Azcomp Technologies IT December 2017

HOW TO DEFEND AGAINST SECURITY ATTACKS Popular Hacking Methods and How to Deter Them It seems that every few weeks, the news is inundated with stories of the latest large-scale cyberattack. FromWannaCry ransomware and the Equifax hack to stories of attacks on celebrities, there’s always a new cybercrime showing up in headlines. While these breaches may garner the lion’s share of press coverage, attacks on small businesses are just as common. You may be thinking that your business is too small to warrant attention from hackers. Think again. Hackers target small businesses precisely because they lack the robust defenses of larger corporations. Unless you stay informed on the latest attack methods, you’ll leave your company’s sensitive data vulnerable. Here are some of the preferred methods hackers use to break into networks. SOCIAL (MEDIA) ENGINEERING HACKS Rather than using code to break into a network, this type of hack exploits human vulnerabilities. By snooping on social media profiles, a criminal will pose as an employee and call a service provider like a cellphone company, seeking to gain personal information. They may ask for passwords, Social Security numbers, or other private data. Once gathered, this information can be used to nefarious ends. EMAIL PHISHING Phishing is a favorite of hackers. With these scams, innocuous- looking emails are sent, prompting users to click on a corrupt link that exploits the user’s network. The email may look like it’s from a company seeking to fix a problem or offering a service, but the real intent is to break into your system. Advise all of your employees to avoid clicking on links that come from unexpected emails, texts, or social media messages to avoid getting phished. BRUTE FORCE PASSWORD ATTACKS These attacks aren’t the most sophisticated, but they work all the same. To execute password-based attacks, hackers run software that produces millions of possible password combinations. If they have some of your personal information, they will use it to limit the number of attempts required to break in. The best defense against these attacks is to use complex passwords that are difficult to guess. Even better is to use VPN codes for all network users. FAULT INJECTION Only high-level hackers can use fault injection, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a concern. These attacks target weaknesses in your code itself. Once a hacker gets in, they have free reign over your data and systems. To avoid this fate, you need to regularly update your operating system and software for security patches. You can read more about that elsewhere in this issue. One of the biggest struggles for many small businesses is having enough people to help with smaller but important tasks like network and cybersecurity. Give us a call and we can help you come up with a plan for protecting your data and your network from these cybercriminals.

ALEXA’S NEW FACE The Echo Show’s Touch Screen Creates New Possibilities Since launching in 2015, the Amazon Echo smartspeaker has continued to adapt to the needs of the user. Alexa, the Echo’s voice-controlled, intelligent personal assistant, can now perform over 25,000 skills, from playing “Jeopardy” to controlling your thermostat. Now the Echo Show is adding a whole new dimension to the device’s capabilities. With the addition of both a 7-inch HD touch screen and camera, the Show is far more than a speaker with brains. Now, when you ask Alexa for the weather, she can show you the forecast for the week. Phoning a friend? Make it a hands-free video call. Want to check who’s at the front door? Link your Echo Show to a doorbell cam and see who’s knocking. Ask Alexa to display the lyrics to your new favorite song or the directions for that recipe you’ve always wanted to try. Adding a screen has done little to negatively impact the Echo. Its Dolby processing speakers still have enough oomph to fill a whole room, and the device can seamlessly pair with other speakers to fill your whole house with music. The new design does sacrifice the omnidirectional sound quality offered by other Echo speakers, and you’ll notice some muffling if you face the device away from you. But with thoughtful placement, the Show can compete with any smartspeaker system in its class. With the accessibility offered by a touch screen and camera, brand-new possibilities are opened up for the future. Amazon is constantly adding skills for Alexa, and having a video element provides flexible avenues for future development. The Echo Show is on the cutting edge of technology, combining both aural and touch inputs into a single, smart interface. As our thermostats, doorbells, and TVs continue to grow “smarter,” devices like the Echo will become more and more essential. It’s nice to have a device with the capabilities to both show and tell us what we need to know.

Win a $25 Amazon gift card! Here is the trivia question of the month. The first person to call in and give us the correct answer wins the gift card!

Every Christmas, Coca-Cola includes Santa on their cans. In which decade did this practice originate? First person to call Neili at 888-358-2667 will win the gift card!

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