Think Before You Open Emails

We have noticed an increase in suspicious emails recently, and subsequently an increase in spoofed email accounts and infected computers. Therefore it bears repeating: never open emails or strange links from unknown senders.

However, the recent attacks are unique in that they usually use legitimate company email addresses to send requests and links to other employees. This does make it difficult for many users to determine whether the email is real, but this means users need to be even more vigilant.

We have seen two types of attacks; one involves suspicious attachments and links across all email platforms, and one involves email accounts specifically hosted by Google. One of our Google users received an email from a recognized sender, clicked the “Open in Docs” link (which led to a fake credential window), entered their credentials, and their email address was spoofed because the sender received the user’s Google credentials.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent issues:

  • Check that the entire email address is spelled correctly.
  • Determine if the subject line looks like something that sender would say – subject lines containing unusual numeric sequences or aggressive commands such as “OPEN THIS NOW!” should be cause for concern.
  • Avoid clicking on emailed links unless you know where it leads to and trust that the sender is legitimate.
  • Similarly, avoid opening attachments unless you know what it is and trust the sender. If there is any doubt, contact our service technicians for assistance.
  • Always avoid giving out your credentials for any platform, especially if a link led you to what looks like a banking site. If you entered credentials anywhere that may not have been safe, change your credentials right away using strong passwords – and a different strong password for each application you use.
  • Keep your firewall and security software updated. We monitor firewall security subscriptions and anti-virus for our managed service clients.
  • Ensure your files are backed up – if you follow all these steps and still end up getting infected, you can avoid paying ransom to get your files back or losing valuable data by simply restoring a clean backup. Ask us about our backup services!

AM Data Service has the tools and knowledge to help your business prevent or overcome an attack. Every managed service client has a basic level of protection provided as part of their package. Please share this information with your staff, as they are important parts of the IT security puzzle.

If you have any questions, need assistance, or are not 100% certain that an email you received is safe, please call us at 734-744-5300.

Related blog post: Ransomware Targets Small Businesses 

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