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HARDCAR Distribution Partners with Axiom Cyber Solutions to Help Cannabis Businesses Protect Their Customer and Business Data

HARDCAR Distribution Partners with Axiom Cyber Solutions to Help Cannabis Businesses Protect Their Customer and Business Data

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so does the amount of business intelligence and personal information available to hackers and other entities, making cybersecurity more critical now than ever before.

June 26, 2018 – (Palm Springs, CA) – HARDCAR Distribution is excited to announce a newly minted partnership with Axiom Cyber Solutions to protect businesses in the cannabis industry from cyber attacks and the theft of valuable data. New businesses are coming online every day as the cannabis market explodes throughout the United States and Canada, making them prime targets for hackers.

Although HARDCAR Distribution brings years of security experience to the cannabis industry ensuring the safe and secure transport of cash and product, they understand the importance of protecting their clients on every level. With Axiom’s team of infrastructure specialists, developers, database and business intelligence experts, and project managers, growing cannabis businesses now have a full-service solution with the addition of cutting edge cyber security technology.

“There are few industries bringing the kind of attention like the cannabis industry, so partnering with Axiom was a no-brainer. Not only do they provide an incredible service, but they do it at a relatively inexpensive price that startup businesses can afford. The future for cannabis is massive and we need to make sure everyone is protected!” – Todd Kleperis, HARDCAR Distribution CEO

Axiom Cyber Solutions offers solutions that keep valuable information safe and secure, monitoring 24 hours a day to ensure the highest levels of protection against hackers and other entities. As medical and recreational cannabis become legal across North America, cannabis businesses are at greater risk of having their patient information, intellectual property, distribution and route information, vehicle information, and other valuable data, stolen.

“An important aspect of the cannabis industry is the reputation of your business and there’s no worse way to compromise it than having to tell your customer’s that you’ve lost their data in a breach. Besides your customer data, you have proprietary information on your blends, grow operations, and business practices that competition would love to have. And lastly, the industry is investing heavily in smart, internet-connected technologies to aid and improve grow operations and these systems need to be protected. Could you imagine having an entire crop destroyed because someone hacked in a changed the environmental settings of your internet-connected HVAC systems?” – Troy Wilkinson, CEO of Axiom Cyber Solutions

Although data management and cyber security are often the last item on an organization’s lengthy to-do list, the need for a secure platform is more critical now than ever before. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, small operations are expanding into large scale ones and companies are scrambling to find solutions to their network and IT security. Axiom offers a variety of solutions to keep businesses secure:

  • Managed Enterprise Cybersecurity
  • Continuous Risk and Compliance Monitoring
  • Vulnerability and Penetration Testing
  • Smart Home Cybersecurity

The cannabis industry offers a massive amount of valuable information, including Personal Identifiable Information (e.g. SSNs, Birth Dates, Addresses, etc.), Protected Health Information (e.g. patient name, address, certification/license numbers, medical record numbers, health related information, account numbers, SSNs, etc.), and Business Intelligence (e.g. research and development, inventory, product intelligence, software applications, payouts, manifests, equipment, sales, etc.). Unfortunately most business systems are being monitored by untrained staff, or not being monitored at all, putting companies at a huge risk.

With this risk being so high, HARDCAR and Axiom are dedicated to protecting their clients on every level, including threats against cyber attacks and data theft. For more information, please contact Axiom Cyber Solutions at info@axiomcyber.com or call at (800) 519-5070.

Media Contact
Jon Pierce
jpierce@hardcar.com

About HARDCAR Distribution

HARDCAR is an award-winning and long-time contributor to the cannabis space, with a proven track record of cultivating and solidifying meaningful relationships throughout the industry. From packaging, to distribution, secured storage, and transport, HARDCAR Distribution has all aspects of cannabis retail covered. Through collaboration with our diversified team of highly qualified and talented professionals, we help cannabis businesses stand out in the industry by providing the highest quality industry services that keep our partners’ products safe, while maintaining excellence and compliance throughout our work.

