Little plastic man symbolizing phishing attacks.

Everything You Need to Know About Phishing Emails

Cybercriminals are viciously attacking companies of all sizes.

And why shouldn’t they be?

They can make significant profits by stealing organizational data. In fact, cybercrime damage costs are projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021.

Cybercriminals have plenty of tools to choose from, but it doesn’t stop them from using one of the most simple, popular, and effective methods ever – phishing attacks.

What are they? How do you protect against them? How can you prevent them?

Keep reading and you’ll find out.

The Basics of Phishing Attacks

Phishing is so effective because of its simplicity. In short, it’s when people send fraudulent emails to their target pretending to be someone else.

For example, phishing pros may create realistic messages that appear to be from financial institutions, retailers, or web service providers requesting login details or banking information.

These messages often prompt users to click on a link, visit a fake/malicious website, download an attachment, or even to respond with information.

Phishing emails can be simple. By using a lookalike email address, attackers can trick the reader into thinking the message or request is legitimate.

However, it can get more complex. It’s possible to forge the header of the email to make it appear as though it’s a legitimate email address.

That’s a practice known as spoofing.

Who Do Phishing Attacks Target?

Phishing attacks can vary in sophistication and target spread. A wide, shotgun approach to phishing is likely far less convincing than a targeted attack (known as spear phishing).

Related: 5 Strategic Tips for Preventing Data Loss

Senior executives are common targets for phishing attempts, in part because their contact information is typically easy to find. In a survey by Cloudmark, 27% of respondents stated their CEOs received phishing emails. A common scheme is to send false notifications of legal action or complaints filed with professional and licensing agencies.

Are Phishing Attacks Common?

In 2016, the total number of phishing attacks grew by 65%, and that figure continues to rise. More than three-quarters of businesses reported being targeted by a phishing attack in 2017, and computer security leader Webroot reports that up to 1.5 million new phishing websites are created every month.

Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report notes that 30% of phishing messages are opened by recipients, and 12% of recipients actually click on the malicious link.

The average cost of a single successful attack averages $1.6 million for mid-sized companies, and many are simply unable to recover.

How Can You Stop Phishing Attacks?

To prevent phishing attacks from running rampant throughout your organization, you’ll need to create a thorough security strategy that covers all the bases.

Mid-market and enterprise businesses should start by seeking professional cybersecurity services. With these services, you can actively manage your security tools while monitoring everything that runs through your network.

To build a baseline protection plan, you’ll need:

  • Email and web security filters: To drastically lower the chances of spoofed emails coming through into your inbox.
  • 24/7 network monitoring: To quickly respond to virus intrusions and offer remediation that minimizes the risk of a data breach.
  • End-user security training: To help train employees on how to spot and avoid phishing attacks.

For Phishing Protection, Talk to Greyson

Protecting your organization requires a sound strategy and ample resources. But you may not have either of those at your disposal.

So what’s your best option?

Partner with Greyson, an established cybersecurity expert. We’ll get to know your organization’s exact security pain points and help you cut out phishing attacks completely.