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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

What Actually Happens to Deleted Data?

Chances are, you’ve gone through some old files and weeded through them, deleting what is no longer needed. This is especially important when you are upgrading your storage and getting rid of your existing storage media or an old computer. Let’s talk about what really happens when you’re doing so—chances are, you may be overlooking a serious security issue.

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Why a Single Sign-On Actually Improves Security

Have you ever wondered how some platforms will only have you log in once for all of your various needs, even though they might be different applications, websites, or services? This is essentially what single sign-on is, and it’s quite common in the technology world today. What is single sign-on exactly, and what kind of security does it actually provide for organizations that use it?

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Your Employee Data is Important to Protect Too

When we talk about data privacy in a business, the default is to generally think about the data the business has collected and compiled from its clientele. However, that’s just one type of data a business has. There’s also a lot of data that is collected by the business about that business’ employees. So, how well protected is this data?

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Monitoring Remote Workers is a Touchy Subject

With so many employees still working remotely, organizations have turned to technology to ensure that their workers are actually… you know, working. While the need to know what your employees are up to throughout the workday is important, there is now a discussion happening on whether or not this violates employees’ privacy.

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Microsoft Warns Against Password Spraying

As time has passed, cybersecurity attacks have become another way some organizations and nations engage in warfare. You can argue that there is a war going on at all times in cyberspace while hackers—many of which are sponsored by government agencies—try to outdo security researchers at all turns. One such scenario sees customers in the United States and Israeli defense technology sectors becoming the target of “password spraying.”

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Yes, You Can Outsource Hacking

Have you ever wondered what it takes to hire a hacker to perform a specific task? Thanks to the findings of Comparitech, we can get a look into the average pricings of various hacking services that can be found on the Dark Web. While we would never condone ever taking advantage of such services, it’s a fascinating look into the business of cybercrime, and one that can give you an idea of just how easy and accessible it is for hackers to make your life difficult.

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Encryption Is a Major Key to Security

The term “encryption” has found its way into the mainstream, appearing just about anywhere information security is brought up. Whether it is ransomware encrypting data or the encryption protecting your password security, it is a powerful tool that can be used for both good and evil. Let’s discuss the former and how you might use encryption in the workplace.

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4 Ways to Keep Your Mobile Devices Safe While Traveling

The world might still be suffering from a pandemic, but travel is slowly starting to pick up once again. When you feel safe and comfortable traveling again, it is of critical importance that you take steps to secure your technology while out of the office—especially your mobile devices. Here are some big ways that you can prioritize security while traveling.

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Privacy Engineering is the Key to a More Secure Future

Data privacy is a bit of a hot topic in today’s business environment, especially with high-profile hacks and ransomware attacks emerging and putting organizations at risk. In particular, the emerging concept of “privacy engineering” has a lot of businesses thinking about how they can secure their organization and future-proof their data privacy infrastructures.

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Tip of the Week: Keeping Peeping Eyes Out of Your Webcam

With many—if not most—computers and especially laptops featuring integrated webcams at this point, it isn’t hard to imagine how disastrous it would be to be spied on through it. Let’s take a few moments and go over a few ways to be sure that your webcam isn’t being used without your consent by someone else.

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Facebook’s Massive Data Leak

Facebook is many people’s favorite—or at least most used—app and it does bring value to people by letting them keep tabs on friends and family, or grow their businesses. It has grown to be one of the largest, most successful software technology companies in the world. Unfortunately, with that type of exposure comes the responsibility of securing massive amounts of personal data. In this quest, they leave a lot to be decided. Today, we take a look at the situation Facebook is in as they are dealing with one of the largest data leaks in history.

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Do Google’s New Policies on User Data Privacy Indicate Larger Changes?

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, online privacy has been highlighted significantly in recent years—in no small part due to the sale of our profiles by the tech giants that provide today’s most (in)famous websites… including and especially Google. Having said this, it is also important to acknowledge that some of Google’s recent policy changes could suggest that this may change at some point.

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Pros and Cons of Biometric Security

A lot has been made about biometric authentication over the past decade, so much so that it has been loosely integrated into a lot of the access control mechanisms on most modern mobile devices. Fingerprint scanners, retina scanners, and facial recognition are all part of the transition to biometrics to enhance security and privacy. For modern businesses, however, implementing biometrics can have some major drawbacks. Today, we will go over the pros and cons of biometric authentication.

