By -- 2019-05-21 in Blog

The majority of us interact with some form of social media on a daily basis. Whether we use it for business or staying connected with friends, it is quickly becoming such an integral part of our daily lives. Given the growing constant prevalence of social media, an alarming statistic has arisen from a recent report from RSA security. The 2019 report, which was published in a recent CNET article, stated that fraud attacks on social media have increased by 43% in the past year. Cybercriminals have been carrying out criminal activities on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp due to their low costs and ease of use.

It’s easy to get overly comfortable with something you do, or use every day, but this recent rise in criminal activity across social media platforms should serve as a warning and reminder that cybercriminals are lurking. A few friendly reminders are as follows:

  1. Always be suspicious of any solicitation that appears to be too good to be true, even if it comes from a friend, and run your mouse over links that are sent to you and make sure the URL matches up with the actual website of the vendor it claims to be directing you to.
  2. Consider using an alternate phone number (which can be given to you via Google Voice or TextFree) when filling out contact information forms while making purchases. This will help prevent port-out scams and two-factor authentication fraud.
  3. Use strong passwords. If you’re worried about remembering multiple complex passwords, consider using a password manager such as LastPass.

As always, OptfinITy is happy to answer any questions you may have regarding technology. If you have any questions or concerns about staying safe on social media, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400 or shoot us an email at info@optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-05-14 in Blog

With the dramatic increase in the use of mobile devices for business operations, it is important to make sure you have the company’s devices secured. Unfortunately, this apparently is not the case according to a recent itnews.com article. In this article, they have found that approximately 33% of businesses surveyed have experienced a data breach and/or were infected via mobile devices. This is up 5% from a year before and can be expected to continue to rise.

Why is this a recently growing problem? This recent increase can be attributed to both the business’s failure to maintain minimum levels of security for mobile devices or perceiving mobile devices as safer than other devices. With the increasing presence of malicious apps and rogue wireless hotspots, and the increased probability of falling for a phishing scam, mobile device users need to be trained and educated on the vulnerabilities associated with mobile devices. Organizations also need to take initiative and ensure their mobile security standards are on par with the cybersecurity standards for their other devices and not sacrifice mobile security to decrease the amount of time it takes to get the job done.

If your organization uses mobile devices for business operations or you wish to enroll your employees in a proper training, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400, shoot us an email at info@optfinity.com or visit us on the web at www.optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-05-9 in Blog

In the wake of two-factor authentication frequently being recommended to combat malicious hackers, another security threat has arisen: port-out scams. Port-out scams involve hackers trying to steal your phone number and transfer it to another carrier, allowing them access to any account that requires a text message confirmation to access. Considering many people’s bank and financial accounts are set up for SMS two-factor authentication, this is a horrific reality. A recent CNET article provides some suggestions on how to prevent your phone number from being stolen by hackers and avoid having your accounts compromised.

For starters, it’s always good to prevent the hacking of your accounts in the first place. To do this, use a password manager to keep track of multiple complex passwords and ensure they are different for each account. In the event your account is hacked, to prevent fraudulent use of your number for two-factor authentication, it is best to avoid the use of SMS altogether. Instead, it is recommended that you use your email or an authenticator app. Furthermore, you may consider using a disposable number which you can get from Google Voice or Textfree, anytime you are giving out your number to anyone besides your friends, family or bank.

As always, OptfinITy is happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have related to technology. If you have any questions or concerns about port-out scams, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400 or shoot us an email at info@optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-05-2 in Blog

For the first time ever, Google raised its prices on G-suite last month. G Suite has helped businesses transform the way they work by consistently adding more tools, functionality and value to their product and has decided to raise its prices for G Suite Basic Edition from $5 per month to $6 per month (per mailbox), and from $10 per month to $12 per month (per mailbox) for its G Suite Business Edition. The G Suite Enterprise Edition will remain $25 per month (per mailbox).

These price increases are already in effect for monthly plans and you can expect them to change once your subscription renews if you are on an annual plan. If you have any questions about which G Suite is best for your organization, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400 or shoot us an email at info@optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-04-8 in Blog

If you still use Windows 7, you are far from alone. In fact, nearly 40 percent of the world’s PCs still run Windows 7. While it has already been widely publicized that Microsoft will end its support for Windows 7 in January of 2020, there is a lesser known detail that Windows 7 users need to pay attention to. This detail, according to an itnews.com article, is whether or not you have security updates enabled for your system.

If you are regularly blocking Windows security updates, which isn’t a good idea in the first place, you will not want to block the one that was sent out in March. The reason it is important to not block this one in particular is because if you fail to implement this update by July 16th, 2019, your Windows 7 support will stop in July, six months sooner than the established support deadline.

As always, OptfinITy is here to answer any of your technology related questions. If you have any concerns about this Windows 7 update or any other questions or concerns relating to technology, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400, visit us on our website at www.optfinity.com,  or send us an email at info@optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-04-1 in Blog

If your organization hasn’t switched to the cloud yet, now is the time. According to a recent smallbiztrends.com article, small businesses that have switched to the cloud have been able to cut costs and increase profits, as well as improve overall efficiency and security. The cloud allows businesses to operate from any location at any time, making them more appealing to do business with, resulting in increased sales and growth. The ability to work remotely also leads to increased productivity by allowing co-workers to collaborate on tasks from different locations. Users of the cloud also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with the ability to automatically back up their data in a safe location, allowing their business to bounce back more quickly in the event of a data breach. These automatic backups also are money savers since they take away any incentive to pay criminals in the event of a ransomware attack. Finally, using the cloud is cheaper since expenses such as software licensing, upgrade fees, and server maintenance are avoided.

