You Are the #1 Threat to Your Business’s Network Security
If asked, many business owners would probably say the biggest threat to their computer network is an outside attacker. You’re probably imagining him now – a hooded character, hiding his face in the shadows as he hacks into your system, mining for private and confidential data.
In reality, the biggest threat to your system is more likely sitting in the next cubicle, down the hall or even at your desk. The biggest threat to your business’s network is your users, which includes – you guessed it – you.
That’s not to say you or your employees are intentionally threatening the security of your network, but, given the complexity and rising number of attacks in today’s world, keeping your network safe means a lot more than just enabling antivirus software.
To protect your network, you have to know what to look out for, which means keeping abreast of common scams targeting businesses like yours.
Have you ever gotten an email from someone that seems too good to be true? Whether it’s a “prince” from a foreign country or a “friend” who was robbed while traveling abroad, phishing has become all too common.
To draw in unsuspecting victims, phishers spam out emails with big promises or threats designed to lead you, the user, to do one thing: click a corrupted link to download malicious software designed to cripple your network or steal your information.
It didn’t take long for people to catch wind of how to detect phishing attacks, leading to the evolution of spear phishing. Unlike phishing, spear phishing is personalized, targeting a specific organization and person (or people).
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For example, you receive an email from a usual vendor with a link to an invoice. You can’t remember ordering anything from the vendor recently, but the email address is from a sales rep who you’ve worked with in the past. You email the rep back and ask what the invoice is for. They respond a few minutes later letting you know that it’s for XYZ product. Hmm. You still don’t remember ordering XYZ, but you decide to click the link anyway to check it out. The browser window opens; then suddenly, you’re downloading something you know you don’t want to be downloading.
You may be saying to yourself, “Well, I’d never fall victim to that! I would be able to tell.” But it’s not so easy, especially when attackers spoof the email address to make it look like the email is coming from a client, vendor, your boss or a coworker. It’s safe to say that you probably rarely (if ever) check the reply to email address, especially when on your phone, meaning, like many before you, you may eventually fall prey to spear phishing.
Minimize the Threat
There are ways to minimize your organization’s risk of falling victim to phishing and other attacks. First and foremost, training yourself and your users is priority number one. Remember, by holding the power to let outside attackers inside, you and your users are the biggest threat to your network. You want to make sure that everyone using your network has a healthy skepticism of emails with links, attachments or requests for information – and knows not to click or open those links
To assist with this training, you can hire network specialists to create a campaign that will test how good your users are at detecting and avoiding phishing scams. This allows you to send your employees a safe (non-malicious) phishing email and collect information on which employees opened, deleted or even clicked the link. It’s like secret shopping. Afterwards, you can work with your staff to provide them with training on what to look for in the future.
Unfortunately in today’s cyber world, there is no question that you will be the target of a phishing attack. Today, more than ever, it’s important to make sure your network users, from the administrative to executive level, know how to spot a phishing attack and have the right tools and training to make sure your business’ network and data are safeguarded.
Gross Mendelsohn’s Technology Solution Group can enhance your network security by developing and managing campaigns to educate your employees to be vigilant when clicking links and attachments in emails.
If you’re worried about vulnerabilities in your network, schedule a free network assessment with our network engineers, or call us at 410.685.5512.
About Bill Walter
Bill, our lead networking guru, loves showing clients how technology can be worked into their existing processes to improve efficiency. His expertise includes high level planning for internal and external networks, research and selection of hardware and software products, and hands-on installation and configuration of networks. Normally a pretty easygoing guy, Bill thinks there should be a law against wearing a Bluetooth headset when it’s not in use.