Don’t Let a Hacker Ruin Your Holiday

The Holiday season is a time for family, food, and sharing what we have with others. It’s a time to reflect on the last year and what 2023 has in store. The last thing you should be worrying about is falling into a trap set by an online hacker. The holiday season sees an increase in phishing attacks and fraudulent websites. Unsecure inboxes are filled with social engineering e-mails that pretend to be online stores or shipping companies asking to enter your login information to “track your package” or “resolve a billing error”.

With ever-changing technology comes new and more dangerous threats. Because of the changing IT landscape, it is important to make sure that your business and your e-mails are secure. One of the best ways to protect yourself and organization from bad actors is through e-mail security and training. In 2021, 96% of all business were targeted by a phishing attack. Each day your inbox may be targeted by individuals that want to gain access to your network or e-mail account.

Every week we meet with clients who have had their e-mails compromised and, in the most extreme cases, we find examples where hackers have already been in their system. Earlier this year our technology security advisors met with a client who discovered that someone had taken over their e-mail account and was sending e-mails from that account.

The individual at some point more than likely got a social engineering e-mail that had them enter their password from an e-mail that appeared to be sent from their current e-mail provider, and the second they did the attacker had access to the account.  Often times hackers monitor the inbox and snoop around before deciding to take action.  Once they do, they can cause a lot of harm.  This means blasting out e-mails to others and forwarding all incoming e-mails to a different address the attacker had access too, while deleting the individual’s incoming e-mails and emptying the trash.  The attacker would also hide their tracks by deleting the sent items so as not to give themselves away.

As one can imagine none of the above is a great situation. This could have put themselves, and their business in a terrible position. The good news is that there are simple and often common-sense things that everyone can do to protect themselves and make their e-mails and business networks more secure.

The ways that organizations are targeted are always changing, so it is imperative that your e-mail security measures be up to date to put your self in the best security position. Nearly 75% of all cyberattacks start with an e-mail. So that is a great place to start being aware. Below are a few things you can do to protect yourself and your business.

Top Ways Secure Your E-mails from Hackers and enhance your Cybersecurity are:

  • Turn on MFA
    • Even the simple step of turning on multi-factor authentication (MFA) can stop 99.5% of attacks.
  • Use the SLAM Method to detect fraudulent e-mails (Click the link to learn more about each topic)
    • Sender – Check to see if the e-mail address is misspelled. If something looks off do not reply or open any attachments.
    • Links – Hover over (but do not click). By doing this you can see the address the link will take you to. If you don’t recognize it or doesn’t match the e-mail, do not open it.
    • Attachments – Refrain from opening any attachments from people you don’t know or even attachments from known parties that you were not expecting.
    • Message – Check the subject line and body for suspicious language or phrases that seem off.
  • Install a spam filter
  • Report suspicious e-mails to your IT Administrator or provider.
  • Participate in annual, monthly, or weekly trainings around security like the PII Protect Module.
  • Immediately make others in your office aware of phishing attempts or suspicious e-mails
  • If you receive something from a coworker or supervisor that looks off, call them or speak to them in person to see if it is really from them.

Don’t give a bad actor the gift of your information this year!

Above are just some of the ways that you can protect your e-mails. Do you have concerns or have questions? Not sure where to begin?  Our team at MSI has a managed network services offering, that can take on all of your IT needs or be a complimentary service to your existing internal IT department. Our offering comes standard with next generation firewalls, spam filters and advanced anti-virus protection, along with user training and a 24/7 help desk. To learn more about our offering, reach out to us today!

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