Beware Of Cybersquatters!

Have you ever searched for a specific website but landed on a completely different one after misspelling a letter or two in the URL? This deceptive tactic is known as cybersquatting. This practice not only jeopardizes the online presence of businesses and individuals but also poses a significant challenge in the ever-evolving landscape of cyber security. The scariest part is that you can be a victim of a cybersquatted domain and not even realize it.

Here’s what you need to know about this type of cybercrime:  

What Is Cybersquatting?  

Cybersquatting, also known as domain squatting, involves the malevolent act of registering a domain name that is confusingly similar to that of a legitimate entity, be it a business, organization or individual. The primary motive behind this maneuver is often financial gain, with cybersquatters aiming to exploit the recognition and success of well-known brands. However, the repercussions extend beyond monetary losses, as cybersquatting can stain the reputation of its victims.  

Types Of Cybersquatting 

 There are many types of cybersquatting scams, but here are the most common ones that you need to be aware of. 


1. Top-Level Domain (TLD) Exploitation:

     A TLD is the final element of a domain name, such as “.com,” “” and “.org.” Because there are so many variations, it’s difficult for small to medium-sized businesses to register all of them for their brand, and it’s even more difficult for celebrities or famous individuals.

     Cybercriminals will register matching domains using different TLDs and either create offensive or inappropriate websites, requesting the original domain owner to pay them to take them down, or they will use these websites to gain customers’ trust and make them susceptible to phishing attacks. 


2.Typosquatting: This form of cybersquatting involves intentionally registering misspelled domain names to capitalize on common typos, leading unsuspecting users to malicious sites.

     If you take, for example, here’s how a cybersquatter might buy their domains: 



     Typos are easy to make, so misspelled domains can generate a lot of traffic.  

3. Look-Alike Cybersquatting: This form of cybersquatting involves creating domains with common words added to mislead customers, even if they aren’t confusingly similar at first glance. 

Here are a few examples:  

1. Original:

2. Original:
Lookalike: or


Looking at these, you might not think they’d easily trick users, but they still do!   


How To Avoid Being A Cybersquatting Victim  


You can avoid being a cybersquatting victim by taking a proactive approach. Here are a few steps to take:   

  1. Register Your Trademark: To benefit from the full protection of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) and Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), it can be helpful to register your trademark early. These regulations will still apply if a cybercriminal registers a cybersquatting domain name and you have an unregistered trademark; however, you’ll need to prove you were using it for business before the domain was registered. Trademarks aren’t required, but they can make this easier. 
  2. Invest In Multiple Prominent TLDs: When you register your domain, also register it with the most popular TLDs, like .co and .org. 
  3. Be Cautious Of What Websites You Visit: When typing URLs into the address bar, double-check to make sure you’re going to the correct website.

    This applies to links you click too! Hover over links with your mouse to confirm that it is the correct link. For extra security, skip clicking links and type them into the search bar on your own.  

Cybersquatting is only one method hackers use to cause chaos. Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to scam businesses and individuals alike. If you want to double down on security to make sure you and your company are protected from sneaky attackers, we can help. 

 We’ll conduct a FREE, no-obligation Security Risk Assessment where we’ll examine your network security solutions to identify if and where you’re vulnerable to an attack and help you create a plan of action to ensure you’re protected. Click here to book a 10-minute Discovery Call with our team to get started. 

Your 15-Step IT Profitability Road Map For 2024

If you’re hoping to cut costs and boost profitability in 2024 without compromising productivity or efficiency, assessing the technology you use in day-to-day operations is one of the first areas in your business to examine. 

 We’ve created a road map that you can use to go step-by-step through your organization to determine if and where you can be saving money or utilizing new or better technology to improve operational efficiency.   

1. Technology Inventory: 

  • Conduct a comprehensive inventory of your current technology assets, including hardware, software licenses and peripherals like monitors, printers, keyboards, etc.
  • Identify outdated or underutilized equipment that can be upgraded or decommissioned. 

2. Software Licensing And Subscriptions: 

  • Review all software licenses and subscriptions to ensure compliance.
  • Identify any unused or redundant software and eliminate unnecessary expenses. 

 3. Cloud Services Optimization: 

  • Evaluate your usage of cloud services and consider optimizing resources based on actual needs.
  • Monitor and adjust cloud service subscriptions to match fluctuating business demands.
  •  Evaluate security protocols for cloud-based services to ensure you’re not at risk of a data breach. This can be an expensive problem, so do not skip it. 

 4. Energy Efficiency:  

  • Implement energy-efficient practices, such as consolidating servers, using energy-efficient hardware and optimizing data center cooling.
  • Consider virtualization to reduce the number of physical servers, saving both energy and hardware costs.  

 5. Remote Work Infrastructure:  

  • Optimize remote work capabilities to support flexible working arrangements. Inefficiency in this area will decrease productivity, inflate costs and increase cyber security risks.
  • Invest in secure collaboration tools and virtual private network (VPN) solutions for remote access. 

