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PSPinc will help your business thrive by providing for all of your technology needs. We offer a wide array of products, including Web & Email Hosting, Website Development, Email Marketing and Data Storage Solutions. Visit pspinc.com to learn more.

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Best Practices for Businesses to Combat Hackers

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In our last blog, we discussed the harm of social engineering and how hackers are getting the information they need for cyber crimes without programming a single line of code. As business owners, we have to be aware of this spoofed communication and create a practice to catch information thieves before you become a victim. Whether it’s to protect your internal company information, or your customer’s information, it’s time to put safe measures in place.

Here are some important steps to consider for your business:

Security Protocols and Policies

First of all, if you don’t have any protocols and polices in place to combat cyber attacks, you should ask a professional to come up with the framework ASAP. Depending on your business model and clients, your main goal is to protect your business from a data breach. So think through possibilities, and be prepared with a policy in place in case something happens.

Training and Testing

Once you have your security protocols and polices in place, you need to train your employees first, then test it to see if it works. Remember, social engineers are good at getting the answers from you instead of answering your questions. Practice withholding information until you’re able to verify someone’s authenticity.

Monitoring and Tracking Performance

Although we want a perfect track record of blocking cyber crimes, humans make mistakes and something could fall through the cracks. The best thing to do is have a way to track all interactions when it comes to outsiders’ requests for information. Ask multiple layers of questions to ensure you can authenticate a person’s real identity. Keep track of such interactions and time stamp them in activity logs so you can review them as needed.

Random Audits

Once you have protocols and policies in place along with activity logs, perform random, unannounced tests to make sure you get the results you wanted. Test more than once, on multiple occasions on a continuous basis.

No system is perfect and people forget, but awareness along with policies in place can help reduce social engineering crimes within your company significantly.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #CyberAttacks #CyberSecurity #CyberCrime #Equifax #Malware #EmailSpoofing #EmailVirus #EmailPhishing #ComputerVirus #Hackers #SocialEngineering

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Social Engineers: The Human Element to Hacking

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There wouldn’t be internet crimes without humans involved. The human component is the source of cyber crimes, unfortunately, and many of those criminals use a technique called “social engineering.”

According to wikipedia.org, “Social Engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. A type of confidence trick for the purpose of information gathering, fraud, or system access, it differs from a traditional "con" in that it is often one of many steps in a more complex fraud scheme.”

Some say 60% of cyber attacks use social engineering to gain access to important data within corporations. Famous social engineers you may have heard about are Kevin Mitnick and Stephen Wozniak. These master-mind hackers used a variety of means to trick people into giving out their sensitive information like passwords, access codes, and more. Their social engineering skills are not related to how well they can program, but rather how well they connect themselves to people.

Watch this short eye-opening (and shocking) YouTube video about how social engineers can cleverly and quickly work to get your sensitive information: https://youtu.be/lc7scxvKQOo

Another common scheme includes a social engineer posing as a grandchild over the phone and calling a grandparent to request money for bail or some other emergency. They don’t say their name, but Grandpa and Grandma will give it away, for example:

- Hey Grandma, it’s me, your grandson. I need your help!
- Oh, is this Joe?

It’s so important to make sure you’re in control of what information you give out at home or at the office. Make sure no one else is giving it out on your behalf. And unless you are absolutely sure about the person you are speaking with, don’t give any answers right away. Instead, call them back or email them to verify who they say they are.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #CyberAttacks #CyberSecurity #CyberCrime #Equifax #Malware #EmailSpoofing #EmailVirus #EmailPhishing #ComputerVirus #SocialEngineering #Hackers

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The History and Evolution of Email Phishing

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Phishing is another term used for cyber crimes, where emails are sent to users attempting to gain their personal information. You’ve probably seen scam emails asking you to reclaim your shopping rewards, or initiate a bank transaction, or check your Apple ID logins. Those emails are clever tricks trying to get you to login with your username, passwords, credit card information, and sometimes your social security numbers.

Phishing comes from the word fishing, it is a combination of “phone phreaking” and “fishing.” According to the January 2004 edition of Computer World:

"The word phishing was coined around 1996 by hackers stealing America Online accounts and passwords. By analogy with the sport of angling, these Internet scammers were using e-mail lures, setting out hooks to "fish" for passwords and financial data from the "sea" of Internet users. They knew that although most users wouldn't take the bait, a few likely would. The term was mentioned on the alt.2600 hacker newsgroup in January 1996, but it may have been used earlier in the print journal 2600, The Hacker Quarterly.”

