Hackers: The Cybersecurity Super Heroes We Need

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Hackers: The Cybersecurity Super Heroes We Need

The limitless expansion in technological advances is a double-edged sword. Whereas we can achieve more in our daily life and handle our responsibilities with ease, we are now more vulnerable to cybercrime attacks. Whether it is your phone, computer, or tablet, we are all susceptible to becoming victimized by cybercriminals. Since the beginning of the pandemic the rise in cybercrime has been astonishing. It has been reported that attacks on banking systems rose by 238% and cloud-based attacks rose to 630% just between January-April of this year alone. Hacking is described as the attempt to exploit a computer system or a private network. To put it simply; hacking is the unauthorized access to private data with the intention to use the data for illicit purposes. Now more than ever we (businesses and individuals) need to make cybersecurity and the prevention of cybercrimes a priority.

Common Types of Hackers and Hacking Techniques

Based on the intentions of the hackers they are typically categorized as either White Hat or Black Hat hackers. However, there are many different types of hackers that don’t necessarily fall within that “white or black” description. Below are some of the most common types of hackers:

Black Hat (crackers) – Hacking with the intention to gain unauthorized access to a system or data to harm operations or ransack private data.

White Hat – Hackers with the purpose of discovering vulnerabilities in current systems and safeguarding from future threats – with the owner’s knowledge.

Grey Hat – These hackers typically are a blend of both black/white hat hackers. They purposefully, but without malicious intent, exploit security weaknesses without the knowledge of the owners. The goal for these hackers is to gain appreciation and hopefully a fee for their discoveries. They are not to be confused with Ethical Hackers (White Hats) as their actions are illegal.

Red Hat – These hackers are the vigilantes of hacking. Red Hats seek to disarm and destroy Black Hats. Rather than notifying the appropriate channels, Red Hats look to launch aggressive attacks against Black Hats in the hopes of destroying their computers and resources.

Blue Hat – These hackers typically are an outside computer system security consulting firm and are invited by Microsoft to discover vulnerabilities in their Windows system and fix the weaknesses.

Green Hat – Typically describes someone who is new to hacking with very limited experience or knowledge of technology and hacking.

The Cybersecurity Super Heroes We Need






The only thing that ties all these hackers together is the fact that vulnerabilities in systems were exposed, regardless of the hacker’s intentions. The most common techniques that hackers use to achieve their goals are social engineering & phishing, malware-injecting devices, missing security patches, cracking passwords, and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS).

  • Social engineering & phishing is the attempt to get you to share personal information, usually by impersonating a trusted source. Emails are a leading culprit when it comes to phishing and socially engineered attacks.
  • Malware-injecting devices is the use of physical plugins (compromised USB cord, USB device, mouse cords, etc) to infiltrate the hardware system and sneak malware onto the device.
  • Missing security patches is when the hacker takes advantage of outdated security software in the system. 18% of all network vulnerabilities are caused by unpatched applications.
  • Cracking passwords utilizes spyware, usually “keylogging”, that monitors every keystroke made on that device, then the program surmises the possible password combinations that are used.
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) is the hacking technique aimed at taking down websites. This prevents the user from accessing or delivering their service. DoS attacks inundate the target’s server with massive inflation in traffic resulting in an overloaded server.

What Has Hacking Cost Us and How to Prevent Attacks

In 2020 a report showed that out of the 4,000 confirmed breaches, hacking was responsible for more than half of them. It is currently anticipated that 33 billion private records will be stolen by 2023. With hacker attacks occurring on average every 39 seconds, it is not difficult to see the alarming rate of concern rising amongst the public. With the surge of cybercrime, private and public enterprises are driving up their IT budgets to try and counteract cyberattacks. Reports indicate that the global spending for cybersecurity services will reach beyond $1 trillion, by 2021.Hacker

Some of the most common pitfalls that can make you an easy target for hackers include:

