Your network security guy is a little bit like your hunting partner

We know that it sounds like a bit of stretch, but it really isn’t. How you choose a network security consultant is similar to how you choose your hunting partner. Throughout our time in the security industry and our experience as hunters, we’ve noticed a few similarities between our love of the hunt and our passion for protecting your network.

A good hunting partner, like a good security consultant, is always prepared. If you’re a hunter, you know you need to be ready when your prey appears. You might only have one shot. To be prepared to accurately hit your target, you’ve had months or even years of training to use your scope, your gun, and your surroundings to create a favorable outcome. Your security consultant should have similar skills. A ready consultant will have years of experience and training behind them. Your consultant should be aware of the technical landscape of your industry and the threats present. Similarly to experienced hunters, they’ll be able to troubleshoot when things go wrong and are aware of how to execute when things perform correctly. A prepared hunting partner will understand the terrain they’ll be traversing. A security consultant should prepare a technology roadmap to accomplish your business goals, as well.

To adequately protect your network, your security consultant needs your confidence. So does your hunting partner. If you’re in a blind, staring intently towards moving wildlife, chances are you have a lot of faith in the guy (or girl) with a loaded weapon sitting next to you. A compromised network can come with some pretty hefty damages, so choosing the right IT partner can be one of the most important business decisions you make. You’re entrusting your livelihood to another individual whether you’re in a blind or in the office, security strategizing.

Hunting can be a tedious hobby. You can have all the training and all the tools to tackle your prey, but Bambi might not show up. Likewise, you might have 10 layers of protection in place and never experience a cyber threat. The idea is that you’re ready to defend when necessary, not that you’re actively “looking for trouble.” Like hunting, you never know when the cyber attack will actually occur. You can only be prepared for it when it does happen. This takes a lot of patience, but that patience pays off in the end. A security consultant’s job is to be ready, and your hunting partner’s job is to be ready.

When you choose who to take on that get-out-of-the-house-and-make-some-deer-jerky hunt, you’re looking for a person you can trust- a person who you know to be dependable and prepared. You’re looking for the same in a security consultant. At Cognoscape, we’ve had quite a few successful hunts, and we’re even better at protecting your network. Give us a call to discuss scopes, security, and strategy.

IT Security and its Evolution

Technology has advanced thanks to the hard work and innovation of many people over several decades throughout history. Although information technology – the application of any computers and software to process, store, retrieve, and transmit electronic data – is a major part of our lives today, there was a simpler time before the revolutionary spark of digitization. Few predicted how significant information technology and IT security would become in our lives and the way we conduct business. Here is an overview of the development of IT security throughout history.


The 1970s marked a time in information technology history that saw an emergence in the exploration of microcomputers. At this time, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – pioneers of the personal computer revolution – met and eventually collaborated on what would become Apple computers. The first modern day hackers also appeared during this time and invented a way to circumvent phone systems to make free calls – a practice that later become known as “phreaking.” It was this decade that witnessed the convergence of technology and commerce. Computers, video games, cars, and space exploration are only a few of the many technologies which developed and improved tremendously within these ten years.


There are a surprising number of tech gadgets from the 80s that define life as we know it today. The first IBM personal computer, called “Acorn,” was introduced using Microsoft’s MS-DOS operating system. Sears & Roebuck and Computerland sold the machines, and this was when the term PC was popularized.

Apple invented “Lisa,” the first personal computer to offer a GUI (graphical user interface), with features like a drop-down menu and icons in a machine aimed at individual business users. In 1985, Microsoft announced Windows in response to Apple’s GUI. This decade subsequently brought about the era of malware, with the first computer virus for MS-DOS called “Brian.”


Mosaic, known as the original web browser accredited to popularizing the World Wide Web, was released. By allowing users with little to no technical expertise to browse the online realm, this fueled a period of massive growth of the Internet as well as the community of online users. The 1990s also brought upon the dawn of the modern IT security industry. AOL suffered through the first real phishing attacks as hackers began stealing users’ credentials. Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at a high-energy physics lab in Geneva, invented HyperText Markup Language (HTML) – giving rise to the World Wide Web.

In 1997, Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple – which was struggling at the time – ending Apple’s court case against Microsoft in which it alleged that Microsoft copied the “look and feel” of its operating system.

The 2000s and Beyond

The 21st Century saw a swarm of new computer viruses, such as ILOVEYOU, spread fervently across the Internet, taking advantage of security holes in software made by Microsoft and other major tech companies. Adware and spyware entered the scene with programs such as Conducent and CometCursor. In 2003, the amount of data created surpassed the amount of all information created in the rest of human history combined. The Internet became so central to commerce that opportunities for hackers grew exponentially.

In 2010, a group of the nation’s top scientists concluded in a report to the Pentagon that “the cyber-universe is complex well beyond anyone’s understanding and exhibits behavior that no one predicted, and sometimes can’t even be explained well.” In 2015, Apple released the Apple Watch while Microsoft released Windows 10.

10 Tips To Keep Your Data Safe From a Phishing Attack

Any IT consultant will tell you, hackers keep finding new ways to steal our personal information. As technology becomes more advanced, these criminals have to find better ways to trick unsuspecting computer users into getting their passwords and other confidential information. “Phishing” has become an epidemic and it usually takes places in the form of pop-ups, spam, fraudulent emails and contacts through social media. Don’t become a victim of this scheme and read our 10 tips to keep your data safe from a phishing attack.


1. Recognize Suspicious Emails
Phishing emails have some specific characteristics that you need to look for. The reason they are so successful is because they present the email with a duplicate picture of the real company and give the name of a real employee. These emails generally promote free gifts or report that your existing account has been lost. If you’re unsure, call the business and ask if they really sent you the email.

2. Always Check the Source of the Email
Be leery of emails that come from unrecognized senders or are not personalized. Phishing emails will use scare tactics telling you to act quickly or something terrible will happen with an account. They will ask urgently for confirmation of financial or personal information over the Internet. Don’t ever give this type of information online. A real bank or financial institution will never ask for your password via email.

3. Be Alert on All Sites
Phishing is not limited to banking sites. Scams to steal your data can appear on PayPal, eBay, Facebook and more.

4. Beef Up Security
Invest in good antivirus software for your computer. Consider a firewall, anti-spyware and spam filters. Make sure you have the most recent version updated on your browsers and OS.

5. Check Accounts Regularly
Make it a habit to check your online bank accounts and credit card statements on a regular basis. This way you can pick up on any irregularities as soon as possible.

6. Beware of Links in Emails
Never click on links to your bank included in an email. It could be linked to a fake site. This also goes for attachments or download files you weren’t expecting.

7. Be Cautious of Pop-Ups
Never enter any personal data in a pop-up or click on links within them. If you get a pop-up asking for information on a site that you thought was a real business, get away from it immediately because legitimate businesses will never ask for anything that way.

8. Avoid Emailing Personal Info
Don’t ever send emails with personal information in them, even to recipients you are close with. Your account or theirs could get hacked into or compromised by a phishing attack.

9. Look for Secure Web Sites
Check for signs of secure sites when making online transactions. Some clues that the site is safe are a lock icon on the browser’s status bar or “https” vs “http”. The “s” stands for “secure

10. Phishing in Any Language
Be aware that phishing can get to you in any language, so if you’re suddenly receiving statements in a foreign tongue, something is wrong. Quite often they are poorly written with bad grammar or if the criminal is from another country, they do not translate well.

On top of these helpful tips, having Cognoscape as your trusted IT consultant will help prevent you from becoming a victim to technology. Contact us today if you have any questions regarding your technology’s security or if you simply have a technology topic you’d like us to discuss.