For the last 10 years, my primary job has been to educate people. Yeah, our company provides serious IT services, but it doesn’t end with me sitting behind a keyboard all day. I have a talented team to handle the technical aspects of our work. Meanwhile, I like to be out there talking to people and teaching them how vulnerable their businesses are when it comes to data security.
Occasionally we’ll have people come to the office, but more often than not, I’m going to them. Some days, I drive back and forth across Richmond to hold on-site training sessions. If you’ve never attended one of these training sessions, you should know I don’t bring textbook-sized reports which discuss all the ins and outs of data security. A lot of what I cover involves basic user strategies to promote security. For example, one day I drove to six different training sessions and focused heavily on one crucial topic: Hover before you click a link!
Hyperlinks are links embedded into a work or image which will, when you click on the word or image, bring you to a new page. They are usually blue and underlined, and you can find hyperlinks across the internet. Chances are you clicked on one in the last online article you read. However, are you certain you know where you’ll end up before you click that blue link? The hyperlink may read Sklar Technology Partners or even www.sklartechnology.com, but something nefarious can be lurking behind that door.
Cybercriminals often use misleading hyperlinks to trick you into visiting and unsafe landing page and giving them valuable information. Sometimes, if you click on the wrong link, you can inadvertently install malware and give criminals access to your systems. You can check through the “peephole” of hyperlinks by just hovering your cursor over the hyperlink without clicking it. The URL embedded into the link will appear in a little box, either right above your cursor or at the bottom left of the screen. If you’re on a mobile device, click and hold the link until a box pops up displaying the hidden URL. Check and make the hyperlink is what it claims to be before you click on it.
The applies to all parts of the internet, but it’s especially relevant when it comes to emails. Phishing schemes are notorious for collecting information using misleading hyperlinks. You could get an email with a hyperlink that claims it will take you to your bank’s website, but when you hover over the hyperlink, you’ll see the URL is to a bogus site. Taking a few extra seconds to check a link before you click it can save you a world of pain in the future.
When I go to on-site training sessions, it can feel like I spend a lot of time talking about how scary and dangerous the internet is. The internet really is scary and dangerous, don’t get me wrong, but with a little bit of knowledge, you can easily avoid most of those dangers. My job is to educate people so they have this knowledge and are less likely to need our serious IT services because someone on their team made an easily avoidable mistake.