  • Not password protecting your personal Wi-Fi or using a public Wi-Fi
  • Not automatically updating software
  • Clicking links from questionable email sources
  • Simple or the re-using of passwords
  • Not using an anti-virus software
  • Not utilizing a multi-factor authentication

The easiest remedies to avoid a hacker attack:

  • Updating software frequently- this keeps hackers from being able to access your computer through outdated programs which can be easily exploited
  • Keep the most up-to-date security programs, including anti-malware software to protect your data
  • Destroy all personal data on any hardware system you plan on letting go
  • Create difficult passwords and authentication hints
  • Keep sensitive data off the cloud
  • Disable connections when you aren’t using them
  • Utilize multi-factor authentication when you can
  • Sign up for account alerts

By taking these extra little steps you could potentially be saving your private data from a hacker with malicious intent.

Certified Ethical Hackers (White Hats)

Certified Ethical Hackers  are qualified IT professionals that demonstrate knowledge in accessing computer systems and looking for weaknesses and vulnerabilities that might be targeted by outside sources with malevolent intent. Certified Ethical Hackers are the crème de la crème in the eyes of IT decision makers as they can typically save companies not only financially, but also, potential reputable harm, or discord amongst the daily operations. With over 40% of IT decision makers claiming difficulties in finding the right cybersecurity candidate now is the time to look into becoming certified. With a higher than average growth rate of 31%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the alarming rate at which cybercrime is rising, this IT position provides job security as well as the immense ability to grow. The typical Certified Ethical Hacker salary starts in the low $90k range but with additional certifications that pay scale substantially rises. Now is the time to invest into a position that not only challenges you but also provides you with security—no pun intended.


If you are interested in learning how to become a Certified Ethical Hacker click here.

If you are interested in other cybersecurity certifications click here.

Microsoft Software Assurance Training Vouchers (SATVs)

Microsoft Training VouchersMicrosoft Training Vouchers (or “Microsoft Software Assurance Training Vouchers”/SATVs) are a great help to limit the costs of professional IT training for Microsoft products. The purchase of software – especially in large volumes – means a financial investment for a company or organization.

The Microsoft Software Assurance Training Vouchers are one way to enhance the value and the return on such investments: They allow businesses and organizations to ensure that their employees receive the proper training in order to use the Microsoft software. They are also an important tool that provides necessary training without having to dip too deeply into the organization’s software training budget.

How do I get Microsoft Training Vouchers?

The Microsoft Software Assurance Training Vouchers (in short: “SATVs”) are among the Software Assurance Benefits for Microsoft Volume Licensing. Current Volume Licensing customers can get detailed information about their particular benefits online via Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Services Center (VLSC) and/or the Business Center. This is also the way to access your benefits.

How do I use the training vouchers?

The training vouchers are available for a range of eligible courses taught by especially certified Microsoft Learning Partners like TechSherpas 365 . Most of the Microsoft-related technology classes are eligible for the use of a Microsoft training voucher. We are a Gold Microsoft Learning Partner. At TechSherpas , we offer a broad range of Microsoft training classes and certifications aimed at IT professionals. Some examples for our Microsoft classes are: Azure, Skype, Office and Project Management, but also SharePoint, Windows OS and Windows Server Training.

Any further questions?

Microsoft provides download options for several resources/guides to give you an overview about their Software Assurance Program and their Volume Licensing terms, for example:

Software Assurance at a Glance” and the “Software Assurance Program Guide”, as well as a “Software Assurance Benefits Chart” and more.

You can of course also contact us here at TechSherpas if you need further information or assistance with redeeming the Microsoft Training Vouchers. Simply call us or use our contact form.

Have you already used Microsoft Software Assurance Training Vouchers before? Let us know about your experience in the comments section.





What To Get Your IT Staff for the Holidays

The Holiday Season is a time for giving and making people feel appreciated and cared for. That includes your employees. A small trinket or gift showing them your gratitude and appreciation for the work that they do will go a long way.

