Posts made in June 2019

5 Ways Your Employees Will Invite Hackers into Your Network

Whether they’re criminals or heroes, hackers in the movies are always portrayed as a glamorous group. When it comes down to the wire, these are the individuals who crack into the ominous mega corporation or hostile foreign government database, hitting the right key just in the nick of time. They either save the day or bring down regimes, empty the digital vault of the Federal Reserve or disable all the power plants in the country. It’s always a genius up against an impenetrable fortress of digital security, but no matter what, they always come out on top.


In real life, it’s rarely that difficult. Sure, if you look at the news, you might believe hackers are close to their Hollywood counterparts, stealing data from the NSA and nabbing millions of customer records from Equifax. But the majority of hacks aren’t against the big dogs; they’re against small to mid-sized businesses. And usually, this doesn’t involve actually hacking into anything. A lot of the time – approximately 60% according to the Harvard Business Review – an unwitting employee accidentally leaves the digital front door open.

The biggest threats to your company aren’t teams of roaming hackers; they’re your employees. Here’s why.

  1. They’ll slip up because they don’t know any better. 

With the proliferation of technology has come an exponential rise in digital threats of such variety and complexity that it’d be impossible for the average person to keep track of it all. Each of your employees’ lives are a labyrinth of passwords, interconnected online accounts and precious data. If their vigilance slacks at any point, it not only leaves them vulnerable, but it leaves your company vulnerable as well. For this reason, most cyber-attacks come down to a lack of cyber security education.

  1. They’ll let you get hacked on purpose.

It’s a sad fact that a huge portion of digital attacks are the result of company insiders exposing data to malicious groups. Whether it’s info vital for your competitive advantage, passwords they can sell to hacker networks to make a quick buck or sensitive data they can make public simply to spite your organization, it’s difficult to protect against a double agent.

  1. They’ll trust the wrong person.

For many hacks, little code is needed whatsoever. Instead, hackers are notorious for posing as a trusted member of your own team. And if you believe that you’d be able to spot an impostor from a mile away, you may want to think again. Not only is it easier than ever to crack individual users’ e-mail passwords and login credentials, personal info is now littered throughout social media. A simple visit to Facebook can give a hacker all they need to know to “social hack” their way into the heart of your business.

  1. They’ll miss red flags while surfing the web.

Clickbait is more than a nuisance plaguing your social media feeds. It can be a powerful tool for hackers trolling for easy prey. If an employee doesn’t understand what exactly makes a site or link look dubious, they may open themselves – and your company – to browser exploits or other types of attacks.

  1. They’re terrible at passwords.

According to, “3 out of 4 consumers use duplicate passwords, many of which have not been changed in five years or more.” Even more of those passwords are simply weak, inviting easy access for unsavory elements. Many people brush off the importance of strong passwords, but the risks posed by the password “123456” or “password” cannot be overstated.

When it comes to defending your precious assets against digital threats, it can seem impossible to protect yourself at every turn. But there is one way you can make a concrete change that will tighten up your security more than you realize: educating your people. Through a comprehensive security training program, including specific examples of methods hackers use – particularly phishing – you can drastically minimize the risk of an employee accidentally opening up a malicious e-mail or posting sensitive info. When you make a concerted effort to make the entire organization vigilant against cyber-attacks, you’re much less likely to be targeted.


I know you aren’t THAT in love with your old computer…so why is it still collecting dust in the corner?

If you have a computer or two (or ten) collecting dust in an office closet somewhere, you are not alone.  Many business owners hang on to old computers, monitors and printers because it is just a PAIN to figure out how to responsibly dispose of them and protect sensitive business data in the process.  That is why we have ironed out a secure disposal partnership with a local recycler. Twice a year we offer week long recycling events to our business clients and  all the legwork is done for you.


Dismantled and Crushed

I don’t want to overdo the “save the planet” pep talk, but there are many great reasons to recycle your computer.  Electronic devices contain toxic substances including lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, polyvinyl chloride and chromium. These and other components are valuable raw materials that can be melted down or isolated and reused.  When e-waste is tossed into landfills, these chemicals can leach into the soil, polluting ground water.

It is typical for us to collect about 4,500 pounds of e-waste during our weeklong recycling events.  99% of that goes to our recycling partner: B & E Recycling in Elk River.  They are a trustworthy local company, the prices are very reasonable and they have provided us with this written security guarantee:


B & E Recycling Data Security Guarantee

B & E Recycling is exclusively a recycler.  B & E Recycling does not refurbish, resell, give away, utilize or let our employees take home ANY electronics that come through our doors.   At B & E Recycling, we understand the sensitive nature of data that may be stored on computer hard drives and take every precaution to assure that those hard drives are dismantled and destroyed as promised right here on our premises.  Therefore, you can be assured that your data is secure when you trust us to recycle your electronic waste.


Refurbished and Reused

A very small percent of the computers and laptops that are dropped off during our recycling events are refurbish-able.  In this case, protecting your private data, even if you have erased it, requires that the hard drive be wiped to government standards (National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard 800-88 r1).

Wiping to government standards means we take a special program that is designed to overwrite every piece of that data three times over.  Once overwritten by this method, the data is not retrievable by anyone no matter what program they use or how much time they have to work at it.   It is gone and it’s not coming back!


Certificate of Overwrite

For those that need the an iron clad guarantee on file that they have handled the disposal of electronics containing sensitive data, we offer a Certificate of Overwrite as proof that your hard drive has been overwritten to government standards according to National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard 800-88 r1.  Some business have policies that require this type of proof, others prefer the peace of mind that goes with having hard evidence that they responsibly disposed of sensitive data.  We charge a nominal fee of $45 per hard drive for this service and offer volume discounts.  A certificate containing your specific hard drive information will be emailed to you with a statement referring to the government standard.


If you have questions about our recycling event on July 22-27, 2019 or have concerns about data security related to disposing of your e-waste.  Give our shop a call. at 763-229-4467.