Phishing is an online scam through which criminals send you an email. That email appears to be from a legal organization and asks you to give personal and sensitive information about your account data. It is done by including a link that appears to take you to that organization’s website to fill in your information. But all this is a clever fake and the information that you give goes to the criminals behind this scam. The word phishing is a spin on the term fishing. Study results, 96% of executives worldwide failed to differentiate between real and phishing email. The problem is, it is so easy to create a forgery email and if the wrong person knows how to do this, you could be targeted with a realistic phishing email that manages to give the hackers your personal details or even your money. As a business owner, your company reputation could be at stake and this is an issue which you cannot ignore.
The study, which was carried out by Kapost, explained how dangerous this growing form of crime can really be. They say that phishing is effective because people trust their company emails and assume that their security technology will catch all threats. However, hackers are sophisticated, finding out details about you, your customers or your colleagues to lull you into false security.
Many companies have fallen victim to cyber-crime. For instance, Keith McMurtry, financial corporate controller for Scoular Company, lost $17 million of the company’s money due to a phishing email. Keith McMurtry was sent an email from Scoular’s CEO, Chuck Elsea. This email asked him to send over $780,000 to a bank account in China. He trusted this email and sent the money over. Over the next few days, the hackers asked for more and more, and the employee did so without question because all the consequences seem right.
Obviously, this is one extreme example, but smaller companies have also been affected and their businesses brought down because of it. However, there are some things you can do to safeguard yourself or your company from a phishing attack.
- The easiest way to find out if something is a scam via email is to hover your mouse over the link. If you see that the link is not directed to a real domain, then it’s probably an email trying to steal something.
- You can also catch an email out, by the way, it is formatted and in some cases, the grammar is all wrong. If it seems a little off, report it and do not click any links.
- You can call the reputable company up directly on their number (not a number provided by the email as this is likely to be a fake line!)
- As a business, you might also be worried about how your customers might react if you have a data breach. Perhaps a hacker uses your details to target some of your customers. A similar thing happened to Wonga, and quite quickly, the team at Wonga set up a Fraud Hotline that customers could call to log their concern and to gain some peace of mind from the company. It might be wise to set aside a dedicated line and have a plan of action in place to minimize damage and protect your reputation.
You might also consider investing in cyber-crime insurance in order to safeguard your business. This enables you to have the peace of mind that you have some damage control on standby if the worst should happen.