Before You Open That Attachment: Creating a Policy for Avoiding Hackers

April 2018 | Article

By Rich McRae

Here’s a reason to address social media through acceptable use policies in the workplace. The following was published at KnowBe4.com by Stu Sjowerman and is shared here with his permission:

Bad guys are doing research on you personally using social media and finding out where and when you (might) travel for business. Next, they craft an email especially for you with an airline reservation or receipt that looks just like the real thing, sent with a spoofed “From” email address that also looks legit.

Sometimes, they even have links in this email that go to a website that looks identical to the real airline, but is fake. They try to do two things: 1) try to steal your company username and password, and 2) try to trick you into opening the attachment which could be a PDF or DOCX. If you click on the link or open the attachment, your workstation will possibly get infected with malware that allows the bad guys to hack into your network.

Remember, if you want to check any airline reservations or flight status, open your browser and type the website name in the address bar or use a bookmark that you yourself set earlier. Do not click on links in emails to go to websites.

Have a Policy Ready
With online web-browsing and social media activities a daily norm, we recommend your policies advise employees and customers on best security practices while using social media and email. For example:

  • Personal social media accounts (Facebook, Google, Twitter) should be locked down with maximum privacy settings applied to prevent open access to personally identifiable information such as birthdates, location, activities, etc.
  • Check with the sender before opening an attachment, even if the email appears to be from another employee or trusted source.
  • Do not send confidential data, such as credit card data, customer names, email addresses, and social security numbers through non-encrypted transfer methods. For example, don’t perform online mobile banking over public Wi-Fi networks.

Contact your Eide Bailly Professional for assistance with cybersecurity and policy development guidance.

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