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Halloween Candy and Cyber Attacks

Most people in the United States think of Halloween when they think of the month of October.  As we begin October 2019 you should also think of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and training yourself to check your emails as closely as the parents do the candy that is brought home on Halloween evening.

On Halloween night parents walk around with their children collecting candy, from mostly strangers, to consume later.  When the children and adults arrive back at their home the adults normally spend a few minutes checking the wrappers of the candy to ensure no foreign objects have been placed in the candy, which may harm their children when eaten.

While the parents are looking for opened wrappers or worn labels on the Halloween candy you should be looking for similar things in emails you receive that are not normal.  You may be looking for things as simple as an email address that has one character changed, such as O being changed to a 0 (zero), or as complicated as your CEO requesting a large money wire from what very well may be their account as his or her email account has been compromised.  Research by email security vendor Proofpoint has shown 99% of all cyberattacks need the assistance of a human to be successful.   A human must follow a link in an email, open a document, accept a security warning, or complete other actions like divulging their login credentials or personal information for the attack or breach to be successful.

If you inspect each email you receive for suspicious indicators with the same vigor that parents approach inspecting each piece of Halloween candy you will substantially decrease your chances of becoming part of an attack or breach.  While October is a good month to remind ourselves to be more aware, we MUST check every email, every day of the year with the same the level of urgency as the bad guys have figured out that humans are the best way to get into any organization.

The National Center for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies is a great resource for learning more about cybersecurity during the month of October. The cybersecurity landscape is rapidly changing and Thrive can help you navigate the enormous number of options available today please contact us or call 866-205-2810.

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Chris Moore