You and I know that effective communication with co-workers and clients is crucial, but are you sure your employees are practicing safe email conduct?

Cybercriminals are smart – they adapt quickly and continually come up with new ways to take advantage of businesses like yours. A popular tactic among hackers today is “phishing”, a method in which they send fraudulent emails that appear to be from reputable company members in order to get recipients to reveal sensitive information and execute significant financial transfers. With only a surprisingly small amount of information, cybercriminals can convincingly pose as business members and superiors in order to persuade employees to give them money, data or crucial information.

You might scoff at the simplicity of such a tactic, but it’s been proven to be widely successful. See for yourself:

  • Matel almost lost $3M to hackers: During a period of corporate change, a financial executive at Matel was targeted by hackers in a phishing scam. Taking advantage of how complicated the company’s transitional period was, the hackers sent an email to the executive asking for a vendor payment in the amount of $3 million, which they then executed. Luckily for Matel, the transfer was ordered on a bank holiday, which gave them enough time over the weekend to reclaim the money before the transfer completed.
  • Snapchat suffers critical employee data breach: Similar to Matel’s phishing incident, an employee at Snapchat received an email appearing to be from the company’s CEO, Evan Spiegel, asking for employee payroll information. After providing the sensitive data, it soon became clear that the email was from hackers, not the CEO, which left the current and former employees at risk of identity theft.

The reality is that small and medium-sized businesses like yours are as much at risk as Matel and Snapchat. The key to phishing methodology is that it doesn’t rely on digital security vulnerabilities or cutting edge hacking technology; phishing targets the user, who, without the right training, will always be a security risk, regardless of the IT measures set in place.

So what’s the answer? What can the average person do to keep themselves, their families, and their finances safe when criminals are employing such deceitful methods?

  • Never give out private information: The trusted institutions with which you do business will not ask you for your private information. They already have your account numbers, social security number, and your passwords. They won’t ask for it. If an email from a superior or external contact asks for that info, it is likely a scam, so be sure to confirm the request by phone or in person.
  • Never click on a link before you hover over it with your mouse: If you hover over a link with your mouse, your computer will show you where that link is actually taking you. Many times, criminals will give you what looks like the right link (such as www.YourBank.com) but when you hover over the link with your mouse it actually will show something different (such as www.YourBank/2340937fvt5.com). If the link is not as advertised, don’t click!
  • Always check up on unexpected email attachments. If you get an email from someone you know with an attachment that you weren’t expecting, give them a call or send them an email to confirm that the attachment is from them and is legitimate before you open it.

Your online safety is our first concern! Contact RCOR Technologies at (919) 313-9355 or tim@rcor.com right away to discuss best practices on how to protect your staff from cybercriminals.