Protect Your Business from the Most Common Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are attacks that intend to steal personal information, including passwords or financial information, by tricking the user with malicious messages or links. There are various common types of phishing scams and various ways these scams are sent out, such as via email, phone calls or even text messages. These phishing attempts often come in the disguise of banks, credit cards and other financial institutions, attempting to phish sensitive data from victims without arousing suspicion. Some emails or phishing messages will use a link to direct users towards fake websites which request personal information. Other times, an online user might receive suspicious phone calls with requests for passwords or login credentials.

As a business owner, staying vigilant against these types of attacks can protect your company’s sensitive login credentials, proprietary information and customer records from falling into the wrong hands.

In this blog post, we will provide an overview of phishing attacks, discuss why it’s important for business owners to take precautions against them, and explain how companies can stay protected from these scams.

Recent phishing scams to watch for

In today’s digital world, we must be constantly vigilant against a plethora of cyber threats, particularly the recent onslaught of phishing scams. Designed to deceive even the savviest of online users, these scams have evolved to exploit various channels of communication, such as emails, phone calls, and text messages. Posing as legitimate banks or financial institutions, scammers can employ ingenious methods to obtain sensitive data from victims, often without detection. For instance, a convincing hyperlink included in a seemingly-official email might redirect users to a fraudulent phishing website that requests personal information. Additionally, deceitful phone calls and messages have become increasingly common, with perpetrators vehemently seeking sensitive passwords, login credentials, and personal details. As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cybercrime, it is essential to remain proactive and informed about these advanced phishing techniques and the potential harm they can inflict on your company and its customers.

Office365 and MFA scam

In a highly sophisticated cyber world, even the most advanced security measures are hardly immune to ingenious hacking and spear phishing attempts. Recently, Microsoft brought to light a compelling phishing attack that specifically targeted Office 365 users. Deceptively designed, the attackers employed a malicious link in an email, portraying itself as an encrypted attachment, luring unsuspecting users into a fraudulent Office authentication page. Once the users were prompted into submitting their Office 365 credentials along with an MFA password, the attackers effortlessly gained unauthorized access to their victims’ accounts. As much as technology empowers and safeguards us, it is essential to stay vigilant in recognizing the perils that lie within this digital realm.

Defrauding scam

The increasing prevalence of phishing attacks in today’s digital world has left many unsuspecting individuals susceptible to crafty cybercriminals. These criminals often pose as credible figures such as colleagues, supervisors, or suppliers, utilizing identity theft techniques to manipulate their targets. They may try to convince you to execute wire transfers, update banking information for future transactions, or alter payroll destinations, with the ultimate goal of stealing your personal credentials and private data. It is crucial to remain vigilant and maintain a high level of skepticism when dealing with seemingly legitimate requests that could potentially jeopardize your financial security.

What does a phishing email with any encrypted message look like?

*Phishing scam emails pretending to have encrypted messages can take on many different forms, but here are some common characteristics to watch out for:

  • A sense of urgency or fear

The art of crafting phishing emails has become increasingly sophisticated, employing psychological tactics such as instilling urgency or fear to dupe unsuspecting individuals into revealing their sensitive information. Cybercriminals capitalize on the natural human inclination to respond quickly when faced with perceived critical situations or imminent threats. By posing as a trusted entity and presenting seemingly crucial information, these devious perpetrators manipulate and trick users into taking hasty, uncalculated actions. As one navigates the complexities of the digital world, it becomes crucial for users to maintain a vigilant and discerning mindset to ensure the security and integrity of their personal information.

  • Poor grammar or spelling

One of the telltale signs that an email may be phishing message or not be legitimate is the presence of poor grammar or spelling mistakes. Cybercriminals who engage in phishing scams often create their deceptive messages without paying attention to proper syntax, grammar, or spelling. This lack of attention to detail creates a red flag for anyone who encounters these communications, as legitimate businesses and professionals typically take great care in crafting error-free messages. If you find an email in your inbox riddled with grammatical and spelling errors, exercise caution and employ critical thinking to assess its authenticity. Safeguarding yourself from a potential phishing attack may only be as simple as identifying the warning signs of poorly crafted emails.

