The Top Email Scams (And How to Avoid Them)

Most of us know not to respond to emails from a Nigerian prince looking to enter a business proposition but email scams have come a long way from when that one started surfacing.

It’s difficult to see through some of the latest attempts to swindle and trick you out of your hard-earned money.

We’ve got five email scams for you to beware of and tips on how to spot one in your inbox.

1. Phishing Sites

Phishing site emails are hard to spot because they look legit. Many of these appear to be from a bank, credit card, or e-commerce website requesting you click a link to sign-in and verify your information. Some of these will make it look like there has been a major purchase, so you feel compelled to check it out just in case it is legit.

While the email looks like it is from a company or organization, you deal with the link goes to a fake site. This site will look practically identical to the real business and will have a sign-in page that records your attempts to access your account.

This allows the criminal to go to the real company website and use your log-in information to access your account and steal your money or change your password so you are now locked out.

2. Delivery Pending

Another email scam that seems rampant right now involves packages that require delivery. The email will either ask for a small delivery fee paid by a credit card or attempt to get personal information from you to steal your identity.

Do not give out personal information, especially if you do not recognize the sender and were not expecting a delivery. It is wise to verify the information with the company and the delivery courier through other means rather than clicking on a link within the email to do so.

3. Tax Refunds or Taxes Owed

The government is not texting you about taxes. Never give out personal information through email or unsolicited phone calls claiming to be from the government. If they are contacting you regarding your taxes, they will have your personal information already.

Always contact the government agency directly to verify it is one of their agents requesting the information. These types of email scams also include a phishing site link for you to click on.

4. Downloading Unknown Files

Any email that requires you to download an unknown file from an unknown sender should be considered suspicious. In fact, even if the person is on your contact list if you aren’t expecting a file from them, or the email seems off compared to your normal communication, hold off on downloading any files.

There are viruses and other harmful malware that can harm your computer just by being opened.

5. Blackmail Email Scams

A growing trend in email scams is one where the sender attempts to blackmail the recipient by stating they have video or images from their computer or webcam that would be embarrassing if made public.

These “final warning” blackmail emails are alarming but not real and should be ignored or reported if the email actually includes stills or video proof of their hacking into your computer.

While there are malware trojan viruses that can grant remote access to turn on your webcam, it is rare that this is the case and shouldn’t be suspected if the email is generic in nature.

Think Before You Click

If an offer sounds too good to be true or something seems off about the communication it’s better to be safe than sorry. Think before you click so that you aren’t taken in by the many email scams that are out there.

Be sure to bookmark our site for easy access to all our tips and resources or contact us today to answer all your online business security questions.

The Benefits of VoIP Telecommunications for Your Business

Every business needs a way to communicate with employees, vendors, and clients, no matter how big or small it is. But despite technology getting better and better, the majority of companies are stuck with traditional landlines.

An alternative to consider is VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol. What is it? The simplest explanation is calls made using broadband internet instead of phone lines.

Below, we’ll explore the benefits of VoIP service for your business.

You’ll Save Money

When you rely on phone lines for communication, you’ll need several lines to handle your calls. But with VoIP service, all you’ll need is broadband internet and payment for the initial setup of the system.

Plus, when you have traditional landlines, you usually have to pay extra for things like voicemail and call forwarding. Pay one flat fee for VoIP service and get those extras included. Plus, there’s no such thing as long-distance fees anymore.

The Call Quality Is Better

It’s true that if you don’t have a good internet connection, the call quality of VoIP can be subpar. But chances are, you’ve invested in good internet service so your business can run smoothly.

The call quality of VoIP is so good that not only does it match traditional landlines in quality, but it also surpasses it quite often.

Calls Are More Secure

If you have to communicate sensitive data, there are extra steps VoIP uses to secure your calls. It uses encryption, which means if anyone intercepts the call, they can’t “unlock” the information inside unless they have the “key.” This key is unique and only you have it.

