Phishing attempts become more sophisticated every day. It's hard to know if a call, email, or text message is legitimate or not. Even ads on Google might lead you to a phishing attempt (we know, because it happened to one of our employees).
Often, these bad actors will want to gain control of your computer, and surprisingly it's really easy to do. All these hackers need to do is lead you to a website where they can gain control of your screen and ultimately your computer.
But, what would they want to steal?
They can steal your banking data, your contact list, credit card information, images, and other personal information.
Ok, what should I do?
Don't worry. There are a few things you can do to mitigate your risk:
1. Contact the Company Directly
If they reached out to you about a billing or other concern that makes you question the legitimacy of the inquiry, stop and hang up. Look up the company's phone number (if they have one) and call them directly to see if there are issues on your account. Remember, government agencies and banks will usually send you a letter and that asks you to call them.
2. If You Can't Call Them, They Won't Call You
Quite simply, if a major company doesn't have a way to contact customer service (like Google), it's unlikely they will ever call you about a billing concern. They will most likely email you. Furthermore, if there is an issue with your account, the service will stop. Platforms like Microsoft will limit the platform until you pay for the service.
3. Don't Follow Steps Without Asking Why
Think twice before allowing someone access to your computer. Any reputable company will ask for your permission first and tell you WHY they need access to your computer to troubleshoot an issue. If you feel the person on the other end of the line is demanding you to go to a web address and type in codes without telling you the purpose, STOP. They are most likely leading you to a site where they can gain access of your computer. This allows them to install malware and even ransomware.
4. Don't Click
Especially with text messages and emails, even if you are curious DO NOT CLICK links or open attachments. Doing so can put your device or email at risk.
5. Pay Attention to the Timing of Pop Ups
If you're using Microsoft Word, for example, you might get a pop-up telling you your billing information is expiring on your Microsoft account. If you know that is true, it is likely a legitimate pop-up. Even then, if your billing information expires, the service will just stop... no big deal. You would also receive an email encouraging you to update your information. However, if you get a pop-up while you are browsing the Internet, think twice. It's most likely spam. Make sure you turn on pop-up blocking on your Internet browser to block attempts like this.
Think you may have been hacked? Learn more about how to know and what to do if you've been hacked.
If you're concerned that you've been compromised, our Tech Team can help.
What do you want to know?
Tune in on KSDM 104.1 FM, KGHS 1230 AM, KGHS 95.3 FM on Wednesday at 8:40 am for the next episode of Tech Talk.
Send your tech questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More employers are turning to remote working solutions, and it seems like it has greater safety benefits. Besides a global pandemic, you aren't dealing with the risks of commuting to work. But are you protected?
Is working from home safer than working at the office?
Just like you need to be aware of your surroundings and traffic when you're driving to work, you need to be aware of your security surroundings when you're working at home.
If you're an employer, keep reading to learn how you need to protect your business.
1. How Employees Connect
Anytime you send something out into the Internet, there is ALWAYS a security risk. Anytime you're connecting remotely, you need to have security barriers. One way to do that is to fix how you're connecting to your company. Is it a website or cloud-based platform? Is there a firewall or password portal? Or are you connecting to your office computer from home?
Good scenario: A common and the most affordable way to set up remote working solutions is to have your employees connect to cloud-based platforms, like Zoom, Slack, Trello, and G Suite. This allows your employees to communicate with another, send and receive documents, assign tasks, and more.
Best scenario: While it's an investment, the best remote working solution is to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is essentially a portal in the Internet that creates a secure connection from your business's private server to your employee's computer at home. Think of it like a highway that was specifically built for only your employees to get to the office. No one else is able to drive on it. A VPN offers the highest security for your employees and your business data.
2. Where Employees Connect
Another scenario employers should be aware of is if employees are working from a public place like a coffee shop or library and are connecting to public Wi-Fi. Beware, public Wi-Fi is not secure. Anyone attempting to steal your data doesn't need a lot of experience to breach your data on public Wi-Fi. More commonly, someone can simply look over your shoulder and see what you're doing. Even if you're not accessing financial documents, any sensitive data like your next product launch could be compromised.
Good scenario: Create a company policy that doesn't allow your employees to work from public spaces on public Wi-Fi, like a coffee shop, library, or even a hotel. If employees must work from a place outside of their home, consider a reimbursement for a co-working space membership. Usually co-working spaces have secure networking solutions and private spaces for improved productivity.
Best scenario: Ensure employees are connecting to the company's VPN on a secure Wi-Fi connection.
What is your current business set up? Is your business secure or at risk of a data breach? Small Town Tech can find the right tools for you and your budget with a Free Tech Assessment, free with our Protech Enterprise plan.
We know technology can be confusing. That's why Small Town Tech is committed to making it easier to understand.
a mask for your computer.
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