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Conduct a Security and Compliance Audit, You Won’t Regret It

If you are an avid reader of our blog, we are constantly saying how there are always a growing number of threats. This is true. Two-in-every-three business owners consider that their cybersecurity risks are increasing each year. The other third must not focus on them, and that is a problem. In fact, many business owners don’t give the proper respect to cyberthreats and many of those businesses pay the price. This is why every business should consider a security and compliance audit a mandatory part of their yearly IT assessment. 

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Your Success Comes Down to Your People

We’re getting close to the end of 2020. Finally? Has it been a long year for you? Has it gone by really fast? I think every other day I have a different opinion about it.

Either way, it’s time to look at 2021. A fresh start, a clean slate. I think if there is one big mindset all business owners and C-levels need to take into consideration for 2021, it’s their people.

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Is Security Being Sacrificed for the Sake of Convenience?

While this time of year is always huge for online retail, there is likely to be a much larger number of people turning to the Internet for their holiday purchases than usual… and, it would seem, a larger number of people taking security into consideration as they do so. Let’s examine how consumers are taking their data into their own hands and what this means for your business.

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How to Beat Cybercrime and Stay Secure

Unfortunately, it is hard for the modern business to keep all of their data secure. There are just so many threats that most businesses leak data without even knowing it. There are things you can do, however. Today we will go through four considerations that can help you stay ahead of cybercriminals. 

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Is Your Smart Assistant Undermining Your Security?

Smart assistants commonly appear in the office and home, so much so that the novelty seems to have finally worn off and they are now just another appliance—and, like any other appliance, there are a few quirks that can be frustrating to deal with. For instance, anyone living around these devices has shared a particular experience: the device registering something as a wake word that certainly wasn’t meant to be the wake word.

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Cybercrime Spiking During the Pandemic

Keeping your network and infrastructure free from threats is always a priority, but with so many people working remotely businesses have encountered problems doing so. In fact, hackers, known for their opportunism, have been ultra-opportunistic during this period and it is causing many headaches for network administrators. Let’s take a look at some statistics that are definitely concerning as we head into the fall, where many experts expect the virus to become more problematic. 

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What Would Happen if All Data Was Publically Available?

What if I were to tell you that, by the time you finished reading this sentence, all personal data in existence was exposed? If every text sent, every Google search executed, every website visited, everything we had ever done online, was made public? Gizmodo recently reached out to an assortment of experts for their insights. Here, we’ve assembled their responses for you to consider.

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Do Your Privacy Practices Line Up With Your Privacy Expectations?

How concerned are you about your data privacy, as a consumer, particularly when you entrust it to another business? If you answered “very”, you aren’t alone… 87 percent of Americans consider their data privacy to be a human right. Having said that, most don’t pay near enough attention to their own security precautions. Let’s take a few moments and examine this trend.

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Can My Boss Use a Webcam to Monitor Me at Home?

Many businesses concerned with productivity are considering using webcams to monitor their remote employees’ work habits. While it seems like a good idea, the biggest challenge is determining when using a webcam to measure productivity transforms into spying on your team.

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Let’s Go Through Some Security Best Practices

While there is no question that security is important to any business, there is often a disconnect between this principle and any actual implementations that it reflects. Unfortunately, this can often leave a business vulnerable. To prevent this outcome, it is important that you follow a few best practices when it comes to fortifying your business against attack.

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Don’t Get Phished Out of Your Stimulus Payment

Wherever there is money, there are scammers. So it may not be a big surprise that scammers are out en masse trying to get between you and your federally mandated stimulus money.  It’s bad enough that we’ve already seen a couple of phishing scams using the COVID-19 pandemic that are designed to help hackers get into accounts they have no business in, now that these scammers know that people are getting cash, the scams are kicked up a notch.

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Email, Banking, and Other Login Credentials of Upstate NY Users Found for Sale on the Dark Web

Our Network Operations Center (NOC) has noticed an alarmingly high number of local business accounts leaked on the Internet.

Is access to your email, your bank accounts, your website, or your social media accounts being bought and sold on the online black market? It’s more likely than you might think.

