What to know about cybersecurity threats and what to watch out for. - Blog Popular Bank

11.30.2021 /

What to know about cybersecurity threats and what to watch out for.

As a business owner it’s important to stay up to date about cybersecurity threats since things change daily. Scams have become so sophisticated that everyone – and anyone – can be an unsuspecting target.

Today, some of the biggest cybersecurity threats to look out for include:

1. Phishing/social engineering attacks.

Small Business Trends reports that “1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack. And this amounts to 4.8 emails per employee in a five-day work week.” According to the Radicati Group, the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day exceeded 293 billion in 2019 and is forecast to grow to more than 347 billion by the end of 2023.1

The first line of defense is to educate yourself about social engineering and how you may find a potential phishing attack in your email in-box.

What’s a phishing attack?

A phishing attack is a form of social engineering attack where the attacker creates a fraudulent email, text, or website to trick a victim into surrendering personal information, such as logins, passwords, account numbers, or social security numbers.

If you receive an email or a text from an unsolicited sender that says you’ve won a prize or that it’s important you click on a link to verify your personal information, do not respond or click any links in the email. Instead delete the message.

Nine times out of 10, it is a phishing attack. If the sender really needs your information, they will send you a request via postal service mail. And even then – make sure you verify the request before releasing personal information or sending money. 

How to help prevent a phishing attack or other cybersecurity threats.

Knowledge is power. You can help prevent phishing attacks and cybersecurity threats in your business – and in your personal life – by following a few simple steps:

Train your employees.

Train your employees to recognize a phishing attempt and report any incidents immediately to you.

Never click on an unknown email link.

The same goes for ad pop-ups. Phishing scams mimic well-known bank logos and retailers, such as PayPal or Amazon, asking you to verify your account details. Instead, use the phone number on their official website to verify the need for information.

Be alert to requests from organizations.

Be alert to requests for money or information from political, disaster relief, religious or charitable organizations. Many phishing scams mimic the names of familiar non-profit organizations. Always do your research before parting with your personal information or money.

Government entities will always send requests by postal service mail.

Also, know that the IRS and other state and federal agencies will never ask for your business or personal information via phone, text or email.

Protect your data with a VPN.

Consider using a reputable Virtual Private Network (VPN) at your business and home to help protect you from password thieves.

Keep your antivirus and malware software up to date to help protect your devices and identify hackers.

2. Online and mobile security for cybersecurity threats.

Manage your passwords.

Use a secure password.

Easily identifiable personal information – such as your Social Security number, phone number, date of birth, home address, family member names, etc. – should not be a part of your password. Instead, mix it up with a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

Don’t store passwords in unsecure locations.

Avoid storing passwords in the Notes app on your phone, on computer files named “Password,” or even on random pieces of paper around the house. Instead, store them in a safer place such as a password manager.

Use two-factor authentication.

Consider two-factor authentication, a second layer of security to help strengthen your defenses against a potential cyberattack.

What should you do if you are a cybersecurity victim?

It can happen to anyone – no matter how vigilant you are. So, what steps can you take after you find out you’ve been a victim of a cyber scam?

Change your passwords.

This action can stop further damage.

Update your device security and scan for viruses.

If you accidentally clicked on a link, you may have downloaded a virus. A virus scan will remove anything malicious on your devices.

Notify the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).

Let them know you’ve been a victim of phishing and regularly order copies of your credit reports to closely monitor if someone else is taking out credit in your name.

Learn more about how to protect yourself from phishing and cyberattacks.

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