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Many know that small to midsize businesses are top targets for identity theft. Technali IT Solutions has created a program to stop cyber theft. Cyber thieves can steal data in minutes, but your company could spend years rebuilding its reputation or financial health. Criminals often use everyday communication, such as email, to steal sensitive information. Once they have your login credentials or other details, they may sell them on the internet underworld known as the dark web. Let’s look at ways to keep your business data safe.

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Phishing for Your Data

Your business is most vulnerable while conducting ordinary activities such as checking email and chatting with customers and vendors. Thieves use these means to commit a crime called phishing, which is fraudulent communication aimed at duping people into revealing confidential information. Phishing emails, phone calls, and texts masquerade as messages from trustworthy sources. Let’s take a look at two common variants targeting businesses, deceptive and spear phishing.

Deceptive Phishing

In deceptive phishing, cyber thieves send a mass email containing a fraudulent website link or attachment. They are hoping that you and other recipients will take the bait and log in to the fake site or download the file.

As a typical example, you receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate entity such as a bank. The message includes an urgent call to action to induce you to divulge confidential information. It may ask you to log in to a website to address an account issue or to download an invoice. The site may look similar to the real thing but will almost always have telltale signs of fakery. If you sign in with your credentials, the fraudsters have them to exploit.

If you open a phishing file attachment, it will install malicious software, called malware, on your computer. The software may log your keystrokes, allow a criminal to access your computer remotely, or disable your antivirus software.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a tactic that attempts to “spear” one particular person or company department to defraud. It is especially dangerous because it tailors its message to you personally, including details only a trusted source would likely know. For example, you receive a personalized email from your human resources manager asking you to confirm your bank account details by reentering them on the internal site. However, the link provided is to a fraudulent website mocked up to resemble your company’s portal.

One lucrative type of spear phishing is called whaling. This tactic targets senior managers who have financial authority at your business. Criminals may be after documents that contain tax identification numbers and other sensitive information. Often, they hope to trick you into authorizing monetary transactions such as wire transfers.

Protecting Your Business

To thwart phishing, your business needs robust network security in place. The solution should flag suspicious websites, downloads, and email links and attachments. You also want to keep all software versions current as releases often contain critical security updates. This includes operating systems such as Windows or macOS, business applications such as Microsoft Office 365, and internet security software that protects against viruses, malware, and other threats. Partnering with a technology solutions provider can ensure you cover all the bases.

Sound business processes help ensure you don’t fall prey to financial fraud. You can reduce the risk of a criminal transaction slipping through by requiring at least two authorizations for significant expenses. To safeguard individual account access, make sure you have implemented the two-factor authentication most financial institutions offer. This method usually entails the bank sending a randomly generated code to a contact method on file, such as a cell phone. Even if thieves have your login details, they cannot access your account unless they also have your phone.

Good judgment is still the best defense against phishing. Your business should train employees on how to spot email, phone, and message fraud. These communications can be quite convincing, and each person’s vigilance will make all the difference.

If a phishing scheme should hook your business, you can contain the damage by immediately seeking expert help. Technology professionals trained in network security will analyze your computer network and determine the next steps to remediate infections. They will clean connected devices and manage your data backup and restoration. They will also help educate your team on prevention.