With the ever-evolving digital world, I am certain that everyone has heard the phrase “think before you click”.  This phrase used to pertain to unfamiliar emails with unsolicited links, sent by cyber criminals. Once the recipient clicks the link, the criminals either have access to personal information or plant malicious viruses on your device, or both.

E-mail is no longer the only means for cyber criminals to deceive us. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the following terms: phishing, smishing, and vishing.

Phishing is like the chameleon of cyber threats, adapting to different forms and disguises to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information. Whether it’s through emails, instant messages, or fake websites, attackers aim to lure their victims with seemingly legitimate requests. Common red flags include generic greetings, urgent calls to action, and suspicious links.

Smishing, or SMS phishing, takes deception to your mobile device. Attackers send fraudulent text messages, often disguised as legitimate communications from banks, government agencies, or service providers. These messages may contain malicious links or prompts to call a specified number.

Vishing, short for voice phishing, involves attackers posing as legitimate entities over the phone. These scammers use various tactics, such as impersonating banks, government officials, or tech support, to manipulate individuals into revealing sensitive information. Always be skeptical of unsolicited calls, especially those demanding urgent actions or sensitive data. Verify the caller’s identity independently and never share personal information over the phone unless you initiated the contact.

I know a few cyber-security experts and they have assured me the tactics of cybercriminals advance right along with the advancement of technology.  So, what can we do to protect ourselves and our businesses from cyber criminals?

Education and Awareness:  Conduct annual training with your teams!  Stay informed about the latest phishing, smishing, and vishing tactics. Regularly update yourself on common scams and red flags.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Implement MFA wherever possible to add an extra layer of security to your accounts.  If your team members can access your dental software from their mobile devices, this is an absolute must.

Verify Communications: Before clicking on links or providing information, independently verify the legitimacy of the sender or caller through official channels.

Keep Software Updated: Ensure that your operating system, antivirus software, and applications are up to date with the latest security patches.

Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter phishing, smishing, or vishing attempts, report them to the relevant authorities or organizations to help prevent others from falling victim.

By implementing proactive cybersecurity measures, you can protect your information, both personal and business, with greater confidence. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and empower yourself to outsmart the cyber adversaries lurking in the shadows of the online world.