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.

Microsoft Warns Against Password Spraying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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Is Security Being Sacrificed for the Sake of Convenience?

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

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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Cybercrime Spiking During the Pandemic

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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Do Your Privacy Practices Line Up With Your Privacy Expectations?

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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Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Way Better Than Passwords

Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Way Better Than Passwords

Time hasn’t been kind to the password. It’s continuously put down as one of the least secure methods of protecting systems. It’s not due to any fault of the password, though. People just have a hard time remembering long and complex passwords. To aid in security, it’s recommended that you use some sort of multi-factor authentication. While some users prefer easy SMS message two-factor authentication, there are actually many different types of multi-factor authentication available.


Multi-factor authentication is a major part of securing important information systems from potential threats. It provides a secondary layer of credentials that need to be provided in order to access sensitive data. By using multi-factor authentication, you’re making it twice as difficult for hackers to access your data, which mitigates much of the risk. By taking advantage of multi-factor authentication tactics, you can limit your data’s exposure to threats and maximize security.

Here are a few examples of how multi-factor authentication works:

  • Biometric scanning: Fingerprints, iris and retina scans, facial-recognition software, voice recognition software, hand shape, and other physical variables.
  • Location factors: GPS tracking, used in many smartphones, can be used to ensure that logins are occurring from legitimate devices rather than from illogical IP addresses.
  • Possession factors: If a user has specific devices on their person, like a key card or a smartphone, they have access to several forms of multi-factor authentication procedures.

Multi-factor Authentication Technologies
Depending on what type of authentication protocol you use, you’ll have either a hardware-based device, or a software-based security token. An example of a hardware-based security measure is a USB dongle that acts as a key to the device, while software-based tokens generate a security code that is sent to a smartphone. There are many other types of multi-factor authentication, like those that take advantage of biometrics, but due to the incredible popularity of smartphones in the business world, the most common methods of multi-factor authentication are by far SMS messages that are sent to a user’s smartphone.

Other security practices that are seen quite often are employee ID cards and GPS technology that verifies the location of the person accessing the account or building. Some people are even hardcore enough to embed smart chips in their hands, but that’s a topic to discuss another day. Basically, executives and IT professionals are doing whatever it takes to ensure that their physical and digital infrastructures remain secure from any and all trespassers.

Your business need to take advantage of the most powerful security solutions on the market if you want to ensure that your business’s assets are protected from all kinds of threats. For more information about multi-factor authentication, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Can the Government Really Stop People From Sharing Netflix Passwords?

Can the Government Really Stop People From Sharing Netflix Passwords?

Do you loan out your Netflix password to friends so that they can catch up on their favorite shows? If so, you’re in violation of a recent federal court ruling, which declares that sharing a password of any kind is now a federal offense. So, if you plan on watching the new Netflix original series Stranger Things, you may want to reconsider how you plan to do so.

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Your Debit Card Chip and PIN Won’t Save You From This ATM Scam

Your Debit Card Chip and PIN Won’t Save You From This ATM Scam

Do you remember how your bank issued you a new debit or credit card with a built-in, security-enhancing chip? There are now ATMs specially designed for use with these chips. Unfortunately, the same technology that was originally meant to secure your finances can also be used against you in the form of fraudulent cash withdrawals.

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Tip of the Week: Shop Safe While Online With These 3 Common-Sense Tactics

Tip of the Week: Shop Safe While Online With These 3 Common-Sense Tactics

It seems that you can find absolutely anything while shopping online, but unfortunately, this also includes cyber threats. No deal is worth the risk of a hacking attack, but some best practices can help you stay safe while searching for that great bargain.

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Is Your Company’s Data Encrypted? It Should Be

Is Your Company’s Data Encrypted? It Should Be

Data might be the most important aspect of your organization, but how well do you protect it throughout your network? Every organization has data like personally identifiable information and financial credentials stashed away somewhere on the network, so security isn’t something that you can ignore. One of the best ways you can safeguard your data is through the use of encryption.


Encryption is a solid way of keeping hackers from using data that they’ve stolen from you to their benefit. While other security solutions like firewalls and spam blockers try to limit the number of threats that make their way onto your network, encryption focuses on being a last-ditch effort to save your data from being used against you. Encryption jumbles your data, making it difficult--if not impossible--for hackers to use. Therefore, encryption works best when combined with other security measures.

Here are three of the ways in which encryption benefits any business prioritizing data security.

Encryption Maximizes Security
Encryption is a priority for a business that wants to keep security at the max. Taking risks is simply unacceptable, and encryption has a chance to make any attempts made by a hacker a moot point. Data encryption works by scrambling your data, only unlocking it when it’s exposed to a specific security key. Hackers prefer going after data that’s easy to access, so encrypted data is sure to be an asset for your organization.

Encryption Augments Compliance
While encryption isn’t officially required by compliance laws like HIPAA, it certainly protects your interests by having it. Compliance laws generally only need your organization to implement preventative solutions like firewalls and antiviruses, but encryption is still of the utmost importance. Encryption is mainly useful for making sure that any breaches don’t result in compromised data, as hackers likely won’t be able to decrypt your data anyway.

Encryption is, More or Less, Expected
It’s understandable that you want encryption for your own data, but if you are a service-type business that provides products to clients, they are going to expect that you’ll take good care of their data, as well. For example, if you use a service like PayPal or Amazon, you expect them to use encryption to keep your payment information safe and secure. You can safely assume that your own clients will want to believe their data is safe in your hands. If their information is stolen and it’s your fault, they won’t take kindly to it, and you will lose points with them in the long run.

