The Dangers of Ransomware and How IT Support in Miami Can Help

Ransomware is one of the fastest growing cyber security problems that IT support company in Miami deal with. In fact, it has grown from 4 million in 2015 to over 638 million in 2016. The majority of attacks happen when victims open infected emails or click on pop-ups, enabling malicious code to travel throughout the computer, which eventually locks down. A message is then displayed, which demands that the victims transfer money (typically a specific amount of bitcoin) to regain access to their computers. If the victim is an administrator with access to multiple computers, ransomware can lock out each computer, which may result in shutting down the whole company. The rise of “ransomware-as-a-service” (RaaS) has significantly contributed to the spread of ransomware, as it allows more cyber criminals access to this malicious form of software.

Here are a few more ways that RaaS has caused widespread havoc throughout the IT industry:

Accessibility

Ransomware-as-a-service is designed to be easily accessible for a wide variety of users, even those without programming skills or sophisticated equipment. Advanced criminals write the code for this malicious software, but they make it readily available for anyone to download and use. Sometimes they charge a small fee, while other times it is free. Nevertheless, the accessibility of ransomware has made it much easier for anyone to use, contributing to a dramatic increase in attacks.

Easily Spread

Besides being cheap and easy to download, ransomware can spread rapidly in only a short amount of time. Many corporations are turning to IT support company in Miami to combat against these cyberattacks. With RaaS allowing anyone access to ransomware, it is more readily available than many other forms of cyberattacks. Ransomware can be more lucrative than stealing someone’s identity, and there is a lower risk of being caught when payments are made through Bitcoin.

High Costs

Ransomware attacks can result in excessive costs in only a short amount of time. Many companies pay the ransom because they cannot afford to be shut down for an extended length of time. Large corporations have paid millions of dollars in ransom because they were unable to find the source of the attack. As long as companies pay these criminals, ransomware will continue to be one of the most popular cyberattacks.

As you can see, the use of ransomware-as-a-service has become a major concern. Companies that rely on IT support company in Miami can avoid becoming the next victim through the use of the latest security updates. At Michell Consulting Group, we offer the latest security to help businesses avoid becoming the next victim of ransomware. Using the latest technology, our technicians specialize in helping businesses of all sizes assess their risk and protect themselves from cyberattacks. Contact us today and let us help guard your business from the ever-changing threats in today’s world.

Turn Your IT Pain into Your Business Gain with IT Support in Miami

For companies outside the IT industry, dealing with technology can be a real pain. You think you have one IT problem solved and then you uncover another, usually bigger, issue. While this can be frustrating, it is important to remember the role that technology plays in today’s business environment. It’s time to transform the pain you feel into a major gain for your company with the help of an IT support provider in Miami.

Identify Your Problems First

The first thing you need is to identify any and all issues associated with IT within your company. This can range from aging, out of support hardware to which applications are helping or hurting your business.

An IT provider will thoroughly examine your business and its IT components and resources. The provider will evaluate your current technology and identify the root of your IT issues. This thorough evaluation is necessary to take your company to the next level.

Create a Roadmap to Solve Those Problems

From the problems identified, you need an IT roadmap. It identifies where you are now, where you need to go, and which parts of your current IT go into the futures or which ones need to retire. Here are a few things the IT roadmap addresses:

  • Aligning IT with the company’s goals and objectives
  • Bringing IT to the appropriate level of maturity for the business and industry
  • Adjusting IT spending to meet the company’s needs with maximizing the return on IT value
  • Retiring IT hardware and software that is not helping the business
  • Bringing in new IT hardware and software to support the business
  • Developing data and reporting capabilities to enable informed decision making
  • Bringing the company into compliance with industry standards and legal regulations
  • Updating and securing the entire IT infrastructure’s security
  • Adjusting internal IT manpower with a balance of skills and experience for new IT landscape
  • Managing project delivery to be on time and addressing promised business benefits

Move into the Future

With the roadmap in place, the next step is to start moving towards your new IT strategy. If you have a good internal IT team, you can usually move forward without external help. However, if you are like most businesses, IT resources are stretched thin. Bringing in an external IT support team in Miami is the better choice. They can do the work necessary while keeping your costs down.

