Not so phishy

The many ways you might fall for an email attack in the workplace

While phishing is one of the older forms of cyber-threat, it’s on the increase.

After scanning more than 470 billion email messages sent and received by on Office 365, Microsoft recently reported that malicious phishing attacks rose by a massive 250%!

It's an alarming rise and cause for concern.


What is phishing?

For those who might not be aware, phishing is the sending of unsolicited fraudulent emails to an unsuspecting recipient. They typically take the appearance of a legitimate company, seeking access to personal and sensitive data.

Microsoft’s report found that techniques included domain spoofing, domain impersonation, user impersonation, text lures, credential phishing links, phishing attachments, and links to fake cloud storage locations.

Are we really savvy enough about online safety?

You might think that we are becoming savvier in our online use both at work and at home.

After all, everyone knows not to open email attachments they don’t recognise, or that genuine bank correspondence would NEVER ask for password details. Or do they?

Given the recent statistics, it would seem that’s not the case.

So, why does phishing, one of the oldest online scams out there, still work?

A simple scam

One of the reasons why phishing is still successful is its relative simplicity.

It works because it preys on our human nature and the fact that we sometimes lower our guard, even when we’re aware of the risks.

While rogue emails to personal accounts is a concern, specific attacks on organisations are also on the rise.

Phishing for business

A report by Area 1 Security found that PayPal was one of the largest targets for phishing attacks between May 2018 and February 2019.

Other major brands, including Apple, Google and Facebook, were also targeted.

The workplace is an environment where emails can seem more authentic.

Rather than a look-a-like email from your bank which asks you to click a fraudulent link and share your personal data, these phishing campaigns are a lot more subtle.

It could be an email that references an order, a despatch or maybe an invoice.

While you may not fall for it at home (where you’re more likely to know that you haven’t ordered anything), at work it’s highly likely that you’d click a link without thinking too much about it since orders will be arriving in your inbox regularly.

Be diligent, be aware, be safe

Phishing is a simple, but devastatingly effective method for causing untold harm to a company's network.

Diligence, awareness and protective measures need to be front and centre when it comes to your IT security.

Luckily, Google has created a phishing quiz which helps you spot the most popular form of phishing messages.

You can also find out how our IT security services can help businesses protect the personal data that they hold for themselves and their clients.

Call us today to find out more.

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