What is phishing? And why is it dangerous? Read on to find out.
The first widely known phishing attack occurred in 1996 when hackers breached aol.com. The perpetrators sent a phishing email, an email that attempts to solicit personal information, to aol.com email users. The email urged users to verify their accounts and provide billing information. Unfortunately, many aol.com users completed the request. They provided sensitive data to bad actors and didn’t even know it.
Bad actors use phishing and other cyber crimes to make their victims:
1. Provide sensitive data
2. Send money
3. Breach security protocols
Phishers use several tactics to bait emails. Some phishing emails use a sense of urgency to convince victims to act quickly, like in aol.com’s breach. Another form of phishing email attracts attention by suggesting that the recipient has won a fantastic prize. Some phishing emails include bad hyperlinks and attachments, which infect the recipient’s device with ransomware. Those who supply information to claim the prize or click the bad links have taken the bait.
Phishing attacks play on human emotions. They are successful when recipients act without thinking. That’s why bait like a prize works. Someone excited about winning a prize is less likely to be on their guard. As a rule of thumb, be skeptical. Do not click anything that looks even a little suspicious.
While phishing attacks have grown more sophisticated, there are red flags you can look out for. A common sign that an email is illegitimate is spelling and grammar errors. You can also look at the sender’s email address. If the sender’s email address isn’t familiar, it may be a phishing email. Pay special attention to emails claiming to be from large organizations. Check that the sender’s email address domain matches the organization the email claims to be from. For example, TechHouse uses tech-house.com as our web address, and our email addresses end in @tech-house.com.
Phishing attacks can happen to anyone, but those with less digital experience are more likely to take the bait. No matter the level of digital experience, education is key to mitigating the risk of phishing attacks.
TechHouse can help educate your organization about the dangers of phishing attacks. TechHouse’s Phishing Net software simulates attacks so that your team can experience real-world attacks without real-world repercussions. With Phishing Net, users who take the bait receive training about what they did wrong so that they can be safer in the future.
Many organizations don’t think a cyber attack will impact them and, as a result, don’t prepare; but compare cybersecurity and hacking against other real-life events. For instance, you have car insurance not because you expect an accident but to have coverage if there is one. You take swimming lessons, not because you wish to drown at a particular time. The reward of knowing how to swim is better than potentially gasping for air.
Protect your organization against bad actors. Contact TechHouse today.