6. Data Storage Optimization:  

  • Assess data storage needs and implement data archiving strategies to free up primary storage. Are you saving documents you don’t need? Are there redundant files that should be removed?
  • Consider cloud storage options for scalability and cost-effectiveness. 

 7. Network Performance:  

  • Regularly monitor and optimize network performance to ensure faster and more reliable data transfer, reduce downtime, enhance the user experience and support cost savings, ultimately contributing to the overall efficiency and success of your business operations.
  • Implement quality of service (QoS) settings to prioritize critical applications and services. 

 8. IT Security Measures:  

  • Regularly update and patch software to address security vulnerabilities.
  • Ensure that antivirus, anti-malware and other security solutions are up-to-date and active.
  • Conduct regular security audits and employee training to prevent security breaches. 

NOTE: This cyber security measures list barely scratches the surface. If you haven’t had a professional dig into your security solutions, this needs to be a priority. Data breaches are expensive and can shut a business down. Click here to book a call with our team. 

9. IT Help Desk Efficiency:  

  • Implement or optimize an IT help desk system to streamline support requests.
  • Use a faster, more efficient ticketing system to track and prioritize IT issues, improving response times and resolution rates. 

 10. Mobile Device Management (MDM):  

  • Implement MDM solutions to manage and secure mobile devices used by employees.
  • Enforce policies that ensure data security on company-issued or BYOD (bring your own device) devices. 

11. Vendor Management:  

  • Review vendor contracts and negotiate better terms, or explore competitive options.
  • Consolidate vendors where possible to simplify management and potentially reduce costs.
  • Evaluate vendor cyber security practices to ensure your data is as secure as possible. If they are breached and your data is released, you’re still at fault. 

 12. Employee Training Programs:  

  • Provide ongoing training programs to enhance employees’ IT skills and awareness.
  • Reduce support costs by empowering employees to troubleshoot common issues independently. 

 13. Energy-Efficient Hardware:  

  • Invest in energy-efficient hardware to reduce electricity costs and contribute to environmental sustainability.
  • Consider upgrading to newer, more power-efficient devices when replacing outdated equipment. 

 14. Paperless Initiatives:  

  • Explore paperless solutions to reduce printing and document storage costs.
  • Implement digital document management systems for greater efficiency and cost savings. 

 15.Telecommunications Optimization:  

  • Review telecom expenses and consider renegotiating contracts or exploring alternative providers.
  • Utilize Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for cost-effective and scalable communication solutions. 

 By systematically addressing these areas, business owners can enhance their IT infrastructure, drive productivity and achieve cost savings that contribute to overall profitability. Regularly revisiting and updating this checklist will help businesses stay agile in the ever-changing landscape of technology and business operations. 

 If you need help implementing the action steps on this list, our team is ready to help. Click here to book a FREE 10-Minute Discovery Call with our team, where we’ll discuss what your company needs and answer questions you might have. 

How IT Support Companies  Charge For Their Services – Part 2 Of 2 

Continuing on from our previous blog post, we’re answering one of the most common questions we get from new prospective clients: “What do you charge for your IT services?” In the last blog posted, we discussed the most common models – break-fix and managed IT. In this post, we’ll discuss the actual fees. 


The price ranges provided are industry averages based on a recent IT industry survey conducted by a well-known and trusted independent consulting firm, Service Leadership, that collects, analyzes and reports on the financial metrics of IT services firms from around the country. 


We are providing this information to give you a general idea of what most MSPs and IT services charge and to help you understand the VAST DIFFERENCES in service contracts that you must be aware of before signing on the dotted line. Please note that the actual price is not what’s most important but instead what you are getting for your money. There are a lot of ways “cheaper” IT firms hide the true cost of their fees, and the lowest bidder might actually end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for. 


With that in mind, here are the fee ranges for IT services and IT support for small businesses in <<City>>: 


Hourly Break-Fix Fees: Most IT services companies selling break-fix services charge between <<$150 and $250>> per hour, with a one-hour minimum. In some cases, they will give you a discount on their hourly rates if you purchase and pay for a block of hours in advance. 


As we discussed, this approach works best for microbusinesses that are not hosting or processing client data that is considered “sensitive,” such as health records, financial information like credit cards, Social Security numbers, etc., and that have very simple IT. This is definitely not the approach a growing business with five-plus employees would want to choose. 


Project Fees: If you are getting an IT firm to quote you for a onetime project, the fees range widely based on the scope of work outlined and the complexity of the project. If you are hiring an IT consulting firm for a project, I suggest you demand the following: 


  • A detailed scope of work that specifies what “success” is. Make sure you document what your expectations are in performance, workflow, costs, security, access, etc. The more detailed you can be, the better. Clarifying your expectations up front will go a long way toward avoiding miscommunications and additional fees later on to give you what you REALLY wanted.
  • A fixed budget and time frame for completion. Agreeing to this up front aligns both your agenda and the consultant’s. Be very wary of hourly estimates that allow the consulting firm to bill you for “unforeseen” circumstances. The bottom line is this: it is your IT consulting firm’s responsibility to be able to accurately assess your situation and quote a project based on their experience. You should not have to pick up the tab for a consultant underestimating a job or for their inefficiencies. A true professional knows how to take into consideration those contingencies and bill accordingly.


