In the tech news last week we learned about a new Phishing scheme that has allowed hackers to get control of thousands of Gmail mailboxes.
If you haven’t heard the term “Phishing” before, you’ll probably hear a lot about it this year. Basically it refers to sending a legitimate-looking (but fake) email, link, or attachment to someone in hopes they will click it or open it. Doing so potentially gives the hacker who sent the “Phish” control of your email account or your computer, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to defend against even with virus & malware protection software.
While rare, Phishing is a fast growing industry because it can be a big money maker for the hackers who design clever Phishing schemes. Remember all the Hillary emails leaked during the campaign? That started from a Phishing email someone on her staff opened. We’ve also seen Phishing attacks in the news against a hotel, which locked all the room doors until the hotel paid a ransom, against airlines, and against hospitals. Taking data hostage in exchange for untraceable ransom money is a big revenue generator for overseas hackers today.
So what can you do to protect yourself and your business from Phishing attacks? Two things:
- First, educate yourself and your staff about what Phishing looks like. The Today show and our partners at ESET created an online quiz to help you do just that: click here for that. For something more intensive ask us about easy & engaging cybersecurity training from our friends at Ninjio.
- Second, change your passwords – regularly. Especially if you think you may have fallen for this recent Gmail phish. In Gmail you can do that by clicking on your account icon in the top right corner, then choose the My Account button shown here:
Also while you’re in the password section, make sure your cell phone and contact information is up to date, and consider turning on two-factor authentication (2FA). What 2FA does is text you a code to enter each time you login to the system. That’s inconvenient, but much less inconvenient than losing your email account to hackers.
In recent years right here in Anderson we’ve seen hackers sneak into small business gmail accounts and wreak all sorts of havoc – from requesting wire transfers from the business owner’s bank account to stealing passwords and social security numbers from emails they find, to impersonating the business owner and asking for money from their friends and family.
Protecting yourself from Phishing is important. Take a few minutes to take the Today Show test, and update your passwords to any important services you use. And of course, we’re happy to help if needed.