OMNI Solutions Group Blog

OMNI Solutions Group has been serving the Washington D.C. metropolitan area since 1994, providing IT Support such as technical help-desk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Be on the Lookout Executives, Hackers are Targeting You!

Be on the Lookout Executives, Hackers are Targeting You!

Let’s say that you’re walking down the hallway of your office when you bypass a team member from accounting. They tell you that the wire transfer you requested has been completed successfully, but you don’t remember ever asking for such a thing. You take a look through your books and see that a ton of money was sent to some random stranger who took on your identity.


You may have heard about CEO fraud, which is commonly referred to as “whaling.” It’s like a phishing scheme, but on a much more intricate scale. Instead of faking the identity of another employee, or someone from a financial institution or government agency, the hacker will try to use the identity of a business owner or CEO instead. The idea is to use an employee’s fear of confrontation and eagerness to comply with requests to the hacker’s advantage--and you’d be surprised by how often it works.

In particular, wire transfers are proving to be a lucrative option for hackers who manage to trick users. As reported by ITProPortal: “Individuals create bogus messages seemingly from a senior leader, for example the CEO, which ask employees to wire funds across to them. The messages ultimately trick employees into transferring large amounts of cash electronically.” The average fraudulent wire transfer is valued at approximately $67,000, with some going well above. Plus, according to the FBI, over the past three years CEO fraud has cost businesses over $3 billion.

In most cases, wire transfers are difficult, if not impossible, to challenge, so your best chance at recovering from one is to not experience it in the first place. They are simply much too fast and are often finite in nature. Therefore, the most pressing matter is to address how your business can handle this shocking amount of growth in CEO fraud. You need to start by addressing how your staff handles unsolicited requests via email, telephone, or otherwise. Here are a few tips to consider for your business.

  • Implement hands-on phishing scam training: There’s no better teacher than hands-on training. Implement a training procedure where you purposely expose your employees to messages similar to phishing scams. See how they react to them, and if it’s not favorably, go through the proper protocol that they should keep in mind.
  • Always check in person before sending credentials, or anything else: In general, emails requesting suspicious or sensitive information should be cross-checked by either in-person communication, or by checking the email address and domain from which the message originated. However, some hackers have the ability to spoof email addresses, so it’s usually best to check with whoever supposedly sent the message.
  • Educate employees on best practices: This goes back to hands-on phishing scam training. It’s important to remind your team of security best practices, and regularly quiz them on how to avoid phishing and CEO fraud.

To learn more about CEO fraud and other types of security red flags, reach out to OMNI Solutions Group at 301-869-6890.

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The Average Cost Per Data Breach Hits $4 Million

The Average Cost Per Data Breach Hits $4 Million

If you ever question why your business needs to take advantage of network security and all of its components, consider this fact: the average cost of data breaches, worldwide, has increased by 29 percent since 2013. Believe it or not, the average cost per data breach is now an astounding $4 million! Now, we’ll ask you again; can your business afford to deal with a data breach or data loss disaster?


These numbers come from a study performed by the Poneman Institute and IBM Data, where 283 companies from all over the world were examined. The results may be quite shocking, especially for a small business that may never have experienced a data breach. Here are some of the highlights of the study:

  • The United States leads in terms of sheer overall cost of breaches by record value. The value per record is $223 on average. In total, the average cost of a data breach in the United States was roughly $7.01 million.
  • Particular industries, like healthcare, education, and finance, have a higher value per record at $355, $246, and $221 respectively.
  • 48 percent of all data breaches were the result of malicious intent, like hacking attacks and network infiltrations.
  • Encryption and other security protocol decrease the costs of data breaches by up to $16/record.
  • How quickly a company responded to the security breach had a positive impact on the overall cost of the breach.
  • There’s a 26 percent chance that an enterprise will be hit by one or more data breaches of over 10,000 records within the next two years.

Think about it; a data breach has far more repercussions than just the strain on your budget. It can lead to a damaged reputation, as well as lost clients and revenue. Can you afford to lose clients and revenue, and more importantly, can you recover data that’s lost or stolen due to your negligence? It’s estimated that businesses that fail to recover their data following a breach, will go out of business within one year following the incident.

