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3 Reasons to Choose an MSP for Managed IT Services

A well laid out Managed IT Services plan can enable your business to focus on what’s important to you besides running IT functions. Managed IT, a pro-active approach to IT infrastructure management, which focuses on improved service, better uptime, and rarer fixes. This blog explains why you should choose an MSP for Managed IT Services rather than […]

via 3 Reasons to Choose an MSP for Managed IT Services — IT by Design – ITBD

Computer security are you really safe?

The cybercriminal landscape constantly evolves. Staying ahead of the bad guys requires constant vigilance.

A new year means a fresh start, but it doesn’t mean that old threats will go away. In fact, in the world of cybersecurity things could get far worse before they get better. Cybercrime continues to increase, as it allows nefarious actors to operate at a safe distance from victims — and more importantly, law enforcement.

Because it rarely is violent in nature, cybercrime often doesn’t get the same response from international law enforcement as other types of crimes. It is far from victimless, however. It is a threat of enormous magnitude, with the potential to affect nearly every company in the world. It even ranks as one of the biggest problems plaguing mankind.

On a global basis, cybercrime will cost US$6 trillion annually by 2021, double the toll of 2015, according to the Official 2019 Annual Cybercrime Report from Cybersecurity Ventures.

This is the largest amount of money generated by illicit means, and it could represent the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history. Cybercrime soon will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined!

Cybercrime is not one thing. It is many — and fighting it requires understanding the various shapes it comes in. Following is a look at the various types of cybercrime, and things that can be done to fight it.

Phishers Continue to Cast Their Lines

One of the original cybersecurity threats hardly has evolved, but it is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

“Phishing will always continue as long as it works,” warned Satya Gupta, CTO of Virsec, a developer of data security software.

In 2019 we can “expect it to become more targeted and specific to organizations,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

“Phishing is here to stay because it’s simple, it’s cheap, and it will work as long as people continue to read their emails,” noted Matan Or-El, CEO of Panorays, a provider of third-party security management.

“Users should be on guard against downloading applications from untrusted sources,” warned Will LaSala, director of security solutions at OneSpan.

“Phishing remains an easy mechanism to harvest logins and email addresses and potentially passwords, and users should continue to adopt multifactor authentication for all their accounts to help protect against phishing attacks,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

This is among the biggest cybersecurity threats, but it also could be one of the easiest to stop, as it relies on human error to work. It is typically just social engineering, rather than complex coding.

“Companies should train their employees on the risks of phishing attacks and how to avoid them,” said Mike Bittner, digital security and operations manager for The Media Trust, a firm that provides real-time security for digital properties.

“This type of training should be part of creating a culture that makes cybersecurity a strategic imperative across the organization,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Ransomware on the Rise

Tied closely to phishing scams is the growing threat of ransomware, which can lock a user, or even an organization, out of a computer or network. Even more concerning, it may not be just computer systems or networks that are at risk.

“Ransomware isn’t going away; in fact, we will probably see even more of it targeting consumers in 2019,” said Hank Thomas, CEO of Strategic Cyber Ventures.

“This will be ransomware at scale, targeting a wider swath of middle class Americans that are equally eager to make the problem go away with a quick payment as corporate America was,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Corporate targets likely will remain in the crosshairs of those who find this an effective illicit business strategy, and due diligence may not be enough to stop all the threats.

“Healthcare remains, by far, the No. 1 target for ransomware, with more than half of all attacks targeting healthcare directly,” warned Pravin Kothari, CEO of cloud security software company CipherCloud.

“Ransomware will also continue as long as there are underprotected systems with data that hasn’t been adequately backed up,” said Virsec’s Gupta.

“However,ransomware threats are increasingly being used as red herrings to distract from other types of attacks on critical infrastructure,” he added.

The greatest danger of ransomware, once again, isn’t that it will block user access to data, but that it could make the leap to any connected device — from automobiles to smart homes. The Internet of Things has opened a brave new world for hackers to lock users out of!

“Businesses need to begin to secure their IoT mobile and Web applications with the same controls that are being deployed for other markets, like multifactor user authentication, and application shielding and secure user onboarding,” said OneSpan’s LaSala.

So far that hasn’t happened, and many users may not expect that their cars, thermostats and doorbells need the same level of security as their PCs.

“People have already been affected by IoT and automobile exploits, but so far there isn’t big money to be had from it, so the scale of this activity remains small,” noted Jim Purtilo, associate professor in the computer science department at the University of Maryland.

“We’ll see just how weak are IoT protections, just as soon as it is in the interests of an aggressor to trigger chaos,” he told the E-Commerce Times.

Here is where healthcare could face a one-two punch.

“In the case of healthcare, many medical devices are also IoT devices,” CipherCloud’s Kothari told the E-Commerce Times.

