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A Deep Dive Into Phishing Email Scams

Phishing scams are a widespread and effective form of cyberattack that could put your business at significant risk. Knowing how these scams operate is key to preventing your company from becoming the next target.

In this blog, we'll cover the motives behind phishing emails, explore different phishing attack methods, and crucially, show you how to protect both your email and your business. Don't miss the free eBook guide included below.

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Image by Chibitek (Chie Ushio)

The goal behind phishing emails

Phishing emails trick people into actions that can disrupt business activities, like transferring funds, disclosing passwords, downloading malicious software, or exposing confidential information. The main goal of these attacks is to pilfer your financial assets, data, or both.

Financial theft — The primary objective of phishing is often financial theft. Tactics range from business email compromise (BEC) for illicit fund transfers to ransomware attacks that demand money.

Data theft — To cybercriminals, your data like login credentials, personal identification numbers, and financial details are highly valuable. These can be used for financial theft or malware attacks. Your sensitive information may even end up for sale on the dark web.

Be vigilant and look out for these phishing attempts:

  • If an email asks you to click on a link, be wary. Scammers send out phishing emails with links containing malicious software that can steal your data and personal information.

  • If an email directs you to a website, be cautious. It could be a malicious website that can steal your personal information, such as your login credentials.

  • If an email contains an attachment, be alert. Malicious extensions disguised to look like a document, invoice or voicemail can infect your computer and steal your personal information.

  • If an email tries to rush you into taking an urgent action, such as transferring funds, be suspicious. Try to verify the authenticity of the request before taking any action.

Different types of phishing

Keep in mind that phishing attacks are always changing and can affect businesses big and small. While emails are a frequent tactic, scammers also use text messages, phone calls, and social media to deceive.

Here are the different kinds of phishing traps that you should watch out for:

Spear phishing — Fraudsters craft tailored emails aimed at individuals or companies, persuading them to divulge sensitive info like login details or credit card numbers. These spear phishing emails can also be a vehicle for delivering malware.

Whaling — Whale phishing, a specialized form of spear phishing, targets top executives. Scammers pose as trusted entities or websites to extract valuable information or funds.

Smishing — Smishing is a rising trend in cyberattacks, using text messages that appear to come from reliable sources. The aim is to trick recipients into revealing personal information or transferring funds.

Vishing — In vishing or voice phishing, fraudsters call victims, pretending to be from authoritative entities like the IRS or a bank. The main goal is to coax the victim into divulging sensitive personal data.

Business email compromise (BEC) — A Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of spear phishing that employs a convincing email address to deceive the recipient, often a high-ranking executive. The primary objective is to trick an employee into transferring funds, making them think it's a legitimate business transaction.

Angler phishing — Social media phishing targets users on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Scammers create bogus customer service accounts to dupe unhappy customers into sharing sensitive info like banking details. Financial and e-commerce businesses are common targets.

Brand impersonation — Brand impersonation, also known as brand spoofing, employs various channels like email, texts, calls, and social media to impersonate well-known companies. The goal is to deceive customers into sharing sensitive information. While aimed at customers, these scams can also damage the brand's reputation.

Bolster your email security

Emails are vital to your business, but managing security can be complex. Consider partnering with us for peace of mind. We have the expertise and tools to shield your business from cyber threats, letting you concentrate on key operations. Reach out today!

Boost your email security and steer clear of traps by downloading our eBook!
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