Despite major advances in intrusion detection tools and anti-malware technology, businesses are still frequent victims of cyber-attacks. This is largely due to one element that hasn’t evolved as quickly as technology, which is the employee. This makes phishing an extremely popular way to attack a business and obtain sensitive private information.
A 2019 report by Verizon found that about a third of all cyber-attacks involved phishing. All one needs to perform a successful phishing attack is a computer, a grasp of the language and an unsuspecting victim. This is why, every week, countless businesses learn the hard way that they should have invested more into preventing phishing attacks.
As its name would suggest, this form of cybercrime is akin to dropping a fishing line and waiting to catch a bite. The attacker sends emails to a list of hundreds or thousands of prospective victims’ addresses. These emails contain cleverly compiled text made to convince the reader to perform a task, such as providing personal information.
These emails are made out to be from legitimate sources, which makes it difficult for an unsuspecting employee to tell that the sender is not who they say they are. The action is also something simple enough that it seems harmless, such as telling the reader to follow a link and log in to an account.
Phishing emails often contain threatening claims to push the reader to take action. This includes telling them that they need to log in to an account to reset their password or that their account has been blocked. Many claim to be from banks or other financial institutions.
Consequences of Phishing Attacks
Successful phishing scams can cost your business everything it has. A report by the Ponemon Institute found that a phishing attack costs the average 10,000 employee company $3.7 million. Aside from serious financial loss, your reputation is also at stake.
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If your clients, partners and investors find out that your business was the victim of a phishing attack, they may be reluctant to continue doing business with you. This is often the case with websites that fall victim to data breaches; their users lose trust in them and stop using their services.
Preventing Phishing Attacks
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent phishing attacks. The most important, of course, is to train your employees on detecting malicious emails. You can find a wealth of information on this topic at the following link, which explains what you can do to protect your business: fraudwatchinternational.com/phishing/stop-phishing-emails/.
Aside from employee education, you can also invest in technology such as Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. This works by validating emails to detect whether they’re malicious. Employers should also get serious about password security and implement a password policy.
It would be wise to prevent your employees from creating their own passwords for business-related accounts and create secure passwords yourself instead.
Make sure that all of your employees are properly educated on phishing. By taking the time to do this, your business will become immeasurably safer from an otherwise imminent threat.