Phishing is one of the most common causes of business data theft and the loss of both personal information and business information. Worldwide, 64% of businesses experience a phishing attack each year, and in 2020, we experienced the highest rate of phishing emails and SMS phishing scams since 2016.
In Australia, specifically, phishing messages are a growing issue and a huge threat to small businesses. More than 25,000 attacks were reported to the Australian Cyber Security Centre in 2019 alone. Phishing attacks are very effective, particularly if employees are not trained to recognize them – and it’s very easy for cyber criminals and criminal syndicates to start sending bulk phishing messages through phishing.
In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about phishing scams including what they are, how they work, and how you can avoid them. Let’s get started.
What Are Phishing Scams? Understanding The Basics
Phishing is an email scam or text message scam that is intended to trick a recipient into purposely or accidentally disclosing confidential information. This could include details like banking logins, credit card information, business login credentials, and passwords.
In most cases, phishing emails and messages are designed to look like a message from a trusted organisation, such as your bank, a social media network like Twitter, or even a member of your IT team or someone else in your company.
Phishing emails usually contain a link or attachment that will infect your computer with malware, or is designed to trick you into entering sensitive personal or business information.
Then, the criminal running the scam can use this information to steal corporate data or even your identity. It’s often difficult or impossible for law enforcement and government agencies Australian Federal Police to track and identify the culprits behind this type of scam.
How Can I Recognise And Avoid Phishing Scams At My Business?
There are a few different ways that you can avoid phishing scams at your business. Here are a few basic precautions that you and your employees should use to prevent data loss due to phishing.
- Never click on messages or open attachments from any person or organisation that you don’t know.
- Don’t allow employees to use personal devices for work purposes. They should use mobile phones and laptops that are exclusively for work. This helps reduce the risk of corporate data loss if they fall victim to a phishing attack on a personal device.
- Check the web address of a link – and the address from which a message was sent – before clicking it. Often, phishing attempts use a URL that looks similar to a legitimate website, but if you look closely, you’ll notice inconsistencies that can tip you off and recognise a phishing attempt.
- Implement strong spam filters to prevent the majority of phishing emails and scams from reaching you and your employees.
- If you get a message from a person in your organisation that looks suspicious – such as a message from IT telling you to reset your password – contact the person who “sent” the message directly.
This may be a “spear phishing” attempt where a hacker uses the identity of a trusted, known employee in your organisation to trick you into disclosing confidential information. By talking directly with the person who “sent” the message, you can confirm whether or not it’s legitimate.
Need Help Preventing Phishing At Your Company? Contact Technetics Consulting!
The biggest problem with phishing is that you can only protect yourself if all of your employees are properly informed about the threat, and use best practices to avoid falling for phishing scams.
To keep your data safe, you need to provide your employees with the proper training and resources. At Technetics Consulting, we can help. We offer managed IT security services, and can also help train and educate your employees to reduce the threat posed by phishing scams. Contact us online or give us a call at 1300 853 453 for more information, and to get the assistance you need.