Phishing threats

Hackers Use the Pandemic to Send Out Phishing Threats

The first half of this year has seen its fair share of ups and downs, especially on a global scale. With a global pandemic still taking the world by storm, it’s despicable that hackers would take advantage of the opportunity to make a quick buck using phishing tactics. Yet, here we are. Let’s take a look at how hackers have turned the world’s great misfortune into a boon, as well as how you can keep a lookout for these threats.

According to reports from SecureList, spam and phishing trends in Q1 of 2021 relied heavily on COVID-19 and the buzz generated by it. Let’s take a look at some of the major threats that took advantage of the pandemic.

Stimulus Payment Scandals

The first couple months of 2021 saw businesses and individuals receiving payments from governments, such as economic impact payments or business bail-outs. Hackers took advantage of this opportunity to try to convince users to hand over their credentials through the use of messages that both looked and sounded professional. As is often the case with phishing messages, some users of specific banks were targeted through the use of near-identical websites designed to steal credentials and fool users. Others tried to convince users to enter information by convincing them that the latest details on the bank’s COVID-19 practices could be found on the other side of links or sensitive information forms.

The Vaccine Race

For a while, the COVID-19 vaccine was a bit tricky to get your hands on. While things have improved significantly in recent months, the initial rush to get vaccinated triggered many would-be hackers to try their hand at vaccination phishing emails that replicated the look and language of communication from health officials. Users would have to click on a link in the message, which would then redirect them to a form for plugging in personal information and, in some cases, banking credentials. Even those who already received vaccinations were not safe, as there were fake surveys circulating urging people to fill them out and claim prizes for doing so.

What You Can Do

Don’t let hackers take advantage of the cracks in your business’ defenses. Phishing attacks can come in countless forms, so it is your responsibility to protect your business from them. Here are some ways that you can make sure your organization is secured from phishing attempts.


  • Filter Out Spam: A spam filter can keep the majority of threats out of your inbox, but the unfortunate fact is that most phishing emails are probably going to make it past the spam filter. Therefore, you will want to take more advanced tactics against these threats.
  • Train your Employees: Training your employees on how to identify threats gives them the power to avoid threats that do manage to get past your defenses. Teach them what to look for and you’ll be giving yourself a better chance of overcoming them.
  • Implement Unified Threat Management: No matter how well trained your employees are, it helps to have just a little bit of reassurance that you have done all you can to secure your business. This is what a UTM does; it’s a single security solution that can optimize your network’s protection.


Point North Networks, Inc., can help your business keep itself secure. Not only can we implement great security solutions, but we can also help to train your employees, including regular “tests” where we send out fake phishing emails to see who is and is not paying attention. To learn more about how this can help your organization, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.

using YouTube to improvement

Using YouTube to Improve Everything

Training your staff to be better at their jobs is not only a business owner’s responsibility, but it’s also expensive and time-consuming. When someone suggests that you use YouTube for your business’ training purposes, the first thought is: “Are you crazy? We don’t have the money for that!” That is a reasonable response if the suggestion was that you start making YouTube videos for your business’ training purposes, sure, but if you use YouTube resources that are already there, you can quickly improve your business with nary a penny spent. Today, we will discuss the options that can make using YouTube a strong resource for your business.

About YouTube

We’re not going to go into what YouTube is, since if you don’t know by now, us telling you isn’t going to help. What we will say is that YouTube is more than just video game and anime reviews. It can be a great resource for personal and professional growth, and if it is utilized by a business to explore concepts that provide value for their staff, it can be a real benefit.


It can also be a giant time-sink.


Anyone that has been on YouTube knows that there are literally millions of hours of videos about any topic important to any human being. It’s a lot of content. In fact, according to Google, the parent company of YouTube, nearly five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. Many businesses have blocked YouTube using content filtering because their staff will spend too much time watching and sharing videos. 720,000 hours of new video content is updated every day, after all. It’s just a massive platform…


…and you can use it pretty easily to improve your business, if you know how.

How Can I Use YouTube to Improve My Business?

We’re not going to get into the marketing and content creation avenues, but both can work well for any business looking to expand their reach and/or authority. In fact, you can use the strategy we’re about to tell you to put together a stream of useful information to help your marketing department understand how to make those strategies work for your business.


The strategy we want to tell you about is using existing YouTube content to help train your staff and expand their knowledge base about your business, your market, the services you provide your customers, customer relationships, cybersecurity, and much, much more. You can do this pretty simply by creating a playlist.


Anyone who has been around for a couple of decades started making playlists by sitting by the boombox and recording songs they like on a cassette tape, but most of today’s younger people have been making playlists in iTunes and Spotify for years. The same principle applies when creating a playlist for your business’ training. You find content that is useful, entertaining or both, you add it to a playlist and you share the playlist with people you want to take in the content. It seems like it is a little too simple to help your business, but you would be shocked at the results some small and medium-sized businesses have had using YouTube content to expand their staff’s knowledge base on a lot of subjects.

How Do I Make a Playlist?

The process of making a playlist is longer than you may think, only because you have to view all the content you want to add to the playlist. Otherwise, it’s extremely easy. Here’s what you do:

  1. You find a YouTube video you want to add.
  2. Directly under the video, you will click the Add to button.
  3. There will be a dropdown menu. Choose Create new playlist.
  4. Enter a name for the playlist.
  5. Choose any privacy settings you want to enact for the playlist. For businesses, we suggest unlisted.
  6. Click create.


That’s it. Then you can add to the playlist by clicking on the Add to button under a video and placing it on the corresponding playlist. You will quickly find that the hardest part about sharing content with your team is watching it to ensure it is right for the purposes of your design.


There is a lot of great and useful content on YouTube that any small business can use to improve the way their staff understands the concepts they need to master to help a business grow. If you would like to talk about how you can use technology to improve the way you do business, give Point North Network, Inc., a call today at 651-234-0895.