Yes, your or your firms entire digital network could be at risk for remote takeover by cybercriminals. Such a takeover could lead to personal as well as huge business losses. Today, we want to work to increase awareness about remote takeovers, as these takeovers can be devastating to your business as well as to the customers you serve. It’s critical for people to take steps to understand and prevent these security threats before it’s too late.

A remote attack targets an individual computer or network as the cybercriminal exploits weaknesses in security settings to access the devices. Another line of attack uses malware to download malicious code that gives the criminals access to the network. Please realize that especially vulnerable are wireless networks, including mobile phones, modems and router devices, printers, fax machines and televisions that retain their factory-issued password settings. Sometimes, these devices have no protection at all.

There are multiple ways that cybercriminals can gain control of computers and other devices. As we have written before, phishing emails with attachments can easily download malware that, when opened, give the criminal remote control of a computer.

Cybercriminals also can deploy certain tools that allow them to identify the location of and get access to unprotected wireless devices. For example, a printer with a factory-issued password can easily be accessed, and the criminals can view information stored in its memory.

Let us all work to prevent remote access takeover attacks by taking the following steps to help protect ourselves from remote takeovers:

  • Educate everyone about the dangers of phishing scams, which can be in the form of emails, texts and calls, as well as the threat posed by remote access attacks;
  • Use strong security software, set it to update automatically and run a periodic security “deep scan” to search for viruses and malware;
  • Identify and assess wireless devices connected to the network, including mobile phones, computers, printers, fax machines, routers, modems and televisions. Replace factory password settings with strong passwords.
  • Strengthen passwords for devices and for software access. Make sure passwords are a minimum of eight digits (more is better) with a mix of numbers, letters and special characters;
  • Be alert for phishing scams: simply just no longer click on links or open attachments from unknown, unsolicited or suspicious senders. Be alert to fake messages that appear to be from someone you trust;
  • Review any software that is used to remotely access the network as well as those used by IT support vendors to remotely troubleshoot technical problems. Remote access software is a potential target for intruders to gain entry and take control of a machine. Disable remote access software until it is needed.

Contact Czarnowski & Beer today for a no-obligation financial statement evaluation, or to speak to one of our certified accountants about your unique situation, we can help!