Matt Reitz, Author at CusterAgency

Making Cloud Security Experience As Safe And Sound And Secure As Possible

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Has your business adopted cloud computing yet? The private investigators in Boise see several benefits and drawbacks to this new technology. The benefits revolve around how fast IT delivery can be, the increase in productivity, financial streamlining and that it can keep any business running like a tight ship. The disadvantages stem from the challenges related to security of the sheer volume of information that can be kept in and pulled from the cloud. With multiple vendors and specific departments needing accessibility to some parts of the cloud and not others, the technology can become a Chief Information Security Officer’s worst nightmare.

The Need For Better Visibility

Because of the multi-layered needs of cloud users, many businesses have adopted different cloud formations. The private investigators in Boise state that private, public cloud and hybrid network technologies are one way to split the workload. However, the challenge still exists on visibility. Cloud-based workloads are harder to actual ‘see’ than those contained on a physical network. One way to control the cloud activity is through data governance. In other words, knowing where information is stored, where it is being shared and what cloud services are being used by the company. Without visibility it is impossible to enforce policies and control risk factors.

Compliance Issues

The private investigators in Boise also see compliance as another issue related to cloud storage and use. For example, questions to be asked when a company shifts all data files to the cloud environment should include the following:

  • Where exactly is the data going to be stored?
  • Who will be responsible for tracking and watching the data?
  • Who can see the data and can access/visibility be controlled in-house?
  • What is the security level of the cloud format being used?
  • Has the data been securely configured prior to movement?

The type of data can vary from personal information to payment data and intellectual property. Each of these contains their own standards in storage in order to be compliant.

Controlling The Situation

CISOs have such a complex IT environment to sort out in today’s world. It includes multiple endpoints that fluctuate constantly as a result of different mobile devices and desktops. Hybrid environments are as challenging but somewhat easier to control once security configurations in the cloud are made. The biggest part of the puzzle of securing cloud storage comes directly from the company using the technology. They need to control who has access to what which will eliminate a lot of unauthorized access, sharing and reducing risk at the same time.

Ask The Private Investigators in Boise

Not sure whether or not your cloud service is secure enough or that you have enough control over it? Advice from the private investigators in Boise can help. Be aware of what is stored and shared and by whom. A secure system is only as secure as the people who use it for the purpose it was designed. For more advice contact Custer Agency today.

Equifax Credit Assistance Site Served Spyware

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There is not a lot of tricks that the private investigators in Boise have not already seen. However, this particular one stands out for several reasons. Equifax is a consumer credit bureau with a large and popular online platform. Then one day it happened. A third-party code was installed that sent Equifax customers to what looked like an Adobe Flash Player software update. The fake Flash Player installer was caught by anti-virus protection tools which alerted Equifax that something bad was happening at their website. They removed the code from their website and all was once again fine in the world of Equifax.

How It Happened

Equifax said the fake Adobe Flash Player software update prompts came from a third-party vendor the company uses to record website performance information. The vendor’s code was sending out malicious content until it was caught and removed. The private investigators in Boise say that Equifax did not identify the third-party but warns that this is one of the many online tricks that can compromise services and farm sensitive data from its users. Equifax says that there was no damage to their system and that no personal data had been taken.

Not The First Attack To Equifax

Hackers have used Equifax’s database as a target for more than one attack. In fact, the general public has in some cases lost a lot of faith in the security of the credit bureau system simply because it has been hit several times. One such incident that earned a lot of news coverage was when the company’s servers were hacked into resulting in Social Security numbers and other sensitive personal information being stolen. The data farmed from this particular attack directly affected over 145-million US residents. The private investigators in Boise point fingers at Equifax for having a system that can be hacked into easily. One such instance was the Equifax payroll and tax administrative site. Until it was taken down, anyone could access salary and employment history on just about any person in the United States with just a Social Security number and date of birth.

Keep Your Data Protected  

The private investigators in Boise say you need to be diligent in protecting your private information. Hackers are everywhere and they are getting better and better at breaking into secure databases. You can keep yourself protected with the use of anti-virus software programs, securing your Wi-Fi connections and reducing the amount of private information available online. For more advice on how to do this contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency today.

