Blog | November 3rd, 2022
Phishing 101: The Biggest Cybersecurity Threat and How to Avoid It
Phishing is the number one cybersecurity threat to businesses and employees today. This type of attack involves sending emails that appear to be from a trusted source, in order to lure the recipient into clicking on a link or providing sensitive information. Phishing can result in data breaches, stolen identities, and financial losses. In this blog post, we will discuss what phishing is, how to identify phishing emails, and how to protect yourself from this type of attack.
With more and more people working remotely, phishing attacks have become even more prevalent. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that many people are now working outside of the traditional office setting. They are using this to their advantage by sending phishing emails that appear to be from a trusted source, such as a coworker or boss.
How does Phishing work?
Phishing attacks typically involve an email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as your bank or a company you do business with. The email will often contain a link that takes you to a fake website that looks identical to the real website. Once you enter your login information on the fake website, the cybercriminal now has access to your account. From there, they can steal your money or sensitive information.
With a huge chunk of businesses working remotely, phishing has become an attractive option for cyber criminals. This is because people are more likely to click on phishing emails when they are working outside of their typical office.
What are the different types of Phishing attacks?
There are various types of phishing attacks, this social engineering attack has different methods of execution.
The most common types of phishing attacks are:
- Spear phishing: This type of phishing attack targets a specific individual or organization. The attacker will often do research on their target in order to create a more personalized email.
- Whaling: This type of phishing attack targets high-profile individuals within an organization, such as CEOs or CFOs. The attacker will use this position of authority to try and get the victim to transfer money or sensitive information.
- Clone phishing: This type of phishing attack involves sending an email that is identical to a previous email that the victim received. However, the link in the email will take the victim to a fake website.
- Pharming: This type of phishing attack involves redirecting a victim to a fake website, even if they type in the correct URL. This is usually done by infecting the DNS server with malware.
- Smishing: This type of phishing attack involves sending a text message that appears to be from a trusted source. The text message will often contain a link that takes the victim to a fake website.
- Vishing: This type of phishing attack involves a phone call from someone pretending to be from a trusted organization. The caller will try to get the victim to provide sensitive information, such as credit card numbers or login information.
- Social media phishing: This type of phishing attack involves creating a fake social media account that looks identical to a real account. The attacker will then use this account to send phishing emails to the victim’s friends and followers.
How do you identify a Phishing attack?
There are several things that you can look for in order to identify a phishing attack:
– The sender’s email address does not match the organization they are claiming to be from
– The email contains grammatical errors or unusual wording
– The email has a sense of urgency or is threatening in nature
– The email contains a link or attachment that you were not expecting
– The caller ID does not match the organization they are claiming to be from
– The caller/sender is asking for personal or sensitive information
– The caller/sender is being vague about who they are or why they are calling
– The website’s URL does not match the organization it is claiming to be from
– The website contains grammatical errors or unusual wording
– The website does not have a padlock icon next to the URL
What are some tips to avoid Phishing attacks?
There are several steps that you can take in order to avoid phishing attacks:
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. If you are unsure about an email, do not click on any links or attachments. Instead, contact the organization directly to verify the email.
- Do not provide personal or sensitive information in response to an unsolicited email or phone call.
- Be cautious of clicking on links in emails and text messages. If you hover over a link, you should be able to see the real URL that it is going to. If the URL does not match the organization it is claiming to be from, do not click on it.
- Install anti-phishing software on your computer and keep it up-to-date. This will help to block phishing websites and protect your personal information.
- Be aware of phishing scams that are specific to social media platforms. Do not click on links or provide personal information in response to a message from someone you do not know.
Phishing is a serious threat to both individuals and organizations. By being aware of the signs of a phishing attack and taking steps to protect yourself, you can help to avoid becoming a victim.
If you think that you have been the victim of a phishing attack, report it to the relevant organization (e.g., your bank, the IRS, or your email provider) and change any passwords that may have been compromised. You should also run a virus scan on your computer to check for malware.
This is why it is crucial for your company to have a standard data protection plan in place as well as comprehensive cyber liability insurance. If you need help setting up a data protection plan for your business or organization, contact us today and our excellent team of experts will be more than happy to help you ensure your cybersecurity!
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