Phishing scams cost businesses a lot of money each year. In fact, they’re so prevalent that they ranked among the top 3 most reported internet crimes according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report. With the advent of mobile devices and wearables, businesses must leverage solutions such as managed IT support systems to protect themselves from malware and phishing scams.
As humans, we're not hardwired for great security. We're more likely to trust and take action on things that look familiar. These kinds of scams are phishing attacks in the security realm, where attackers try to make users click on links or open emails that appear to be from reputable sources.
A cybersecurity breach could cost you dearly and ruin your reputation as a business owner. Although it's hard for anyone to believe that cybercriminals can impersonate a high-ranking employee of your company, the fact is that fraudsters are highly skilled and have quite a lot of tricks up their sleeve, so you need to be vigilant. Here are 10 ways to protect your business from phishing scams.
10 Ways to Protect Your Business from Phishing Scams
1. Install Anti-Phishing Software
Anti-phishing software is an effective way to prevent users from clicking on malicious links in emails or attachments. It scans messages for signs of phishing and provides warnings before users click on any links within the message.
Even if you don't use email as a primary form of communication within your organisation, it's still a good idea to install anti-phishing software on all devices used by employees because they may receive malicious emails while they're out of the office.
2. Monitor for Unusual Activity
Sometimes, a user forwards an email containing questionable content or sends it to other people within your organization. Such situations could indicate that they've been targeted by a phishing scammer and should immediately trigger some form of detection software (such as anti-phishing software).
They should also be instructed not to respond to emails requesting sensitive data such as passwords or credit card information until further instruction comes from IT. If they find something suspicious, take immediate action and report it to the appropriate authorities so they can investigate further.
3. Educate Your Employees About Phishing Scams
One of the best ways to protect against phishing scams is through education. You should train your employees to identify phishing emails and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in emails that they're not expecting.
You don't want someone with access to important data clicking on a suspicious link or attachment because they didn't know better. A good way to prevent this is with regular training sessions that cover the latest scams and how to avoid them.
4. Keep Security Software Up to Date
Cybercriminals constantly use new techniques and strategies, so businesses need to ensure their security software is always up-to-date with the latest protections against phishing attacks.
Security software can help detect phishing emails and block them before reaching your employees' inboxes. Alternatively, you could also partner with a reliable IT support service provider locally in your business location for better management of your business’ software security systems.
5. Practice Safe Browsing Habits
In general, it's important to practice safe internet browsing habits. This practice includes using a virtual private network (VPN) when you're working remotely or accessing public Wi-Fi connections, avoiding downloading software from unknown sources, and not clicking on links in emails unless they come from people you know or trust.
6. Have a Firewall
If you have a small business, the chances are that your network doesn't have firewalls installed. However, this doesn't mean that it isn't protected by one — your router is actually a firewall between your computer and the outside world.
To keep hackers out of your business's internal network, make sure that you change its default password at least once every six months and don't allow guest access to anyone who doesn't need it. This way, if someone does get into your system somehow, they won't be able to do much without administrator privileges.
7. Employ 2-Factor Authentication
This security measure requires two pieces of information — like a password and an ID card or PIN code — to access your business' computer system or network. Use strong passwords and rotate them often. Use long passphrases instead of just words or numbers that can be guessed easily by hackers.
8. Assign Passwords and Rotate Them Often
Assign different passwords for different accounts — one for email, banking, social media accounts, etc. If one gets compromised, only one account is affected, not all of them.
Install anti-virus software on your computer and update it regularly to detect threats accurately before they infect your computer system and cause damage to your data. A good practice is to change passwords monthly or quarterly, depending on how frequently the accounts are used.
9. Have a Backup Plan in Place
Should a hacker get into your computer system through the use of malware, they could delete all the data stored on your computer or servers. Having a backup plan in place will help ensure that you'll always have access to important information should something like this happen.
If a phishing scam has hit someone in your company, they should immediately change their password and contact IT so that the department can investigate the breach. One effective way to do this is by leveraging managed IT support services to develop a standard backup and recovery system for your business.
10. Check Links Before Clicking Them
Phishing scams often involve clicking on an email link that takes you to a fake website that looks like your bank's website or other trusted site. Don't trust any links sent through email — always check them before clicking on them by hovering over the link with your cursor and looking at its URL address bar first.
If you're ever unsure whether a link is safe to click on, check with someone else before clicking it yourself.
Ultimately, phishing scams are only going to become more common. And in a seemingly perfect business world where competition is stiff, and the market is saturated with products and services, the scammers of the internet will always be lurking to try and separate you from your money.
To protect your business from phishing scams, we suggest systematically implementing the best security policies and procedures. Executing such systems is where managed IT support service companies can prove helpful for your business, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
Hopefully, you found these tips useful. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should provide you with a good starting point for keeping your business safe.