It seems you read about a company experiencing a data breach on a daily basis. To keep your client’s data safe, make sure you know how to identify and stop cybercriminals.
There are two types of email spam that lead to data breaches — intentional spam from individuals soliciting products or attempting to commit fraud; and unintentional spam which originates from computers that are infected with a virus or worm that activates email distribution processes in the background. The virus or worm attempts to send bulk messages from the infected computer without the awareness of the computer owner.
Here are tips on how to combat potential data threats.
Pay attention to emails from unfamiliar individuals or companies. Cybercriminals will use techniques such as not including a visible “From” email address to providing a slight variation of a legitimate company name within their address. Within the message, look for mistakes in spelling and punctuation, typos, words in capitals and exclamation marks. Messages may also have an impersonal greeting — think of those “Dear Customer” or “Dear Sir/Madam” salutations — or feature far-fetched and generally surprising content. Do not download or click on links from suspicious emails.
Beware of emails asking for confidential information. Phishing is a special type of spam that is intended to trick you into entering your personal or account information for the purpose of breaching your account and committing identity theft or fraud. Corrupt emails may contain a legitimate logo and appear to be sent from the corporation’s email address. The message may ask you to click a link in the message to update your account or run a software program to upgrade your computer. Legitimate organizations, including your bank, will never request sensitive information via email.
Pay particularly close attention to shortened links, especially on social media. Cybercriminals often use these services to trick you into thinking you are clicking a legitimate link, when in fact, you’re being directed to a fake site. Check out the web link by placing your mouse over the link to see if you’re actually being sent to the right website. Cybercriminals may use these “fake” sites to steal your entered personal details or infest your device with malware. To be REALLY safe, only access your account directly by manually opening the official site.
Invest in an antivirus software and make sure to keep it up-to-date. In addition, when you are online, you should always, where possible, use a secure website (indicated by https:// and a security “lock” icon in the browser’s address bar) to browse, and especially when submitting sensitive information online, such as credit card details. Secure sites communicate through an encrypted key so that intercepted messages are not compromised. NEVER use public, unsecured Wi-Fi for banking, shopping or entering personal information online. When in doubt, use your mobile’s 3/4G or LTE connection.
More and more small and mid-size companies are falling prey to cybercriminals. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 36 percent of targeted hacking attacks are made against businesses that operate with less than 250 employees. Safe guard your company against cybercriminals — you and your clients will be grateful.