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What is Phishing: Learn How to Protect Your Company from blog The Technology blog and podcast

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What is Phishing: Learn How to Protect Your Company

Phishing attacks are common security challenges that affect both individuals and companies as they strive to keep their information secure. Cybercriminals execute phishing attacks through email, social media, phone calls, and other forms of communication to steal useful information like passwords, credit card details, and other sensitive information. Businesses are always a worthwhile target for cybercriminals, and it’s important to understand what phishing is to protect yourself.

According to recent statistics, 90 percent of all data breaches can be linked to phishing attacks. It’s surprising that many businesses still don’t understand how to effectively protect themselves from phishing attacks despite the alarming statistics.

With the average cost of a successful phishing attack costing an average of $1.6 million, small and medium-sized businesses should learn how to identify phishing attempts and educate their employees about the risks of such scams.

What is Phishing?

Phishing refers to a cybercrime where the victim is contacted by someone impersonating a respected organization, institution or individual in a bid to lure them to disclose confidential information. It could be a password, personal identification number, or banking details. The information is then used to access target accounts, often leading to huge financial losses. When targeting businesses, phishing attacks can result in the loss of company data, such as revenue figures or tax information.

Traditionally, phishing scams were executed through emails. However, there has been a significant rise in the number of phishing scams carried out through text messages and phone calls. Spear phishing, a personalized kind of phishing attack aimed at a select target, has also been on the rise. It could come in the form of a message ostensibly coming from your bank to update your account information or your employer asking you to sign an important document.

Phishing Scams & Ransomware

Other than getting invaluable confidential information from victims, phishing scams can also be used to execute ransomware on your device. Ransomware is simply a scheme to encrypt data on your device and deny you access to your valuable data. The cybercriminals will then demand a ransom before they can decrypt the files.

According to PhishMe’s 2016 report, 93 percent of all phishing emails contained ransomware. In 2017, the cyber attack on NHS demonstrated how ransomware can bring down even the largest organizations. Ransomware is often spread through email attachments from fraudulent sources. Once you open those attachments, ransomware is directly downloaded to your device. It’s important to learn how to identify phishing scams to stay clear of ransomware attacks.

How to Protect Against Phishing Scams

Most phishing messages can be easily identified as they portray the true intentions of cybercriminals. However, some are well-crafted that just looking at the tell-tale signs may not be adequate. Here are some ways to stay clear of phishing scams;

Use Email filters

Email filters can certainly help to screen malicious emails. Some email providers may have more effective spam and junk mail filters and it’s important to research before you settle on an email service provider. Additionally, you can disable all hyperlinks on email settings if you’re concerned about the dangers of email phishing.

Install Antivirus Software

Always keep your antivirus software up to date to safeguard your business from phishing attacks. The anti-phishing functionality of your antivirus will scan all email attachments and check whether they are malicious or not. Antivirus also protects you from other dangerous threats.

Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is designed to protect you from threats while browsing the internet, especially when you use a public Wi-Fi connection to access sensitive accounts. An effective VPN will encrypt your data when accessing the internet. However, it’s important to avoid logging into online banking accounts or other sensitive accounts while on unsecured networks.


Many data breaches can be traced back to phishing attacks. Protect your business effectively from this damaging cybercrime by putting in place the above measures. Ultimately, human error is the biggest risk to the integrity and security of your company’s data. Train your employees on the risks of phishing scams and how they can identify such schemes.


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What is Phishing: Learn How to Protect Your Company was released on September 11, 2019 at 5:37 pm by Techwarn in article commentary.
Last modified: September 15, 2019.

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