Managed IT Services: Most managed IT services firms will quote you a MONTHLY fee based on the number of devices, users and locations they need to maintain. The average fee per user (employee) ranges from $146.08 per month to $249.73 per month – and those fees are expected to rise due to constant inflation and a tight IT talent labor market. 


Obviously, as with all services, you get what you pay for.Operationally mature” MSPs typically charge more because they are far more disciplined and capable of delivering cyber security and compliance services than smaller, cheaper-priced MSPs. 


They also include CIO (chief information officer) services and dedicated account management, have better financial controls (so they aren’t running so lean that they are in danger of closing their doors) and can afford to hire and keep knowledgeable, qualified techs vs. junior engineers or cheap, outsourced labor. 


To be clear, I’m not suggesting you have to pay top dollar to get competent IT services, nor does paying “a lot of money” guarantee you’ll get accurate advice and responsive, customer-centric services. But if an MSP is charging on the low end of $146.08 per employee or less, you have to question what they are NOT providing or NOT including to make their services so cheap. Often they are simply not providing the quality of service you would expect and are leaving out critical security and backup services that you definitely want to have in place.

Are you done with ongoing IT problems, downtime and ineffective systems? Then it’s time you gave us a call and let us deliver the responsive, quality IT support you want with friendly, US-based techs who are both knowledgeable and easy to work with. 


Schedule your free initial consultation with one of our senior advisors by calling us at 480-464-0202 or going


On this call, we can discuss your unique situation and any concerns you have and, of course, answer any questions you have about our services and how we might be able to help you. We are also happy to provide you with a competitive bid. 

How IT Support Companies  Charge For Their Services – Part 1 Of 2 

     Before you can accurately compare the fees, services and deliverables of one IT services company to that of another, you need to understand the two predominant pricing and service models most of these companies offer. Many companies offer a blend of the two, while others are strict about offering only one service plan. The two most popular are:

  • Time And Materials (Hourly). In the industry, we call this “break-fix” services because the IT company is called to “fix” something when it “breaks” instead of doing regular maintenance and support. These services are typically priced by the hour. The price you pay will vary depending on the provider you choose and the complexity of the problem. Ransomware removal will require a more experienced and skillful tech vs. a simple printer problem.Under this model, you might be able to negotiate a discount based on buying a block of hours. The scope of work might range from simply resolving a specific problem (like fixing slow WiFi or resolving an e-mail problem) to encompassing a large project like a software upgrade, implementing cyberprotections or even an office move. Some companies will offer staff augmentation and placement under this model as well.

    Similar to this are value-added reseller services. VARs typically do IT projects for organizations that have internal IT departments. The term “value-added” reseller is based on the fact that they resell hardware (PCs, firewalls, servers, etc.) and software, along with the “value-added” services of installation, setup and configuration. VARs typically service larger organizations with internal IT departments. A trend that has been gaining ground over the last decade is that fewer VARs exist, as many have moved to the managed IT services model.

  • Managed IT Services (MSP, or “Managed Services Provider”). This is a model where the IT services company, called an MSP, takes on the role of your fully outsourced IT department. In this model, they handle everything related to your IT “infrastructure.” That includes (but is not limited to) the following: 
  • Troubleshooting IT problems (help desk support). 
  • Setting up and supporting PCs, tablets, Macs and workstations for new and existing employees, both on-site and remote. 
  • Installing and setting up applications such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, SharePoint, etc. 
  • Setting up and managing the security of your network, devices and data to protect against hackers, ransomware and viruses. 
  • Backing up your data and assisting in recovering it in the event of a disaster. 
  • Providing a help desk and support team to assist employees with IT problems. 
  • Setting up and supporting your phone system. 
  • Monitoring and maintaining the overall health, speed, performance and security of your computer network on a daily basis. 

In addition to managing your IT, a good MSP will provide you with an IT road map and budget for necessary projects to further secure your network and improve the stability and availability of critical applications, as well as ensure that your IT systems are compliant with various data protection laws (HIPAA, FTC Safeguards, PCI, etc.) and that your cyberprotections meet the standards on any cyber insurance plan that you have.

     The advantage of break-fix services is that you only pay for IT support when you need it, without being locked into a monthly or multiyear contract. If you’re not happy with the service you’re getting, you can change providers easily. If you’re a microbusiness with only a few employees, very simple IT needs where you don’t experience a lot of problems and don’t host or handle sensitive data (medical records, credit cards, Social Security numbers, etc.), break-fix might be the most cost-effective option for you. 


