What is Phishing, and How Does it Affect Your Business?

Phishing has been a growing concern for companies over the years. VelocIT partnered with Webroot to host a Security Awareness Training this spring.

In the digital age, there’s a contingent of individuals that understand the nature of phishing. However, most people know the term is associated with email scams, but they don’t understand the nuts and bolts.

This blog will discuss the various nuances of phishing, the typical attributes of such a scam, and how it can hurt businesses.

Delving into Phishing

Phishing emails attempt to acquire sensitive information from recipients and are sent under the guise of being from an above-board organization.

Generally, these messages involve a phony link to the fake company’s “official website,” where the victim would fill in this information. Websites are usually convincing shams, acting as a direct funnel for the info as it travels right to these scammers.

The idea behind phishing is that these scam-artists are drawing in victims with a fake lure, akin to fishing. From there, if the bait is strong enough, the user bites and offers up things such as:

  • Credit card numbers
  • Account numbers
  • Passwords
  • Usernames
  • And more

Here’s what’s necessary to understand about phishing:

Even though most people think they’re too intelligent to fall for a phishing scam, “smarts” don’t have much to do with it. It can happen to anyone.

Who Falls for Phishing Scams?

Interestingly, 86% of Americans (for the most part, mistakenly) believe they know the difference between phishing and non-phishing messages.

Yet 62% of those US citizens have had their info breached and compromised.

Scammers know what they’re doing, preying on human emotions and their sense of urgency. These cybercriminals have a firm grasp of the subtle details needed to disguise emails and know their demographics better than any marketer.

The above fact is why these criminals can target their messaging. It’s a technique known as spear phishing, which establishes trust and familiarity, to fool victims.  

Have you ever been in a hurry and pen a message from your boss without even checking the subject?  The point is you can be tech-savvy and still fall for these ploys, they are created to resemble typical messages from your usual network. 

Phishers tap into the fact that 65% of Americans prioritize emails from their boss. Also, they know that 54% of US citizens look at emails from family or friends. Lastly, 33% will prioritize emails to confirm bank transactions.

How Much Can Phishing Scams Cost Businesses?

The above section discussed how phishing scammers leverage a recipient’s tendency to immediately open emails from their boss.

That’s an example of how phishing scams can harm businesses, and why cyberattacks cost small businesses $53,987, on average. It’s also why employees and leadership throughout organizations must remain eternally vigilant in preventing these crimes.

How VelocIT has vowed to help

We believe that educating users is the number one way to present data breaches.  User error accounts for up to 90% of successful breaches.  By ensuring that your team can recognize and avoid phishing scams you will greatly reduce the likelihood of a cyberattack.

This past month we partnered with Webroot to offer a free Security Awareness Training.   The short educational module provides your team with the tools to identify, stop and prevent phishing and other malicious activities.

“Our Security Awareness Training with Webroot was definitely well-received,” said Mike Bucciero, Vice President of Client Services at VelocIT,  “We’re always looking for ways to offer education and resources to our clients, with everyone stuck at home we figured it was perfect timing”

If your team is interested in beefing up their knowledge on phishing and the threat it poses to your organization, reach out to us and learn more about the Security Awareness Training HERE.