There is a lot more to be frightened of than ghouls and ghosts during Halloween! October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) acknowledges that 7 million records are compromised daily. They also report that cyber-crime has increased 20% in the first three months of 2020 due to the pandemic. A slogan for the October campaign is, “if you connect it, protect it”.
Whether you are the receptionist at the front desk, a customer service representative working from home, or a machine operator scrolling through social media, we all need to be more careful before we click on that suspicious email or website. CISA advises us to “think before we link”. They warn that it is easy to become distracted by click bait and relevant news headlines which can lead to us clicking on something malicious that we would not have normally clicked on. Cyber criminals know this and put a lot of effort into widening their disinformation network. So, take a minute before you click. Always confirm where an embedded link will take you before clicking on it by hovering your mouse over the link. Make sure that you know the content, know the source, know the reason, and know yourself. Never share any information that you have not investigated and that you have not confirmed to be legitimate.
Email addresses are a vital part of a business. They are required to perform most tasks including completing online applications or submitting a resume; however, they are also an open door for cyber-attacks. It is important to know that cyber criminals spoof the domains of reputable organizations and send emails that look to be legitimate. Make sure that you carefully read the email address of the sender to confirm that there are no extra spaces, letters, or punctuation. Even if the sender appears to be legitimate, check the email for grammatical errors and incoherent sentences. If something seems off about the email, there is a very good chance that your intuition is right and that you need to delete that email. When possible, confirm that someone has sent you an email by picking up the phone and calling that individual or by opening up a new, separate email and sending it to the individual to make sure he/she was the sender.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has some great ideas for employees and employers to help keep information safe and sound. This information can be found at cisa.gov. By taking a few preventative measures and precautions, you can save your screams for the scary movies.