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Teaching Your Employees to Recognize and Avoid Common Internet Scams 

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Teaching Your Employees to Recognize and Avoid Common Internet Scams

An informed workforce is your best defense against cyberattacks. Every time your employees go online, whether to check their email or conduct a search, they could encounter internet scams that put your business at risk. Cybercriminals like to target employees, especially those with access to sensitive financial information. Because your employees are your first line of defense against threats, you must empower them to protect your company!

Here are some tips presented by to help you teach your employees to avoid common cybersecurity threats. 

Start with a Recovery Plan

Every business needs a cybersecurity disaster recovery plan. Employee education and vigilance aren’t always enough to prevent cybercriminals from bypassing your defenses. Don’t wait for a disaster to happen to formulate a recovery plan! If your business experiences a cyber-attack, your recovery plan will enable you to get back up and running as quickly as possible so you can avoid angering your customers or disrupting your cash flow. When it comes to planning for potential cyber security threats, be sure to identify which data you will need to recover first in the event of an attack. This way, you’ll be able to put together a recovery plan that will help restore trust among your clients and customers.

Of course, creating a disaster recovery plan is no mean feat. With the level of detail, research, and strategizing that goes into it, you’ll definitely find your hands full. If you find yourself needing to reshuffle your work tasks to get this vital measure in place, you’ll need to find ways to organize your time differently. Download a planner template and use visual elements like sticky notes to keep you on track without taking much away from your other tasks.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are some of the most common internet scams. In a phishing scam, an attacker tricks their victim into clicking a link or downloading a file, resulting in any manner of damaging attacks. These attacks usually occur over email, but social media, instant messaging services, and apps are also frequently used in phishing attempts. Phishing emails often look like they’ve been sent by a company you know, so it’s important to know how to identify them.

Trojan Horse Software

Trojan horse software is a malicious program that appears legitimate but can take control of your computer after being downloaded. Trojans can do different things, from stealing sensitive information to freezing important data. Make sure your employees know not to click on pop-up windows, download programs from unknown publishers or click links in emails from people they don’t recognize. 

Tech Support Scams

The Federal Trade Commission explains that tech support scammers will lead you to believe that there’s something wrong with your computer and you will have to pay for tech support services to fix the issue. These scams often appear as pop-up warnings that look like error messages on your computer. Show your employees some examples of these scam attempts so they know what to look out for when working online.

Public Wi-Fi Scams

If your employees work remotely some or part of the time, make sure they know how to avoid public Wi-Fi scams. In public places, like coffee shops or airports, scammers may set up Wi-Fi networks with a name similar to one you would expect. Once you connect to this network, the hacker can steal your passwords, scan emails, or otherwise access your sensitive data. Discourage your employees from using public Wi-Fi for sensitive business tasks, like accessing business bank accounts or making purchases. You may also want to provide your employees with a VPN service to encrypt their connections and make public Wi-Fi safer.

Commit to Regular Cybersecurity Training

Teaching your employees how to avoid internet scams should be an ongoing process. Hackers are getting increasingly skilled and attacks are becoming more sophisticated by the day. Protect your business from these ever-evolving threats by committing to regular employee education. Make cybersecurity a common topic to address in team meetings so you can remind your employees how they can best protect themselves and your company from threats. Importantly, ensure your cybersecurity messages are understandable and relatable. You want your employees to feel responsible for their stake in your company’s security plan.

Cybersecurity is an important topic that’s often overlooked by small business owners. Even if you did everything in your power to shield your business from online threats, your employees still create points of vulnerability. Commit to cybersecurity training so your employees know how to reduce their risk of falling for internet scams.

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