     However, the downsides of break-fix services are many, particularly if you’re NOT a microbusiness and/or if you handle sensitive, “protected” data. The five big downsides are as follows: 


  1. Break-fix can be very expensive when you have multiple issues. Because you’re not a managed client, the IT company resolving your problem will likely take longer to troubleshoot and fix the issue than if they were regularly maintaining your network and therefore familiar with your environment AND had systems in place to recover files or prevent problems from escalating.
  1. Paying hourly works entirely in your IT company’s favor, not yours. Under this model, the IT consultant can take the liberty of assigning a junior (lower-paid) technician to work on your problem who may take two to three times as long to resolve an issue that a more senior (and more expensive) technician may have resolved in a fraction of the time because there’s no incentive to fix your problems fast. In fact, they’re incentivized to drag it out as long as possible, given that they’re being paid by the hour.
  1. You are more likely to have major issues. One of the main reasons businesses choose a managed services provider is to PREVENT major issues from happening. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
  1. You can’t budget for IT services and, as already explained, could end up paying more in the long run if you have to constantly call for urgent “emergency” support.
  1. You won’t be a priority for the IT company. All IT firms prioritize their contract managed clients over break-fix clients. That means you get called back last and fit in when they have availability, so you could be down for days or weeks before they can address your problem.

     Are you done with ongoing IT problems, downtime and ineffective systems? Then it’s time you gave us a call and let us deliver the responsive, quality IT support you want with friendly, US-based techs who are both knowledgeable and easy to work with.  


     Schedule your free initial consultation with one of our senior advisors by calling us at 480-464-0202 or going to  


      On this call we can discuss your unique situation and any concerns you have and, of course, answer any questions you have about our services and how we might be able to help you. We are also happy to provide you with a competitive bid. 

7 Ways To Maximize Workplace Productivity With Tech 

In the fast-paced world of business, efficiency and productivity are paramount. Advancements in technology have revolutionized the way we work, providing a plethora of tools and resources to help us accomplish more in less time. Maximizing workplace productivity with technology has become an essential strategy for organizations looking to stay competitive and innovative in today’s global market. Here are 7 ways to add tech to your day-to-day activities to stay productive.  

  1. Automation And Streamlining Processes:

One of the most significant ways technology maximizes workplace productivity is through automation and process streamlining. With the help of tools like workflow automation software and robotic process automation, businesses can automate repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more creative and strategic tasks. By automating routine processes, organizations reduce the likelihood of errors and increase the speed at which tasks are completed. This not only boosts efficiency but also enhances job satisfaction by allowing employees to concentrate on tasks that require critical thinking and problem-solving skills.  

  1. Collaboration And Communication:

Effective communication and collaboration are vital to a productive workplace. Technology has provided a range of solutions, such as video conferencing, project management software and instant messaging platforms, that enable teams to work together seamlessly regardless of their geographic locations. These tools facilitate real-time communication, file sharing and project tracking, ensuring that all team members stay on the same page and are able to work efficiently together. This results in faster decision-making, improved project management and, ultimately, higher productivity.  

Need help with choosing the right collaboration and communication tools for your business? We can help! Click here to book a 10-minute discovery call to get started.  

  1. Data Analytics And Business Intelligence:

In the modern workplace, data is king. The ability to collect, analyze and leverage data is a powerful tool for improving productivity. With the help of advanced analytics and business intelligence tools, organizations can gain insights into their operations, customer behavior and market trends. This data-driven approach allows for informed decision-making, optimized resource allocation and the identification of areas where improvements are needed. By harnessing data and analytics, businesses can work smarter, not harder.  

  1. Remote Work And Flexibility:

Technology has also played a pivotal role in reshaping the traditional office environment. The rise of remote work and flexible work arrangements has been made possible by advancements in communication and collaboration tools. Employees can now work from anywhere, provided they have an Internet connection, which not only enhances their work-life balance but also opens up opportunities for businesses to tap into a global talent pool. Remote work can boost productivity by reducing commuting time and allowing employees to work in environments where they are most comfortable and productive.  

IMPORTANT: Security should be a high priority if you have remote workers. If you don’t have a robust security system for virtual team members, you need to get one right away.  

  1. Project Management And Task Tracking:

Effective project management is key to productivity. With project management software, businesses can plan, execute and monitor projects more efficiently. These tools provide a clear overview of tasks, deadlines and team member responsibilities, ensuring that everyone stays organized and accountable. From agile methodologies to Gantt charts, technology offers a range of project management approaches to suit various business needs.  

  1. Employee Training And Development:

Investing in technology for employee training and development is another avenue to maximize workplace productivity. Learning management systems and online training platforms enable organizations to offer continuous learning opportunities to their employees. By upskilling and reskilling their workforce, companies can ensure that their staff remains adaptable and capable of using the latest tools and technologies, which in turn enhances overall productivity.  

  1. Security And Data Protection:

As technology becomes more integrated into the workplace, the need for robust security and data protection measures is crucial. Cyber security solutions help protect sensitive information, prevent data breaches and ensure business continuity. When employees feel secure in their digital environment, they can work more confidently and productively, knowing that their data and the company’s assets are protected.  

