Author: David Littrell Page 1 of 12

From the beginning of his career in the Special Forces as an intelligence sergeant to his current position as CSO of Cosaint, David has become highly proficient in the complexities of network infrastructures, security, voice, and data management. His certifications are so numerous that he often truthfully notes that he has more letters behind his name than there are in the English alphabet. David is the author of “Unsecured: How to Avoid Being a Sitting Duck in the Age of Pandemic Cybercrime.” He commands a deep understanding of the challenges that Senior Living organizations face as they proactively defend against the quickly evolving cyber-threat landscape.

Be Careful When Scanning QR Codes – There’s a New Scam Going Around!

QR codes are everywhere these days. You can find them on restaurant menus, flyers, and posters. They’re used both offline and online. QR codes are convenient and easy to use. You just scan them with your smartphone camera. You’re then directed to a link, a coupon, a video, or some other online content.

With the rise in popularity of QR codes comes an unfortunate dark side. Cybercriminals are exploiting this technology for nefarious purposes. Scammers create fake QR codes. They can steal your personal information. They can also infect your device with malware or trick you into paying money.

It’s crucial to exercise caution when scanning QR codes. This emerging scam highlights the potential dangers lurking behind those seemingly innocent squares.

QR Code scan
Image source: Adobe Stock

The QR Code Resurgence

QR codes were originally designed for tracking parts in the automotive industry. They have experienced a renaissance in recent years. As a result, they’re used as a form of marketing today.

They offer the convenience of instant access to information. You simply scan a code. They’ve become an integral part of various industries, including retail and hospitality.

Unfortunately, cybercriminals are quick to adapt. A new phishing scam has emerged, exploiting the trust we place in QR codes.

How the Scam Works

The scammer prints out a fake QR code. They place it over a legitimate one. For example, they might stick it on a poster that advertises a product discount or a movie.

You come along and scan the fake QR code, thinking it’s legitimate. The fake code may direct you to a phishing website. These sites may ask you to enter sensitive data. Such as your credit card details, login credentials, or other
personal information.

Or scanning the QR code may prompt you to download a malicious app. One that contains malware that can do one or more of the following:

  • Spy on your activity
  • Access your copy/paste history
  • Access your contacts
  • Lock your device until you pay a ransom

The code could also direct you to a payment page. A page that charges you a fee for something supposedly free.

Here are some tactics to watch out for.

Malicious Codes Concealed

Cybercriminals tamper with legitimate QR codes. They often add a fake QR code sticker over a real one. They embed malicious content or redirect users to fraudulent websites.

Fake Promotions and Contests

Scammers often use QR codes to lure users into fake promotions or contests. When users scan the code, it may direct them to a counterfeit website. The website may prompt them to provide personal information. This can lead to potential identity theft or financial fraud.

Malware Distribution

Some malicious QR codes start downloads of malware onto the user’s device. This can result in compromised security. Including unauthorized access to personal data and potential damage to the device’s functionality.

Stay Vigilant: Tips for Safe QR Code Scanning

Verify the Source

Be cautious when scanning QR codes from unknown or untrusted sources. Verify the legitimacy of the code and its source. This is especially true if it prompts you to enter personal information.

Use a QR Code Scanner App

Consider using a dedicated QR code scanner app. Use that rather than the default camera app on your device. Some third-party apps provide extra security features. Such as code analysis and website reputation checks.

Inspect the URL Before Clicking

Before visiting a website prompted by a QR code, review the URL. Ensure it matches the legitimate website of the organization it claims to represent.

Avoid Scanning Suspicious Codes

Trust your instincts. If a QR code looks suspicious, refrain from scanning it. Scammers often rely on users’ curiosity. Be careful when scanning QR codes that you see in public places. Don’t scan them if they look suspicious, damaged, or tampered with. Exercising caution is paramount.

Update Your Device and Apps

Keep your device’s operating system and QR code scanning apps up to date. Regular updates often include security patches that protect against known vulnerabilities.

Be Wary of Websites Accessed via QR Code

Don’t enter any personal information on a website that you accessed through a QR code. This includes things like your address, credit card details, login information, etc.

Don’t pay any money or make any donations through a QR code. Only use trusted and secure payment methods.

Contact Us About Phishing Resistant Security Solutions

QR codes can be useful and fun. But they can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Always scan them with caution. Protect yourself from scammers who want to take advantage of your curiosity.

This scam falls under the umbrella of phishing. Phishing is one of the most dangerous modern risks for individuals and organizations. If you need help ensuring your devices are phishing resistant, just let us know.

Contact us today to learn more.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

9 Signs That Your Smart Home Device Has Been Hacked

Smart home devices are becoming more popular and convenient. But they also pose some serious security risks. Hackers can target these devices to access your personal information. As well as spy on your activities or cause damage to your home.

Often the dangers of smart home devices fall under the radar. Seventy-five percent of people feel some level of distrust about the use of their data. Yet most people are willing to use smart home technology.

As we enjoy the convenience of smart living, it’s crucial to be vigilant about cyber threats. A hacker may have compromised your smart system without you even knowing it.

How can you tell if a hacker has compromised your smart home device? Here are some signs to look out for.

