Google has reported that 18 million phishing emails related to COVID-19 were identified daily during just one week in April. Many of these emails look like they come from government agencies, such as the World Health Organization, and play on the fear many people are feeling during the pandemic. Although Google says that they have AI protections in place that block roughly 99.9% of these malicious emails, they have also partnered with WHO to implement a Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) system to make it even harder for these types of messages to get through to Google’s users.
So what does this mean for small business owners?
Set Up 2-Factor Authentication
Setting up 2-factor authentication to access your email is an effective way to secure your company email. Here’s how it works: After you sign in to your email account, a code will be sent to a separate device (usually a cell phone but you can choose whatever device you like) for you to input to verify that you are the owner of the account. This will occur every time you log in, with a new code sent to the device of your choice.
Having this extra layer of security means that even if a hacker found out your password, they would not be able to access your account without the code from the 2-factor authentication.
VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) are very helpful if you have
employees working remotely
. A VPN allows you to function as if you’re using a private server even when connected to public Wi-Fi. When you use a VPN, you can rest assured that your email is not being hacked if you or your employees work from a café or other public place. Make sure your VPN software is up to date, with all security patches installed.
Encrypt Sensitive Information
If you have to send sensitive information via email, best practice is to encrypt it. When you encrypt something, it means that you disguise the information so that hackers can’t read it. A public key,
in the form of a digital code
, is used to encrypt the email and a private key is used to decrypt the email. Use this
to learn more about how encrypting works. Free encryption apps to look into for your business include Proton Mail, Mailvelope, and Ciphermail.
This article excerpted from America's SBDC. Find additional tips and linked articles
on the blog