Phishing: What Is It and How Do You Protect Your Business?

Phishing is a cyber-crime where criminals try to steal from or defraud your business. It is also a crime that is on the increase, and all businesses are at risk. This includes small businesses, wherever you are in Ireland as phishing scams are a real and present threat.

What Are Phishing Scams?

Phishing is a form of hacking. In fact, it is one of the most prevalent forms of hacking.

Whenever you hear that a business has been the subject of a hack, the image that often comes to mind is one of cybercriminals sitting at laptops with lines of code in front of them as they attempt to break through a computer network’s defences.

Most hacking is not like this at all, however. Instead, it takes the form of phishing.

Phishing involves criminals using social techniques to trick people. The aims of these tricks vary, but can include:

  • Getting a password to an account or system
  • Getting money transferred
  • Installing malicious software on a computer or network
  • And more

Cybercriminals use common communication techniques to achieve these aims. This includes email, instant messaging, and by phone.

Protecting Your Business from Phishing

Don’t think phishing is limited to requests for money from fictitious princes in Africa, however, as most phishing scams are much more sophisticated than this. Whether it is an email, a phone call, or another communication, they can look very real.

In addition, don’t assume you won’t be targeted. If you haven’t been a target yet, you will.

Therefore, you need to take steps to protect your business. Here are three of the most important steps you should take to prevent phishing attacks on your business from working.

1. Be Aware of Red Flags

Common red flags in phishing scams include:

  • Typos or grammatical errors in emails.
  • Being asked to do something immediately, often using a scare tactic. Scare tactics that are almost always scams including software or messages you have never seen before warning you about a virus, a message saying you have been hacked, or a message telling you to immediately click something to get money.
  • Asking for your password either over the phone or by email – no legitimate company or individual would ever do this.

2. Don’t Click

If you don’t recognise the sender of an email or message, don’t click on it. Remember as well that these messages and emails can look very realistic. This is why it is important not to click if you receive something unsolicited.

A better approach is to log into your account directly, or call the person or organisation, to confirm what you are being asked to do is legitimate.

3. Train Your Team

The final crucial step to protect your business from phishing scams is to train your employees in all of the points mentioned above. Remember, this training should be for everyone as anyone with access to your systems, accounts, emails, door codes, or any other information could let a cybercriminal in through a phishing scam.

Other Steps

One final thought: this blog is specifically focused on protecting your business from phishing scams. There are other things you will need do, however, to ensure your cybersecurity procedures and processes are up to standard. This includes installing good antivirus software, keeping software up-to-date, and using strong passwords.

For more help or advice with your business, please contact a member of the Gilroy Gannon team today.

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