IT Staff Members Love These Holiday Gifts

The gift doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. What’s important is the thought that you put into the gift. For example, it might not be a good idea to give your employees who are predominately vegan vouchers to a steak restaurant. Think of something that they can use or will enjoy.

To help you out, here are some gift suggestions for your IT staff. Some of them are unique and others are expected but useful.


Yup, basic, right? However, working in IT usually means they have to be focused and glued to the screen. They usually keep their headphones one to cancel out the noise or listen to their favorite music so they can focus. Getting the more comfortable or higher quality one will be very appreciated.

Touch Screen Gloves

Taking their profession into consideration, these are very tech-loving people. When they take a leave off of work, they will most likely be on their phone. Truth be told, most people are — regardless of profession — but more so your IT staff. It’s irritating that they always have to pick between keeping themselves warm and using their phones. Now, they can do both with touchscreen gloves.


Working with computers can be consuming and exhausting. Help your IT staff relax by gifting them with a diffuser. Make sure to add a few essential oils, like lavender, that soothes the nerves and calms them down. They can either use this at work — a small set up on their table — or by their bed, getting them ready for work the next day.

Coffee Gift Card

Most IT departments work 24-7, especially when the nature of your company is e-commerce, shipping or business process outsourcing. That means their work hours are uncommon, and coffee is usually their pick-me-up. Regardless of what time they work though, coffee is the universal language of most employees. Get them a card that makes coffee free for a week or month and you’re instantly in their good graces.

Meal Containers

A lot of people prefer preparing their own meals at home and taking them to work. That way they can avoid stale sandwiches and expensive restaurants with long lines. You can even throw in a cookbook and encourage them to try a relaxing hobby. They can test out recipes that are easy to prepare but are delicious and great to take to work.




Tech Industry Terms You’ll Want to Know

Ever been in a room with people more advanced in your career than you?  Does it feel like they are speaking a different language?  In the IT industry, there are certain terms which are commonly used that most people, especially newbies to the career path, don’t know.

IT Career Building Starts with Knowing This Lingo

If you are focused on IT career building, here are some terms you should know and understand.


Embedding is when you put social media content onto a webpage. For example, if you were to see a YouTube video on a website, or a comments feed, that would be embedding. Although this requires coding, most social media sites will generate and supply you with the code you need to embed your content.

Call to Action

A call to action is a term used to describe anything that asks the visitor to take action. These are used as a marketing tool to try to convert viewers into buyers and can consist of anything ranging from a comment on a blog to a website banner asking the viewer to click for more information.

Data Mining

This is the strategy of examining large amounts of data to analyze the behavior and actions of website visitors. This information can be used to boost activity on your site, or to start tailoring your site to the people who are attracted to specific images or topics.

Website Optimization

Site optimization is a long-term process which employs multiple strategies to improve interaction on the site and convert viewers into buyers.  This could include strategic methods to attract the browser to specific areas of the site, or just making the website easier to navigate in general.

PPI (Pixels Per Inch)

This is the density of an image, and is used to describe the amount of pixels per inch on a display.  A higher PPI count equals a sharper image.  In many cases, there is a minimum PPI for certain projects, such as print marketing or certain online advertisements.


This is a language, used to alter documents created with HTML and add style to them.  This is the next step after HTML which is used to create the layout, color and font of the page.

What terms have you learned so far in the tech industry?   Show off your tech-savvy lingo by writing your favorite tech term in the comments below!



Best New Tech Releases of 2017 (So Far)

Since we are at the age where most innovations are related to our smartphones, there is a significant decrease of head turning hardware that people can really relate to. Now, iteration is a lot easier than innovation. However, just because there are few, it doesn’t mean that they are not interesting and helpful for the people who use them.

