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3 Tips on Avoiding Phishing, Malware, and Other Cyber Scams

In this blog, we will review some tips on preventing malicious malware from infecting your computer.

During this unusual holiday period, your inbox is probably flooded with many festive greetings and seasonal communications. Chances are that you will also receive a high volume of phishing attacks. These attacks may come disguised in previously sent email threads, but they might appear in a new format.

phishing alert text on blue tech styled background

The message might arrive with the same subject line and content you actually sent to someone you know. The email could be just a portion of the complete text, and it can be recent or from several months ago. The catch is that because the original content was real, it seems familiar, even though it now has an added link or attachment that the hacker has incorporated to tempt you to click on it.

How can you prevent being taken in by this type of scam? We suggest that first, you check the sender’s email address. Do not just check the sender’s name, but verify the actual email address from where it was sent. In this hoax, the sender will not be the actual person you have previously emailed. Therefore, the email address from where it was sent will also be different. It operates out of third-party programs used by most businesses, like Campaigner and Constant Contact. 

Remember hearing about Target’s spam problem a few months ago? This is an example of how phishers can enter your communication through the back door. Once access is gained to an email thread, they can hack into whatever they want and redesign to include this type of malware.

Our advice is to never automatically click on an attachment. This particular scam works because it assumes that you will not pay close attention to the rest after you see a familiar message. It has been found that usually, the link or attachment doesn’t really fit with the original message. So, if you take the time to thoroughly read the entire text, you probably will not be fooled by this type of scam.

Are You Finding An Influx of Covid-19 Vaccine or other Current Events Related Emails? Whenever there is a world-wide crisis, there is a comparable rise in cyber-attacks. The Covid-19 outbreak has prompted an abundance of phishing emails about tracking reports, statistical analysis, funding sources, and job-related data. Currently, the content is changing to information about vaccines.

According to a leader in cybersecurity systems, there is a dramatic increase in the number of vaccine-related new coronavirus domains during the September-October period. And there is a serious increase in vaccine-related malicious coronavirus-related websites’ landing pages.

The emails are being sent with an infected attachment, directing you to obtain the most recent list of approved vaccines, or with a link that switches you to a fake medical site where you are requested to complete your personal information in order to get your personal details.

password entry box with asterisks in the entry field

Ultimately, the objective of the hacker is to trick you into disclosing your confidential data. So how can you prevent falling for this?

Always remain skeptical of messages that you did not request about current topics like the Coronavirus. For example: if you receive ‘hot off the press’ news about a ‘state-of-the-art’ vaccine, look carefully from where it is being sent. 

If it is from someone familiar, is it typical for them to send this kind of information?  If it is coming from someone who you don’t know, treat it with extreme caution.

Generally, hackers get you to reveal your personal information by piquing your interest.  Make it a habit to always stop for a moment before taking any action directed through an email. You will be far less likely to be victimized by this type of scam.

Another Common Scam Found At this Time of Year

There are other types of scams that rely on the reader being on automatic pilot when receiving them. Often when receiving emails from your company’s HR department, you will obviously assume that it was actually sent from your company’s internal HR office. However, analysts from a large cybersecurity firm report that scams like the following are highly effective in hacking into many unsuspecting companies’ communication systems.

An email appearing to come from HR tells the employee that the company will be distributing small end of year bonuses as rewards for extra efforts during the Coronavirus Pandemic. The email comes with an attached form to complete in order to calculate the worker’s increase. Unfortunately, the bonus is not really going to be given. However, by opening the attachment, you have accidentally infected the company’s computer system with malware.

Program failure warning notifications all over the screen, security alert concept. Computer monitor showing windows with system failure messages with red indicators on background.

So, the best action to take if you receive this type of email is the following:

All employees should vigilantly check any emails claiming to be from Human Resources. Make sure the email address is accurate. Evaluate whether this type of message is one that your company would likely send via email.

Even when an email seems to be sent from within the company, do not open any attachments. Call the HR department and check that they actually sent this email before clicking on any links or opening any files.

Do not fall prey to the emotional reaction of receiving extra cash. That’s exactly what the hackers hope will happen. They anticipate that you will act emotionally rather than thinking clearly. Be extra cautious and anticipate your response before reacting to any email. That might help in preventing havoc in your company’s computer network.

Conceptual hand writing showing Cyber Warfare. Concept meaning Virtual War Hackers System Attacks Digital Thief Stalker

For more information about cybersecurity tips and how to protect your company from malware, visit Kustura Technologies.


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