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Preferred Blog

Preferred has been serving the Tinley Park area since 1991, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Cyberattacks Have Gone Way Up Since the Pandemic Started

Cyberattacks Have Gone Way Up Since the Pandemic Started

We’ve been predicting it, and feeling it, but now the numbers are in. Officially, cybersecurity attacks have increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 crisis - in particular the lockdown.

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2-Factor, 2-Furious - How 2FA is Our Last Hope

2-Factor, 2-Furious - How 2FA is Our Last Hope

Two-factor Authentication, also referred to as Multi-Factor Authentication, or 2FA, is typically where you log in to something and have to type in a small code from your mobile device in order to finish the sign-in process. It’s really the only thing protecting your accounts anymore, so it’s critical to use it.

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Microsoft is Finding Leaving Windows 7 Users Behind Difficult

Microsoft is Finding Leaving Windows 7 Users Behind Difficult

Windows 7 might not be supported by Microsoft any longer, but millions of people are still using PCs that run the antiquated operating system. Since Microsoft has put an end to extended support for Windows 7 OS, a couple bugs have been found. Let’s take a look at what exactly is behind these issues and discuss your options.

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The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

The Endless Line of Costs from a Data Breach

Picture this… In your office you have a bag filled with thousands of envelopes. In each envelope there is $242 in cash. Unbeknownst to you, a thief has gained access to your office, but you don’t realize this until 279 days later. How much is this going to cost your business?

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Fishing for Answers to Keep Phishing Attacks from Sinking Your Business

Fishing for Answers to Keep Phishing Attacks from Sinking Your Business

Phishing attacks have been in the social consciousness now for a while, and for good reason: it is the predominant way that hackers gain access to secured networks and data. Unfortunately, awareness to an issue doesn’t always result in positive outcomes. In this case, hackers get more aggressive, and by blanketing everyone under a seemingly limitless phishing net, 57 billion phishing emails go out every year. If a fraction of those emails accomplish their intended goal, the hackers on the other end of them really make out.

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The SamSam Ransomware Is Absolutely No Joke

The SamSam Ransomware Is Absolutely No Joke

The funny thing about ransomware is that they give them very strange names: Bad Rabbit sounds like the name of a villainous bunny who gets his comeuppance in some type of modern nursery rhyme, not malware that would ravage hundreds of European businesses. Locky seems like the son of Candado de seguridad, a character Medeco would come up with to educate kids on proper physical security. The latest in a long line of funny-named ransomware, SamSam, isn’t a pet name for your pet ferret you perplexingly named Sam, it is one of the worst ransomware strains ever, and it has caught the attention of U.S. Federal law enforcement.

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Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Now that the holidays have come and gone, you might have a couple of new gadgets in your home or office that connect to the Internet. Depending on what these gadgets are, you might have a serious security issue sitting right in front of you without realizing it. Some devices that don’t normally connect to the Internet--also known as Internet of Things devices (IoT)--aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be, particularly in a business environment.

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Uber Demonstrates the Importance of Disclosing a Data Breach

Uber Demonstrates the Importance of Disclosing a Data Breach

If your business was breached, would it be better to keep it a secret, or should you disclose it to your clients? Uber has proven that trying to hide it is a mistake, and a costly one at that.

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Looking Back at This Year’s Cybersecurity Issues

Looking Back at This Year’s Cybersecurity Issues

Every business in operation today needs to have some kind of comprehensive network security. Simply put, there are too many threats that can come in through an Internet connection for them to continue doing otherwise. The past year provides plenty of anecdotal proof of this fact, as a quick glance back can show.

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Tech Term: Hacker

Tech Term: Hacker

The term “hacker” is possibly one of the best-known technology-related terms there is, thanks to popular culture. Properties like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Die Hard franchise have given the layman a distinct impression of what a hacker is. Unfortunately, this impression isn’t always accurate. Here, we’ll discuss what real-life hackers are like, and the different varieties there are.

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Hackers Prey on Social Media Users

Hackers Prey on Social Media Users

Social media has been an emerging technology in recent years, and has produced many threats. Hackers have learned that they can take advantage of these communication mediums to launch dangerous new attacks on unsuspecting users. With enough ingenuity on a hacker’s part, they can potentially steal the identity of a social media user. Here are some of the best ways that your organization can combat identity theft through social media.

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A New Perspective on Ransomware

A New Perspective on Ransomware

We are going to switch things up a bit and walk you through a retelling of a ransomware attack through the eyes of a business owner. Usually when we talk about these types of threats, we approach it from our perspective and talk about what you should do to prepare and what the threats are, but we wanted to try to show you what an event like this could feel like, for you, in your position, and in your own eyes. We hope that this will raise awareness of how crippling an event like this can be on your company, and we hope you let us know if this perspective helps you, your colleagues, and your staff get a more personal sense of what ransomware can do. Enjoy!

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Why ROBOT is a Risk After Nearly 20 Years

Why ROBOT is a Risk After Nearly 20 Years

The Internet is rife with potential threats. Some are situational, but most are deliberate actions made by malicious entities who are trying to obtain any semblance of value from you or your company. Some of these exploits have been around longer than you’d imagine possible. This has been made evident by huge Internet-based companies such as PayPal and Facebook testing positive for a 19-year-old vulnerability that once allowed hackers to decrypt encrypted data.