For more information, please visit hardcar.com

About Axiom Cyber Solutions  

Axiom Cyber Solutions strives to be the leading cyber-security technology partner by providing world-class solutions that are intelligent, adaptive, innovative, and automated. Through our technology solutions, we enable our clients to be disruptive in their markets while remaining focused on what they do best. We believe in the saying “if you find a job you love, you never work another day in your life”. We seek to cultivate a culture that attracts energetic, motivated, and creative individuals that share our passion for technology.

Shannon Wilkinson, President of Axiom Cyber Solutions, selected as the 2018 Las Vegas Women in Technology – Cybersecurity Award Winner

Shannon Wilkinson, President of Axiom Cyber Solutions, selected as the 2018 Las Vegas Women in Technology – Cybersecurity Award Winner


On Saturday, April 28th, President of Axiom Cyber Solutions, Shannon Wilkinson (far left), was selected as the 2018 Las Vegas Women in Technology – Cybersecurity award winner.

“I am incredibly honored to receive the inaugural Las Vegas Women in Technology for Cybersecurity award. Three years ago, I started Axiom Cyber Solutions with the best business partner I could ask for, my husband, Troy. I also want to thank my parents for always supporting me and not batting an eye when I told them that I wanted to run off to join a United Nations peacekeeping mission after I graduated from UNLV. Lastly, I’d like to dedicate the award to the future of technology – our three young daughters who have already started showing an extreme interest in technology and thank the community for their support of education for girls in technology,” said Shannon Wilkinson.

The Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards recognizes the women working in and changing the face of the technology community in Las Vegas

 

As President of the Las Vegas Women in Technology award program from the Las Vegas Community Tech fund I want to personally congratulate you on your award!  The technology community of Southern Nevada “has spoken” and they choose you for all your hard work, progress and great achievements in technology.

Lori Nguyen, Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards

The Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards accepts nominations from the community for for the following categories:

  • Technology Woman of the Year
  • Technology Woman Entrepreneur
  • Technology Woman for Community Service
  • Technology Woman Mentor
  • Technology Woman Rising Star
  • Technology Woman for Gaming & Hospitality (New 2018)
  • Technology Woman for Cybersecurity (New 2018)

In addition to honoring professional women, the awards also recognizes outstanding local students in coordination with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) for Aspirations in Computing, Collegiate, and Educator awards.

Shannon Wilkinson, President of Axiom Cyber Solutions, Selected as Top 100 Women of Influence by MYVegas Magazine

Shannon Wilkinson, President of Axiom Cyber Solutions, Selected as Top 100 Women of Influence by MYVegas Magazine

For the second year in a row, President of Axiom Cyber Solutions, Shannon Wilkinson, has been named to the Top 100 Women of Las Vegas by MyVegas Magazine. MYVegas Magazine polls over 100,000 of its readers to find the Top 100 Women in Las Vegas each year.

These women come highly recommended by our readers and our community! There’s no shortage of fabulous females in the Las Vegas Valley, so ranking among the Top 100 Women of the Year is an extraordinary honor and sought-after accolade. – MYVegas Magazine

Shannon Wilkinson stated “I am very honored to have been nominated and selected as one of the Top 100 Women of Las Vegas. To see the outstanding line-up of other women being honored, I am humbled to be included in the list for 2018.”

MYVegas Magazine is available for free around the community or a free copy can be requested from their website www.myvegasmag.com

MYVegas Top 100 Women 2018

Why Cybersecurity MUST be a Board Issue

Why Cybersecurity MUST be a Board Issue

In recent years, there’s been an overwhelming number of cyber crime incidents occurring. Boards need to be more proactive in their cybersecurity. The number of cyber attacks over the past few years have forced all C-level executives to become more educated about their cybersecurity. Gone are the days where cybersecurity is passed off to the IT department. While many executives may find it difficult to follow because of a lack of knowledge or simple disinterest, it is essential to take an active role. Otherwise, there may be potential shareholder lawsuits and even the possibility of being removed from the board. If a business fails to explore this, they will be followed by serious consequences. Lawsuits are a guarantee for when there is a cyber breach or data breach.

