How Do I Know If I’ve Been Hacked?

Every day, we read a headline about a computer hacking or hear a personal story about a friend, family member, or colleague getting hacked. The signs of your computer or identity being hacked are often apparent, such as a menacing pop-up screen notifying you that all your critical files have been encrypted and a ransom is demanded to unencrypt them. Other times, though, the signs are subtle and not easily recognizable to the average user.

One of the easiest ways to recognize a hack or identity theft is to routinely check your credit report because one of the primary motives of cyber criminals is financial. Ensuring there aren’t unauthorized accounts opened in your name is a good first step in protecting your online safety.

hacker-2300772_1920.jpg

Continue reading How Do I Know If I’ve Been Hacked on Avalon’s site for some tell-tale signs your computer may be hacked and your identity may be stolen:

Cyber Security Is a CEO Problem Now

Did you ever watch The Office and think about how ridiculous it would be to run such a dysfunctional company? Thank goodness you aren’t the CEO of that mess.

Then you get a phone call from your CIO about a major cyber attack and suddenly you’re channeling your inner Michael Scott.

Now you have to worry about how you’re going to maintain the company morale and deal with any PR nightmares. But luckily, you’ve always been able to rely on your CIO and IT department to take care of cyber security, so things should be fine, right?

canstockphoto17935411

Photo Credit: © Can Stock Photo Inc. / stokkete


Continue reading the blog on Avalon’s website – Cyber Security is a CEO Problem Now

The Value of Applying Digital Forensics

The use of digital forensics in any type of litigation or investigation can uncover tremendously valuable electronic evidence from laptop and desktop computers, tablets, smart phones, and other mobile devices, as well as e‑mail and network servers.

These devices have become an integral part of peoples’ daily lives; and many corporations have adopted “bring your own device” policies. This combination ensures that our handheld devices now contain a large amount of both business and personal information including call history, text messages, e‑mails, photographs, videos, calendar items, memos, address books, passwords, and credit card numbers.

Consider the fact that 90% of American adults own a cell phone, two thirds of which are smart phones. Americans use smart phones for many purposes.

Cell Phone Activity

Continue reading the full blog on Avalon’s website – The Value of Applying Digital Forensics

Ransomware – An Effective Money Making Menace

Written by John Walp, Vice President of Cyber Services 


Holding someone or something for ransom is an age-old, effective technique that has found a new home: the internet. This venue offers a level of anonymity and scale that is sometimes difficult to comprehend.

An estimated 40,000 people attended this year’s RSA Security Conference, February 13 through 17, in San Francisco, California. Security professionals from across the globe gathered to discuss the latest and largest cyber security threats and ways to keep consumers and businesses safe. The RSA Conference identified Ransomware as one of the biggest and fastest‑growing threats. Numerous sessions were dedicated to helping security pros understand the threat from Ransomware and, most importantly, what can be done to combat it.

20012126873_e376a09029_kPhoto Credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr.com

Continue reading Ransomware – An Effective Money Making Menace on Avalon’s website.

When You Travel, Your Data Travels Too

HOW TO AVOID GETTING HACKED ON THE GO 

man-person-people-trainFor the advantageous traveler, flying is a comfort. Your seat folds into a bed, your meal is prepared by five-star chefs, and your email is hacked via the in-flight WiFi.
Wait, what was that last one?

It turns out that when you travel, your data is at a greater risk than usual. In-flight WiFi is just one example—hotels, airport lounges, and even cars have vulnerabilities that can allow hackers to glean valuable data while you’re in motion.

These vulnerabilities all have a common root—publicly available WiFi is easy to hack. The business owners who set up these networks aren’t security professionals, and may overlook common security measures. This makes it easy for hackers who are on the same network to intercept other communications conducted via WiFi.

Continue reading the full blog on Avalon’s site to learn how you can stop hackers from accessing your data while you’re on the go.

3 Ways to Secure Your Corporate Network in 2017

It’s pretty safe to say that 2016 was a rough-and-tumble year for a number of industries, and the number, size, and scope of cyber security breaches was off the charts. These include two huge data attacks against Yahoo! users, as well as smaller breaches of sensitive data from the FBI and the IRS, among many others. Even the United States Presidential Election is rumored to have been tampered with by hackers.

stockvault-fuzzy-virtual-padlocks-on-screen208205-768x512So what does this mean for business owners, medical clinics, and law firms that need to protect both their own private data and the data of their customers, patients, and clients? It means that 2017 needs to be the year of network security. Let’s take a look at the best ways to make that happen.

Check out the three ways to secure your network over on the Avalon blog…

 

Keep Your Friends Close and Your W-2s Closer, Beware of Tax Identity Theft

If Melissa McCarthy was behind every identity theft, it might not be so terrifying. Unfortunately, that is likely not the case (although, it has not been confirmed).

melissa-mccarthyIdentity thieves are getting more sophisticated by the day. They used to steal your credit card number to buy a video game and grab a slice at the food court, but now they’re stealing identities to file tax returns and collect refunds.

The IRS has certainly improved its defense against phony refund requests—last year, as of March 5, 2016, the IRS identified 42,148 fraudulent tax returns involving identity theft, and identified 20,224 prisoner tax returns for screening, with $227 million claimed in fraudulent funds.[1] But these are simply the cases the agency is aware of, and there are likely many more. The IRS continues to expand its efforts to detect tax refund fraud.

Read more about fraudulent tax returns over on the Avalon blog…