You don’t need to be an IT genius to ensure that you are keeping your business and employees safe from cyber-attacks. The key is to ensure possible threats are monitored on a regular basis. Here is a helpful guide to assist you in knowing what to look for.
We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, emails and other pop ups on the Internet. Some are harmless, but some are malicious enough to wipe out an entire network, causing lasting effects to businesses, employees and customers.
There are three types of threats that sometimes go unrecognized and over time, have become even more difficult to combat due to technology’s constant advancement. Spam, phishing and viruses/spyware have resulted in the loss of customers’ personal information and caused businesses to lose millions.
Spam – Spam is unsolicited junk email that can be both received and distributed. Spam is a major security concern because it can serve as a vehicle for viruses, spyware and phishing emails. Opening spam through your work email puts you and your company at risk. These viruses and malware are capable of disabling your corporate network or allowing hackers to view and steal data. Other than being a total nuisance, it also comes with significant risk. So what should you do?
- Filter your email
- Don’t ever reply to spam
- Be careful releasing your email address, and know how it will be used
- Always have a secondary email account
Phishing– Phishing attacks usually use fraudulent emails to trick consumers into sharing their personal data, such as Social Security numbers or financial information (credit card account numbers, user names and passwords, etc.). We all say this will never happen to us, but nowadays, the phishing emails look more and more legitimate, making it difficult for the average person to decipher between real or fraudulent. Cyber criminals have become so savvy that they even recreate company websites, complete with logos, in the attempt to deceive users. To avoid falling victim to a phishing attack you should:
- Double check the web address and or email address.
- Don’t open emails when you do not recognize the sender.
- Never submit confidential or personal information via email.
Viruses and Spyware – Viruses and spyware can enter your computer through emails, downloads and clicking on malicious links in websites. Viruses and spyware are slightly different. Viruses enable hackers to steal information, delete files or even crash entire networks. Spyware gives hackers the ability to monitor your online activity and gives them access to passwords and other valuable data. The best protection from viruses and spyware is to make sure you keep your machine clean.
- Make sure you have the latest security software, web browser and operating system.
- Ensure that you do not open unsolicited emails and whenever in doubt, just delete.
- Use a firewall. Windows Firewall (or any other firewall) can help alert you to suspicious activity if a virus or worm attempts to connect to your computer
These tips are well known, but the key to fighting these attacks is awareness. The more we incorporate these tools into our tech lives, the safer we may be.