Technology / Cyber security awareness crucial to tackling growing phishing problem

Cyber security awareness crucial to tackling growing phishing problem

Increasing cyber security awareness is crucial to stemming the rising tide of phishing and whaling attacks, according to an industry expert.

Speaking at a roundtable event in London this week, Verizon's managing principal for investigative response Laurance Dine said phishing emails are "involved at some stage" of a significant portion of the cyber security incidents he investigates.

"Phishing is an entry point that we are seeing over and over and over again for your opportunistic hackers," he explained. "And we are seeing a lot of whaling."

Dine explained how hackers are gaining access to "lots and lots" of business email accounts and scoping out the best ways to exploit their workers. In one case, he said cyber criminals had access to as many as 300 email addresses at a single organisation.

He said the most effective way of combatting the threat posed by phishing and whaling attacks is to increase awareness among employees and ensure they know what a suspicious email looks like so they can identify them and report them to the security team.

"Awareness is the number one way that we can combat that kind of situation," he said of these cyber criminal tactics. "That is where we are going. That is what we have got to do. We have got to make people aware: 'Be careful and do not click on that link.'"

A number of new phishing campaigns have hit the headlines in recent weeks.

Yesterday, subscribers to the Scottish Football Association’s website received fraudulent emails claiming that they owed the organisation up to £170 each for tickets.

Last week, cyber security researchers discovered a phishing campaign that sent fake billing emails purporting to be from WhatsApp in an attempt to trick users.

To avoid falling victim to some of the cyber criminals’ most common scams, see our guide to five of the most widely used phishing tactics that hackers use to lure victims in.

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