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Biometrics Has a Privacy Problem

The inclusion of biometric security systems have been all the rage in a range of organizations, due, in large part, because of the thought that other security platforms aren’t nearly as secure. Unfortunately, the superior security they are expecting may not be able to meet their expectations. Today, we will discuss biometric security, where it fits, and how it can be problematic for the small business. 

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What NY Businesses Need to Know About the SHIELD Act

On July 26, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security (or SHIELD) Act into law. With the passing of this law, businesses with operations in New York now must put certain safeguards in place to help protect the private information disclosed to them by New York residents.

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Tip of the Week: 3 Considerations When Securing Personal Information

Personal information is precious, especially in this increasingly digital day and age. This makes it incredibly important that you are doing everything you can to protect it in your business - whether it is your own or belongs to somebody else. Here, we’ll go over a few tips to help you better protect the data you’re responsible for.

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Best Practices for Your Access Management

As you oversee your business, there is a lot that you’re going to have to manage - including how much access your employees have to the data you have collected and generated throughout your operations. An access management policy can help you to accomplish this. Here, we’ll review a few key features you need to include in your strategy.

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Promoting Data Privacy

Today, everything we do on the computer and on our phones creates data. Organizations that are good at utilizing this data, often look to capture everything that they can. This can leave the individual searching for a way to keep his/her data secure. Let’s take a look at some of the best practices used to prioritize individual data privacy.

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Control Your Profile, Part III

Social media - we can’t live with it, but we really can’t seem to live without it. People who frequently read our blog will notice how often we discuss Facebook, one of the biggest players in the social media space. Seeing as privacy is one of the biggest concerns today, we’re wrapping up our short series on Facebook by reviewing the settings you might not have realized were options on your Facebook profile.

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Google Knows a Lot About You. Here’s How to Control It

Nearly everyone uses Google in some way or another. The search engine is, by far, the most common way people get answers and find content online. The margins aren’t even close, either. Currently, Google handles about 90% of search queries, while the second and third place goes to Yahoo and Bing, who share just below 5% of the search market share.

Google curates the search results on the fly based on a lot of variables including where you are located, what kind of device you are on, and your online surfing habits. This means Google is collecting a lot of information about how we use the web to give us a better experience. Let’s look at how you can control what Google knows about you to better protect your privacy.

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Is 2FA Worth the Trouble?

I want to start this article out by admitting that there are a lot of active threats out there these days. There are hackers--hacking collectives, actually--that’s whole purpose is to infiltrate businesses and steal data, money, and most often, the trust people have in their technology. One way to help keep your stuff secure is by relying on two-factor authentication. 

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Making Sense of Facebook’s Privacy Settings

We’ve been talking about Facebook quite a bit on our blog, and for good reason - we’re all concerned with our privacy, and Facebook has been notoriously front-and-center when it comes to Internet privacy. In this post we will break down Facebook’s privacy settings to help you gain control over your personal identity while using the social network.

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When It Comes to Payment Cards, Frank Abagnale Gives Credit Where Credit is Due

With more than $16 billion being scammed from more than 16 million people, there is clearly an issue at hand that could use some expert insight. Those who are familiar with Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can might know that the movie was based on the memoirs of Frank Abagnale, former con man and longtime security consultant of the FBI. With his 45 years of experience with the bureau, Abagnale can safely by considered an expert in cybersecurity and fraud protection.

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Hacking Doesn’t Take a Computer Science Degree

There’s a reason that cybercrime is so popular: it is no longer reserved for those with extensive programming knowledge to profit from. Now, according to a report by Deloitte entitled Black Market Ecosystem: Estimating the Cost of “Pwnership”, there is a complete economy built around easily accessible hacking tools that don’t require specialized knowledge to leverage.

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Tip of the Week: Windows 10’s Default Settings May Invade Your Privacy, Here’s How to Change It

b2ap3_thumbnail_lock_privacy_400.jpgFor all of you who have Windows 10, you probably have realized that it is, without a doubt, one of the most refined versions of the Windows operating system released by Microsoft in recent years. In a way, it takes the best aspects of Windows 7, combines them with the metro menu from Windows 8, and adds several great new features that improve the user experience. However, not all is well for Windows 10; many users are concerned with some of Windows 10’s questionable data collection policies.

