Phishing emails are skyrocketing, there’s never been a better time to familiarize yourself with how to protect your business from phishing scams. Knowing how to defend your email inbox and keep your business’s sensitive information safe should be a security priority. 

What Is Phishing?

Phishing involves an attempt by the attacker to get the victim to disclose confidential information by impersonating an authority or trustworthy source. The email contains an enticing message that may or may not include a link, but the recipient must trust the attachment, image, or link and open it. Phishing messages can be delivered via email, social media, text messages, spam, or any other means.

For example, a banner ad can direct users to a phishing website that may appear to be legitimate. Common phishing messages include a website address ending in “.com,” “.org” or “.org.”

Why Does My Business Need To Be Aware Of This?

Phishing scams have been around for a long time, but the internet has made it even easier for criminals to trick victims into handing over sensitive information. Employee emails are at the heart of many phishing attacks, as they are often the primary way for hackers to gain access to your employees’ financial information and access to critical internal systems.

So, it’s crucial that businesses know how to protect themselves from phishing attacks, which can range from standard hoaxes to sophisticated scams that directly target your company. Phishing can be carried out in many ways, from fake emails that look official to emails masquerading as information from a company your business works with.

How Can I Protect My Business From Phishing Scams?

You can avoid phishing scams by creating and practicing proper business policies and procedures. Security protocols should be reviewed every month, and business owners need to create and apply additional layers of security beyond that which they are already using to maintain their data and networks. Businesses should also check out programs designed to protect them from phishing attacks.

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Always Install Security Software

Installing security software is your first line of defense against phishing scams. Antivirus programs, spam filters, and firewall programs are quite effective against phishing attacks. You can also deploy web filters to stop employees from accessing malicious websites.

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Enable Automatic Update

Software updates are the most annoying notification that we often get and it seems to happen at the most inopportune times. Most of us neglect the software updates and carry on our works. In fact, many of the more harmful malware attacks we see take advantage of software vulnerabilities in common applications, like operating systems and browsers.

Ensure Regular Backup

Creating a regular backup is the best thing that you can do for your website security. If your site gets hacked or if you accidentally lock yourself then the backup is the last resort the get back into your site.

ALways Use Strong Password

Make your password at least 30,000 times stronger by using a combination of mixed-case letters, numbers, and special characters compared to a password consisting of only lowercase letters. One trick that is not suggested is replacing characters with the common numbers and special character replacements in dictionary words, like this: tr1ck0rteat. Also stay away from using sequential patterns like: “123”, “abc”, or even common sequential keyboard patterns like “asdf” or “qwerty”.

Always Enable 2FA

Two-factor authentication (2FA) — also known as two-step verification or multifactor authentication — is widely used to add a layer of security to your online accounts. The most common form of two-factor authentication when logging into an account is the process of entering your password and then receiving a code via text on your phone that you then need to enter. The second layer in two-factor authentication means a hacker or other nefarious individual would need to steal your password along with your phone in order to access your account.

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Stop Clicking Random Short URL Links

How easy is it to hide a link to something disgusting, unsafe, or illegal inside a short link? Way too easy. Head to bit.ly and follow the instructions. And that’s just one of many URL shorteners out there. How bad could it be? If an unsuspecting user were to click the e-mail link, land on what appears to be eBay.com (but is actually a malicious site) and log in as requested, the hackers now have their user name and password. From there, they have full access to the user’s account, including credit card info. Using that information, they can also try logging in to other websites (many people re-use the same password), e-mail accounts and corporate accounts.

What Should I Do If I Know Someone Who Has Fallen For A Scam?

If you suspect someone in your company has been victimized by a phishing scam, the first thing to do is alert your IT department. Contact them immediately and let them know you’re suspicious and want to make a report. They can provide further advice to ensure the security of your network.

The second thing you should do is give your employees as much information as possible about phishing scams so they understand the dangers, and how to avoid them.

One of the biggest reasons businesses are the number one target for cybercriminals is due to our love of email, of course. But there are some simple ways to keep from falling for these social engineering tricks, which means less of your business will be the target of hackers. Using the proper tools and safeguards will help IT departments head off phishing attacks before they can hit employees’ inboxes.

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