Protect Against Phishing Attacks With These Tips

Why is it so important to protect against phishing attacks?

Well, to start with, research shows that 90% of all data breaches start with successful phishing attempts. Even further, attackers successfully phished more than 80% of organizations in 2021 – a whopping 46% jump from the previous year.

Those two statistics alone demonstrate why it’s so important learn how spot and avoid falling victim to these scams.

It’s a critical aspect of securing your IT systems and the valuable data they contain.

Let’s take a look at what exactly phishing is, and some helpful tips to spot an attempt.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a cybercrime in which hackers posing as legitimate individuals or institutions, in an attempt to lure victims into divulging sensitive or high-risk data.

The perpetrators of phishing excursions can be individuals, or even organized criminal groups. Frighteningly, hundreds of thousands of phishing sites exist around the world.

While many people associate phishing with phony emails, criminals also use phone calls and text messages to trick their victims. Hackers are constantly devising new and sophisticated phishing schemes that can be extremely hard to detect.

To effectively protect against phishing attacks, it takes knowledge, vigilance, and a healthy dose of skepticism.

Two women staring at a computer who seem like they're pondering either clothing sales or small business cybersecurity. It's hard to tell.
Related: Small Businesses attacked 3X more than others. (Click the image to read more)

How Your Company Can Protect Against Phishing Attacks

Your employees can take multiple measures to minimize the chances of a successful phishing attack.

What’s critical here is to remember that these precautions should always be taken. Even one slip-up can result in a data breach or ransomware being installed in your computing environment.

Recognize the Signs of a Phishing Attack

Unexpected contact from financial institutions or other organizations should always be handled with suspicion.

In some cases, a phishing scheme may be easy to spot.

For instance, in one scam, text messages are sent to potential victims, saying their Social Security account has been suspended, along with a request to click on a link.

This is obviously a phishing attack, since your Social Security account cannot be suspended. But, in other cases, such as emails referencing issues with online purchases, scams can be harder to detect.

Such scams are especially effective during busy holiday seasons, when many gift-buyers understandably lose track of the purchases they’ve made.

Don’t Click on Suspicious Links

While you’ve probably heard it before, it nonetheless remains the most important piece of advice to protect against phishing attacks.

At first glance, links in phishing emails or text messages may appear to be legitimate. But, in reality, hackers tend to ‘spoof’ an address to direct you to a malicious site.

Spoofing is a practice in which attackers create a link that appears similar to legitimate ones, but with subtle differences. For instance, they may use an address like “” or “”. At first glance, you may not notice the extra ‘o’ or the replaced letter ‘u’.  

Unfortunately, if clicked, these sites then attempt to obtain login credentials or other personal information from you.

Always double-check what you see, and if you have any doubt at all, don’t click on the links.

So, what should you do if you think it might actually be legitimate, or even if you’re uncertain? After all, sometimes phishing attacks are tough to spot.

If you believe the communication is valid, go to the company’s genuine website using your browser, rather than through the link provided in the email or text.

You can then contact the institution and verify if there really is a problem, or if it was indeed a phishing attempt that you managed to avoid.

It might sound like an inconvenience, but it certainly beats the alternative.

Stay Educated on the Latest Scams

Education regarding new phishing techniques is critical to remaining safe.

Methods such as invoice phishing and basing attacks on tax returns or late payments can catch a user off-guard. Hackers don’t rest over the holidays, and cook up new schemes all the time.

It takes a willingness to stay educated to keep your data secure.

cybersecurity awareness training
Related: How often should you perform cybersecurity training? (click image to learn more)

Remediation If a Successful Attack Occurs

Staying up-to-date on the latest scams, avoiding links you don’t know, and viewing messages & emails with a healthy dose of suspicion create the foundation of a good defense.

But, while many scams are easy to spot, some are far more subtle and effective. Additionally, the sheer volume of attempts that your employees and business face on a daily basis increase the likelihood of a slip-up.

That means the potential always exists for a breach, no matter how diligently your company attempts to protect against phishing attacks.

So, what happens if something does go wrong?

Blue Bastion offers a 24×7 managed detection and response program that performs continuous security monitoring of your infrastructure, applications, and data.

Our dedicated incident response team helps you investigate and recover from any security incidents that might occur.

Our methodology follows NIST guidelines, to quickly restore your operations, minimizing the effect on your business.

Whether you’re looking to protect against phishing attacks, or any other cybersecurity protection, we’re ready to help.

Simply contact us at 412-349-6680, or fill out the form below, and our team of cybersecurity experts will create and execute the ultimate security plan to protect your organization.

And, as always, stay vigilant.

Secure Your Business With Blue Bastion - Contact Us Today!