The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

The Biggest Cybersecurity Problems Small Businesses Have in 2021

The Biggest Cybersecurity Problems Small Businesses Have in 2021

Data breaches have become all too common for small businesses over the past several years and when it seems like there is a solution to one problem, something even worse pops up. Part of a comprehensive risk management strategy is identifying problems and doing what you can to keep them from affecting your business. Let’s take a look at the major cybersecurity threats small businesses are facing in 2021 and what you can do to keep them from hurting your business.

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New Study Finds That Paying Off Your Ransomware Attackers Has Some Severe Consequences

New Study Finds That Paying Off Your Ransomware Attackers Has Some Severe Consequences

We know, we know; you’re probably sick of seeing ransomware in headlines, and so are we, but we cannot stress enough how important having an awareness of it is for any business owner. A new study has found that businesses infected by ransomware who choose to pay up experience a different type of fallout--one that is a major cause for concern and a stark reminder that there are no guarantees with ransomware. Ever.

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Hackers Use the Pandemic to Send Out Phishing Threats

Hackers Use the Pandemic to Send Out Phishing Threats

The first half of this year has seen its fair share of ups and downs, especially on a global scale. With a global pandemic still taking the world by storm, it’s despicable that hackers would take advantage of the opportunity to make a quick buck using phishing tactics. Yet, here we are. Let’s take a look at how hackers have turned the world’s great misfortune into a boon, as well as how you can keep a lookout for these threats.

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Ransomware Is Tricky, So Strategize Against It

Ransomware Is Tricky, So Strategize Against It

What if I told you that 92 percent of all organizations that are hit by a ransomware attack and agree to settle with the scammers, don’t ever see their data again? You’d probably say that you would never, ever pay and those that do, don’t make sense. Most people keep that stance until their choices are to pay for the data in the hopes of getting it back, or lose it completely. Let’s unpack ransomware and the strategy that hackers most utilize to deploy it: Phishing.

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Hackers Spark Major Gas Crisis Throughout the Southern U.S.

Hackers Spark Major Gas Crisis Throughout the Southern U.S.

You’ve probably heard by now, a Russia-based hacking collective by the name of DarkSide targeted Colonial Pipeline, a company that supplies nearly 45 percent of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, with a ransomware attack. Not only does this hack have an effect on fuel prices and availability, it highlights just how vulnerable much of the nation’s energy infrastructure is. Let’s discuss the details of the hack and the raging discussion about cybersecurity that’s happening as a result. 

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Your Guide to the Modern Varieties of Cybercriminal

Your Guide to the Modern Varieties of Cybercriminal

There is an entire litany of stereotypes that are commonly linked to the term “hacker”… too many for us to dig into here, especially since they do little but form a caricature of just one form that today’s cybercriminal can take. Let’s go into the different varieties that are covered nowadays under the blanket term of “hacker,” and the threat that each pose to businesses today.

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Why Phishing Attacks are Such a Huge Risk for Your Business

Why Phishing Attacks are Such a Huge Risk for Your Business

As one of the biggest cybersecurity considerations the modern business has to make, how to combat phishing has to be at the top of any business’ cybersecurity strategy. Let’s take a look at phishing and why it’s such a big problem for today’s business. 

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Why Phishing Attacks are Such a Huge Risk for Your Business

Why Phishing Attacks are Such a Huge Risk for Your Business

As one of the biggest cybersecurity considerations the modern business has to make, how to combat phishing has to be at the top of any business’ cybersecurity strategy. Let’s take a look at phishing and why it’s such a big problem for today’s business. 

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Securing Utilities Has to Be a Priority

Securing Utilities Has to Be a Priority

It’s been reported that a hacker virtually broke into a Floridian water treatment facility and briefly increased the levels of sodium hydroxide in the Pinellas County water supply. Fortunately, onsite operators noticed the spike and reduced it right away, keeping the public from risk of increased levels of poison in their water. This is just the latest story in a seemingly never-ending supply of them that have to do with public utilities being at risk from cyberattacks. Today, we will take a look at this issue. 

