Cyber Security Cover

URGENT: Confirm Your $5,000 Payment

If that’s the subject line in one of your emails this morning, congratulations. The folks at “Jiffyloan” are looking out for you.

Why do you have 700 emails in your spam folder and 15 in your inbox? Because there are people who want your information. Fortunately, more are looking to protect it.

Whether it’s email, social media, gaming, texts, or wherever the IoT lurks, the sharks are circling.

Your Browser Might Be Telling You Something

Mixed content websites contain information that is both secured and unsecured. They have links, scripts, or images referencing the HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol). It is unencrypted and available to third parties.

On secured sites, you see a padlock next to the URL with “HTTPS” (hypertext transfer protocol secure) next to it. If not, you should see “not secure” in its place. As of 2019, Chrome blocks websites if they fail to load over https. Safari warns you that the site is not secure.

Cybersecurity is Your Own Business

Whichever browser you use, you can minimize pop-ups but not eliminate them. If you enjoy them, search news websites or those for recipes, vitamins, or song lyrics. 

You must have an area of expertise that is notorious for pop-ups. These sites are desperate for clicks and don’t want you to leave. Pop-up types are numerous and based on action, placement, and purpose. Basic pop-ups are entry, click-activated, scroll-triggered, time-based, and exit. The design behind them is interesting, but are they effective or annoying? 

Ask the person hastily searching the site for information.

Antivirus Software and VPNs

For basic cybersecurity, most experts recommend using antivirus software. They also like two-factor authentication and password managers. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) are another option.

Opinions vary on the usefulness of VPNs. Since most sites support https connections, aren’t they secure enough? VPNs place an added layer of protection between you and internet infrastructure, making you harder to follow. Professional hackers can still find you, but a VPN will better disguise you from mass data collectors and amateurs.

Back to That $5,000 Payment

Last year, brand and fraud protection company Bolster published a phishing and fraud report. It cited 6.95 million phishing and scam pages created in 2020. One of the most prominent included discounted Ray-Ban sunglasses. Another featured offers to become a mystery shopper for Walmart and Kroger.

The favorite email provider for phishing? Gmail. According to email security provider, Tessian, 96 percent of phishing attacks arrive via email as opposed to messaging, apps, or links. The most common email subject keywords in business email compromises are as follows:

  • Urgent
  • Request
  • Important
  • Payment
  • Attention

Popular phishing scams include Covid, hacks for gaming, and gift cards. The top three territories hosting phishing scams are the British Virgin Islands, Russia, and the United States. 

Whether at work or home, take the extra moment to decide if that next email or link is worth the risk. Would you rather be known as the teammate with the latest news or the one that compromised the network?

Links for Cybersecurity

Here are links for cyber safety from trade and security organizations:

National Cybersecurity Alliance

Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency

Federal Trade Commission Cybersecurity Basics