How to Avoid Phishing Scams

Phishing is a fraudulent practice cybercriminals use to compromise computers and steal sensitive information from individuals by pretending to be an email from—or the website of—a trusted organization. Recently, phishing scams have become increasingly sophisticated and varied, targeting organizations of all sizes. In this blog, we offer several tips for protecting your company from phishing scams.

Educate Your Employees

Cybercriminals exploit the vulnerabilities of employees. Therefore, educating your staff about phishing threats is critical. Your employees should always question whether they should open an attachment or click on a link to a site. Teach them to confirm that the link they are about to click on will send them to a legitimate, secure site. The validity of websites should always be reviewed. Check the spelling of website URLs and links, and make sure the link fits with the content of the email. If your employees receive questionable emails or attachments, they should delete them or forward them to your IT department for investigation. Remember, educating your employees is more than providing one training session; make ongoing education part of your phishing prevention plan.

Keep Your Systems Current

Many phishing scams involve impersonating trusted websites. If you don’t check the URL of a website before logging in, you may unknowingly hand over sensitive information to an attacker. Make sure every computer on your corporate network uses the HTTPS Everywhere extension to verify correct URLs. Install the latest patches and updates on all company devices to protect against software vulnerabilities and security issues.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your data while it is being transmitted. A VPN renders your local IP address anonymous, making it harder for a phishing attacker to steal your login credentials. A VPN can significantly boost online security for your business.

Use Anti-Spam Software

Spam filters can reduce the number of potential email phishing attacks, but they require constant tweaking and updating. Anti-spam software automatically reduces the volume of corporate spam and provides real-time protection from phishing threats. Any number of anti-spam software providers can provide a solution for your business.

Update Password Policies

Using one password for every login is a big mistake. Everyone in your organization should be using a unique password for each application and website. Long, complex phrases with letters, characters and numbers are more secure than words. Require your employees to use two-factor authentication to fortify their logins. That way, a code is sent to an employee’s phone to verify their login attempt.

Phishing threats may be frighteningly common, but by following these tips, you can help protect your organization from a security breach.

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