Phishing schemes are the gifts that keep on giving for cyber criminals looking to exploit individuals or organizations' IT systems. With cyber crime estimated to cost the world $10.5 trillion by 2025, cyber criminals have no incentive to stop doing what they're doing, this means that phishing isn't going anywhere. Read more to learn more about phishing and how it continues to be one of the biggest threats to businesses.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a tactic used by bad actors in order to trick an individual into giving up private information or downloading a malicious file. Most people have heard of phishing emails, messages sent by cyber criminals impersonating a trusted individual, brand, or employee. Email phishing is the most commonly used tactic by cyber criminals because of how easy it is to construct and implement. Sending out thousands of malicious emails is hardly an inconvenience for hackers and the wide net it casts is almost sure to catch a few individuals off guard.
Other forms of phishing include "vishing", a form of phishing delivered through voice calls, smishing (SMS message phishing), social media phishing and dozens of other forms. While phishing may come in all sorts of shapes and sizes the tactics used to avoid falling victim to a scheme can be applied almost universally. Using common sense and close inspection anyone can avoid becoming a victim of a data breach.
Who Does Phishing Target?
Do cyber criminals have a particular type of target in mind when they conduct their social engineering schemes? The answer is sometimes. Hackers will sometimes send out wide scale attacks that target thousands of individuals at once. The more people that they target the greater the chance someone will slip up and open their email. This "spray and pray" technique is usually not directed at specific people, but rather any contacts the hacker can get.
Other targets of phishing include executives of companies, or employees further down the line. If an attacker wants to gain access to a specific organization they'll do reconnaissance on the company, find out who's the easiest to get a hold of, and craft an email specifically tailored to that person.
Of course, finances aren't the only loss your business will face. Falling victim to a data breach may subject you to legal issues depending on the type of data you're handling and what was lost. This could lead to increased financial strain, loss of contract, or loss of compliance status. Finally, the trust you've established with your clients as a trustworthy partner would be crushed.
Who wants to trust their data with a company they know isn't secure? It's for all these reasons and more that phishing can be costly to your organization.
What Can You Do?
Unfortunately, it's not enough that one person in an organization knows what phishing is and commits to not falling prey. The act of securing your business comes from a security culture that everyone buys into. This includes business wide security awareness training that educates workers about the dangers of phishing and what to avoid. This also means that password policies, MFA, and other practical security controls must be implemented at a business wide level.
Allowing gaps in your security is not an option. Phishing isn't going anywhere in 2023, which means that every organization has to act sooner rather than later.
CorpInfoTech (Corporate Information Technologies) provides small to mid-market organizations with expert I.T. services including compliance assessment, cybersecurity penetration tests, and comprehensive business continuity planning services. CorpInfoTech can help organizations, quantify, create, refine, and mitigate the risks presented by business threatening disasters in whatever form they may be disguised.