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3 Ways Companies Can Combat Phishing

Combating Malware & Phishing

Despite the advanced technology and insight into data breaches, many companies still find themselves victims of silent attacks conducted by hacking professionals. While there are few ways to prevent these attacks, there are multiple precautions you can take to protect your company and your customers.

Data breaches can occur when malware is downloaded onto a device. Malware consist of different viruses and software that collect private information without the target ever knowing. Most commonly, data breaches are performed using phishing, which occurs when one is sent emails or texts containing links to malware. They are cleverly disguised as normal emails that do not always look suspicious to the unsuspecting eye, or even appear "friendly," which are why many people fall victim.

Although these attacks are not always preventable, there are several steps your company can take to avoid phishers and to minimize the damage.

  1. One of the first areas to begin is with your employees, starting with utilizing training to teach them what to look for. With attacks becoming more clever, it is important to be constantly vigilant, even with every email or text received, especially those with attachments or links, even from people you know. If you are unsure about a link, trying carefully moving your mouse pointer over the link without clicking it to be able to view the URL, which may give you an indication the link is potentially hostile. If your employees are skeptical about anything, they can forward the suspicious communication to spam@uce.gov or reportphishing@antiphishing.org. It is crucial that they know what to watch for and are consistently on the lookout, as they are the gatekeepers into the company's data.

  2. As much as your employees do their part, the customers also play a crucial role. Just as your employees can accidentally let in a criminal, so can consumers. They are not subject to training and do not necessarily feel the loyalty to your company to protect it from data breaches. But there are things you can do to encourage customers to educate themselves for their own protection, as well as the protection of your company. As with employees, they have the option to forward any suspicious emails to spam@uce.gov and reportphishing@entiphishing.gov. Additionally, they can forward these emails to the supposed originating company; this way, the company can verify if it is phishing or if it is a real email. You can also provide additional information regarding tips for passwords and security settings. Not only will your customers appreciate the assistance, but your company will benefit and remain guarded.

  3. In addition to getting your employees and customers on board, you can also use technology in your endeavor to thwart data breaches. When faced with a questionable network, make sure to look for cross site scripting susceptibilities to prevent being taken to a site containing malware. You can also prevent hackers from using your company's images by running an anti-leeching script on your website. Lastly, consider investing in a program, like knowledge management software, that helps you track any information or training you want to share with your employees and customers, as well as help you log any possible attacks for future reference.

With these three tips to keep in mind, you, your employees and your customers can all work together to crusade against data breaches.