What is a Phishing Attack?

In the latest installment in our series of blogs on the Fundamentals of Phishing we will explore what a phishing attack looks like.

As cyber criminals continue to become more sophisticated, there is the potential for anyone to fall victim to the dark forces of an email phishing attack. However, customers that are victim of such scams are far less likely to trust or interact with the brand again. The good news is that as a business there are key triggers representing an opportunity for cyber criminals to spoof the brand for email phishing, which you can look out for in order to protect customers.

Phishing attacks tend to peak at various times of the year and can also be triggered by events affecting specific businesses, industries, countries or even natural disasters. For example, in the ecommerce and retail market, seasonal cycles like holiday gift-shopping, means phishing scams reach a high. While, Agari’s ‘State of Email Trust’ report that measures the amount of fraudulent email sent using a company’s domain also uncovered a spike in the volume of phishing emails aimed at payment customers in the later half of a year.

An increasingly common trigger for phishing attacks is organizational data breaches. It’s an unfortunate fact that data breaches are the new normal – a survey by Ponemon Institute found that almost half (43%) of businesses suffered at least one breach affecting more than 1000 records in 2014. With most breach response plans relying on email to reach out to customers as a first line of communication, this is often also a trigger for phishing attacks.

So how can you ensure your organization’s email channel is secure and prevent phishing attacks from plaguing your brand and customers, whether it be after a data breach and on a day-to-day basis?

Find out how to avoid a phishing attack in the final installment of our Fundamentals of Phishing blog series next week.

For more cybersecurity tips, news, and resources highlighting National Cyber Security Awareness Month follow the #CyberAware hashtag.