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Don’t Let This Year’s Low Number of Data Breaches Get Your Hopes Up

Don’t Let This Year’s Low Number of Data Breaches Get Your Hopes Up

You may have heard whispers that, compared to the past few years, 2020 has seen considerably fewer data breaches play out. While this may sound like a cause for celebration, we wanted to share a few reasons that this news may not be as great as it appears.

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Cyberattacks Have Gone Way Up Since the Pandemic Started

Cyberattacks Have Gone Way Up Since the Pandemic Started

We’ve been predicting it, and feeling it, but now the numbers are in. Officially, cybersecurity attacks have increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 crisis - in particular the lockdown.

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2-Factor, 2-Furious - How 2FA is Our Last Hope

2-Factor, 2-Furious - How 2FA is Our Last Hope

Two-factor Authentication, also referred to as Multi-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, is typically where you log in to something and have to type in a small code from your mobile device in order to finish the sign-in process. It’s really the only thing protecting your accounts anymore, so it’s critical to use it.

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Microsoft is Finding Leaving Windows 7 Users Behind Difficult

Microsoft is Finding Leaving Windows 7 Users Behind Difficult

Windows 7 might not be supported by Microsoft any longer, but millions of people are still using PCs that run the antiquated operating system. Since Microsoft has put an end to extended support for Windows 7 OS, a couple bugs have been found. Let’s take a look at what exactly is behind these issues and discuss your options.

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The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

Picture this… In your office you have a bag filled with thousands of envelopes. In each envelope there is $242 in cash. Unbeknownst to you, a thief has gained access to your office, but you don’t realize this until 279 days later. How much is this going to cost your business?


Data breaches on average in the US cost $242 per breached record. With the average breach compromising 25,575 records, the average cost per data breach is $8.19 million. Of course, the financial cost per breach is determined by a number of factors, but regardless of how much each breached file is actually worth, the entire situation has a chance to be the end of everything that you’ve been doing. Today we discuss these factors and determine how your business can avoid experiencing the effects companies feel in the aftermath. 

Talking Numbers… Very Large Numbers

Let’s take a brief look at the 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report.

It’s no secret that anything associated with the healthcare industry costs a pretty penny. Healthcare data breaches are no different. The average cost of a data breach in the healthcare industry costs approximately 6.45 million dollars. This number is a staggering $15 million in the United States, where healthcare costs outpace the rest of the world. The cost-per-record increased over five percent within just a year, increasing from 408 dollars to 429 dollars. This 21-dollar increase might seem insignificant, as well as non-healthcare records increasing 2 dollars over a year, but remember that the average breach compromises 25,575 records. That means comparing 2018 to 2019, even non-healthcare data breach costs increased by over half a million dollars per incident. 

Clients Will Forget About Our Breach … Right?

Word travels fast in the digital age. If your business suffers a data breach, statistically these are the long- and short-term hurdles you will face.

Once customers hear their personal data has been breached, some begin to look for alternative companies in which to do business. It’s not uncommon for customers to feel that their data cannot be trusted following a data breach, and it's hard to blame them. In fact, on average 3.9 percent (even higher in the healthcare industry) of customers leave service following a data breach. For businesses with fewer than 500 employees, a data breach could ultimately lead to problems attracting new revenue, and ultimately, failure.

Mitigation

What your business needs to know following a data breach, is time is of the essence. The faster you solve the issue at hand, the less it is going to cost. Solving the problem within 200 days reduces the total cost by $1.2 million on average. What’s better than saving $1.2 million? Not suffering from a data breach in the first place. The Connection, Inc offers services that can help prevent breaches. Call (732) 291-5938 to learn more about our security services.

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ALERT: Over a Million Asus Laptops Could Have Been Hacked

ALERT: Over a Million Asus Laptops Could Have Been Hacked

If you own an Asus laptop, there is a chance that a recent update could have installed malware, and we are urging anyone who has an Asus device reach out to us to have it looked at.

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Fishing for Answers to Keep Phishing Attacks from Sinking Your Business

Fishing for Answers to Keep Phishing Attacks from Sinking Your Business

Phishing attacks have been in the social consciousness now for a while, and for good reason: it is the predominant way that hackers gain access to secured networks and data. Unfortunately, awareness to an issue doesn’t always result in positive outcomes. In this case, hackers get more aggressive, and by blanketing everyone under a seemingly limitless phishing net, 57 billion phishing emails go out every year. If a fraction of those emails accomplish their intended goal, the hackers on the other end of them really make out.

