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Paul Jopa
Manager, Information Technology Development
July 7, 2020

Three Simple Steps to Maintain Security While Remote Working

A random person walks up to you in the street and says they are with your bank and they urgently need your social security number because there has been an issue. They are wearing a shirt with your bank’s logo and they sound quite convincing.

Giving this person any of your bank or personal information sounds crazy, right? But everyday thousands of people fall for an email variation of this type of scam. It’s known as phishing, a term I’m sure you’ve heard a number of times.

What makes a faceless email more trustworthy than a human being? It shouldn’t be. We’re living in an increasingly digital world, with COVID-19 only expediting the number of online financial transactions and the scammers that tag along. We need to educate everybody, across all levels of technical expertise.  

But how can you tell it’s a fake email?  I’ve been in the web development space for over 15 years and I’ll admit that at the first glance I’m sometimes fooled. The graphics look legit, their shirt is neat and tucked in, the message lacks typos… heck, they even looked me in the eye and called me by my first name!

The good news is you don’t have to be a technical detective to protect yourself from emails you weren’t expecting. There is a simple solution:

  • Silence– taking in the information via your eyes or ears typically won’t do any harm. It’s when you respond, which includes clicking on any email links, that damage can be done.
  • Shut it down – close out of that email or close out of the web site you were taken to against your will.
  • Separately reach out – just as you would physically walk into one of your bank’s branches to verity the “issue” at hand, you’ll want to take the same approach digitally. Navigate to your bank’s website independently or call the verified phone number of your bank that’s on the back of your card. Do *not* trust any information or hyperlinks in the email at hand.

While the media and movies tend to portray an idea of‘hackers’ forcing their way in, the truth is that phishing is involved in over 90%of cyber attacks. We’re basically handing the keys to the castle to these criminals!

The future is exciting, and with these simple steps it can be a bit less scary along the way!

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