Scammers are using this time in quarantine to their advantage by exploiting the lack of relative lack of safeguards with the increased number of employees now working from home. There are two things that you can do to help your small business safeguard against attacks: 1. Educate yourself and your staff and 2. Implement a plan that will help limit the exposure to these attacks that specifies what to do if your firm were to fall victim to one of these attacks. Below are a few scams that you should become familiar with so that you may create a plan that addresses what your response will be if faced with each of these tactics.
Email attacks are one of the most common type of attack to face small- and medium-sized businesses since they are the easiest to deploy. Most business is conducted via a computer these days, and a majority of the correspondence that goes out is via email, and if that email is hacked, it’s a treasure trove for criminals because it includes contacts, personal information, and login credentials for accounts. One of the best things that you can do is to employ a directive that all employees must enable two-factor authentication to log in to their email.
As of the start of year 2020, ransomware is quickly becoming a criminal’s go-to method of absconding with money from small- and medium-sized businesses. The criminals design these attacks by infecting your computer network systems and locking up your files until you agree to pay a ransom. Although it may seem easier just to pay the ransom, it can put your business at greater danger because if the criminal knows that they can extort you once, it’s likely that they’ll do it again. As a rule of thumb, never negotiate with cybercriminals, just like our government never negotiates with terrorists. The best thing that you can do is to implement a program prior to any event occurring that eliminates the need even to pay the ransom, like having backups of your computer network on another server or in the cloud.
With the sudden disruption of life’s normal patterns due to COVID-19, many companies have encouraged or even mandated that their employees to work from home, if possible. This has led to an increased number of tech support scams that are taking advantage of those who may need assistance with adjusting to this new workflow. If your employees get a call from a major technology company claiming that they are from tech support, you should instruct employees to, at first, be skeptical. It’s unlikely that Apple is making calls directly to your employees. Teach your employees to ignore incoming telephone calls that come from numbers that they do not have saved in their contacts. If it is a legitimate call, the caller will leave a voicemail message stating their concern.
Voice spoofing is a technique of criminals that has become more popular with the widespread availability of advanced technology. Basically, this scam occurs when the criminal inputs what they want to say in an artificial intelligence program that will recreate a specific person’s voice, like a co-worker’s. It doesn’t take a technology expert to be able to do this; all you need is the right software program. This is a dangerous practice that all employees should be aware of so that they may do their best to prevent any type of accidental exposure of information.
Although it seems like we are in a world where it’s hard to catch a break when it comes to the security of your business, but there are two things that will help you keep your company secure. The first thing is to keep educating yourself and your employees on the tactics that criminals are using to take advantage of businesses. The second thing to do is to create a plan that is all-encompassing when it comes to limiting exposure and concerning what your response will be if something does happen.
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