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Info Advantage has been serving the Upstate New York area since 1993 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Three Tips to Help Keep Your Data Safe on the Internet

Three Tips to Help Keep Your Data Safe on the Internet

The public internet is vast, with over one billion websites already established, and more and more created every day. While being connected to the internet has its undeniable benefits, there is also a constant threat that puts our sensitive information at risk: hackers. These cyber criminals will do anything they can to try and steal your personal information, and once they have it, it can be difficult to recover. Luckily, there are a few simple methods every internet user can utilize to keep themselves safe from a hack attack.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication Where Available

Many popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Ebay are now embracing an extra layer of login security with their two-factor authentication methods. This process is activated when you try to login to your account using a device that isn’t recognized by the site. In order to confirm your identity, the user will get sent an authentication code through a verified contact point such as email or text message. This ensures that no un-recognized source can access your information unless they also had access to your second form of contact.

Secure a Site Using HTTPs

These days we don’t often type out the full website address we are looking for, as most browsers will automatically fill in the correct address or send you to a search engine to point you in the right direction. However, there is a hidden benefit to typing out an address, and it can be as easy as adding a single letter. When adding a ‘s’ to the end of http (hypertext transfer protocol,) the browser will encrypt any and all information sent between the server and the user. While many modern browsers add the ‘s’ to a site’s address on their own, you can ensure that you’ll always have a secure connection by downloading apps or programs that will automatically make the switch for you.

Keep Browsers and Devices Updated

Typically, updates are direct responses to issues or vulnerabilities that have been discovered on your program or device. Therefore, it is critically important that you always run trusted updates as quickly as possible. Outdated versions of browsers or mobile operating systems are often an easy entry-point for hackers, allowing them to exploit the known security holes. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re completely updated, many browsers and operating systems have a service that will automatically update as soon as new versions are released.

Worried about the safety of your sensitive data being sent over the public internet? Contact Info Advantage today at (585) 254-8710 to speak to a security professional about how you can strengthen your network security!

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WannaCry: The Worst Digital Disaster the World Has Seen in Years

WannaCry: The Worst Digital Disaster the World Has Seen in Years


On Friday, May 12, a cyber-attack was launched that affected over 300,000 computers in roughly 150 countries. The attack, a ransomware worm known as WannaCry, affected nearly every major industry; including healthcare, government, and privately-owned businesses.

The attack began in Europe and continued to spread across the globe, reaching targets in China, Japan, and even reaching across seas to the Americas. Once hit with WannaCry, the worm encrypts all the files on an infected device, prompting the user to pay $300 in order to regain access to their files.

Since the attack spread, the hackers are thought to have gained about $80,000 in bitcoins from WannaCry victims. However, that number is not expected to rise much higher, as many technology companies have already implemented measures to block the attack. In fact, Microsoft had already had a vulnerability patch in place in March, months before WannaCry was released.

So how was WannaCry able to affect hundreds of thousands of devices while there were already measures available to block the attack? The answer lies within an affected company’s technology infrastructure. While the patch by Microsoft was originally released in March for Windows XP systems, many businesses completely overlooked the upgrade. This left them wide open for an attack, making them easy targets with well-known vulnerabilities.

However, we cannot be so quick to blame the IT departments of the affected businesses, particularly those with complex technology infrastructures. For example, many health care service providers in the UK were affected due to a reliance on older versions of operating systems. This is due in part to the variety of third-party medical equipment that health care providers rely on to do their jobs. This equipment can often be difficult to upgrade or patch, and can only be replaced if the budget allows for it. In many cases, companies will choose to spend their dollars on other IT necessities.

What can businesses do to protect themselves from WannaCry and other similar cyber-attacks? Security experts state that the best way to combat these attacks is to keep your technology updated and your employees aware of potential threats.

A good way to gauge your company’s vulnerability is to perform a threat and vulnerability tests. These tests will give a company insight into how many employees would fall for an attack by sending out a fake phishing scam. Once the data is collected, a company will have a better idea of what kind of vulnerabilities they have, and how they can train their employees to avoid them.

Experts also suggest that companies keep as up-to-date on their software as possible, and urge them to consistently check for updates or patches. While an update might not seem imperative, hackers are constantly on the lookout for newly discovered vulnerabilities to exploit. By creating a consistent update schedule, companies can be sure that they are protected from future attacks.

Don’t have the time to constantly check for software updates? Not sure if your company is up-to-date with the best possible cyber security plan? Contact our security experts at Info Advantage by calling (585) 254-8710 today to talk about how you can protect your business’ assets.


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IoT Connected Stuffed Animals Leak Millions of Accounts Private Information

IoT Connected Stuffed Animals Leak Millions of Accounts Private Information

With the rise of the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), more and more everyday devices are becoming connected to the web as a means to make a more personalized product experiment. Today, we have IoT connected watches, televisions, and even kitchen appliances like refrigerators or coffee makers. As convenient as these devices can be, they can pose a serious threat to a user’s personal information if the security behind the device is lackluster. Such is the case with CloudPet, a IoT connected stuffed animal that lets children and their loved ones communicate with each other through an app, which exposed the personal data of thousands of accounts.

