Archives for March 2020

Cyber Security, How To Stay Safe

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With the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, many individuals may find themselves out of work or working remotely and from home during the time of restricted quarantine. If you are currently working from home or if you are the owner of a business that is responsible for remote employees, it is important to stay safe from potential scams and malware online by learning more about cyber security and why it matters. When you are aware of various scams, viruses, and malware issues online, it is much easier to protect yourself and the information you are sharing between employees, co-workers, or anyone else involved in your business and income.

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How to Stay Safe Online

Staying safe online is possible by taking precautions and learning more about current scam rings and potential issues that may arise while attempting to make purchases and access highly sensitive information. If you are an individual who is using the internet to work from home, consider the following tips to enhance your own cyber security when you are working or using the internet during a time of crisis:

  • Choose strong passwords that are difficult to guess and that have no relation to your own personal life, your birthday, your children, or even your extended family
  • Install and update your current anti-virus software on your computer in addition to implementing a firewall whenever you browse online
    Only use websites with SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer icons in the upper left hand corner of the URL bar, which appears as a locked icon to indicate a secure connection
  • Avoid shopping on websites that are not verified or well-known, especially if you are unfamiliar with browsing the web. Always use websites that are secured, safe, and trusted by others you know to minimize the risk of being hacked or becoming a target of online thieves.

If you are the owner of a business, there are a few additional steps and guidelines to keep in mind and consider to ensure the protection of your employees as well as the data and information you have stored for your business and customers, such as:

  • Install a new firewall and anti-virus program on all of your computers and the computers your employees use
  • Keep your firewall updated at all times, especially as new exploits and scams become more prevalent
  • Host training sessions with all of your employees to reinforce browsing guidelines and ways that they can protect themselves whenever they are online or using your company’s computers
  • Store, download, and backup user and customer data as often as possible to prevent deletion or hacking of the sensitive information you collect from users, employees, and customers of your own
  • Implement multi-factor authentication solutions to add an additional layer of security and protection to all of your electronic and internet devices along with all of your employees and remote workers. Multi-factor authentication will ensure even more security for those who are working from home, regardless of their position and the type of sensitive information they are responsible for even when they are not in the office.
  • Web and spam filters can also provide you with more control over the type of websites and content that can be accessed online with the use of your computers by employees and remote workers.

How to Identify if You’ve Already Fallen Victim to a Scam

Knowing how to identify if you have already fallen victim to a scam is extremely beneficial, especially when there is money or personal and sensitive information at risk. If you notice that your account is logged out or that changes to your name, email address, phone number, or other personal details have been changed with an online account of yours, your account may be compromised.

You may also find emails that request a change to your password or a password reset, which is an indicator that another individual, hacker, or bot is attempting to access your account and update the information with their own.

If any of your online accounts or bank accounts are used when you are working or whenever you are online, it is important to keep an eye on your bank account itself. Many hackers and online thieves today target both credit cards as well as bank account numbers to steal directly from an individual’s personal or business bank account.

What to Do If You Have Been Scammed or Hacked

If you have fallen victim to a cyber scam, it is important to avoid panicking and instead, begin gathering as much relevant information as possible as it pertains to the scam or scammer you have encountered yourself. Consider how you have been scammed before attempting to rectify the situation. If your bank account or credit card account has been hacked, contact your banking institution or card provider immediately and directly to freeze your card and to file an official fraud report. Most often, banks and credit card providers are willing to work with those who have been scammed to get your money and funds back into your account.

Update and change all of your passwords any time you have been hacked or breached, even if the account and password differ from the account entered. Always use passwords that contain special characters and passwords that have no relation to your everyday life. Update and install new firewalls and anti-virus software for your entire business or your personal computers. Always keep your virus software updated automatically to ensure that you are maximizing your protection any time you are browsing online.

Decreasing cyber liability as a business owner or even as an entrepreneur is essential to mitigate the risks of having your personal or financial data exposed to the world or a group fo online hackers. By taking the proper steps to increase your own cyber security online, drastically decrease your risk of cyber liability and falling victim to any form of scam, especially during a time of need with the Covid-19 outbreak.


 

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