According to Director & Boards author Tom Horton, “A primary responsibility of every board of directors is to secure the future of the organization. The very survival of the organization depends on the ability of the board and management not only to cope with future events but to anticipate the impact those events will have on both the company and the industry as a whole.”

The Institute of Internal Auditor’s Audit Executive Center did a survey, and boards agree that cyber security preparedness has increased but shared that only 14% of those folks were actually actively involved.

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) published 5 principles that all corporate boards should consider “as they seek to enhance their oversight of cyber risks. These five principles are:

1. Directors need to understand and approach cybersecurity as an enterprise-wide risk management issue, not just an IT issue.
2. Directors should understand the legal implications of cyber risks as they relate to their company’s specific circumstances.
3. Boards should have adequate access to cybersecurity expertise, and discussions about cyber-risk management should be given regular and adequate time on the board meeting agenda.
4. Directors should set the expectation that management will establish an enterprise-wide risk management framework with adequate staffing and budget.
5. Board-management discussion of cyber risk should include identification of which risks to avoid, accept, mitigate, or transfer through insurance, as well as specific plans associated with each approach.

Cybersecurity doesn’t leave one person unaffected, it’s a given that the board be involved with the cybersecurity strategy.

How can we help?

Axiom Cyber Solutions is offering a Managed Firewall, Cyber-Security Protection for Small Business starting as low as $199 per month.

We realize that most small businesses do not have a dedicated IT team and business owners may be handling their cyber security matters on their own. Let us take over and provide you with peace of mind. Axiom will provide your business a firewall and manage it so you don’t have to worry about securing your business. We will assess the security risks for your business and will help implement the right cyber security service for your business. And don’t worry, there are no upfront costs for the device and you can cancel at any time. #FightBackWithAxiom

5 Reasons Why Your Small Business is at Risk for a Cyber Attack

5 Reasons Why Your Small Business is at Risk for a Cyber Attack

Fact: America’s 28 million small businesses create approximately two out of every three new jobs in the United States each year and more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business.

Fact: Businesses with less than 20 employees make up approx 90% of the workforce according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Fact: The Small Business Association found that small employers often don’t consider themselves targets for cyberattacks due to their size or the perception that they don’t have anything worth stealing. However, this could not be any more wrong.

Small businesses have incredibly valuable information that cyber criminals want, including both employee and customer data, bank account information, access to the business’s finances, and intellectual property. Many small businesses are in communication with larger businesses, thus, providing access to larger networks to these cyber criminals. These small businesses play an important part of the nation’s supply chain, and rely on their technology to safely store and process their information. No one really wants to spend money on something before it happens but in this day and age, you can’t afford not to protect your business, your livelihood. Look at your alternative, most businesses close within 6 months of a cyber attack. Some things are worth protecting, and your data, your customer’s data, and your network are your priority.

Most small businesses do not have any sort of cybersecurity practices in place because of a lack of resources. That may be a lack in sufficient resources or personnel to dedicate to cybersecurity. Even then, we’ve seen in recent news that larger corporations with plenty of resources at hand such as Target and Sony, are having their own issues with their cybersecurity not keeping them protected. With such an abundance of small businesses who lack cybersecurity, these small employers are an incredibly attractive target for cyber criminals. Let’s go over the 5 reasons why your small business is at risk for a cyber attack.

1. No one thinks it’ll happen to them. According to a report by Symantec, this kind of thought process couldn’t be further from the truth. 60% of all target attacks struck small and medium sized organizations. Oftentimes, these cyber crimes occur before the business owner can even realize their security has been compromised.

