Ransomware Hacker Strikes Sports Software Company & Steals Hundreds of Thousands of People’s Confidential Info

Ransomware is one of the vilest ways bad actors are taking advantage of good honest companies. It’s one of those crimes that businesses, both large and small, are powerless to defend themselves against once it occurs. It is so utterly galling to have to pay exorbitant amounts of hard-earned cash to creepy dishonest hackers to regain access to their own systems and confidential data.

The Story

According to an article posted in the Tech Times on September 22, 2020, a major software company was recently hacked. The attackers held the company’s confidential data hostage until the owners paid up. The data included information about 540,000 users. They swiped their names, passwords, usernames, birthdays, addresses, email addresses, and Social Security numbers.

ArbiterSports, the victim-company, supplies the NCAA and other sports leagues with a software application that manages referees and other game officials. Like most other companies that are hacked, they had no choice but to pay the ransom. But when you work with thieves, you never know if they will actually keep their side of the agreement to delete the stolen copy of confidential data.

The Reality for Your Business

If you don’t think your smaller-sized company is in danger of being hacked like this, think again. In our day bad actors are just as likely to shut down or disrupt small businesses as they are large. They can steal your data and hold it for ransom.

The most common way ransomware enters your network is through phishing emails. Integrinet IT builds a labyrinth of layers to defend your company against email infiltration.

1st Layer of Defense
A cloud email filter, which identifies spam emails before they even enter your firewall.

2nd Layer of Defense
Your Firewall.

3rd Layer of Defense
Your network server credentials.

4th Layer of Defense
Antivirus software with malware protection that is installed on your server, individual computers, and other end-point devices.

How Backups Save Your Company’s Life

Additionally, we configure a backup system that runs multiple times a day. If your company is hacked, we can wipe your server completely clean and then reinstall your system exactly as it was before the attack. Contact us today at (844) 400-0616 to set up your defensive position that will protect the business you have worked long and hard to build from the ground up.

Read the full article here: Hacker Breached 540,000 referees, league officials, and school representatives for Ransom and won

VoIP Phone Systems – To Move or Not to Move

Deciding which phone system is best for your business takes time to plan, research, and shop. To make an informed decision, you need to know what your choices are and the pros and cons of each. The phone system you want is one that meets your business’ needs. Because your business is unique, what works for another business may not work for yours. But if you want to replace or upgrade your phone system, you will need to choose between a PBX and a VoIP system.

What is a PBX System?

A PBX phone system is the on-premise phone system that has been in use for decades. It only came with direct copper wire line-to-line connections but in recent years has more options for the circuit that connects to it. If connected to the phone network with analog or digital lines, you are physically connected through the exchange network.

What is a VoIP System?

With a VoIP system, voice signals are converted into packets of data that are transmitted over the Internet. That means when you call a client, these signals travel through your network and out to the Internet.

Don’t get confused with the different types of VoIP systems that are out there. There are the following three options to choose from:

  1. On-premise VoIP System, Self-managed (you manage this system yourself)
  2. On-premise VoIP System, Partner-managed (a provider manages this system for you, but its brains are located at your place of business)
  3. Hosted VoIP System, Partner-managed (a provider manages this system for you, but its brains are located in the cloud)

Another confusing point is that there are a variety of names people are using for VoIP. They are all referring to the same type of internet phone system. Here are a few of them:

  • Hosted VoIP
  • Hosted Voice
  • Cloud Voice
  • IP telephony
  • Internet telephony
  • Broadband telephony
  • Broadband phone service

Read more about what a VoIP System is.

The Plan: Questions you need to answer for your business

  • How many users do you have?
  • Is everyone centrally located or geographically dispersed?
  • How will they use your phone system?
  • What features are you looking for in a phone system?
  • What is your growth trajectory?
  • How much are you spending on your current phone plan?
  • What is your budget for your new phone system?

Comparing Costs

VoIP is the less expensive system compared to PBX. It requires less hardware, which ends up costing you less to install. You will need VoIP-enabled phones and a connection to the Internet. Your monthly bills are also lower with the VoIP system and your billing is less complicated because your Internet and phone bill are often combined.

