How to Protect Your Online Businesses from Phishing Attacks

Key Highlights

  • Phishing is a cyber attack that uses fraudulent emails or websites to steal sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card information.
  • Some of the most common phishing attacks are spoofed email, spear phishing, smishing, vishing and pharming.
  • There are several steps businesses can take to protect themselves from phishing attacks, including implementing anti-phishing software and training employees on how to spot phishing emails.
  • Phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so staying up-to-date on the latest trends and methods is important.

What is Phishing?

Simply put, phishing is a cyber attack that uses fraudulent emails or websites to steal sensitive information such as login credentials or credit card information. Phishers can also use this information to access corporate networks and systems.

Common Types of Phishing Attacks

There’s no shortage of ways cybercriminals can try phishing your sensitive information. Here are some of the most common types of phishing attacks:

1. Spoofed Emails

In this attack, you’ll receive an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a financial institution or well-known company. The email will often include branding that looks legitimate and may even use the same logo as the actual company.

2. Spear phishing

This type of attack is similar to a spoofed email but targeted at a specific individual or organization. The attacker will usually research their target through information publicly available on the internet such as various social media networks, to gather information to make the email seem more legitimate.

3. Smishing

Smishing is a phishing attack that uses text messages instead of email to try and trick you into giving away their personal information. Smishing attacks are becoming more common as scammers have found that they can reach a wider audience with text messages than with email.

  • The message is unsolicited and comes from an unknown number.
  • The message is urgent or contains a sense of urgency.
  • The message asks you to click on a link.
  • The message asks you to enter personal information.

4. Vishing

Instead of text messages, vishing attacks use voice messages or phone calls to try and trick people into giving away their personal information.

  • The call is unsolicited and comes from an unknown number.
  • The caller is asking for personal information. The caller ID is spoofed to make it look like the call is coming from a legitimate source.

5. Pharming

Pharming uses malware to redirect victims to a fake website without their knowledge.

  • The URL of the website is slightly different from the legitimate website. For example, the URL may use a different domain name or have an extra character in the URL.
  • The website looks identical to the legitimate website but has a different URL.

How to protect your online business from Phishing Attacks

There are several steps you can take to protect your online business from phishing attacks:

1. Educate your employees about phishing

Employees should be aware of what phishing is and how to spot it. Employees should also know not to click on links or download attachments from unknown senders.

2. Use a secure email gateway

A secure email gateway can protect your business from phishing emails by filtering out malicious emails before they reach your employees.

3. Implement two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second factor, such as a code from a mobile app and a password.

4. Keep your software up to date

Attackers can exploit out-of-date software. Be sure to keep all your software, including your operating system and web browser, up to date.

5. Use a firewall

A firewall can help protect your network from attacks by blocking malicious traffic.

6. Back up your data

If a phishing attack targets your business, it’s important to have data backups so you can quickly recover.

7. Monitor your logs

Monitoring your logs can help you detect suspicious activity and investigate any potential attacks.

8. Report phishing emails

If you receive a phishing email, report it to the appropriate authorities so they can take action to protect other businesses from being targeted.

Conclusion

Phishing is a serious threat to businesses of all sizes. You can help protect your business from phishing attacks by educating your employees and securing your data. By staying vigilant in the face of fraud and adopting a holistic approach to cybercrime, you can better manage business risks.

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