Technology is an indispensable resource for maximizing workplace productivity. From automating tasks and improving communication to harnessing data and fostering employee development, technology offers a wide range of solutions to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the modern workplace. Embracing these technologies and staying up-to-date with the latest trends is essential for businesses looking to thrive in today’s competitive and ever-evolving business landscape. By leveraging technology effectively, organizations can achieve their productivity goals, improve their bottom line and create a dynamic, innovative work environment.  

If you need help creating a strategic plan for your technology, such as determining what software to invest in, sourcing devices, creating a plan for efficiency or securing your network, our IT team can support you. Click here to book a 10-Minute Discovery Call to get started. 

Out With The Old: Debunking 5 Common Cybersecurity Myths To Get Ready For The New Year  

In today’s hyperconnected world, cybersecurity is a critical concern for individuals and organizations alike. However, as the digital landscape evolves, so do the myths and misconceptions surrounding cybersecurity. If you want to be protected, you have to understand what the real threats are and how you could be unknowingly overlooking them every single day. In this article, we will debunk 5 common cybersecurity myths to help you stay informed and protected as you take your business into 2024. 

Myth 1: “I’m too small to be a target.” 

 One of the most dangerous cybersecurity myths is the belief that cybercriminals only target large organizations. In reality, cyber-attacks do not discriminate by size. Small businesses, start-ups and individuals are as susceptible to cyberthreats as larger enterprises. Cybercriminals often target smaller entities precisely because they may lack robust cybersecurity measures, making them easier prey. To stay safe, everyone should prioritize cybersecurity, regardless of their size or scale. 

 Myth 2: “Antivirus software is enough.” 

 Antivirus software is an essential component of cybersecurity, but it is not a silver bullet. Many people mistakenly believe that installing antivirus software on their devices is sufficient to protect them from all cyberthreats. While antivirus software can help detect and prevent known malware, it cannot stand up against sophisticated attacks or social engineering tactics. To enhance your protection, combine antivirus software with other security measures, such as firewalls, regular software updates and user education. 

 Myth 3: “Strong passwords are invulnerable.” 

 A strong password is undoubtedly an integral part of cybersecurity, but it is not foolproof. Some believe that creating complex passwords guarantees their accounts’ safety. However, even strong passwords can be compromised through various means, including phishing attacks, keyloggers and data breaches. To bolster your security, enable multifactor authentication (MFA) whenever possible, which adds an additional layer of protection beyond your password. 

 Myth 4: “Cybersecurity is solely an IT department’s responsibility.” 

 Another common misconception is that cybersecurity is exclusively the responsibility of an organization’s IT department. While IT professionals are crucial in securing digital environments, cybersecurity is a group effort. Everyone within an organization, from employees to management, should be aware of cybersecurity best practices and adhere to them. In fact, human error is a leading cause of data breaches, so fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness is essential. 

 Myth 5: “My data is safe in the cloud.” 

 With the increasing use of cloud services, some individuals believe that storing data in the cloud is inherently secure. However, the safety of your data in the cloud depends on various factors, including the provider’s security measures and your own practices. Cloud providers typically implement robust security, but users must still manage their data securely, including setting strong access controls, regularly updating passwords and encrypting sensitive information. It’s a shared responsibility. 

 Cybersecurity is something you must take seriously heading into the New Year. Cyberthreats continuously evolve, and believing in these misconceptions can leave individuals and organizations vulnerable to attacks. It’s essential to stay informed, maintain a proactive stance and invest in cybersecurity measures to protect your digital assets. Remember that cybersecurity is a collective effort and everyone has a role to play in ensuring online safety. By debunking these myths and embracing a holistic approach to cybersecurity, you can better protect your digital life and business.  

 To start off the New Year in a secure position, get a completely free, no-obligation security risk assessment from our team. We’ll review everything you have in place and give you a full report explaining where you’re vulnerable and what you need to do to fix it. Even if you already have an IT team supporting you, a second set of eyes never hurts when it comes to your security. Book a 10-minute discovery call with our team here 


When Your Facebook Or Other Online Account Gets Hacked, Who’s Responsible For The Losses?

Recently, the CEO of a very successful marketing firm had their Facebook account hacked. In just a weekend, the hackers were able to run over $250,000 worth of ads for their online gambling site via their account and removed the rightful owner as the admin, causing the firm’s entire Facebook account to be shut down. 

Not only are they uninsured for this type of fraud, but they were shocked to discover that Facebook, as well as their bank and credit card company, was NOT responsible for replacing the funds. Facebook’s “resolution” was that there was no fraud committed on their account because the hacker used their legitimate login credentials, and Facebook is not responsible for ensuring you keep your own personal credentials safe and confidential. Further, they didn’t have the specific type of cybercrime or fraud insurance needed to cover the losses, so they’re eating 100% of the costs.  

Not only are they out $250K, but they also have to start over building their audiences on Facebook again, which took years to build. This entire fiasco is going to easily cost them half a million dollars when it’s all totaled. 

