Is your business in a high-crime area? Many business owners eventually face the choice of locating (or relocating) a business, and one of the key features they consider is the criminal reputation of the prospective commercial office neighborhood. This is for good reason. Making a poor choice could result in frequent business disruptions, the inability to attract clientele and employees, higher insurance rates, and so on. There are many types of crime to consider. Petty crime can happen almost anywhere. Next on the list is crime against property. This includes annoyances such as vandalism and theft. More troubling crime categories such as serious, violent, or organized (gang) crime strike fear into owners, employees, and customers. Locating a business in such an area would be risky and foolish. Sometimes an area transitions from relatively low-risk to high-risk inside a generation, stranding older companies in bad areas with declining property values. But here is something to ponder – isn’t every business located in a high-crime area? The mere presence of an internet circuit turns the most genteel office space into a battlefield, where international organized crime rings challenge your defenses nearly every second of every day. Are you well-prepared to defend against this onslaught? Though Thom Infotech has always been mindful of our clients’ internet security, this topic was recently made more vivid with the release of “Mirai”, an exploit toolkit that leverages inexcusable vulnerabilities in poorly designed circuit boards commonly used in “Internet of Things” devices such as security cameras, DVRs, and so on. Once exploited, the internet-connected device becomes a “bot”, enlisted in a vast army of bots, awaiting commands to wreak havoc on websites, domain name servers, and so on. Worse still, every bot instantly becomes a recruiter, poring over the internet looking for more unwitting victims. While evaluating security solutions, we recently connected a new firewall to a previously unused public IP address in our office. We instantly noted an incessant barrage of telnet attacks in the security logs. This was no doubt an army of bots seeking a hook-up with anything we happened to expose to the web. I knew it was bad, but holy cow – this was instantaneous and intense! So how are you dealing with this? Are you a Mirai victim? How would you even know? Are you using a quality Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewall? If so, are the definitions to detect malicious actors being updated on a regular basis? Is anyone monitoring the firewall to detect and address troubling events? Your business is currently in a high crime area! The days of using unmonitored warehouse-club internet routers in your business are over. Using the cable or DSL modem as your primary internet router should also be a thing of the past. The stakes are just too high, and ignorance is not bliss when it comes to internet security, malicious software, viruses, ransomware, and data ex-filtration. Not only do you need to leave this to an IT guy, you need to leave it to a serious IT professional who recognizes the risks, offers the right solutions, and who provides the subsequent monitoring and maintenance necessary to give you the peace of mind you deserve.