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Is Your Security Prepared to Stop a DDoS Attack?

Is Your Security Prepared to Stop a DDoS Attack?

If your business were to be struck by a Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) attack, would it be able to recover in a timely manner? Do you have measures put into place to keep them from hampering your operations? While most organizations claim to have sufficient protection against these dangerous attacks, over half of them have simply proven to be ineffective against DDoS.

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30 Schools Shut Down In Montana After Cyber Attack

30 Schools Shut Down In Montana After Cyber Attack

Students generally love it when classes are cancelled for whatever reason, but thanks to a cybercriminal group called TheDarkOverlord Solutions, a school in Flathead Valley, Montana was disrupted for an extended period of time. This downtime resulted in a disruption of operations for over 30 schools, as well as the threat to the personal information of countless teachers, students, and administrators due to a ransomware attack.

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Charity Scams Are Very Real. Here’s How To Dodge Them

Charity Scams Are Very Real. Here’s How To Dodge Them

Dealing with disasters are a part of doing business. You know how difficult it is to recover from a devastating flood or storm. While businesses tend to suffer from these situations, countless individuals suffer every time a natural disaster hits. Just take a look at the United States in recent weeks. Even though you may want to donate to people suffering from hurricanes, there are illegitimate charities out there that want to make a quick buck off of your generosity.

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Getting Greedy: Ransomware Hackers are Asking for Way More Money

Getting Greedy: Ransomware Hackers are Asking for Way More Money

If fiscal reasons have stopped you from securing your network against ransomware thus far, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Not only are attacks still becoming more and more prevalent, but the developers of ransomware have lowered the price of admission for aspiring cyber criminals. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to keep your business protected against a ransomware attack.

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Alert: Acer Breach Compromised Customer Credit Cards

Alert: Acer Breach Compromised Customer Credit Cards

Users of Acer’s online store between May 12th, 2015, and April 28th, 2016, may be in for a rude awakening. Acer may be attempting to contact you to relay that your credit card’s credentials have been lifted by hackers. The breach in question resulted in 34,500 customers having their credentials stolen, including the user’s name, address, credit card number, expiration date, and security code.

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Scammers Use Whaling Attack Emails to Pose as Upper Management

Scammers Use Whaling Attack Emails to Pose as Upper Management

The average business owner may already be aware of what are called phishing attacks - scams that attempt to deceive and trick users into handing over sensitive credentials. However, not all phishing attacks are of the same severity, and some are only interested in hauling in the big catch. These types of attacks are called “whaling,” and are often executed in the business environment under the guise of executive authority.


Whaling attacks are designed to mimic the behaviors of CEOs or other members of upper management. This could be in the form of a manager, a COO, or even a CIO. Whaling attacks are often successful because they appear to come from a legitimate source; nobody expects their boss to get hacked, and naturally they will want to do as they say. It appeals to the nature of the office worker to want to avoid conflict with upper management, and the fear of getting in trouble for insubordination. In addition to looking like an official business email, some whaling schemes may even resemble documents from the FBI or other government institutions.

Once this fear has been instilled in the hearts of the average office worker, it’s only a matter of time before one of two things happen: 1) The hacker gets what they want, be it sensitive credentials, a fraudulent wire transfer, or otherwise, or 2) The office worker realizes that they’ve been duped, and deletes the email. Unless the worker knows what to look for in a phishing message, however, the more likely scenario is the former.

In the face of any type of phishing attack, be it a spear-phishing attack or a targeted whaling attack, it’s important to remember that you should always think with your brain first before immediately reacting to a message like this. Take a moment to consider how much sense it makes to follow the instructions in the email that you’ve received. By simply taking a deep breath and calmly analyzing the email, you could be saving yourself a lot of pain and frustration.

As is the case with any phishing attack, look for irregularities in both the message itself, and the address that the message came from. Does it come from a legitimate sender? If so, what’s the email address? Look it over carefully and try to spot anything that’s out of place. Are there any numbers or letters that are trying to mask the true email address? Is there anything suspicious about the contents of the email? Look for curiously repetitive or urgent requests. Hackers like to use time-sensitive language to rush users into making a decision.

In dangerous situations like this, wouldn’t it be great if any whaling attacks and other phishing schemes stayed out of your inbox in the first place? With a spam blocking solution, your business will have little to fear from dangerous or fraudulent messages by eliminating them from your inbox entirely. We offer powerful enterprise-level spam blocking solutions that are designed to keep your business free of malicious or wasteful messages. To learn more, give us a call at 708-781-7110.

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This Hacker Stole 1.17 Billion Credentials. You Won’t Believe How Much He Sold it All For

This Hacker Stole 1.17 Billion Credentials. You Won’t Believe How Much He Sold it All For

In a bizarre reminder of why security best practices are so critical to the world of IT, it has been reported that one of the largest collections of hacked and stolen login details are currently making the rounds in the Russian black market.

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