1. Unexpected Behavior

Unexpected behavior is the first sign someone has compromised your smart home device. If your device starts acting erratically, it’s time to investigate. Erratic behavior can include:

  • Lights flickering
  • Thermostat settings changing
  • Smart locks behaving unpredictably

Hackers often manipulate smart devices to create disturbances. Noticing these irregularities early can prevent further damage.

2. Unusual Network Traffic

Monitoring your home network is a fundamental aspect of cybersecurity. Have you observed a sudden surge in data usage? Noticed unusual patterns in network traffic? If so, this could indicate unauthorized access.

Hackers may exploit your smart devices to launch attacks or steal sensitive information. Regularly check your router’s activity logs. This helps you stay vigilant against abnormal network behavior.

3. Strange Sounds or Voices

Smart speakers and voice-activated assistants have become commonplace in many households. If you start hearing unfamiliar voices or strange sounds from these devices, it’s a red flag.

Hackers may use compromised devices to eavesdrop or communicate with household members. This poses serious privacy concerns. Ensure that your smart devices are only responding to authorized voices.

4. Device Settings Modification

Smart devices offer customizable settings to cater to individual preferences. Have you noticed unauthorized changes to these settings? Such as alterations in camera angles, sensor sensitivity, or device preferences? If so, there’s a high likelihood that a hacker has compromised your device.

Regularly review and update your device settings. This helps you maintain control over your smart home ecosystem.

5. Unexplained Data Transfers

Smart devices often collect and send data to the cloud for analysis or storage. Keep an eye on your device’s data usage. Be wary of unexplained data transfers. Hackers may exploit vulnerabilities to extract sensitive information from your devices.

Regularly review the data usage patterns of your smart devices. This helps you to identify any suspicious activity.

6. Device Inaccessibility

Suddenly finding yourself locked out of your smart home devices could be a sign of hacking. Hackers may change passwords or enable two-factor authentication without your consent. They can take control of your accounts. This renders you unable to access or manage your devices.

Always act promptly to regain control. Secure your accounts if you suspect unauthorized access.

7. New or Unknown Devices on the Network

Regularly review the list of devices connected to your home network. Do you spot unfamiliar or unauthorized devices? If so, it’s a clear sign that someone may have breached your network.

Hackers often connect to your network. They do this to exploit vulnerabilities in smart devices or launch attacks. Secure your network with strong passwords. Also, consider implementing network segmentation for added protection.

8. Frequent Software Glitches

Smart devices receive regular software updates. These updates patch vulnerabilities and enhance security. Have you noticed frequent software glitches? Or has your device failed to update? It could be a sign of interference
by a malicious actor.

Ensure that your smart devices are running the latest firmware. This ensures it has the latest security patches and bug fixes installed.

9. Emails or Messages Confirming Changes You Didn’t Make

Some smart devices send notifications or emails to confirm changes such as changes in settings, passwords, or device access. Did you receive such confirmations for actions you didn’t take? If so, this is a clear sign of unauthorized access.

Take immediate action to secure your account. This includes changing passwords and reviewing access permissions.

Need Help Securing Your Smart Home & Peace of Mind?

As our homes become smarter, so must our approach to cybersecurity. The first step in safeguarding your digital domain is recognizing signs. The signs that a hacker has compromised your smart home device.

Remember, smart home devices can make your life easier and more comfortable. But they also need careful maintenance and protection.

Need some guidance? We can help you ensure that your smart home remains a secure haven of innovation. Instead of a vulnerable target for cyber threats.

Contact us today to schedule a smart home security consultation.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

5 Cybersecurity Predictions for 2024 You Should Plan For

Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field. There are new threats, technologies, and opportunities emerging every year. As we enter 2024, organizations need to be aware of current and future cyber threats. Businesses of all sizes and sectors should plan accordingly.

Staying ahead of the curve is paramount to safeguarding digital assets. Significant changes are coming to the cybersecurity landscape. Driving these changes are emerging technologies and evolving threats. As well as shifting
global dynamics.

Next, we’ll explore key cybersecurity predictions for 2024 that you should consider.

1. AI Will Be a Double-edged Sword

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a game-changer for cybersecurity. It has enabled faster and more accurate threat detection, response, and prevention. But AI also poses new risks. Such as adversarial AI, exploited vulnerabilities, and misinformation.

For example, malicious actors use chatbots and other large language models to generate:

  • Convincing phishing emails
  • Fake news articles
  • Deepfake videos

This malicious content can deceive or manipulate users. Organizations will need to put in place robust security protocols. This includes embracing a human-in- the-loop approach. As well as regularly tracking and reviewing their AI systems. These steps will help them mitigate these risks and harness the power of AI for a more secure future.

2. Quantum Computing Will Become a Looming Threat

Quantum computing is still a few years away from reaching its full potential. But it is already a serious threat to the security of current encryption standards.

Quantum computers can potentially break asymmetric encryption algorithms. These algorithms are widely used to protect data in transit and at rest. This means that quantum-enabled hackers could compromise sensitive data, like financial transactions.

Organizations will need to start preparing for this scenario. They can do this by assessing their potential risks first. Then, adopting quantum-resistant technologies and deploying quantum-safe architectures.

3. Hacktivism Will Rise in Prominence

Hacktivism is the use of hacking techniques to promote a political or social cause such as exposing corruption, protesting injustice, or supporting a movement.

Hacktivism has been around for decades. But it’s expected to increase in 2024. Particularly during major global events. These may include the Paris Olympics and the U.S. Presidential Election as well as specific geopolitical conflicts.