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Tip of the Week: Add a PIN to Windows 10 Login to Improve Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_pin_400.jpgBusinesses all over the world are taking advantage of two-factor authentication, causing the password’s value to depreciate over time. Passwords aren’t powerful enough to keep users safe from advanced threats. Hackers are finding ways to punch holes in even the most comprehensive security solution, forcing users to focus on improving security through other means.

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European Union’s GDPR: One Year Later

2018 will be remembered as the year where data privacy was altered forever. From Facebook’s many problems to the launch of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, data privacy has never been a bigger issue than it is today. Let’s take a look at how the GDPR has affected the computing world in 2018-19 and how the past year’s events have created new considerations in individual data privacy.

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The Virtual Hand that Terrorizes the Cradle

b2ap3_thumbnail_internet_connected_security_400.jpgIn today's connected home, Internet security needs to extend beyond the PC. Any device that's connected to the Internet needs to be password protected, secured with a firewall, and utilize available security apps. These precautions should be taken even with seemingly harmless devices like baby monitors. A family from Ohio recently learned this lesson the hard way.

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Google Knows Where You Are: Here’s How to Stop Them

Late in the summer this past year there were several articles written about how Google would continue to track the location of a person’s smartphone after they had chosen to turn their location settings off. A Princeton researcher corroborated those claims for the Associated Press, traveling through New York and New Jersey with locations services off only to be tracked the entire way. Today, we will discuss this issue, and tell you what you need to know to keep Google from tracking you wherever you go.

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3 Ways Email Encryption Keeps Your Messages Safe

Encryption is a very important tool in today’s business environment, especially if you are trying to protect your email communications. Today, we’ll discuss the benefits of using encryption for your business’ communications solutions, but without an understanding of what encryption actually is, the conversation might be a little harder to understand.

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The Internet of Things Continues to Expand

The Internet of Things is now made up of over 15 billion devices. 15 billion. This number includes both consumer devices in a home environment as well as business devices that are typically used in an office setting. As such, you cannot risk ignoring this phenomenon, whether it’s from a security standpoint or one of practicality. We’ll discuss the many ways the IoT is shaping business practices in today’s modern office.

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Tip of the Week: Understanding Spyware is the First Step to Preventing It

The term ‘spyware’ has some clearly negative connotations to it, and rightly so. This variety of malicious software can cause no small amount of trouble if left unchecked. What follows is a brief overview of spyware, and what measures you can take to protect yourself and your business from it.

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Tip of the Week: Using These Websites Can Help Preserve Your Privacy

Everyone has a right to privacy. However, with the popularity of social networks, the Internet is a very hard place to remain a private individual. Digital communication is everywhere. Cybercrime has become a fairly regular event. This week’s tip of the week takes a glance at three websites that you can use to help enforce your right to privacy.

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Tech Term: Encryption

Your business’ data is often quite sensitive, which is why the professional world employs cryptology to keep it secure while it’s in transit. In terms of computing systems, this is called encryption. It’s the ideal way to secure important assets when you send or store information.

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Tech Term: Encryption Key

It is no secret that security is an absolutely crucial part of computing in the modern era. Data can very fairly be called the most valuable currency today, which means it needs to be protected. One way to do this is through the use of encryption keys. In this Tech Term, we’ll go over how these keys can protect your data, and how they do so.

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Don’t Be the Last to Learn of this LastPass Vulnerability

One of the major password managers out there, LastPass, has become the victim of a major vulnerability. Google researchers from the Zero Day Project discovered this, along with other flaws within LastPass.

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How Do You Feel About ISPs Selling Your Internet Browsing History?

In October of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission designed a set of rules known as the Broadband Consumer Privacy Proposal. These rules had intended to flip the status quo and require Internet service providers (ISPs) to gain their customers’ permission before they harvested their browsing histories to sell to advertisers. This proposal is now moot with the establishment of a new law that passed through Congress and was signed by President Trump in April 2017.

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Is Combining Mobile Apps and ATMs a Good Idea?

ATMs are, surprisingly enough, not the most secure pieces of technology out there, though there are efforts to improve security by taking advantage of mobile devices. Granted, this won’t be enough to protect against the considerable vulnerabilities in ATMs. In order to maximize security and minimize the amount of damage done by vulnerabilities, the user needs to understand how to protect themselves while using ATMs.