(Source - https://www.computerworld.com/article/2575156/security0/phishing.html)


So as you can see, it’s nothing new, but phishing techniques are becoming more sophisticated and deceitful as their emails improve - making them look more realistic and believable.

Here are some things to think about:

- Banks and the IRS won’t send you unsecured links in which to enter your personal info.
- Links may contain viruses as you click through via browsers.
- Never send personal info via email.
- Don't panic over scary notices that come via email - it could be scammers.
- Call to confirm any suspicious email notifications.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #CyberAttacks #CyberSecurity #CyberCrime #Equifax #Malware #EmailSpoofing #EmailVirus #EmailPhishing #ComputerVirus

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How to Recognize Email Spoofing

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Beware: What you see in your email may not be what it seems. Although an email may appear to come from someone or an organization you know, the actual email address or the location of the sender’s server may tell you otherwise. Forged emails are the result of what is called “email spoofing.”

Just like any website, all emails contain what we call a header. Email headers are on the back-end (shown in email properties) and they can contain very valuable information about where your email originated from. It contains basic sender information along with the routing information.

Sometimes that basic sender information on the back end header does not match with the sender information you see on the front end in your email’s “from” field. Sometimes that from field won’t even show an address, just a name. And sometimes you’ll see a familiar name with a return-path email address next to it that doesn’t match what you have in your contacts.

Luckily, most email programs can spot these inconsistencies and direct them to a spam folder, but not always. It’s still a good idea to look for these inconsistencies if an email seems suspicious, comes unexpectedly, asks you to reply with personal or financial information, or asks you to open an attached file or click on a link you don’t recognize.

Just know the “from” field in your email may not always be telling you the truth. The name may look familiar, but it could be forged by a third party trying to cause harm.

To see your email header information in Outlook, double-click the suspicious email and go to “file,” then “properties.” For Mac Mail, select the email and go to “view,” then “message” to view either the default header (header only) or the row source. It will come in handy when you need to ask your IT person to troubleshoot the spoofing.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #CyberAttacks #CyberSecurity #CyberCrime #Equifax #Malware #EmailSpoofing #EmailVirus #EmailPhishing #ComputerVirus

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Understanding the Computer Virus (or Malware)

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Let’s kick off the subject of cyber security by talking about computer viruses. A computer virus is defined as “a type of malicious software program ("malware") that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code.[1] Infected computer programs can include, as well, data files, or the "boot" sector of the hard drive. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be "infected" with a computer virus,” according www.Wikipedia.org.

Basically, a virus is a software program that penetrates your computer hard drive or files, and it can crash your computer, make it malfunction, or it can hijack and steal the data stored on your computer. Some of the more recent malware lives on your computer quietly, so you won’t know you’re at risk.

Computer viruses are not new. As a matter of fact, they’ve been around and detected as early as the 1960s. Some of the more well-known viruses in our history include the “Creeper virus” detected in the early 1970s, or “Michaelangelo” first discovered in 1991 infecting computers via floppy drives.

Not all viruses are passed via the internet, but they can also be found within infected files and spread through file transfers. Some viruses can unknowingly be installed on your computer when you click a link on a website that may be infected. Unfortunately, the website owner of that infected link may not even know about the virus, hence that quiet malware which can spread quickly. More sophisticated viruses can detect your key strokes so they can steal your passwords.

With cyber attacks on the rise, cyber security is needed more than ever, and luckily it is free. Especially if you are running a business, you need to make sure you have an anti-virus software installed on your computer(s) with malware detection that scans your computer on a regular basis. Many of these are free like Avast, Malwarebytes, AVG. Windows 8 comes with its own anti-virus software, Microsoft Security Essential, and for Windows 7, it’s free to download.
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #CyberAttacks #CyberSecurity #CyberCrime #Equifax #Malware #EmailSpoofing #EmailVirus #EmailPhishing #ComputerVirus

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How to Combat Rising Cyber Security Threats

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The cost of cyber crime exceeded $1.45 billion in 2016 with almost 300,000 reported crimes, according to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).* To compare, the dollar amount was reported at just over $1 billion the year before. The growth could indicate more people are reporting cyber attacks now, but it’s more likely showing the increase in cyber crime overall. And these are just the numbers known by the FBI for American cases, which means we are probably facing a larger scale crisis when it comes to the world’s population.

