EVERYONE uses email. That’s why it’s the most effective way for a cybercriminal to compromise your business. In a blink of an eye, a hacker can access your network and hold your confidential data hostage until you pay up. Whether it’s downloading an infected attachment from an email or clicking on a link that ends up being a phishing scam, your business doors have just been opened for a hacker or cybercriminal to rummage through your data. This could happen to you. So, it's important you take precautions to ensure that cybercriminals don’t find anything in your email that could compromise you or your business. Here are 4 things that you should never include in an email.
Your Social Insurance Number
This seems obvious, but you would be surprised by the number of times people who send this kind of information via email. It could be to your payroll administrator, tax accountant, or your spouse. Regardless of who you are sending your SIN to, if your email is breached and someone finds this out, they can easily steal your identity, open credit cards, and put you and your business in debt.
There’s a reason your full credit or debit card number doesn’t appear on your statements, receipts, etc. So why should it be included in an email? Your account numbers, routing number, online banking credentials, the expiration dates on cards, and the last three digits on your cards should never be sent via email. If a cybercriminal hacks into your email and finds this information, you could be in a lot of financial trouble. The best way to give someone your account details is to call them directly. Alternatively, there are email encryption solutions that allow you to send this kind of information in a secure format. That said, it’s still safer to never send your banking information over email.
Computer logins, passwords, and pins
You should never include your personal or company login credentials in an email. This also includes your answers to security questions. Emails are sent in plain text, which means that the content of the email is unencrypted. If a hacker gains access to your email, they will be able to extract all the content, including your passwords and usernames.
Sending financial documents as attachments is just as dangerous as typing it in. For instance, for you to get paid, your HR representative needs a void cheque. Sending it as an attachment isn’t an effective solution. If a hacker has access to your email, they can download any of the attached files, so be careful what you send!
Here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: your bank, credit card company and the government will NEVER ask you to click on a link and provide them with any of the information listed above. Don’t be fooled! If you receive an email requesting you to update your personal information, there’s a good chance it’s a phishing scam or a cybercriminal trying to get you to open an email with a virus or malware infection.
Remember, your email is a gateway to your online identity. If you store or send confidential information via email, you are making the hackers job that much easier!