Verizon found that nearly a quarter of breaches involve phishing. Attackers send out highly sophisticated, well-researched phishing emails, and without the benefit of managed IT services, they have an alarming success rate. It takes only one harried employee to reply to a well-constructed email to send your business into a potential tailspin.
Your employees are not trained cybersecurity specialists, but they serve as your main line of defense against these convincing and dangerous attacks.
The threat of cybersecurity breaches is too big for businesses like yours to ignore. This is what you need to know.
Phishing Attacks Remain Among the Most Successful Attack Types
Phishing has earned the nefarious title of the threat action type most likely to cause a breach, making it a clear threat to businesses like yours.
65% of active attack groups rely on phishing as a primary means of gathering information about victims. Behind phishing came their other disruptive methods, including:
- Watering hole websites
- Trojanizing software updates
- Using web server exploits
- Attacking data storage
Phishing has demonstrated the clear and continuous threat it plays for businesses. It’s a pressing concern for organizations that value security.
How cybercriminals attack with phishing attempts
In the business world, people have become accustomed to regularly sharing and receiving common types of professional documents, particularly PDFs and Microsoft Office files. People see an attachment from a business or person they trust and do not think twice about clicking on it – not realizing they may have just compromised themselves or their organization.
The popularity of these file types means they make excellent delivery mechanisms for cybercriminals. Sonic Wall’s 2020 Cyber Threat Report found that these files served as the preferred means of delivery for criminals.
Not only do the criminals target professionals like you by using files they know you will recognize, but they often construct headlines designed to get people to act first and think carefully later. Some of the most common terms in subject lines included:
Each of these terms calls on the recipient to quickly do something, hoping that the sense of urgency will keep them from looking too closely at the email.
What Do Criminals Gain Through Cyberattacks?
Cybercriminals attacking businesses through phishing attacks can cause tremendous devastation. The breaches can result in the loss of highly sensitive information, such as:
- Personal credentials, such as PINs or passwords
- Personal data, such as email addresses or physical addresses
- Internal data for the organization, such as product development or sales projected numbers
- Sensitive medical information, such as insurance claims or medical treatment
- Banking information, including account numbers and credit card information
Criminals attack businesses for a wider range of reasons than people might realize. Although financial motivation has doubled since 2015 for those using social engineering incidents, 96% of targeted attacks were motivated by intelligence gathering. In other words, the information gathered through phishing might not be the end. Criminals now have access to data that lets them dig deeper into the organization and cause even more mayhem.
What happens to businesses after an attack?
When a business experiences a devastating data breach like this, it will encounter far-reaching consequences. Of the businesses attacked through a phishing scheme:
- 60% lost data
- 52% saw employee credentials or business accounts compromised
- 47% were infected with ransomware
- 29% had their computer systems infected with malware
- 18% experienced financial loss
These consequences reach beyond their immediate impact. Data breaches can damage the business’s reputation and their customers’ trust in them, which can continue to harm the business for years to come.
IT Management and What Your Business Can Do to Protect Itself
Protecting yourself from a phishing attack should be a primary objective of any cybersecurity strategy. Remember, while you cannot stop attackers from sending emails, you can take precautions to make sure that you and your employees know what to do. We recommend the following steps for businesses that want to protect their people and their organization:
- Start with training and educating employees about the key characteristics of phishing emails and how to identify them. Help them understand the importance of inspecting emails, attachments and links before clicking.
- Teach everyone in the company how to review the email addresses of senders, even if the email appears to come from a trusted person or business.
- Show employees how to watch for URL redirects or subtle changes in website content.
- Remind everyone that real brands and professionals won’t ask people to divulge sensitive personal information in an email. If anyone receives an email asking for personal data, they should contact the person directly via phone to investigate rather than reply to the email.
- Whenever you feel doubtful regarding the validity of an email, forward the message to the MSP for evaluation or call the person who sent the email.
- Always err on the side of caution
You Need Third-Party Managed IT Services – How Secure Networks Can Help
When it comes to keeping your business safe from cybercriminals, educating your staff regarding phishing and best practices forms your cornerstone. However, human errors remain one of the biggest risks to businesses.
With hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated, spam filters, antivirus software and other legacy security do not fully protect your business anymore. A third-party MSP on your side, however, provides you with the extra protection you need.
By pairing with Secure Networks, you can get your employees top-of-the-line training conducted every year. These training sessions are easy to schedule and complete, with a lunch-and-learn setup that helps everyone learn the material.
We will also keep the training fresh in the minds of employees with phishing simulations. If an employee makes a misstep, they will automatically receive a training video that reviews with them what went wrong. Your managed IT services will help you breathe easier, knowing your systems are more secure.
Take Steps to Keep Your Business Secure with IT Management
To make sure you prepare your business to face the modern hacker, connect with Secure Network, your MSP dedicated to helping you take the proactive approach to protect your company.
To see how highly effective our IT support and security packages can be, contact us today to
secure your complimentary phishing simulations. Or, to learn what happens when data is stolen from your company, you can also get the results from a Dark Web scan to see how quickly stolen data can compromise a company, its employees and its customers.
We want to help you stay secure. Don’t waste another day leaving your networks unprotected. Reach out today to learn how managed IT can help you.