CloudPets are made by Spiral Toys, a company based in California that specializes in toys that connect to the internet. The concept behind the toy is that a child can communicate with their parents or loved ones who are far away. The toy is connected to an app, which allows the connected party to record voice messages to send to the child’s CloudPet. The CloudPet then allows the child to send a voice recording back, which can be played through the app.

On February 28, 2017, security researcher Troy Hunt posted a blog about how the data from CloudPets stuffed animals had been leaked and ransomed, potentially exposing these recordings. Hunt found that several parties had reached out to CloudPets and their parent company Spiral Toys about the breach, yet had received no response. With some help of members on his site, Have I Been Pwned?, Hunt was successfully able to access the user photos and voice recordings. While there were no recordings or photos on the exposed database, the leakage did contain sensitive data that could easily compromise an account.

According to the CloudPet’s site, the breach was caused when CloudPet’s user data was temporarily moved to a new database software. In December of 2016, third party developers moved CloudPets data to a temporary database in order to make upgrades to the CloudPet’s app. During the time, the database software that was used had an exploit that hackers would use to hold data for ransom. While CloudPets claims that no voice recordings were accessed, they do admit to the leakage of email addresses, usernames, and encrypted passwords. However, there were no password strength rules before the breach, so a hacker could still easily access thousands of those compromised accounts.

Since the breach was made public on February 22, the CloudPets app required all users to reset their passwords, and created new password security requirements to ensure the new passwords are more secure. They also recommend that users create a unique password for every application or site, and advise them not to use “easily guessable” passwords.

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The Dangers of Autofill: How Scammers Can Use Browsers to Steal Credit Cards

The Dangers of Autofill: How Scammers Can Use Browsers to Steal Credit Cards

If you’re an avid online shopper, you know the struggle of having to fill out your information each and every time you want to make a purchase. For many, autofill is a way to save time when shopping online. While this feature is convenient, it can also put your data directly into the hands of cybercriminals if a user isn’t careful.

How They Do It

Hackers are able to use autofill to their advantage by adding hidden fields in a sign-up form. These fake sign-up forms try to trick users into giving up more information than they think they are. The form may seem to only ask for a name or email address, but can secretly also take any other information that has been saved in a browser’s autofill. This could include information such as a billing address, phone number, credit card number, security codes, and other sensitive personal data. While this method of attack isn’t necessarily new, whitehat hackers have had trouble finding effective ways to counter the threat.

Prevent an Autofill Attack

Autofill attacks can happen to nearly any user on any browser that has autofill enabled. However, browsers such as Chrome and Safari are particularly prone to these types of attacks, as autofill comes pre-configured when the browser is first downloaded. To avoid these types of attacks, experts suggest using a browser without autofill, such as Firefox. If you want to stick with Chrome or Safari, you may want to consider disabling the autofill feature. If you enjoy the convenience of autofill, make sure you only utilize the feature on sites that have been marked as secure. Otherwise, it’s advised that you take the time to fill in each field by hand to avoid giving information you don’t want to give.

Worried that your sensitive data might be at risk of leaking? Call Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710 today to talk to a security expert about how you can keep your private data safe.

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Highlights from SonicWall's 2017 Annual Threat Report

Highlights from SonicWall's 2017 Annual Threat Report

SonicWall recently released their 2017 Annual Threat Report, which takes a look into the technology security trends in the upcoming year. In the report, SonicWall carefully observes and analyses the technology threat landscape from the last year and uses it to predict how it will continue to change in the future. Here’s a brief summary of their most important findings for 2017, and what it means for modern business.

Point-Of-Sale Malware Declining

With the integration of chip-based POS systems, hackers are finding it more difficult to steal sensitive information through POS malware attacks. The chip readers allow the transaction to be approved by creating a unique code that cannot be used again, as opposed to the traditional magnetic strip that uses the same code each time it is swiped. Thanks to the integration of the chip-reader, along with stronger legal guidelines, SonicWall observed that the number of new POS malware has decreased by 88 percent since 2015.

Website Encryption on the Rise

As web traffic continues to grow exponentially, users want to ensure that their data is kept safe. Due to this, many websites are opting to use Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security (SSL/TLS) encryption to protect sensitive user data. SSL/TLS encryption is represented by a lock and HTTPS URL, rather than the standard HTTP URL. This ensures the user that their information is safe, and is only being sent to the intended recipient. SonicWall believes the trend towards SSL/TLS encryption is due in part to the growing trend of cloud applications. They expect the trend to continue into 2017, and believe that SSL/TLS traffic will account for 75 percent of online interactions by the year 2019.


