Many offices have successfully transitioned from in-office to a work-from-home system. It’s been a successful experiment for a lot of businesses, as they’ve quickly transitioned their entire business from in-person to virtual in just a matter of months. As the pandemic continues, it's clear that many businesses will have to keep at least a partial work-from-home set up for their employees. It’s definitely worth celebrating your business successfully adapting to the challenges of the pandemic, but there is still a lot of work ahead to keep your business safe from bad actors taking advantage of the situation.
Protecting Your Office (At Home)
Most people who worked in offices are now working from their homes. Hackers and bad actors will try to take advantage of this situation in order to steal data, hack accounts or steal money directly. Here are a few things you can do to protect your employees and business.
- Keep your work and personal hardware separate. Give employees a secure laptop that they can work on. Hire an IT firm to set this up for you. If you don’t already have the infrastructure in place, it may seem like a big investment, but the alternative (having data or money stolen) can be far worse. Plus, many experts predict that working from home will remain prevalent even after the pandemic is over.
- Check your home wifi to make sure it's secure. This one will also require the help of an IT expert who will give instructions to your employees on how to secure their wifi connection. Even if you aren’t working from home, cyber crime is on the rise during the pandemic so hiring some IT help to secure your home can be worth it.
Fake Websites and Emails
Always check the website URL before entering your log in information. One popular age old scam is receiving an email from a company you do business with asking you to click a link to check something. Most people click the link and immediately try to log in to check whatever it is. Be careful. Check the exact email address that the email was sent from and make sure it’s familiar to you. Then, instead of clicking the link provided in the email, search for the website using Google and log in from there. You can then hover over the email link to see if the URL matches the URL from your Google search to determine if it’s authentic. If something doesn’t add up, delete the email.
One note for people still using Live.com, hotmail and Yahoo email addresses: I’ve noticed that these mail service has been particularly poor and filtering spam compared to email services like Google. If you are still using one of these mail services, be especially careful as many scams seem to escape their filters.
According to a report by nextcaller.com. Scam calls to financial institutions are up 50% since the start of the pandemic. These are bad actors (often starting the scam with a robo call) who are looking for a crack in your business. If your bank calls with a fraud alert, listen to the message, hang up, then independently Google the phone number for your bank. If it's a real person, do not engage or give any personal information, even if they seem friendly. And, you cannot rely on the caller ID or contact in your phone. For example, if you have Citibank’s number saved and your iPhone shows the call is from Citibank, this is not a reliable way to verify the call is real. Scammers can easily spoof Citibank’s real number while calling from a completely different number. Always hang up and call back from a number you are sure is authentic.
And, if you receive a bill from a company you do business with, don't just pay it. Call the company first using contact information you can confirm to be authentic. There have been incidences reported where a company has paid a bill for the exact amount they owe, only to find out later they paid scammers.
This isn’t a complete list, but hopefully these tips prove helpful as you navigate this new normal for businesses.
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