Research shows that 91% of all cyber attacks are the result of a phishing scam.
Phishing, a cyber threat that uses social engineering to steal user data, is a serious issue for not only individuals but businesses as well. Hackers send seemingly secure emails and texts to trick users into clicking on malicious links. These links download malware which allow the hacker to access sensitive information on the user’s network.
Spear phishing is a more targeted type of phishing in which the hacker poses as an employee of the company to gather information. Oftentimes, the attacker will mimic a higher official, like the CEO, because more employees are likely to open the email.
However, avoiding phishing scams can be easy if you know how to spot threatening messages.
1. Use Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra security feature you can use when logging into accounts. This method has users type in their username and password and also sends a verification code to a second device, usually the user’s smartphone. 2FA is effective for countering phishing scams because, even though the attacker may have a user’s login credentials, they will not have access to the code sent to the user’s second device.
2. Change Your Passwords Frequently
Updating your passwords often is a great defense against phishing attacks. Never reuse old passwords and always use different passwords for different applications. Staggering the times that passwords need to be reset will help stop employees from using the same passwords for every application. Password managers, like LastPass, can generate random, secure passwords for you and your employees.
3. Check the From Email and URL
Phishing emails will usually be sent from email addresses that look similar to the ones from the legitimate business or person they are impersonating. However, if you look closely at their address, you can see the differences. For example, your CEO might have an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, but the hacker will use email@example.com.
It’s also important to check the URLs on links. You can do this by hovering your mouse over the link. Be careful to not click the link. Often, these links will appear to be for password resets or for other maintenance on your account. While a regular password reset URL would be yourwebsite.com/passwordreset, a hacker might ask you to enter your password on yourwebsite.passwordreset.com.
4. Provide Training For Your Entire Staff
The most effective way to protect your business from phishing attacks is to provide training for your entire team. Make sure your employees can recognize suspicious emails and report them to your technology team. Simulated phishing attacks can help demonstrate risks to your company by highlighting which employees are the most susceptible to these cyber manipulation techniques.
At Ameritech Data Solutions, we stay up to date with the latest advances in cybersecurity. Give us a call today to see how we can help your business stay safe from cyber threats.