Cyber attacks and security breaches are in our news often, and touch everyone’s life. The recent Equifax data breach goes to show we need to be aware of the tactics of those who try to trick us, and learn how to protect our online identities and sensitive information.

In October, we will cover some of the cyber security issues, as well as the protection methods you can take to protect both your business and personal information.

Let’s first define “Cyber Security.” According to http://whatis.techtarget.com:

“Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. In a computing context, security includes both cybersecurity and physical security.”

As defined above, cyber security doesn’t just protect your computer, emails and network; it also protects information that pertains to your physical security and your identity. We will cover many points and go more in depth on this topic throughout the month.

*Source: https://pdf.ic3.gov/2016_IC3Report.pdf
#PSPinc #Blog #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #CyberAttacks #CyberSecurity #CyberCrime #Equifax #Malware

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Promoting your Business Blog

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Let’s say you open up a brand new store inside the mall. What’s the very next thing you do?

You promote it. You place ads in magazines, and use all the media you can possibly think of and afford to get the word out that your store is open. The fundamentals are the same with a new blog; you have to promote it and get the word out once it’s up and running.

Here are some ways you can promote your blog site:

Social Media

Do you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram? Share your blog posts on social media sites each time you publish a new one. Ask your friends to share them for you too. Some of the blog platforms even have tools that help you automate social media posts once the blog post is published. Many blog platforms allow you to schedule a post for a future date so you can plan ahead a series of fresh posts for your followers. If you’re including great images in your blog that are your own (not copied from another site), you can even post them to Pinterest with a link back to your blog.

Newsletter

Stay connected by newsletter. That’s what we do at PSPinc – every other week we send a digest of our latest blog posts in our customer newsletter. People may find certain blog topics interesting when they open up our newsletter and come back to our blog. It would be ideal to have people visiting the blog all the time without that reminder, but honestly who has time for that? You have to show people you have something worth their time to read in order for them to return to your blog.

Links from Existing Sites

You can link back to your blog in social media posts, but you can also add your blog URL to your profiles for LinkedIn, Facebook, or on your existing business homepage. Those links are not only good for your blog’s SEO; it’s good for your reputation too. By having a blog chock full of great information, you’re showing people you have a good grip on current industry knowledge and expertise.

Lastly, as this month-long series about blogging for business comes to a close, the point you need to remember most is to have interesting, useful content that draws people in and keeps them coming back for more. If you don’t write something people can relate to, or that helps them, you might as well be writing these blogs just to waste your own time. Quality content is important to engage readers and make your blog, and business, a success.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Blogger #Blogging #WordPress #BlogTips #BlogBasics

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How to Make your Blog a Success

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Do you know how many people have visited your blog?
Of those people, do you know how many people are returning visitors?
Is your blog doing its job of getting your information and brand out to the public?


The best way to find the answers is by viewing your site statistics. You can use the tools on your free blog platform, or simply use Google Analytics. This will help you understand what’s working, and what’s not working so you can fine tune your blogging efforts to be more successful and appeal to more people, or simply the right people. Telling your story is one thing, but it’s another to attract visitors from search engines, get them hooked on your content, and get them to return again.

Here are a few simple ways to make your blog more successful:

Get the word out.

If you are writing all these wonderful articles but no one reads them, it’s a waste of your time. So make sure you tell people about your blogs. If you have a newsletter, that’s a great place to advertise your blog posts. You can also post your blogs on social media, and ask others to share. The most important thing, however, is to work on your blog’s SEO. Be sure you are plugging in the right keywords that people are searching, and keep your blog in sync with your business strategy and goals.

Get people to come back.

If people are finding you online, that’s great! But getting them to return to your blog is a bit harder. Sometimes, it’s simply that they forget about you and your blog address. What can you do about that? You can offer to keep them in the loop through newsletter updates that include your latest blogs. That way they can get a sampling of your stories and knowledge in an occasional email reminder. When they see a subject that interests them, they will return.

Measure your success.

