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Phishing Attacks Are On The Rise: How Do You Protect Your Business?

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Phishing attacks are nothing new but they seem to have taken a wild turn. As cyber security experts devise ways to protect businesses and consumers from such cyber-attacks, the criminals are getting smarter! It is estimated that phishing attacks cost businesses an average of $1.6M.

That’s very scary but, you can still reduce the chances of your business falling prey. How? Well, this article will be telling some strategies to help protect you from phishing attacks.

What is a Phishing Attack?

Phishing is a term used to describe an attack where a criminal pretends to be a trusted entity with an aim of duping the target into giving out sensitive information. Think of it this way:

An attacker reaches out to one of your employees with a nice-looking email, perhaps related to your business or simply what they know-to make it less suspicious. The attacker will also attach some form of “Call To Action” on the mail, asking the employee to do something by clicking on a link. If the employee clicks on the link, your business gets infected with malware or they give out info that may lead to a data breach.

It is that simple but unfortunately stopping phishing attacks is easier said than done. According to ProofPoint, phishing is often people centered that’s why it always works. This explains why even the “big fish” like Facebook and Google have fallen to these kinds of scams.

According to Barkly, here are some facts you should know about phishing attacks:

  • Email is the most used channel for Phishing attacks
  • The most common disguises used by attackers are: fake bills, email delivery failure, scanned documents, package delivery and legal messages
  • Dropbox & Docusign are among the most used platforms in the attacks
  • Business Email Compromise(BEC) is also on the rise

So, how do you protect your business against these kind phishing attacks?

Tips To Avoid Phishing in Business

Train Employees

Yes, the first and the most effective way to protect your business is to do a thorough phishing awareness amongst your employees. Again, phishing is a form of social engineering meaning that your defense is only as strong as your weakest link. In other words, your employees should be taught of phishing techniques and ways to spot a malicious site or link. You can even go as far as conducting a phishing drill to your employees to ensure that they can actually pick out instances of phishing attacks.

Create an IT Security Policy For Your Business

Regardless of the business size, a proper IT security policy is important in protecting the IT assets in your business. These are a set of rules detailing what should be protected in your business and who is responsible for each asset. This way, every employee will know things like which business information they are allowed to share, how to use the devices in the business ecosystem, how they can store sensitive information etc. A good example is having a proper Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in case your business is allowing staff to use their own smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

Secure IT Assets  

Training your employees and having the right policies in place isn’t foolproof. Of course, you can’t rely on your employees to always get it right. This is why you need to secure your assets from the bad guys. There are several ways to this including doing data backups, securing your business network and computing devices with firewalls, antivirus tools etc.

Final Remarks

Now, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But, it should set the ball rolling in as far as protecting your business against phishing attacks. Remember, no business is small or big enough for such attacks plus the game is always changing.  This is to say that cyber security is more or less a continuous process!

Sean Robinson is an IT support consultant operating in southern Connecticut, USA.  He has over a decade of experience working in small IT technician roles to consulting for large blue-chip companies.

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