Phishing assaults can cause severe damage to individuals and organisations. A corporation is subject to significant risks when it is targeted by cybercriminals.
Many profitable online industries are vulnerable to phishing attacks as evidenced by the earliest recorded phishing case.
The California teenager who made the fake version of the “America Online” website landed the first phishing-related lawsuit in 2004. With the use of this bogus website, he was able to access consumers’ credit card information and get sensitive information about them to steal money from their accounts.
In addition to phishing via email and websites, there is now vishing— voice phishing, smishing— SMS phishing.
What is a Phishing Attack?
Phishing is a deceptive practice used by online criminals or con artists to acquire sensitive data, including financial information and login credentials. These assaults are typically hard to detect.
Phishing can have several harmful effects on a company, including financial loss, loss of intellectual property, reputational harm, and disruption of daily operations. Together, these losses could result in a decrease in business value, often with catastrophic consequences.
The potential for disaster has led businesses to invest heavily in cybersecurity solutions. Due to this, the global cybersecurity industry has experienced rapid expansion over the last few years, with revenue rising to $139 billion in 2021. The market is driven by the rising awareness of data dangers and threats.
Likewise, as both developed and developing nations use the internet more often, cybersecurity adoption is predicted to rise even more. While it used to be usual to write off cybersecurity as a job for the IT department, top-level strategic planning is increasingly relying on unified management through security platforms like Perimeter 81.
What are the types of phishing attacks?
Let’s discuss some of the types of phishing attacks.
The majority of phishing assaults use email. Every day, a sizable amount of spam emails are sent to email users. Attackers use phoney email addresses to send people requests or harmful links and material.
Here, the offender uses a domain name impersonating a well-known company. This trick gives the impression that you are interacting with a reliable source.
Hackers can also create a fake website that mimics the real one. They replicate the original site’s layout and trick unsuspecting visitors into sharing personal information.
Cybercriminals will copy genuine messages from reputable companies and organisations and replace attachments or links with destructive replicas in this kind of attack. Then, using a similar email address to the original business, they will forward the letter to the intended recipients.
This is a scam, as the name implies, committed by an assailant posing as the CEO of a company. The phisher can approve wire transfers to external accounts or submit fraudulent tax returns on behalf of employees using the CEO’s hacked email address.
The targets, in this case, are typically lower-level employees. If they got an urgent message from their CEO telling them to perform a financial transaction or provide sensitive information, they would comply immediately.
Additionally, the scammer can request that staff install a brand-new programme on their computers and use that to infiltrate the system.
Smishing and vishing
Instead of email-based attacks, smishing and vishing use phones. Smishing involves the attacker sending the victim a phoney message, whereas vishing involves the attacker placing a fake phone call.
Impacts of phishing attacks on a business
Financial loss has always been a result of phishing incidents throughout history. The first is the direct loss resulting from funds that employees who fell for the hackers’ tricks moved.
The costs of the investigation into the breach and paying out compensation to the consumers who were affected would also increase the company’s financial losses. So will the funds invested in rebuilding a stronger security system.
Losing intellectual property
Businesses should be concerned about more than just financial damages in the case of a phishing assault. The loss of client information, project research, trade secrets, and designs are even more tragic.
Direct financial losses can be recovered fairly easily, but losing confidential corporate knowledge is more challenging to replace.
Announcing a breach will destroy the customers’ trust in addition to tarnishing the brand’s reputation. It is difficult to win back customers’ trust, and your brand’s worth is directly correlated with the size of its client base.
A successful phishing assault can potentially destroy millions in market value by harming both investor and customer trust.
How to spot a phishing scam
To identify a phishing email, watch out for the warning flags listed below:
Scheming messages frequently contain several grammatical mistakes and tend not to use your name. However, some attacks can be fairly complex with well-written and researched information.
Watch out for forceful and demanding messages that appear to be pressuring you to make a hurried decision.
Bad reviews on online forums
Through a simple Google search, you can find forums where people are disgruntled about receiving the same message you did.
Misspelt page URLs
Avoid emails or messages containing odd attachments or shortened URLs (phoney attachment formatting).
Demands for sensitive information
Avoid messages that demand that you provide the sender with your financial and personal information. The sender could even demand money in specific circumstances.
Tips for preventing phishing attacks
Configure employee accounts
Configure your employee accounts using the “least privilege” principle. Giving employees the most basic user permissions necessary for them to do their work allows you to minimise the harm that might result from phishing attacks.
Reassess your online activity
Attackers exploit information that is publicly accessible to bolster the credibility of their phishing emails. This is frequently discovered through info about your company and its employees on your social media profiles and website.
Only provide information that is relevant and necessary, and take pains to avoid adding information that hackers can exploit.
Cybersecurity is important for organisations for a variety of important reasons. Organisations and their clientele are more susceptible to cybercrimes like phishing as advanced technology usage rises.
However, a reliable cybersecurity solution can guarantee the security of activities like online shopping and banking. Additionally, it aids companies in increasing efficiency, retaining employees, and upholding their good name.