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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
October 25, 2022 Chris Sutton, Chief Information Security Officer and Chief Privacy Officer & Eugene Uhm, Business Development Specialist

We’ve highlighted the importance of cybersecurity to small businesses in past blog posts such as: Cybersecurity tips for small businesses . With October being recognized as Cybersecurity awareness month, we wanted to provide another topic to help you practice safe cybersecurity hygiene, avoiding sending emails to the wrong recipient.

From personal to professional, emails have become a part of our everyday lives. We wanted to remind you of the importance of confirming e-mail recipients before hitting ‘send’. Basic information security is the first step in keeping you safe from bad actors. But more often, information security incidents result from mistakes in handling information entrusted to us. A great risk to your email, for example, is accidentally sending data to the wrong person. This risk can be significantly reduced if you slow down and pay attention to your intended recipient before hitting ‘send’. A common question that is asked is “I sent an e-mail to the wrong person; can I retrieve it?” Unfortunately, after you send an e-mail, it is generally gone. 

Here are a couple tips to help avoid sending e-mail to the wrong recipient:

  • Be particularly cautious when dealing with sensitive information. Slow down and inspect your ‘To’ and ‘Cc’ lines. Responding to a large list of recipients warrants special caution. A bad e-mail address may have been sent to you by mistake, and your failure to inspect the recipients in responding will just exacerbate the problem.

  • Email programs like Microsoft Outlook have an ‘AutoComplete’ feature. The ‘AutoComplete’ list, also known as the “nickname cache”, is generated and stored automatically in the Outlook email client when you send an email from Outlook. It contains email addresses and displays names for people to whom you have sent email previously. This can be a useful feature, as when you start typing the first few characters of an email address, Outlook automatically begins to suggest a list of addresses for you to choose from. But like auto-complete in text-messaging, it can also accelerate mistakes when you are moving fast. To help reduce this risk, you can review the following link from Microsoft about how to review and remove ‘AutoComplete’ list email addresses from your Outlook email client. See the section titled; ‘How to remove AutoComplete list entries one at a time’. Additionally, if you no longer want to see suggested email addresses to send email to, you can turn off the ‘AutoComplete’ list by reviewing the instructions in the section titled; ‘Turn off the Auto-Complete List’.

  • When you use out-of-office messages, you may want to only send out-of-office responses to contacts internal to your organization and not to outside e-mails. Some cybersecurity experts advise that it’s generally bad security to signal your absence to outside parties who you do not know. Also, sending an out-of-office response will load up your “nickname cache” (referenced above) with e-mail addresses from any e-mail that came in, which further raises the possibility of mistakenly sending an e-mail to the wrong recipient.

Following these tips and practicing safe digital hygiene will help keep you and your company safe from bad actors. EXIM can help keep your company safe, by mitigating the risk of nonpayment on your foreign receivables with “invoice insurance”, also known as Export Credit Insurance.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation with one of EXIM’s trade finance specialists.

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EXIM’s Blog postings are intended to highlight various facets of exporting, but the postings are not legal advice, and are not intended to summarize all legal requirements associated with exporting.