Every week, we hear of people getting “hacked” almost everyday and most of the time it all starts by an email that pretends to be harmless, this is where Phishing comes in. So what is Phishing?
Phishing is popular with cyber criminals because it is a lot easier to trick someone into clicking a link in a legitimate looking email than to try to break through a computer’s defenses. It is a highly effective way for organized crime to make a lot of money by sending large amounts of emails. If all they get is a handful, their investment pays off handsomely.
The emails look real and almost always include a link. Their goal is to have you click on it and install malicious software or capture your login credentials and gain access to your mailbox, Facebook, Linkedin, or bank accounts.
Once an attacker gains access to your accounts, they usually contact your address list and begin the process of expanding their attack. It is more likely for someone in your address book to click on a link on an email you sent them.
The success of the attack depends on how well they hide the links and how well they craft the message. All it takes is that one microsecond where you “lower your guard” and find yourself compromised.
So what can you do to reduce the possibility of falling victim?
- Always go to the website, do not click on the link. Look for identity verification tools on the website. Https websites are one way to tell if you are on a legitimate website.
- Be careful when you receive an email from someone you know that is generic and has an attachment or link to a google drive, dropbox or executable. Call the sender to verify whether they really sent it to you.
- Make sure you have a backup procedure in place. This will allow you to restore functionality if you get ransomware through an email link.
Think about business continuity. Putting some forethought and planning ”what if” is very valuable if done BEFORE an incident occurs.
Luis Delgado is a father, husband, community resource, speaker, and entrepreneur who founded The Critical Update, inc (TCUINC) in 2003. TCUINC is a technology consulting firm that has evolved from basic computer support to affordable technology consulting, network management, outsourced IT and cybersecurity. Our clients come from every industry in Central Texas. Luis is a certified HIPAA professional and is focused on helping business owners create more jobs for Texas families.