Cyber attacks are unfortunately such a common place occurrence these days that more than two-thirds of all business organizations have become the victim of an attack. Small businesses are not as immune as they might think. Their lack of expensive tools and a large IT staff make them easy prey for cyber criminals. Usually, an unsuspecting employee is targeted with an email campaign containing malicious links or attachments. Once those are activated, that employee's computer is hacked and it's not too long until the entire network is affected. It's time for small businesses to start acting big when it comes to network security. Here's how.
Have You Applied Microsoft's Rare Legacy OS Patch?
Earlier this year, Microsoft released a rare patch for a number of legacy operating systems that it no longer services. After finding a critical flaw in their systems, the company did this to prevent another global round of cyberattacks. While Windows 2003, Windows 7, Server 2008, and XP have been mostly phased out of business offices (because of lack of support), much of the medical community still rely on these operating systems. So if you are in the medical field and use these legacy systems, be sure to patch your systems with these updates. Need help? Please call us today at 281-403-9561 to discuss and be sure to visit our healthcare page.
It's Time to Plan for Section 179 Again
Small businesses, healthcare practices and manufacturing firms alike — we have excellent news. As you may have heard from your tax consultant, the Section 179 deduction for tax year 2019 is still an impressive $1 million. In Section 179, your business has the option of declaring the full deduction of the new asset in just one year, rather than spreading it out over many years. This makes more sense now than ever as everyone knows that computers require replacing every few years. This deduction is good on new and used qualifying equipment, as well as off-the-shelf software. To take the deduction for this tax year, the equipment must be financed or purchased and put into service between January 1, 2019 and the end of the day on December 31, 2019. Note: we are not tax professionals and this is not tax advice. Be sure to consult your own tax/accounting team. When you are ready to act, call us at 281-403-9561 or send us an email.
Alexa and Google Assistant Fall Victim to Spy Apps
Researchers have found that apps or skills have been created, uploaded and approved for use with Alexa and Google Assistant whose only purpose is to eavesdrop on the private conversations of users. Even worse that simply recording conversations when Alexa and Google Assistant stop listening is that they can actively try to steal your password. After an extended period of silence, the skills could make the voice assistants say, "An important security update is available for your device. Please say 'start update' followed by your password." Needless to say ... don't ever give your password to your voice assistant or anyone.
Malware Attack on Major European Airport Sheds Light on New Problems
A crypto-mining infection recently spread to half of the workstations at a major international airport in Europe.
Researchers found that the mining malware wasn't caught by anti-virus solutions on the workstations because it was tweaked over so slightly. While it is troubling that hackers can add an extra line of code to make their malware undetected, that's actually not the worst of it. What's unsettling is that cyber criminals may now be trending from the fast acting ransomware attacks that are immediately identifiable to crypto-mining attacks that are sneaky and subtle and may infect a computer and/or network for months or years and steal untold amounts of sensitive data. "We see growing usage of crypto-miners in recent attacks and we see a trend to switch from ransomware to mining," an analyst told Threatpost. "Since ransomware attacks are more visible by nature they tend to 'burn down' faster. In this specific attack the malware was active for months without any indication."