What You Should Know About the ‘KRACK’ WiFi Security Weakness

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The private investigators in Boise advise you to pay attention to your WiFi network. There has been a newly discovered weakness in the WPA2 security program. WPA2 is a security standard that protects contemporary WiFi networks. It is the shortened form of Wi-Fi Protected Access II and the flaw that has been identified will allow data to be stolen from the stream between your wireless device and the Wi-Fi network. In other words, a hacker could potentially break into the security of the WPA2 protocol and gain access to photos, chat messages, passwords and any other sensitive data you are using when on your WPA2 network.

The attack is named KRACK which is short for Key Reinstallation AttaCK. The research that led to the discovery of KRACK also says the security weakness could allow for the injection and manipulation of data. However, that may depend on the configuration of the network under attack. The private investigators in Boise say that an attacker could possibly inject ransomware or some other form of malware into websites that can be accessed through the WPA2 weakness. This means that a wide range of devices could be venerable as a result of this security issue.

There Are Some Conditions, Though

You can relax somewhat knowing that an attack through the KRACK weakness cannot be carried out remotely. However, this means that in order to be successful, a hacker must be within the Wi-Fi signal range of the WPA2 network. There is another reason to heave a sigh of relief – sensitive data such as information from financial institutions have an added layer of protection with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. SSL encryption is a completely different security feature than the WPA2 encryption layer.

Should You Be Worried About KRACK at All?

The private investigators in Boise do not view the WPA2 security hole as a huge issue for private home network users. However, if there is a potential for hacking damage it could come in the form of large corporate entities that have not separated their wired and wireless networks very well. That being said, any threat to online security should not be taken lightly and you should take necessary precautions to protect your network, devices and the information stored on them.

Contact the Private Investigators in Boise For Information

Cyber security is a huge issue thanks to the continued growth of the internet. In order to stay secure, let the private investigators in Boise give you some advice on the simple ways in which you can stay protected. Contact Custer Agency today for more information.

Reaper: Calm Before The IoT Security Storm?

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The private investigators in Boise concern themselves these days with a lot of issues related to online security. A zombie malware strain known as Mirai enslaved IoT (Internet of Things) devices over a year ago which disabled many top websites. The IoT targets included security cameras, wireless routers and digital video cameras. There now appears to be an even stronger threat on the horizon.

Known as Reaper or IoTroop, this more powerful strain of IoT attack malware spreads through IoT software and hardware security holes. In fact, Reaper is evolving and in doing so it is recruiting IoT devices at a faster pace and could cause even more damage that Mirai did in the Spring of 2016. The private investigators in Boise say Reaper leverages security vulnerabilities found in a dozen device manufacturers.

The Reaper/IoTroop DNA

The Mirai and Reaper programs are in actuality computer worms. They grow by having a built-in mechanism that spreads them automatically from one infected device to a ‘clean’ device. Once the ‘clean’ device is infected, Reaper moves on. Research has shown that the behavior of Reaper in not aggressive but it is designed to spread in a more deliberate pattern than Mirai was meant to do.

What to Watch Out For

When Mirai attacks started in August 2016, there were warning signs that something was about to hit the internet. The initial injection of the malware was fed into the internet in July 2016 and it bullied control away from systems that had been infected by an IoT malware contagion known as Qbot. Cyber criminals then spent that summer taking over poorly-secured IoT devices from other hackers who had used weaker IoT strains such as Qbot.

Mirai was designed to launch DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. When a DDoS attack is targeted at a single internet host or website, it creates a widespread internet disruption. The private investigators in Boise say that when this happens, IoT malware is spread once venerable devices are found through internet scans. With Mirai the scanning activity was so aggressive at times that it constituted unintended DDoS on home routers, web cameras and DVRs that the malware was made to subvert and recruit into the botnet.

The botnet then launched attacks against web hosting firms which results in several large websites going down. A source code was released by the malware creators which resulted in several copycat clones of Mirai which proceeded to infest and infect an even larger pool of venerable IoT devices.

How Secure Is Your System?

The private investigators in Boise warn that in order to keep your internet system safe from attack you should have malware protection installed in your computers. Any form of anti-virus protection is better than none at all and in order for it to work to its designed potential, you must keep the anti-virus programs current and up-to-date. For more information on internet security, contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

Windows 10 Spying – Find Out What Data You Give Away

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Anytime a software platform updates you really should read the small print. The private investigators in Boise suggest that with all programs but are most concerned about the new Windows 10 and what it has been designed to do inside your computer. There is no doubt that Microsoft intends to protect all of its data and programming. However, it also means in order for them to do that, they need data to do this with.