If you want to learn more about turning your IT pain into your company’s gain, contact us at Michell Consulting Group. We are the experts in IT support Miami companies trust with their technology.

IT Support in Miami: A Look at the Latest APWG Phishing Attacks Report

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) is a global coalition comprised of nearly 2,000 institutions that unite to thwart cyberattacks. APWG releases a quarterly report to increase awareness of cybercrime threats. IT support providers in Miami pay close attention to this report as it provides important insight into phishing attacks and other digital threats. Here’s a look at the most important findings from the latest APWG report:

Digital Attacks are at the Highest Level Ever

APWG’s report states the number of digital attacks has soared since the report was first released in 2004. Attacks have jumped nearly 6,000 percent in the past 12 years. China is receiving more attacks than any other nation. Nearly 50 percent of Chinese machines are infected. Turkey and Taiwan are the second and third most affected nations.

APWG’s Data Shows Phishing Attacks are on the Rise

The report states that phishing attacks have increased 65 percent since 2016. The most phishing attacks occurred in April while the least occurred in December. In particular, spear-phishing attacks are spiking. These attacks on employee email accounts put companies square in the cross-hairs for data theft. Phishing is also becoming more advanced. The digital attackers behind these schemes are zeroing in on specific employees and organizations that are particularly vulnerable.

The bottom line is no company or employee is exempt from the wrath of phishers and hackers. If you are not properly equipped to handle phishing attacks, you need an IT support provider in Miami that can help you thwart attacks and keep your operations hitting on all cylinders without interruption.

Phishing No Longer Requires Specific Domain Names

Phishers typically provide similar domain names to fool victims. Such a tactic is referred to as spoofing. The APWG analysis shows fewer digital attackers are resorting to spoof brands in domain names. This indicates deception is no longer necessary to confuse web users. Phishers are resorting to additional tricks like placing brand names elsewhere in URLs, shortening URLs to create the destination domain and letting the user move his mouse over the hyperlink and see a phony destination domain.

The Retail and Service Industries are Being Targeted at High Rates

Retail has been a prime target of phishing attacks for several years; yet in the fourth quarter of 2016, the retail and service sectors received a whopping 42 percent of reported phishing attacks. The financial sector was the second most targeted sector with nearly 20 percent of phishing attacks. ISP came in third at nearly 13 percent. The APWG reports also state targeted brands averaged an incredible 400 attacks per month across the initial three-quarters. This figure decreased to 264 in the fourth quarter of 2016. This data lends credence to the idea that phishing tailed off a bit when the holiday season arrived.

Conclusion

You need a reliable IT support provider in Miami to protect your company and prevent phishing and other forms of cybercrime. At Michell Consulting Group, our mission is to custom-tailor IT solutions to your unique tech challenges. Ally with our team and you won’t have to worry about network, hardware and software problems stifling your organization’s productivity and efficiency. Contact us today!

IT Support in Miami Helps You Implement a Successful Blockchain Solution

What Are Blockchains?

IT support in Miami has acquired new infrastructural tech service solutions, especially in the last several years. As cloud computing has fundamentally rewritten the rules of MSP/client relations while simultaneously bringing an abundance of innovations to the market, new infrastructural services are now available which can substantially reduce operational cost. Now, the “substantial” part of that statement comes in aggregate.

Applying IoT here can streamline production, distribution, design, and marketing. Providing mobile cloud support there can help you curtail the cost of office space rental. Hypothetically, imagine 10 cloud-based applications, each removing 3% of expense from your business. By the time you’ve got all 10 applications running, you’ve saved 30% on your annual operational costs. If those costs were in the $10 million range, that means you saved around $3.3 million— which is no small sum.