Hacktivists may target organizations that they perceive as adversaries or opponents. This can include governments, corporations, or media outlets. These attacks can disrupt their operations. As well as leak their data or deface their websites.

Organizations will need to be vigilant against potential hacktivist attacks. This includes being proactive in defending their networks, systems, and reputation.

4. Ransomware Will Remain a Persistent Threat

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s data. The attacker then demands a ransom for its decryption. Ransomware has been one of the most damaging types of cyberattacks in recent years.

In 2023, ransomware attacks increased by more than 95% over the prior year.

Ransomware attacks are likely to continue increasing in 2024. Due to new variants, tactics, and targets emerging. For example, ransomware attackers may leverage AI to enhance their encryption algorithms as well as evade detection and customize their ransom demands.

Hackers may also target cloud services, IoT devices, or industrial control systems. This could cause more disruption and damage. Organizations will need to put in place comprehensive ransomware prevention and response strategies. Including:

  • Backing up their data regularly
  • Patching their systems promptly
  • Using reliable email and DNS filtering solutions
  • Educating their users on how to avoid phishing emails

5. Cyber Insurance Will Become More Influential

Cyber insurance covers the losses and liabilities resulting from cyberattacks. It has become more popular and important in recent years. This is due to cyberattacks becoming more frequent and costly.

Cyber insurance can help organizations recover from cyber incidents faster and more effectively. It provides financial compensation, legal help, or technical support.

But cyber insurance can also influence the security practices of organizations. More cyber insurers may impose certain requirements or standards on their customers. Such as implementing specific security controls or frameworks. Organizations will need to balance the benefits and costs of cyber insurance as
well as ensure that they are in compliance with their cyber insurers’ expectations.

Be Proactive About Cybersecurity – Schedule an Assessment

It’s clear that the cybersecurity landscape will continue to evolve rapidly. Organizations and individuals must proactively prepare for emerging threats. This includes adopting advanced technologies and prioritizing workforce development as well as staying abreast of regulatory changes.

Put a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy in place. One that encompasses these predictions. This will help you navigate the digital frontier with resilience and vigilance.

Need help ensuring a secure and trustworthy digital environment for years to come? Contact us today to schedule a cybersecurity assessment.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

Workspaces, a VPN & More – Learn the Newest Microsoft Edge Features

Microsoft Edge continues to redefine user experiences. This is due to Microsoft’s commitment to innovation. The latest updates bring a host of features. These are designed to enhance productivity, security, and browsing satisfaction.

Chrome may have been number one for years. But Edge has been steadily gaining popularity. It is now the third most popular browser worldwide. Overtaking Firefox a while back, it’s now just behind Chrome (1) and Safari (2).

From personalized workspaces to a built-in VPN, Microsoft Edge is not just a browser. It’s a comprehensive toolkit for users navigating the digital landscape. Let’s delve into the newest Microsoft Edge features. They promise to elevate your online journey.

A New Era of Productivity: Microsoft Edge Workspaces

Introduction to Workspaces

Workspaces in Microsoft Edge represent a paradigm shift. A shift in how users organize and manage their online tasks. Imagine having a dedicated space for each project. One that seamlessly integrates relevant tabs, documents, and websites.

Microsoft Edge Workspaces makes this a reality. It allows users to create custom workspaces. Each workspace represents different aspects of their digital lives. Whether you’re working on a project, planning a trip, or pursuing a hobby. Workspaces offer a tailored and organized browsing environment.

Workspaces
Image source: Microsoft

Key Features of Microsoft Edge Workspaces

  1. Personalization: Users can customize Workspaces with a unique name and color. This makes it easier to distinguish between different projects or activities.
  2. Easy Access: With a single click, users can switch between Workspaces. This instantly transitions them between different sets of tabs and online resources. Users associate each Workspace with specific projects or interests.
  3. Persistence: Workspaces keep their configurations. This is the case even when users close and reopen the browser. This ensures that users can seamlessly resume their work. There is no need to reconstruct their customized environments each time.
  4. Efficient Task Management: Workspaces make task-focused browsing easier, minimizing distractions. This helps users maintain focus on the specific project or activity at hand.

Enhanced Security with Edge Secure Network VPN

Built-in VPN

Microsoft Edge takes a giant leap in prioritizing user privacy and security. The Edge Secure Network uses a new built-in VPN. VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, encrypt internet connections. This helps ensure a secure and private browsing experience. Microsoft Edge now provides users with 5GB of free VPN data per month. This further protects their online presence.

Key Benefits of the VPN in Microsoft Edge

  1. Enhanced Privacy: VPNs mask users’ IP addresses. This makes it challenging for malicious actors to track their online activities. This is particularly crucial when accessing public Wi-Fi networks. As well as sensitive information.
  2. Secure Browsing: The VPN has an encrypted connection. This ensures that data transmitted between the user’s device and internet is secure. It reduces the risk of interception by hackers.
  3. Geographic Consistency: Edge’s VPN will mask your specific location. Websites will see a location similar to yours. So, when you look up movie times or nearby services, you see what you expect. You cannot choose a specific region to route traffic from.
  4. Complimentary 5GB Data: Microsoft Edge users receive 5GB of free VPN data each month. To conserve the data limit, content streaming sites aren’t routed through the VPN. These are sites like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc.