Comparing Reliability

Direct copper wire line-to-line connections are always more reliable than Internet connections, which sometimes experience downtime or bandwidth limits. The quality of your VoIP connection will vary based on the quality of your Internet connection. If your Internet or power goes down, so will your phone system. PBX systems are set up independent of your internet.

Because of this, some businesses who choose VoIP will keep a few backup analog lines for emergency alarms that send signals to the fire or police department or for their fax machines that don’t work well with VoIP.

Comparing Flexibility

If you want more flexibility in terms of adding or removing users, choose the VoIP system. You can add as many users as your network’s bandwidth allows and increasing your bandwidth is usually an easier task than increasing PBX capacity.

PBX systems are not known for their flexibility. They are installed with the number of phone lines you initially choose. If your company grows and you need more phone lines or capacity, you will have to have a provider come out and install them.

A quality phone system that is compatible with your company’s needs is key to clear communication and productivity. We hope this guide helps you in your decision process of whether to go with a VoIP phone system or a PBX. If you have any questions or need further guidance, please give Fred (Idaho) or Joe (Utah) a call at (844) 400-0616.

Read a story about how our service engineers repaired a client’s VoIP phone system when they were experiencing Dropped VoIP Calls and Intermittent Internet Connection.

Innovative Features that will Increase your SMB’s Productivity & Save You Money

Ever wonder what innovative tool Microsoft is building into Microsoft 365 next? Is there something you wish it had or something that would help you be more productive? Maybe if you knew about a new option before it came out, you could create a strategic advantage for your team.  

We know that Microsoft is constantly improving its tools. New features come out that most businesses aren’t even aware of. I have had clients ask me for a technology solution to a problem and many times I tell them they already have it.  

Budget for Your Future

When your company is evaluating and budgeting for new tools, it’s important to know what Microsoft is working on developing right now. The Microsoft 365 Roadmap website provides you with this information.  It has three main sections:

  • In Development
  • Rolling Out
  • Launched

Within those sections, you can narrow down the search by variables such as:

  • Product (Work, Excel, Azure, Bookings)
  • Release Phase
  • New & Updated Features

Email Encryption Feature for Financial Firms

Recently, I sat down with a client who wanted to move away from their onsite exchange server for email and was considering Microsoft 365. As a financial firm, they needed email encryption. With their level of service, email encryption was an easy and inexpensive add-on. When I searched the Microsoft 365 Roadmap website for innovative email encryption tools, I found one that gave their users the ability to revoke or pull back an email already sent without asking an admin to do it for them. This turned out to be a valuable time-saving tool for their financial office that cost them next to nothing.  

If you need a feature and have been wishing someone would come out with it, check out the Microsoft 365 Roadmap site. If you don’t have the time, give your managed services provider a call. Our service engineers at Integrinet IT love to keep updated on Microsoft’s developments. As of today, September 23, 2020 there are 1,106 updates in the queue. We can help you find the tools you need to increase your business productivity. 

Microsoft 365 Roadmap Web Site 

Most Computer Issues Can Be Handled Remotely

Remote Services are an important piece of the IT pie that your MSP serves up to support your business. They use powerful tools to monitor your organization’s systems, processes, and security.  

Remote Troubleshooting

If you’re having trouble with issues like the following, your service engineer can usually solve the problem remotely in less time than it would take him to come out to your place of business.

  • Laptop or PC running slow
  • Opening your email
  • Remembering a password
  • Connecting with your printer

With Remote Services, your IT team has the ability to log in remotely and fix your issues. To stay most productive, having the ability to request service remotely is a must in todays speed-of-light business world.

Help Desk Support

A good IT company enables Help Desk Services by installing a small program on your computer. The program remotely connects us to your computer and integrate with a ticketing system. When you request service, a ticket is created, queued, and quickly addressed. In a Service Level Agreement (SLA) you are provide with a timeframe in which the work will be completed.

Streamline your Computer Repairs

Remote services are one of the biggest advantages that a Managed Services Provider has over the “IT Guy”. There are times when your service engineers need to come onsite to service your IT infrastructure, but most issues can be handled remotely. With Remote Services your IT team streamlines your computer repairs and system upkeep. Increase productivity by adding Integrinet IT’s Remote Services.