What The Small Print Says

In a nutshell, the Windows 10 Privacy Statement says a whole lot about what the world of computer programming has become. One section in the statement says that, “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data…” This includes you content. Microsoft explains that the content of your computer (e-mails, other forms of private communication, files and private folders) all fall under this category. Sure, they say it is to protect you from breaches in security but if you didn’t say Microsoft could do this, is that considered a breach?

What The Private Investigators In Boise Suggest

When you upgraded your computer, you basically gave Microsoft permission to load your system with the software that allows them to gather your personal data. In other words, you’ve already opted in. The good news is that you can actually opt out. The private investigators in Boise say this is a good thing if you don’t want your computer to be spying on you and your online activities.

The Four Steps To Opting Out

There are just four steps you have to follow in order to opt out of the extra bonus features of Windows 10. Here there are and what you need to do with each of them:

Step 1 – Privacy

Your first step is to open the Settings section and click on Privacy. You will need to go through a total of 13 different screens where you can disable just about anything that gets you a bit twitchy. The General tab will be a key location to visit.

Step 2 – Cortana

The voice-driven assistant known as Cortana is a new feature with Windows 10. Unfortunately, Cortana does not appear to take protection of your data as seriously as you do. The solution is to uninstall Cortana. It will be worth it in the long run.

Step 3 – Disable Ad Tracking

The next step will involve visiting the ‘net and Microsoft’s new Edge browser. In it set both advertising options (personalized ads in this browser and personalized ads wherever I use my Microsoft account) to off. This stops Microsoft’s ad tracking features from following you around.

Step 4 – Removing Your Account

This final step is required in order to completely opt out of Windows 10. You will need to remove your existing Microsoft account from Windows 10. You can create a local account to use instead. What this does, according to the private investigators in Boise, is that it stops Microsoft from latching onto your data and syncing it across machines.

Trust the Private Investigators In Boise

For any information regarding cyber security, contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency. They can help you protect yourself and those you love from any kind of cyber attack.

2017 Latest – Hackers Getting Smarter by Going Old School

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You’ve heard the phrase that everything eventually cycles back to where it started, right? Well, the private investigators in Boise want to tell you that although technology does not appear to be cycling back, the ways in which hackers operate has taken a trip back to simpler technology. The incredible thing is that the ‘retro’ approach has become very successful for hackers.

Here’s How It Works

Hackers continue to become sophisticated in how they steal the information they use. In fact, because they continue to increase their abilities, security designers are no longer leading the way, in most cases they are just catching up to where the hackers are. But now hackers have combined new and old in order to steal your information. A typical scenario may look like this:

1 – No More Blanket E-Mails

Hackers are aware that corporate e-mail filters can spot a generic and unprompted e-mail from miles away. So they have dropped that tactic opting for something more personal in nature.

2 – Personalization

The average hacker knows how to search for specific data. The private investigators in Boise say this is where they excel. By locating some small nugget of information from a social media site a target can be identified. This leads to a person to make contact with. The hacker has a credible ruse already in place and makes a call. It could be for general information about the company or just about any other item that would sound like a normal, ordinary inquiry.

3 – Follow-Up E-Mail

During the telephone conversation the hacker makes reference to a follow-up e-mail which will be related to the conversation. The e-mail is sent and passes through the corporate e-mail filters as it is an expected piece of mail. The e-mail would include an attached Word doc that would be expected from the telephone conversation.

4 – Opening The E-Mail

As the e-mail is expected, the target has no fear and goes ahead and opens the attachment. However, in order to do that he or she must disable macros on their computer. The private investigators in Boise say this request should be your red flag. Once the macros are disabled a batch script is executed and the hacker’s malware gets downloaded.

How To Protect Yourself From This Happening To You

The private investigators in Boise point to online and e-mail security measures as being a good first line of defense. However, these systems work only if they are used. People are often the weakest link and therefore staff and management need to stay diligent in the war against cyber crime. To find out how to better protect your e-mail system or how to train your staff to watch for signs that may lead to a breach in security contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

USPS Informed Delivery – What It Is And Why You Should Avoid It

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The private investigators in Boise want to bring your attention to a relatively new postal service. It is called Informed Delivery and has been around in a limited manner in several states since 2014. It has since expanded and now contains over 6.3-million accounts.

