Netcotech IT Blog
In today’s ever-connected world, many devices are capable of utilizing an Internet connection to share and access information, including some rather unorthodox ones. All of these devices contribute to the greater collective which is referred to as the Internet of Things. While this type of unprecedented connectivity can be a great boon for businesses, it also represents great risks for business owners who do not take it seriously.
We have been using email for decades, and it’s easy to take its vulnerability for granted. We send and receive dozens of emails a day – messages with confidential information are at particular risk for data breaches.
Technology is getting smarter, but so are the malicious hackers that want to intercept your information. From phishing scams to spam messages and beyond, emails are a lot more exposed than we think.
What Are the Best Ways to Protect Your Emails?
While having firewall and malware software is a good idea, the specific steps you take to protect your emails don’t have to be overly complicated. Implementing some habits every day, week, or month can go a long way in adding a layer of security to your account.
Keep Your Email Accounts Separate
It seems like everyone has at least two email accounts – a personal account, a work account, and sometimes more. Keeping your accounts and emails separate is a good practice to adopt.
Only sending work emails from your work account, not your personal account and vice versa can reduce security risks. If one account is compromised, you can more easily identify what information was available on that account.
Change Your Email Password Regularly
If you have the same password from when you first set up your email account, it’s a good time to change it. While it may feel inconvenient, consistently changing passwords makes them harder for cybercriminals to guess.
Cyber attackers are well-practiced in breaching data and leaking passwords, but changing your password can stop them from coming and going as they please. Your password is the first line of defence against data breaches, so changing it once a year can make a difference.
Use 2-Factor Authentication
In most email accounts, you can enable a 2-factor authentication which will require you to sign in using your password and input another confirmation, typically a passcode sent to your phone.
If you're signing in and out of accounts all day, this may seem like an unnecessary step, but taking a few extra seconds will add an extra layer of confidence that your email is secure.
With technology continuously adapting, it's crucial to stay up to date on the security and privacy settings on the platform and review your company policy on email best practices. To ensure that everyone in your organization is being as safe as you, educating your employees and standardizing security practices will guarantee that everyone stays consistent and diligent.
In conversations about cybersecurity, experts constantly stress the importance of covering webcams. From computers to tablets to phones, we have cameras on almost every device we use, and they're as vulnerable to cyberattacks as anything else.
In the age of telecommuting and online lectures, programs like Zoom are gaining more users. You have to worry not just about your own business' security but also the safety of software that uses our webcams.
Why Would You Cover Up Your Webcam?
Cybercriminals are after information, but that doesn't mean they're only targeting your files – webcams are also a gateway into information mining. Whether you're in the privacy of your home or workspace, if software or a virus infiltrates your webcam, malicious hackers can see everything your webcam sees.
If you have a wireless webcam, it will likely have its own IP address and password. If a cybercriminal finds the IP address and can crack the password, they will access all the webcam's functions.
Built-in webcams are incredibly convenient, but if your whole device gets a virus, a hacker can quickly take control of your webcam. When using your camera, your computer will turn on a light to notify you that it's on, but malware can disable that function. Your camera – and microphone – could be in use without your knowledge.
How Do You Improve Your Webcam’s Security?
Covering your webcam is an easy, universal trick to keep your privacy and avoid any malicious spying, but that doesn’t necessarily protect your microphone. Taking some more thorough precautions can help protect your device.
- Get antivirus software and firewall protection. Security software can help protect your device from malware by denying access to your computer’s webcam without your permission. Firewalls can act as a filter to only allow legitimate access to your network.
- Update your software and operating systems. Updating your operating system can seem tedious, but keeping your devices up to date can be a protective measure against attacks. Older versions of your operating systems can easily exploit vulnerabilities for hackers to take advantage of.
- Avoid unfamiliar links and attachments. Phishing emails or links can be the gateway for cybercriminals to access your webcam – only open emails and links from trusted sources.
Even if it seems a little paranoid to cover your webcam, it can be a practical, low-cost protective measure to protect your privacy. At the very least, it will keep your physical space private and prevent cybercriminals from picking up visual clues to access your information.
Chances are, your small business doesn't have a team of in-house technology professionals whose job it is to catch and fix all tech problems. Small companies have less staff, and IT support can fall to the bottom of the priorities pile.
But unlike large corporations, small businesses have fewer in-house resources to protect themselves from data breaches, server crashes, and general technological disasters.