Other New Features Added to Microsoft Edge Browser

Microsoft is continuously updating Edge. Here are a few more new features you can enjoy.

  1. Autofill for Forms: Edge makes filling out forms online easier. It will suggest completions when you start typing into fields. This includes name, email, address, etc.
  2. Web Capture: Using Web Capture in Edge makes it easy to take a screenshot. You can select an area or a full page. Then paste it into any of your files.
  3. Copilot: Use the Copilot icon at the top of Edge to access AI features. This includes creating AI-generated images as well as creating quick email drafts and more.
  4. Read Aloud: Need to step away from the screen for a moment? Let Edge read content for you out loud. Enabling you to multi-task like there’s no tomorrow!

Get Help Exploring Your Microsoft Services

Microsoft Edge establishes itself as a comprehensive solution. It’s great for those seeking a more productivity-focused browser. As well as a secure and private online environment. Microsoft Edge’s latest features enhance the way we work, explore, and connect.

Is your company in need of help exploring what Microsoft has to offer? From Edge enhancements to Microsoft 365 tools, we have experts to guide you.

Don’t miss out on all that these solutions have to offer. Our Microsoft experts can help set up, manage, and secure your digital workflows.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

These 7 AI Trends Are Sweeping the Cybersecurity Realm

Relentless digital innovation has defined the last few years. The symbiotic relationship between AI and cybersecurity has become pivotal especially when it comes to safeguarding sensitive information and digital assets.

As cyber threats evolve in complexity, AI has emerged as a formidable ally. It empowers organizations with advanced tools and techniques. Helping them to stay one step ahead of malicious actors.

In this exploration, we delve into cutting-edge AI trends. The trends that are reshaping the cybersecurity realm as well as fortifying defenses against an ever-expanding array of cyber threats.

The Rise of AI in Cybersecurity

As cyber threats grow in sophistication, traditional measures face challenges in keeping pace. This is where AI steps in. It offers a dynamic and adaptive approach to cybersecurity.

Machine learning algorithms, neural networks, and other AI technologies analyze vast datasets. They do this at unprecedented speeds. They identify patterns and anomalies that might elude human detection.

58% of security professionals expect a completely new set of cyber risks in the coming years.

The integration of AI in cybersecurity doesn’t replace human expertise. It enhances it. This allows security professionals to focus on strategic decision-making. All while AI handles the heavy lifting of data analysis and threat detection.

AI Trends Sweeping the Cybersecurity Realm

1. Predictive Threat Intelligence

AI is revolutionizing threat intelligence by enabling predictive capabilities. Machine learning algorithms analyze historical data, current threats, and emerging patterns. It does this to predict potential future cyber threats. This proactive approach allows organizations to put in place preemptive measures as well as close vulnerabilities before hackers exploit them.

2. Behavioral Analytics

Traditional signature-based approaches struggle to keep up with zero-day attacks as well as advanced “smart phishing.” But AI-driven behavioral analytics take a different approach. They focus on understanding the normal behavior of systems and users. Deviations from these patterns trigger alerts. This helps in identifying potential threats. Identification is based on anomalous activities rather than known signatures.

3. Autonomous Security Systems

The concept of autonomous security systems, empowered by AI, is gaining prominence. These systems can automatically detect, analyze, and respond to cyber threats in real-time. This minimizes response times and reduces the impact of security incidents. The ability to automate routine security tasks enhances efficiency. It also allows human experts to focus on strategic aspects of cybersecurity.

4. Explainable AI (XAI)

AI plays an increasingly critical role in cybersecurity decision-making. This makes the need for transparency paramount. Explainable AI (XAI) addresses this concern. It provides insights into how AI algorithms reach specific conclusions. This enhances trust in AI-driven cybersecurity. It also helps security professionals understand the decisions made by AI systems.

5. Cloud Security Augmentation

With the proliferation of cloud services, securing cloud environments has become a priority. AI is being leveraged to enhance cloud security. A few ways that it does this is by:

  • Monitoring activities
  • Detecting anomalies
  • Responding to threats in cloud-based infrastructures

The dynamic nature of cloud environments requires adaptive security measures. This makes AI a natural fit for bolstering cloud security.

6. Deception Technology

Deception technology involves creating decoy assets within an organization’s network to mislead attackers. Companies are now integrating AI into deception technology to make decoys more convincing as well as more responsive to attackers’ behavior. This helps in early threat detection. It also provides valuable insights into attacker tactics and techniques.

7. Zero Trust Architecture

Zero Trust Architecture, supported by AI, challenges the traditional security model. Where systems trust entities inside and distrust entities outside the network. AI-driven continuous authentication and monitoring ensure that trust is never assumed. It dynamically adapts access privileges. It does this based on real-time assessments of user behavior and risk factors.

Embracing the Future of Cybersecurity with AI

As the threat landscape evolves, the incorporation of AI in cybersecurity is important. It’s not just a strategic choice, it’s a necessity. These AI trends mark a paradigm shift. They are enabling organizations to build more resilient and adaptive cybersecurity frameworks.

It’s important to stay informed and embrace the transformative power of AI. This helps businesses navigate the complexities of the digital landscape. And do it with confidence, fortifying defenses against emerging threats.

