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Phishing Risks for Small & Medium Business

June 15, 2023

Phishing Risks for Small & Medium Business

What is Phishing?

Phishing is the attempt to hack or breach information using a connected device. It is the most prevalent type of social engineering attack. Phishing risks to businesses - small and medium businesses in particular - remain very high and are increasing.

Are Phishing Attacks Effective?

Recently, A Quebec-based security company sent 1 million simulated phishing emails to clients' employees in a 2 week period. NEARLY 1 IN 5 (19.8%) EMPLOYEES CLICKED ON THE EMAIL.

Of those, nearly 15% clicked on the (phony) nefarious hyperlink and/or downloaded the (potentially) virus infected file.

All it takes is one employee clicking on a phishing email to put your company at risk.

What are the Types of Phishing?

  • Spear Fishing: Targets a specific group or type of individual
  • Whaling: Affects corporate C-level employees.
  • Smishing: Attacks are executed using texts or SMS.
  • Vishing: Uses voice mail to attempt an attack.
  • Email Phishing: This is the most familiar form; a hacker contacts a potential victim via email.
  • Search Engine Phishing: Hackers work to become a top ranked website on a keyword search.

What are the risks to small & medium businesses?

Phishing poses significant risks to small businesses, both in terms of financial losses and damage to their reputation.

Financial Losses:

Phishing attacks may trick employees into revealing sensitive financial information, such as bank account credentials or credit card details. This information may be used to create fraudulent transactions or initiate unauthorized fund transfers, leading to direct financial losses.

Data Breach:

Phishing attacks seek to create data breaches; compromising sensitive customer or employee data. This can include personally identifiable information (PII), such as names, addresses, Social Security numbers, or login credentials. Data breaches can expose businesses to legal and regulatory consequences, as well as damage their reputation and customer trust.

Business Disruption:

If an employee falls victim to a phishing attack, their account may be compromised, allowing attackers to gain unauthorized access to company systems and networks. This can lead to business disruptions, such as unauthorized changes to critical data, system downtime, or even ransomware attacks where files are encrypted and held for ransom.

Intellectual Property Theft:

Phishing attacks can target valuable intellectual property (IP) or trade secrets of small businesses. Attackers may use phishing techniques to gain access to sensitive documents, product designs, or proprietary information. This stolen IP can be sold to competitors or used for fraudulent activities, causing significant damage to a business's competitive advantage. In some cases, compromised IP may engender national security risks to government sub-contractors and negatively affect your compliance standing.

What Can You Do to Reduce Phishing Risks?

You can ask your employees to stay vigilant and exercise caution when interacting with emails, text messages, phone calls, or websites. However, on-going employee security awareness training is critical.

The most efficient way for a business to implement a robust and reliable cybersecurity initiative is to talk with an IT professional. At Zephyr Networks, we help you analyze your risks, identify what information might be targeted, and educate your team on safety. We can help you find the best solutions to secure your information. 

According to a recent survey commissioned by Cox Business, 90% of small business owners feel confident in their ability to navigate cybersecurity risks due to the support of managed IT services.

At Zephyr Networks Managed IT Services, we are extremely passionate about implementing cybersecurity best practices, leveraging industry-leading next-generation hardware and software solutions. Our proprietary approach allows our expert team to assess and mitigate the risks—all without impacting your company’s productivity.

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