Protecting Your Business From Phishing

One of the most common hassles for today’s business owners is spam, which has become more of a nuisance than actual junk mail delivered by the Post Office. Today, unsolicited emails can be more than annoying.  They can be dangerous.  So-called phishing emails seek to gather private company data, gain private network access or download malicious software, including ransomware.

Remaining vigilant against the threat of phishing emails  means understanding a few simple things about unsolicited emails and the common methods cyber criminals use to commit crimes.

Here are a few things that you and your employees need to remember about unsolicited emails.

Never Click on Any Link in an Unsolicited Email

It’s good practice to always avoid clicking links in emails, even if you know the sender. Clicking on a link in an email is an excellent way to find yourself accidentally downloading a malicious file or visiting a “spoofed” web page.

One of the most common tactics a scammer will use is to send an email with links that might read “access account here” or “log in to your account,” The links don’t actually lead to a valid account log-in page; they lead to the scammer’s page that is designed to steal your log-in information when you enter it into the fake page.

Tip: Even if you’re absolutely sure you know the sender, never click on any link directly in an email. Always visit the site independently through your web browser by typing the URL into the address bar.

Don’t Believe Threats of Closure or Account Cancellation

One of the biggest scams to hit the country in recent years is one where the scammers pretend that they’re the IRS and that they’re about to send someone to a victim’s house for an arrest due to unpaid taxes. The scam was so successful that the IRS had to inform the public about it and state that no one from the IRS would ever call any taxpayer over the phone with a threat of jail.

Unfortunately, similar scams have become very successful and popular via email where unsuspecting recipients receive a fake email (also known as a “spoofed” email)  that says an account is shortly to be closed. The email encourages the recipient to click on a link to avoid account closure, but the link leads to a malicious site that steals account information.

Tip from our Austin IT Experts: Always confirm possible account closure by contacting the company independently by phone or by logging into the company’s website by typing in the company’s URL directly into a web browser’s address line.

Always Check the URL of Links & Remain Vigilant

One sneaky way that cyber criminals convince their prey to open emails is by using another company’s official images and creating an email that looks identical to one you might receive as a legitimate customer. The scammer places links in the email that are designed to make you think they lead to the company’s official site, but they actually lead to a site that automatically downloads malicious software (malware) to your computer.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware or malware is to take note of the URL of the link. When you hover over it with your mouse, the URL should appear somewhere on your screen (usually in the bottom left-hand corner). If the address ends with an “exe” instead of an “HTML” or other standard web address, it’s very likely a malicious link.

Keep Your Company Safe by Hiring Professional IT Experts

Do you want to learn more about keeping your business safe from cyber criminals? The expert IT consulting and technology compliance experts of Magnet Solutions Group can offer the assistance and knowledge you need to keep your business free of cyber threats.

Contact Magnet Solutions Group today for managed security and cybersecurity training solutions.