Scarier Than the Boogeyman

One of the common issues on the Dark Web – whether you use it or not – is the sale of passwords, bank account information, Social Security numbers, and other private data.

Hackers can breach firewalls and software to obtain this information and then go to the Dark Web to sell it to other criminals.

Antivirus protection at a minimum is a practice to use for your business.  This will be sure protections are put in place on your network to be on the lookout for computer viruses and other malicious software.

There are 3 other key practices to implement to protect your data:

  1. Keep your eye out for strange emails.

What this means is even if you receive an email from someone or a company you know, check the email address, look for signs of poor grammar or spelling, and tread carefully before clicking any links.  If you get something saying your account is suspended and to click to verify details, go straight to the site and check it that way.

  • Pay attention to data breaches.

An easy way to do this is to subscribe to online newsletters, such as Data Breach Today.  This way you’ll be regularly alerted if a large company gets hacked.  You’ll also want to keep a close eye on bank statements and credit card usage to make sure your information is accurate and you don’t notice anything fraudulent.

  • Choose unique and hard to learn passwords.

As easy as it is for you to remember the same password for every account and device, imagine what happens to your data the second a hacker figures that one out.  Choose the strong passwords assigned by your phone or computer, and use a free password tool, such as LastPass to keep track so you don’t have to.  Don’t share them with others and don’t use identifying information when selecting them.

While you might do everything in your power to prevent your data being stolen, you’ll want to have monitoring software in place.  We have multiple plans available, depending on your budget.  Schedule a 10-minute discovery call to see the cybersecurity protections we offer and determine if your information is already available on the Dark Web with a free scan.  Call us at 973-400-3700 or visit https://www.panurgy.com/discovery-call/

Which businesses need to follow NIST Compliance?

Cybersecurity is at the forefront of our minds and those of our clients. As your Managed IT Services company, our role is to ensure systems at your business are updated and secure. That means thwarting attacks from hackers and ensuring compliance standards for your industry are met. This includes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which has developed cybersecurity standards and best practices for industry, federal agencies, and the public. Their work is constantly evolving and now includes NIST SP 800 171 Compliance which I discuss later in this article.

Which businesses need to follow NIST Compliance?

NIST Compliance documents are for companies working in the federal supply chain. This includes anyone involved with federal government and agencies, including contractors and subcontractors. Because of the quality of NIST regulations, companies outside the federal government supply chain are also embracing the standards.

The goal of the standards is to protect data and keep information secure. This protects organizations from inside threats as well as outside breaches. NIST Compliance is the cybersecurity standard that our team understands and implements for our clients.

What is NIST SP 800 171 Compliance?

This is a Special Publication that outlines the requirements for protecting the confidentiality of controlled unclassified information. Also called CUI, this includes provisions for the protection of covered defense information. If a manufacturer is a part of the Department of Defense, General Services Administration (GSA), NASA, or other federal or state supply chains, they are also required to follow NIST SP 800 171 compliance.

Just as fast as hackers are learning to breach systems, the government is providing and updating cybersecurity guidelines. If your business plans to work with federal agencies, it is recommended that you start complying with regulations now, so you’re not eliminated from contention later.

At Panurgy, our team is experienced in NIST Compliance. We are also aware that the standards change, and we are anticipating more updates this year. If your business is concerned about protecting data and is working, or plans to work, with the federal government supply chain, we’d love to talk to you.

We will begin with an assessment of your current cybersecurity and develop a NIST compliance plan to ensure your company is ready to work in the supply chain. Our team understands NIST compliance along with HIPAA and others. Call us to learn more.

3 Issues Surrounding Finance IT and Cybersecurity

Finance is one of the most highly targeted sectors of industry when it comes to cyberattacks. The reality is that there is simply too much to gain for cybercriminals when going after banks, accountants, investment firms, and other financial businesses. The amount of potential monetary gain and access to sensitive, valuable information is too much of a pull for bad actors to resist. Many industries deal with the realities of things like phishing attacks, DDoS attacks, and ransomware. The finance industry must deal with these threats as well, often in higher-than-average numbers, but there are also complications specific to the finance industry that finance IT services providers and the financial businesses they serve must be aware of. Here are a few to consider.

Credential-Seeking Malware Targets Financial Services Clients

While you’d expect most malware to target actual financial information directly, the truth is there is another form of attack that hits financial institutions commonly. Credential-seeking malware is sent by bad actors looking to gleam personal information for identity theft scams. This form of malware goes after personal data rather than money itself or account numbers. Some businesses do not protect their customers’ personal data as strongly as the more sensitive financial data and hackers look to exploit that. Finance IT services need to be aware of this potential exploitation and ensure all personal information is always secure in companies’ systems.

State-Sponsored Attacks on Financial Institutions

Most industries don’t have to worry about how international incidents may affect them, but that isn’t true in the financial industry. State-sponsored attacks by hackers on other countries are often designed to affect financial markets in specific ways. Most of these manipulations fail, but when they succeed they can wreak havoc in unexpected ways. Unfortunately, there isn’t much individual businesses can do except fortify their network security as much as possible and pay attention to how such attacks might affect their clientele.