2. Most small businesses can’t afford an IT team, let alone cybersecurity so they ignore the issue. Unfortunately, the average cost of a data breach is $36,000 for small businesses. Many small businesses do not realize that they can be fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for not protecting their customer’s data. The reality is, you can’t NOT afford cybersecurity.

3. Many small businesses don’t encrypt their data. Encryption in its simplest terms is a method of protecting data from people you don’t want to see it. According to a survey done by Sophos, there are numerous reasons why organizations do not encrypt their data. 37% of organizations cite lack of budget as to why they do not make extensive use of encryption. 31% point to concerns about encryption’s impact on performance and 28% state they have lack of deployment knowledge, while 20% say lack of legal pressure explains why they don’t use encryption. A small business may not realize why their assets are so valuable but in any organization, data is valuable not only to a small business owner but to the cyber criminals. The damage to your brand, your customers, and your business can be insurmountable.

4. Weak passwords pose as a huge security risk. Does your business use passwords like ‘1234’ or ‘password’? As ridiculous as this password is, it has been the #1 used password for years now. Cyber criminals are banking on this. Do not be lazy and just add numbers to your weak password. For example, instead of ‘123456’, many chose ‘1234567890’. This is a basic extension, which cybercriminals can take full advantage of. You’re not being clever by doing this. Take the few minutes to come up with a unique password. That could very well make the difference in your network security.

5. Not updating their firewalls. By regularly updating and checking your firewalls, you are being proactive towards the security of your business. Manufacturers release updates to their products which usually include fixes to bugs as well as new features that will mitigate new types of threats. It is also important to review your firewall logs and check for any alerts or policy changes.

Be proactive and don’t wait until it’s too late. Read below for how Axiom Cyber Solutions can help your small business manage their cybersecurity.

How can we help?

Axiom Cyber Solutions is offering a Managed Firewall, Cyber-Security Protection for Small Business starting as low as $199 per month.

We realize that most small businesses do not have a dedicated IT team and business owners may be handling their cyber security matters on their own. Let us take over and provide you with peace of mind. Axiom will provide your business a firewall and manage it so you don’t have to worry about securing your business. We will assess the security risks for your business and will help implement the right cyber security service for your business. And don’t worry, there are no upfront costs for the device and you can cancel at any time.

Owning a Computer Means You’re at Risk for Ransomware

Owning a Computer Means You’re at Risk for Ransomware

On February 8th, 2016, Horry County Public School District, located in South Carolina, realized they had fallen victim to ransomware. Over 100 of their servers and systems were shut down to keep the ransomware virus from spreading. The hackers demanded that Horry County Public Schools pay them approximately $8,500, otherwise the school district would lose their data forever.

What is ransomware? If you are unfamiliar with this term, now is the time to become familiar with it. Ransomware is a form of computer virus that discreetly corrupts files, and, as the name indicates, demands that a target pay for those files to be restored. Ransomware can have different disguises but the two main types of ransomware are locker ransomware (computer locker) and crypto ransomware (data locker).

Locker ransomware denies access to the computer or device. Crypto ransomware prevents access to files or data and does not necessarily have to use encryption to stop users from accessing their data, although the majority of it does. Ransomware is a 445 billion dollar industry and cyber criminals have no plans to stop anytime soon.

The only way the Horry County School District could recover their data was to pay the ransom so they could receive the encryption keys to unlock their data. However, the hackers requested for the ransom to be paid in Bitcoin (BTC). BTC is a decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no middlemen. It is very much like cash for the Internet. Since Horry County Schools were not at all familiar with BTC, they they reached out to Troy Wilkinson, current CEO and Co Founder of Axiom Cyber Solutions, for help. Troy stated that,

“Unfortunately, ransomware is only becoming more and more of a problem. These cyber criminals are banking on the fact that most people do not back up their data and are willing to pay dearly for that data back. We at Axiom feel so strongly about ransomware that we currently have patent pending prevention. Our technology empirically detects and stop ransomware once it’s activated on a network.”

