As a business owner it’s important for you to know that 90 percent of all network hacks on businesses are completed through phishing scams. If you’re not aware of what a phishing scam is, here’s a quick definition.

In general, phishing scams show up in email messages, websites, and phone calls. In the most common form of emails, cybercriminals attach malware, spyware and ransomware on computers through links that victims click upon. The malicious software is then used to steal personal financial information from your computer or network.

There are many technical steps you can take to lessen your chances of being hit by a phishing scam, including email spam filters and anti-virus programs. However, no system is 100 percent secure, so it’s important to talk to your employees about what they can do to avoid scams. Here are a few tips to pass along to make sure your company and employee information remains safe.

Double check the sender

Just because the address an email is sent from looks legitimate, doesn’t mean that it is. Scammers can easily create fake email addresses with subtle differences that mimics an address that regularly emails you. These emails normally appear to come from another employee inside the company. Since most companies list their employees on their website, it takes scammers just a few moments to work out fake email addresses for anyone in your company.

Beware of suspicious subject lines

The very first step in falling victim to a phishing scam is opening the email. Scammers often write subject lines with a sense of urgency that make you feel like you’re somehow in danger and immediate action is required. If you think about it, how often is your immediate attention ever really needed? Not very often, right? If you receive an email from someone you don’t know with such a subject line, ignore it and mark it as spam. If you receive such an email from a co-worker, simply call that person and ask if they sent the email. If not, delete it and alert your IT administrator.

Don’t fall for images and logos

Just because an email may contain what look like legitimate images or logos doesn’t mean the email is safe. Scammers can easily pull company images and logos off internet search results and place them in phishing emails to make them appear more real.

Watch out for impersonal greetings

Because scammers generally send out their emails in large patches they will use impersonal greetings or no greeting at all. Greetings like “Dear Customer” or “Dear Co-worker” should raise an automatic red flag, as should poor grammar or incorrect spelling. 

Check the links before you click

Hovering over links online will bring up the link destination in either a pop-up or on the bottom left-hand corner on most browsers. Before clicking on any unknown link, hover over it to assess its trustworthiness. If you don’t recognize the address, don’t click the link and immediately delete the email and report it to your IT professional.

Phishing protection from BKS

If your business would be crippled by a data hack, then you need to consider your IT security and IT data recovery plan. More than just a firewall and antivirus software, your business needs a proactive monitoring program that can secure your operations.

Starting by identifying your IT security needs, including any legal and regulatory compliance, Chicago IT consultant BKS Systems creates a strategic plan to keep your company ahead of any security issues.

Our team of experienced and certified IT experts provide proactive monitoring, regular upgrades, and routine backups to keep ahead of IT vulnerabilities and phishing emails. Contact us today to ensure that your company and employees are safe from an IT disaster.