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Don’t Get Phished This Christmas: Everything You Need to Know

02 December, 2020

From overstuffed turkeys to overstuffed family members, there’s a lot to love about the Christmas period. Although this year might look a little different to previous years, the optimism, care and thoughtfulness that we pour into the season will mean that it’s just as joyful as ever.

That is, provided you don’t fall into the hands of a scammer. Yes, unfortunately, Christmas is a period of very good cheer for those looking to exploit eager shoppers.

According to recent studies, phishing attacks have climbed dramatically in the Coronavirus era, and with Christmas shopping reaching its peak, you can be certain that it’s going to climb higher still.

But what can you do to protect yourself? In this guide, we’ll explain what phishing is, why you should care and reveal the essential tips to keep your bank account safe, your family in gifts and your data protected.

Let’s get started!

What is phishing?

Let’s start with the biggest question of all - what is phishing?

Phishing is an extremely common type of cyber security attack wherein a fraudster sends you an email which resembles a legitimate email from a reputable source, but is designed to steal your personal information, login credentials or bank details.

More often than not, these emails mirror brands that you trust, and prey on that trust to lull you into giving away your valuable personal information.

Phishing emails take many forms, from invoices for products you didn’t buy to warnings about overdue tax payments, but they’re all designed to encourage you to do the same thing: give away your information.

Why should I care about phishing?

You might be thinking to yourself “why should I care about phishing? I’m not exactly a millionaire, who would target me?”

It’s a good question, but the answer is scarier than you might think. The truth is that whilst targeted phishing attacks are a real threat, the average person receives 16 malicious emails a month and, worryingly, email providers are only 25% of phishing attempts are stopped before they hit your inbox.

Worse still, our internal analysis has revealed that, depending on which psychological elements were in play, the success rate of phishing attempts can hit over 94%.

It’s shocking but true: we’re all susceptible to falling for a well-crafted phishing attack. Keep in mind also that it only takes one phishing attack to compromise your accounts and, from there, do real and significant damage.

Much like Santa, Christmas isn’t a holiday for fraudsters, and their attentions will only increase as we turn our time towards online shopping.

How do I spot a phishing attempt?

So we’ve covered what phishing is and why you should care about it, but how do you spot a phishing attempt?

At Bob’s Business, we’re experts in phishing simulations and phishing training for workforces, and we’ve developed a list of seven huge warning signs you can look out for in your emails to determine whether an email is legitimate or simply an attempt to extract your private information.

They are:

  • The sender’s email address is suspicious.
  • The email has poor spelling and grammar.
  • The email has an odd use of imagery.
  • The email is designed to make your panic or act hastily.
  • The email sounds “too good to be true”.
  • The email contains links which look suspicious when you hover over them.
  • The email contains suspicious branding.

These seven elements are covered in much more detail in our dedicated “how to spot a phishing email” blog, which is essential for helping develop your defence against phishing emails.

Can I train my staff to avoid phishing emails?

Much like dogs, phishing emails are more just for Christmas - they’re a year-round threat and, when it comes to your business, only one breach can break your data wide open.

Phishing attacks were behind 90% of breaches this year, according to Verizon, making them by far the most significant danger to your organisations’ security.

By training your staff to spot and stop phishing emails before they do their harm, you empower your team to protect your organisation.

With Bob’s Business’ award-winning range of phishing courses phishing simulations and Think Before you Click phishing training, you can do just that. Keen to learn more? Get in touch with a member of our team and discover just how affordable and effective our solutions are.

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