During recent years high-profile hacking attacks have been happening on a more frequent basis, leaving businesses concerned about their IT security. The method of the attacks varies but those aimed at employees are a lot more successful than those aimed at the systems, which is why it is important people need to be vigilant when it comes to this subject.
Illegitimate emails are sometimes hard to identify, however there are a few factors which can help to identify suspicious emails and avoid a security breach. Below are a few questions to ask…
- Does the email ask you to click a link or open an attachment?
- Is the email from a company or individual you have never had contact with before?
- Does the email ask you to make a payment or money transfer?
- Has the email been sent via a public email service and not a business email address?
- Does the email ask you to verify any personal data or account details?
- Does the email not refer to you by name?
- Does the email use poor grammar or spelling?
- Is the email poorly formatted or use low quality images?
- Does the email appear to be from an existing contact but the style of language or formatting of the email differs from their previous style?
If an email you receive answers “Yes” to any of the above questions, or even if you’re not certain the email is 100% legitimate, never click on any links or open any attachments as this could lead to an IT security breach.
Websites are another way an IT security breach can happen. Sometimes illegitimate websites are set up in order to try and catch out individuals by posing as legitimate businesses. Below are a few questions to consider when going on to a new website…
- Does the website address look similar but not identical to the website address you would normally expect to see?
- Does the website’s appearance look different than normal?
- Is there no Padlock icon next to the website address at the top of your web browser? (please note not all websites have a https address however all banking and e-commerce websites do)
- Does your browser display a message saying that there is a problem with the website’s security?
- Does a message appear when you open a website saying that your PC has been compromised and needs to scan your PC to prevent or remove infections? This can be used as a scam to get a user to click on the link and infect the computer with a virus.
If you have even a slight doubt about a website that you visit, do not click on any part of it or submit any information as this could lead to an IT security breach.
Another method to be aware of is phone call scams. If a phone you receive answers “yes” to any of these questions, it may be an illegitimate call…
- Is the caller claiming to be from Microsoft, a bank or any other reputable organisation that needs to carry out a security check on your PC?
- Is the caller claiming to represent someone you know requesting that you transfer money or make a payment of any kind?
- Is the caller asking you to state your personal information or password?
Never give out sensitive information over the phone if you cannot 100% confirm it is a legitimate call.
Overall it is essential to be vigilant when dealing with IT security, the slightest breach can cause a lot of damage and cost businesses time and money. Head of IT at summ.it, Neil Smith explained “It’s a common misconception that Macs aren’t affected by security issues, this is not the case as has been shown by the recent Proton virus, a remote-control Trojan designed specifically to attack Macs. If you have any concerns or queries about Windows or Mac security, contact firstname.lastname@example.org”