From the desk of Josh Peldo – Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) & Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT)

We are constantly bombarded with news from around the world of security breaches, stolen data, and network hacking. Many people feel “it won’t happen to me,” but that isn’t true. It can be the local Dairy Queen, ND State College of Science in Wahpeton, or maybe one of the many local DRN customers that call in saying their accounts have been compromised. I can’t stress enough how likely it is that your data may be in jeopardy and to not take your security information lightly.

If you were unaware, local Dairy Queens in Eastern North Dakota have recently been attacked by hackers. Malware called Backoff, accessed systems and hacked files that held customer names, payment card numbers, and expiration dates. NDSCS in Wahpeton discovered malware activity on computers that contained current and former students and employee’s personal information, Social Security numbers and mailing addresses.

So much damage can be done now, with so little personal information, that it is worth going above and beyond to protect yourself. With a Social Security number and date of birth, hackers can use your information to forge an IRS Tax Return. The refund can be put on a gift card and then those hackers will use ATM’s to withdraw the cash from the forged tax return and make it nearly impossible to track them down.

So what can you do to protect your network and your personal information? DRN Network/Server Analyst, Scott Young, discussed in the April ReadiTech Newsletter how a strong firewall can help protect your network. Not something that is normally purchased from a major shopping center, but instead, something that has a subscription to a consistently upgraded and supported anti-virus/anti-malware scanning firewall.

So many passwords are too simple, and many of you have the same password for everything and almost never change it…unless something or someone makes them change. This can put your information or your loved ones information in jeopardy. All it takes is the accidental download of a compromised email to download a malicious malware or virus. Call DRN today If you’d like a vulnerability test done on your network, at 344-5000, or with any of your networking issues.

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