AI stands as a beacon of innovation. It continually pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of cybersecurity. The symbiotic relationship between human expertise and AI-driven capabilities is vital. It will shape the future of data security. Helping ensure a safer digital landscape for businesses and individuals alike.

Schedule a Cybersecurity Upgrade Assessment

How strong are your digital defenses against sophisticated threats? The bad guys are also using AI. This means more dangerous phishing and network attacks. Need some help assessing your strength?

Sign up for a cybersecurity assessment and shed light on your capabilities. We can help you incorporate AI-based protection and fortify your network from attacks.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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How Could Your Business Be Impacted by the New SEC Cybersecurity Requirements?

Cybersecurity has become paramount for businesses across the globe. As technology advances, so do the threats. Recognizing this, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has introduced new rules. They revolve around cybersecurity. These new requirements are set to significantly impact businesses.

These rules are a response to the growing sophistication of cyber threats. As well as the need for companies to safeguard their sensitive information.

Let’s delve into the key aspects of these new SEC regulations. We’ll review what they are and discuss how they may affect your business.

Understanding the New SEC Cybersecurity Requirements

The SEC’s new cybersecurity rules emphasize the importance of proactive cybersecurity measures. These are for businesses operating in the digital landscape. One of the central requirements is the timely reporting of cybersecurity incidents. The other is the disclosure of comprehensive cybersecurity programs.

The rules impact U.S. registered companies. As well as foreign private issuers registered with the SEC.

Reporting of Cybersecurity Incidents

The first rule is the disclosure of cybersecurity incidents deemed to be “material.” Companies disclose these on a new item 1.05 of Form 8-K.

Companies have a time limit for disclosure. This is within four days of the determination that an incident is material. The company should disclose the nature, scope, and timing of the impact. It also must include the material impact of the breach. One exception to the rule is where disclosure poses a national safety or security risk.

Disclosure of Cybersecurity Protocols

This rule requires extra information that companies must report. They report this on their annual Form 10-K filing.

The extra information companies must disclose includes:

  • Their processes for assessing, identifying, and managing material risks from cybersecurity threats.
  • Risks from cyber threats that have or are likely to materially affect the company
  • The board of directors’ oversight of cybersecurity risks
  • Management’s role and expertise in assessing and managing cybersecurity threats.

Potential Impact on Your Business

Is your business subject to these new SEC cybersecurity requirements? If it is, then it may be time for another cybersecurity assessment. Penetration tests and cybersecurity assessments identify gaps in your protocols. They help companies reduce the risk of cyber incidents and compliance failures.

Here are some of the potential areas of impact on businesses from these new SEC rules.

  1. Increased Compliance Burden

Businesses will now face an increased compliance burden. This is as they work to align their cybersecurity policies with the new SEC requirements. This might cause a significant overhaul of existing practices, policies, and technologies. Ensuring compliance will likely mean a large amount of time and resources. This impacts both large corporations and smaller businesses

  1. Focus on Incident Response

The new regulations underscore the importance of incident response plans. Businesses will need to invest in robust protocols. These are protocols to detect, respond to, and recover from cybersecurity incidents promptly. This includes having clear procedures for notifying regulatory authorities, customers, and stakeholders. This would be a notification in the event of a data breach.

  1. Heightened Emphasis on Vendor Management

Companies often rely on third-party vendors for various services. The SEC’s new rules emphasize the need for businesses to assess vendor practices. Meaning, how vendors handle cybersecurity. This shift in focus necessitates a comprehensive review. That review should be of existing vendor relationships. It may mean finding more secure alternatives.

  1. Impact on Investor Confidence

Cybersecurity breaches can erode investor confidence and damage a company’s reputation. With the SEC’s spotlight on cybersecurity, investors are likely to take note. This includes scrutinizing businesses’ security measures more closely. Companies with robust cybersecurity programs may instill greater confidence among investors. This can potentially lead to increased investments and shareholder trust.

  1. Innovation in Cybersecurity Technologies

As businesses strive to meet the new SEC requirements, they will seek innovation. There is bound to be a surge in the demand for advanced cybersecurity solutions. This increased demand could foster a wave of innovation in the cybersecurity sector. This could lead to the development of more effective cyber protection solutions.

The SEC Rules Bring Challenges, but Also Possibilities

The new SEC cybersecurity requirements mark a significant milestone. This is a milestone in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. While these regulations pose challenges, they also present opportunities. The opportunities are for businesses to strengthen their cybersecurity posture. As well as enhancing customer trust, and fostering investor confidence.

By embracing these changes proactively, companies can meet regulatory expectations. They can also fortify their defenses against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. Adapting to these regulations will be crucial in ensuring long-term success. As well as the resilience of your business.

Need Help with Data Security Compliance?

When it comes to ensuring compliance with cybersecurity rules, it’s best to have an IT pro by your side. We know the ins and outs of compliance and can help you meet requirements affordably.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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How Can You Leverage the New MS Teams Payment App?

Are you a small business owner or a freelancer who offers services online? If so, you might be wondering how to get paid by your customers in a fast and convenient way. You might have tried different payment platforms. But they often require you to switch between different apps or websites. This can be time-consuming and confusing.

There is now another option to streamline the payment process. Microsoft has launched the Teams Payments app. This is a new feature that allows you to request and receive payments from your customers. You do it within Microsoft Teams meetings.