Another point of interest is the cost associated with data breaches and loss associated with these three leading factors:

Data theft due to malicious intent
$236 per record. This is data that’s considered lost or stolen due to a hacking attack, like ransomware or a network virus. Really, the sky’s the limit for data theft in this category; there are so many threats out there that it’s basically impossible to specifically prepare for each one.

Data loss due to hardware failure
$213 per record. This is data that’s lost due to system malfunctions or hardware failure, like a server or workstation crashing unexpectedly. Unlike hacking attacks, this is something that you can prepare for, by taking proper care of your technology and keeping an eye out for warning signs.

Data loss due to human error
$197 per record. This is data that’s lost when your users do something on accident, like move a file or expose credentials to hackers, that puts your data in harm’s way. This is a bit more difficult to protect from, as you’re relying on your end users knowing what they’re doing. Be sure to educate them on best practices, and ensure that they only have access to data that they absolutely need for their position.

Is your business prepared to handle the many situations that could lead to expensive and costly data breaches? If you’re not sure, reach out to OMNI Solutions Group. We offer several solutions that are designed to protect your business from all manners of threats, including proactive security solutions (firewall, antivirus, spam-blocking, content-filtering), backup and disaster recovery, and user access control. To get started, all you need to do is call 301-869-6890.

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Threat Spotlight: Brute-Force Attacks and How to Defend Against Them

Threat Spotlight: Brute-Force Attacks and How to Defend Against Them

One of the most popular methods of online hacking attacks involves what’s called a brute force attack. This is when a hacker overwhelms a login system with multiple attempts until the hacker is able to log in and access the system. They are dangerous attacks that could expose not just sensitive information, but also leave you vulnerable to ongoing hacks.

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Forget Backdoors, Hackers Can Now Infiltrate Garage Doors

Forget Backdoors, Hackers Can Now Infiltrate Garage Doors

Hackers have proven that they will do whatever it takes to get to your valuable assets, even if it means taking advantage of physical objects that work alongside a specific frequency. As it turns out, this is exactly how hacking a garage door works, and all it takes is a decade-old communications device to capture the frequency and unlock any garage door that utilizes it.

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How to Avoid These 4 Common Social Engineering Scams

b2ap3_thumbnail_do_not_fall_victim_to_these_tricks_400.jpgHackers are always trying to find the latest exploits to infiltrate unsuspecting businesses. One of the most dangerous and arguably the most difficult to identify is called a social engineering attack, which is where the hacker exploits the end user, rather than cracking the security of technology systems.

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How and Why Cyber Crime is so Effective

b2ap3_thumbnail_cyber_crime_is_the_new_norm_400.jpgThe Internet is a fantastic tool that has ushered in an era of productivity and connectivity that we could only previously have dreamed of. Unfortunately, like every great tool, it can be used for darker, malicious purposes. In the Internet’s case, it’s used for anonymous illegal activity, like drug trafficking or selling data on the black market.

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How a Hacker Could Potentially Assassinate a Hospital Patient

b2ap3_thumbnail_hack_threats_400.jpgWhenever hackers show themselves, they always spell trouble. Whether it’s stealing credentials or completely taking over someone’s computer, a hacker has a plethora of targets and methods that can be irritating for the average PC user, or business executive. In fact, hackers are so crafty that they can even hack into hospital equipment.

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Mobile Botnets Make the Internet Even Less Secure

b2ap3_thumbnail_hackers_are_using_botnets_400.jpgTechnology is often exploited by hackers for their benefit, but one avenue of attack that’s consistently neglected is the mobile device. Smartphones and tablets are arguably at greater risk than desktops and workstations due to them being exposed to more wireless networks. One of the greatest threats to these devices is the botnet, a threat that usually targets desktop computers, enslaving them and turning the machine against its owner (and the rest of the Internet).

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Alert: Hackers Posing as IT Support and Hijacking Computers

b2ap3_thumbnail_technology_take_400.jpgOne minute you’re browsing trusted sites on the Internet, the next, your PC freezes up and displays the dreaded blue screen of death, along with a fake tech support message. This strain of malware is duping plenty of computer users into calling the provided phone number, which only makes the situation worse.

