Incorporating phishing prevention into your IT strategy protects your organization against this prevalent threat.
Incorporating phishing prevention into your IT strategy protects your organization against this prevalent threat.

Cybercrime methods continue to evolve as attackers attempt to take advantage of innocent people in any way they can. Businesses are often targeted because gaining access to the large network they offer leads to a higher payday for the perpetrators, should they be successful. 

One of the most common types of cyberattack your business can encounter is phishing, as the FBI reported phishing as one of the top three reported cybercrimes in 2020. While implementing the latest cybersecurity measures is one way to create a solid infrastructure for your IT strategy, there are smaller ways you can guard your business from these types of cyberattacks.

Protecting your business from a phishing attempt can be difficult, as a large network of employees and hardware offers more entry points to potential attackers. By focusing your attention on the personnel who pose the biggest risk in terms of access to valuable data, you can more effectively guard your business with fewer resources

What is phishing? 

A successful phishing attempt on your business can severely disrupt your organization's IT strategy.

Phishing is a common cybercrime that involves sending fraudulent communications to obtain sensitive data. It is a form of cyberattack known as social engineering in which attackers exploit human error and tendencies to gain access to valuable information or install malware on their victims’ computers. 

Another common social engineering scheme often utilized in phishing is known as DNS spoofing or a cache poisoning attack. In this type of cyberattack, a victim’s browser is altered to redirect traffic to a malicious website that collects their private information. Phishing scams often use spoofing links to direct users to these websites. 

These bad actors send emails to their potential victims, tricking them into thinking the sender is a legitimate institution, like their bank or employer. Attackers often  impersonate names, spoof domains, or recreate websites in an attempt to appear legitimate. They insert links or attachments that, if clicked, can cause great harm to the recipient. 

By sending victims to fraudulent websites disguised as their innocent double, bad actors are able to gain information that would otherwise be impossible to get. Targeting a business rather than an individual equals a bigger win for the attackers. 

The goal of phishing is to make money, so attackers will often steal credentials to financial institutions or persuade their victims into paying them by using misrepresentation. This devastating type of cyberattack can cause a business to lose money and suffer an enduring loss of business during and after the ordeal. 

By disguising themselves as trusted senders, phishers are able to get more clicks, as people don’t often double or triple check the recipient that they already trust. Spreading awareness of all types of cybercrime allows you to build your organization’s IT strategy on a strong foundation. 

How can I guard my business against phishing? 

The easiest way to protect your organization from cyberattacks is by fostering and educating a well-trained, cybersecurity savvy staff able to search for and quickly detect potential phishing attempts. However, since phishing attempts target human error, one thoughtless click can wreak havoc on your business. 

It’s best to focus on employees that pose the greatest risk due to their information access by educating them in cybersecurity awareness. Once they fully understand their role in protecting your business, they’ll be better equipped to guard against attacks. 

As you create your IT strategy, identifying your employees with the most access to information and focusing on their digital habits, cybersecurity literacy, and awareness of risk are relatively simple ways to protect your business

Identify the Biggest Personnel Risks

It’s impossible to control the actions of everyone you hire, but identifying employees with the most access to information and targeting them for education can greatly reduce the risk of a cybersecurity breach. While a successful phishing attempt on any of your employees could damage the company, certain employees with access to things like payroll, financial information, and sensitive personal data could cause the most irreparable damage if they were hacked. 

As you consider potential candidates to target for extensive cybersecurity awareness, you may consider questions such as:  

     - Does anyone download sensitive or confidential information onto their devices? 

     - Who has access to your financial institutions? 

     - Who has access to personnel data, such as social security numbers? 

Once you’ve identified your potentially risky employees, you can empower them with information on cybercrimes, most notably phishing. Doing so minimizes potential risk to your business. Focusing your IT strategy on these individuals, rather than the entire company, can give your cybersecurity plan more direction. 

Establish a specific protocol with these individuals on daily routines, scanning for possible phishing attempts, and maintaining good digital hygiene. With these specific procedures in place, any straying from the norm can alert your employees to any immediate danger. 

Recognize the Signs of a Potential Phishing Attack

Education about phishing attempts helps protect your organization's IT strategy.

While phishing attempts continue to evolve and become more sophisticated to outsmart potential victims, these types of attacks often display some tell-tale signs. Display Name Spoofing and Domain Name Impersonation are two ways to distinguish a fraudulent sender from the trusted correspondent you normally work with. Common tactics include replacing letters or adding extra letters so that at first glance, the sender seems familiar. 

Fraudulent messages often include specific details, such as order numbers, invoices, and dates, to inspire false credibility. Unfamiliar word choice, sentence structure, or reference to new procedures can all be signs of an impostor. 

The attacker could send your employee a link to click to log in or submit a payment, scoring their username and access to your organization’s financial information. An attachment could contain dangerous malware or ransomware, which could cause serious financial damage should it be opened and installed on any devices. 

Once attackers have access to your information, the trouble begins. The best way to protect your business from a phishing attack is to immediately recognize a potential threat, flag the message as such, and take proper precautions in handling the message. 

Establish a Protocol and Implement Tools 

Encouraging healthy digital hygiene in your office supports the goals of your IT strategy.

Fostering a culture of good digital hygiene can set a high precedent for your organization for employees to follow. 

Adding procedures to your business’s cybersecurity policy will help prevent a cybersecurity incident. Some easy-to-implement methods include: strong passwords for your employees, changed passwords every 90 days, and regular data backup. 

Human error is inevitable, so part of your IT strategy to fight cybercrime could include an advanced anti-phishing platform like Ironscales. This cybersecurity tool protects your company’s emails by adding informative banners to inbox messages to alert the recipient to any possible trouble.

As you consider the best ways to protect your business against phishing attempts, it is best to start by focusing on your employees and taking care of their cybersecurity awareness. With education, good practices, and helpful tools, you can securely protect your business and employees from the horrors of a phishing attack.

At Vudu, we are technology wizards who want to bring IT magic to your business and achieve supernatural results. Do you want to guard your business against phishing? Tell us more about your goals

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