Oops! They Did It Again . . .

Confidence is that feeling you have right before you know all the facts, yes? I know you know that you should regularly and religiously teach your staff, your employees, about dangerous emails and to never click on an unknown sender’s attachment. And yet—2020 was a windfall year for cybercriminals. There was an 85% increase in overall cybercrime last year and a 600% increase in phishing attacks. Last year’s global economic shifts and the pandemic that kept so many working from home created a golden opportunity for more phishing attempts than ever. Despite their training, not being in the normal office environment—well—oops! they did it again.

“I Made You Believe We’re More Than Just Friends”

Yes, but, you say. Circumstances may have made people more vulnerable. These have been such unusual times, there is so much insecurity, etc., etc. At Aptica, we have heard all these “buts” as we clean up after a breach. Any business, of any size, in any industry, are prime targets and will get phishing emails every day. Staffers who check personal emails from their workstations will see their own versions. Statistics from last year show that 67% of all% clickers on a phishing email will also submit their login credentials. That’s up from just 2% in 2019. “There is a problem with your Amazon delivery,” “Your PayPal account (or bank account, credit card account, credit score) has been suspended. Please click here to see details.” I see these attempts. Even when this type of email is caught in a spam filter, the level of alarm from the reader can make them click on that email already labeled as spam.

“I’m Not That Innocent”

Life as we knew it has been upended for a very long time. We’re bored. We’re fearful. We are over it and we want to move forward. We want the comfort and companionship of our family and friends. Most of all, we want no unpleasant surprises and that’s what cybercriminals play to. Phishing attempts appear to alert you of a scary problem and offer you an immediate change to address it. To fix it. As we have been told ad nauseam, never never never click on such an email. Especially never ever actually log in to such an email. If there might be an Amazon delivery on the way, or if you think there might be a problem with your credit card—always go to that company’s main website to log in. This kind of hack opens up a world of your personal and financial information to very bad people and for a very long time. Just. Don’t. Do it.

Especially because so many are still working outside their normal office environment, I see that businesses are much more at risk for breaches. I advise owners and managers to continually remind workers that cybercrime is thriving because of our current medical and economic woes. Know that your filters and firewalls are up to date. Make cyber caution a weekly reminder. If someone comes forward to admit they think they may have been hacked, call your IT manager at once to start mitigation processes.

If you haven’t had formal cybercrime training with your employees and executives, Aptica can do that for you. Give us a call to ask about the specifics. This training can save your data and can save you money. Education is a key to prevention.

Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 19 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.

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