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If a Teen Can Hack the CIA, Your Business Needs to Prioritize In Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_cia_hacked_400.jpgWe write about cyber security all of the time, and for good reason. You need to be sure that your organization’s defenses are bulletproof, or at least optimized for maximum security. A recent debacle in the United States serves as a reminder that even high-level, super-secret government accounts can be hacked, like this story from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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You Won’t Believe the Most Evil Domains on the Internet

b2ap3_thumbnail_some_domains_are_associated_with_malware_400.jpgHave you ever wondered which websites on the Internet are the most dangerous? Recently it’s been discovered that the majority of threatening websites on the Internet fall into some very easy-to-identify categories; or, more specifically, about 95 percent of all dangerous websites are found on ten top-level domains.

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CryptoLocker is the Worst Video Game Ever

b2ap3_thumbnail_gamers_pwned_400.jpgIt’s been two years since the world was introduced to CryptoLocker, a particularly-nasty ransomware that encrypts a computer’s data while giving the user a deadline to pay a ransom for the encryption key, or else have their data destroyed. What we’re seeing now is that the reach of CryptoLocker is extending beyond the average PC user; even gamers are getting owned by Cryptolocker.

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The Best Way to Prevent Hackers from Finding Holes in Your Security

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_assessment_400.jpgYour organization is constantly at risk of being attacked by malicious entities. This is a fact that modern businesses have to live with. If this is the first time you’re seriously contemplating cyber security, you need to take all potential options into account; including the worst-case scenario, and how you would combat it.

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Alert: Email Appearing to Be From Microsoft about Windows 10 Upgrade is Really Ransomware

b2ap3_thumbnail_windows_10_email_scam_400.jpgFor many Windows users, the fact that Microsoft is issuing Windows 10 incrementally came as a shock for those who patiently waited for its release date. While users wait, however, hackers are taking advantage of those who are less patient by creating a ransomware that disguises itself as a launcher for a Windows 10 download. So, while you sit and wait for your version of the latest OS, don’t fall prey to deals that seem too good to be true.

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Stop Blaming Technology for the Attacks Caused By People

b2ap3_thumbnail_protect_your_business_400.jpgIt might seem like the obvious reason for hacks and data loss is due to technology being unpredictable, but in all reality, it’s important to remember that some of the problems we experience with technology come from the people operating it. To this end, it’s important to realize that the people operating technology can also protect themselves from hackers.

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Hackers Shop for Vulnerabilities at Online Black Markets

b2ap3_thumbnail_black_market_peddler_400.jpgJust like Silk Road (the illegal online black market designed to smuggle drugs around the world), there exists an online trade for zero-day exploits. Unsurprisingly, hackers find it exceptionally lucrative to sell these exploits for profit. Now, there’s a new marketplace where hackers can get their hands on these vulnerabilities, and it’s all thanks to the anonymity of the Darknet.

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How a Phishing Scam Works and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself

b2ap3_thumbnail_social_engineering_magnet_400.jpgMost hacking attacks are the result of a flaw or vulnerability found within the code of a program or operating system, but we rarely take into account the ones that don’t. Hackers often take advantage of the human side of hacking as well, a process known as “social engineering.” This is usually the act of conning users into handing over personal information of their own free will, and it’s surprisingly effective.

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A New Concept Might Take Reverse-Engineering to the Next Level

b2ap3_thumbnail_software_development_400.jpgEven the most innocent Internet user can fall victim to the stray hacking attack, and it’s all thanks to the manner in which malware reverse-engineers software. This process is how a hacker finds vulnerabilities in software. However, a new security concept might be able to protect software from the reverse-engineering method used by hackers.

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How to Remove the Super Dangerous Superfish App from Your PC

b2ap3_thumbnail_superfish_two_400.jpgAs seen by the recent Superfish app debacle, software that comes preinstalled on a new PC shouldn’t always be trusted. Most of the time, the innate software on a device can be trusted; but the Superfish application is an exception. This app, which came preinstalled on new Lenovo PCs between the months of September and December of 2014, can potentially compromise the security of your machine.

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