Tax season may be ending today, but scammers are still hard at work trying to convince you to send them your precious information. Here's a few things to look out for and keep in mind.
The scary truth about email scams, is that it's very easy for a thief to "spoof" their email address to look like the business owners email, or your bookkeeper. But when you reply to that email it goes back to the thief and not the business owner or bookkeeper. Here's an example of how one of these emails would look like courtesy of JD Supra:
As you can see, it's almost impossible to tell it's a scam with the naked eye, unless you know the sender well enough to know that they don't word things a certain way. Your only defense against this is a good spam filter. The naked eye may not be able to tell this email was spoofed but a good spam filter can. If you use Office 365 or G Suite their spam filters are good at catching these. If you're not using those then you can get a third party spam filter like Proofpoint.
This one is pretty cut and dry. You get an email saying it's the IRS and you need to send them your social security number or other financial info. The easy thing about this one is that the IRS will never call or email you. They only send you letters in the mail. If you get a call or email from the IRS, ignore it.
Bank's have really caught on to the mobile era by creating apps that allow to manage your accounts through your phone or tablet. But, as a result, scammers have started sending text messages saying that there's an urgent need and you need to either go to a link or call a number. You may also get a phone call from a person or automated recording. The important thing to remember here is that your bank will never contact you and then ask you to confirm your identity by providing your account number or other confidential info.
70% of all hacks or information leaks are not the result of a virus or some fancy hack. They are the result of someone being tricked into willingly providing information to someone who shouldn't have it. I hope this information is helpful at keeping you on alert and your information safe.
Over the last year or so, a new type of virus has quickly become the newest IT Boogeyman. Getting it's name from it's ability to encrypt all your data so that it's unusable and then holding it for ransom, many credible businesses have had to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to recover data that is crucial to their business.
Because Ransomware viruses are so new, and changing daily, you can have antivirus, email spam filters and a hardware firewall and still get hit. Your only protection from Ransomware is to have reliable and diverse data backups.
But before you go buy an external hard drive and put a weekly reminder on your Outlook to copy your stuff over, let's talk about how to keep your backups safe.
Most Ransomware work by encrypting everything with a drive letter. That includes external hard drives that are plugged in and mapped network drives. So if you get hit with a Ransomware and your external hard drive is still plugged in that you store your backups on. Those backups are now useless. Same thing goes for that network share that you use for your backups.
The most reliable backup method to shield you from Ransomware are secure cloud backups. Mostly because most cloud backup solutions are continuous and versioned.
Continuous backups mean that it's backing everything up throughout the day so that if you get hit at 3:30PM on a Thursday, you don't have to go back to Wednesday nights backup and lose a day's worth of work.
Versioned backups mean that there are multiple versions of the same file stored in the cloud. So if you get hit and it's several hours before your realize you've been hit and all those unusable files are backed up to the cloud. You can easily restore your files from the most recent useable version.
If you aren't confident about your backups please contact us. All of our contract clients have secure cloud backups and we have other noncontract clients who have just asked us to set something up for them. All businesses are at risk, and we're here to help all businesses.