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Would You Share Your Browser History? This Ransomware Will

Ransomware is a tricky piece of malware that locks down the precious files located on a victim’s computer, then (in theory) will return access to them when a ransom has been paid. Depending on the files stored on a victim’s computer, they might simply blow it off and not worry too much about losing access to a couple of pictures or videos--but what if this ransomware threatened to expose your web browsing history?

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Are You Prepared For Incoming Threats To Your Systems?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a small business, a large enterprise, or if you're in a rural town, or a larger city. You still have to worry about the security of your data and the integrity of your infrastructure. Thankfully, there are services out there that allow even small businesses to leverage powerful, enterprise-level tools for maximum network security. The most valuable of all is perhaps the Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool.

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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. From the largest enterprise to the individual, it can affect anyone, anywhere. To help ensure the cybersecurity of American citizens and their businesses, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies work together every October to raise awareness about the threats people face online through a series of educational events and activities.

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Your State Dictates Data Security Notifications… Will You Be Notified?

In the last few months, there have been several high-profile data security breaches that resulted in the theft of millions upon millions of non-public information records. Though much of the focus in the aftermath of the breaches was on personal identity theft and prevention, it’s important to keep in mind that not all the stolen data records target individuals. Business entities are also at risk. Vendors and partners that you do business with regularly will probably have record of your company’s non-public information, payment information, or tax ID number.

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Data Security Has to Be A Priority For Your Organization

Considering that since January 1st of this year, there has been upwards of 10 million personal information records lost or stolen each day, odds are that you, or someone you know, has had their records compromised by a data breach. With such a high incident rate, individuals and businesses that have never received any kind of notification that their records were included in a breach, generally consider themselves lucky and assume that they are not at risk of identity theft or unauthorized account usage. Unfortunately for them, that is not always the case.

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Hackers May Meet Their Match With AI

There are many organizations in the world that simply can’t have cybercriminals and hackers interfering with their data. One of these organizations, CERN (whose acronym translates to the European Laboratory for Particle Physics) has far too powerful of a computer grid to allow hackers to access it. To keep it safe, CERN has deployed what may be the future of cybersecurity: artificial intelligence.

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Google Is Becoming More Secure for Certain Users

Google is taking steps to protect the data of a small group of its users who run the highest risk of experiencing a data breach or hack. This new service, the Advance Protection Program, shows promise in protecting the information that these select few can access.

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Credit Card Theft and Identity Theft are Not the Same Thing

While many might see having a credit card stolen as identity theft, this is an oversimplification that can prove dangerous. While credit card theft can be an element of identity theft, equating the two means that other forms of identity theft are overlooked. In today’s blog, we’ll go over why identity theft and credit card theft aren’t exactly the same thing, and what you can do to help keep your business safe from damage.

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Links Discovered Between WannaCry and North Korea

In a statement given by Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to the White House, blame for the WannaCry attacks leveraged from May 12th to the 15th in 2017 was attributed to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This assertion is in line with the conclusions that New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Japan have come to, according to Bossert.

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According to Study, Only 28% Utilize Two-Factor Authentication

2FA, or two-factor authentication, is a simple and effective means of boosting your cybersecurity. Despite this, a study performed by Duo Labs suggests that 2FA has not been adopted as much as one might expect, or as much as it should be.

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At What Point Does a Service Become Spyware?

Spyware, like other malware, is a problem for any organization. Since your business generates, collects, and uses considerable amounts of data, there are plenty of organizations that want to get their hands on it. You spend so much time and money protecting your data against threats on the Internet, but what if the spyware were to just come standard on the computer you just bought?

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Data Privacy is Good for Your Business, According to the National Cyber Security Alliance

January 28th marks Data Privacy Day, a day intended to raise awareness of the importance of data privacy and educate users and business owners of its benefits. Spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance, there are plenty of lessons the NCSA has to share with businesses as this day puts their, and their clients’, privacy in the spotlight.

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How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Public Wi-Fi

Someday, you’re going to encounter a situation where you absolutely need Wi-Fi and the only option will be a public connection. This becomes rather problematic, as a public Wi-Fi connection is far from secure for business purposes. A method to maximize productivity without compromising security is needed for every business that has employees working out of the office, but what’s the best way to do it?