You will need to have a quantitative way to measure your success. We have made the mistake before of getting high traffic to our site, but the visitors were not our target audience so they never came back. We ended up offering lots of articles and materials online for free, but didn’t get people hooked since they weren’t the right customer base. Return visitors are often at the core of success for business strategy. So in the beginning, define your business strategy and goals -- the type of visitor you want to reach, and the percentage of return visits you’re looking for -- so you can determine if you are successful or if you need to change your approach.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Google #Facebook #Blogger #Blogging #WordPress #BlogTips

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The Dos and Don'ts of Blogging for Business

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A consistent brand message is key across all your marketing efforts, thus, applying to your blog as well. So far we’ve talked about keeping the design of your blog in line with your website and brand, but what about your actual content? You have to make sure your blog posts also remain relevant to your business, using topics and keywords your customers will find useful. Here are the Dos and Don’ts of blogging for business:

1. DO include important keywords within your blog content. Repeat them within each blog post whenever possible without over-saturating the article. Most importantly, your article needs to be easy to read, helpful, and include relevant content, so don’t just stuff keywords in there anywhere; add them in only where they make sense.

2. DON’T copy and paste someone else’s work as your own – that’s plagiarism and it’s illegal. You can reference information from other blogs or websites and post it on your blog to prove a point you are trying to make, but you must give credit to the author (or organization). For any text you copy and paste from another website, cite the author and URL within your article so your visitors will know the source of information.

3. DO find your niche. If you’re unsure about your topic choices, Google it and see how many search results you get. That's the number just under the bar showing how many results there are under your search terms (or topic). It will show you how many other people are writing on your topic using your keywords.

4. DON’T play a video without visitors’ consent. It can be very annoying when you visit a blog or news site and all of a sudden a video ad starts playing. Allow visitors to choose whether they want to watch the video or ad, and don’t force it on them. If you do, people will bounce out of your site immediately and they’re not likely to return. You need readers to come back on a regular basis to make your blog more ‘popular’ so make it a pleasant experience for people.

5. DO summarize your topic in your title. Many blog engines will turn your title into part of your URL, and your URL address can be a powerful SEO tool. So think about how to name your blog title with the idea that it’s another opportunity to add important keywords for Search Engine Optimization.

6. DON'T overwhelm users with too much text. Find some nice imagery that correlates to your topic. The visual is the first thing to grab people’s attention when they land on your page, so it should help tell the story while staying in line with your brand message. If you do find an image somewhere online, even if it’s from a free image website, don’t forget to cite the source.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Blogging #WordPress #Blogger #Bloguru #BloggingTips

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Use a Free Blog Service or Host on your Company Domain?

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Use a Free Blog Service or H...
The choice is yours as to whether your blog is under your website’s domain name, or that of a free service like wordpress.com or bloguru.com. Here is a list to help you determine which one is right for you:

1) If your company identity and domain name is important, go with your own domain.

It helps promote your brand identity and domain name having your blog on your domain name instead of under a free service domain, which looks like: your_company.wordpress.com, or bloguru.com/your_company. The other option is having the free blog service, like bloguru.com embed the blog within your own domain. Contact us at PSPinc to help you understand this option.

2) If you don’t have a domain name yet and need a boost in search engines, go with a free service.

Going fresh with a new domain name is fine, but it requires work to get it known, and your blog posts may not appear in search engines right away. But if you have your blogs on established domains like blogger.com, wordpress.com, or bloguru.com, your articles will likely be indexed by search engines simply because those domains are very popular.

3) If you are particular about the design of your blog template, build it into your own domain.

There are tons of themes and (often free) templates to choose from when you’re working with a free blog service, but you will have limited ability to customize them, which means you may not get that perfect look and feel. Although it will require some technical skill to set up a completely customized blog on your domain, if your priority is the look and the design of it, then that’s the way to go.

4) If you aren’t familiar with PHP, MySQL, or Open Source, use a free service.

If you are going to install a blog on your domain, you will need the technical skills to set up some programs on the server. But, if you have no idea what PHP, MySQL, or Open Source means, either hire someone who does, or try using a free service first.

5) If you are planning to have tons of files like images and videos, consider using your own domain for freedom of space.

File storage space may be more limited on a free blog service compared to your own blog. If you have a blog on your domain, you can purchase additional space as needed compared to the limited space a free service offers, so check that detail if you are considering a free service.

Our service, bloguru.com, features the best of both sides – the free service and hosting under your domain. Email us to find out how we can help you start blogging on your terms.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Wordpress #Blogger #BlogBasics #Blogging101 #Domain #WebHosting #SEO

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