Unpacking Phishing Scams: Understanding Their Business Impacts

Since the world moved digital, online scams and cybersecurity attacks have increasingly impacted businesses. Therefore, it is essential to implement security measures and train employees to stay aware of potential threats and attacks. With phishing becoming more common, now is the best time to upgrade your cybersecurity.

What Are Phishing Scams?

Phishing is an online scam that is designed to target consumers by sending them an email, SMS, or direct message that appears to be from a well-known source such as a bank, internet provider, or reputable company. They ask individuals to provide personal identifying information, which is then used to open new accounts or attack existing accounts. This can affect businesses when employees fall for these scams and accidentally leak classified business information or give attackers access to company resources, resulting in a data breach. 

There are three main types of phishing attacks: 

  • Clone phishing: Hackers clone previously sent reputable emails to trick users into trusting the email contents 
  • Spear phishing: An attack is directed at a particular individual or company
  • Whaling: Attempts at hacking are explicitly directed at a senior executive or another high-profile target within a business

Rise in Occurrence and Intensity 

Research from IRONSCALES suggests that over 80% of organisations worldwide have reported an increase in email phishing attacks since March 2020. Since the pandemic’s beginning, with more businesses moving processes online, hackers have found an opening. Targeting businesses that do not have strong security measures and unaware employees are the reason for this high percentage. 

Additionally, a study by APWG observed a record number of phishing attacks in quarter three of 2022, reaching 1,270,883 attacks by the end of October. Therefore, it is more important than ever to keep your business’s security measures up to date and working effectively. 

Graph of Quarter 3 Phishing Attacks, APWG

Threats Posed By Phishing Attacks 

When employees become susceptible to phishing attacks, organisations can experience the following: 

  • Direct monetary loss
  • Loss of intellectual property 
  • User downtime 
  • Reputation damage 
  • Lost data
  • Compromised accounts 
  • Malware infections 

These threats are not ideal for any business, making it essential to have an experienced IT team to monitor security measures and train other employees. Simply teaching your staff to understand the signs of phishing attacks can lessen the chance of an attack following through and causing damage to your business. 

Common Phishing Tactics 

The majority of phishing attacks occur via email. However, this is increasingly moving towards other communication platforms such as video conferencing applications, work messaging systems, cloud-based file sharing, and SMS. Phishing attacks usually start with a bait email. This is used to gather more information about the user to perform more targeted attacks in the future. 

Phishing Attacks: A Real-Life Example 

Any business is at risk of phishing attacks and other scams. No matter how big or small your company is, there is always a potential risk. The greatest example of this is Google and Facebook falling for an attack, resulting in both companies losing $100 million. 

This attack was conducted in 2014 by a phisher, Evaldas Rimasauskas, who impersonated a large hardware manufacturer that worked with both companies. For two years, this attacker sent Google and Facebook fake invoices, making over $200 million before being caught. 

Have Any Questions? 

To learn more about scams and cyber attacks, check out our blog post on the Current Online Scams in Australia and how you can protect yourself. 

If you have any further questions regarding phishing attacks or other cybersecurity concerns, require cyber security training for your organisation or wish to carry out phishing simulations on your workforce, please don’t hesitate to contact us today or head to our website to learn more about our services

Five Cyber Security Trends For 2023

There’s been a great growth in demand for companies adopting cloud storage to keep important data safe from attacks. Cloud storage has already made its mark in the tech world with many companies adopting cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure for their data hosting needs, but this year it’s predicted to become a standard process. 

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