FBI WARNS: FOOD & AGRICULTURE SECTOR AT HIGH RISK AS NEXT RANSOMWARE TARGET

FBI raises alert to increase of ransomware attacks targeting food and agriculture sector while White House pushes for preemptive measures

A notice sent by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns companies in the food and agriculture sector to be aware of potential ransomware attacks intent on disrupting supply chains. These ransomware groups aim to “disrupt operations, cause financial loss, and negatively impact the food supply chain.”, targeting everything from small farms to large producers, manufacturers, markets, and restaurants.

This warning was published Wednesday following trends that signified another slew of attacks incoming this Labor Day Weekend. Since most staff, IT specialists specifically, will be out for vacation this leaves companies much more vulnerable to an attack over the long weekend. The majority of attacks in 2021 alone have taken place on a holiday weekend.The deputy national security adviser of the White House, Anne Neuberger, spoke to the press on Thursday warning companies to actively investigate for signs of a breach before the weekend and develop a preemptive strategy to protect themselves.

Measures that can be taken include:

  • having backups
  • network segmentation 
  • multi factor authentication
  • proactive monitoring of remote access/RDP logs. 

Ransomware groups continue to target critical sectors, of which the food and agriculture sector is a huge security concern due to the lack of a governing body over the sector’s cybersecurity. Currently the gap in cybersecurity measures for the sector haunts food and agricultural businesses. A large number of agricultural businesses still rely on outdated systems or are far too relaxed in their security measures making them more susceptible to an attack.  Businesses should heed the warning or face being the next victim of these ransomware groups.

Source: ZDNet

New Smart Bidding features in Google Ads: Top signals for Target ROAS and max conversions, manager account level seasonality adjustments and more

Google Ads logo

Google helps advertisers managing bid strategies to drive better performances

optimizationsGoogle updated his smart bidding AI to make it more intuitive to serve better marketers’ needs.

Top signals changes. SEM meets SEO! Advertisers can use top signals for search campaigns using Target ROAS and Maximize conversion value. “Currently, you can only view top signals for campaigns that use Target CPA and Maximize conversions” but that’s expanded now, explains Neera Thavornvanit, Product Manager, Google Ads.

Seasonality adjustments can be made at the manager account level. Smart Bidding used to take seasonality into account, but there could be events where advertisers expect big changes in conversion rates, such as big sales or product launches. “To make these adjustments even easier to use, you can now set them at the manager account level instead of creating them for each individual account,” said Thavornvanit.

Max conversions optimizations. Google Ads is introducing new opportunities on the Recommendations page. “These recommendations will show for eligible Search campaigns and can help you get more conversion value within your budget,” according to the announcement.

Target Impression Share simulators now available. Smart Bidding simulators were created to help you estimate campaign performance. “This tool was previously available for conversion and click-based bid strategies, and we are now expanding support to Search campaigns using Target Impression Share,” announced Thavornvanit. You can now use the simulator tool to get an idea of how changes in target impression share could affect cost, impression share, and clicks.

Source: Search Engine Land

 

Cyber-security is not a hoax!

Like for Covid-19, many of us think that cyber-threats are just a hoax and nothing can happen to them. A recent article from ZD Net shows us how important it is to make sure your passwords are up to date and hard to hack. A recent study ran in 2020 demonstrates that the passwords used this year are not good at all thus showing that few people are taking cyber-criminality seriously. You can find the article here

Google My Business (GMB) is now the target of hijackers and can damage your online footprint as well as your online revenues

An hijacked Google My Business listings (GMB) is when someone other than the business gains control of the local profile. This phenomena appears to be growing. SterlingSky’s Joy Hawkins has reported on the trend and some of the methods used by spammers and scammers.

This new trend comes from unethical local marketers, who are effectively phishing, using the “claim this business” link in the local Knowledge Panel/Profile. That generates an email request for control over the listing, which is sent to the registered owner of the profile.

The frequency of this tactic appears to be increasing.

It seems clear from looking at GMB forum that business owners haven’t been sufficiently educated about the risks of hijacking and that Google needs to implement more SMB safeguards — and perhaps better training for its support people.

How fast should a website load?

This is a very important question to answer as Speed has been identified by Google as one of the key factors that either increase or decrease conversions.

Google tells us that you loose 20% conversions for each additional second of loading time above 3 seconds.

So you got it right: the answer is: you site must load in less than 3 seconds.

It’s even more important because:

  • Consumers are more and more impatient: According to studies, you have an average of 8 seconds, yes, 8 seconds(sic!) to grab their attention. So your site must be fast.
  • Google revealed “core web vitals” as ranking factors, and speed is at the heart of this announcement.

How to evaluate your page speed?

We are using a Google tool you can find on that Google Page. It is a free tool, just enter your URL and Google will give you the results for Mobile and desktop

Google Page Speed tool

PageSpeed gives you the loading speed of your site

 

According to this Backlinko study, the average website takes 87% longer to load on mobile vs. desktop because mobile devices have slower processors as well as device-specific CSS rules. In other words, your web developer needs to optimize each version of your site independently. Remember: more than 60% of your traffic comes from mobile devices…

Your developer should also optimize your pictures size and formats in order for them to load faster. Your hosting, redirects and content need to be considered as well.

For more information, please call: 7029603490 or email: sacha.k@vdigitalservices.com