How It Works

Eligible residents can sign up by creating a free account online at USPS.com. The requirements are basic and include your name, address and an email address. The final step in the process is to validate your account with the use of a series of four questions. The question process is known as “knowledge-based authentication” and once you are signed up, you can view scanned images of what is on the front of each incoming piece of mail to your address prior to it arriving there. For many on the system, this is a great way of knowing what mail is coming, especially if you are expecting something and have been tracking it.

Why You Should Avoid It

The use of knowledge-based authentication or KBA is the main problem according to the private investigators in Boise. They point to this method as being an unreliable way to authenticate someone’s identity simply because the answers are easy to farm from other online sources, including social media. In other words, KBA is a weak system. More secure methods exist using what is known as multi-channel authentication. In fact, multi-channel authentication is quickly becoming the norm used online because it poses less risk.

What Informed Delivery Can Do

On the positive side, USPS says Informed Delivery will reduce mail theft. However, the private investigators in Boise also point to the KBA system as being an aid to identity thieves. As to why USPS won’t upgrade the authentication process, with the technology already in existence to protect customers is unclear. They do say that each household resident should have their own personal account to prevent someone in the same home from accessing an existing account. That still does not address the potential risk coming from security breaches and identity thieves.

Stay Safe When Using Online Programs

Informed Delivery is a great program if it was to be used only in the way it was designed. But with a weak authentication system, it creates a potential mine of personal information that could easily be used in a much more negative way. The private investigators in Boise say you should steer clear of this program until USPS tightens up the security features. For more information on cyber security, contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

Cyber Body Language

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The private investigators in Boise are well trained in reading human body language. But did you know that your computer and handheld devices say a lot more about you than you think? It’s called cyber body language and it includes some very interesting information that is gathered from any and all of your sessions spent online.

What Information Is Gathered

Your digital body language, according to the private investigators in Boise, includes your web browsing history, the history of anything you download from the internet, web searches you conduct and web communication. This includes email and messenger platforms. In other words, whatever you do from when you go online until you shut down your device is being monitored.

The majority of this data on your online behavior is collected and used to determine your shopping habits and location of where you are and where you go. Have you ever wondered how advertising you see online can be so much related to what you have recently been doing online? If you haven’t paid some attention to the sites you visit, some will pop up in future advertising.

Why Is This Information Of Interest?

The private investigators in Boise see value in the data that is being collected as part of your cyber body language. On one hand it allows online businesses to better target their advertising and promotional efforts to potential customers who meet criteria based on their online habits. In fact, from a marketing standpoint, digital footprints often lead to better advertising results.

Online marketing efforts are highly successful thanks to the ability of software programs to gather cyber body language information. However, the private investigators in Boise see another side to this situation. With so much specific data collected on an individual based on their online activities, it can easily be used against you by cyber criminals who may hack into the data.

How You Can Protect Yourself

There are software programs that will assist you in hiding some of your online tracks but the only real way to eliminate your digital habits is to never use the internet again. For many, that is not a practical solution. However, you can be more aware of what you do online and can change your habits accordingly. Protecting your personal information is paramount.

Custer Agency Can Help

Remember, some of your online behavior has actually assisted software developers in enhancing their online programs and products making them more user friendly. At the same time, there has been a loss of privacy as a result with advertising following you around wherever you go online. For assistance in dealing with cyber issues, the private investigators in Boise can help. You can reach them by calling Custer Agency today.

Are You Vulnerable To IT Security Threats?

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Information stored on any kind of computer technology is not completely secure. The private investigators in Boise say that while external threats are important to protect yourself from, there is another source of risk. Internal threats also exist and can be as dangerous, or even more dangerous than hackers and malware finding their way into your personal data.

Internal data leaks are a form of cyber sabotage which typically is the result of a negative work-related incident. Someone being fired, losing a job due to downsizing, a dispute, transfer to another department or location or a demotion can trigger an attack on a data system from within. Sometimes the hacker worked on developing the very software programming to protect it.

