Broken Email Accounts and Other Internet Scams
A broken email account happens… or does it?
In recent years, email account owners have reported receiving messages such as, “broken emails have been restored to you.” While others have reported receiving similar messages from the “Support Center.” If you receive such correspondence, think twice before taking any advice or clicking on a link in the post—it could be a scam.
According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), more than 40% of small businesses have reported a cyber attack. Furthermore, almost 60% do not have a contingency plan in place in the event they are hacked. That is a problem.
So, is your business ready?
Scams Are Out There (Along With Broken Email Account Messages)
Most owners of small and medium-sized companies are busy trying to turn a profit. Keeping up with customer and IT demands is enough to fill any week. But the unexpected happens—an employee picks up an infected flash drive, or clicks on a phishing email (like one discussing a broken email account). Suddenly, your business network is compromised or even locked up by ransomware. What do you do?
Cyber security is not a topic that you should ignore until disaster strikes. As such, the impact on brand reputation and financial status of a small business can be devastating. Recent, high-profile political hacks and DDoS attacks provide easy examples of the damage caused by hijacked devices and stolen information.
What Kind of Scams?
In 2016, the most common internet scams, besides broken email account, include:
- Ransomware: Lurking throughout the internet landscape, ransomware hides in the form of an email, image file, or random site clicking exploration. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that ransomware reached new heights in 2016, as criminal enterprise settles firmly into cyber-space. Ransomware commonly holds your content until you pay a ransom in Bitcoin. Unfortunately, paying a ransom does not mean your website—or your business—will be returned intact. Intellectual property, company data, and confidential information is harvested from the stolen site can be sold elsewhere. The FBI requests reports of ransomware attacks and offers advice on avoiding a ransomware attack, including ensuring you have updated, secure backup copies of all of your files.
- Data leaks and extortion: Recent well-known hacks of Yahoo and LinkedIn have spurred a rash of extortion-style emails. They threaten to release sensitive information to employers, family members, and friends. Primary advice for avoiding this type of scam includes never opening email or email attachments from unknown senders. Given the porous nature of internet security in even the best circumstances, you shouldn’t store revealing or embarrassing content in any form online.
- Technical support scams: Tech support scams spiked this summer. Scammers contact victims by phone or on-screen, identifying themselves as technical support. Then they access computers, routers, set-top boxes, and other technical products. Similarly, criminals will pose as government agents investigating a data breach. Through several methods, fees are paid from bank accounts. Oftentimes the criminal refunds the fees to gain further financial access or holds the account ransom. Consumers and businesses lost over $2M to these scams in just the first five months of 2016.
If you do not have a contingency plan or an idea of how to secure your network and train employees on avoiding cyber crime, now is the time to protect your business. If you suffer data loss or are concerned about network security, talk to us—we securely backup and protect business data networks 24 hours a day.