Phishing scam

Phishing scams are one of the most common security concerns that both regular users and businesses face when it comes to protecting their information. Hackers are exploiting email, social media, phone calls, and every other means of contact they can to steal valuable data, whether it's passwords, credit cards, or other sensitive information. Businesses, of course, are an especially valuable target.


What exactly is phishing?

Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which scammers attempt to obtain sensitive information or data from you by portraying themselves as a reliable source. Phishers operate across numerous platforms.

The end goal, regardless of the approach scammers employ - they want your personal information in order to gain access to your bank accounts or credit cards. And they'll send countless bogus email and SMS messages around the world in the hope of duping enough people into handing over this critical information.

Some phishing emails or messages may appear amateurish to you, such as when they use poor grammar or encourage you to click on links with unusual-looking URLs. However, phishers do not need to be sophisticated. These cybercriminals operate in large numbers and just need to deceive a tiny number of victims to consider their activity successful.

How can you avoid being one of these unlucky victims? It all comes down to knowing how to spot phishing scams and committing never to click on a link in a text or email purportedly sent from a bank, credit-card issuer, or other well-known firm. That doesn't even take into account the phishing emails that get caught in your spam filter.


Common Types of Business Phishing Attacks

Business Impersonation

Attackers impersonating your brand is one of the most popular types of phishing. This is usually done with an email address linked to a domain that is quite similar to the target company's. It's also a difficult attack for businesses to detect because you won't know unless someone falls for it or alerts you to it.

Spear Phishing

This type of plan comprises not only the use of a fictitious firm name (impersonation), but also essential data about the target. In sales, a representative finds the name, position, and other personalisation and incorporates it in a pitch email. Attackers track down those same tokens and utilize them to lure other victims into their trap. It's a very dangerous ruse.

Email Account Takeover

Your entire leadership and management team is vulnerable. If a phishing scammer obtains the email credentials of a high-profile leader, it is likely that they would target anyone who can use that email account. Potential targets include coworkers, team members, and even customers (if they received this information through a breach).

Fraudulent Emails

This phishing attack, like the email account takeover fraud, is carried out via email. The phishing fraudster utilizes an email account that seems similar to a valid email address, person, or corporation. The email will ask you to click a link, reset your password, provide money, react with sensitive information, or open a file attachment.

Voice Phishing/Phone Phishing

Scammers use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies to mimic businesses once more. In order to acquire a better picture of the overall fraud, this strategy also leverages other sorts of phishing, such as exploiting personal information about targets and impersonating firm employees (e.g., the CEO).


How to Spot Phishing Emails

When it comes to sending phishing emails, scammers have become increasingly clever. However, there are some indicators you may watch for.

  • Offers that appear to be too good to be true. Phishing emails may try to entice you with what appear to be extremely low-cost offers for items such as smartphones or vacations. The offers may look attractive but resist them. They are almost certainly phishing emails.
  • A bank, possibly not your own, is requesting your account information or other sensitive financial information. Your bank, or any other financial organization, will never contact you for your Social Security number, bank account number, or PIN. Never respond to an email with this information.
  • Spelling and grammatical errors. There was a time when phishing emails were easy to spot because they were riddled with spelling and grammar errors. Scammers have gotten better at avoiding these problems, but if you receive an email with typos and strange wording, it could be from someone phishing. The standard greeting. Phishing emails may not be targeted to you individually. Instead, the email may begin with a generic salutation like "Dear Sir or Madam" or "Dear Account Holder."
  • An urgent call to action. Phishers want you to act immediately and without hesitation. That is why many will send emails requesting that you click on a link or give account information promptly in order to prevent having your bank account or credit card suspended. Never respond to an emergency request in haste. Urgent pleas for action are frequently phishing attempts.
  • Senders you don't know. Consider deleting an email if you don't recognize the sender. If you do decide to read it, avoid clicking on links or downloading files.
  • Senders you believe you know. You can receive a phishing email from someone you know. But here's the catch: the email may have come from someone you know with a compromised email account. If the email asks for personal information or money, it is most likely a phishing email.
  • Hyperlinks. Hovering over an option in an email that requires you click on an unknown hyperlink may reveal that the link is actually leading you to a phony, misspelled domain. This URL is designed to appear real, but it is most likely a phishing scam.
  • Attachments. Attachments that make no sense or appear spammy were added by the sender.


How Can You Safeguard Your Business Against Phishing Attempts?

Despite the fact that hackers are continually developing new phishing schemes, there is some good news. There are certain steps you may take to safeguard yourself and your company. All it takes is a little common sense.

  • Don’t open any dubious emails. If you receive an email purporting to be from a financial institution with a concerning subject line, such as "Account suspended!" or "Funds on hold," delete it. If you suspect a problem, log in to your account or contact the bank immediately. If there is a problem with your bank account or credit card, you will be able to access information once you log in.
  • Do not click on any links in emails that appear suspicious. If you open an email from someone you do not know and are directed to click on a link, do not do so. Often, these links will direct you to bogus websites, where you may be enticed to supply personal information or click on links that may install malware on your machine.
  • Never send financial details through email. Your bank or credit card company will never request bank account data, Social Security numbers, or passwords through email.
  • Avoid clicking on pop-up advertising. Hackers can insert fake messages that appear when you visit authentic websites. Pop-ups will frequently alert you that your computer is contaminated and advise you to call a phone number or install antivirus software. Avoid succumbing to this temptation. Scammers use these ads to either install malware on your computer or trick you into paying for computer cleaning services you don't need.
  • Make use of spam filters. Spam filters can assist in blocking emails from unauthorized sources, but you should always use caution in the event that phishing emails slip through your filter.
  • Register for antivirus protection. Make sure that your machine is protected by robust, multi-layered security software.

Installing and operating reputable security software can give real-time threat protection, assist you in creating and managing unique passwords, and secure your personal data and financial information against phishing attempts and other scams.


Final Thoughts

As fraudsters' phishing attempts and other strategies improve, it is vital to have advanced security software and cybersecurity strategy as your business’s defense. To avoid wondering "what is phishing" after an attack has already occurred, take measures and use your best judgment when browsing the web and responding to messages.

No protection is impenetrable, especially without a cybersecurity team guiding your business. Here at Today Cybersecurity, we set up multiple layers of protection, including firewalls, email and online filtering, a security operations center, threat sweeping, and user training to protect your business and employees against online criminals. Contact us today!