Thursday, December 19, 2013

Keeping Your Systems Safe from Holiday Phishing Scams

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for seasonal phishing scams and cyber campaigns. Unfortunately, the holiday season is prime time for cyber criminals. The increased volume of online consumers makes it ideal for cyber criminals to try and exploit those who are unaware of cyber risks so that they can gain access to their personal information.

Not only are people targeted at home during their personal shopping, but employees are targeted at work as well.  Unfortunately, everyone with an email account is a potential target for cyber criminals.  Their attempts are deceptive because the email looks like it comes from a legitimate source, say FedEx, but it is actually a scam to get their targets to open malicious attachments or follow links to fake sites. Once the employee has clicked or followed the link, they’ve enabled a security breach through which cyber criminals can capture corporate information.

Some common examples of holiday phishing scams include:
•    Carrier service delivery notifications
•    Requests to wire transfer money
•    Credit card application forms
•    Fraud alert notifications
•    Requests for charitable contributions
•    Holiday-themed downloads (screensavers, e-cards, etc.)

The best advice for employees trying to keep systems safe during the holidays is not to click on links or open attachments from any retailer. If the email is legitimate, you should be able to get the same information by directly going to their website and signing into your account. Also, advise them not to give out corporate information via email unless they are 100% sure of the source. The tiniest bit of doubt should stop them from sending the email, and finding an alternative way to verify the source, then sending the information in a secure format.

And it’s not just on the employees that need to work to keep systems safe. From an organizational standpoint, it’s absolutely critical to keep all of your corporate devices, whether they are computers, laptops, tablets, or Smartphones, up-to-date with the latest patches and fixes, as well as installing anti-virus software and firewalls to protect the data on your corporate network.

So boys and girls, ‘tis the season to protect your company against “Grinch-like” phishing scams. And the best gift your corporation can receive is peace of mind.

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