Last Updated on November 12, 2023 by Hina Rubab
You can be as careful and stringent as you want, but your business can still fall victim to a cyberattack. One of the most common ways cybercriminals target businesses is through email phishing. All it takes is one click on a shady link to rattle your business to the bone. In most cases, employees can unknowingly become the victim of an email phishing scam. According to a 2019 report, email phishing contributed to 32% of all breaches in the United States. You might begin to see why it can pose a serious problem for your business.
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Email Phishing and How You Can Protect Your Employees from It
Phishing is a cyberattack that closely resembles a scam or con job. Hackers send an email to a person, pretending to be legitimate, such as a bill for your Spectrum internet plans. The email is cleverly made to look like it came from the actual company, and usually contains a link or an attachment you are directed to click on. This link/attachment, however, will not lead you to an authentic website.
Instead, it will prompt you for personal information, like your account username and password. In certain cases, clicking on the link will immediately download malware onto your device. In most cases, employees aren’t even aware they have been victims of a phishing scam. They simply hand over information or download whatever the hacker wants them to, without question. As an employer or manager, it is very crucial for you to protect your employees and teams against cyberattacks. That includes email phishing. Here’s how you can do that.
- Organize Across-The-Board Cybersecurity Training
- Help Employees Learn How To Identify Phishing Emails
- Share Real-World Examples of Phishing Data Breaches
- Implement Strong Anti-malware Protection Software
- Ensure Upper Management is Security-Savvy
Let’s examine these in more detail below.
Organize Across-The-Board Cybersecurity Training to avoid Email Phishing attack
The best way to protect employees from cyberattacks is to educate them on digital security. Mandatory cybersecurity training across the entire workforce is very useful in this context. Many tech-savvy firms include cybersecurity training in their employee onboarding process. That means employees are aware of the risks right from the get-go.
Of course, too much technical jargon and mumbo-jumbo can be quite difficult for the average employee to absorb. Your security education efforts will remain inefficient unless you prioritize employee engagement. Remember, nobody likes being forced to sit through an extended training session. Instead, you should look for ways to make the exercise fun and creative, shifting attention from the mandatory nature.
Help Employees Learn How To Identify Phishing Emails
Of course, a one-off training session is helpful. But in the long-run, it may not be enough. It is one thing to attend a training session, and another to implement what you have learned. If you want to protect your employees, you need to make sure they know how to spot a phishing email when they see one. You can help employees do this by highlighting certain telltales that are usually present in a phishing email. These can include the following:
- Poor grammar, typos, and formatting.
- Vague and generic greetings.
- Email sender address is different from the supposed domain name.
- Asking for personal information.
- Requiring you to download unsolicited attachments.
Share Real-World Examples of Phishing Data Breaches
Both of the two steps above give your employees crucial information on how to guard against phishing emails and how to identify them. That’s great, but there are still a few ingredients missing for foolproofing. Your employees still need to see what a data breach looks like in the real world. There is no shortage of companies that have been victims of phishing scams. A look at a real phishing email, sent to a real company can give your employees the real-world perspective they need to appreciate the dangers of cybercrime, phishing scams, and data breaches.
Implement Strong Anti-malware Protection Software
You can educate your workforce to the best of your abilities with the three steps above. However, you cannot ignore the probability that, at some point, one of your employees will do exactly what shouldn’t be done and click on a phishing email link/attachment. We are only human, after all, and mistakes do happen.
This is where anti-malware software such as antivirus tools can help with an added layer of security. Such software scans incoming attachments and emails for potential viruses, bots, or other malware. If found, the software immediately quarantines the infected file and informs you.
Of course, cybercrime keeps evolving, and cybercriminals keep getting cleverer with their tricks. That is why it is very important to keep your software updated. Out-of-date software will inevitably be vulnerable to newer forms of phishing and other cyberattacks.
Ensure Upper Management is Security-Savvy
When businesses implement training and other methods to educate employees, they usually target lower-level employees and middle management. Many people from the senior management who organize most training sessions often don’t attend them themselves. Of course, many simply assume that they don’t need the training. Or that they have more pressing executive tasks to attend to. While this may be true, an executive without proper cybersecurity knowledge can be a huge liability for any business. Since executives usually have access to the most important data, they make juicy targets for cybercriminals. Your training should include your entire workforce, from top to bottom.
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