Small businesses are a popular target for phishing attacks. Why? Because they often have smaller cybersecurity budgets and weaker security measures in place. Cybercriminals know that they can easily gain access to sensitive data if they are successful in their attack.
There are several common tactics that cybercriminals use when launching a phishing attack on a small business. One of the most popular is to send an email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a financial institution or vendor you frequently do business with. The email contains a link that redirects an employee to a fake website where they are asked to enter personal or financial information.
Cybercriminals also use phishing emails to install malware on your business network or carry out a ransomware attack. The email will contain an attachment or link that, once clicked, will download and install malware. Once the attacker installs malware on your business network, it can give them access to your business data and systems.
Common Risks Associated with Phishing
Phishing attacks can have a devastating impact on small businesses. They can lead to the loss of sensitive data and financial losses. These attacks can also damage your business reputation. In some cases, phishing attacks can even result in legal action being taken against your business.
Loss of Sensitive Data: This can include customer data, financial information and confidential business information.
Financial Losses: This can happen if an employee falls for a fake invoice or payment request email and ends up transferring money to the wrong account.
Damage to Business Reputation: A successful phishing attack damages your business reputation and makes it difficult for customers to trust you with their personal or financial information.
Legal Action and Regulatory Penalties: In some cases, businesses have been sued or hit with regulatory penalties as a result of a phishing attack.
Immediate Action Steps
If your business is the victim of a phishing attack, it is important to take immediate action.
- First, assess the damage. Determine what information the attacker accessed, what accounts they compromised and what devices they infected.
- Next, notify your employees so they can be on the lookout for any suspicious activity.
- Change all passwords and security questions for any compromised account.
- If the phishing attack exposed customer data, reach out to an attorney or legal organization for assistance notifying them of the data breach. They will have the most up to date information about applicable laws.
- Run a security scan on all of your devices and networks. If you find malware, visit our business malware page for more information.
Prevent Damage From Future Phishing Attacks
To prevent future phishing attacks, it is important to educate your employees about the dangers of clicking on links and opening attachments from unknown sources. Employees should also know how to spot a phishing email.
Make sure your business has strong anti-spam and anti-virus protection in place. In addition, regularly update your security software and train your employees on how to use it.
Have a plan in place for what to do in the event of a phishing attack. This should include who to contact as well as what steps your business should take to contain the damage.
For more information about phishing attacks and how to protect your business, visit our business phishing page.