Cybercrime is big business, and phishing attacks are one of the baddies’ favourite routes into an organisation. You’ve probably heard of them, but you might not be 100% clear on exactly what they are and how they work.
There’s more in our guide but here’s a simple definition:
A phishing scam happens when a cybercriminal pretends to be someone else to gain information. Commonly they do this by sending fake emails designed to look like they’re from a trusted source, such as the Chief Executive or Head of Accounts.
The aim is to make the victim feel a sense of fear, curiosity or urgency so they quickly open a dodgy attachment, or send important details like bank/credit card details, usernames or passwords.
They rely on the fact that most staff are eager to please their superiors and won’t question them, so they freely give out sensitive information they would normally hang on to.
If you’re thinking only an idiot could get caught out by such a blatant scam, you might be surprised! These people are very skilled at what they do and can create emails that look so much like the real thing that even the savviest staff member can easily be caught out at the end of a busy day.
Spear fishing… really?!
Another type of phishing attack is more targeted, and it’s known as “spear fishing”!
In this case, hackers know exactly who they’re looking for and will focus all their efforts on these unsuspecting victims. Because this isn’t a blanket approach the hackers have to be more creative and thoughtful in their hunt. It’s common for them to use carefully chosen phrases and tailor their language to suit each individual person or group.
In a lot of cases spear phishing attacks are so convincing that they’re able to completely fool the target into parting with all sorts of information, blissfully unaware that they’ve been caught out.
You might still be reading this thinking “It’ll never happen to me” and maybe it won’t. But can you be as confident about every single one of your staff and business contacts? Plenty of intelligent people have taken the bait, which is exactly how the scammers keep going.
There are ways to avoid falling prey to phishing attacks and you can make a start by taking a look at this month’s guide. So, what’s the best way to keep the phishermen away? Put your IT security in the hands of some trusted professionals!
And that’s why we’re here to help. So, if you’d like to discuss the above in more detail, or have any other IT related questions, please feel free to give us a call on 020 72 41 22 55 or fill out our contact form and we’ll quickly get back to you.