In another incident, another firm logged into their account to find all of their ads were paused. Initially, they thought it was a glitch on Facebook, until they realized someone had hacked into their account, paused all of their legitimate ads and set up 20 NEW ads to their weight-loss spam site with a budget of $143,000 per day, or $2.8 million total.  

Due to their spending limits, the hackers wouldn’t have charged $2.8 million; however, due to the high budgets set, Facebook’s algorithms started running the ads fast and furious. As they were pausing campaigns, the hackers were enabling them again in real time. After a frantic “Whac-A-Mole” game, they discovered the account that was compromised and removed it.  

The compromised account was a legitimate user of the account who had THEIR account hacked. Because of this, Facebook wouldn’t replace the lost funds, and their account got shut down, with all campaigns deleted. Fortunately, these guys caught the hack early and acted fast, limiting their damages to roughly $4,000, but their account was unable to run ads for 2 weeks, causing them to lose revenue. They estimate their total damages to be somewhere in the $40,000 to $50,000 range.  

When many people hear these true stories (with the name of the companies withheld to protect their privacy), they adamantly believe someone besides them should step up and take responsibility, covering the losses. “It wasn’t OUR fault!” they say. However, the simple reality is this: if you allow your Facebook account – or any other online account – to be hacked due to weak or reused passwords, no multifactor authentication (MFA) turned on, improper e-mail security or malware infecting your devices due to inadequate cyber security, it is 100% YOUR FAULT when a hacker compromises your account.  

Facebook is just one of the cloud applications many businesses use that can be hacked, but any business running any type of cloud application, including those that adamantly verify they are secure, CAN BE HACKED with the right credentials. Facebook’s security did not cause their account to be compromised – it was the failure of one employee. 

The BEST way to handle this is to NOT get hacked in the first place. Here’s what you need to do to protect yourself: 

  • Share this article to make sure your staff is aware of these types of scams. Cybercriminals’ #1 advantage is still hubris; businesses and most people in general insist that “nobody would want to hack me” and therefore aren’t extremely cautious with cyberprotections.
  • Make sure you create strong, unique passwords for EACH application you and your team log into. Use a good password management tool  to manage this, but remember IT MUST BE USED IN ORDER TO WORK. For example, don’t allow employees to store passwords in Chrome and bypass the password management system.
  • Minimize the number of people logging into any account. If someone needs access, give them that access and then remove them as a user ASAP immediately after. The more users you have on a cloud application, the greater the chances are of a breach.
  • Make sure all devices that touch your network are secure. Keylogger malware can live on a device to steal all of your data and credentials.  

If you want to ensure your organization is truly secure, click here to request a free Cyber Security Risk Assessment to see just how protected your organization is against known predators. If you haven’t had an independent third party conduct this audit in the last 6 months, you’re due.  

It’s completely free and confidential, without obligation. Voice scams are just the latest in a tsunami of threats aimed at small business owners, with the most susceptible being the ones who never “check the locks” to ensure their current IT company is doing what they should. Claim your complimentary Risk Assessment today. 

New And Urgent Bank Account Fraud Alert

The infamous Xenomorph Android malware, known for targeting 56 European banks in 2022, is back and in full force targeting US banks, financial institutions and cryptocurrency wallets.  

The cyber security and fraud detection company ThreatFabric has called this one of the most advanced and dangerous Android malware variants they’ve seen. 

This malware is being spread mostly by posing as a Chrome browser or Google Play Store update. When a user clicks on the “update,” it installs the malware designed to automate the process of accessing your online accounts and extracting and transferring funds.  

Besides being alert to this scam (and you should let your spouse, partners and family know as well), you should be aware of a few ways to protect yourself: 

  • Avoid links and attachments in any unsolicited e-mail. Simply previewing a document could infect your device, so never open or click on anything suspicious. 
  • To update your browser, simply close it and reopen. You don’t have to download an application to update it. Furthermore, the Google Play Store app will not ask you for an update, so don’t fall for any website alert or text stating you need to download an update.  

But remember, bank fraud can manifest itself in several forms, including:  

  1. Phishing Scams: Cybercriminals send deceptive e-mails or messages, often impersonating trusted entities like banks or government agencies, to trick you or your employees into revealing sensitive information like login credentials. Sometimes these are facilitated by phone calls, so make sure your team is fully aware of this. The latest MGM hack happened when a hacker called the company’s IT department requesting a password reset.
  2. Check Fraud: Criminals may forge or alter your business’s checks to siphon funds from your account, making it essential for you to secure your checkbook and be careful about sharing or e-mailing your account information. You might consider going checkless to cut down on the chances of your account being hacked.
  3. Unauthorized Wire Transfers: Hackers may compromise your online banking credentials to initiate unauthorized transfers, diverting funds to their accounts.
  4. Account Takeover: Criminals may gain control of your business’s online banking accounts by exploiting weak passwords, reused passwords or security gaps, such as e-mailing your passwords to others or storing your bank password in your browser, allowing them to make unauthorized transactions.
  5. Employee Fraud: Sometimes, even employees may engage in fraudulent activities, such as embezzlement or manipulating financial records.  