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How Your Smartphone Keeps Your Data Safe

Smartphones are the predominant mode of communication, as well as now being the devices most used to access the Internet. With so much depending on the modern smartphone, it has become one of the largest, and most competitive, markets of any consumer item. As a result, manufacturers are building devices with software that is able to encrypt the phone against unauthorized access.

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The Blockchain May Soon Protect Your Entire Identity

Blockchain is one of the latest and greatest developments to come in computing. The spotlight is on Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and several other cryptocurrencies that take advantage of the blockchain, but it’s important to remember that it’s not exclusive to cryptocurrencies. In fact, it has several great uses, with some of the most important being cyber security, transparency, and privacy.

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Some Providers are Offering Blockchain as a Service

There’s a big risk associated with implementing any new technology solution for your organization. For one, it’s difficult to know how a specific solution will run without first implementing it. This leads many businesses to avoid implementing a new solution for fear that it won’t be worth the investment. On the other hand, if they fail to implement a new solution, they could potentially lose out on valuable new tools they could use to succeed. How can you get around this issue?

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Want to Keep Your “Personal” Browsing a Secret? Scam Says: Pay Up!

A new email scam is making its rounds and it has a lot of people concerned with just how much a hacker can peer into one’s private life. How would you react if a stranger emailed you saying they had inappropriate webcam footage of you?

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Save Money, Be Spied On?

Although we’re in the habit of discussing ways to keep your business more secure, we unfortunately have to discuss how to keep yourself more secure against a business. Walmart recently filed a patent that could potentially be used to undermine the security of everyone there, from shoppers to employees. We took the time and dug into the jargon in the patent to give you a better look at the situation.

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How is Blockchain Going to Work with the GDPR?

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has gone into effect, and with this new law comes a lot of information your organization needs to consider regarding individual data protection. In particular, the technology of blockchain is difficult to talk about in regard to GDPR, as it’s basically an encrypted and distributed digital ledger. How can blockchain work properly in tandem with the new GDPR regulations?

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Monitoring Pros and Cons

Dealing with other people, whether in the office or a home environment, can often be troublesome. There is always a case of someone trying to be better than someone else, or trying to take advantage of their naiveté. There are solutions out there that make it easier than ever to help keep your home and business safe. Here are some of the best out there.

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Would You Fall for this Adult Scam if You Saw an Old Password?

As you may expect, the average Internet scammer isn’t above resorting to dirty tricks to claim their ill-gotten prize from their victims. A recent scam demonstrates just how dirty these tricks can truly be, and unfortunately, how ill-prepared many are to handle them.

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Smaller Practices are Choosing Cloud-Based EHR

The medical field has spawned all kinds of new technology that takes patient care to the next level. Regulations demand that even smaller practices need to make the jump to electronic medical record systems (also known as electronic health records). These EMR/EHR solutions provide an interface that give providers and patients a way to keep themselves connected to each other--a tool to promote a more efficient delivery method for these services. We’ll take a look at these EMR and EHR solutions that are hosted in the cloud, giving your organization more information to make an educated choice on implementing this software.

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What is your Identity Worth to You?

man holding question over face

Your identity has quite a lot of value, especially in the wrong hands. Security firm ZoneAlarm put together some numbers in 2011 concerning identity fraud, and it even shocked us. Let's talk about a few of these statistics and what it means.

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Securing your Wi-Fi is More Important Than Ever

data lockDoes your Wi-Fi require a secure password to allow users to access your network with their mobile devices? And no, the word "password" is not a suitable password. If your wireless network is easy to gain access to, you are opening up your sensitive data to anyone within range.

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Scareware - The Latest Trend in Cyber Frauds and Malware

laptop that says danger

Computer viruses and malware have been around for a long time, and cybercriminals have always tried to package their malevolent doings under a veil of deception. One method that has been in place for a while now is called scareware. Often disguised as something that appears to want to help your computer, scareware will scam users into paying for a service that isn't beneficial.

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Removing the Hidden Data in Microsoft Word

magnifying glass over bookMost people might not realize this, but a Microsoft Word Doc can retain a lot of information pertaining to the history of the document, your personal information, annotations, and other invisible elements. This can be a huge security risk! Read on to learn how to remove that extra information.

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Please Don't Pass the Spam

can of spam

Why Upstate New York Businesses should all say "I Don't Like Spam!"

Spam wastes company time and harbors viruses and malware that can quickly infect your entire network. It can bog down your network and your mail server.

