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Not All PHISH Attacks Are Equal!

“Reply to” phishing emails with no attachments and no links are another type of phishing attack that anti-spam and antivirus filters often do not detect. This is due in part to filters’ use of simple “bag of words” techniques that look for emails containing words that typically indicate spam, such as “Viagra,” “cash,” and “you have won.” This technique works well at catching spam but does not effectively differentiate phishing from legitimate emails, since many phishing emails are drafted to look like legitimate ones.

Even with phishing, not all emails are created equal. People are least likely to fall for high-volume phishing campaigns claiming to come from well-established organizations such as large banks and the IRS. Targeted spear phishing messages directed at small groups, such as employees of a particular department or even individuals, tend to be more effective at fooling recipients. These campaigns have been used to initiate many of the high-profile security breaches in the past couple of years, as well as low-profile attacks on smaller organizations.

Want more information?   Go to:  http://wilsontechgroup.com/category/news


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PHISH Isn’t Spam

More than 500 million phishing emails show up in our inboxes every day. While this number pales in comparison to spam, which accounts for almost 70% of all email traffic, spam is mainly a nuisance, whereas phishing can lead to costly security breaches.

Phishing attacks, which use highly targeted emails to induce users to divulge passwords or use malware, have resulted in direct financial losses of several billion dollars per year in the US alone. This is just the tip of the iceberg, as more targeted ‘spear phishing’ attacks can lead to potentially devastating security breaches, loss of sensitive data, and significant financial losses.

Most anti-spam and antivirus vendors have repurposed their filters to also catch phishing emails. They rely primarily on blacklists of malicious URL’s, which typically are manually vetted to minimize the number of legitimate sites flagged. But these lists are always a step behind the bad guys, lagging by at least several hours and sometimes days. During that time, spam filters fail to detect many phishing emails, and browsers, which also rely on these same blacklists, do not flag many of the malicious websites to which phishing victims are directed.

This lag can be a serious problem because studies have shown that during work hours, half of users who fall for phishing attacks read their email within two hours of the time it reaches their inbox. Ninety percent read their email within eight hours of receiving it. In other words, a lag in updating blacklists by just a few hours can be devastating.


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HIPAA Breach Settlement Fine

What is happening with HIPAA breaches and fines?  The Hospice of North Idaho (HONI) has greed to pay the US Department of Health and Human Services  (HHS)  $50,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Security Rule.  This is the first settlement involving a breach of unprotected electronic protected health information (EPHI) affecting fewer than 500 individuals.

The investigation conducted by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) followed a breach report submitted by HONI as required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act reporting the theft of a laptop computer containing the electronic protected health information (EPHI) of 441 patients.  Over the course of the investigation, OCR discovered that HONI had not conducted a risk analysis to safeguard EPHI.  Further, HONI did not have in place policies or procedures to address mobile device security as required by the HIPAA Security Rule.

Don’t leave yourself vulnerable.   Get compliant….stay compliant.

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Government Stimulus Incentives

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law by President Barrack Obama on February 17, 2009. It includes an incentive package for physicians to adopt information technology.

This incentive money is available for each eligible professional who can demonstrate meaningful use of Certified EHR technology, such as ChartLogic EMR.

Providers will receive the stimulus money in the form of increased reimbursement. For each Medicare claim submission, a meaningful user will receive their normal Medicare allowable reimbursement. They will also receive a bonus of 75% above the allowable amount. The additional reimbursement payments will begin as early as May 2011.

Beginning in 2011, eligible professionals are able to receive an increase reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid. CMS earliest possible maximum reimbursements are as follows:

Calendar Year

Eligible Professionals

Medicare Max $

Medicaid Max $






















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A Power Failure at Work Can Be A Data Disaster

Mother Nature is not the primary cause of data disasters in small and mid-sized businesses.   According to a report published by Aberdeen, power outages were the biggest cause of data loss.  Fully 48% of small businesses and 46% of mid-sized businesses reported losing data due to power loss.

Data backup is one of the most important aspects of information technology.   The Gartner Group estimates that two out of every five businesses experiencing downtime from a disaster or power outage will be out of business in five years.

Start planning now.  Florida is the lightning capitol of the US.   Hurricane season will be here before you know it.

To read more, go to:  http://wilsontechgroup.com/why-backup-online

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Firewall Protection: What are the differences?