Axiom Cyber Solutions was able to get the 22 BTC (approx $8,500) and paid the hackers. Horry County School Systems have had all their data restored and things are back to normal. Unfortunately, all organizations such as schools, universities, hospitals, and more will continue to be hit with ransomware. Even the FBI is encouraging people to pay up, if they want their data back.

Recently, during the 2015 Boston Cyber Security Summit, Joseph Bonavolonta, an assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cyber and Counterintelligence Program in the Boston office stated,

“The easiest thing may be to just pay the ransom. The amount of money made by these criminals is enormous and that’s because the overwhelming majority of institutions just pay the ransom.”

Simply having antivirus protection does not stop ransomware. The FBI recommends the following tips to help avoid ransomware.

1. Make sure you have updated antivirus software on your computer.
2.Enable automated patches for your operating system and web browser.
3. Have strong passwords, and don’t use the same passwords for everything.
4. Use a pop-up blocker.
5. Only download software—especially free software—from sites you know and trust (malware can also come in downloadable games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars).
6. Don’t open attachments in unsolicited e-mails, even if they come from people in your contact list, and never click on a URL contained in an unsolicited e-mail, even if you think it looks safe. Instead, close out the e-mail and go to the organization’s website directly.
7. Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.
8. To prevent the loss of essential files due to a ransomware infection, it’s recommended that individuals and businesses always conduct regular system back-ups and store the backed-up data offline.

Axiom Cyber Solutions offers the Axiom Sentinel, an enterprise firewall and security appliance, to help with ransomware by making sure that criminals have no way to call home. Sentinel makes malware and ransomware communication out of your network impossible, rendering these applications ineffective and unable to encrypt your data. We have identified key transactions in the TCP/IP stack that must occur when a ransomware is executed. This allows us to block ransomware communication in real time.

Ransomware infections will continue to rise and will evolve with new social and technological attack vectors. It’s important for any organization or individual with sensitive data to exercise caution and deploy best practices in securing your network.

Axiom’s solutions come in different sizes and all of our solutions are designed to deal with the attack vectors of today while being adaptive and flexible enough to continue to secure your network for years to come. For more information, check out our website at axiomcyber.com or give us a call us at (800) 519-5070. #FightBackWithAxiom

Hackers are Stealing Your Tax Returns

Hackers are Stealing Your Tax Returns

It’s tax season and cyber criminals are out in full force to steal your tax returns. This time last year, hackers stole $50 million from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through fradulent tax refunds, affecting 330,000 people. It’s no surprise that this January, the IRS was targeted by an automated cyber attack. Cyber criminals used stolen personal data from data breaches to create fake logins through the IRS Electronic Filing PINs. The IRS stated that they found unauthorized attemps to obtain Electronic Filing PINs for 464,000 Social Security numbers. The attackers tried to use malware to generate these fake identification numbers. Thankfully, the IRS was able to stop this attack before it affected anyone, however, it’s likely this won’t be the last attack.

“No personal taxpayer data was compromised or disclosed by IRS systems,” the IRS said in a statement. “The IRS also is taking immediate steps to notify affected taxpayers by mail that their personal information was used in an attempt to access the IRS application. The IRS is also protecting their accounts by marking them to protect against tax-related identity theft.”

The numerous data breaches that have occurred in the past few years have given these cyber criminals plenty of data to use for identity theft. In 2015, health insurers like Excellus, Anthem, and CareFirst, were victims of huge data breaches. These data breaches affected tens of millions of people. Even the Office of Personnel Management was attacked, exposing 21.5 million U.S. government employees. From the sheer amount of data that is out there, it’s no surprise that hackers are using this data to file people’s taxes.

As reported in Forbes: “The trend is clear. Each year, the IRS publishes a list of its ‘Dirty Dozen’ tax scams. In 2011, just one involved some form of identity theft. This year no less than one-third were (identity theft-related) scams.”