Best New Technology Releases in 2017

This year, a lot of standalone gadgets have either quirky uses, like the Snapchat glasses, or a very niche purpose, such a compact sous vide machine. Here are some of the most groundbreaking, useful and innovative new technology releases this year.

  • Here One

Whether it’s on the subway, on your way to work, or aboard a plane with an economy class seat, you must admit the noise can be irritating. Everyone wants to avoid the seat right next to a wailing baby or someone talking too loudly. Here One allows you to turn down anyone or anything’s volume. That way, you’re saving your ear from the constant wailing, while keeping yourself alert in case someone calls your name or tries to talk to you.

Unlike the usual ear bud, this doesn’t just cancel out the noise. It allows you to control what you can hear and how much of it you can hear, giving you more control. Here One is able to do this thanks to the microphones and sound processors installed into it.

  • Superpedestrian Copenhagen Wheel

For those who think that bicycles are too slow, this is an upgrade you should try. The Copenhagen Wheel increases a bikers speed by about 20 miles per hour for 30 miles. It looks no different than a typical bike wheel, but it contains an amazing technology inside.

It comes with an internal motor powered by a battery, a wireless sensor that hinders thieves from stealing your bike (and the wheel) and increases the efficiency of your brakes. If you’re hardcore cyclists who enjoy the power of your legs, then this might not be for you. However, if you’re a regular commuter looking for a faster and easier way to travel on your bike, this is an amazing addition.

  • Space X Falcon

Who isn’t a fan of space and space exploration? There is so much out there people are yet to discover, so it’s not surprising that country’s continue to invest in building rockets no matter how expensive they get. The issue is rockets are made to be used once, making it a far more expensive endeavor. The SpaceX is hoping to change that by designing the Falcon 9 to land back on Earth upright, preserving its shape.


SpaceX informed NASA of slowdown in its commercial Mars program

The Cloud… Explained

In the IT world, “The Cloud” is not a visible mass of frozen crystals made up of water or various chemicals suspended in a limitless sky. Perhaps the only commonality is “limitless”. Cloud computing is internet based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow for limitless sharing for data processing, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources. “The cloud” allows users to store data on the web and access it anywhere, at any time, from any device. It gained popularity among businesses because it allows for scalability, it’s instant, and it saves money!

Why Cloud?

The cloud actually has nothing to do with the weather or storms. The symbol of the Cloud came from the early days of network design. Some networks hooked to other networks or the internet. To illustrate this connection as part of the design, engineers needed a way to indicate that there was a network but also indicate that they weren’t trying to describe it because it was more than what they knew. They landed on the cloud symbol as a metaphor for the internet.

Cloud Computing Service Levels

There are many types of cloud computing but the three main types include:

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – This is the base layer, the infrastructure, and includes data-center space, and servers, as well as network hardware equipment such as routers/switches and software for businesses. In this model, all the hardware is outsourced or hosted elsewhere, but the cloud user is still responsible for patching and maintaining the operating systems and the application software. Scalability is a plus here! The user does not need to purchase more hardware or network when space is limited, and they need more computing power. They simply get additional power from the Cloud instantly without having to purchase more expensive equipment. Users are charged accordingly from the service provider or host. One can compare it to be charged for Utilities such as electricity or water. You pay as you use, but are not charged for non-usage.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) – In the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server. So here the provider basically provides all the infrastructure to the user and the user builds and hosts its platform. Application developers can develop and run their software solutions on a cloud platform without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers.
SaaS (Software as a Service) – This is the highest level of Cloud service and is made up of applications that can only be accessed online. If you need to download the software on a computer to use it, verses accessing it through the internet, it’s not SaaS. The best and easiest example of this is email (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail). One of the appealing features of SaaS is that users are not responsible for obtaining licenses, managing software, updates, saving, or backing-up the data. It is the responsibility of the provider (ex. Google or Yahoo). The downside is the lack of control over these applications.
Moving to the Cloud