To protect yourself, use strong, unique passwords for your online banking accounts and never store them in your browser. Also, update your passwords monthly with significant changes to them, using uppercase and lowercase, symbols and numbers that are at least 14 to 16 characters.  

Second, always turn on multifactor authentication (MFA) so you’re notified if anyone tries to log into your accounts without your knowledge. 

Third, set up alerts for large withdrawals. You can ask your bank to require a physical signature for wire transfers to protect you from someone taking money from your account without your signature.  

Fourth, get fraud insurance that specifically covers employee and online theft so you are protected in the event a cybercriminal steals money from your account. 

And, as always, make sure you have strong cyberprotections in place for ANY device that logs into a bank account or critical application. Far too many businesses think that if their data is “in the cloud,” they are safe. Remember, your bank account is “in the cloud,” and the bank likely has a secure portal, but that doesn’t mean YOU can’t be hacked. 

If you want to ensure your organization is truly secure, click here to request a free Cyber Security Risk Assessment to see just how protected your organization is against known predators. If you haven’t had an independent third party conduct this audit in the last 6 months, you’re `due.  

It’s completely free and confidential, without obligation. Voice scams are just the latest in a tsunami of threats aimed at small business owners, with the most susceptible being the ones who never “check the locks” to ensure their current IT company is doing what they should. Claim your complimentary Risk Assessment today. 

10 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Cyber Security  

Have you started business planning for 2024? The last few months of the year can get hectic, between trying to close out the end of the quarter strong and mapping out your plan to ramp things up in the new year. One area that small business owners often skip over when creating their new year strategy is cyber security planning. Cyber security is NOT an IT decision, it’s a business decision. Your company hinges on your ability to keep your data – and your clients’ – safe from cybercriminals.

To create a reliable plan for the next year, there are a few cyber security basics that every business owner needs to be aware of to avoid being the next victim of a data breach. Cyber issues are becoming such a regular occurrence that it’s easy to become desensitized to the effects of data breaches, which can leave you vulnerable to an attack.


Here are 10 BIG takeaways about cyber security that you should keep in mind. Your security depends on it!


1. No business is too small.

Hackers love that small business owners think this way because it makes them an easy target. If you have money or data of any size or amount, you are at risk.

Takeaway – Protect your business and consult a cyber security expert on what you need.


2. Your employees are putting you at risk.

They are not likely doing it on purpose, but human error is the #1 issue with cybercrime. Whether it’s a bad link that is clicked or a malicious attachment that is downloaded, these small “accidents” can create huge problems for your business.

Takeaway – Invest some of your budget in cyber security training for your team.


3. Software needs to be updated when you’re notified about it.

This is true for your web browsers too. If you get a notification about an available update, it often means that a bug or a vulnerability needs to be patched. If you don’t patch it, that’s a little hole in your network that hackers can and will find.

Takeaway – Have your IT team run automatic updates and always manually update if prompted.


4. Back up your data.

Disasters happen, whether natural, like a tornado or flood wiping out your office, or a cybercriminal locking down your network and ransoming you to return it. Having a backup will allow you to reduce downtime and further damage to your business.

Takeaway – Have an off-site backup and test it regularly to ensure it works properly.


5. Use a VPN when working outside of the office.

If you’re on vacation, working while traveling or even working at the local coffee shop, connecting to public WiFi can put you at risk. Hackers can break into unsecured WiFi or set up fake ones, hoping you will connect to them.

Takeaway – Use a VPN, or virtual private network, to keep your network safe from hackers while on the go.


6. Data breaches are expensive.

The cost of data breaches puts most small companies that get hacked out of business within six months. These can range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the damage done.

Takeaway – Invest in cyber security. Don’t play around and risk everything you worked hard to build.


7. Having cyber insurance doesn’t mean you’re covered if you’re hacked.

If you’re hacked, cyber insurance doesn’t automatically cover you. Insurance agents will check to make sure you’ve done everything in your power to prevent the attack. If you haven’t, your claim can be denied.

Takeaway – Read the fine print on cyber insurance policies and make sure you’re following all requirements.


8. Compliance doesn’t mean you’re secure.

Being compliant means you are fulfilling all the requirements that the government has issued. This does not mean you are 100% secure; it means you have implemented the basics.

Takeaway – Consult with a cyber security professional who deals with clients in your industry to make sure that you’re not only compliant but that you have the proper security systems in place to protect your organization.


9. Basic antivirus and firewalls are not enough.

These are helpful, but they aren’t enough to keep you secure. Hackers are routinely finding ways to break through this software, so if you’re not implementing other security measures, you’re at risk.

Takeaway – Consult with a cyber security professional to find out what you need. It’s often not as expensive as people think and will cost you WAY less if you ever become a victim of a data breach.