For a cyber criminal, it takes very little work to secure a big payoff. All it takes is a name and Social Security number, stolen from one of the many data breaches that have occurred. These thieves file for taxes under the stolen identity and provide a fake address to send the refund to. By using their automated programs, they can scam easily and quickly.

How can you protect yourself? The best thing you can do is to file your taxes as early as possible! The more you delay, the more time you are allowing cyber criminals to steal your identity.

Consumers need to be alert to possible tax-related identity theft, especially if you’ve received a letter from the IRS stating you have been breached. The IRS has published 5 warning signs that everyone should be aware of.

1. More than one tax return was filed for you;
2. You owe additional tax, have a refund offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return;
3. IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned or
4. Your state or federal benefits were reduced or cancelled because the agency received information reporting an income change.

Financial Services are Under Attack!

Financial Services are Under Attack!

Hackers are consistently targeting the financial sector and our personal information is at risk more than ever before. Cyber crime is the number one threat we face according to the U.S. Intelligence Service and 39% of all cyber attacks affected financial institutions (PwC). Hackers target these financial service firms 300% more than businesses in other industries. (CDW Finance) These financial institutions include banks, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, investment firms, and wealth managers. Most people assume that their finances and data are kept safe. However, as we have seen over the past few years, this is no longer true. Hackers are becoming more and more sophisticated and sneaky, infiltrating themselves into even our most secure networks.

Many asset and wealth managers do not believe they are a target because they assume hackers are after higher profile organizations. However, this is not the case. Financial instituions are incredibly attractive to hackers and cyber criminals. According to Kroll’s Cyber Threat forecast these financial firms are an “attractive target as they typically hold volumes of valuable data which are often stored in an organized manner with little protection.”

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has listed cybersecurity as a top priority for 2016. At least 88% of broker-dealers and 74% of advisers have been the target of cyber attacks, the SEC stated earlier this February. The majority of these cyber attacks were done through fraudulent emails, some of which led to brokers losing more than $5,000, the report said. In one case, an adviser reported a loss of more than $75,000.

SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar, stated that “cybersecurity is a persistent and growing threat, and that firms must take their cybersecurity duties seriously.”

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), also issued their annual Regulatory and Examiniation Priorities Letter earlier this February which identified hacking as a major threat facing brokerages. These regulatory agencies are taking note of how financial institutions supervise their cybersecurity.

FINRA states that they “will review firms’ approaches to cybersecurity risk management, and depending on a firm’s business and risk profile, we will examine one or more of the following topics: governance, risk assessment, technical controls, incident response, vendor management, data loss prevention and staff training.”

There are many ways these cyber criminals attempt to steal money and data. One way is by contacting a wealth manager and pretending to be a client. They will claim they have been robbed and need a wire transfer immediately. Another popular scam is called social engineering. This type of scam is so popular that even the Director of the CIA fell for this last year. In this situation, the teenage hacker posed as a Verizon employee to gain sensitive information which allowed him access into the Director’s AOL account.

Social engineering refers to the concept of psychologically manipulating people in order to trick a person into revealing critical information. For example, tricking an employee into giving them accessibility whether it is a password or crucial banking information is very common. Human nature and trust feeds into this concept and cyber criminals are counting on this. There have even been reports of attractive women befriending IT security professionals, thereby gaining entry and infecting networks with malware.

By employing cybersecurity professionals, you as a business are making real steps toward protecting your business, your clients, your data, and more. Save yourself from being hit with fines and audits, otherwise the FTC will fine a company that has not sufficiently protected their data against a breach. The FTC will require a company to undergo 20 years of security audits if they are found negligent. Having firewalls and intrusion detection mechanisms in place to prohibit cyber criminals from gaining access to your network is key to avoiding the potential fallout you’ll have to deal with. Cybersecurity is a necessity and it is incredibly important for all businesses to take it seriously.

How can we help?

