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The rise of phishing - and how to fight back

Joe Bevan
Originally authored by: Timewade Published by: Joe Bevan
Posted: Friday, October 29, 2021 - 08:03

Insight provided by techhnology strategy experts Timewade.

We’ve all heard that cyberthreats are on the rise. In this blog we look at the rise of phishing, explaining what it is, why it’s on the rise and how to combat it.

What is phishing?

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack, often used to steal user data, including passwords or bank details. It is considered one of the greatest cyberthreats. Phishing occurs when an attacker, pretending to be a trusted source, tricks a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message and providing secure information. It is one of the scariest examples of a cyber threat due to its prevalence, sophistication and the threat it poses to a business’s data and reputation.

Why is phishing on the rise?

Despite Microsoft 365 blocking hundreds of emails a day, the robust email filtering system (which comes as standard) can still miss the increasingly convincing phishing emails.

Phishing was the most common type of cybercrime in 2020. Throughout the pandemic, hackers have adopted new tricks, such as impersonating government agencies claiming to offer pandemic-related financial assistance and vaccination information. In April 2020 alone, Google blocked 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19. Phishing attempts are becoming increasingly subtle, sophisticated and convincing.

The pandemic and the rise of home working has increased opportunities for phishing attacks, as a less centralised workforce means reduced opportunities for staff to quickly flag suspicious emails with colleagues, leading to errors and cyberattacks.

Transparency and openness of company information such as the names and email addresses of staff on websites and LinkedIn pages also helps hackers to send convincing targeted emails.

How to combat phishing emails

There will always be hackers looking at new and complex ways to exploit and steal confidential data and information, and there is therefore no solution to entirely remove the threat of phishing.

However, training is vital to avoid falling for one of these scams. Training ensures that employees are aware of how to detect malicious emails, and what to do if they spot something which they think could be suspicious.

At Timewade, we run cyber security training with all of our clients on an annual basis. As part of the training we explain the latest threats and what to look out for.

We coincide our training with a Sophos Phish Threat campaign, to assess how easily staff are duped by convincing phishing emails. The campaign, combined with training, is highly effective at raising awareness of the sophisticated nature of phishing attacks and provides staff with the tools they need to spot a scam.

If you’re the victim of a cyber attack, be sure to report it to ‘Action Fraud’, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.

Protect your business and the data of your customers and clients by arranging cyber security training for your staff, before becoming a victim. Contact Timewade today to find out more.

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About the author

Timewade are the trusted technology partner with over 30 years experience. We use technology to boost performance and deliver brilliant results for businesses across the South West. Based near Exeter and operating across the region, our Technology for Success approach combines strategy and support in one complete package, freeing you from IT stress and giving you more time to focus on your business. Working with SMEs across the South West, our job is to make sure you maximise technology for the benefit of your business both for today and future growth.