Phishing scams are rampant and all too successful. Successful phishing attacks account for 36% of all data breaches, according to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Report.
Scammers frequently use these deceptive practices to breach a company’s data and gain access to employees’ personal information. In 2020, the average data breach cost companies $3.86 million. And hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the minute.
It’s important that you and your employees understand how to spot common phishing attempts and prevent criminals from gaining access to sensitive data.
You can’t avoid something if you don’t know what it is, which is why it’s so important to understand what phishing is. In short, phishing is defined as any attempt by a scammer to gather sensitive information using deception of some kind.
This may feel like a wide definition, but that’s because phishing attempts are extremely diverse, making them hard to spot if you don’t know what to look for. Even normally cautious individuals can slip and click on the wrong link and allow malware to install on their company computers.
In no time, your entire network can be compromised or damaged. These attacks may expose your clients’ data as well. Your company may lose its money, clients, and reputation. You may even face legal action for not protecting consumers properly.
Common Types of Phishing
Your company faces various phishing attempts each day. Some common types include the following:
Emails and spam emails may be the most common type of phishing. A bit of investigation can often reveal they are fraudulent, but employees can become careless.
These emails may ask for the employee to reset a password or verify an account so the scammer can get sensitive information. Sometimes they simply advertise an industry product. Opening these emails can unleash a virus that costs the company financially, often through excessive downtime.
Not all phishing takes place online. Vishing, or voice phishing, works much the same way as email requests for information.
Someone may call and claim to be from a government agency and ask for money or information. You may receive a call supposedly from your bank asking for account information.
At other times, someone may call you pretending to be a supplier and ask for company information. Too often, employees and executives fail to properly verify these callers.
Commonly, phishers will send out urgent emails claiming someone has hacked your bank account. People who are normally level-headed become frightened and click on the provided link without checking the address.
Attackers have also taken to social media, sending Facebook messages stating that their information has been compromised, or that there is scandalous information being circulated about the individual. When the user clicks on the link, they are taken to a faulty site, and malware infects the account, accessing contacts and continuing the pattern.
What is Spear Phishing?
Hackers using spear phishing use personalized emails that look like they’re from a reputable and recognized source. These emails are sent to specific organizations in an attempt to gain access to company data. Spear phishing attempts are often more sophisticated than normal phishing attempts, as the hacker will do research on their target to appear more legitimate.
Dozens of targeted attempts concerning COVID-19 made their way around businesses in late 2020, often resulting in employees giving out confidential information, as they were under the impression that they were working with a legitimate company.
Because these types of messages often contain personal and professional information, employees often open them. This unleashes malware onto the server and makes data vulnerable.
What is Whaling?
Whaling is a type of spear phishing that targets the highest level of a company, usually CEOs, CFOs, or high-ranking executives. One notable example of whaling includes the 2016 attack on Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, where he volunteered his Gmail account information to hackers.
Oftentimes, attackers will send an initial email, and then follow up with a phone call, adding to the potential validity of the person. The hacker will go through great lengths to seem legitimate, as the fallout from these attacks can be catastrophic.
Don’t Get Caught in a Phisher’s Net: Let TrinWare Help
While phishing attempts become more advanced and harder to spot, there are still things businesses can do to prevent these dangerous attacks from being successful. Showing your employees how to spot phishing attempts and gaining more advanced protection are the two best ways to stay safe.
Employing an expert MSP such as TrinWare can provide those services and protect your company’s network, finances, and reputation. Schedule a free consultation with TrinWare today and avoid being caught in a costly scam.
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