Safe Computing Tip #3 – Beware of Phishing Emails & Social Engineering
These phishing safe computing tips are absolutely essential for any employee with internet access. According to the Verizon report a vast majority of malware is delivered via email. Business email compromise (BEC) is a pervasive threat that you need to be aware of to use computers safely.
A report from Tessian found that a staggering 1 in 4 employees have admitted to clicking on a phishing email at work. According to a report from PhishMe employees who have opened a phishing email in the past are 67% more likely to fall for a future phishing attempt.
Phishing is a type of fraud that uses fake emails, text messages, or social media messages to convince you to click a link, fill out a form, provide sensitive information, transfer funds, or take other actions that benefit the attacker. Phishing is a constant threat to data security. It is responsible for 22% of the data breaches studied in the Verizon report. Cybercriminals use phishing attacks to compromise accounts, steal company funds and breach sensitive data.
Social Engineering is an advanced form of social manipulation where an attacker convinces an employee to provide confidential information or unauthorized access to corporate systems.
Social engineering can be as simple as pretending to be a contractor in order to gain physical access to the office or as advanced as impersonating an executive to trick you into providing them with confidential information.
Phishing cybersecurity tips for employees:
- Learn about anti-phishing best practices and follow them. Your employer should provide you with anti-phishing training that includes phishing simulations, examples of phishing emails, and procedures for reporting phishing attempts to your IT department.
- Treat every email that demands non-public information, files, or unexpected requests with suspicion – especially if it tries to force you to rush the request. If a request sounds dubious, take the time to call the requester and verify that their demands are legitimate.
- If you receive a suspected phishing email, report it to your IT department so they can investigate. Your employer may even be performing a phishing simulation that tracks how well employees respond to phishing attacks.
Following these password hygiene computing tips are essential for protecting data. Unfortunately, poor password hygiene is far too prevalent – a shocking 59% of users surveyed in the LastPass Psychology of Passwords Report admit to reusing passwords!
Your passwords must be unique, private, and easy for you to remember without being easy for an attacker to guess. Along with a strong password, you should use multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible; this forces a would-be attacker to bypass multiple authentication measures (a password + biometrics, a PIN number, etc.) before they can breach an account.
Password Security Tips for Employees:
- Do not reuse passwords. If a data breach ever leaks one of your accounts the attacker could gain access to other accounts using your reused passwords.
- Use company-provided authentication measures such as a password manager or Identity Access Management (IAM) solution.
- Do not leave passwords in an insecure location such as a post-it note, journal or unencrypted text file.
- Do not share your passwords or accounts with coworkers. Every employee must have their own unique login credentials so that their activity can be accurately monitored and managed by the IT department.
- Make long and simple passwords. Think of your password as more of a passphrase. Use a series of unrelated words to create long, simple passwords rather than short and complex ones. Passphrases are easier for you to remember and harder for attackers to brute force or guess.