“They have closed operating systems, proprietary code, and wireless connectivity,” he added. “These devices are essential to healthcare operation and are likely to be targeted as the cyberwar on hospitals escalates.” To aviod this issue in your life please call Tampa PC consultants @ 813.756.4171 or visit www.tampapcconsultants.com

RANSOMWARE PREVENTION

Patch every device to keep up with antivirus and software updates.

Stick to trusted sites and watch out for scams (like “you’re a winner!” banners). Also, be wary of email attachments, like bogus shipping receipts.

Back up all critical files often, preferably off-site. All onsite backups connected to your network are vulnerable.

Heed all warnings from your AV and report all alerts to your support team.

Close popups asking you to update account information or install applications you didn’t request.

Bookmark your favorite web pages to avoid visiting a fake site due to a misspelling (gogle.com, for example).

If you think you’ve been infected, unplug your computer from the network and Call Tampa PC Consultants immediately. 813.756.4171 or visit http://www.Tampapcconsultants.com

Windows 10 ready this july

Lisa Su, Advanced Micro Device’s CEO, last week said that Microsoft would launch Windows 10 in three months.

During a conference call with Wall Street, Su — whose company is a Microsoft partner and preparing hardware for the new operating system — revealed the timeline that Microsoft had previously only said was the more nebulous “this summer.”

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“What we also are factoring in is, you know, with the Windows 10 launch at the end of July, we are watching sort of the impact of that on the back-to-school season, and expect that it might have a bit of a delay to the normal back-to-school season inventory build-up,” Su said while answering an analyst question about AMD’s second-quarter plans (emphasis added.

Microsoft declined to confirm Su’s timetable. “Microsoft has said Windows 10 will launch this summer,” a spokeswoman said in an email. “We have nothing additional to share.”

At first blush, the schedule seems audacious.

“Whether it is July, August or September, there isn’t an immense amount of time left [to wrap up Windows 10],” said Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.

Su’s reference to back-to-school — the U.S.’s second-biggest PC sales period — implied that hardware with Windows 10 pre-installed would be available in time to make at least the back end of the season, which peaks in July and August, then slows significantly by mid-September.

But can Microsoft make Su’s deadline? It depends on what one means by “launch.”

“There are several dates that matter when we’re talking about Windows,” said Steve Kleynhans of Gartner. “One is when it gets sent to OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], which is way before you or I can get it. Then there’s the date that enterprises can get it. And then the day it shows up on ‘shelves.'”
Kleynhans’ point? Although computer makers may have Windows 10 in time to put it on new hardware to sell through part of the back-to-school season, that doesn’t necessarily mean Microsoft will deliver the free upgrade at the same time it hands the OS to OEMs.

Even so, the schedule appears daunting: Microsoft has issued six versions of its Windows 10 preview for the desktop and larger tablets, but only a pair for smartphones and small-sized tablets. It added the new “Project Spartan” browser just three weeks ago. And the previews’ quality has been uneven.

“Is it realistic? I don’t know,” said IDC analyst Al Gillen when asked about July. “It’s certainly months earlier than I expected.”

But Su could be on the mark. “If you do have to hit a late July product launch, remember that there’s no packaging at this point,” Gillen added, referring to Windows 10’s electronic delivery, whether to OEMs or later, users. “So it all depends on how quickly it takes to push [hardware] into the channel.”

Yet there is another factor this cycle that hasn’t been present prior: Microsoft’s radical overhaul of its OS development and maintenance scheme. Rather than release the OS, then support it only with minor bug fixes and security patches while working towards a successor in three years, Microsoft will rely on an accelerated release tempo that will constantly add incremental features and functionality, and change the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), of Windows 10.

“Windows 10 may never really be considered ‘done,'” said Kleynhans.

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That gives Microsoft an unheard of flexibility, one not even Apple — which went to annual upgrades for OS X in 2012 — has tried to match. “The world’s changed,” opined Gillen. “Microsoft could deliver a ‘base’ version of Windows 10 in July for OEMs, but continue [to enhance it] until even early 2016, when they could declare a ‘stable’ build.”

Under Gillen’s scenario — which was also promoted by Kleynhans — the relentless development will let Microsoft squeeze out something acceptable, if not to the standards of past editions, to make OEMs happy, then for the short term use the next weeks to improve it for upgraders. Over the long term, Microsoft would incrementally augment Windows 10.

There’s risk in that strategy. If the initial release’s quality generates negative first impressions, Microsoft will have a hard time recovering Windows 10’s reputation.

“Microsoft is taking this new servicing plan for Windows 10 very seriously,” said Gillen. “But if they don’t make good, they might as well pack it in and go home.”

All three analysts expected much from next week’s Build, which runs April 29-May 1 in San Francisco. Microsoft will likely release an update to Windows 10’s preview at its developers conference.

“I think we’ll see a pretty significant … build … at Build,” predicted Miller.