When you are running a business, it is imperative that you keep your property, employees and sensitive information safe. While most business owners can appreciate the importance of installing CCTV cameras, alarms and security guards outside their physical property, less focus is put on cybersecurity.
This is a problem because cybersecurity is rapidly becoming the dominant security risk for companies. As the world economy shifts to an internet-first model – with everything from internal communication to customer data being stored online – there is more at risk than ever.
One of the most prevalent threats is phishing scams, which can infiltrate your business via your employees. These scams start out as small issues but can quickly cause significant damage to your internal corporate infrastructure.
This can allow them to access your bank accounts, sensitive data (including private customer information), and website backend and spread the phishing scam throughout your organisation.
Therefore, it is vital that you understand how to prevent phishing scams from damaging your business:
What is a phishing scam?
Before you learn how to prevent a phishing scam, you need to know what it is you’re dealing with.
A phishing scam (the term ‘phishing’ is derived from fishing – as in, fishing for information) is when a hacker sends a malicious message (usually an email) to a list of unsuspecting contacts.
This message will be seemingly innocuous to those who receive it and will look like it is from a trustworthy source. These sources could be a company you regularly buy from, a friend or colleague, an insurance company or a government department.
As a result, the recipient’s guard will drop, and they will be receptive to what the message instructs them to do.
For example, if you received an email from your bank asking you to enter your details in order to nullify a rogue transaction, your instinct will likely be to cooperate.
These scams are simple and follow the principle of more traditional con artists – to hide in plain sight.
However, once they have your sensitive information, they can extract money from you, hack your email account, send a fake message to your contacts list (often posing as you), and gradually extract more and more information in the process.
To find out more about phishing scams, click here.
How can a phishing scam infiltrate your business?
At this point, you can probably see how a phishing scam could be destructive for your business.
If a single employee receives a phishing message in their work email inbox and falls for it, they could inadvertently give the scammer every internal email your company has.
The more employees there that fall for it, the higher up the chain the scammer goes until they potentially have access to the most sensitive information your business possesses.
This is how to combat the issue
While phishing scams can be incredibly effective, there are certain practical steps you can take to protect your business from them.
The first is to educate your staff about the dangers of cyber scams. Once they are aware of what phishing scams do and how they work, they will naturally be more vigilant about whom they hand information over to.
Secondly, it is important to install security software that secures your network – particularly if you have remote workers. Once the network is secure, scammers will find it far harder to make meaningful headway with hacks.