Examples of Internal Data Leaks

You have heard about them probably more often than you know. The private investigators in Boise remind you of just a few examples of data leaks in recent years. The Red Cross Blood Service had over half a million blood donor records go public in 2016. That was apparently an accident. In 2015 the world leaders attending the G20 summit in Australia suddenly became vulnerable when data about the participants was accidently released. In 2013 data on two million customers of Vodaphone was stolen by an IT contractor. Customer data seems to get lost, shared, borrowed and exposed on a regular basis these days.

How To Protect Yourself

According to the private investigators in Boise there are ways to counter the threats associated with internal data leaks. They include training and implementing secure computer technology and putting both of these tools together to complement each other. Let’s look a bit deeper into each of these parts of the equation.

Training

With a properly trained staff, where everyone understands the importance of protecting the data and how to deal with breaches, this is a crucial first step. This includes recognizing the many formats an IT threat can be disguised as and taking security, passwords and all related items seriously.

Computer Technology

Learning tech exists now that will recognize abnormal behavior by employees and will record suspicious activities creating solid evidence for later use by the private investigators in Boise. The tools are there to protect you and by utilizing them to support human observations, the risk of a security breach from the inside is greatly reduced.

Human Observation

It is also important to create an office culture where staff takes care of other members of the team by identifying problems before they can get out of hand. Unhappy, frustrated and angry employees present a risk if their concerns are not treated in a manner that resolves a potential issue.

The Private Investigators In Boise Are Here To Help

Personal data needs to be protected from threats on the outside as well as those on the inside. Fortunately there are tools available to take care of both. For more advice on IT threats contact the private investigators in Boise at Custer Agency.

10 Tips For Protecting Your Identity Both Online and Offline

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The private investigators in Boise say identity theft continues to be an active crime. With thanks to new technology and tech savvy thieves, it is becoming more important daily to protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft. The good news is that you can take several steps to reduce the risk of your personal information getting into the wrong hands. Here are a few:

1 – Shred It, Don’t Throw It Away

Important documents that you no longer need should not be crumbled up and tossed with the trash. Although thieves don’t typically root through garbage anymore, you do risk having personal information gathered. A good way to avoid this is with a personal shredder, which will destroy the paperwork before you dispose of it.

2 – Lock Your Mailbox

If you have mail delivered to a box at the end of your driveway or sidewalk, replace your mailbox with one that can be locked. Check your mail frequently and for letters containing sensitive data, opt for those to be delivered to a post office so you can pick them up personally.

3 – Leave Government Documents At Home

The private investigators in Boise say passports, birth certificates and social security cards should not be with you unless you require them for that day. For the rest of the time these important identity documents should be stored in a secure location in your home.

4 – Use Antivirus And Spyware Software

With computer use increasing daily one of the best ways to protect your online information is by using antivirus and spyware programs. Even if you have to pay a small annual fee it is worth it to protect your data from hackers.

5 – Passwords

The private investigators in Boise suggest changing your passwords often. This will give you a layer of security if you keep changing them every six months. Just be sure to not use the same password for all your online accounts.

6 – Watch Where You Shop

If you spend a fair amount of time online shopping, keep your shopping habits to sites that are secure. You can tell when one is if a small ‘padlock’ icon appears in the address window at the top of your computer screen. If you don’t see the padlock, do not offer personal information including your credit card.

7 – Cool It On Social Media

Another timely tip from the private investigators in Boise is to reduce the amount of personal information you share in social media sites. There’s nothing wrong with sharing and posting it’s just that you need to be aware of what you share. Posting photos of credit cards, driver’s licenses and such is not a good idea.

8 – Wifi Security

Public wifi signals are all around us but are they secure? Even if you use public wifi on a regular basis, it is wise to not submit passwords, personal information or login data when using a public signal. This is where many hackers lurk.

9 – Monitor Accounts

One more way to protect yourself, according to the private investigators in Boise is to keep regular checks on your online accounts. Banks and online companies are getting better at blocking unauthorized sign ins but you must remember to sign out of programs to prevent someone from gaining access just by picking up one of your devices and walking away with it.

10 – Contact the Private Investigators In Boise

At Custer Agency we can give you advice on how to better protect your identity online and off. We can provide you with information on what sources to use and which ones to avoid. Let the experience our private investigators in Boise have work in your favor and give you peace of mind.