Cloud users believe the Cloud can create a competitive advantage over other businesses. According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Service Report, users found these were the top benefits on moving to the Cloud:

Increased business agility 44%
Flexible capacity 41%
Faster adoption of new technology 36%
Lower fixed costs (shift from capex to opex) 33%
Lower up-front costs to develop/deploy IT systems 31%
And these are the top advantages:

Lets us experiment more easily and at low cost 64%
Enables deeper collaboration with business partners 61%
Frees up IT resources to work on more strategic things 60%
Is a source of competitive advantage for early adopters 57%
Lowers the cost of doing business 55%
Lowers overall IT costs 55%

Training for cloud

Many people and successful businesses are taking advantage of “The Cloud”, and looking to hire qualified personnel to handle their growing Cloud needs. As the Cloud continues to evolve the demand for professionals with the right skills increases. Perhaps the reason for mainstream deployment of the Cloud is not lack of knowledge but the lack of qualified IT professionals. The good news… Cloud training is available! Some of the classes offered include:

Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
Cloud Architect (EMCCA) Expert
Cloud Architect (EMCCA) Specialist
Cloud Computing Security Knowledge(Basic)
Cloud Computing Security Knowledge (Plus)
CompTIA Cloud Essentials
RedHat Cloud Architect
Vmware vCloud: Architecting the Vmware Cloud
VMware vCloud: Deploy and Manage [V1.5]
VMware vCloud: Design Best Practices
The best time to build your resume is now while demand is high and the number of qualified professionals is low, so register today!

The Top 5 IT Certifications for 2013

The New Year is here- what better time to set some goals to help advance your career. Earning a professional certification is an excellent way to improve your skill set, get more responsibility on the job and earn more money. Sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out which technical certifications will be in demand, but don’t worry – we’ve done the hard part for you and put together a list of the top 5 in-demand certifications for 2013:

1. MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate)

  • Salary Range: $52,000 to $115,000
  • Average Salary: $59,000
  • MCSA Certification Preparation

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certifications validate the core technical skills required to build a sustainable career in IT. MCSA opens the door to multiple career paths and is a requirement for MCSE certifications. Earning a MCSA certification in 2013 will give you a foundation in basic information technology know-how and prepare you for higher Microsoft certifications. We recommend starting with one of these popular certifications:

  • MCSA: Windows 2012 Server
  • MCSA: SQL Server 2012
  • MCSA: Windows 8
  • MCSA: SharePoint 2013

2. MCSE: Private Cloud

  • Salary Range: $52,000 to $102,000
  • Average Salary: $61,000
  • MCSE Certification Preparation

If you’ve stepped in an IT department over the last year, you know “cloud” is the buzzword on the tip of everyone’s tongue. After only 9 months of being released, this Private Cloud certification is already as popular as the rival CompTIA and CCP cloud certifications. The popularity of cloud computing has increased demand for IT professionals who can build private cloud computing solutions using common technology platforms. Microsoft is also discontinuing the popular MCITP program in 2014 and directing individuals to become MCSE’s. This makes 2013 the perfect year to obtain the MCSE certification and get jump start on those who convert in 2014.

The following training classes will prepare you to earn your MCSE: Private Cloud Certification:

  • 10750: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
  • 10751: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012

3. PMP (Project Management Professional)

  • Salary Range: $65,000 to $93,000
  • Average Salary: $86,000
  • PMP Certification Preparation

The Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is one of the world’s most in-demand certifications. Today, PMP Certified project managers are among some of the most sought after professionals. It is recognized as the fastest growing, globally accepted professional certification. Project management is a fundamental skill that will remain relevant over time with continuosly evolving technologies. Having strong understanding of project management principles and techniques enables IT professionals to plan, budget, manage time, and reduce costs. With many companies reducing staff and seeking more efficient operations, project management skills will make IT professionals more valuable to the organizations they serve.

