Nowadays, many businesses would feel powerless without their computers. We depend on our technology to help us run our lives, and businesses are no exception – and that's why it’s important to learn to manage your IT risk. Technology is great, but it's also a weak spot for businesses because computers can be targeted by hackers. The reality is the fact that despite the fact that our machines seem nice and secure, locked away in our office building or store, they're actually very susceptible to attack. Within the hands of a hacker, computers are like putty. And, to be honest, so are humans. We're not as smart as we prefer to think we're sometimes. And that's why it's so important to review a few different online scams that could hurt your company, that is exactly what we're going to complete in the following paragraphs.
Scam #1: Social Engineering.
To sum up social engineering into a concise, fun-sized definition, it's when a hacker takes advantage of human nature to gain access to things they shouldn't have access to. That could be a physical premises (like an office), a computer system, or sensitive data. For instance, it could be someone posing as a computer technician claiming that they need to focus on something within the server room. They've the uniform, the clipboard, and the walkie-talkie to prove it, so a well-meaning employee shows them the way. But before you realize it, bam – you've been hacked.
Social engineers are masters of disguise. They are fully aware how to play their part so that they don't make anyone suspicious. Basically, they count on the few facets of human nature to trick people. They're banking around the fact that individuals prefer to avoid conflict, that they're greedy, they are sympathetic, which they have a need for closure.
1. Conflict: Social engineers know that people don't want to get into a confrontation, so they act with confidence once they ask for information or access they shouldn't have. They know when they seem bold and assured people won't challenge them.
2. Greed: Social engineers realize that individuals are always looking for a deal or a giveaway, plus they use this for their advantage.
3. Sympathy: Hackers know that if they can build a relationship and camaraderie, they could possibly get people to lower their guard.
4. Need for closure: Social engineers know that people might question them, so they have an answer for everything. And because they have a confident, semi-reasonable answer ready, they get the questioner to feel satisfied that they've done their job in asking.
The best defense against social engineering scams for you and your employees is to know the ways in which you'll be tricked so you don't stumble into a trap. It can be very costly and difficult to figure out how to handle a data breach.
Scam #2: Phishing scams.
Remember that Google Docs hack that went around a while back? Which was a good example of phishing, that is when hackers try to get information like usernames, passwords, as well as credit card numbers by masquerading as a trusted being. Another example could be an email from your “bank” asking you to verify your account information. Basically, phishing scams try to trick you into opening a hyperlink that will allow malicious programs to infiltrate your computer. They also might try to trick you into giving them your private information voluntarily (like the bank example.)
Many small business owners don't believe they are at risk for hackers and data breaches, but the truth is that businesses with fewer than 100 employees have been experiencing an increase in cyber attacks. As an employer, ensure that your employees have the knowledge and the tools they need to protect your business – and their very own private information. Hackers are very, very good at the things they're doing, and they're ruthless. This is exactly why everyone must be aware of the ways that they can be fooled into being hacked.
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