The digital landscape is hard to track. With every new development arrives a counterpart, new ransomware or malware technique that could seriously harm your business. It is important to know the dangers of online scams and how to protect your business from them.
Online scams are getting increasingly popular
Over the course of 2020, Ransomware occurrences grew by 875%. Not only are they happening more often, but the scale of attacks seems to continuously grow. Unfortunately, scams can have pretty significant effects on individuals and businesses. Whether it be massive ransomware attacks that could reach international proportions, or simple identity fraud, phishing, or farming, any kind of scam could have a repercussion on your business.
Online scams are more dangerous than you might think
Though ransomware is not new, the money in play has grown from thousands to millions of dollars. Even some of the world’s biggest companies such as Apple and Acer have been victims of ransomware.
The consequences of these attacks are getting worse. Scammers don’t differentiate which services they target, which has lead to several integral companies being shut down. The recent Kasaya attack was labeled as a “supply chain ransomware attack” which used a vulnerability in online infrastructure to affect a large number of other businesses. This past June, McDonald’s was hit with a data breach that compromised several customer emails, phone numbers, and addresses.
On a smaller scale even, no data is safe from being stolen by malware and online scammers. And it seems like there is no end to the different ways cybercriminals are extorting money or information from people. Some of the most popular include:
- ‘You just won a prize’ identity theft
- Fake charities
- Email phishing scams
- ‘Verify your identity’ personal information theft
- Fake buying or selling transactions
- Malicious websites that can transmit malware
- Threats and extortion
You can find even more information on the most popular scams in our Scams Alert Update.
How you can protect your business from online scams
When looking to protect yourself and your businesses from online scams, it’s important to take an active approach. Taking preventative measures can help protect your assets from potential threats before it even happens. Follow these safety guidelines to avoid a possible catastrophe.
- Stay skeptical of too good to be true promises. Delete, hang up, and block if you feel as though the deal seems a bit too perfect.
- Raise awareness of possible signs of fraud and scams. Educate your team on the warning signs by implementing online fraud training.
- Always take the time to think. Scammers want to pressure you into making a fast, ill-informed decision. A legitimate business/vendor will let you reflect upon making a purchase. Maybe ask someone else for their opinion. Scrutinize all online requests, especially urgent ones.
- Always be aware of who you are dealing with. If someone who you have never heard of contacts you out of the blue, that’s often a sign that you’re dealing with a scammer. Don’t be afraid to thoroughly research vendors/businesses: read reviews, anything you can find to check their reputation and their legitimacy.
- Protect your company’s data and important information at all times. Never give out any information to a source you don’t completely trust. Legitimate firms will never ask you for sensitive information upon initially contacting you—implement a company—wide password policy. Employees should create complicated passwords and never share them.
- Don’t hesitate to perform security audits. Cybersecurity experts know exactly how to help protect and shield your business from potential threats. Having a security audit done can indicate where the vulnerable points of your business when it comes to online security.
Going with the less expensive vendor to manage your firm’s security isn’t always the best option
As a business, it’s natural to want to consider the most cost-effective options. However, choosing the cheapest vendor isn’t always a good idea especially when it comes to online security. Taking shortcuts can often result in exponentially more costs through repairs and losses.
Whether it’s being proactive against the countless threats of cybercriminals or helping businesses recover from a crippling malware attack, Carmichael Consulting is ready to assist you with all of your IT needs.