  • Suspicious links or attachments

Phishing emails may contain links to fake or malicious websites, that ask you to enter personal information or download attachments that contain malware. Be wary of any links or attachments that you’re not expecting, especially if they’re from an unknown sender. These seemingly innocuous elements can lead unsuspecting individuals to malicious websites, where sensitive personal information may be solicited, or prompt them to download malware-infested files that compromise their data and systems.

  • Requests for personal information

Phishing emails may ask you to provide personal information, such as your username and password, social security number, or credit card details. Legitimate companies generally don’t ask for this information via email. By adopting a critical mindset and ensuring that proper measures are in place, individuals and organizations can fortify themselves against these cunning cyber threats.

  • Unusual sender address

Phishing emails may use fake sender addresses that are designed to look legitimate but actually have subtle differences, such as an extra letter or number. Always double-check the sender address to ensure that it’s from a legitimate source. However, if it’s from a co-worker and you’re not expecting an encrypted text message, or document, be safe and double check with the sender that they sent an encrypted message or file.

Steps to protect you and your business against phishing attacks

Here are some steps that you can take to protect your business from phishing attacks:

  1. Educate your employees. Train your employees on how to identify phishing emails and how to report them. Ensure that they do not click on links or download attachments from unknown sources.
  2. Use anti-phishing software. Use anti-phishing software to detect and block phishing emails. This software can be configured to scan all incoming emails and quarantine any that are suspected of being phishing emails.
  3. Implement multi-factor authentication. Implement multi-factor authentication for all accounts that have access to sensitive data. This will add an additional layer of security and make it more difficult for attackers to gain access to your systems.
  4. Keep your software up-to-date. Ensure that all software, including operating systems and web browsers, are up-to-date with the latest security patches. This will help to prevent attackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.
  5. Use strong passwords. Encourage your employees to use strong passwords and to change them regularly. Consider implementing a password manager to help employees manage their passwords securely.
  6. Monitor your systems. Monitor your systems for any signs of suspicious activity. This can include monitoring logs and reviewing network traffic.
  7. Conduct phishing simulation. Conduct regular phishing simulations to test your employees’ awareness of phishing attacks. This can help to identify any areas where additional training may be needed.
  8. Get confirmation. If you receive an email that claims to contain an encrypted message, be sure to verify its authenticity before taking any action. Don’t provide any personal information or click on any links or attachments until you’re certain that the email is legitimate.

Educating Employees on How to Spot a Scam and Respond Appropriately

It is more important than ever to educate employees on how to recognize potential scams and respond appropriately. Regular training sessions and workshops are essential in cultivating an organizational culture that promotes awareness and preparedness. Providing employees with ample information on various scamming techniques such as phishing, social engineering, and fraudulent financial schemes is key in safeguarding the company’s assets and reputation as well as customer data. Equipping employees with practical strategies and tools to identify and report suspicious activity can significantly mitigate risk and protect both personal and professional interests. By fostering a secure work environment, we can bolster our capabilities to thwart deceptive and malicious actors and maintain the highest levels of integrity and trust.

Final thoughts

As phishing scams become increasingly prevalent, and as technology evolves, these type of cyber attacks will only continue to develop. It is essential to protect yourself and your business from phishing attempt by being aware of the various tactics used in these threats, such as email phishing campaigns or fraudulent phone calls. Additionally, be mindful of encrypted messages and always question any suspicious message that you receive. Awareness is the best tool you can use when it comes to preventing phishing scams from infiltrating your information.

To keep yourself and your business secure, be sure to review your organizations cyber security resources for proper training on how to identify and address potential issues. Ultimately, if you stay alert and remain focused on protecting yourself, you will be well equipped with the knowledge needed to guard against these malicious attacks – so don’t forget to protect yourself from phishing attack scams!

Visual Edge IT, Inc. (VEIT) specializes in managed IT services and security, cloud computing, and print/copy solutions for businesses across the U.S. including remote office locations. We offer a full line of office technology and services including 24/7 remote monitoring and administration of networks, service desk, and data backup and restore to improve business processes across a variety of industries. Plus, Visual Edge IT™ represents the industry’s leading manufacturers of office technology allowing businesses to get equipment, supplies and service from a single source. Backed by more than 20-years of technology service and a national network of expert engineers, VEIT is uniquely positioned to support business technology needs. The company is headquartered in North Canton, OH, USA. Request your no-obligation assessment today and get a free dark web analysis.