Ransomware Becoming More Popular

Ransomware was by far the most popular security attack in the previous year, with an increase from 3.8 million attacks in 2015 to 638 million in 2016. According to SonicWall’s Global Response Intelligence Defense (GRID), $209 million in ransom had been paid by affected companies by the end of the first quarter. The growth was most likely driven by the increased access of ransomware as the ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) industry expanded. This allowed individuals to purchase a ransomware pack without requiring the necessary coding skills needed to launch an attack. The most common attack is known as Locky, and is often attached to emails as disguised as a Microsoft Word invoice. As the RaaS industry continues to grow, SonicWall’s GRID suggests that all organizations backup their data continuously to a backup system that isn’t always online, or uses authentication.


Internet of Things Devices Compromised

The recent advances in technology have opened up the world to more and more connections to the Internet from more than just a computer, smartphone or tablet. These days, Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be anything from a camera or smart watch, to a smart car or home security system. Due to the wide-adaptation of IoT devices, many developers have felt the pressure to release their devices as soon as possible, which often means oversight in security. This made it easy for hackers to discover weaknesses in IoT devices, resulting in the launch of largest distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in history. The attack used thousands of IoT devices with weak passwords to launch an attack on hosting company OVH and DNS service provider Dyn. This resulted in the outages for well-known sites such as Airbnb, Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, and Spotify. To protect your IoT devices, SonicWall suggests that you ensure your devices are protected by next-generation firewalls, which scan for specific IoT malware. They also suggest you separate all IoT devices from the rest of your network, in case it becomes compromised.


Android Security Increased, But Still Vulnerable

During 2016, Google worked on new operating systems that would directly combat many of the security vulnerabilities found in Android devices. They added additional security features, including a new approach to permission granting, an increase of security patches, and a full-disk encryption of the device. However, these new strides in security have been met with hacker resistance as they find new ways to combat these security measures. This includes screen overlays, ad-fraud malware HummingBad, self-installing apps, and third-party adult-centric apps. SonicWall suggests that any Andriod device on a company network should keep the “install applications from unknown sources” un-check and make sure both “verify applications” options are checked. It is also advised that users enable the “remote wipe” option in the event that the device is compromised.

The best way to combat an attack is to stop it before it becomes a problem. Contact Info Advantage’s security professionals today at (585) 254-8710 to learn more about proactive ways to ensure the safety of your data. 

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3 Social Engineering Scams You’ll Want to Keep an Eye Out For

3 Social Engineering Scams You’ll Want to Keep an Eye Out For

These days there are thousands of different cyber scams looking to steal money or information from unsuspecting internet users. While many of these attacks can be stopped with a strengthened and secure connection, there is another type of attack that relies more on tricking the users, rather than their network or personal device. These are known as social engineers, and they rely on exploiting the human psychology in order to obtain what they want. Here are three types of social engineering scams that you’ll want to be able to recognize.


One of the most common types of hacking scams used today, phishing scams try to trick internet users to give up their personal information by posing as a reputable source. These often come up in the form of an email from a site that is easily recognizable, such as Facebook or Amazon. Typically, these emails state that there is a problem with a person’s account, and prompt them to fill out their personal information in order to resolve it. That’s why you should always double check the URL to make sure it is a verified site. Remember, a site will NEVER ask for your log in credentials through an email.


Pretexting is similar to phishing in that the hacker attempts to coerce information from a user by pretending to be someone they’re not. The main difference between the two types of scams is that where a phishing attack is meant to induce fear, a pretexting attack will instead attempt to create a false trust with the user. Hackers achieve this by posing as someone the user would trust, such as a government official or the police. They then ask for their personal information, often citing that they need to verify the user’s identity.

Quid Pro Quo

Hackers will often use what is known as a ‘quid pro quo’ attack where they promise a user some kind of good or service in exchange for their information. This is often presented as some sort of prize for a contest, and promises that you will receive the reward for free, as long as you provide them with a bit of personal information. For example, a hacker could promise free IT assistance to individual users and ask for them to give them their credentials in order to claim the service. They would then be able to steal valuable data or even download harmful malware directly onto their computers.

Even if you’re careful with your network, a professional hacker will stop at nothing to try and find a vulnerability they can exploit. Call Info Advantage at (585) 254-8710 today to learn more ways you can keep hackers at bay.

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Forget Backdoors, Hackers Can Now Infiltrate Garage Doors

b2ap3_thumbnail_openseasame_hacks_garages_400.jpgHackers have proven that they will do whatever it takes to get to your valuable assets, even if it means taking advantage of physical objects that work alongside a specific frequency. As it turns out, this is exactly how hacking a garage door works, and all it takes is a decade-old communications device to capture the frequency and unlock any garage door that utilizes it.

Recent comment in this post
Guest — jacksmith
nice information..
Monday, 09 October 2017 11:09
1 Comment
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