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How to Keep Yourself Safe from a Cyber Attack

Posted October 01, 2021 in News

Written By John Shea III  |  Xpanxion Technical Writer

Cyber Security Month

Learn helpful tips if you are the victim of a cyber attack, how those attacks can happen, how to avoid those attempts, and other ways like social engineering the hacker can get vital information from you. 

Data Safety

Why is it Important to Have Secure Communications? 

“Reporting suspicious communications allows us to take a proactive approach to security, as opposed to a reactive one,” - Tanner Illg | Xpanxion's InfoSec Manager

  • To protect business information 
  • Avoid any leaks of confidential information 
  • Retain confidentiality of business policies, terms, and conditions 
  • Avoid cyber threats and other threats 
  • Retain customer’s confidence in our business 
  • It makes good sense 

How Bad Things Happen if Security is Not Taken Seriously 

These are examples of things that can happen to make us no longer secure and safe. Be on the watch. If you see something, say something. 

  • Computer malfunctions. 
  • Phishing attack via email, phone, or text, 
  • Strangers wandering the hall or in places they should not be. 
  • Unfamiliar packages. 
  • Doors left open that need to be secured. 

Ways to Avoid Email Hacking (Phishing) Attempts 

These are just 10 ways people can phish you for information. 

  • Slow down and carefully read the message. Think before you click. 
  • Mouse over links to what really lies beneath the URL. 
  • Beware of poor spelling, grammar, lots of capital letters and too much punctuation. 
  • Look out for generic greetings. Legitimate entities will address you by your full name or user name. 
  • Verify email addresses or company logos. 
  • Remain skeptical. 
  • Don’t let emotions get the better of you. Phishing pushes a sense of urgency. 
  • Government entities will not email asking you for payment. 
  • Phishing usually comes with malware attached. Use extreme caution whenever you receive a random attachment. 
  • Never make assumptions. Any request for sensitive information or money should immediately raise suspicions. 
  • Use the Phish Alert Report. You’ll find the icon at the top right of your Outlook email phish attempt. Click on it and a report message box opens for you to report the attempt. 

Note: As we send more phishy emails to Phish Alert, we will receive fewer similar-looking emails. 

How to be Safe with Cyber Security 

Provide access to the right people and deny access to the wrong people. 

The Wrong People: Who is coming after it? 

  • State-sponsored groups. 
  • Organized cyber criminals. 
  • Mercenary hackers for hire, and lately, more ransomware. 

Note: Ironically, companies who buy ransomware insurance might set themselves up for a hack attack as some hackers think they’ll pay the ransom.

How to stop them: 

  • Use strong, unique passwords with two authenticators 
  • Mobile phones/tablets have PINs. 
  • Make sure data is correct. 
  • Install security updates and patches ASAP. 
  • Make sure data is available. 
  • Notify your IT security team immediately if something is suspicious. 

What Not to Do 

  • Social Media Oversharing 

Everybody doesn’t have to know everything you do, have done, will be doing, health status, pertinent names and numbers (like passwords and answers to security questions), Where you work and who your co-workers are, and where and what you ate for your latest meal. Also sharing information for example you’re off to a wonderful vacation (which to viewers means you’re out of town and a prime target for a home robbery).

  • Social Engineering 

Social engineers appeal to our need for security, greed, vanity, and helping others. They create a sense of urgency to take an action that puts you or your organization at risk. They want to obtain your trust, then exploit that relationship to coax you to either: 

Divulge sensitive information about yourself or your organization OR give them access to your network. 

For example, a fake customer support line rep asks you for: 

  • Your PIN 
  • Last four digits of your social security number (SSN) 
  • Even a credit card number 
  • Answers to possible security questions, like 
    • Mother’s maiden name 
    • Father’s middle name 
    • Name of your first pet 
    • Make or model of your first car 
    • Street you lived when you were a kid 
    • Third grade teacher’s name 
    • And others 

Be wary of the social engineer! 

How Xpanxion Keeps Your Information Secure and Safe 

We offer Information Security Consulting Services: 

  • Advisory 
  • Assessment 
  • Engineering 
  • Staff augmentation 
  • Seamless cybersecurity with CyberProof, a fellow UST subsidiary 
  • CATO Networks 
    • A set of services including VPN, Last Mile Coverage, QoS, and SD-WAN; partially or fully managed 
  • Managed services: 
    • 24x7x365 network security maintenance, Security Operations Center Administration, Network Operations Center Administration, managed EDR services, vulnerability management, and mitigation/remediation of network/system anomalies. 
  • We ROCk! 

Our Reliability Operations Center (ROC) fulfills requirements around IT Service Management: 

  • Policies, processes, and procedures necessary to plan, operate, control, and deliver resources to clients. A ROC includes: 
    • Help desk and end-user computing 
    • Network and Security Operations 
    • Infrastructure Operations 
    • Application Operations 


About Xpanxion - Solving business problems with technology. We are software product engineering experts with over 20+ years of experience delivering the technologies, software architectures, processes and people critical to delivering success. As a trusted partner, we focus on business solutions and alliances that provide end-to-end value to solving our customer’s problems. We focus on providing best-in-class solutions by developing custom solutions with modern technologies or by delivering industry recognized off the shelf solutions.

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Data illustrations by Storyset