This past week wrapped up Metro CSG’s final Online Fraud Prevention workshop for 2014, where we went over all the steps small businesses can make to protect themselves from cyber threat. With online fraud and data theft on the rise it’s highly important to exercise significant caution when using the web, not just for your own sake, but for your users and customers as well.
Take a look at these security tips to help ensure the your security:
- Exercise Link Caution: Be wary of emails that try to get you to click a link, as this one of the most popular methods of transmitting Malware. Verify the destination of the link by mousing over and confirm that the domain is safe. Legitimate emails will generally reference a destination for you to access on your own.
- Double Check Addresses: Unfamiliar or “not quite right” email addresses are generally sign that a phisher is contacting you. “@facebookmail.com” for example, is a know phishing domain.
- Alerts: Alarmist messages regarding your account, such as a threat of suspension or deletion, are a popular method used to get you to click a malicious link.
- Keep Your Info to Yourself: Some phishing emails will pose as a trusted figure and ask for you to provide personal information, such as a credit card number or your password. This kind of message always comes from a phisher.
- Block Hazardous Attachments: Block emails from attaching dangerous file types, such as .exe, .bat, .bas, .vbs. as these files are typically used to run malware that can access your data.
- Hide Your Wi-Fi: Prevent your router from broadcasting to Wi-Fi so only you and your users can access it. Viewable networks run the risk of being compromised by a hacker within its range.
- Use a Firewall: A firewall will put another line of defense between you and a hacker. Firewalls come as both hardware and software components that control access to your network.
- Encrypt: Encrypting your data and emails will render them unreadable to a third party that captures it between send points.
- MDM: Implement a mobile device management solution to give you greater control over the way the devices in your organizations access the web and your network.
- Update Often: Change your passwords frequently to keep them safe—anywhere between once a month to once per quarter is considered good practice.
- Password Variation: Use different passwords for different accounts. This will keep one compromised account from affecting others.
- Strengthen: Choose strong passwords that are difficult to guess. Utilize letters, numbers and symbols, as well as capitalization.
- “Dummy” Accounts: Designate a separate email address to be used for ecommerce and signups only. Not only will this reduce your vulnerability, but the amount of spam you receive as well.
- Monitor: Keep a close eye on your accounts for any suspicious activity.
- Avoid Charging Stations: Since most power cords double as a means for a computer to access your phone, these hubs can be hacked to gather information and infect your device while you charge.
- Use Yours: When engaging in sensitive browsing (banking & shopping) use your own trusted devices and networks. There is no telling whether or not an unfamiliar computer is infected with spyware.
- Password Protect: If your device supports password protection, always enable it.
- Download Safely: Only use trusted sites to download files and programs. Most sites can be looked up online in a third-party watchdog directory to confirm their safety.
- Update, Update, Update: Keep your software and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches and security fixes. Upgrade from unsupported platforms that don’t receive these changes.
- Pay with Cash When Possible: Recent security breaches in major companies, such as Home Depot and K-Mart, were caused by malware that infected payment systems. By paying with cash, you are kept isolated from a system that could capture your debit or credit card information.
By following these tips, you will be able to significantly reduce your online risk for fraud. If you’re feeling concerned about the security of your network and would like more information about staying safe, please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance!
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