Imagine you get an email from your bank with an urgent message asking you to reset your password. You think it’s legit, so you click on the email and enter all of your sensitive information. However, you quickly learn this was not an email from your bank but a phishing email from a malicious hacker. As a result, the hacker now has your sensitive information and could wreak havoc on your account.
While some emails may seem quite obviously fake, cybercriminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated with email phishing attacks. In fact, it’s estimated that around 91% of all cyberattacks start with email phishing, meaning small businesses must take measures to protect themselves from email-based attacks.
Why Cybercriminals Target Businesses via Phishing Emails
Cybercriminals target businesses via email phishing because of the potential payoff. According to CISCO’s 2021 cybersecurity threat trend, in about 86% of organizations, at least one person has clicked a phishing link.
Phishing email attacks are highly successful—they can take advantage of unaware users easily, making them a very attractive attack vector for criminals. Plus, cybercriminals enjoy the following benefits from phishing emails:
- Steal Information Faster: Phishing email campaigns allow hackers to quickly obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card details, and other confidential data that they can use to monetize.
- Cheap to Launch: They are relatively inexpensive and easy to launch compared to other attack methods such as malware, ransomware, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
- Low-Skill Attack: They don’t require much technical knowledge; the attacker can easily purchase ready-made email templates from the dark web that they can then customize for their purposes.
Eliminating the threat of email phishing is a key step in keeping your business safe from cyberattacks. Protecting yourself against phishing emails requires knowledge and dedication to security, but the payoff can be immense.
Red Flags in an Email to Be Wary of
When you’re not aware of what phishing emails look like, you’re more susceptible to falling victim to them. The following are red flags that indicate the email is a phishing email you need to not only look out for but avoid:
- Requests for confidential information such as email IDs, passwords, credit card numbers, etc.
- Links that look suspicious or contain strange characters
- Emails with grammatical errors, typos, and misspelled words
- URLs in emails that don’t match the text of the email
- Unsolicited emails from unknown senders
- Emails with poor design, graphics, and formatting
- Threats or messages that ask for immediate action such as clicking on a link or downloading a file
Be vigilant when it comes to phishing email attacks by knowing their major signs.
Educate Your Employees and Protect Your Business
Your employees are the first line of defense when it comes to email phishing, but often your most vulnerable link. With 3.4 billion phishing emails sent daily, unsuspecting employees can open these malicious emails, cluelessly causing potential harm to your business.
To combat phishing threats, educate your team on the common signs of email phishing. And, provide your employees security awareness training so they’re aware of best practices when handling emails.
Here are some places to start:
- Ensure employees are aware of email phishing and can recognize malicious emails
- Provide regular email security awareness training to your staff so that they are alert and up-to-date on the latest email threats
- Educate employees on how to spot a phishing email by looking at email headers, suspicious domain names, misspelled words, etc.
- Implement email scanning and filtering software to filter incoming emails for any malicious threats and email spoofing attempts
- Use a secure email platform like Microsoft 365 to secure your email system against email phishing attacks
By taking the right steps to educate your employees on phishing emails and using secure email platforms, you can protect your business against phishing attacks. Don’t let phishing emails be the downfall of your small business!
Stay Vigilant with Simple Systems
Email phishing is a very real threat, but it’s one that can be easily managed when the right processes and systems are in place. Remain vigilant with the IT experts at Simple Systems—we can help you protect your business against phishing attacks, data breaches, and other cyberattacks.
We’re here to ensure that email safety is a priority within your organization. Get in touch with us today and experience what it’s like to have a secure IT environment.