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Personal Mobile Tech: The Fine Line Between Freedom and Security

person using mobile phone

Ever since the mid-1990s employees have been taking advantage of personal gadgets to help them get work done faster. Remember the PDAs and Palm Pilots from a decade and a half ago? Even though many companies weren't quick to establish policies to protect corporate data, tech savvy users were able to sync contacts, schedules, email, and company files to their mobile device. These days, mobile devices are in the hands of many more users, but there are ways to provide security without sacrificing your employees rights to their personal device.

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Is your Company's Internet Connection a Bottleneck on Productivity: Part 2

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Last time, we blogged about whether or not social media and personal Internet use was a bottleneck for employee productivity. Let's not look at the Internet as a fundamental time-waster or a necessary evil. After all, the Internet has changed the way companies do business. This time we're going to investigate if your Internet is keeping up with your company.

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Is Big Brother Watching You, and Do You Mind?

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Internet privacy is no new issue. Between malicious hackers trying to breach private information, governments trying to regulate it, and organizations trying to track as many metrics as they can, the Internet continues to chug along for the most part just fine. Are YOU concerned about Internet privacy?

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Data Theft Prevention 101

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We can never stress enough to our clients how important their data is.  There are plenty of ways data can become lost, but the one scenario that nobody ever likes to talk about is internal data theft.  That's right; businesses can suffer from their own employees stealing data.  Now, this doesn't mean that all or any part of your staff is plotting to expose company secrets or distribute your leads to competitors, but a few precautions can be taken to just ensure that it never happens.

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A Lesson in Security

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As you may know, Sony's online gaming service, the Playstation Network, has been getting a lot of media coverage lately due to a major attack by hackers last month.  Sony is a massive global company with billions of dollars and stockholders and spans multiple industries, but even a giant can teach us all a lesson that relates to our comparably small-fry organizations.

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4 Spring Cleaning Practices to Improve your IT

lightbulbAs the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, it's a good time to step back and look at ways to rejuvenate your day-to-day operations and do some spring cleaning. These practices won't cover dusting up cobwebs but will offer a few practices to improve your overall IT.

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2 Step Authentication for Gmail

secure password Having strong passwords for your online accounts is very important, but sometimes you may want a little more protection in the event your password gets stolen or someone forces their way through it. If you use Google's Gmail service, you can set up your account, then you will need two forms of authentication to get into your email.

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14 Tips to Work Your Social Media Rig

Directive has had the pleasure of working with David Mann for over 10 years. David owns Alta Log Homes in Upstate NY. Alta is a leading manufacturer of Log Homes. David is an expert in building Green, Energy Star dream homes and a great guy. His website is http://www.altaloghomes.com. We set him up with the Ultimate Social Media Rig a few months ago along with some coaching services to get him started. He's been pretty religious about posting and using it. He sent me an email asking what recommendations I'd have to get more out of it now that he's "warmed up" and has a little more experience with Social Media.

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Believe it or Not, Too Much New Technology Can Put Your Network at Risk

Is your organization using the latest technology solutions? If so, that’s great--you’ve taken the first step toward achieving maximum productivity and efficiency. However, you need to realize that no technology solution comes without its quirks that need to be addressed. Here are two ways that your new technology solutions could potentially be putting your business’s infrastructure at risk.

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An SMB’s Guide to Understanding HIPAA

Security has never been easy for any business that deals with sensitive information. Nowadays, even a small business that uses an Internet connection has to worry about hackers and malware of all types. This is especially problematic for small healthcare offices that need to keep sensitive information secure and safe from online threats.

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Colleges Begin to Implement Two-Factor Authentication to Improve Network Security

Has your business dealt with a phishing attack? If not, consider yourself lucky. There has been a massive spike in phishing attacks as hackers are aggressively going after organizations and the personal identifiable information they hold. These attacks are just not focused on typical businesses either, they are going after organizations that provide public goods. One place that has become a major target for hackers (and phishing attacks) are schools.

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What Hackers Are Looking For On Your Network

When a hacker tries to infiltrate your network, they are doing so with a purpose in mind. Usually they are looking for specific information, like account credentials, personal information, or files that can be used to blackmail victims. Regardless, we’ll go over what a hacker can do with the information that they collect from you, and how you can best protect it from them.