Axiom Cyber Solutions is offering Managed Cyber-Security Protection for businesses starting as low as $199 per month. We realize that many organizations do not have a dedicated IT team and business owners may be handling their cyber security matters on their own. Let us take over and provide you with peace of mind. Axiom will provide your business a firewall and manage it so you don’t have to worry about securing your business. We will assess the security risks for your business and will help implement the right cyber security service for your business.

Axiom’s solutions come in different sizes and all our solutions are designed to deal with the attack vectors of today while being adaptive and flexible enough to continue to secure your network for years to come. For more information, check out our website at axiomcyber.com or give us a call us at (800) 519-5070. #FightBackWithAxiom

Cyber Criminals Are Now Targeting Your Kids

Cyber Criminals Are Now Targeting Your Kids

In today’s world, most parents are aware of the various predators that are out to harm their children. Now, parents can add cyber criminals to that list of concerns. While these criminals won’t physically harm your children, they can ruin your children’s credit and finances before they’ve even had a chance.

In 2015, 17.6 million Americans in the United States were victims of identity theft according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. A majority of identity theft is due to data breaches committed by cyber criminals. The FBI ranks cybercrime as one of its top law enforcement priorities, and President Obama has recently proposed a $14 billion cybersecurity budget.

A data breach in November involving children’s toymaker, VTech, exposed 6.5 million children’s data. Approximately 3 million of those children were in the United States. The cost of VTech’s breach has reached approximately $116,000,000. Children are just as vulnerable to identity theft as adults. The fallout from data breaches affect so many individuals. Not only are the customers victim to having their personal information stolen, they also have to worry about their children’s personal information being compromised.

This past week, Wi-Fi-enabled toys from the Fisher Price line named ‘Smart Toy’, have been diagnosed with a security vulnerability, as well. Hackers had the ability to access children’s names, birthdays, gender, and more personal information. Fisher Price has since announced that this vulnerability has been remediated and no longer poses a problem. However, with the IoT (Internet of Things) well on it’s way and being implemeted into children’s toys, these security risks will only become more and more of an issue.

Can you imagine your child having an expensive utility bill in another state, or a drivers license, or even a foreclosed home in another state? It begs the question, when’s the last time you checked your children’s credit reports? It’s no surprise that these cyber criminals are interesed in stealing your children’s identity. You couldn’t ask for a better setup. What could possibly be better than a sparkling clean credit report for those criminals who want to start over financially?

Even worse, it can take years and years before you get any inkling of wrongdoing. More often than not, these cyber criminals are never caught. And the risk doesn’t decline after a few years because this is not something that just goes away. Social security numbers last a lifetime and identity theft for both adults and children is something that needs to be constantly monitored.

The youngest victim in identity theft was only five months old. A report done by Carnegie Mellon’s Cyber Lab, reported that out of the 40,000 children caught up in a data breach, 10.2% of those children had their Social Security numbers compromised. This statistic is 51x higher than the 0.2% of adults who were affected.

What can you do to help your child? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends looking out for the following scenarios.

1. Be turned down for government benefits because the benefits are being paid to another account using your child’s Social Security number.
2. Get a notice from the IRS saying the child didn’t pay income taxes, or that the child’s Social Security number was used on another tax return.
3. Get collection calls or bills for products or services you didn’t receive.
The majority of data breaches occur from cyber criminals who are hacking and phishing for data. Once that data is sold, you and your family are at risk for identity theft.

For more information, check out our website at axiomcyber.com or give us a call us at (800) 519-5070. #FightBackWithAxiom

DDoS Attacks Against Universities Are on the Rise

DDoS Attacks Against Universities Are on the Rise

In our blog last week, we discussed how colleges and universities are the third most attacked sector, beating out financial, government, and insurance sectors for numbers of cybersecurity attacks. This week, we will discuss how these hackers commonly utilize DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks to shut down a university’s network.

