Successful phishing attacks are happening all over the world at a higher rate than ever before. This is what makes phishing the most common cyber-attack. Billions of internet users worldwide are at risk daily because cybercriminals are evolving and sharpening their skills.
But you have to remember that it’s not your traditional phishing scam that is taking a toll on many disparate businesses. CEO fraud and spear phishing are the deadliest as their scope of attack leaves more damage to the business.
Common forms of phishing
The cases of messages that are deliberately faked to make them seem like they are from the authentic sender cannot be ignored anymore. You need to take action immediately whenever you notice any phishing in your daily business operations.
Do not underestimate because the attacker will keep trying until they are successful. There are various phishing attack prevention ways you can apply to prevent further attempts. Below are the common forms of phishing.
Smishing is a form of phishing attack that is usually sent via a text message or SMS. You can easily detect a smishing message provided you have set your device’s security features. If the number sending the message were involved in a phishing attempt, you would be prompted with an alert. But not all smishing attempts will be detected.
Just like any other phishing attempt, the attacker will pretend to be someone they are not to extract information from you. In most cases, they attach links to the text message with malicious programs that download and install on your system. The best way to protect yourself from a smishing attack is to be cautious before clicking any link you receive from numbers you don’t recognize.
Spear phishing is a common form of sophisticated phishing that cybercriminals rely on. Unlike other forms of phishing, spear phishing targets specific individuals or organizations. These messages are tailored based on the hackers’ research about their target victims.
If you are not keen enough, you will think that the messages are authentic, and you will end up acting as per the orders. Of course, the message is tailored with a call to action from what appears to be a credible source. It also reflects a very relevant subject to the target victim, making it hard to discern whether the message is legit or not.
Whaling is phishing attacks that are focused on senior executives or high-profile employees in the business. The attackers aim to target potential victims who have authority in the business management and direct orders to the low-level employees. This could be to make large payments or confidential details about the customers for management purposes.
These fake messages are designed to trick the victim into thinking they must follow the instructions outlined in the message by their manager. At the end of it, the money goes directly into the attacker’s account. Whaling messages are often sophisticated and can result in losing a huge amount of business money.
Undoubtedly, phishing attacks have become a significant concern for most businesses.
What makes phishing attacks a common form of cyber attack?
Lack of security awareness
Most employees do not understand security practices; if they do, they rarely advance their skills with the advancing technology. Phishing techniques are becoming more sophisticated, and so should your skills. Lack of security awareness is a significant cause of phishing attacks. Having relevant qualifications for the job doesn’t mean that the employees understand effective cybersecurity practices.
So, if there is no effective training focusing on the issues with phishing attacks, then that is a good reason why these attacks are so successful. How many times do you train your employees about security practices? Train your employees on online document management tools to avoid becoming victims of phishing attacks when they expose their confidential information.
Urge for money by cybercriminals
Being a hacker is not something you can achieve quickly without great financial resources. So, the urge for money has pushed phishing activities to very high levels. The information stolen is usually sold on the dark web to competitors. With the increased number of attackers worldwide, stolen data prices have been reduced.
The attackers are now more focused on phishing attempts to get money from businesses. When these attackers manage to infiltrate your system, they will ask for a ransom fee or sell confidential information on the dark web. They can also publish the information on different social media platforms, which will lower customers’ trust in your business.
Lack of performing due diligence
Businesses are not doing just enough to prevent the risks associated with phishing attacks. Even when businesses are aware of the risks associated with these attacks, there are no adequate backup processes. On the other hand, many businesses worldwide have security features that fail to detect even the intermediate hackers in their systems.
Internal control processes are missing, and this poses a huge risk to the security of the whole company. There is a need to adopt double confirmation for any financial transaction request made. This prevents CEO fraud, and the business money will be safe from phishing scams.
Availability of resources for hackers
Most hackers are operating bank accounts with millions of dollars in them. This implies they can buy the required resources to hone their technical skills. Those who improve their skills will then share them with the intermediate hackers for pay, spreading the hacking knowledge to a wide group of people.
Some even make a lot of money in salaries, just like any of the highest-paying careers. They then use this money to buy hacking software and other technical resources to support their hacking process.
It can be challenging to protect yourself from phishing attacks as there is no surefire way how you can achieve this quickly. But with several practices, you can easily protect yourself and your business against these attacks. Arm yourself with the correct information and know the common tricks used by most phishing schemes.