It can happen to you...

Chris Jones
By Chris Jones
We’ve talked a lot about cyber crime recently on our blog, but we know from experience that many businesses see it as something that happens to other people: big corporations, national brands - not SMEs in Yorkshire.
It can happen to you...

But the fact is, hackers are out to exploit weaknesses in IT security within businesses large and small. It’s happening every day, and it’s easier than you think to become a victim, especially when you’re busy.

This week, we spoke with the owner of a marketing company in Yorkshire whose network was recently targeted with a phishing attack. Their experience illustrates the importance of having the right IT security in place, but also making sure your staff are vigilant, and know how to spot the signs of a potential cyber attack.

Be alert

It was a member of the team who flagged up a suspicious email asking for money to be transferred. The email had come from one of the directors. “I knew they were out of the office, and that they’d be rushing between meetings, so I wasn’t surprised that the email was quite brief. But something about it just wasn’t quite right,” she said.

When she looked more closely, she saw that the sender’s domain didn’t quite match up with the company URL: “It was only a tiny difference; but the email address used dashes instead of dots, which instantly made me suspicious.”

This is a common technique used in phishing emails. Often these emails will look ‘almost’ genuine, but if you get a nagging feeling that something ‘just isn’t quite right’, you should never ignore it.

That said, when you’re busy and you’ve got a lot of emails to deal with, it’s easy to miss these small tell-tale signs, and click on a link or attachment.  Once you’ve done this, there is no going back, and it doesn’t take long for a virus to implant itself on your network, with the potential to cause untold damage and incur significant cost to repair.

Fortunately, on this occasion, the person who had been targeted acted on their suspicion, checked with the director, and then escalated the issue to their IT company.

Because hackers are constantly evolving the techniques they use to target businesses, it’s difficult to prevent these emails slipping through the net every now and again, even if your spam filters are set to high alert. Marking any suspicious emails you receive as spam and reporting them to your IT provider means they can blacklist the URL. They should then also review your firewall, spam and antivirus settings to help reduce the risk of similar emails getting through in future.

For more information, or to request a network security test that will identify any vulnerabilities on your network, contact us. 

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Meet the MD: James Baird

"James Baird has been inspired by the integrity his grandad and father displayed, as he has navigated his career through being an electrician, starting his first business in electrical services and his current business, Dynamic Networks Group."