3 Important Questions to Ask in Light of Recent Security Compromises

Tuned in to any IT-related news over the last month or so? Then you may have noticed the avalanche of cybersecurity revelations. First, in mid-September, Home Depot admitted that a malware-based data breach had compromised the credit card information of more than 56 million customers—the largest retail data breach ever. Later that month, JPMorgan Chase revealed that a summer cyberattack put the financial and personal details of 76 million customers at risk.

In early October, the security of flashlight apps on mobile devices came into question: were they stealing passwords, accessing calendars, or even tracking us via geo-location services? (Turns out they could, but most of them probably aren’t.) Then, on Oct. 15, Google researchers working with a team of international IT experts discovered Poodle, a bug in the 15-year-old open-source web encryption technology SSL 3.0 that shared similarities with earlier security issues like the Heartbleed vulnerability and the Shellshock bug. And on Oct. 20, a New York Times article revealed that hackers were amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars of charges on small-business phone bills thanks to the fact that most lines now run over the Internet and are subject to breaches.

Luckily, most of these problems didn’t have as far-reaching of an impact as originally anticipated. But the endless litany of stories highlighting security flaw after security flaw certainly highlights the need to take IT security more seriously.

That’s where CMIT comes in. Since 1996, we’ve worked hard to keep small to medium-sized businesses safe, putting proactive systems and services to work for our clients. If any of the issues outlined above raises a red flag for you, consider the following three questions—and then consider the benefit of making your work life safer, more productive, and, with the right set of security tools, more conducive to an improved bottom line.

1) What are the main threats? Data breaches, malware, and viruses represent the Big 3. Due to the persistence of hackers and cyber thieves, data can be compromised anywhere, at any time. Meanwhile, the difference between malware and viruses is simple: malware is a broad term that includes viruses, spyware, adware, Trojan horses, and worms, among other bugs. A virus is a program that copies itself from one place to another. All viruses qualify as malware, but not all malware qualifies as a virus.

2) Where do these threats exist? Unfortunately, they have popped up everywhere. In the cloud, where data might be compromised on the way “up” from your computer or on the way back “down” from data centers; on mobile devices, where malware attacks increased nearly 100% from 2013 to 2014; on any operating systems new or old, Windows or Mac; and on social networks, where clicking on that shocking video or too-good-to-be-true offer can end up compromising your data—and that of all your friends.

3) How can these threats be stopped? The solutions seem simple—it’s putting them to work that often presents challenges. Strong, unique passwords are a must, as is top-flight data encryption to protect your information and that of your clients. What does the future hold? User-centric managed ecosystems, which deemphasize the number of physical computers and systems and instead consider the employee and however many devices he/she uses as the focus, are becoming increasingly popular.

If you’re still not sure how to navigate the tricky terrain of IT security—or whether you even need to worry about it in the first place—CMIT Solutions can help. Contact us today to find out more about our commitment to defending your network, protecting your data, and empowering your team to be more productive. We worry about IT so you don’t have to.

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