FUNDAMENTALS

Phishing Awareness

What Is Phishing Awareness?

One thoughtless click has the power to compromise your entire network. Ensuring employees know how to protect themselves from phishing scams, how phishing attacks work, and how to recognize and respond to attacks is an ongoing commitment.

Phishing awareness uses realistic phishing attempts in a safe and controlled environment, offering employees the opportunity to become familiar with and more resilient to the tactics used in real phishing attacks.

Protect Yourself & Your Company from Phishing

Why Phishing Awareness

Is Your Business Protected against Phishing Scams?

If you're not familiar with the term, let's briefly discuss it. Phishing includes sending out false information and 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.

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Protecting Your Data

The Dangers of Phishing

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.

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.

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Protecting Sensitive Information

Take Action against Phishing Threats

There are many moving parts within a network; your employees are the most significant variable. 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, your network likely has even more sensitive information. 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. A disaster relief plan is one thing, but prevention is even more critical. That starts with awareness.

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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.

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.

Why You Should Establish a Phishing Awareness Program

Unfortunately, phishing is the most common type of cyberattack, 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.

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, that 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.

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