22nd November 2021
Important Cyber Security update from our Group IT Manager
Cyber-related attacks are on the rise. Covid-19 and the accompanying lockdowns have also afforded cyber criminals an even greater opportunity than before. Criminals are targeting individuals, companies, charities and even governments. The problem is now getting closer to home in more than a few ways. Individuals are finding that employers that friends and family work for have become victims.
In October 2021 alone, there were a reported 50,000,000 cyber related attacks within the UK. On a worldwide level, the number of reported attacks is unsurprisingly much higher. As an IT worker having been in this industry for almost 20 years, I am more aware than most of the increasing and emerging security threats businesses of all sizes are now facing. I have also received some serious reports of attacks on other respected valve manufacturers and engineering firms.
While it is extremely rare for us to have an actual attack, attempts are always made, which is why we must encourage a high level of awareness across our supply chain. Examples of potential threats would include:
- Criminals pretending to be Alco Valves members of staff and reaching out to our customers and distributors.
- Email scamming, phishing, and spoofing attempts.
- Attempts to compromise our systems.
- Malicious software being sent to us via email.
- Fake phone calls pretending to be from important services targeting our staff.
At Alco Valves Group, we take cybercrime extremely seriously. Our systems are safer than they have ever been, and our staff are educated in the most recent scams. Our staff are our first and best line of defence. However, our biggest concern right now, is the safety and security of our customers and agents worldwide. Therefore, it is extremely important that as valued colleagues, customers, vendors or distributors, that you please take the time to read, consider and also distribute the following details throughout your organisation, which will not just help us to help you, but to also help to defend your organisation against similar crimes.
Consider the following…
- Finance teams should ALWAYS verify bank account information before paying monies to a payee. The most secure way to do this is by calling an official phone number and checking if a request has been sent or details changed. Similarly, use a known number and not one listed in the email or letter. Try Googling the company or checking their official website for the number. The Alco Valves Group main switchboard number is +44 (0)1484 710511.
- We will never send an email telling you to change details. REMEMBER, if you do get an email giving such instructions, it will NOT be from Alco Valves Group. Similarly, check the email format: our email address format is firstname.lastname@example.org. The real email address will always be shown in the email headers and ALWAYS be extremely vigilant before replying. This is a very common form of fraud!
- Sometimes our email format can be successfully spoofed. Therefore, even if you receive an email from an apparently correct email address, please verify with us directly if the email concerns sensitive information (e.g., addresses, invoicing, payments).
- Further information about defending against email scams can be found here: alco-valves.com/news/fake-alco-valves-group-email-alert/
- Never click on links in emails, unless you are 100% certain the email has come from a legitimate source. Links in emails can lead to downloading malicious software (including ransomware) and fake websites (they will look genuine) where you are prompted to enter credentials and then get your details stolen.
We cannot avoid being a target. But, we can avoid being a victim!
I would strongly encourage you to take this information seriously. We have also produced a flyer (that you can download here) that we highly recommend you distribute to your Accounts / Finance team. If you would like any further guidance or information, please contact us and we will be more than happy to help.
Thank you very much for your time.