How to Respond to a Data Breach

These days, data breaches seem to be daily occurances. Most of the time, we may be learning that the breach happened to someone else and the end users are being notified to act accordingly. But what if it happens to your firm or organization? This FTC article discusses the first steps to take and has links to additional information. Contact us as well. We can help. 

You suspect that your business experienced a data breach. Maybe an employee lost a laptop, or a hacker got into your customer database, or information was inadvertently posted on your website. Whatever happened, you’re probably wondering what to do next. 

The FTC’s new Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business outlines the steps to take and whom to contact. Here’s a glimpse of what’s inside.

You’ll need to move quickly to secure your systems. Some immediate steps include:

  • Secure physical areas potentially related to the breach. Lock them and change codes, if needed.
  • Stop additional data loss. Take all affected equipment offline right away, but be careful not to destroy evidence. Monitor all access points to your system. If a hacker stole credentials, you’ll need to change those credentials too, even if you’ve removed the hacker’s tools.
  • Remove improperly posted information from the web. After you clean up your site, conduct a search to make sure other sites haven’t posted the information. If they have, ask them to remove it.


Protect Now or Pay Later

It's that time of year - shopping season!  An online is becoming a bigger and bigger part of it. Here's some reminders of what to do and NOT to do to keep your online identity safe.

What's a consumer to do in the age of online holiday shopping?

Where there's money there are thieves nearby. That's the biggest risk facing online shoppers today, whether through phishing, stolen credit cards, mobile malware, or worse, stolen identities.

It's only going to get worse, experts predict. In the next three years, online sales are forecasted to increase by more than 50% to $520 billion annually, according to Forrester Research. Consequently, we should expect to see at least an equal rise (if not more) in the number of attempted theft.

What's a consumer to do, especially as we approach what's expected to be another record year for online holiday shopping? Here are some helpful tips, according to the latest security advisories.


Safe Online Shopping

 'Tis the season! Soon...

The shopping season is coming and if you're a modern consumer you're going to be doing at least some of your holiday shopping online. The problem is that some of the most dangerous places on the web aren't places selling products and services. So while that super special deal on the hottest new toy or gadget might seem hard to resist, you'll be paying for it time and again if you purchase from a compromised website.

One of the worst things that can happen when you're using the Internet is for your financial information to be compromised, but that's exactly what can happen when you use the Internet for purchases. A third-party attacker can gain access to your financial information and wreak havoc on your bank account through malicious or fake websites.

If you plan to do any online shopping this year, it's important to know how to identify a secure online website. The best way to protect yourself from cybercriminals is to be educated about online shopping threats, and the recourses available to you.


Small Business-An Easy Cybercrime Target

Editor's note - "Can't happen here!", you say. Our experience is different. Nearly every week, our staff responds to security and other concerns that falls into the area of cybercrime. Most are fairly minor issues, however, we've worked with local clients with potentially devastating and costly breaches.

As an entrepreneur, you probably think hackers won’t bother with you because your business is too small to care about. In reality, cybercrime targeting smaller companies is on the rise. Why are cybercriminals after your business—and what can you do about it?

Cybercrimes cost smaller companies 12% more in 2015 than in 2013. Not only is it growing, it disproportionately affects small businesses. Visa estimates 95% of credit-card data breaches it finds happen to its smallest business customers.

When it happens, the consequences of cybercrime can be devastating to a small company. Cybercrime costs small businesses 4.2 times more per employee than it does larger businesses, and 60% of small businesses that experience a data breach go out of business within six months.

What makes your business such a tempting target for cybercriminals? Here are some of the weaknesses that attract hackers—and how you can best defend yourself against each.


Ransomware - A Growing Menace

Ransomware is tough subject. It's getting worse. There has been a significant increase in activity by a malicious ransomware software called Troldesh.

We have recognized that systems that are not actively managed or have no system access management policies are exceptionally susceptible to the current version of ransomware. The same can be said for systems with poorly implemented security systems.


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