The Teams Payments app is currently available in the United States and Canada. Subscribers to Teams Essentials and Microsoft 365 Business get it at no charge.

How Does the Teams Payment App Work?

The Teams Payments app is simple to use. You can get the app from the Microsoft AppStore. You add it to your Teams account and connect it to your preferred payment service. You can choose from:

  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • GoDaddy

Once you have set up the app, you can start requesting payments from your customers in Teams meetings.

How Do You Send a Payment Request?

To send a payment request, you just need to open the meeting chat. Then, select the Payments icon from the messaging extensions. Then, you can fill out a simple form. It includes the amount, currency, description, and recipients of your request.

You can send the same request to several people if you want. The app will generate a card that shows the status of each payment, whether it is unpaid or paid.

Meeting chat

Image credit: Microsoft

Your customers will see the same card in their meeting chat. They can click on the Pay Now button to complete their payment. The system will redirect them to the payment service that you have connected to the app. There, they can enter their payment details and confirm their transaction.

Once they have done that, they will see a confirmation message in the chat. You will receive a notification that your payment has been processed.

Payments

Image credit: Microsoft

Benefits of Using the Teams Payment App

The Teams Payments app has many benefits. Both for small businesses and freelancers who offer online services. Here are some of them:

It saves time and hassle.

You don’t need to switch between different apps or websites. You can easily request and receive payments from your customers. You can do everything within Teams meetings. This makes it more convenient and efficient for both parties.

It increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Your customers will appreciate the ease of paying you through Teams meetings. They don’t need to create an account or download an app to pay you. They can complete their transaction in a few clicks right inside the meeting.

It boosts your revenue and cash flow.

You can get paid faster and more securely by using the Teams Payments app. You don’t need to wait for invoices or checks to clear. You can receive your money within minutes of completing a service. Either directly into your bank account or PayPal account.

It enhances your professional image and credibility.

You can show your customers that you are using a reliable and trusted payment platform. One built by a well-known company that has been a technology leader for decades. You can also add a seller policy to your payment requests. Here you can specify your terms and conditions, cancellation policy, refund policy, etc.

It helps you keep track of payments.

Keeping track of payments is crucial for financial management. With the Teams Payments App, you can track transactions in real-time. You’ll receive instant notifications for successful payments. It will help you maintain a comprehensive record of your financial interactions.

It’s seamlessly integrated with Microsoft 365.

The Teams Payments App seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365. You can leverage the power of Microsoft’s ecosystem. Using it to manage your communications, collaborations, and payments together. No need for more logins or complicated setups – it’s all within one platform.

It increases productivity.

Efficiency is the key to productivity. You reduce the time spent on payment-related tasks by integrating Payments into Teams. This efficiency translates into increased productivity. It allows you and your team to focus on core business activities and driving growth.

The Teams Payments app marks a significant leap in digital business transactions. By leveraging this powerful tool, you’re simplifying payments. You’re also enhancing customer experiences, ensuring data security, and boosting productivity.

We Can Help You Get More Out of Microsoft 365

The Teams Payments app is a great way to simplify and streamline your payment process. It can help you save time, increase customer satisfaction, and boost revenue.

Need help with this or other Microsoft 365 tools? Our experts can work with you to help you make the most out of your Microsoft subscription.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Beware of These 2024 Emerging Technology Threats

The global cost of a data breach last year was USD $4.45 million. This is an increase of 15% over three years. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to be aware of emerging technology threats. Ones that could potentially disrupt and harm your business.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It’s bringing new opportunities and challenges for businesses and individuals alike. Not all technology is benign. Some innovations can pose serious threats to our digital security, privacy, and safety.

In this article, we’ll highlight some emerging technology threats to be aware of in 2024 and beyond.

Data Poisoning Attacks

Data poisoning involves corrupting datasets used to train AI models. By injecting malicious data, attackers can skew algorithms’ outcomes. This could lead to incorrect decisions in critical sectors like healthcare or finance. Some actions are vital in countering this insidious threat. These include protecting training data integrity and implementing robust validation mechanisms.

Businesses should use AI-generated data cautiously. It should be heavily augmented by human intelligence and data from other sources.

5G Network Vulnerabilities

The widespread adoption of 5G technology introduces new attack surfaces. With an increased number of connected devices, the attack vector broadens. IoT devices, reliant on 5G networks, might become targets for cyberattacks. Securing these devices and implementing strong network protocols is imperative. Especially to prevent large-scale attacks.

Ensure your business has a robust mobile device management strategy. Mobile is taking over much of the workload Organizations should properly track and manage how these devices access business data.

Quantum Computing Vulnerabilities

Quantum computing, the herald of unprecedented computational power, also poses a threat. Its immense processing capabilities could crack currently secure encryption methods. Hackers might exploit this power to access sensitive data. This emphasizes the need for quantum-resistant encryption techniques to safeguard digital information.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Manipulation

AI, while transformative, can be manipulated. Cybercriminals might exploit AI algorithms to spread misinformation. They are already creating convincing deepfakes and automating phishing attacks. Vigilance is essential as AI-driven threats become more sophisticated. It demands robust detection mechanisms to discern genuine from malicious AI-generated content.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Exploits

AR and VR technologies offer immersive experiences. But they also present new vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals might exploit these platforms to deceive users, leading to real-world consequences.