There are several options when it comes to firewalls and unless you were to spend hundreds of hours researching the differences and why one is better than the other you might believe that they are all the same and do the same thing.  All firewalls are not created equal and when it comes down to it there are a few things that are extremely important and you absolutely should never neglect.


There are 2 types of firewalls and 2 different classes.  The first type is the most commonly known.  A software firewall, it comes in virtually every operating system out there or you can download them as an add on from the internet or purchase them with various antivirus programs like Trend Micro, McAffee, Symantec, and Kaspersky just to name a few.  These offer a very basic level of protection and are the easiest target for a hacker because they are very readily available.  The hacker can simply go to any computer store and buy the program off the shelf, take it home, and start figuring out how it works and how they can bypass it.  The second type is a hardware firewall (a physical device that is between your computer systems and the outside world).


The hardware firewall comes in 2 different classes.  The first class is a “Staplet level” firewall which basically looks at the information transmitted to you from an outside source and only looks at the source, destination, and verifies that it was actually requested.  These are a step above a software firewall, but they are very easily beaten by hackers because like the software firewall they are very readily available at any computer store and the firmware (firewall operating system) does not ever change or get updated unless you purchase a new firewall.  These types of firewalls are great for the home user because the reality is that if a hacker were to hit one of these they are not going to spend the time to try to get through it for 1 or 2 peoples identity.  These types of firewalls are manufactured by companies like Linksys and Netgear just to name a few.


The second class of firewall is an “application level” firewall which is the type of firewall that you would see in a bank or government office.  These firewalls are not readily available and only purchased through authorized resellers. These firewalls are significantly different is the aspect that they offer several different layers of protection and when the information is scanned the firewall looks at the entire data packet from start to finish including the information being transferred.  This class of firewall usually comes with options like: “anti-spam” (verify the sender in real time against a current database of known spammers in the manufacturer’s database); “Antivirus” (with real time updates from the manufacturer); and  “Intrusion Detection System” (real time updates against hackers kept current by the manufacturer).  These firewalls are manufactured by a few companies like SonicWall and Zyxel and are more expensive than others, but they offer the highest level of protection for your business.  The only downside  is that you do have to pay a yearly fee to keep the firmware and scanning subscriptions current.  If you do not keep them current then you are at risk.



At this point you are probably thinking this is a lot of technical garble and why do I need to know this stuff or why is this important to me.  The reality is that a firewall is like an insurance policy.  I am a safe driver – why do I need to spend a lot of money on insurance when I can get this cheaper policy that will protect me?  Well,  what about the innocent bystander that was injured and had nothing to do with either driver?  What if they were injured and decided to sue me? Would my attorney’s fees be covered? A firewall is the same thing.  Your computer network is only as protected as the insurance policy that covers it.

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Why Is Firewall Protection Important For Your Business?

With the economy being tight and everyone still trying to shed unnecessary expenses I often get the question from customers of why they should spend money on a firewall.  The question is unfortunately not a very simple one.  In the current state of our economy utilizing the protection of a firewall appliance is more important now more than ever.  To understand why you should or shouldn’t spend the money on a firewall is better answered by understanding what they do and how they work.

What does a firewall do?  Basically it is a layer of protection between your business and the rest of the world. Most people ask the same question though. Why would anyone be after my information? I don’t have anything.  The short answer is that you probably have a lot more information stored on your computer or network than you realize.

Today’s hackers are not just the little geek in his basement that is bored and curious to see if he can get into some TV station and create chaos to brag to his friends about.  Hackers today are financed by organized crime organizations and their focus is identity theft.  The banks and financial institutions spend millions of dollars trying to keep their security systems in top shape due to stiff regulations by the government.  Hackers know that a bank is a dangerous target that has really strong security that they may not be able to access so naturally they are seeking an easier target that will be easier to access and not get caught.  The risk analysis is fairly simple, the hacker figures that a small company will not be able to afford the expense of having a good firewall and although the payoff is not as big there is still a good payoff.  They also know that if they steal 100 identities and keep the total theft small and random then the chances that the police are going to be able to track them down are slim.  Considering that most hackers are not on American soil it also reduces the risk because they know that the only agencies that have any authority to chase them are the FBI or secret service and the local police will be helpless.  If you were a victim of identity theft and lost $25,000 would you be more focused on trying to catch the person or worried about how to recover?  Reality is that identity theft is a nightmare that could take years to resolve.

Contact us at Wilson Technology Group for more information:  www.wilsontechgroup.com or 352-796-9891