Can You Spot the Bait in a Phishing Attack?

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Hackers are always trying to find creative and new ways to steal data and information from businesses. While spam (unwanted messages in your email inbox) has been around for a very long time, phishing emails have risen in popularity because they are more effective at achieving the desired endgame.

How can you make sure that phishing scams don’t harm your business in the future?

A phishing attack comes in many different forms. We’ll discuss some of the most popular ways that hackers and phishing scammers will try to take advantage of your business through phishing scams, including phone calls, email, and social media.


What Are Phishing Attacks?

Phishing attacks are schemes where cybercriminals pose as legitimate entities to trick individuals into giving away personal data, such as passwords and credit card details. These attacks typically happen via emails, social media, or phone calls, employing tactics that prompt urgent responses from the victim.

The complexity of these scams ranges from obvious frauds to intricate deceptions that mimic real communications from reputable companies. The aim is to misuse the stolen data for financial gain, identity theft, or unauthorized access to secure environments.

Understanding how phishing works is essential to prevent these malicious attempts and protect sensitive information.


Common Types of Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks have evolved far beyond simple deceitful emails, branching into various sophisticated methods designed to bypass even the most cautious individuals. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types of phishing scams currently threatening business security:

  • Email Phishing: The classic form where attackers send fraudulent emails that mimic legitimate ones from reputable sources. The goal is often to steal sensitive data like login credentials, personal and financial information. Example: An phishing email that looks like it’s from your bank asking you to confirm your account details.
  • Vishing (Voice Phishing): In these scams, fraudsters use the telephone to trick victims into divulging private information. They might impersonate a tech support agent or a company official to gain trust. Example: A call claiming to be from your IT department asking for your password to resolve a supposed issue.
  • Smishing (SMS Phishing): Similar to email phishing but conducted through SMS or text messages. These direct messages might prompt you to click a malicious link or provide personal data. Example: A text message that prompts you to verify your account details via a link due to unusual activity.
  • Spear Phishing: This targeted approach involves sending personalized messages to specific individuals or companies. These emails or messages are crafted based on information the attacker has gathered about the recipient, making them particularly effective. Example: An email tailored to an employee, claiming to need urgent information related to a project they are working on.


Understanding these types of phishing attempt will help you better prepare and protect your organization from these deceptive tactics.


Phishing Calls

Do you receive calls from strange or restricted numbers? If so, chances are that they are calls that you want to avoid. Hackers will use the phone to make phishing phone calls to unsuspecting employees.

They might claim to be with IT support, and in some cases, they might even take on the identity of someone else within your office (also known as identity theft).

These types of attacks can be dangerous and tricky to work around, particularly if the scammer is pretending to be someone of authority within your organization.

For example, someone might call your organization asking about a printer model or other information about your technology. Sometimes they will be looking for specific data or information that might be in the system, while other times they are simply looking for a way into your network.

Either way, your company mustn’t give in to their requests, as there is no reason why anyone would ask for sensitive information over the phone. If in doubt, you should cross-check contact information to make sure that the caller is who they say they are.


Phishing Emails

Phishing emails aren’t quite as pressing as phishing phone calls because you’re not being pressured to make an immediate decision. Still, this doesn’t lessen the importance of being able to identify phishing messages. You might receive tailor-made customized phishing messages with the sole intent of a specific user handing over important information or clicking on a link/attachment. Either way, the end result is much the same as a phone call phishing scam;

To avoid phishing emails, you should implement a spam filter and train your employees on how to identify the telltale signs of these messages. These include spelling errors, incorrect information, and anything that just doesn’t belong. Although, phishing messages have started to become more elaborate and sophisticated.


Phishing Accounts

Social media makes it incredibly easy for hackers to assume an anonymous identity and use it to attack you; or, even more terrifying, the identity of someone you know.

It’s easy for a hacker to masquerade as someone that they’re not, providing an outlet for attack that can be somewhat challenging to identify. Some key pointers are to avoid any messages that come out of the blue or seemingly randomly.

You can also ask questions about past interactions that tip you off that they may (or may not) be who they say they are.

Ultimately, it all comes down to approaching any phishing incident intelligently and with a healthy dose of skepticism. To learn more about how to keep your business secure, reach out to us at (206) 340-1616.


types of phishing attacks

Steps on How to Prevent Phishing Attacks

Fortifying your business against phishing requires a multi-layered approach that blends technology with vigilant human oversight. Here are several crucial steps your organization can implement to shield itself from these deceitful attacks:

  • Use Anti-Phishing Toolbars: Most popular internet browsers can be enhanced with anti-phishing toolbars. These toolbars run quick checks on the sites you visit and compare them to lists of known phishing sites. If you stumble upon a malicious site, the toolbar will alert you, helping to prevent data theft.
  • Install Spam Filters: Effective spam filters are essential in catching phishing emails before they reach your inbox. These filters assess the origin of the emails, the software used to send them, and the appearance of the links embedded within the emails to block potentially harmful content.
  • Secure Email Gateways: Deploying secure email gateways can further enhance your defense against phishing. These gateways provide additional filtering that scrutinizes incoming emails for known phishing tactics and prevents them from reaching user inboxes.
  • Regular Security Training for Employees: Phishing often exploits human error, so regular training sessions for all employees are crucial. Educate your team about the latest phishing techniques and encourage them to practice caution with unsolicited emails and requests for sensitive information. Training should include how to recognize phishing attempts and the protocol for reporting them.


Explore the World of Managed Security Services

Curious about how a Managed Security Services Provider can fortify your business against cyber threats? Dive deeper into the conversation with Succurri’s own Grant Eckstrom and Fractional CMO, Tony Lael.

We break down the essentials and benefits of managed security in an engaging discussion. Don’t miss out on our expert insights that could protect and enhance your business operations. Watch the video now and start your journey towards enhanced cyber security with Succurri!


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Sarah W
Sarah W.

Phoenix Consultant

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