Ensuring the security of AR and VR applications is crucial. Especially to prevent user manipulation and privacy breaches. This is very true in sectors like gaming, education, and healthcare.

Ransomware Evolves

Ransomware attacks have evolved beyond simple data encryption. Threat actors now use double extortion tactics. They steal sensitive data before encrypting files. If victims refuse to pay, hackers leak or sell this data, causing reputational damage.

Some defenses against this evolved ransomware threat include:

  • Robust backup solutions
  • Regular cybersecurity training
  • Proactive threat hunting

Supply Chain Attacks Persist

Supply chain attacks remain a persistent threat. Cybercriminals infiltrate third-party vendors or software providers to compromise larger targets. Strengthening supply chain cybersecurity is critical in preventing cascading cyber incidents. Businesses can do this through rigorous vendor assessments, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring.

Biometric Data Vulnerability

Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, are becoming commonplace. But users can’t change biometric data once compromised, like they can passwords. Protect biometric data through secure encryption. Ensure that service providers follow strict privacy regulations. These are paramount to preventing identity theft and fraud.

Advanced Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the oldest and most common forms of cyberattacks. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted thanks to AI. For example, hackers customize spear phishing attacks to a specific individual or organization. They do this based on online personal or professional information.

Another example is vishing attacks. These use voice calls or voice assistants to impersonate legitimate entities. They convincingly persuade victims to take certain actions.

Ongoing employee phishing training is vital. As well as automated solutions to detect and defend against phishing threats.

Tips for Defending Against These Threats

As technology evolves, so do the threats that we face. Thus, it’s important to be vigilant and proactive. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Educate yourself and others about the latest technology threats.
  • Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for all online accounts.
  • Update your software and devices regularly to fix any security vulnerabilities.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages.
  • Verify the identity and legitimacy of any callers or senders. Do this before providing any information or taking any actions.
  • Back up your data regularly to prevent data loss in case of a cyberattack.
  • Invest in a reliable cyber insurance policy. One that covers your specific needs and risks.
  • Report any suspicious or malicious activity to the relevant authorities.

Need Help Ensuring Your Cybersecurity is Ready for 2024?

Last year’s solutions might not be enough to protect against this year’s threats. Don’t leave your security at risk. We can help you with a thorough cybersecurity assessment, so you know where you stand.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

MacBook Pro on table

14 Helpful Tips for New Year Digital Decluttering

These days, our lives are intricately woven into the digital fabric. From emails to photos, documents to apps, our devices store tons of information. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the sight of an endless inbox or app library.

As the new year begins, it’s the perfect time for a digital declutter. A clean and organized digital environment can help you improve your productivity. It also reduces stress. Here are some practical tips to help you declutter your digital space.

1. Start with a digital inventory

Before diving in, assess your digital landscape. Take stock of your devices, accounts, and digital files. Knowing what you have is the first step toward effective decluttering.

2. Focus on your most-used digital spaces

You don’t have to declutter everything at once. Start with the digital spaces that you use the most. Such as your email, cloud storage, and social media. These are the places where digital clutter can accumulate. As well as affect your performance and well-being.

Also, focus on your primary devices. Like your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Decluttering these devices will have an immediate impact on your daily life.

3. Organize your files and folders

One of the best ways to declutter your digital space is to organize your files and folders. Create a systematic file organization structure. Use clear, intuitive folder names and categorize files logically. Use color coding to quickly identify specific subjects. This makes locating documents easier and prevents clutter from accumulating.

Delete or archive any files that you don’t need anymore. Back up your important data to a cloud service or an external drive.

4. Clean up your email inbox

Your email inbox can be a source of stress and distraction. Especially if it’s overflowing with unread or unwanted messages.

To declutter your email inbox, you can:

  • Unsubscribe from newsletters or promotional emails that you don’t read or need.
  • Use filters or labels to sort your emails by sender, subject, or priority.
  • Archive or delete old or irrelevant emails.
  • Set up a folder or label for the current year, quarter, or month, and move your emails there.
  • Refresh your email signature and make sure it has your correct information.

5. Clean up your social media

Social media can be a great way to connect with others. But it can also be a source of digital clutter. Especially if you have too many accounts, posts, messages, or notifications.

To declutter your social media accounts, you can:

  • Delete or deactivate any accounts that you don’t use or need.
  • Unfollow or mute any accounts that don’t add value to your life.
  • Clear your message inboxes and delete any spam or unwanted messages.
  • Delete or archive any posts or photos that you don’t want to keep.
  • Adjust your privacy and notification settings to suit your preferences.

6. Review your subscriptions

Another way to declutter your digital space is to review your subscriptions. You may have signed up for services that you don’t use or need anymore. Cancel any subscriptions that you don’t need. These may include streaming services, membership sites, cloud services, or mobile apps.

This decluttering move can help you save money besides streamlining your digital environment.

7. Review and delete unused apps

Apps can clutter your device and drain its resources. Review your apps and delete the ones you seldom use. Keep only essential applications to optimize device performance.

Old, unused mobile apps can also pose a security risk. If you’re not using the app, it’s likely outdated. Update any apps that you’re keeping to properly secure them.

8. Clear your desktop and downloads folder

A cluttered desktop and downloads folder can hamper productivity. Move files to appropriate folders and clear your desktop. This creates a clean, distraction-free workspace. It can also speed up your computer.