Call us today at 1-844-400-0616 (toll-free) to discuss how this service can benefit your company.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

One of the most sneaky and costly cyberattacks is CEO Fraud, also known as Business Email Compromise (BEC). Either through Spearphishing Attacks, malware, or by gaining access to your cloud-based business email accounts, scammers collect data to obtain essential information such as who you pay and how.

With this information in hand, they attempt to trick your company into wiring money to an account they set up, which cannot be traced. Exploitations like these have been around for more than five years, but BEC activity has doubled in the past year. 

This is how they do it:

  1. Scammers pick a target. They search through the directories of social media websites such as LinkedIn or they go to the company’s website and look for the names of people who work there. They are especially looking for executives who have authorization to transfer money. It is not hard for them to find most of the company’s corporate officers and personnel through these channels.
    1. Scammers groom the target(s) they pick. They send emails to the target or call them on the phone to invite him/her to begin a correspondence with them. This is called spoofing. If the target responds, the scammers can view his/her email address and signature.
    2. The scammers then may set up fake email addresses and URLs by adding an extra character to make them look similar to the target’s at a glance.
    3. Other times they may just copy the name and attach another email address to it. Since some email applications only show the name, the false address behind it can be hidden.
    4. Sometimes scammers create a full email server that looks like the target’s server with a change of one character. E.g., mary.smith@companyllc.com vs. mary.smith@companylllc.com. If the coworkers at the target company just glance at this email address (as we all usually do), they most likely will miss the extra l.
  2. Once the scammers engage the target in a fictitious company project or transaction, they give instructions to wire the money to their account. Other times they act as a vendor giving new wiring instructions with the scammers account information. They might also impersonate the CEO and give instruction to the CFO to wire money to an account. The target believes they are working with a partner company or a supervisor who is giving them these instructions.
  3. The target wires the money to the untraceable account and the company never sees it again.

BEC scams may seem unlikely, but it actually happened to the Puerto Rican government which lost $2.6M and to a Tech Manufacturing company which lost $47M.

Puerto Rico government loses $2.6M in phishing scam

Ubiquiti Networks Says It Was Victim of $47 Million Cyber Scam

Between January 2014 and October 2019, the Internet Crime Complaint Center received complaints totaling more than $2.1 Billion in actual losses from BEC Scams.

FBI Public Service Announcement on April 6, 2020

Every one of your employees should be on the alert for spoofed emails. One of the most effective practices to avoid BEC scams is to train your workforce to voice-verify before transferring funds. If there are any account changes, especially new place-to-route payments, they should be approved verbally by one or two people up the corporate chain and by one or two people at the receiving company.

Another way to fight BEC is to use Multifactor Authentication (MFA) to protect your email accounts. Weak passwords are chinks in your company’s cyber armor.

Learn how MFA works.

Read the full article on email scams on the FBI’s webpage: Business Email Compromise on the Rise

Microsoft 365 Collaboration Abilities

Office 365 becomes Microsoft 365 

Recently Office 365 became Microsoft 365. For Enterprise levels, the features remain the same although Microsoft is adding features often. For Business levels, the name has changed, and collaboration and security features have been added.  As Office is still an optional part of the subscription, the main focus has turned to Collaboration. 

Microsoft 365 Collaboration 

With many employees now working from home, collaboration tools have become extremely important. Organizations need to stay connected with their employees who in turn need to stay connected with their client base.  

  • Video calls have replaced onsite visits. 
  • Project hubs have replaced long conference room meetings. 
  • Chat has replaced stop-by-office discussions.  

Organizations are finding they can be very productive if they have the correct tools. One of the most used and recognized tools now is Teams from Microsoft, which is part of Microsoft 365, previously Office 365. Teams added 31 million users in the month of April 2020 alone bringing the total users worldwide to over 75 million and growing fast

 With COVID-19 changing the way businesses operate, there is so much uncertainty about the future of in-person business operations. Collaboration from remote locations has become crucial to workflow. Knowing you have the tools to maintain easy and effective communication can provide your business with a sense of unity and security. Microsoft 365 has some features you may not know about that can benefit your organization. 

