Phishing E-mails People Fall For

Make sure your employees know better.

When it comes to phishing scams—a costly threat to businesses big and small—training employees to be aware and adopt the right behavior is a front-line defense, according to Wombat Security Technologies. In its 2017 State of the Phish report, it identifies particular types of messages employees fall for.

Phishing e-mails are fraudulent messages disguised as real e-mails, often from a familiar and trusted source. Their purpose is to trick recipients into revealing personal or financial information, or into clicking a link that downloads malicious software (malware) or ransomware onto a business’ computer.

What should you caution staff to watch out for? “Users seem to be more likely to click on e-mails that they would expect to find in their work e-mail boxes (such as a password-change notification or shipping confirmation),” according to Wombat’s report. It describes several types of highly effective fraudulent e-mails.

“A Message from Administrator [e-mail] had the highest average click rate of 34 percent. This simulated attack asks the user to click a link if they feel they have received the message in error and didn’t sign up for a certain type of account.”

Technical e-mails—messages posing as error reports and bounced e-mail notifications—are effective. Corporate e-mails, such as full-mailbox notifications, spam quarantines, benefits enrollment messages, invoices or confidential HR documents, may rouse more suspicion with a small store’s staff, but messages from “admins” about password updates are one of the most successful spoofs. Commercial phishing e-mails may pose as insurance notifications, shipping confirmations and wire transfer requests. Consumer e-mails (social-networking notifications, bonus miles, big-box memberships) are another type.

In addition to training employees to recognize phishing e-mails and warning them against opening e-mails from unknown senders or clicking on attachments, it also may make sense to limit the employees or computers with access to confidential information or personal data, such as employees’ social security numbers or customers’ addresses. The report notes that “users also showed that they put their organizations at risk by checking personal e-mail on their work devices” or checking work e-mail on their mobile phones. “Any filter on work e-mail does nothing when an employee clicks a malicious link in their personal e-mail while on a work computer, or loses their personal phone with work e-mail and information on it.” That’s why changing behavior through training is as important as any security software your IT consultant can put in place.

 

New Design Templates for Online Sales

Put your products in the best possible spotlight.

Envato Tuts+, an online learning service for creatives, has identified 15 of the best new e-commerce templates for 2017 that pair with various e-commerce platforms, such as Magento or Shopify. One challenge for any brick-and-mortar dance store adding an online shop is to make sure the design reflects your store’s branding and customer-service standards: You want it to look professional and function smoothly—whether from a computer, tablet or mobile phone. But adding online sales is worth the effort, storeowners are finding: It can bring in extra revenue and add the convenience of 24/7 shopping for your customers. Plus it can reach new customers.

To make it easier for storeowners, Envato Tuts+ suggests looking for the following features in a template:

  • a responsive, mobile-friendly design
  • a template that allows for featured product images
  • a cart that automatically updates
  • customizable design options
  • product variation features
  • customer support included

To see the 15 eye-catching e-commerce templates that fit these criteria, and to read about their specific features, go to webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/best-ecommerce-website-templates–cms-26768.

 

Holiday Shopping Intel

…means marketing opportunities for dance stores

The day before Christmas Eve and Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas) are the first and second biggest days for foot traffic at brick-and-mortar retailers, according to Foursquare Analytics. Are you staffed and stocked up and ready to sell on those days? The analysis also has intel you can use for targeting your holiday marketing: Customers are looking for promotions to help them cut through the clutter (gift lists and bundles for dancers?), and they say that ads help provide them with new gift ideas. As for some of dance stores’ core customers—teens and millennials—Foursquare reports that although they are “often pegged as digital natives who shop (and do everything else) online,” last year there was an uptick in brick-and-mortar shopping among this group.

 

From top: Thinkstock; courtesy of Envato; Thinkstock

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