How prepared are your employees for phishing attacks?

How prepared are your employees for phishing attacks?

Have you ever heard of “malware?” It’s part “mal” (as in bad), and part “ware” (as in software) -- and if it ever gets onto your network it can wreak havoc on your data and servers.

Malware comes in many forms, such as viruses, worms, trojans, and ransomware, and it is spread by hackers looking to get behind your company’s defense perimeter to steal information and commit other forms of malevolent malefaction that can harm your business.

But there are also cyberattacks that don’t actually involve hackers maligning their victims with malware from within. Password Attacks, for example, can provide an intruder with everything they need to access your systems; Denial-of-Service Attacks can overwhelm your network with fake Internet traffic; and perhaps the most common attack of all -- Phishing Attacks -- can fool your employees into revealing sensitive information that can bring your company down.

The Basics of Phishing

Hackers employ an array of phishing methods to rip people off. There’s something called spear phishing, where employees receive fraudulent emails that appear to be from someone they know and trust; there’s deceptive phishing, where hackers pretend to be from well-known brands like Google or Apple; and there’s pharming, where an attempt is made to lure the email recipient to a fake and dangerous website.

What these phishing methods have in common is their reliance on simple email users like your employees to be unaware that they’re being “phished.” And it’s not difficult to conceive of an average office worker unthinkingly or inadvertently opening an email, or clicking a regular-looking link, or putting their password into a hazardous website.

So in order for your simple, unsuspecting email users to avoid being exploited, some basic cybersecurity education is in order, focused on not letting them be hoodwinked by the next phishing scam that comes along.

How to Protect Your Company

Small businesses seem to be a favorite target for hackers’ phishing attacks, so you have to be vigilant. This means first teaching your employees what to watch out for and making them aware that they’re a key part of your company’s strategy for protecting sensitive information.

As far as phishing scams are concerned, there are a few things that you should express to make certain everyone’s aware of the basics.

  1. View Urgency Skeptically - Email recipients must keep their guards up at all times, and an important thing to watch out for are messages urging immediate action. If they receive a message with red flags raised and threats of penalties, fines, or account shutdowns, chances are a hacker is behind it.
  2. Click On Things Carefully - One of the things that make IT solutions providers like Founders Technology successful is their tendency to operate with caution. It sounds obvious, but you should make a habit of reminding your people to closely scrutinize any email that strikes them as being unusual in any way.
  3. Observe Email Signatures and Headers - A sender’s email address may show “,” but that is no guarantee that it actually came from Facebook. Nor is a “real” signature line at the bottom of the email, so neither should be used as the final judgment in situations where something doesn’t smell right.
  4. Surf With Caution - Website addresses that begin with https:// and have the familiar padlock icon with “Secure” right next to it are encrypted, which is a good thing. It means your communication with the site is safe and that it’s not a fake, fraudulent, phony one that’s looking to compromise your company.

What To Do After You’ve Been Phished

Making your users aware of the basics is a necessity, even if it can’t guarantee 100% success against being phished. So, in the event that you think your company has been compromised -- whether by spear phishing, deceptive phishing, or pharming -- you need to respond immediately.

But if you aren’t sure what to look for, aren’t sure whether you’d know your company has been phished, or aren’t sure you have the right resources and expertise in-house to train your users on the basics, let us help protect your email from phishing and spam.

We most certainly do have the right resources and expertise, and we’d welcome a chance to keep your company safe. Call today!