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Cyber Threats. How Real Are They?


Working in the IT field I often see a common occurrence with businesses and consumers alike. Everyone hears about large companies being hacked or their neighbors computer catching a virus, but often times people do not put as much priority on their computers security as they should. We all hope that it never happens to us, and many people think they are too small to be a target for hackers. The truth is, smaller targets are often easier to attack so instead of spending months trying to penetrate a large corporation or financial institution, hackers will spend far less time attacking many small businesses at once.  If they cast a much larger net they are likely to catch a lot of small fish.

When discussing securing a network and computers, often businesses don't like the idea of suddenly increasing their IT budget to do things the right way. In some cases, this is the first time they have even considered having an IT budget!  I mean, they haven't had this expense before so why do they need it now? They haven't had any problems yet so they should be fine right? Well, the problem with that is technology continues to advance and cyber attacks continue to evolve, which gives hackers more ways to attack and better tools to attack with. 

Have you ever typed in the google search bar the word "hack" under the news tab? If you haven't, I ask you to try it. There are new articles posted constantly about another business, financial institution, government office, being hacked. This is a very real problem and if you are not sure your network is secure, you may want to consider bringing a professional in to assess the situation for you.

So what can you do if you are not currently in a position to hire a professional to secure your network? Here is a small checklist:

(Disclaimer: This is not going to 100% protect you, but it's a start)

1. Make sure all of your systems have updated antivirus

2. Make sure all systems are fully updated - This means Windows updates and software patches.

3. Learn about social engineering and train your staff on how to identify and prevent engineered attacks (We will be providing training materials on this for our customers)

4. Backup your data!

This checklist needs to be done consistently in order for it to be effective.

Of course doing these things on your own can definitely help, but hiring a professional is always going to be your best option! As always, if you need a hand with your network security, the Europa IT Team is here to help. Don't wait for something bad to happen before taking action. A proactive approach will always be better than a reactionary approach when it comes to your cyber security.p

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A few more

Some others:

- Avoid clicking on links sent in emails unless you are certain they go where they are supposed to

- Watch the address bar carefully. It should start with http or https and contain a real URL to the real site

- Use a firewall

- Make sure your browsers and email software stay up-to-date

- Don't click on unknown email attachments.

- When in doubt, ask someone else for their opinion before doing anything.

 
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Thank you for adding more

Thank you for adding more suggestions :) Lately we have seen an uptick in businesses contacting us due to some form of cyberattack so we are encouraging our community to be proactive and diligent!

 
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Is your headset a portal?

I have wondered if you keep a headset plugged into your computer audio and speaker jacks (like when you make skype calls), is that headset a portal for listening from an outside online source while you're not using it?

 
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If you use google chrome you

If you use google chrome you can enter this address into your address bar: chrome://settings/content

If you scroll down you can make sure websites ask permission before accessing your microphone and you can also manage any exceptions.

If you are asking if an individual could listen to your microphone, I would say it is possible, but pretty unlikely.

As with anything, if you believe something is happening on your computer without your permission, please bring it to a professional.

 
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Yes

Speakers can easily be reversed to act as microphones.

This story describes "malware that converts your headphones into makeshift microphones that can slyly record your conversations."

https://www.wired.com/2016/11/great-now-even-headphones-can-spy/

"The experimental malware instead repurposes the speakers in earbuds or headphones to use them as microphones, converting the vibrations in air into electromagnetic signals to clearly capture audio from across a room."

 

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