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The SamSam Ransomware Is Absolutely No Joke

The SamSam Ransomware Is Absolutely No Joke

The funny thing about ransomware is that they give them very strange names: Bad Rabbit sounds like the name of a villainous bunny who gets his comeuppance in some type of modern nursery rhyme, not malware that would ravage hundreds of European businesses. Locky seems like the son of Candado de seguridad, a character Medeco would come up with to educate kids on proper physical security. The latest in a long line of funny-named ransomware, SamSam, isn’t a pet name for your pet ferret you perplexingly named Sam, it is one of the worst ransomware strains ever, and it has caught the attention of U.S. Federal law enforcement.


Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security have issued alerts for the ransomware, also known as MSIL/Samas.A. The alert was issued on December 3, 2018, and outlines an attack on multiple industries, some with crucial infrastructure. The ransomware has been in the news as of late, as two Iranian nationals, Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri were indicted by a U.S. grand jury in New Jersey for ransomware attacks on the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The pair is alleged to have victimized over 200 hospitals, businesses, government agencies, and schools in the U.S. and Canada beginning in 2015; extorting over $6 million over that time. In addition to these charges, the two hackers have now been indicted by the state of Georgia on charges that they were the ones that perpetrated the ransomware systems that crippled Atlanta’s government in March of 2018. By taking almost 3,800 of the City of Atlanta’s computers hostage, prosecutors state that Mansouri and Savandi have cost the city millions of dollars in consultant fees, downtime, and other costs.

What is SamSam?
SamSam is a privately developed ransomware that is being used to target specific companies selected by the developers. This means that it isn’t just a commodity ransomware, it can’t be found on some type of criminal forum on the dark web, and it isn’t sold as a service like many other forms of ransomware. This is a major problem for any organization that is targeted, as none of the typical endpoint defensive strategies work to stop it.

What’s worse, is that that once a SamSam strain is used, and security vendors publish a report, another SamSam strain is developed. It is thought that this development team includes the two hackers implicated in the Colorado DoT crimes, the Atlanta crimes, and hundreds of other attacks over the past three years.

What Can You Do?
Thus far the SamSam ransomware has entered victims’ networks using exploits in web-facing servers. It has been deployed as millions of other pieces of malware as an executable file that is mistakenly unleashed, or via brute force via the Remote Desktop Protocol. So, while you can lock down your RDP, your best bet is to have a dedicated strategy that:

  • Doesn’t allow unauthorized users to have administrative privileges
  • Limits use of Domain Access accounts to administration tasks
  • Doesn’t provide service accounts for important services
  • Restricts access to critical systems

If you are diligent in your organizational cybersecurity practices, you should be able to conduct business as usual without having to worry about ransomware, SamSam or otherwise. If you are interested in knowing more about SamSam and how to stop it, contact the IT professionals at The Connection, Inc for more information at (732) 291-5938.

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Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Now that the holidays have come and gone, you might have a couple of new gadgets in your home or office that connect to the Internet. Depending on what these gadgets are, you might have a serious security issue sitting right in front of you without realizing it. Some devices that don’t normally connect to the Internet--also known as Internet of Things devices (IoT)--aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be, particularly in a business environment.

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Uber Demonstrates the Importance of Disclosing a Data Breach

Uber Demonstrates the Importance of Disclosing a Data Breach

If your business was breached, would it be better to keep it a secret, or should you disclose it to your clients? Uber has proven that trying to hide it is a mistake, and a costly one at that.

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Looking Back at This Year’s Cybersecurity Issues

Looking Back at This Year’s Cybersecurity Issues

Every business in operation today needs to have some kind of comprehensive network security. Simply put, there are too many threats that can come in through an Internet connection for them to continue doing otherwise. The past year provides plenty of anecdotal proof of this fact, as a quick glance back can show.

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The Connection, Inc
51 Village CT
Hazlet, New Jersey 07730