A cybersecurity report in late 2016 found that 91 percent of cyberattacks start with a phishing email. The report cited the human reasons why phishing email recipients are easily duped: curiosity, fear, urgency, reward/recognition, entertainment, and opportunity. As long as people continue to demonstrate these traits, it’s a safe bet phishing attacks will continue into the future.
A separate report from Comodo Security further highlights the extent of the problem. One noteworthy observation: Half of people who receive email from unknown sources will click on links in those sources.
Hackers have thus learned to exploit the weakest aspects of human nature to launch cyberattacks on companies and steal business data. They have also begun to organize themselves like legitimate businesses, selling phishing software and services on the dark web. Phishing as a Service (PhaaS) operations allow anyone with basic computer skills to purchase email databases, phishing templates, and storage space.
Avoiding Phishing Attacks In Business
The best way to dodge phishing attacks is to avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown or unverified sources. This is often easier said than done, as hackers have gained proficiency in disguising cybercrime emails to make them appear like legitimate customers or business partners.
Cybersecurity experts recommend that individuals and businesses take more affirmative steps to keep themselves safe from phishing attacks. Here are a list of recommended steps to protect your business from phishing attacks:
- Stay up to date on the latest forms of phishing attacks.
- Practice mindfulness and think before you click on a link.
- Use the most current anti-phishing software and technology solutions.
- Verify the validity of a website before you click on anything.
- Audit all of your online accounts and logins regularly.
- Update browsers, operating systems, and software regularly to install bug fixes and patches.
- Use firewalls to block malware that might come into a system.
- Ignore or block pop-up ads.
- Refrain from divulging personal or business information in response to requests from unknown sources.
How To Respond To A Phishing Attack
Successful phishing attacks can be expensive, or even ruinous, for businesses. Procuring a cyber protection policy ahead of time will help reduce your risk outright. Furthermore, carrying a cyber insurance policy softens the financial blow afterward, helping you get back on your feet faster.
Your first order of business after determining that you’re the victim of a phishing attack is to cleanse your systems of malware. A five-step process will help you to accomplish this:
- Disconnect all devices that may be infected from the internet. Confirm that none of the devices have wireless connections.
- After you have disconnected, backup all files, as you might inadvertently delete files during any recovery process.
- Scan the entire system for malware. Use at least two different scanning routines for this process. An AI business can specialize in this protection.
- Change login credentials for all users on the network. Notify third parties who use your network to change their credentials.
- Set up fraud alerts and identity theft protection for anyone whose information might have been compromised.
Staying vigilant will help you protect your business against rising phishing attacks. After all, they’re not going anywhere. Businesses need to take a proactive stance towards mitigating these attacks and managing them in case they do happen. Since humans and emails are so easy to fool, businesses must continue to deal with phishing attacks. Make sure your company is prepared to avoid and handle them for the long term.