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Guest Blog | Nigerian Prince? You’ve Got Bigger Cybersecurity Problems

on October 14, 2020 / by Kurt Abrahams ,


Read Time 4 Minutes

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Kurt Abrahams cybersecurity veriato

Kurt Abrahams (Veriato)

We’re living through some incredibly strange times, and cybercriminals are taking full advantage of the ill-prepared. With the shift to a remote workforce, we’ve all become more susceptible to threats from the web!

Cyber Intelligence offices around the globe have reported unprecedented spikes in email scams and malware attacks due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The cyber attackers know that we’ve all become more vulnerable working from home because our home office simply doesn’t offer the same protection as a corporate network would.

Part of the compounding problem is that the scams have become significantly more advanced. Yes, people still get scammed by the “Nigerian Prince” email scam to the tune of an average of $700,000 per year, but these tricks have evolved into much more elaborate tactics and schemes. For example, most people have social media accounts or Linkedin profiles, making it easier to personalize emails that come from; let’s say, your CEO? This is a form of a Social Engineering attack that often requires some common sense more than anything else. The key take away is, we need to be more vigilant than ever with our inboxes and attachments. One wrong click on an infected attachment could trigger a Ransomware attack that plunges your company into chaos.

Veriato Cybersecurity

Veriato is a Cybersecurity based in Palm Beach Gardens

Some companies may implement additional measures to secure their new remote workforce, while others may choose to risk a breach before taking any action. As a cybersecurity company, we often go over and above what is required to secure our data and our customers’ data. These involve advanced measures, which include AI-driven Anti-Virus, Anomaly Detection, and Insider Threat Prevention tools.

But the average person can take numerous steps to secure their own home environment from would-be attackers without breaking the bank. Follow these basic steps to improve your remote cybersecurity today.

 

Cybersecurity 101 For The Average Joe

 

1) Use Strong Passwords

Passwords are one of the most undervalued security tools available to the everyday user. The more complex the password, the tougher the hack. Use a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Wherever possible, use 12 characters or more. This could be a phrase, which is often easier to memorize. Always avoid using personal data in your passwords (you know who you are, and I’m guessing many of you are using a combination of your child’s name and their birthdate, see how easy that was?). Change your passwords regularly to keep the criminals guessing. Never use the same password for multiple accounts, and use dual-factor authentication where ever possible.

 

2) Install A Stand Alone Home Firewall

A firewall is effectively a sort of gatekeeper between your computer and the internet. Any potential cyber threat would first need to pass through the firewall before entering the home network, acting as a digital sentinel before reaching your computer. While this may seem like an extreme security measure, it is becoming more common due to much lower price points.

 

3) Antivirus Software

Consumer-grade Anti-virus software now comes with a multitude of additional tools such as:

  • Ransomware detection¬†
  • Wifi security scanning to detect network problems
  • Banking protection via a secure browser
  • Password manager
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • Basic firewall
  • Spam Filter
  • VPN
  • Webcam protection
  • Microphone monitor – which shows you which apps are accessing your microphone

The most important thing when it comes to anti-virus is always updating the software. These warnings are annoying, but they may save your computer and its contents one day. These updates ensure that your anti-virus can detect the latest malware signatures, amongst other things. If possible, choose an anti-virus that updates on its own, as it may update itself multiple times a day to keep pace with the barrage of attacks sent out by cybercriminals.

 

4) VPN

Using a VPN is suggested if you’re sending and receiving any sensitive data. This may not be relevant to home users who do not need to access company information remotely. But for anyone accessing data from a shared server, a VPN is crucial as the VPN enables you to mask your IP and encrypt data being sent back and forth between your home and the company’s Server. In most cases, a secure VPN connection is required before accessing any data remotely, creating a sort of data tunnel between your home and the company Server.

 

5) Common Sense

Last but not least, the most powerful tool in your cybersecurity arsenal is common sense. If an email looks suspicious or too good to be true, don’t open it. If your CEO sends you an urgent email, but the email domain looks strange, do not respond. If a Nigerian prince asks for your bank details because he needs to move his money out of the country, please ignore the email and move on with your life. Lastly, DO NOT CLICK on an attachment from a sender you cannot verify.

We’ve all been through enough this year; the last thing you need is your computer getting infected or, much worse, someone requesting $50,000 because your computer was just hit with a ransomware attack. Nobody needs this additional stress, so let’s ignore the “Nigerian Prince” and continue to operate as safely and as cautiously as we possibly can on the World Wide Web.

 

Written by Kurt Abrahams, Marketing Director @ Veriato

Guest Blog | Nigerian Prince? You’ve Got Bigger Cybersecurity Problems