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The Value Managed IT Services Gives Your Business

Whether you’re just a small business looking to get operations moving in your chosen location, or you’re an enterprise with multiple offices across the country, one thing is universally the same: you need IT support in some capacity. As more technology is added to networks of all sizes and complexities, the need to manage this technology improves. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to go at it alone--you have third-party outsourcing at your disposal, which can save you both time and money in the long run.

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How to Anonymously Browse the Internet

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How to Anonymously Browse the Internet

--> b2ap3_thumbnail_whodat400.jpgSome places on the Internet are only suitable for secret browsing. Maybe you're shopping for a present and don't want your links to show in your browsing history, or maybe you don't want the customized ads to reflect a private interest. Whatever your reason is for wanting to anonymously browse the web, here's how you do it.

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Is the Reform of ECPA Enough to Prevent the Government From Reading Your Emails?

b2ap3_thumbnail_ecpa_refore_hitting_congress_400.jpgHow private are your emails and other digital communications? Can the government go through your digital files without you knowing about it? As you may have suspected, they can, thanks to a loophole in an outdated law--a loophole that U.S. lawmakers are trying to close.

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Protect Yourself with Secure Passwords

Despite the increasingly vast trust we put into the Internet to keep our personal and business information safe and secure, many users take their passwords very lightly. In an analysis studying over 32 million passwords from RockYou, a company that develops software for social networks, it's been discovered just how little effort is put in to keep things secure. The results are shocking.

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Alert: A New Malware to Worry About for PC Gamers Using Steam

b2ap3_thumbnail_steam_stealer_angers_gamers_400.jpgHackers have always gone after industries that are profitable, or hold sensitive information that can be lucrative when sold under the table. As such, retailers that accumulate financial credentials are often hit by hacks. The entertainment industry is no different, and hackers continue to grow craftier in their pursuit of wealth and power. Not even Steam, the PC gamer’s most valuable software solution, is safe from the dangers of hacking attacks.

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Researchers Investigated Internet-Connected Surveillance Cameras, What They Found is Unbelievable

b2ap3_thumbnail_internet_of_things_presents_risk_400.jpgThere’s a reason why IT professionals think that the Internet of things is a major security discrepancy. Around 5.5 million new devices are being connected to the Internet every day, and are giving security experts a run for their money. The Internet of Things and its devices could potentially become a security hazard for businesses that aren’t prepared to protect their assets from hacks.

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New Technology From LG Lets You See What a Bowling Ball Sees [VIDEO]

b2ap3_thumbnail_lg_rolling_security_400.jpgNew consumer technology holds a special place in many users’ hearts. In particular, the LG Rolling Bot looks like it will be a nifty little device to leave either in your office or at home. Basically, it’s a rolling security camera that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone.

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Is Apple in the Right to Refuse the FBI?

b2ap3_thumbnail_fbi_vs_privacy_400.jpgApple has been a major contributor to advancements in computing over the past few decades. Their iPhone was the first commercially available smartphone, and they continue to innovate with new and exciting consumer technology. However, one of Apple’s most recent decisions might be one of the most important for today’s cyber security world.

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Police Recruit Eagles to Take Out Illegal Drones... Seriously

b2ap3_thumbnail_eagles_for_drones_400.jpgWhile they might seem like glorified toys for adults, drones are fantastic tools that can help people take some breathtaking photos and videos of their local scenery. Unfortunately, as is the case with most good technology, there are people out there who want to use them for nefarious purposes. This leads authorities to a tough question: how do you knock an illegal or dangerous drone out of the sky without harming those down below? The answer is simple: eagles.

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Crafty Hackers Find Ways to Intercept Wireless Transmissions

b2ap3_thumbnail_man_in_the_middle_400.jpgThe Internet of Things is constantly growing. Seemingly every commercially-available product now has a corresponding app or some sort of connectivity to the web. As this entity grows bigger still, you begin to see things that have very little intrinsic value coming with Internet connectivity.

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Your Network Needs a Virtual Bouncer to Keep Threats Out

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_firewall_400.jpgFirewalls are one of the most common IT security measures on the market today, and for good reason. They act as the first line of defense against any incoming threats, and without them, your organization would have to deal with one data breach after another. Of course, that’s only if you’re taking advantage of a proper firewall; if not, you should seriously consider doing so as soon as possible.

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