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National Cybersecurity Awareness: Newest Threats And Scams Affecting Businesses

Cybersecurity threats are on the rise. With remote work now common, hackers have developed new ways to steal a business’ information and revenue. Even if you don’t operate remotely, you’re potentially more at risk than before. Hackers are now offering services and kits to anyone who wants to steal data and sell it online. 

Cyber attacks are evolving and becoming more dangerous, from more convincing spam emails to counterfeit audio recordings of CEOs and managers. So, during National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we want to prepare you for the latest attacks used by hackers. 

The Latest Types Of Cyber Attacks 


In 2020, cyberattacks cost businesses $1 trillion globally. Not only do companies lose money in actual cyberattacks, but they also incur losses when trying to recover from them. 

You might think that you won’t be a target for cyber-attacks because you’re a small business. In reality, everyone from mom-and-pop businesses to large corporations can fall victim to hackers and scammers online. 

What’s more, many small businesses have fewer cybersecurity measures in place than large companies, putting them at greater risk.

No matter the size of your business, it’s essential to have a team of IT experts on your side.

Protect your business, employees, and customers with IT support from the experts at Waterdog Computer Works. Reach out to us so we can begin solving all your technical difficulties.

 

Phishing Emails: Don’t Open Suspicious Messages & Links

 

Phishing emails have one main goal: to get a user to open a link. These emails are often how hackers learn passwords, steal personal information, and encrypt data. If scammers encrypt your data, they’ll lock you out of your own devices. Often you’ll receive a demand to pay a ransom to the hacker for a key. When that happens, you’ve become a victim of ransomware. But phishing emails can also contain malware. 

Thankfully, though, phishing emails are usually easy to spot. Strange font, subject lines, and unfamiliar sender addresses are the first signs of a suspicious email. The message will often look like spam, and most email providers will send it to your spam folder. 

Here are other common signs of phishing emails: 

  • Unusual language (random capitalization, poor grammar) 
  • Asking you to take action NOW (Requests to log in, send receipt of payment, or to forward an email) 
  • Multiple links   

Phishing-As-A-Service 


Phishing emails can cost businesses $1,500 per employee, and it’s becoming an easy way for hackers to make quick money. And now, people with minimal experience or know-how can purchase phishing email kits or services online. 

Scammers are now selling pre-packaged phishing emails for customers to purchase and deploy. And once a phishing email succeeds, your information can become available for sale on places like the dark web. This scheme often promises a return on investment for the original buyer, so phishing services will likely increase in popularity. 

User removing spam in the inbox and checking mails using an e-mail reader, collage and paper cut composition


 

Email Account Compromise

 

Sometimes, hackers send phishing emails that appear real. A common way hackers do this is by making an email address that looks very similar to a company email address. Sometimes, just a simple change in spelling is enough for a phishing attack to succeed.

Hackers will also pose as vendors or business owners your business interacts with regularly. They can send a fake invoice, request a wire transfer, or ask for sensitive information. With these types of emails, it can be difficult to tell the difference between phishing emails and real ones. Here’s an example of what they might look like:

You, the business owner, have an email address that appears like so: 

  • shawn.perry@companyname.com 

But the phishing email may have a sending address that looks like this: 

  • shawnperrey@companyname.com 

These phishing emails create tiny changes to throw off employees. If someone is having a busy day and fails to double-check the address, you could have a security issue on your hands.

With IT solutions from Waterdog Computer Works, you’ll never have to worry about losing money or time to phishing emails. Contact us now to learn about our services like remote monitoring for IT that proactively monitors your business networks for any issue or threat. 

Smartphones Are Vulnerable To Phishing, Too  


Have you ever received a robocall? Sometimes, robocalls are like phishing attempts. Hackers can also use SMS messages that include links or numbers to collect your data. These random calls and texts may come from a phone number in your area code or even look like the number of someones you know.

To keep yourself safe, never click on links from unknown numbers. And, don’t reply, call the number back, or otherwise interact with the scam message. Nothing good can ever come from talking with a scammer.


Woman use of smart phone



Deepfakes Are More Than Just Entertaining Videos

 

Deepfakes are like more convincing phishing emails. But, with deepfakes, you can create: 

  • audio messages that sound like a manager or business owner 
  • messages written in a similar style as someone working for the business
  • hyper-realistic videos of someone 

You may have seen videos online of people using deepfakes to make well-known public figures, like the Queen of England or former president Obama, say or do ridiculous things. But the reality is that deepfakes are not hard to create, and scammers are targeting businesses of all sizes. And since they’re hard to spot, creating extra safety measures like a two-step authentication is key to protecting yourself.

According to VentureBeat, deepfakes online grew by 330% from October 2019 to June 2020. And, fewer than 30% of businesses are ready for a deepfake attack.  

Ransomware Costs Businesses Time, Money, & Their Reputation


Ransomware is a type of cyber attack that locks users out of their data. Through encryption, more and more data becomes locked or lost over time. Basically, the act of encrypting data puts access to your information behind a very complex password. Although other types of ransomware can lock your computer screen, data encryption of any kind can hurt businesses. Especially if your business needs to protect data to comply with global regulations.

Scammers commonly send ransomware attacks through phishing emails. However, ransomware can also make its way to a device through social media messages, email attachments, or background downloads that launch when you visit infected websites. 

Unfortunately, hackers will force businesses to pay a ransom to regain access to their data. But it’s no guarantee that all the data will remain safe or recoverable. Furthermore, when using software programs to remove the ransomware, you may still end up losing files and data. Really, the best way to protect your business from a ransomware attack is to prevent it from happening at all and to backup your data.   

When data is lost, your business doesn’t just lose money and time – you lose your trust with your customers. If your company puts its data at risk, many customers may cease doing business with you. Not to mention the bad press you could receive. Consequently, ransomware attacks have long-lasting consequences for any business.  

If you think your business is being affected by a ransomware attack, contact an IT professional immediately

Ways to Keep Your Information Safe 


One of the best ways to keep your information safe is to educate yourself and your team on good IT practices. 

  1. Create strong passwords with random letters, numbers, and symbols, and change them often. 
  2. Make sure your devices update regularly.
  3. Set up multi-factor authentication for information releases or money transfers. 
  4. Advise remote employees against using public Wi-Fi networks like the ones you can find at coffee shops. Open public networks have less protection than secure private networks. 
  5. Consider using a VPN for your company devices or helping employees set up one for their personal devices. 
  6. Lean into cloud-based services. Backing up your data onto the cloud will protect your data not only from hackers but also from natural disasters. 
  7. And, of course, partnering with IT professionals that you trust can help protect your business even remotely

Waterdog Computer Works: Safeguarding Your Team & Business 


Since 2002, Waterdog Computer Works has been helping businesses solve their technology challenges. Through our personalized services, we’ve helped each of our clients grow by taking away the stress of IT. Ready to see how we can help? Get started with Waterdog today.