Data Protection Tips

Data protection is serious business for both individuals and enterprises.  Nefarious groups use a variety of tactics to access secure data, from phishing e-mails to URL redirects to website spoofs.  Some will even call you and make up a convincing reason why they need your data.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been reports of callers purporting to be from a government agency  claiming victims have been in contact with a COVID-positive individual and asking for their contact and bank account information.  According to Security Boulevard, hackers have become more bold and sophisticated.  In fact, in 2020, 85% of all organizations were victims of phishing attacks leading to an average financial loss of $1.6 million.

Anti-virus and anti-malware software cannot protect you from these types of threats.  Below are tips you should use to protect you and your data.

Companies will never call you and request personal, contact or financial information.  This includes ISPs, banks and tech companies like Microsoft.
Hang up immediately if you receive a call like this.

Likewise, for text messages, do not click any links or respond.  Utilize the tools your carrier and phone manufacturer provide to limit spam calls and text messages.

When checking e-mails, look at the "received from" e-mail address and confirm it looks official.  Addresses in a language other than English or with extra words / characters are red flags.  Do not click on any links, attachments or respond.
Delete it immediately.

E-mail providers offer spam protection but this is not 100% fool-proof.

When surfing the web, be on the lookout for redirects (i.e. typing in may redirect you to another, more nefarious website).

Some websites are designed to mimic or "spoof" the legitimate website.  Ensure the URL is correct and does not have extra characters, words or numbers; these are red flags for spoofs.  Close the browser window immediately.

Even though pop-ups may seem like a thing of the past, they still exist!  Some look similar to legitimate Microsoft warning / error messages.

If you end up on a nefarious website, you will probably encounter pop-up windows and advertisements.  Some may even lurk in the background.  Regardless, do not click anything within the window and close it immediately.  You may have to CTRL - ALT - DELETE to get it to close.