How Microsoft 365 Connects Your Team 

Have you tried the multi-user chat on Microsoft 365 Teams? Did you know that it enables interoffice calling, scheduling, and meetings? It also facilitates co-authoring and presentations. These features enable you to work from anywhere. You can collaborate with anyone within your company. They are simple to use and Microsoft provides excellent video training. Start training now: Get Started with Microsoft Teams.   

Added Value with Co-Authoring 

You can co-author within the Microsoft 365 environment with apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Here are some quick steps to get started: 

  1. Create a document in OneDrive or SharePoint 
  2. In your open file, click the “Share” button in the top right corner 
  3. Select the names or enter email addresses to share your file 
  4. Select permissions for this document – location and collaboration level 
  5. Click “Send” 
  6. The person you shared with can now work on the same file 

Link to: Co-authoring an Excel Workbook 

Meetings with Clients Outside Your Organization 

If you need to set up a video meeting with customers, it is now simple with Teams.  

  1. Click a button on your Exchange Home Ribbon or go to your Teams Calendar and select the time. A window will pop up for you to enter the email addresses of attendees, title of meeting and a place to enter an explanation of the meeting or agenda.  
  1. Send the email to your attendees. 
  1. Once received, it is automatically added to their Outlook Calendar.  
  1. With an addon feature you can include a phone number for people who are not able to be on a computer.  
  1. At the time of the event, click the link and you are in the conference. If you have the app for Teams, you can enter there, otherwise it will show up on a Windows Browser.  

Team Meetings – Instant or Scheduled Meetings 

Team meetings can be instant or scheduled. To begin an instant meeting: 

  1. Select the camera icon in the top right corner 
  2. Invite an individual or the entire chat group 
  3. To schedule a meeting: 
  4. Go to the calendar on Teams 
  5. Click on the “New Meeting” button in the top right corner 
  6. Fill out the form to invite members of your organization 
  7. Choose the time, date, and subject 
  8. Select the “Save” button and Teams will automatically send an invite to attendees and put it in their calendar 

See the tutorial: Instant and Scheduled Meetings Tutorial 

Meetings – Live Events 

Meetings on the Teams platform are simple to set up. They may contain as many participants as you would like (up to 20,000 for Live Events) and are especially effective when using the video feature. For Live Events: 

  1. Go to the Teams Calendar and select live new meeting 
  2. Choose who can attend – specific people/Groups/entire organization/anyone who receives the link/public 
  3. You can choose to record it for Producers and Presenters or for attendees 
  4. You can also choose to have a Q&A session 
  5. Select “Schedule” and you will receive an attendee link to send to anyone via email or Teams 

See the tutorial: Live Event Tutorial 

Using Teams Meetings is an effective form of business communication as they allow you to see facial expressions and hear voice inflections, which bring more meaning to the conversation. Additionally, you can get much more accomplished in a shorter time with a video meeting than with dialoging in a chat when you keep them on schedule and to the point. 

Microsoft 365 Portal 

When you launch the Microsoft 365 portal, you see the Office applications you use most frequently. The search feature at the top of the page helps you quickly find your apps, files, and contacts on 365. Additionally, links to the following files are displayed: 

  • Recent    Links to your most recent files are listed here. If you click on this tab, you can see when you accessed this file last, whether the file is a shared file, and what has been recently changed.
  • Pinned    Pinning the files you work on most frequently, gives you quick access to them under this tab.
  • Shared with me    These are files that have been shared with you.
  • Discover    This tab shows relevant items from your OneDrive, a 1TB per user individual file repository

To start working on your documents, select one of these file links or navigate to a file in your OneDrive App. All the changes you and your team members make to a document are tracked and updated.  

See the tutorial: Get Started 

These tools will bring great value to your organization. 

Combine your Microsoft 365 account with a superior managed services provider. Integrinet IT is a full-service IT company providing outsourced IT for small- to mid-sized businesses in Idaho and Utah. Our 22 years of experience equips us with the skills to strategically keep all the layers of your computer, network, and hardware systems safe from cyberattacks and running at peak efficiency. Never far from your organization, our service engineers provide a personal, responsive approach when and where you need assistance.