The internet provides so many benefits that it has become difficult to discern just how many ways it influences and improves not only business, but also our everyday lives. However, just like everything else in life, it’s not perfect. When we use the internet, we have to be careful and remain vigilant because of the existence of cyber threats.
These threats can come in a variety of forms like viruses, ransomware, and botnets. However, one of the most pervasive online threats that have become a bane for businesses around the world is the phishing scam. In this blog, we’ll go over what phishing is and how to identify a phishing attack so you can protect yourself.
Considering how easy it is to fall victim to phishing, it is considered to be one of the most dangerous types of cyber threats to businesses. But to truly understand why this type of cyber attack is so dangerous for businesses, you first need to understand what it is, what the goal of this type of attack is, and how it works.
Phishing is a form of social engineering, meaning it’s something that’s designed to use deception to manipulate individuals. Its goal is to trick the victim into performing an action, like visiting a web page or revealing sensitive data. This threat works by exploiting a company’s biggest liability … its employees.
This type of attack is commonly carried out through email. Masquerading as an authentic-looking message, the attack will claim it’s from a well-known or trusted source like a prominent website (e.g. Google), your bank, or even a person from within your organization. It will ask you to click on a link that will install malware or provide sensitive information, like passwords or credit card numbers.
In addition to phishing, there is what’s called spear phishing. Like normal phishing, it uses social engineering tactics to trick you into installing malware or revealing sensitive data. However, unlike normal phishing, it’s a targeted attack on an individual or a group. Think of it as a subsection or special type of phishing.
What makes this attack special is that the cybercriminal will have likely gathered information on you or the group beforehand. Spear phishing personalizes the attack by using the collected information to enhance the credibility of the message. As a result, the odds of deception are increased.
The best way to prevent phishing is by educating your staff on how to identify a phishing attack. Usually, phishing emails will contain requests for personal information, always beware of these requests. Some other things you might see in one of these scams include a generic copy or poorly written content. The last common trait of a phishing attack is the use of a suspicious web domain (e.g., @goog1e.com instead of @google.com).
If you fall victim to a phishing attack, don’t be embarrassed—they are specifically made to be difficult to identify. In this scenario, there are four steps you need to follow:
- Disconnect Your Device: First and foremost, you need to disconnect your device from the internet as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of malware spreading to other devices on your network.
- Backup Your Files: Data can be destroyed when attempting to remove phishing malware from your device. Grab a thumb drive or an external hard drive and save your sensitive information.
- Scan: Have a professional scan your device for malware.
- Change Login Information: Use a new device to change the credentials for your various accounts, because they may have been compromised after the infection.
Stability Networks is well known for providing top-tier cyber security solutions. From network monitoring to vulnerability tests, our team will work with you to take your network security to the next level.