Protect Your Business from Phishing Scams: The Guide by Starfish SEO & Marketing.
A cyber criminal on a laptop applying a Phising scam online shown.

By Kierra French

In today’s digital era, phishing scams have become savvier than ever before. At Starfish SEO & Marketing, we are committed to protecting your business from these sophisticated scams. In this blog, we’ll uncover phishing scams.

What are Phishing Scams?

Phishing scams are cyber-attacks disguised as legitimate positions that take sensitive information such as; usernames, passwords, and financial details. Typically, phishing scams are formed as emails, but at times via phone calls, messages, or fake websites. The goal of phishing scams is to trick the recipient into providing confidential information or downloading unsecure software. 

Common Phishing Tactics 

1.     Email Scams: Hackers send emails that are deemed to be reliable sources, such as banks, online services, or even colleagues. The emails frequently contain fake links to websites or attachments, whereupon one click installs a virus(s) on your device.

2.     Spear Phishing: Targeted attack with a personalized message based on gathering information prior. This tends to be more sophisticated and convincing than a common scam.

3.     Vishing (Voice Phishing): Cybercriminals exploit phone calls by posing as banks, government agencies, or trusted resources to carry out security breaches.

4.     Smishing (SMS Phishing): Similar to email phishing, these attacks occur through text messages. The messages contain links to phishing websites that prompt individuals to share personal information.

How to Recognize Phishing Scams

1.     Poor Grammar/Spelling and Unusual Sender Address: Many phishing emails contain noticeable spelling and grammatical errors. Additionally, always check the email address of the sender carefully, as it may look similar to a legitimate one but contain slight variations.

2.     Unexpected Requests and Suspicious Links/Attachments: Be cautious of unsolicited requests for sensitive information, even if they appear to come from someone you know. Always hover over links to see where they lead before clicking and avoid downloading attachments from unknown sources.

3.     Urgent Language: Phishing emails often create a sense of urgency, pressing you to act quickly to avoid negative consequences.

Phishing Examples

Email Scams:

Subject: Urgent: Verify Your Account Information

Dear [Employee Name],

We have detected unusual activity in your business account. To ensure your account remains secure, please verify your account information by clicking the link below:

[Verify Account]

Failure to do so within the next 24 hours will result in the suspension of your account.

Sincerely,
[Bank Name] Security Team

How to Recognize:

  • Unexpected Request: Unsolicited request for sensitive information.
  • Suspicious Link: Hovering over the link reveals a URL that doesn’t match the legitimate bank’s website.
  • Urgent Language: Creates a sense of urgency by threatening account suspension.

Spear Phishing:

Subject: Project Update Required

Hi [Employee Name],

I’ve attached the latest project report. Please review it and send your feedback by the end of the day. Your prompt response is crucial for our upcoming meeting.

Best regards,
[Colleague’s Name]

Attachment: Project_Update.pdf (actually malware)

How to Recognize:

  • Personalized Message: Uses specific details to appear legitimate.
  • Unexpected Attachment: Unsolicited file that, when downloaded, could install malware.
  • Urgent Language: Urges quick action, increasing the likelihood of bypassing security protocols.

Vishing (Voice Phishing):

Phone Call:

Caller: “Hello, this is [Fake Name] from [Fake Government Agency]. We have an urgent issue with your business’s tax filings. To avoid penalties, please confirm your business’s bank account details over the phone.”

How to Recognize:

  • Unexpected Request: Unsolicited call asking for sensitive financial information.
  • Urgent Language: Creates a sense of urgency to prevent penalties.

Smishing (SMS Phishing):

Text Message:

Urgent: Your [Online Service] account has been compromised. Click the link to reset your password now: [Fake Link]

How to Recognize:

  • Unexpected Request: Unsolicited message requesting action.
  • Suspicious Link: The link leads to a phishing website that mimics the legitimate   service.

Summary

Recognizing these tactics and examples will effectively protect your business from phishing scams and maintain security within this digital era. Starfish SEO & Marketing is here to support you, if any further concerns or questions please contact us at info@starfishseo.com.

Starfish SEO & Marketing is curious, what is the savviest phishing scam you have encountered?