OptfinITy is a strong advocate and user of the cloud, so if you have any questions about moving your organization to the cloud don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400, send us an email at info@optfinity.com or visit us on our website at www.optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-03-26 in Blog

It’s always exciting to buy a new laptop and having the latest technology at your fingertips, but you should not overlook the threats that exist and take the necessary precautions to protect your investment. A recent itnews.com article provides a few good ways to ensure your new laptop maintains the highest level of performance possible.

The first thing you should do is install trusted security software to prevent your computer from being infected with malware and viruses. Although macOS and Windows come with built-in security features, the best way to secure your device is to invest in software dedicated to cybersecurity.

Secondly, you should strongly consider using a VPN while connecting to public Wi-Fi. If you don’t use a VPN, you are risking having incoming and outgoing information intercepted by cybercriminals lurking on the network.

Last, but not least, be sure to constantly back up all your data. This is the most crucial action you can take to be sure that even in the event of your laptop being compromised, you won’t even need to consider spending copious amounts of time and money trying to get your data back.

If you are in the process of purchasing a new laptop or need help making the purchase or have recently invested in a new one and aren’t sure about the best ways to keep it secure, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400 or send us an email at info@optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-03-21 in Blog

While it is important to maintain a high level of cybersecurity for your organization to protect your customer’s data, it is equally as important to ensure the vendors you are doing business with are demonstrating the same commitment to security. A recent article provides some of the threats associated with third-party hacks and how to prevent the negative consequences that come with these breaches.

According to a survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute, more than half of the organizations who experienced a data breach resulted from vendor breaches. However, only 35 percent of organizations had documented specifically which third parties they were sharing sensitive information with, and only 18 percent knew if those vendors were in turn sharing that same information with other parties.

The reason these statistics are alarming is because customers do not care how their data was stolen. They care about who they trusted their information with in the first place. Therefore, organizations who don’t know with whom their data is being shared with or are not sure about the cybersecurity standards of their vendors are putting themselves at risk of not only being breached but also risk being sued by their clients.

Organizations can protect themselves from supply chain breaches by evaluating the cybersecurity policies of their vendors and ensuring that they are performing self-assessments and purchasing cyber insurance. They can also audit their vendors by performing penetration tests, which check to see where data is being held and how well protected it is.

As a company who works with smaller businesses and organizations, OptfinITy understands the importance of data security across all vendors and is always happy to answer any questions you may have related to cybersecurity. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 703-790-0400 or send us an email at info@optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-03-12 in Blog

Without a doubt, artificial intelligence (AI) has already increased business productivity and will continue to do so in the future. However, if in the wrong hands, AI can be used to execute cyberattacks more efficiently than ever seen before, and we can expect to see more automated attacks in the next few years. A recent entrepreneur.com article covers some of the ways cybercriminals will use AI to carry out catastrophic cyberattacks and how to best prepare your organization.

The first area of security that AI is already assisting malicious hackers with is password guessing. Hackers can use AI to locate previously stolen passwords and use them to hack into other accounts, or even predict people’s future passwords.

The second form of AI that is increasingly becoming more of an issue is the use of malicious bots. In less than 15 seconds, bots can take full control of a network, scan for employee workstations and begin stealing data, making it difficult for an IT team to fix the issue before it’s too late. Chatbots can also be manipulated to steal personal information, which is already a problem in dating apps and websites.

It is important that organizations act now to limit their exposure to AI cyberattacks. A couple recommendations include moving critical assets to a secure cloud platform and implementing a strong password policy. It is also important to have a plan in place for when a disaster strikes, and finally, consider using a Managed Service Provider that offers 24×7 network monitoring. Fortunately, OptfinITy offers this as part of our services and we are always happy to answer any of your questions or concerns regarding IT. If you have any questions, give us a call at 703-790-0400, send us an email at info@optfinity.com or visit our website at www.optfinity.com.

By -- 2019-03-8 in Blog

There have been many ransomware attacks in the news over the past year involving major cities including San Diego and Atlanta, but the latest reported attack reminds us that smaller jurisdictions are susceptible as well. A recent statescoop.com article reported that the Jackson County, Georgia, a county of merely 60,000 residents, was hit with a ransomware attack and ended up paying the $400,000 ransom.

In the aftermath of the attack the county’s agencies were locked out of most of their systems and forced to carry out their operations on paper. After consulting with cybersecurity experts, the county manager made the decision to pay the ransom rather than rebuild the county’s networks, which would have ended up costing more time and money than paying the ransom itself.

This recent attack should serve as a reminder to small business owners on the importance of cybersecurity. Although you hear mainly about data breaches occurring in larger companies or cities such as Marriott or Atlanta, these attacks can target smaller businesses as well and can be even more catastrophic. If you have any questions or concerns about ransomware or cybersecurity infrastructure for your organization, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400, shoot us an email at info@optfinity.com or visit us on our website at www.optfinity.com.