What is a DDoS attack?
A Denial of Service attack occurs when a malicious entity sends more traffic to your network than it can handle in order to overload it. When this occurs, your network equipment can become overloaded and fail into a state known as “hub mode” in an effort to maintain communication across the network. When this “hub mode” is enabled, all of the traffic on your network is blasted to every port, allowing an attacker to gather meta and packet data in an effort to map topology of your equipment.

Having a map of your network makes it easier for attackers to push forward with deeper penetration into your infrastructure, allowing them to breach data systems and steal information about your business and clients. The reasoning behind DDoS attacks can vary from revenge to anti-competitive businesses. Whatever the intent behind the cyber attack is, the goal is to be a huge headache for that organization by bringing down their network.

This past year, a number of colleges and universities were hit with DDoS attacks. The University of Virginia, Pennsylvania State, University of Connecticut, Washington State, Johns Hopkins, University of Maryland, University of Southern California, were all victims of DDoS attacks. We aren’t just talking about the big names in the academia world. Community colleges are also being targeted for DDoS attacks.

Earlier this January, Rutgers University suffered from their 6th successful DDoS attack. This came even after Rutgers spent approximately $3 million dollars on improving their cybersecurity which the hacker was sure to mention on Twitter.

Academic institutions in the U.S. are not the only ones falling victim to these DDoS attacks. On December, 7, 2015, the United Kingdom was hit with a cyber attack on their Janet computer network which operates on behalf of the UK’s higher education.

Andrew Smith, a senior lecturer at The Open University, one of the biggest universities in the UK for undergraduate education, described a DDoS attack as “probably one of the oldest tools in the arsenal of attacks that come from cyber criminals”.

“In straightforward terms, attackers have lined up an army of malware compromised computers and have primed them to attack Janet,” he said. “Janet is used by many universities and colleges in the UK. While our security is good, having thousands of computers around the world all sending useless data to one system will flood it and will slow it down.

“Each compromised computer will send a small amount of data, nothing that you would notice and normally in keeping with the typical internet traffic behaviour expected by your broadband provider. However, when this is multiplied by tens, hundreds and thousands of computers – the deluge becomes unmanageable as this restricts our ability to receive internet traffic which would also come in via the same connection.”

With the decreasing price of hacking tools, this increase in attacks will continue to become the new norm. Businesses of all sizes need to adapt to these new threats now in order to continue operating in the coming storm. The number of distributed denial of service attacks in the second quarter of 2015 has hit record highs according to the latest State of the Internet report from Akamai.

DDoS attacks grew seven percent since the last quarter and a staggering 132 percent compared to this time last year. In the quarter there were also 12 attacks that were categorized as “mega attacks,” peaking at more than 1,000 gigabits per second (Gbps) and 50 million packets per second (Mpps). These attacks will not slow down in 2016 and will only increase. All colleges and universities must think about how to mitigate through the murky waters of cybersecurity and reach out to cybersecurity experts.

How can Axiom Cyber Solutions help you?
Axiom Cyber Solutions is offering Managed Cyber-Security Protection for Enterprise Class Businesses Organizations with advanced DDoS capabilities, starting as low as $199 per month. Let us take over and provide you with peace of mind. Axiom will provide your organization a firewall and manage it so you don’t have to worry about securing your business. We will assess the security risks for your business and will help implement the right cyber security service for your organization.

From response time to an attack, to mitigative capacity, to packets inspected per second, the Axiom Sentinel wins in every category against the competition. Our patent pending algorithm coupled with the latest nanotechnology allows us to inspect 120 million packets per second, respond within 10 milliseconds to an attack and mitigate up to 100GB of traffic with a single appliance.

Axiom’s solutions come in different sizes and all our solutions are designed to deal with the attack vectors of today while being adaptive and flexible enough to continue to secure your network for years to come. For more information, check out our website at axiomcyber.com or give us a call us at (800) 519-5070. #FightBackWithAxiom