls out there. Here are just a few examples:

Virtual Firewall

A virtual firewall is hosted in the cloud. It protects an environment that is hosted in the cloud or within a virtual machine. You can customize your virtual firewall to suit your specific needs, be it for a specific application or to protect an entire cloud environment.

Stateful Inspection Firewall

Most modern infrastructures include this version of a firewall. It performs a function called dynamic packet filtering, a process that involves all traffic passing through a firewall being analyzed to ensure it is in the correct state, i.e. not infected by threats or otherwise.

Unified Threat Management Firewall

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, a UTM firewall also includes antivirus software. UTMs are designed to be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none solution. They work for many smaller businesses as a part of their network infrastructure to keep users and data protected.

Is a Firewall a Requirement for Your Business’ Cybersecurity?

In short, yes, although it should be mentioned that true cybersecurity includes much more than just a simple firewall. A firewall is only one piece of your cybersecurity strategy, so you will need even more safeguards put into place to keep your company as secure as possible from threats.

AE Technology Group can equip your business with the best security tools out there. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

What Does it Mean To Go Passwordless? Just Ask Microsoft

Finger Print Biometric Scanning Identification System

Passwords have long been a staple against security threats, but the password could soon be a thing of the past. Microsoft is advancing toward this new concept, but what does it mean for your business?

Let’s look and see what going “passwordless” can mean for an account’s security.

How Does Passwordless Even Work?

Passwords were the standard for quite some time, but compared to other security measures, they are less secure against threats than you might think. A complex password may have once been enough, but this is no longer the case. Password-cracking software and the massive increase in computing power means that hackers can discover passwords in no time, and weaker authentication methods are inferior compared to other available options. Add in the fact that most users have no clue how to make a secure password, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Multi-factor authentication is one of the best ways you can secure an account. Instead of using one only key to unlock your account, you use multiple factors to open it. For example, you might use a biometric like a face, fingerprint, or iris scan, or even a secondary authentication code sent to your mobile device.

As for your Microsoft account, Microsoft is thinking about ditching the password in its entirety, giving users the option to sign in using the Microsoft Authenticator application, Windows Hello, or codes sent to your email or smartphone. Here are the steps to go passwordless for your Microsoft account:

  • Download the Microsoft Authenticator application on your smart device
  • Link your application to your account
  • Go to accounts.microsoft.com and look for the Security tab
  • Under Additional Security, turn on Passwordless Account
  • Follow the prompts displayed, and you should be good to go!

The fact that you can go passwordless for your Microsoft account is all well and good, but whether you should or not will likely be up to personal preference. As for your business, we want to emphasize that you should move toward multi-factor authentication wherever you possibly can. It’s that much more difficult for a hacker to crack an account.

AE Technology Group wants to help your company implement multi-factor authentication and work toward greater network security. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

4 Steps to Make Cybersecurity Training Effective

Lecture and cybersecurity training in business office for white collar colleagues

Real cybersecurity preparedness is, like most things in a business, a team effort. Everyone needs to be aware of the best practices involved in cybersecurity. Naturally, this will involve training. In the interest of making sure this training is as effective as it needs to be, we’ve assembled a few best practices to keep in mind as you design a curriculum.

The Purpose of Cybersecurity Training: Awareness

That’s the really important benefit that any training needs to emphasize, but particularly any efforts you make to educate your team about cyber threats and dealing with them. They need to understand how prevalent threats really are, and how often small businesses are actually targeted (it’s often, by the way).

Of course, you want this training to be as effective as possible, so there are certain steps that you should take.

How to Effectively Train Your Team Members

Understand Where Your Employees Stand

In order to train your team members properly, you need to have an understanding of what they do, and critically what they don’t know about cybersecurity at the present. Are they aware of the risks that they face and how to spot them, and—most crucially—do they give these risks as much attention and respect as they should? You need to establish all of these benchmarks and see to it that they appreciate the severity of the risk.

Adjust Your Cybersecurity Training to Their Needs

Once you’re familiar with your team’s training requirements, you can better shape the training they undergo to better fit their existing strengths and shortcomings. Customizing the training that each of your team members receives is crucial as each of them will have a different perspective… and different weaknesses as a result. A one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t be effective amongst a team’s members.

Don’t Rely on Scaring Them

Likewise, while an approach based on fear can be effective in some situations, teaching your team about IT best practices is not one of them. While fear can occasionally help prevent a mistake from happening, it can just as (if not more) often lead to an employee trying to cover up a mistake and exposing your business to greater issues as a result. Try inspiring them by appealing to their confidence, reassuring them that they can be successful in their cybersecurity.

Train, Measure, and Repeat

Now, we reach the final part: measuring the impact that your training has had and running it again, trying to make it that much more effective each time. This will take some time, particularly as you account for different learning styles that your various employees will almost assuredly have. Once you’ve trained them up on the security precautions and processes that you expect them to follow, test them. By evaluating their preparedness on a semi-regular basis (so as not to become predictable), you will be able to more accurately identify where work needs to be done, and by whom.

We Can Assist You in Your Cybersecurity Training

Turn to AE Technology Group and our team of experts to improve—amongst other things—your team’s cybersecurity training. To enquire about this or any other of our managed IT services, give us a call at (516) 536-5006.