Network Security: First, Middle and Last

We had the fun privilege this week of doing a security check for a restaurant.

We have agreements with banks, credit card processors and more to analyze a network for security issues or make changes to a client’s network because of a new point of sale system to be installed or modifications to existing ones.

The Restaurant’s Network

It was a simple restaurant, 5 workstations, a router and on-screen credit card swiping.

The meeting was to discuss security, and how to implement it in a manner that doesn’t impact the business. I arrived early with the credit processor and sat down.

Gaining Entry to the Network

Within a minute I had on a Samsung Tablet, logged into his wireless, logged into his router, cataloged his entire network, logged into the music system and started playing “The Pinacolada Song” through the overhead speakers.

With the next two minutes, I logged into the into the point of sale computer, copied the outstanding credit card batches report, locked all the workstations, and had the HP printer print out the lyrics to “I’m a little teapot.”

By the time the manager sat down, the network was in our total control with the ambiance now the melodic sounds of Rupert Holmes which were heard throughout the restaurant.

Complete Takeover: Under 5 Minutes

Total time, 4 minutes. Complete network take over without any advanced tools.

As I explained this in front of his credit processor, I could see the blood leave the face of the manager. And to show I truly did have control, I changed the music to “The girl from Ipanema.”

You could hear their collective jaws drop as they hit the table.

What You Need for Network Security

Over the next hour, we talked about securing the network using Sophos Firewalls, Ubiquiti Wireless Access, and a Cisco switch to VLAN everything together. Proposal accepted in FULL.  

Security is no joke, and it should be the first thing you consider when designing a network. It’s not a burden when it protects what you have, your clients data and can keep your business working especially when the banks can giveth and taketh away your credit card processing ability. Contact us today if you’re interested in knowing how secure your business network is.

Data Breach: Barbarians at the Gate

In the yesteryear of IT technology in order to have a data breach you needed to have incompetence and an angry person. Data networks were isolated or tightly controlled not because of security but because the technology to link them together is very complex and outside the budgets of most businesses.

Those years of safety by lack of access are gone, long gone.

Why Everyone Wants Your Data

Doctors, lawyers, tax offices and more are interconnected and they are looking for your data. A majority of businesses are on the internet in one form or the other. From basic email to full blown enterprises that live and die on the internet. These businesses and organizations collect your information: store it, use it, market to you or your business and generally keep it for very long periods of time. This type of information is not only valuable for their business but anyone who wants to steal that information for identity theft or to steal your banking information.

How They Get Into Your Network

When your computer is on the internet it is exposed. From your website to your router and or to your wifi, it is a vector to enter your network.

Many hackers use a broadsword when scanning a network looking for anything that responds. If it pings, it is alive and they will focus all their energy looking for weaknesses. Port scanning, exploit detection and exploitation, to man in the middle attacks to full on brute force attacks. What businesses need is a great firewall, excellent antivirus and someone to constantly look over their shoulder to make sure what they are doing is safe and secure.

That is why businesses need to monitor what they are doing, how they are doing it and what manner they do it in.