As online communication is increasing, so is online fraud and email hack attempts. In 2020, there were 4 billion email users worldwide, and this number is expected to increase further with the adaption of home and remote working. There are some precautions that you can take to help protect your businesses emails, below our cyber security team share their ten top tips.
1 – Passwords
Ensure that your password is strong, unique and secure, you can even use a password generator to include special characters to stop hackers from being able to get access. One of our favourite generators for passwords is https://passwordsgenerator.net/ – as it’s simple to use and allows you to include and exclude various elements to easily generate a strong and unique password.
We also recommend changing your password every 60-90 days to ensure it remains secure, and you should never share your passwords over email.
2 – Suspicious URLs
Sometimes an email may appear completely genuine, and hackers have become more sophisticated by even including the ‘from’ name as someone in your organisation, which may make you believe that the email is legitimate. However, if you click or hover over the sender’s name you will be able to see their actual email address; anything with a suspicious URL should be treated with caution to avoid being scammed.
3 – Keep your Antivirus Up to Date
If you have antivirus software, which you really should have (if not get in touch and our team can help you with that), make sure it’s kept up to date, and you are running regular scans.
1 in 50 emails can contain malicious content, so carrying out regular scans on your emails and your device can help monitor and protect you from falling victim to one of these malicious emails.
4 – Use Two-Factor Authentication
Enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) on your email account can help add an extra layer of security to your emails. Most email providers have a 2FA function built-in, so you can quickly implement it. If your current email provider does not include this then speak to your managed IT support provider, and they may be able to recommend a new email client.
With 2FA whenever someone on a new device enters your password, you will receive a code via text or telephone to input in to access the account. If it isn’t you trying to access the account, you will be able to put a stop to it when you receive the code by changing your password.
5 – Don’t Access Emails Via Public Wi-Fi
It is important not to access your emails or your online banking whilst connected to a public Wi-Fi spot. Hackers can use programs and hardware called ‘packet analysers’ or ‘packet sniffers’ to intercept traffic and data that gets sent over a network. This could leave you vulnerable to hackers being able to access your sensitive data such as email address, online banking details and passwords.
6 – Avoid Clicking ‘Unsubscribe’
If you receive a spam or suspicious-looking email, it may be tempting to click unsubscribe, however, this can be just as dangerous as clicking a malicious link within the email body. If you would like to avoid receiving emails from a suspicious sender, you can simply block their email address within your email client settings.
7 – Try Not to Open Attachments
We aren’t saying you shouldn’t open any attachments again, but only open the attachments from email addresses that you recognise or are expecting to come through. Attachments can hold malware within them, so it’s safer to scan the email with your anti-virus software before opening it if you are unsure if the email is genuine.
8 – Keep your Email Address Safe
If you do want to sign up for promotional and marketing materials from businesses, then it may be better to set up a separate email account to receive this. The more people who have your details, the more likely it may be that you fall victim to a cybercrime. Avoid posting your email address on public forums, or social media, as this could also leave you more vulnerable to a hack.
9 – Revaluate your Spam Filter Settings
Your email software will be equipped with a spam filter, but there is no harm in double-checking the settings to ensure that it is setup to capture spam emails that come through. You can edit your spam filters by going to your settings and then selecting the option of ‘spam filters’ and ‘blocked addresses’. Here you can adjust your settings and add new email addresses to your blocked list.
10 – Links
If you receive a link in an email, it can sometimes be safer to open your browser and manually type the link in, or to copy and paste the link, rather than clicking the link itself.
“I have been working at AAG since August 2016, I first started as a graduate in the sales team and now I look after the sales team and I’m part of the leadership team. I absolutely love working with the sales team, we are a very close knit group and extremely supportive of one another; there is certainly never a dull moment. Being in a client facing role really suits my personality and although I only work with a small number of clients now I get to be involved in lots of projects across our customer base as a whole which I find really interesting. Being part of the leadership team is also a great experience and something which I really enjoy. Prior to AAG I worked as a personal assistant and provided project support within the IT department at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, I found moving from such a huge organisation to an SME really refreshing as it was great to be part of a business where everyone’s views and opinions were listened to.”
Head of Customer Service & Account Management