Enjoy More Than Just Calls

A traditional phone line can only serve a few purposes: calling and faxing. But with VoIP, you can do so much more. Not only can you call and fax, but you can also do video conferencing, instant messaging, and more.

With all these features, VoIP will enable your workforce to become more productive.

Better Accessibility and Flexibility

When your company relies on a landline, your employees can not take it with them when on business trips. Of course, they can use a company cell phone, but with that can come with limitations. All they have to do is bring the portable VoIP adapter with them, and they can use the service so long as they have an internet connection.

You can also assign VoIP line numbers to your remote workers who are halfway across the world. This essentially means you can have a global workforce that’s always easy to reach.

Use VoIP Service for Your Company

As you can see, VoIP service has many advantages when compared to analogue phone lines. These are outdated, so keep up with the ever-evolving technological world; replace your phone system with VoIP service to not only save money, but to also make improvements in various areas of your business.

If you would like to get VoIP service for your business, please get in touch with us to discuss this option.

5 Biggest Cyber Security Vulnerabilities Facing Your Small Business

Businesses are growing more competitive. Threats of hackers altering, stealing or destroying information systems have increased. Safety of information is the number one priority given an increased market size.

Hackers have come up with new strategies to compromise and defraud businesses. How do we prevent tomorrow’s challenges? Understanding the vulnerabilities of cyber security is one way of prevention – knowledge is power (as they say).

Here are some of the top cyber security vulnerabilities to look out for.

Phishing Attacks

Hackers use this technical trickery to gain access to your personal information. A majority of cyber-attacks start this way. Attackers send an email with an attachment or a link to an unknown website.
Emails often appear credible because attackers take time to research about their targets.

One way to reduce the risks of spear phishing is by analyzing email headers before opening. A credible IT service provider who hosts emails will help reduce these attacks.

Most providers manage the users’ domain which includes security authentication and filtering.

Attack on Passwords

Passwords are secret characters that ensure that only specific user(s) have access to their data. Nowadays, it has become simple to guess a password based on their name, job or title.

A habit most people have is using the same password over different sites. An attacker then logs into a site and uses an unknown internet address then deleting the victims’ password.

Eavesdropping Attack

An attacker obtains users details by intercepting network traffic. Attackers detect information by listening to a message through the network. They also send queries to transmitters by disguising as someone friendly.

An example, when a home buyer is about to close on their home, they might get an email that looks like it is from the title company requesting the down payment to be wired over. Usually, attackers using this type of scam have been monitoring someone’s email box.

Malware Attack

Have you ever experienced a crash in your Microsoft Word or Excel? It may have been a malware attack. The most common types of malware attacks are:

File Infectors

Happens when an unwanted software installs itself in your system. In most cases, it happens without your knowledge. These viruses can also install themselves when using .exe files. When loading the executable files, the code attaches itself and infects the system.

Stealth Virus

Operates by concealing itself from an anti-virus. It then reports an infected area as uninfected.

Spyware

Collects user’s information without consent and sends it to a remote user. Many users have installed it without knowing by installing an application on their system.

Internal Attacks

A company’s employees are the biggest vulnerability to security. First, the criminal disguises themselves as legal use of the system. Having gained the trust and unlimited access, they steal confidential user’s information.

Employees generally have prevalent access to digital tools at their work-spaces. They can use this to steal data and go unnoticed. Employees who are not monitored cause around 60% of cyber security vulnerabilities.

Understanding Cyber Security Vulnerabilities

Attackers have come up with many ways of gaining unauthorized access to data. You need to protect your business from these network vulnerabilities by taking preventive action.

The financial sector faces a 65% higher computer threat than any other industry. Employee training, firewall configuration, strong passwords and updating anti-viruses can help moderate them.

Contact us to keep your business safe and deal with these cyber security vulnerabilities.