One innovation like this which can shave percentage points off your average costs is called a blockchain. Basically, a blockchain is a ledger that cannot be altered and acts as a transaction repository for your entire company. Transactions are entered into the digital ledger, combined in a block, and then linked to other transactions so that you’ve got a cohesive, easily accessible “ledger” with everything in essentially one spot.

Hanging up the Telephone

Here’s why a blockchain is valuable: have you ever played the “telephone” game? This is where a dozen or so folks sit in a circle, one person whispers in his neighbor’s ear, “the cheese is in the Hamptons,” and then she whispers what she heard in her neighbor’s ear which, for this scenario, happens to be: “the sleaze is into napkins,” and by the time the “telephone” has relayed the message back to the originator, it has transformed to: “Wheezy little penguins.”

It’s funny when you play the telephone game, but you shouldn’t be seeing information transmission distortion like that when it comes to transactions— that can be bad for your entire business, and even the most secure methods will experience such errors using older methods of transaction transmission. There are a number of reasons why:

  • Deliberate tampering
  • Errors in transmission
  • Outright fraud
  • Simple human error

When every “node” in the “network” of your extended business has an individual who keeps his or her own ledger after a transaction, there’s the propensity they will alter that ledger, that they will construct it to tell the story they want, or that they’ll enter information into it which isn’t accurate. The ledger can always be doctored later should someone discover as much. IT support in Miami which delivers blockchain solutions will curtail this by making it so that information is only shared on a need-to-know basis and alterations can’t be made, meaning deliberate tampering and outright fraud can be prevented. With everything consolidated, transmission errors and human error are all reduced. Now, say each of those items— tampering, transmission, fraud, and human error— each caused a 1% operational loss annually. That’s 4% total or $40k out of $1 million, and that kind of savings totally covers the cost of adopting something like a block-chain.

Securing Business

IT support in Miami from Michell Consulting Group can help you install and maintain block-chain solutions. Contact us to secure your transactions.

IT Support in Miami: The Importance of Network Security Assessment

In today’s business world, corporations rely heavily on business networks, and chances are that your company is among those that extensively use business networks in the day to day running of operations. However, it may strike you as odd to learn that some firms are not keen on adhering to safe and efficient IT networking habits. This is a serious problem, considering the risks associated with the Internet. In this article, IT support experts in Miami explain why you should conduct periodic network security assessments:

What is Network Security Assessment?

Simply put, this is an audit that is conducted with the primary aim of finding vulnerabilities in your corporate network. It is a preventive measure aimed at ensuring that vulnerabilities are discovered and dealt with long before they can spread and cause a serious harm to your network.

What are the Main Types of Network Security Assessments?

Before tasking your IT support team in Miami to conduct a network security assessment on your corporate network, you should specify the kind of assessment you need to be done. There are two types of network security assessment:

  • Vulnerability assessment – This is aimed at checking your network from inside and outside to produce reports which will show the weaknesses in your network. Accompanying this will be an advice on how to deal with the vulnerabilities.
  • Penetration testing – This goes deeper than the vulnerability assessment. It covers vulnerability assessment and goes deeper by conducting social, external, and internal testing to check for weak links in your IT system. The result of this test is to seal loopholes that hackers can exploit to deploy attack to your network.

What are the Goals of Network Security Assessment

The primary goals of network security assessment include:

  • Discovering vulnerabilities in the internal and external entry points
  • Testing the viability and ability of network defenders to spot and respond to threats
  • Identifying security vulnerabilities in database, file, and application servers

Why Do You Need Network Security Assessment?

Network security assessment is important because:

  • It can reveal vulnerabilities, allowing your IT team to prevent them from infecting your whole network
  • It can protect your critical corporate data from theft
  • It can help you to stay compliant with regulatory requirements for data safety and security.
  • It can shield you from losses that arise from system breakdown

So, network security assessment is an important process that you should consider investing in. At Michell Consulting Group, we are an IT support provider in Miami specialized in helping businesses stay safe online. Contact us now for more information.