Phishing is a type of cyberattack that involves attackers who send emails pretending to be from reputable senders to get users to reveal confidential information such as credit card numbers and passwords. While employee cybersecurity training is one of the most important steps in protecting your organization against phishing attacks, it is only one part of a comprehensive strategy. Here are some things to know about phishing and what you can do about it.
What is a Social Engineering Attack?
A social engineering attack is when a hacker uses psychological manipulation to convince users to give away sensitive information such as passwords and birth dates. These attacks can be extremely convincing, with realistic email addresses, logos, and information used. Without proper protection, it is possible that a hacker will gain access to your company’s sensitive information.
What is a Phishing Attack?
A phishing attack is a type of social engineering attack that happens when a cyberattacker cons a user into opening an email or text message with a malicious link by successfully pretending to be a trusted entity. Once this link has been clicked on, it can download malware onto your computer, either for a ransomware attack or to steal confidential information.
Spear Phishing Attacks vs. Regular Phishing Attacks
Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that targets one person or a specific number of victims. A regular phishing attack is a mass campaign against as many people as possible. A spear-phishing attack can sometimes be more damaging because the attacker had specific goals, usually against a high-level target within your organization.
Possible Damages from Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks can cause a range of severe damages to your organization. These include:
- Data loss – The primary goal of most phishing attacks is to gain access to confidential data. This data can then be held for ransom, published on the internet, or used to commit identity theft against your customers or employees.
- Damaged reputation – Once a phishing attack occurs, it will damage your company’s reputation as you notify customers that their data has been compromised.
- Lost funds – It is costly to remediate a phishing attack after it occurs. There are the costs associated with hiring a cybersecurity firm, paying damages to customers, and complying with regulations surrounding what must be offered to impacted customers. Plus, there is also the possible ransom paid to regain access to critical company systems.
- Lost productivity – While your company deals with the ramifications of the phishing attack, your company likely will experience lost productivity, as employees are redirected to other tasks or lose access to IT assets.
- Lost customers – Many companies lose customers as a result of disclosed cyberattacks where customer data is impacted. It is understandable, as customers don’t want their information to be unsafe.
- Financial penalties – Depending on what information gets exposed and your industry, you could face regulatory penalties for violating key compliance regulations such as HIPAA.
- Lost intellectual property – Cyberattackers can gain access to your company’s intellectual property during the attack, potentially taking away your exclusive access to formulas, products, and service delivery.
- Lost company valuation – All of these damages will lead to a lower valuation for your company. This can make it more challenging or less profitable to sell the company.
Phishing Protection For Your Organization
Fortunately, there are some best practices that you can follow to better protect your company against phishing and spear phishing attacks. Implementing multi-factor authentication can help reduce access from unauthorized users, even in the event that a cyber attacker gains access to user information.
Working with Element Four to conduct regular audits can also help to identify potential vulnerabilities and create solutions to address them. Employee training must be a part of your protection plan; your audit can also assess how well this training is working.
It is most critical to implement tools and technologies to prevent phishing attacks from happening. While no tool is 100% effective at every attack, the right combination of solutions can work together to provide the most comprehensive coverage.
Prevent Phishing Attacks with Element Four
Our innovative protection uses AI-based threat detection to learn more about your company’s environment to detect these kinds of attacks and find malicious messages. It integrates directly with Office 365, which the email platform cannot detect on its own. As a result, it removes these messages in real time and protects every employee within your organization.
Contact Element Four to Learn More About Phishing Protection
Employees are the biggest vulnerability for any company. Phishing protection is something all companies need for protection against cyberattacks. Element Four can help your organization get started with the perfect Barracuda solution. Contact us to learn more about all Barracuda solutions and to schedule a consultation