No matter how secure a network is, the weakest point is always people. It’s people who write passwords down or leak them, and even the most secure networks inevitably need to be easy for employees to use. That’s why Symantec reports phishing remains one of the most popular cyber attacks entering 2020. 

Some dark web marketplaces offer free phishing kits to make things even easier. Sites like Phishtank and OpenPhish keep crowd-sourced lists of known phishing kits, and there are over 3,200 of these phishing kits available for anyone wanting to perform cyber attacks. 

There’s no need to break encryption when someone will give you the password or login credentials. It’s important to have security processes in place. Otherwise, employees may be giving out the keys to your company’s sensitive data.

Encryption, data redundancy, and other security measures are useless once the network is compromised. Hackers can wreak havoc on a business network within minutes, and without managed network services, you may not even notice until it’s too late. Here’s what happens when your business is targeted by phishing cyber attacks.

What Is Phishing?

Phishing attacks are more social engineering than technical hacking, but the effects are just as devastating. In these cyber attacks, the criminal contacts a person via email, phone, or text pretending to be someone else. In many cases, it’s a trusted vendor, IT, or the corporate office. The attacker then convinces the victim to provide login credentials, payment details, or other sensitive information.

These cyber attacks are especially prevalent with emails. Users are sent a link claiming to be from a legitimate company they do business with. When clicking the link, they’re redirected to a fake website while malware is automatically installed on the computer. According to MalwareBytes’ 2019 State of Malware Report, adware, trojans, spyware, and ransomware are among the most popular forms of malware installed by these attacks. 

Phishing was responsible for Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta’s Gmail hack, the “fappening,” in which hundreds of personal celebrity photos were leaked from Apple’s iCloud, and Target’s massive data breach in 2013. These are three of the biggest cyber attacks in the past decade, causing tens of millions in financial losses, fines and reputation damages each.

So, what do we do?

How to Prevent Phishing

The first step to preventing phishing attacks is installing security software. The larger a business is, the harder this gets. Automatic updates are recommended to prevent zero-day vulnerabilities, but doing so can also disrupt business continuity. It’s important to have managed IT services to stay on top of these updates and test them to ensure they won’t compromise business systems.

Your business network should also have multi-factor authentication, profile-based access, and a restricted Internet policy in place. Only employees who need internet access to perform their job duties should be able to connect outside the company intranet, and nobody should be using employee-owned devices on company networks.

On top of technical protections, the entire organization needs to be trained on proper security procedures. As mentioned in the beginning, humans are the weakest link in every security process. Employees need to be taught how to recognize fake websites and email addresses, along with being reminded to never give login information to anybody.

Implementing Managed Network Services

Regardless of how secure your network is, you can still be the victim of ransomware. Even worse, the effects aren’t always instant. Often, cyber attackers install trojans and worms that monitor information going in and out. Otherwise, they may just install a crypto miner that runs in the background on your servers. You may not even know if you’re already affected.

Managed network services make it easier by bringing in cybersecurity specialists to run, analyze, and secure your network. With a dedicated virtual Chief Information Officer (CIO), help desk, and managed IT, we bring companies into regulatory compliance at a much cheaper cost than implementing your own IT department from the ground up. 

Cyber attacks never stop. If anything, research from major digital security firms like McAfee, Norton, and Symantec shows businesses are at a higher risk than ever. Companies both in the tech industry and outside of it need a dedicated, managed IT team that works 24/7, just like the criminals hoping to breach your data.

If you’re confused about phishing and other cyber attacks, contact us today to find out how our managed network services can keep your business secure.