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What You Need to Know to Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks

Learn about phishing and what you need to know to protect yourself from phishing attacks.

Phishing is a lucrative enterprise. The average cost to a single, mid-sized business from a phishing attack is $1.6 billion. Millions of malicious email attachments or URLs are detected every day by threat detection software. While many of the threats are caught before they are delivered, it only takes one successful attempt to cripple a company or cause identity theft of an individual.

What Is Phishing?

Phishing is fraudulent communication where the perpetrators pose as legitimate businesses to steal your personal information. It is a type of cyberattack that attempts to collect information that allows access to bank accounts, credit cards, or company servers where data can be misused or even hijacked and held for ransom. Phishers are becoming more adept at making the text, email, or website look legitimate.

What Are Some of the Tactics Used?

Phishers respond to every information security technique with increasingly more sophisticated tools and tactics. For each new advance in cybersecurity comes a new threat. The following are just a few ways cybercriminals are attempting to steal your information.

Voice Technology and Deepfakes

Artificial intelligence is used to manufacture or alter voice recordings to manipulate or blackmail high-powered corporate or political figures.

Phishing Kits

Phishing kits can be purchased on the dark web for under $300. They allow even beginners to create legitimate-looking login pages for trusted and well-known businesses. The turnkey phishing starter kits also have random URL generators to thwart blacklisted URLs.

Business Email Compromise

Also known as spearfishing, BEC is a technique where specific companies are targeted using social engineering techniques to gather proprietary information.


PaaS is one of the latest ways that bad actors are exploiting legal business services to serve their illegal purposes. Would-be attackers pay a monthly subscription fee to get realistic replicas of popular business websites with products, ratings, and shopping carts.

SIM Swapping

This method involves tricking the victim into divulging their one-time code sent as part of the two-factor authentication by pretending to be the carrier. The cybercriminal uses that information to persuade the carrier to port the phone number to their SIM, where they will receive all calls and texts intended for their victim.

What Can I Do To Stay Safe?

Information security is continually working to stay ahead of evolving threats. There are many steps you can and should take to keep yourself and your company protected.

  • Security Software
  • Automatic Updates
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
  • Cyber Threat Education

Anti-malware, intrusion detection, and virus protection are just a few ways that security software can detect and neutralize phishing attempts. Allowing automatic updates to your computer and mobile software allows the applications to put the latest security procedures in place at all times. Multi-factor authentication is another way to provide extra layers of protection to validate the identity of anyone requesting your information.

One of the most effective ways to protect your network is through knowledge. The protection that results from educating yourself and your employees on all the ways that cybercriminals can dupe their victims into providing precisely what they need cannot be overestimated. 95% of successful attacks involve spearfishing, made even more effective since employees at 41% of US-based companies have unrestricted access to sensitive data.

Hancock & Poole Security is a leader in information security consulting. To learn more about the techniques phishers use to steal your identity or proprietary company data and how you can combat them, contact us today.