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Capstone Works, Inc. Blog

Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How Hackers Steal Your Data (Part 1 of 2)

securityIt’s no secret that your data is a hot commodity. Each day sophisticated cybercriminals attempt to make money by stealing your private information to pose as you, blackmail you, or simply sell your information to someone who will. If you want to stay in business, you’ll need to be able to thwart these attempts. But to do so, you must understand the increasingly advanced methods hackers use. In this two-part article, we’ll examine the techniques hackers are currently employing to gain access to your sensitive data.

Cracking Passwords

The fact that hackers might simply guess your passwords probably seems painfully obvious, but the hard truth is that many companies still lack proper password management. If your password is a series of common words, a dictionary attack can use algorithms to cycle through a word database and quickly discover your chosen phrase.

Simply adding some numbers won’t be enough, either, as hackers can up the ante with a brute force attack which allows them, with some additional computing power, to cycle through alpha-numeric combinations until they strike gold.

And if they are very determined and well equipped, a hacker can also use a rainbow table attack. When passwords are attempted, they are “hashed” to avoid sending the actual plaintext password over the communication line. In this type of attack, pre-computed tables are used to recover these hashes and reverse them to reduce guessing time and discover complex passwords.

To prevent these, you’ll need to create unique passwords that are more than ten characters long and have a mix of numbers, lowercase and uppercase letters, and symbols for each account. One popular trick for this is to think of a phrase and codify it. For example, “Cousin Greg lives in Seattle” becomes “C0u$iNGr3gLiV3SinS3ATtLE”.

Additionally, you should use multi-factor authentication whenever possible so that your password isn’t the only thing standing between an attacker and access to your accounts.

Phishing Schemes

One of the most common methods of data hacking, phishing scams are so effective, they’ve produced many high-profile data breaches including the hacking of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, who unknowingly gave up his Gmail password, and Snapchat, where an employee gave up payroll information that led to widespread identity theft.

In a phishing scheme, disguised e-mails are used to lure the recipient into a trap. Posing as a trusted source, such as someone you do business with, your bank, or your email provider, hackers trick you into providing them information directly, clicking a link that leads you to a fake site, or downloading an attachment that then allows them access to your system. One of the oldest tricks in the book, phishing is an evergreen technique that is continually being re-invented in order to become harder to spot.

The best way prevent being hooked in by a phishing scam is to study the way they are being used and stay vigilant. Make sure to check the spelling of URLs in email links and watch out for URL redirects. Keep your browsers up-to-date to ensure you have the most recent security patches and install anti-phishing toolbars on your browser that can run checks on sites you visit and compare them to a database of known phishing sites. And, of course, never give out personal information over email.

These are two of the most popular ways attackers attempt to gain access to your system but stay tuned for Part 2 of this article as we dive into three more sophisticated methods cyber attackers are currently using. Concerned you’re not as safe as you thought? Contact Capstone Works immediately. Our cybersecurity professionals have the expertise to make sure you’re one step ahead of the latest tricks, scams, and hacks that could threaten your business.

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Building Your Plan for BYOD!

Building Your Plan for BYOD!

As the line between working in-office and working from home becomes more and more blurred, a new trend in employee technology has begun to emerge – BYOD, or bring your own device. Many companies are offering their employees the option to bring their own devices into the office environment as it can improve both employee satisfaction and office productivity.  But CIOs still must consider three different basic set ups/options before taking the plunge:

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Delta IT Disaster: The Importance of an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Delta IT Disaster: The Importance of an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Angry customers, negative media coverage, frustrated employees, untold revenue lost, lingering anger from customers: that’s the status for Delta Airlines this week.  Of course this is not news to anyone; unless you have been living under a rock you have heard the numerous news reports detailing the Delta computer disaster.  Whether caused by a minor power outage at Delta headquarters or an internal computer hiccup, the airline was forced to cancel over 500 flights causing gridlock across America’s airports at the height of vacation season. You may not be running an international transportation corporation, but imagine what would happen to your clients if you had an unexpected IT failure.  Think something like this can’t happen to you? Think again.  The problem that Delta airlines faced was not the power outage at their headquarters; it was an inadequate IT Disaster Recovery Plan.  As a business owner you don’t want to be caught off guard in the middle of an IT nightmare.  An IT Disaster Recovery Plan may sound like a great idea, but you might not even know what one looks like, let alone know where to start.  Here at Capstone Works we are your IT partner and are ready to put together a comprehensive IT Disaster Recovery Plan.  The goal of any good plan is fivefold, it should:

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Are “Zombie” servers draining your precious resources?

Have you ever heard that loud fan whine noise coming from your server room? Is it your IT infrastructure hard at work helping you to increase profits or is the sound of the “zombie” servers? A zombie, or comatose, server is a physical server that is running but has no external communications or visibility and contributes no computer resources; it essentially consumes electricity but serves no useful purpose. For something you have most likely never heard of, it’s a big problem. An estimated one in three servers in North America falls into the "undead" category. Given those odds, it’s likely that most businesses are running servers that are no longer doing anything relevant and could be decommissioned.

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Cyberattacks are a real concern for Small and Medium Businesses

Most small business owners believe cyberattacks are the concern of large corporations, however nothing could be further from the truth. According to Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 71% of cyberattacks occur at businesses with less than 100 employees. [1]

Unfortunately, many “SMBs suffer from 'It can't happen to us' syndrome,” notes Robert Siciliano, security expert for McAfee. “They also typically don't have the resources to secure their networks to the degree a large enterprise would. But the information on their networks – and access to their bank accounts – still makes them a big target.” Even though it turns out SMB’s have a larger target on their backs than they realize, two thirds of SMBs surveyed by Symantec say they're not concerned about cyber threats; and more than 80 percent have no formal cyber security plan.

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The Small Business Office Move

We've all been through an office or personal a move at some point in our lives. Whether to go to school, follow a career opportunity, or simply move to a new house, most everyone has experienced it. Moving a company, however, presents some unique challenges as the move must have minimal impact on your team's ability to serve clients or sell products. We'll discuss the range of considerations and actions you need to take to make your move surprise and hassle free. Some of the items on this list are so obvious they will require little discussion, but others are hidden landmines that can significantly affect your relationship with your vendors and clients.

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5 Tips for Saving Money on your IT

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Saving a little on your technology can go a long ways, but cutting too many corners can lead to additional problems and expensive downtime. Here are a few ways you can cut costs without creating long term issues.

Don't be Afraid to Replace

Got an older PC that's causing you a lot of issues? Older technology is typically more expensive to run, and after a while, it's cheaper to simply buy a new desktop than it is to continue pouring money into something that always seems broken. It's a great time to buy workstations, and if things are tight you can even buy refurbished desktops to keep costs low.

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Disaster Recovery and Why it Matters to Central Texas Businesses

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When you mention the term 'disaster recovery,' most people think about the big ground-shattering events like earthquakes, fires, floods, tropical storms, etc. While these natural events are certainly disasters and devastating in their own right, smaller things can constitute as a disaster for your business, and they aren't seasonal.

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Slow Computer? Increase your memory to boost computer Speeds

Sometimes when your workstation feels bogged down, a relatively cheap and simply hardware update can make a huge difference in performance. Adding more RAM (Random Access Memory, often just referred to as memory) can be a game changer for your bogged down PC.

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Latest News & Events

Capstone Works, Inc. is proud to announce the launch of our new website at http://www.capstoneworks.com. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our ser...

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(512) 343-8891 x2

715 Discovery Blvd
Suite 101

Cedar Park, Texas 78613