If you want to use encryption for your business (and you should), The Connection, Inc can help. To get started, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Eliminate Webcam Worry With a Piece of Tape

Eliminate Webcam Worry With a Piece of Tape

Even webcams are susceptible to infestation from RATs, though they may not be the same creatures that haunt subway tunnels or dank basements. Remote Access Tools can be troublesome and, in some cases, invasive. RATs can be used to remotely access a computer and perform any number of functions, including turning on a device’s webcam.


RATs are capable of spying on people, but the problem (in this case) is that RATs are frequently used for other, non-invasive procedures as well. IT professionals will frequently use remote access technology to resolve potential problems within a system that they manage. Even some school districts have used RATs to gather photos of students in their home through laptops using a tracking system. In some extreme cases, RATs have also been used for blackmailing purposes.

The overarching problem with these types of threats is that anyone who owns a device is technically at risk, and legal protections and repercussions are somewhat limited at the moment. The laws that do exist are either outdated or their requirements for litigation are too specific, which hinders the victim’s ability to find reprieve, and law enforcement to catch the criminal.

Since hackers can safely exploit these flaws in legal recourse, they will often use the information obtained in this fashion to further torment the victims. Besides this, the personal information stolen by hackers could amount to a stolen identity, ruined credit scores, and far worse.

How to Stop Such Invasions of Privacy
One solution that the FBI director James Comey suggests is taping over your webcam. While effective, this practice is kind of annoying. Here are a couple of practices that you can use to keep security at the top of your mind:

  • Keeping your security software fully updated always helps to keep malware at bay.
  • Make sure that the latest firewalls and antivirus software are all installed.
  • Use a secure Wi-Fi connection to do your browsing online.

Another major way that you can prevent issues like this from turning into bigger problems is to keep an eye out for the telltale signs of trouble. Looking for signs such as suspicious emails or the webcam light turning on without your permission might be the first thing you notice. You can take further measures meant to prevent infections in the first place by using strong, frequently-changed passwords, and doing routine file searches for anything that seems out of place.

We guess you could keep slapping a piece of tape over the webcam, but that’s only a short-term solution. Instead, we recommend that you reach out to The Connection, Inc. Our trusted technicians can help you keep your PC safe from all manners of threats, including RATs. You can think of us as your very own IT threat exterminators. To learn more, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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

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.


The huge levels of dissent surrounding this issue boil down to concerns over privacy. While the proposed rules didn’t necessarily prevent ISPs from selling your data for monetary gain, they would have required the ISP to secure permissions from you before they did so. The relationship between ISPs, the Federal Communications Commission (the FCC), and the Federal Trade Commission (the FTC) also played a major role. Many politicians who were opposed to these new rules felt that the FCC had no business determining rules for ISPs, as they felt that responsibility for that was better managed by the FTC.

This opinion was shared by the current chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai. However, while the FCC no longer has the authority to forbid ISPs from selling their user’s browsing data to advertisers, no power has been given to the FTC to prevent such activity, either.

The government’s actions have provided ISPs with the same abilities as search engines and social media sites, with a few changes. First of all, search engines and social media do not require any sort of purchase, which leads to an implied agreement that in exchange for their free services, they may use your browsing data to personalize the results they show you (although this personalization does allow marketers to target specific demographics of users, which is a very powerful tool for businesses that many users feel is invasive). ISPs, on the other hand, do charge for their services, meaning that this ruling effectively allows ISPs from making twice the profit from you. Furthermore, instead of just tracking your history on select sites and services, an ISP has access to analyze your entire surfing history and profit off of it.

So what does this all mean to you?
Well, that depends. It is possible that ISPs will target online advertisements based on your individual browsing history, emphasizing products and services that you have shown some interest in before. This isn’t new. Amazon, for example, has mastered this through the use of remarketing. While this could presumably lead to an improved browsing experience for many, there is considerable pushback coming from many advocates for privacy.

This is largely due to the fact that your ISP could harvest this data from almost anywhere, including your personal email accounts and any other online activity, in order to sell it, or at least allow marketers to capitalize on it. Depending on the data collected, this could potentially include personally identifiable information or sensitive account credentials--which could then be up for sale to whomever wanted to buy them from the ISP. Even if we weren’t worried about ISPs selling this type of sensitive data, it opens up another potential way for hackers to gather that data, if the ISP is lax on security.

This isn’t the only advantage the ISP gains, either. Under the rules that were scrapped, an ISP would have been required to alert their customers of a data breach. Arguing that this would only lead to ‘notification fatigue,’ the ISPs were also able to remove these rules, meaning that they are no longer obligated to inform you should your data be at risk.

So, how can you prevent your sensitive information from being collected?
Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. While ISPs still have free reign to collect your browsing data as they please, they are not able to do so if you opt out. This is not to say that all ISPs have made opting out easy, so you may have to make a phone call, and you have to take them at their word that they are no longer tracking you.

There are also some ISPs who are opposed to the privacy repeal, but around 80 percent of Americans have only one or two options for broadband in their area.

Utilizing a virtual private network is another option available to you, but this approach isn’t without its drawbacks, either. Just as an ISP can, a third-party VPN can access and sell your browsing data, if they so choose. For a personal user, a VPN can be costly and cumbersome, however businesses do benefit from them every day. Tor browsing is another option, although it is more complicated, slower, and can potentially be unsecure.

In short, there really isn’t an easy, guaranteed way to secure your browsing history against the peeping eyes of your ISP. All you can do is implement some of these methods to defend yourself to the best of your ability.

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Are You Prepared For Incoming Threats To Your Systems?

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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Would You Share Your Browser History? This Ransomware Will

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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