Is Your Business Ready for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is in full swing. Hurricane Florence is barreling towards the Carolinas and there are three other systems being watched. Most coastal residents have some idea as to how to prepare their house and other buildings for hurricanes, but what about your I.T. stuff? Are you storm-ready on the I.T. side?

Back It Up

The most important thing to do is make sure everything is backed up. If you haven’t done a digital backup of all your important files, now is the time to do it. Consider things like Excel spreadsheets, photos, emails, Quickbooks, etc. There are different backups to consider:

Onsite = Onsite backups use devices like USB and removable hard drives. They are easy, fast, and don’t require internet. However, you have to remember to take the backup device with you if you evacuate.

Cloud/Offsite = If you have a lot of data and/or don’t want to risk forgetting your backup devices when you evacuate, you might prefer a cloud-based option. This way, if your office floods and/or electricity goes off, your data is being stored somewhere else and is still accessible via cloud.

Both onsite and offsite options can be set up to backup your information regularly, which is ideally what you should do.

Failover

Depending on your setup, you may also want to consider a failover system. For example, if you have an important server running at your business that you’re worried about losing power to, you can set up a failover system to take over if/when your main system goes offline. Of course, you’ll need to monitor said failover system, just like you need to monitor backups. If you don’t monitor such things, they may not work when you need them.

You’ll likely want to keep tabs on your employees, so find out their hurricane evacuation plans ahead of time. Some may evacuate out of the danger zone and yet remain in an area that loses electricity and/or cell phone service, while other employees may evacuate far enough away that they will retain both and could work remotely if requested.

If you are interested in our data backup services, please contact us, and stay safe this hurricane season.

Have You Tried Rebooting It?

It’s stereotyped as the favorite question of IT help desk people: “Have you turned it off and back on?”  On the surface, it seems like a ridiculous question. How on earth could rebooting a device possibly fix anything?  And yet, it does. I’ll explain, and hopefully the next time an IT person asks you this question, you’ll be less inclined to roll your eyes. Continue reading “Have You Tried Rebooting It?”

FBI Warns of ATM “Jackpotting” Threat

About a week ago, some scary information started making the rounds.  The Telegraph reported that the FBI had issued warnings that there would potentially be a hacking attacking on ATMs worldwide.  There was a threat that hackers would be unleashing a “jackpotting” attack, and that millions of dollars were at risk.  The time-frame of that particular warning may have passed, but the general concern remains as such attacks will doubtlessly occur in the future.

Continue reading “FBI Warns of ATM “Jackpotting” Threat”

The Alphabet Soup of VoIP

If you have read some of our older blog posts, you may realize that we at Core Networks are fans of VoIP. However, if you have stumbled across our blog to read some of our newer posts, you probably don’t understand what VoIP is, other than some fancy type of telephone. In future posts I plan to explain just what VoIP is, but first, we must first have some foundations to build on. There is an alphabet soup of tech-y terms surrounding VoIP, and in this post we’re going to examine those terms.

VoIP Phone
VoIP Phone

Continue reading “The Alphabet Soup of VoIP”

MAC vs IP Address

I figured I’d give you all a break from malware and talk about something different.  In that spirit, I’m doing a little post about IP addresses and MAC addresses.  I’m going explain the difference between MAC and IP addresses by starting with question: “What is an IP address?”

IP address stands for Internet Protocol address, while MAC address stands for Media Access Control address.  That probably means nothing for those that are not tech-savvy, and trying to explain them by discussing things like network identification will just be confusing.  Instead, I am going to explain them by comparing them to cars.

IP Address Windows Configuration
IP Address Windows Configuration

Continue reading “MAC vs IP Address”

Malware 101

In our previous post we discussed the Russian malware known as VPNFilter.  In this post we figured we should pull back a little and give you a rundown on malware in general.  You’ve probably heard lots of terms associated with malware – viruses, rootkits, Trojans, etc, – but maybe you don’t understand how they’re related.  We’ll try to clear that up.

"<yoastmark Continue reading “Malware 101”