Simple ways to protect your company from cyberattacks

A recent computer malware attack that crippled many of’s services highlights the perils of cyberattacks. However, companies can take steps to protect themselves.

As reported by FreightWaves, at least seven sites belonging to were down as of Monday, Dec. 23, including its carrier onboarding and safety compliance service SaferWatch.

Some attacks are obvious and easily avoidable, but others are cleverly disguised to trick even savvy employees. Vigilance is key because a successful attack against just one employee can compromise a company’s productivity and customers’ data. The cost is staggering: A 2019 study by insurance carrier Hiscox found businesses’ average cost to address a cyberattack has risen to $200,000 — a figure that can be far greater for major attacks.

Here are some simple ways to ward off business-crippling computer attacks.

Don’t accept Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn requests from your email.

Accept friend requests only on the app directly. Don’t assume that requests via email are legitimate. This can be the hardest scam to detect because the messages look identical to legitimate ones sent from LinkedIn or Facebook.

Always check the email address before opening.

This is an easy one to fall for. For example, you receive email that includes your boss’s name so it seems valid. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legit. Always check that the full email address is the one normally used for office communication, regardless of the sender’s name. If in doubt, contact your manager or company’s IT staff to alert them to suspicious activity.

Do not send your bank account credentials via email.

With the possible exception of payroll, it is highly unlikely that coworkers or management needs access to your bank account and even more unlikely they would solicit this information via email. Also avoid emailing personal info such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, date of birth, etc.

Watch out for emails from “coworkers” asking for favors involving money.

Scammers have reportedly duped employees by pretending to be their supervisor. They may ask you to run errands for them, such as loading money onto an account or making a purchase at a store. New employees are particularly susceptible to this scam, as they may be eager to impress upper management. It is important to let staff know what is and isn’t expected of them early on so they can identify a scam like this when they see it.

Don’t open resumes, proposals or other files that have an executable file attached.

Scammers may pose as employees of reputable companies and send their target documents that look legitimate. They may even send an accompanying friend request on LinkedIn to gain credibility. Always do a bit of research before connecting with individuals online. Never open resumes, proposals, photos or other files that have an executable file attached, as this can introduce malware to company computers.