6 Common phishing myths, debunked

6 Common phishing myths, debunked

Phishing is a cyberattack wherein cybercriminals trick people into disclosing personal and financial information, such as names, login credentials, and Social Security numbers. It is one of the most prevalent attacks today — nearly 300,000 phishing incidents were recorded in December 2021 alone.

It’s important to stay protected from such attacks. However, there are various phishing myths circulating online that may give you a false sense of security. Let’s take a look at some of them so you can avoid being misled and better understand how to protect your business against phishing.

Myth 1: Only large enterprises are targeted by phishing attacks

While it’s true that large enterprises are often targeted by these attacks, small businesses are also at risk. In fact, 30% of small businesses consider phishing attacks to be the most dangerous cyberthreat.

This is because small organizations usually have weaker security infrastructure and are less likely to have dedicated security teams, making them an easy target for cybercriminals.

Myth 2: You can only get phished by clicking on a link

Clicking on a malicious link and entering your personal information on a fraudulent website is the most common way to get phished. However, there are other ways you can get scammed by cybercriminals. For instance, they can include malicious attachments on emails. While these files appear to be harmless, opening them will unleash malware that can corrupt your system or steal sensitive data.

Myth 3: You can only get phished via email

Aside from email, threat actors can also carry out phishing attacks through other means. For instance, they can perform SMS phishing or smishing. In such an attack, cybercriminals send text messages that appear to be from a trusted entity, such as a bank or a government institution. The message usually contains a link that, when clicked, leads to a website designed to steal the victim’s personal data.

Another popular phishing technique is voice phishing or vishing. In this attack, cybercriminals make phone calls purporting to be from legitimate companies to steal personal and company information.

Quiz: How well can your business deal with phishing attacks?

Myth 4: Phishing emails always contain grammatical errors

Many phishing emails contain grammatical errors, but not all of them do. Today, some phishing emails are well-crafted and can be difficult to spot. This is because cybercriminals are constantly improving their techniques to make their attacks more believable.

For example, in a business email compromise, cybercriminals pretend to be a high-ranking official from a company to trick employees into transferring funds to a fraudulent account. These emails can be difficult to spot because they are typically well-written and contain legitimate information. They also create a sense of urgency to prompt the victim to take immediate action.

Myth 5: Spam filters and antivirus software can detect all phishing messages

Even if a business implements robust security solutions, some phishing emails can still reach a user’s inbox. This is because cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to bypass security measures.

For instance, they may use domain names that are similar to legitimate websites to trick users into thinking that an email came from a trusted source. Attackers may also use encrypted connections to make their emails appear legitimate. Others may leverage QR codes to hide links and bypass secure email gateways (SEGs).

Myth 6: Users don't need to do anything to protect their personal accounts from phishing attacks

While it is important for businesses to have a strong cybersecurity system in place, employees also need to be vigilant to protect themselves from phishing attacks. Staff members tend to reuse passwords for their personal and work accounts, so a password stolen via phishing means that both types of accounts get compromised.

Teach them to never disclose personal or financial information unless they can confirm the legitimacy of a request. They should also refrain from clicking on links and opening attachments from unknown senders. Finally, they should immediately report any suspicious emails to your IT department so the sender can be blocked and prevented from victimizing other users.

You can also seek the help of a reliable managed IT services provider like Founders Technology Group to defend your business from phishing attacks. When you partner with us, we will monitor your IT systems 24/7/365 and handle phishing emails before they can land on your employees’ inbox. Talk to us today to get started.