4 reasons phishing attacks are on the rise

If cyber security is not at the top of your organisation’s agenda, it should be. With phishing attacks rising dramatically in recent years, it has become more important than ever to be on your guard. Proofpoint’s 2019 State of the Phish Report revealed that 83% of survey respondents experienced phishing attacks in 2018, a whopping increase of 76% from 2017. Phishing is a persistent threat to businesses, and it is crucial to know what phishing attacks are and what damage they can do in order to put the appropriate barriers in place.

The UK Government-accredited Cyber Essentials scheme can help.

First things first – what is phishing?

Phishing attacks, sometimes referred to as spear-phishing attacks, attempt to gain sensitive, confidential information from users by pretending to be communications from a legitimate person or institution. They come in the form of text messages, emails, phone calls or whole websites and present in the same form as the legitimate organisation they are impersonating. Attackers hijack information from authentic organisations to create highly customised emails, making them appear entirely realistic and credible.

Here are four reasons why phishing attacks are on the rise, so you can stay in the know with cyber security.

1. Users are easy to trick

Computer and electronic users are just ordinary people, and most of us are not trained to recognise phishing attacks. We often fall prey to cyber attackers’ tricks, mainly because their communications can be uncannily similar to those of the organisation they are trying to impersonate. One click of a false web link or one click of a false attachment in an email can cause serious damage.

Simply being able to identify what a phishing attack looks like will help prevent many people from falling for one in the future.

2. Malware is becoming more sophisticated

Malware and ransomware is constantly evolving, and it can present itself in a number of ways. A single security solution may not be sufficient to defend against all security attacks, which is why it is essential to frequently review your organisation’s security strategy to ensure it is working as well as it can be. As the cyber security landscape develops, one of the best and easiest ways to protect your organisation against attacks is to update your software automatically. With new updates come the latest bug fixes, effectively filling in possible gaps in your cyber defences.

3. Phishing tools cost barely anything

There are a lot of tools out there which teach amateurs how to launch phishing attacks of their own. These are called phishing kits and it is easy for anyone to get their hands on one. This means that phishing attacks are becoming more widely spread around the world, leading to greater potential damage to organisations.

4. Organisations often don’t have security barriers in place

Many organisations don’t have a cyber security strategy, which makes them easy targets for phishing attacks. There are tremendous financial and reputational risks for businesses that are successfully attacked. It is in the best interests of all businesses to do more to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Cyber Essentials is a great first step to take which will protect your organisation from 80% of the most common cyber attacks, including phishing.

Prevent phishing attacks on your organisation

Officially backed by the UK Government, Cyber Essentials is the perfect solution for better cyber security for businesses of all shapes and sizes across all industries. By implementing basic technical controls, organisations are protected from the most basic cyber security attacks online.

The Cyber Essentials scheme is backed by the Federation of Small Businesses, the CBI and a number of insurance organisations. Choose from our various different Cyber Essentials packages, including the extra supported, Cyber Essentials Plus.

Start your certification now and join the Cyber Essentials community.