Breaches Complicate Issues Further By Decreasing Trust

The majority of cyberattacks in the financial industry fail. Unfortunately, the few that do succeed can have a compound effect on the industry. When a breach occurs, fixing a company’s systems and recovering drains resources and time, but even worse, the reputation damage makes that process even more difficult. Where this situation gets especially dicey is when numerous financial institutions have breaches over a relatively short period, people begin to distrust the industry at large and lose faith in companies that have been protecting their data appropriately. The sensitivity of information and widespread effects of the damage that can be done means those providing cybersecurity to financial companies have even more burden and responsibility to keep thing secure.

The financial industry is complicated and difficult one to keep secure, but many excellent finance IT services providers continue to do so. If you would like to talk to a managed services provider about your cybersecurity, reach out to Panurgy and make an appointment today.

5 Important Security Awareness Topics

Human error is always considered one of the greatest of all risks in cybersecurity. For businesses worried about protecting their data and systems, this unfortunately means that staff members and executives are often a network security liability. However, there are ways to manage the risk of human error in cybersecurity. Thorough policies regarding network security are helpful, but a hands-on approach including employee security awareness training by IT experts is often necessary to be fully effective. Ideally, you want to turn your staff from potential security liabilities into essential cybersecurity assets by ensuring they have the necessary knowledge to protect your systems through the employee security awareness training you provide.

Here are five topics your employees should be educated on if you want them to become the security assets they could be.

Email Scams

Most people believe they know what to look for when it comes to spotting email scams, but the reality is that scammers and bad actors have been developing more and more sophisticated scams for years. Staying up on the most advanced and up-to-date email scams and phishing schemes is important when making sure your employees avoid these sorts of security risks.

Removeable Media Such as USB Drives

Good policies regarding removeable media such as USB drives, SD cards or even disc-based media are essential in protecting your company. These drives subvert network protections and plugging one into a computer without knowing absolutely what’s on it is dangerous. Good employee security awareness training should emphasize this for your staff.

Social Networking Risks

Not all phishing attacks come from email. Social networking websites and applications have their fair share of bad actors as well. If any of your staff use your company’s social media accounts, or even use their own social media on your network, they will also need to be kept up to date on what bad actors may be doing on those platforms.

Clean Desk Policies

It surprises people how much of cybersecurity comes down to practices in the physical world instead of the digital. Clean desk policies at your office avoid passwords or other sensitive data being left around accidentally on post it notes or other pieces of paper. Instating such a policy and educating your staff on the reasons for it will improve your company’s network security.

Mobile Device Security

Especially if your company uses a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, you must ensure that your employee security awareness training includes the topic of mobile device security. Your staff must be aware that their phones and tablets might be security risks if they are not handled appropriately.

Keep your staff educated on security issues and make sure they stay assets and not liabilities. If you are interested in employee security awareness training, schedule some time to speak with the IT experts at Panurgy.

How Multi-Layered Security Can Protect Your Business

Cyberattacks are the biggest modern-day threat for organizations. This 2-minute read will shed some light on how multi-layered security can protect your business from cybercriminals.

Worldwide, cybercrime costs are forecasted to hit $6 trillion in 2021. At the same time, Ransomware damage costs are set to rise to $20 billion.

Cyber-attacks are the biggest modern-day threat for organizations, regardless of their size. For this reason, IT teams need to put their best foot forward to safeguard IT infrastructure from data breaches.

Granted, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that would guarantee that distributed networks are safeguarded from cyber-attacks. This is why organizations should opt for a multi-layered security solution that is efficient against the latest cyber threats.

Of course, it’s not as simple as it sounds. IT security teams have a lot of ground to cover. Standalone strategies are a thing of the past, and companies have countless other aspects to consider. You see, cybercriminals use many different techniques and strategies to achieve their goals and IT teams should constantly update their approach based on cybersecurity trends.

How Does a Multi-Layered Strategy Help?

Multi-layered security entails IT teams making use of numerous cybersecurity components to shield a company’s IT infrastructure. This defense mechanism delays, prevents and mitigates threats. By analyzing different aspects of security, security departments have a better understanding of how to keep hackers with malicious intentions at bay.

Here How It Works:

Multiple layers of security in a network make sure that individual defense components prevent loopholes or failures in the system while protecting crucial company data. In a multi-layered system, every single layer of security focuses on areas that are vulnerable to a breach.

Some of the most common aspects of multi-layered security include:

  • Email Security
  • Web Gateway Security
  • Firewall Threat Protection
  • Antivirus/ anti-malware software
  • Patch management
  • Privacy controls
  • Digital Certificates
  • Web protection
  • Security awareness training

A Holistic Defense Strategy

With a multi-layered security strategy, organizations can rest assured that their confidential data is fully defended. This strategy should immediately be deployed as the most important element of every organization’s cybersecurity agenda. That said, the biggest challenge to this approach is using the right mix of tools.

Panurgy specializes in tailoring custom-fit and complete network security solutions for its clients. Our strategy not only offers a multi-layered security solution but also plans, implements, monitors, and manages our cybersecurity offerings from A-Z. What’s more, all of our strategies are scalable and are implemented in a manner that they can grow with your business.

Besides multi-layered security, Panurgy also offers its clients:

  • DarkWeb Research and Alerting
  • External Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing
  • Security Risk Scoring and Reporting
  • Continuous Active Risk Posture Monitoring
  • Managed Breach Detection and Response

To learn more about our services and cutting-edge cybersecurity offerings, visit our website or call us on 973-400-3700 for a free IT consultation.