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Will your employees be tricked by email scams and viruses?

clip_image002Despite an ever increasing number of online attacks being reported in the media and harrowing new cyber threats like Ransomware being created, many companies are still failing to take effective action to improve their online security. As well as failing to keep their anti-virus software and firewalls up to date, they also fail to educate their workforce on the latest threats - a key part of securing their operations.

Phishing scams are one of the most common forms of fraud committed online today. They involve tricking an email recipient into handing over sensitive data and trusted information. A hacker may send an email which looks as if it has been sent by a supplier, a company that you work with on a regular basis, a service provider or even another employee in your own business. So they aren’t always obvious. They hacker may then try and encourage the recipient to download a piece of software, visit an unsafe website or supply them directly with sensitive information that they can exploit.

A key part of cyber security is making sure that your company has effective IT support to defend against hackers and viruses. This means you should be using up to date software and running operating systems with all the latest patches included and anti-virus software that can intercept risks.

However, educating employees about the threats they face is important too. To guard against phishing scams your employees should look for the following red flags:

1) An unknown sender or an email address that appears to ‘spoof’ one of your trusted contacts for example bill@micros0ft.com, rather than bill@microsoft.com. Notice a zero has replaced the letter ‘o’.

2) Spelling mistakes, bad grammar and sentences that don’t make sense could be signs of a computer generated email or impersonation.

3) An unusual attachment, such as a zipped folder, attached to your email should be treated with suspicion. Always be wary of files that you have not requested or you do not normally receive.

4) If there is a link to click in an email, make sure that you check the URL is genuine before you visit it and certainly before you enter any sensitive information such as passwords. Again, the hacker may have spoofed a website URL like ‘Facebook.1.com’ rather than ‘Facebook.com’.

You should never expect that employees are already aware of these scams. Cyber crime is an ever evolving threat and new viruses and scams are being concocted every day. The best method of protection is to make sure that as well as educating your employees, you also have a comprehensive system to combat hacks, scams and other threats and keep your software and systems up to date.

For advise on the best methods of protecting your business, please call us on 01268 575300 or email us on info@ecl.co.uk.

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