4. VCP (VMware Certified Professional)

  • Salary Range: $59,000 to $80,000
  • Average Salary: $69,000
  • VCP Certification Preparation

Virtualization is used to improve scalability and reduce infrastructure costs in hardware-intensive computing environments. The virtualization industry is still young and full of potential, and VMware is the industry leader in both virtualization software and virtual certifications. With the increasing popularity of virtualization technologies and cloud computing, Vmware’s certifications are becoming more valuable than ever.

5. CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)

  • Salary Range: $65,000 to $111,000
  • Average Salary : $80,000
  • CISSP Certification Preparation

It is critical for organizations to protect their systems, data, and networks, and as a result, information security professionals are in high demand. With the shift towards storing data in cloud systems, security experts have a vital role to play in ensuring these systems remain as secure as servers maintained in-house. CISSPs are information assurance professionals who define the architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments. The CISSP certification is highly respected and extremely popular, generally warranting the highest average salary for IT security positions.

Top IT Careers for 2013

Technology is ever changing as people and corporations continue to evolve into mass communicating and mass producing machines. Organizations are investing more money than ever before into technology so that they can increase their digital presence locally and worldwide. Because of this, you can expect to see a spike in not only the demand for IT related positions, but also in the starting salaries for information technology professionals. Corporations are recognizing the value technology can have on success, and are making moves to ensure their firms are equipped with qualified IT personnel who can add value, efficiencies, and insights to their technological capabilities.

With every new technology launch, the gap between demand and number of qualified IT professionals continues to increase, creating high paying base salaries. If you are an IT professional this is good news for you!  Not sure of a career path? This may be a good one to pursue. Technological advances are on the rise and don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

With all the advances, comes the opportunity for more jobs.  In a study by Career Builder & Economic Modeling Specialists of the best bachelor degree jobs for 2013, 4 out of 10 were in the information technology field. Careers in these areas of IT have continued to rise nationwide through the recession showing significant growth since 2010: Software developers: 70,872 jobs added -7% growth; Computer Systems Analysts: 26,937 jobs added – 5% growth; Network and Computer Systems Administrators: 18,626 jobs added- 5% growth; Security Analysts, Web Developers, Network Architects: 15,715 jobs added – 5% growth.

So what are the most sought out positions within the IT field for 2013? According to an article published by Newsroom America, these are the top 6 hottest technology and design jobs for 2013, and the starting salaries for each:

  • Mobile applications developers — salaries for mobile applications developers are expected to rise 9 percent, with compensation ranging from $92,750 to $133,500.
  • Business intelligence analysts — Business intelligence analysts should see a gain of 7.3 percent, with starting salaries ranging from $94,250 to $132,500.
  • Network architects — Network architects are forecast to receive a 7 percent starting salary boost, to between $102,250 and $146,500, on average.
  • Interactive creative directors –Interactive creative directors can anticipate a 4.9 percent bump in base compensation, with average starting salaries ranging from $95,500 to $160,000.
  • Interaction designers — Those with one to five years of experience should see a gain of 4.9 percent, to between $52,250 and $77,500.
  • User experience (UX) designers ­– Since so much customer interaction happens online, companies are looking for workers who can create positive digital experiences. UX designers can expect a 4.8 percent salary increase, with starting compensation of $73,750 to $110,500.

For more detailed information on these job descriptions you can read the article here:https://www.newsroomamerica.com/story/333109/the_six_top_it_and_creative_jobs_to_have_in_2013.html

Considering exploring any of these positions as a career?  If you are, there are ways to build your knowledge and professional IT skills, through training and certifications. Since IT is becoming an important position within the firm, certifications are likely required for higher level positions. There are a slew of different certifications you can obtain, and should if you want to advance your career in this field. This field is revving up with no signs of stalling, so as technologies continue to advance and you explore and pursue a career in this field, training and certifications will become essential to you professional success. There are lots of options for success in the IT field, so go into 2013 with a plan.