Business Security Continuity: The Dangers of Phishing
There are many cybersecurity dangers that your business can face. Many of these malicious threats can often be mitigated by working with cybersecurity professionals, such as those at Interlink Group. But did you know that there are threats that cannot be directly blocked by digital means? Phishing, defined by imperva.com, “is a type of social engineering attack often used to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers. It occurs when an attacker, masquerading as a trusted entity, dupes a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message.” In a successful phishing attack, hackers can obtain personal information or passwords from individuals within your organization. These attacks can lead to compromised company networks, bank accounts being unlawfully accessed, and the slowdown of your organization’s workflow. So, what do you do to avoid phishing, and what steps need to be taken if an attack is successful? Interlink Group is here to help.
What is Phishing?
To understand the damage that phishing can create, we must first examine why it is so effective. What separates it from other attacks, such as Ransomware or a denial of service attack (DDOS)? The main difference between these attacks is the intended target. Unlike Ransomware or DDOS attacks, which aim for computer systems, phishing is targeted directly at users. Hackers can send out phony emails or calls to employees within an organization to get users to interact with the malicious form of communication. Phishing calls and emails often look or sound very similar to legitimate interaction from both inside and outside the office. By designing the phishing attack this way, hackers can more easily trick users into providing either sensitive company or personal information. Once malicious actors obtain this info, it can be used to login into company networks, destroy company data, or steal money from bank accounts. What’s worse is that hackers can post this data online for others to purchase, which can open your business to a host of criminal activity.
Phishing and the Risk of Ransomware
Phishing in and of itself is a scary prospect for any business owner. Couple this with Ransomware, and you can see a clear danger that these attacks can pose. EC-Council provides detail on this especially malicious form of attack:
“Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks the victim from accessing their computer, or certain files on their computer, until a ransom is paid to the hacker. The malware may be delivered to a computer through a phishing attack. The victim may receive an email from a trusted contact or organization, in which the phisher has included an attachment. The attachment harbors the software; when it is opened, the computer becomes infected, and the victim is denied access.”
As you can see, once a scammer has successfully gained access to your business network through phishing, they can initiate a ransomware attack.
Protecting Your Business
Phishing is a scary prospect for any business owner, and rightfully so. But how do you prevent these attacks if they cannot be entirely secured by traditional cybersecurity? The answer is the education of users. By targeting users with phishing, hackers hope to find the weakest link in the chain. If even one user provides sensitive information to the phisher, chaos can ensue. By providing ongoing education to your workers, they can better understand where phishing comes from and what it can look like. Another great way to train employees is to send out phony emails and see who opens the messages. This can help determine which employees need further training to avoid these attacks from happening.
As we have discussed, phishing is a genuine threat to businesses around the world. Lack of education or understanding of the subject can lead to consequences that can drastically affect your business operations. Taking steps now, rather than when an attack does occur, can end up saving both company time and money. Phishing deterrents should never be treated as a “nice-to-have” but as an essential part of your cybersecurity regiment. Without these protections, a phishing attack can and will occur. Your job is to take the initiative to get these forms of protection in place before that can happen.