This article is reprinted from Ohio Insurance Agents
The pandemic has created the perfect environment for cybercriminals to prey upon individuals and businesses. In fact, in 2020, cyberattacks were happening every 39 seconds. Meaning, by the time you finish reading this article at least 4 cyberattacks have been carried out on unsuspecting people and companies.
Phishing doesn’t come in just the form of emails; you need to be aware that phishing can happen via text and phone calls as well.
Brand recognition is another way cybercriminals entice consumers to click on links and gain access to your system through attached malware that asks for ID and password input. We are still in the midst of a pandemic and cybercriminals could be using brands such as WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for Disease Control), and local health departments to lure consumers. Also, tax season is starting so phishing emails from the IRS will start soon.
Here are some quick tips to help you avoid falling victim to these techniques whether at home or the office:
- Verify the source of the email by checking the ‘From’ field to validate the sender. Phishing emails will appear to send you an email from a trusted source but in reality, they are spoofing the “from” address. What does that mean? The name of your contact shows as it always does in the “from” field however, when you hover over the name or you see it in the preview pane of your inbox the email address associated with the contact is not the actual email address.
- Pay very close attention to the domain name of the websites you visit or that are revealed in embedded links in communications you receive. For example, microsoft.com and www.support.microsoft.software.com are two different domains. (and only the first is real).
- Be sure to report all suspicious emails to your information technology support.
- NEVER open email attachments that end with: .exe, .scr, .bat, .com or other executable files you do not recognize.
- Beware of “unsubscribe” – cybercriminals are using this to gain access as well. It is easier to delete the e-mail than to risk security breaches.
- NEVER click embedded links in messages without hovering your mouse over them first to check the URL and verify the domain is safe/secure.
- Do not respond or reply to spam in any way. Delete the message and then delete it again from your deleted folder.