10. You’ll be the one who people hold accountable if you’re hacked.

When it comes to data breaches, whether you’re at fault or not, you’ll be the one to catch the blame from your customers, employees, attorneys, the media and more, and it will be ugly.

Takeaway – You can prevent this by taking a proactive approach to cyber security.

Take your security seriously in 2024. We offer a FREE, no-obligation Security Assessment. Even if you already have a cyber security company you work with, it can’t hurt to have a second expert opinion to assess if and where you’re vulnerable to an attack.

We have limited spots available and expect to fill up before the holiday break, so if you’re interested, click here to book your assessment with our team now.

The Danger Of Holiday Phishing Scams: How To Recognize And Avoid Them To Stay Safe This Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing, which means so are the cybercriminals! While you’re making holiday gift lists, they’re plotting and scheming new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting online shoppers. Holiday phishing scams have become an all-too-common threat, targeting customers to steal personal information, financial data and even identities. 

To help reduce the chances that a cybercriminal will ruin your much-deserved holiday fun, we’ve outlined a few of the most common and dangerous scams that you should be on the lookout for, how they work and tips to help you avoid becoming their next victim. 

Understanding Holiday Phishing Scams: 

Phishing is a deceptive technique cybercriminals use to trick individuals into sharing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details or Social Security numbers. During the holiday season, these scams often take on a festive disguise, tricking victims with holiday-themed e-mails, messages and websites. Whether you’re ordering gifts for clients or friends and family, here are some common tactics used by holiday phishing scammers to be aware of: 

  1. Holiday-Themed E-mails: Scammers send e-mails that appear to be from trusted sources like your favorite retailers or even beloved charities. These e-mails look legit and usually offer fake exclusive holiday deals, order confirmations or requests for donations. Inside the e-mail, there is usually a link that leads to a fake website designed to steal your information or your money, or even install dangerous malware on your computer.
  2. Fake Promotions: Cybercriminals create fake holiday promotions and discounts that seem too good to be true. Unsuspecting victims see a great deal from a spoof e-mail account and are enticed to click on links or download attachments that can contain malware or lead to phishing websites.
    Sometimes cybercriminals aren’t looking to install malware but instead hoping to steal your money. They’ll duplicate popular retailer websites or set up their own, so when you make a purchase, they’ll collect the money, but you’ll never receive your order. These sites are often difficult to track, making it hard to get your money back.
  3. Delivery Notifications: With the increase in online shopping during the holidays, scammers send fake delivery notifications, claiming that a package is on its way or that there’s a problem with an order. These e-mails may prompt recipients to click on links or download attachments containing malicious software.
  4. Social Engineering: Scammers may impersonate friends or family members via e-mail or social media, asking for money or personal information under the guise of a holiday emergency or gift exchange. This is a common scam against seniors – who might not realize that the profile requesting money from them that was made “three days ago” isn’t actually their granddaughter – and young teenagers who don’t know fake profiles are an issue.  


Recognizing and Avoiding Holiday Phishing Scams: 

 Now that we understand how holiday phishing scams operate, it’s essential to know how to recognize and avoid falling victim to them. 

  1. Verify The Sender: Always check the sender’s e-mail address or domain. Be cautious of misspelled or suspicious e-mail addresses. Legitimate companies and organizations use official domains for their communication.
  1. Don’t Click On Suspicious Links: Hover your mouse over links to see the actual URL they lead to. Be wary of shortened links or URLs that don’t match the sender’s domain. If in doubt, visit the website directly by typing the URL into your browser.
  1. Beware Of Urgency And Pressure: Scammers often create a sense of urgency, claiming limited-time offers or imminent problems. Take your time to verify the authenticity of any claims before taking action.
  1. Double-Check Websites: Before entering personal or financial information on a website, ensure it’s secure. Look for “https://” in the URL, a padlock icon in the address bar and a valid SSL certificate.
  1. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Enable 2FA wherever possible, especially for online shopping and banking accounts. This provides an extra layer of security, even if your password is compromised.
  1. Educate Yourself And Others: Stay informed about current phishing tactics and share this knowledge with friends and family. The more people are aware, the harder it becomes for scammers to succeed.
  1. Protect Personal Information: Avoid sharing sensitive information via e-mail or text messages, even if the request seems legitimate. Use secure channels for such communication.

While the holiday season is a time for celebration and togetherness, it’s crucial to remain vigilant against holiday phishing scams. Cybercriminals prey on the festive spirit and increased online activity during this time. By recognizing the signs of phishing attempts and following best practices for online security, you can protect yourself and ensure a safe and joyous holiday season for you and your loved ones. 

Business owners: If your staff will be ordering gifts online for clients, make sure they know how to spot a phishing attack and that your network is properly secured in case something slips through the cracks. You don’t want your organization to be negatively impacted by extending holiday goodwill. If you aren’t sure if you’re protected, please give us a call or schedule a 10-minute discovery session with our team. We can help give you peace of mind this holiday season. Click here to book now, and happy holidays!