FUNDAMENTALS

Phishing Awareness

Protect your data

The cost of phishing attacks on businesses is rising to concerning levels. In fact, ENISA (European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) estimates a 667% increase in phishing scams in only one month during the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant increase from previous years.

The best thing you can do for your business is to protect your data, and it all starts with awareness. Here's what you need to know about phishing awareness and how cyber security awareness training can save your business.

Why phishing awareness is necessary

If you're not familiar with the term, let's briefly discuss it. Phishing includes sending out false information pretending to be a reputable company to convince somebody to reveal personal information.

Phishing comes in many forms with many different intentions. For example, a cybercriminal could be looking for personal information or passwords and targeting employees with malicious emails. If an employee clicks on any link, it's already too late.

That's why employee training is necessary. If employees click on any of these links, even in good faith, it opens your company's network to ransomware, data breaches, and more.

Types of phishing

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Email phishing

Phishing is an attempt to steal personal information or break into online accounts using deceptive emails, messages, ads, or sites that look similar to sites you already use.

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Spear phishing

A targeted phishing method where cybercriminals pose as a trusted source to convince you to give away confidential data, personal information, or other sensitive details.

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Whaling

Targeting high-level executives such as CEOs, CFOs, and COOs the goal is to trick the executive into revealing sensitive information and corporate data. These targets are carefully selected because of their access and authority within an organization. 

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Domain spoofing

Domain spoofing is when an attacker appears to use a company’s domain to impersonate that company or one of its employees.

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HTTPS phishing

Cybercriminals are often leveraging HTTPS in the links to lure victims to a malicious website that appears to be secure. It's important not to trust a website just because it has a padlock icon or HTTPS in the address bar.

 

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Watering hole phishing

Watering hole phishing is when a malicious cybercriminal uses a website your company employees visit often (for example industry news or third-party vendors’ websites) and infects the IP address with malicious code or downloads.

Protecting sensitive information

There are many moving parts within a network, and the most significant variable is your employees. If your staff is not following a set of best practices, your company is left open to severe issues like phishing threats. In the digital age, most companies rely heavily on their data. For some companies, their data is the heart of their business. Sensitive information like customer credit cards, employee social security numbers, and even your business's financial information is at stake in your network.

That's only the bare minimum. If you are in the healthcare, insurance, or education industry, there is likely even more sensitive information within your network. On average, businesses take about 197 days to identify and 69 days to contain a breach. Imagine how much damage can be done in that time. Having a disaster relief plan is one thing, but prevention is even more critical. That starts with awareness.

The cost of a data breach

If you've even passively watched the news in the last year, you've undoubtedly come across stories of significant cyber security breaches. Several notable attacks include the 1177 leak and the hydro-attack.

Protecting your business from this type of threat only serves to save you money in the long run. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the most likely to fall victim to a cyberattack, and one successful attack could cost millions in damages.

How to identify targeted phishing

Most people probably know not to open a link in an email from a "Nigerian prince" written in broken English and an unusual font. However, some phishing scams are highly targeted.

Are you confident that none of your employees would click on a link from an email that claims to be your paper supply company? That's why educating employees about phishing scams is essential. Employees need to know how to prevent this cybercrime before it's too late.

Learn through simulated phishing and social engineering campaigns like spear phishing which is a calculated and advanced attack targeted at specific individuals. These tend to be highly effective without proper training, and all you have to do is click on a link for it to work. Continuously repeat the process and raise more awareness and develop a skeptical eye among your staff, and prevent the success of phishing emails in the future.

How to report phishing

Both your email provider, IT team, and concerned governmental agency should be alerted about phishing scams as they occur. Keep in mind, cybercriminals can continue to create new accounts and new scams. That's why it's so important that the proper organizations are kept up to date to follow and stop these criminals from continuing.

Remember, even if you don't fall for it, somebody else will. You could save someone (including yourself) from future attacks.


Why you should report suspicious emails

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Reduce

Report any suspicious email and you can reduce the number of scam emails you receive.

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Protection

By reporting a phishing email you will help responsible governmental agencies to act quickly, and protect others from cybercrime. 

Why you should establish a phishing awareness program

Unfortunately, phishing is the most common type of cyber attack, which is why it's so crucial for employees to be aware of the risks. It's excellent to be mindful as a business owner or manager, but if a criminal gets into your network through any computer in your system, then it's all the same.

Your employees are your biggest vulnerability, but they can also be your greatest defense against phishing attempts. However, it requires experience to recognize and report phishing attempts. Nothing teaches like experience. Build your human firewall with phishing awareness training. 

Build your human firewall

Phishing & Awareness Training

Educate your employees to recognize cyberthreats and phishing attempts in a safe and controlled environment. Take the first step towards increasing cyber security awareness, protecting sensitive and personal information, and avoiding costly data breaches. Build your human firewall with automated and personalized phishing simulations. 

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