Cat videos are good for you. Your network? Not so much.

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CatVideo1.jpgThe research is in. Scientists say watching cute animal videos reduces stress and allows you to become more relaxed. Less stress and more relaxation is always a good thing. Sadly, there’s bad news associated with the good.

Did you know phishing scams are a popular way for viruses, malware and ransomware to make it onto your network? All it takes is one click on an email link saying, “When I saw this cat video, I immediately thought about you...” for a virus to infect your network. It happens innocently enough, yet the results can be devastating.

Your data, like any other resource in your brokerage is an extremely valued asset worth protecting. Here’s a few tips on how to protect it.

1. Back up your data.

Recently, the Policy Works tech support team assisted at least a half dozen brokerages recover data after a security breach. It was discovered that several of them have never performed a data backup. As much as we want to help, there’s not much anyone can do if your data is not backed up.

Talk to your IT people to make sure they have procedures in place and back ups are performed frequently.

2. If it looks dodgy, it probably is.

Here is an example from Microsoft of what a phishing scam in an email message might look like.

Dodgy email.jpg

Things like spelling and grammar mistakes, threats and links in the email are usual suspects when it comes to scams. If you receive an email that looks suspicious, do the following:

  • DO NOT open the links in the email.
  • If it looks like it was sent from a friend or acquaintance, ask them if their email account has been compromised.
  • Report it to your IT department immediately.

Finally, move the suspicious email to your junk folder or block the sender if you don’t recognize the address.

3. Because your anti virus software says so.

You should have some type of anti virus protection installed on your computer or network like McAfee, Norton or Webroot. When performing an Internet search, it instantly identifies websites that may contain a potential virus.SearchEngine Warning.jpgAs shown above, websites with a poor reputation should be avoided. Hover your mouse over any Internet search for complete details on the authenticity of the website BEFORE you click.

Your IT department can verify what type of anti virus software is on your computer and network. Depending on the size of your brokerage, your IT department may have inappropriate search words and websites blocked for everyone’s safety. Unfortunately, there are thousands of scams out there and as soon as one is detected, another is taking its place.

CatVideo2.jpgBut, back to this cute animal video thing…

As a cat owner, I know how hard it is to resist those super-cute videos. However, when I feel the need to indulge, I’ll watch ones my family, friends or I have made. Or better still, I’ll wait until I get home to watch cat shenanigans live and in person!

Topics: Best practices