We don’t question locking our car or front door, and we wouldn’t cross the street

without looking both ways first, so why do we hesitate to take these security measures for our computers and networks?

One major threat to users are phishing attacks. A phishing attack is described as an attempt to retrieve financial data or sensitive information from a user by posing to be a legitimate company or user.

As technology develops, so do how hackers attempt to gain access to your information.

One-way hackers are going about stealing our information and locking our computers up is through phishing emails. Often, they will create fake emails that look identical to what you might receive from a legitimate business such as Apple or Amazon.Warning signs that these emails are fake is that the email is using an urgent tone. Something along the lines of, “quick, you must click here and fill out this form or your service will be terminated in 24 hours”.

You should also be on the lookout for grammatical mistakes and carefully look at the email address you received the message from. Hackers will create email accounts with names that look dangerously similar to a real company in hopes that you won’t notice, such as, accounts@mazon.com

A second way hackers are going about this is by social engineering. For example, think about how common it is for you, or let’s say the president of your company to go on vacation – what do they do naturally… they post photos and updates on social media about their trip.

A hacker who is targeting your company would see these posts and create a false email from the president and email it to possibly the company’s accountant or bookkeeper. They would put a sense of urgency in their message, saying they need $10,000 wire transferred into their account because they need to buy a new flight ticket in the next hour, or something along those lines.

If you are panicking you might not think twice about this, and genuinely think it is your company’s president asking you to help them out in this time of need.

It’s important to be aware of these incidents and know the warning signs of phishing emails.

The Anti-Phishing Working Group, Inc. has reported in the 4th quarter 2017 Trends Report that in just the month of October there were over 65,000 unique phishing web sites detected. Unique, that means they are not including the phishing attacks that they have seen already- this means over 65,000 BRAND NEW phishing attacks took place IN ONE MONTH. On top of that, there were over 60,000 unique phishing e-mail reports received in the same month.

The best thing you can do is to be aware of phishing and other cyber-attacks. Educate yourself and your company!