9. Secure your digital identity

Review your online accounts. Delete unused accounts and update passwords for security. Consider using a reputable password manager to enhance your online security.

10. Evaluate your digital habits

Reflect on your digital habits. Identify time-wasting activities and limit them. Set boundaries for social media and focus on meaningful online interactions.

11. Create digital detox days

Set up specific days for a digital detox. Disconnect from screens. Engage in physical activities and spend quality time with loved ones. Regular digital detox fosters mental well-being.

12. Streamline notifications

Excessive notifications can overwhelm and distract. You may feel like you’re not getting anything done because of constant interruptions. Customize app notifications, allowing only essential alerts. This minimizes distractions and enhances focus.

13. Invest in digital tools

Use productivity apps and tools. Project management apps, note-taking tools, and calendars help streamline tasks and enhance efficiency.

14. Practice regular maintenance

Digital decluttering is not a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process. Schedule regular maintenance sessions to keep your digital life organized and clutter-free.

Need Help with Data Management Solutions?

Here’s to stepping into the new year with a clear, focused mind and a more organized digital life. We can help you keep your data under control. We offer effective data storage, backup, and management solutions.

Contact us today to schedule a chat.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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11 Ways to Responsibly Get Rid of E-Waste at Your Home or Office

In our tech-driven world, electronic devices have become indispensable. But with constant upgrades, what happens to the old gadgets? They tend to pile up and eat up storage space. But you can’t just throw them in the trash. E-waste poses a significant environmental threat if not disposed of responsibly.

E-waste is a term that refers to electronic devices that are no longer useful or wanted. These include things like:

  • Computers
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Printers
  • Cameras
  • TVs
  • and more

E-waste can contain hazardous materials. Such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and brominated flame retardants. These can harm the environment and human health if they are not disposed of properly.

E-waste comprises about 70% of toxic waste. People only recycle 12.5% of it.

So, what can you do to responsibly get rid of e-waste at your home or office? Here are some tips.

1. Understand What Makes Up E-Waste

E-waste includes old computers, smartphones, printers, and other electronic devices. It also comprises batteries, chargers, and even cables. Understanding what makes up e-waste is the first step towards responsible disposal.

Most people simply aren’t aware of what e-waste includes. This is a big reason that most of it ends up in landfills. Which is not good for us or the environment.

2. Reduce Your E-Waste

The next step is to reduce the amount of e-waste you generate in the first place. This means buying only what you need. Also choosing durable and energy-efficient products. As well as extending the lifespan of your devices by repairing them when possible.

Before buying a new electronic device, ask if it’s necessary. Can more than one person share a company tablet, for example? In some cases, everyone in a family or office might not need a duplicate device.

3. Explore Recycling Programs

Many electronics retailers and manufacturers have recycling programs. Research local options. Retailers often collect old gadgets, ensuring they are recycled or disposed of properly. These programs are convenient and eco-friendly.

Here are a couple you can check out:

4. Use E-Waste Recycling Centers

E-waste recycling centers specialize in disposing of electronic devices safely. They dismantle gadgets, recycle valuable components, and dispose of hazardous materials responsibly. Locate a certified e-waste recycling center near you for proper disposal.

Here are a few sites where you can find recycling centers:

5. Consider Donating or Selling Functioning Devices

If your old devices are still functional, consider donating them. Many charities and schools accept functional electronics. Or you can sell them online through reputable platforms. This gives gadgets a new life and reduces e-waste.

Make sure you properly clean data from old devices first. You don’t want someone having access to your online banking app or all your family photos. Keep on reading for tips on doing this properly.

6. Dispose of Batteries Separately

Batteries, especially rechargeable ones, contain hazardous materials. Many retailers and recycling centers have dedicated bins for battery disposal. Always separate batteries from other e-waste for proper handling.

7. Try Manufacturer Take-Back Programs

Several electronic manufacturers offer take-back programs. When you buy a new device, inquire about their disposal programs. Some manufacturers take back old gadgets, ensuring responsible recycling or refurbishment.

8. Opt for Certified E-Waste Recyclers

When using e-waste recycling services, choose certified recyclers. Look for certifications like R2 or e-Stewards. These certifications ensure that the recycling process meets high environmental standards. As well as data security protocols.

9. Educate Your Office or Household

Awareness is key. Educate your office or household about the importance of responsible e-waste disposal. Encourage everyone to take part and follow proper disposal methods.

10. Repurpose or Upcycle

Get creative. You can often repurpose or upcycle old electronics. Turn an old computer monitor into a digital photo frame. Use smartphone parts for DIY projects. Upcycling reduces waste and adds a touch of innovation.

11. Encourage Manufacturer Responsibility

Support companies that take environmental responsibility seriously. Choose products from manufacturers committed to sustainable practices and responsible e-waste management.

Make Sure to Secure Data Before Disposal, Sale, or Donation

Before parting with your devices, wipe all data. Otherwise, you could become the victim of cybercrime. It’s not unusual for criminals to troll dumps for old electronics. Remove all traces of your data to keep yourself protected.

Use reliable data erasure software. Or consult with an IT professional to securely wipe information from old gadgets. Data security is crucial even in disposal.

Get Help Backing Up & Cleaning Devices

It’s important to both back up and remove all data from devices before you get rid of them. We can help with expert data migration from the old device to the new one. As well as thorough data cleaning to ensure all information is removed.

Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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