Phishing attacks are fraudulent attempts by cybercriminals to acquire confidential company data or Personally Identifiable Information (PII) retained on employees or customers. This sensitive data may be passwords and usernames used to access company networks and accounts, national insurance or passport numbers for identity theft, or even credit card or bank details for stealing funds. Delivered via electronic methods including text and more commonly email message, phishing communications pretend to be from a valid and trustworthy source, in order to trick the recipient into acting.

The aim of a phishing attack may be to simply fool victims into parting with information using straightforward requests, but more complex tactics can involve a selection of different schemes. Such ploys may feature malicious links recipients are tricked into activating, which either download malware to company devices or redirect them to fake login pages where, unwittingly, users may part with their access credentials or financial details.

Considering way that hackers may target your enterprise is an important step in protecting it from attack, but ensuring your employees are prepared is crucial too. Staff should always understand what the normal and acceptable approach to operating is, particularly in regard to their interactions with other companies. With this knowledge, they will identify unusual requests and potential phishing attempts far more easily.

Common hacker gambits

Typical tricks employed by cybercriminals in their phishing schemes could be sending out a fake service invoice. On opening the attached document, the user automatically downloads malware onto their computer. Using spoof email addresses pretending to be an authentic supplier or contact, hackers may also trick personnel into transferring funds or even spreadsheets containing PII. By setting working practices in place, staff will spot such schemes before they can cause havoc.

Educating employees on unusual requests

Staff should know what action to take when they receive an odd request. The first step to take when an unusual email is received is to ascertain if the request should be challenged or if the sender should be verified before the recipient acts. Staff should be educated on how the business runs and the other firms it has relationships with, including clients and suppliers. An email received from a company with no connection to your enterprise can be a tell-tale sign of phishing, with hackers often impersonating banks and other large organisations, in the hope that a link exists.

Staff should never be discouraged from questioning an email’s authenticity – it may be the difference between an enterprise staying safe or being compromised by a damaging data leak.

Protecting PII from phishing tactics

At Galaxkey we have built a protective platform to answer the security needs of enterprises operating today. With cutting-edge features that allow recipients to encrypt sensitive content, verify senders of internal and external emails, and digitally sign off important documents, risks from phishing attacks can be eliminated. Our system has also been designed to be user-friendly to ensure no disruption to your workflow or incorrect usage occurs that can jeopardise data security. Contact us today to explore the platform personally with a free 14-day trial.