Cybersecurity: Keep Employees from Getting Phished

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It only takes one employee to open the wrong email. How many of your employees are unaware of and unprepared for a phishing attack? By clicking a link or opening the wrong attachment, an employee can open your business up to hackers and potentially devastating consequences. So, how can you keep employees from getting phished?

What Is A Phishing Attack?

A phishing attack is a type of cybersecurity attack where the attackers trick employees into providing access to the data and systems the attackers aim to acquire. This can be financial data, consumer information, intellectual property, or more. Phishing attacks typically come in the form of an email posing as an official request for information; however, these can also come from SMS text messages, VOIP systems, and even social media.

Phishing attacks are extremely prevalent. In fact, 57% of companies have been successfully hacked by a phishing attack (source). You can protect your business against phishing attacks.

How To Keep Employees From Getting Phished

There are structural protections all businesses need in place, including good firewalls, password policies, role-based access to data, and keeping your software updated. But the key to keeping your employees from getting phished -- and to protecting your sensitive information -- is training and awareness. More than a third of employees don’t even know what a phishing attack is! (source). That statistic exposes the underlying problem in cybersecurity for American businesses -- lack of training.

There are two key components to protecting against a phishing attack: recognizing the attack and reacting to a successful breach.

How To Recognize A Phishing Attack

Your employees need to look out for the following:

  1. Any unsolicited or unrecognized email.
  2. Poorly written emails (although hackers are getting smarter here, too).
  3. The email ‘from’ address that is trying to look like a known business (for example @mybanksupportemail.com or even @[email protected], rather than @mybank.com)
  4. Unexpected email attachments.

When in doubt, ask before opening any suspicious email. That will also give your security team the opportunity to analyze the potential attack and update the cybersecurity plan.

Reacting To A Successful Phishing Attack

Even with a great cybersecurity training program, your employees can make the simple mistake of clicking on a phishing link or attachment. Once that phishing attack creates a breach, time is of the essence and immediate action will help mitigate any damage.

As part of your training program, teach your employees how to react, including the following:

  1. Alert the entire organization that a breach occurred.
  2. Isolate the device that fell victim to the attack.
  3. Run anti-virus software to scan for malware.
  4. Change passwords.
  5. Contact outside parties that may have been affected.
  6. Begin an investigation to identify the cause and build new defenses against it.

It All Starts With A Training Assessment

The first step in creating a solid cybersecurity plan to protect your business and your customers from a phishing attack is an assessment. You will likely be surprised to learn where your team’s weaknesses are. But once you know, you can patch those holes. An effective training program is the key to defending against these attempted hackings.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you establish an effective cybersecurity training program to keep your team a few steps ahead of the hackers.