That's why outsourcing the technical aspects of your business to a fully managed service provider is the answer. Here are a few reasons why letting someone else manage your technology is better for you, your business, and your employees.
1. Improved Productivity
Think back to the last time you had even a minor tech emergency. You have to stop what you were doing, attempt to diagnose the problem, and try to tinker with your machines hoping that you can fix it and get back into your workflow.
You and your employees already have full days doing your jobs and growing the business. Being bogged down by IT problems can only flame frustration.
Getting IT professionals to take care of these tasks for you lets your staff get back to doing their jobs uninterrupted.
2. Ensured Security
As much as you may try to learn about IT security, phishing scams, and data mining, tech scams are evolving and changing so quickly. The best way to feel secure is to get guidance from an IT professional who is up-to-date on all the knowledge.
People in the IT industry know the best protective measures to take across all the devices in your network. This is especially important in remote work settings when employees access data in and out of the office.
3. Stay Up-to-Date
Keeping up to date with the latest technology trends is the last thing on a business owner’s mind. You want to stick with what’s reliable and what you know. From computer software, hardware, and cloud storage, IT professionals will be able to tell you what will help your business succeed and remain competitive.
Reliable managed IT support can make or break your small business. IT support can boost the productivity of your team members by keeping their focus on their work and not on tech problems.
Your employees' stress levels, costs, and security risks will all be reduced with the right IT professionals.
With more and more companies switching to a work-from-home model, employees need to be more careful with work data. Many employees lack the knowledge about how to best keep data safe and secure, and those preying on them know that this gap in understanding exists.
Are Remote Workers More at Risk of Hacking?
Since remote working has changed the way we use our devices, they are at risk of data breaches in different ways. Home devices may be targeted by cybercriminals looking to use a home network to access business devices. Third-party applications, messaging, and emails will be more at risk of phishing messages as a result.
Remote workers are most at risk of data breaches, and it's a trend that will continue as remote working becomes the new normal. Businesses are becoming increasingly vulnerable in their device security, as well as their data security.
Why are Remote Workers More Vulnerable to Security Breaches?
As we get comfortable working from home, we naturally let our guard down. We feel safe in our house at the best of times, so we think our devices are safe too.
But the reality is that outside the firewall protections offered with company servers, we are more vulnerable. Home modems and routers aren’t enough. And attacks on cloud services and cloud-based collaboration tools have increased by 600% during the beginning months of 2020.
How Do You Prevent Hacks and Data Breaches for Work-From-Home Employees?
It’s up to business owners, managers, and IT departments to clearly communicate the risks and possible breaches that go along with working from home. Security awareness is a constant learning process, and educating staff on how to protect themselves is the key to maintaining security.
The best way for companies and their employees to protect their data is to be vigilant about how security may be compromised and get ahead of it. Remote work may make employees and organizations more vulnerable, but working from home can be seamless with awareness of cyber threats.
Phishing emails and texts have evolved over time from the basic ploy to get your personal information to very sophisticated schemes that leave you questioning. Passwords, bank account information and other account information are vulnerable to these scams, so it's increasingly important to recognize the tactics and avoid them.
How Do I Recognize Phishing?
Scammers have the tools and cunning to make their messages seem legitimate. But there are some messages to look out for and question.
They may look like a legitimate communication from companies you trust. Whether it's from your bank, Netflix, or even a government agency, scammers are doing their best to make their scams seem as authentic as possible.
- They may claim that there is a problem with your existing password.
- It could ask you to click on a link to make a payment.
- They could say that they’ve seen suspicious activity on your account.
- They may even include a fake invoice or coupon.
The end goal of these scams is for you to click on the link that they’ve attached with their message, which can then give them access to your personal information.
How Do I Protect Myself from Phishing Scams?
Automatic Software Updates
A simple way to ensure that you don't come across these scams is to let your phone or computer's software update automatically. When you get new software updates, you gain new protections from security threats and scams.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
This sort of sign-in option makes it more difficult for others to log into your accounts. If you have an account that requires multi-factor authentication, you'll need your password along with a secondary entry, such as a security code sent to another device or account. Even if a scammer were to have your username and password, this sort of authentication makes getting into your accounts more difficult.
When in doubt, never click a questionable link. Avoid logging into any account through these links. If you're unsure, always reach out to the company directly or go to your account through your browser – not through the link. It can make a difference in protecting your data and personal information.