Phishing attacks are spiking globally. Cybercriminals use these attacks to trick companies into sharing sensitive information, allowing a threat actor to enter a secured network, or opening a malicious attachment, link, or website. In rare and sophisticated phishing attacks, the attacker may even trick an executive into sending an electronic money transfer.
The extent of phishing attacks is hard to understate:
- According to Verizon Data Breach Report (DBIR) 2021, 36% of security breaches involve phishing.
- The 2021 Ponemon Cost of Phishing Study states that Phishing attacks cost large organizations $15 million annually.
- 75% of industries experienced some type of phishing attack globally in 2021.
Types of Phishing Attacks
General phishing campaigns are sent out in mass. They’re easier to defend against because email filters typically catch them. In addition, they may have spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and other obvious flaws.
Smishing attacks target users through the Short Message Service (SMS) component of mobile phones. Also known as text phishing, these attacks try to deceive users into sharing confidential information or downloading malware like Trojan horses.
Vishing attacks are phishing attacks that use Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) software. An attacker may directly call users to trick them. They may also use VOIP tools to mask or misrepresent their locations.
Spear-phishing attacks target specific people or departments in a company. Cleverly designed spear-phishing attacks are more challenging to stop because they use social engineering to appear more compelling. Spear-phishing attacks may also combine smishing and vishing as part of a larger scam.
Whaling is a sophisticated and highly targeted phishing attack that strikes high-value targets such as CEOs, CFOs, senior managers, and payroll departments. Attackers may try to steal money, gain control, launch a supply chain attack, or gather intelligence through a whaling attack. In 2015, a Hong Kong subsidiary of wireless company Ubiquiti Networks Inc. lost $46.7 million in a whaling attack that conned a finance executive.
Reasons Phishing Attacks Are Rising
- Phishing attacks are low-risk, high—reward—threat actors that can gain sizable rewards while easily covering their tracks.
- Phishing can be an attack vector for different types of threats, such as ransomware, identity fraud, data theft, and much more.
- Many companies adopted remote-working protocols after the COVID-19 pandemic without hardening their cybersecurity measures, leaving their employees more vulnerable to phishing.
How To Prevent Phishing Attacks
The costs of a phishing attack can be high and may go beyond a dollar value. Companies may suffer operational downtime, reputational damage, or be used as a pawn in a supply-chain attack. As many as 60% of small companies fail to recover from a cybersecurity attack.
Preventing phishing attacks requires a holistic approach. Businesses across Canada need Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, or Vancouver IT consulting services from a team that leverages cutting-edge Microsoft technology like Microsoft Sentinel and Microsoft 365 Defender to detect, stop, and prevent various cybersecurity threats.
As phishing attacks become more advanced, your standard antivirus software, spam filters, and other conventional security options aren’t cutting it anymore. Don’t let your business become a fatal victim of a cyberattack. To counter these sophisticated attacks, you need an equally sophisticated Managed IT services provider on your side.
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