The progress of digital technologies has brought in its aftermath the sad truth of an activity known as “phishing” and to counter it organizations have had to take Cyber Risk Insurance cover.
What is phishing?
Phishing is described by experts as on online scam that was first started in 1987. Over the years it has evolved into a highly organized network of cyber criminals and hackers who use highly specialized tools and tactics to do acts of phishing.
In a typical scenario that describes phishing, criminals impersonate legitimate organizations or persons via email, text message, advertisement or other means in order to steal their sensitive information.
Origin of the term phishing
The term “phishing” has been coined from the word fishing since it is akin to online scamsters dangling a fake “bait” (the legitimate-looking email, website or promo advertisement) in the hope that gullible internet users will “eat” the bait and share confidential information that the scamsters have asked for – for example credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passwords, usernames or any other valuable data.
What is a phishing email and how can you spot it?
Phishing has many shapes and forms and one of these is a phishing email.
A phishing email is a cyber attack to steal confidential information. It is triggered when a user receives an email that appears to be from a legitimate organization.
It is easy to spot a typical phishing email because in every such email users are encouraged to either click a hyperlink enclosed in the email, or to download an attachment. The attachment is typically a malware that installs itself on the device of the user and extracts confidential data.
Phishing email attacks can be conducted en masse, or can be highly targeted, well- researched and aimed at certain specific individuals in an organization who hold a high-rank, are decision-makers and have a high net-worth.
Are there any examples of phishing emails?
Yes, there are a lot of examples of phishing emails and some of them are described below:
- A user might receive an email from another colleague in the same organization with a request to provide information such as passwords, account numbers or social security numbers to solve a fake problem, or an issue that is non-existent.
- Another example is where a user might receive an email from an external source, or from within the organization which states that due to a digital malfunction, information/ vital data has been lost, and needs to be resent immediately.
- Still another example could be where a user receives an email stating that an invoice is overdue, and payment for the same needs to be done immediately, failing which, the account will either be shut down, or shipment will be delayed.
A common feature among all phishing emails
A common feature among all phishing emails is that they expect users to respond quickly and urgently, often at the cost of not taking approvals and bypassing procedures.
Secondly, in order to look genuine, cyber criminals go to the extent of copying the logos and fonts of reputable organizations such as banks, companies, subscription services and government organizations and putting them on their email templates.
Phishing emails can harm your business
Phishing emails have become a menace and harm businesses in multiple ways namely:
- Phishing emails can cause either a data breach, or a ransomware attack. They can also lead to an identity theft.
- Confidential information related to your company and to your clients could either be stolen or misused.
- Your reputation could get badly damaged, or lost.
- Your sales might suffer and your business turnover will be lower.
Cyber security tools and cyber risk insurance protect you against phishing emails
Cyber security tools and cyber risk insurance provide cover to your business and protect it from phishing emails. If you are a business that is vulnerable to cyber attacks especially phishing emails then it is best to adopt a three phase approach for your business:
Review and plan stage:
Conduct an in-depth audit of your cyber security policies and infrastructure to see whether there are any vulnerabilities in your system, or not. If the software tools deployed by you are old, your system will be weak, and the more weak points you have the greater will be your exposure.
Prevent and be prepared stage:
In this stage, the vulnerabilities and weak links identified earlier on are addressed. Cyber security software tools are purchased and deployed that provide strength to the IT and email infrastructure in your organization and prepare it to face current and future onslaughts from rogue phishing emails sent by cyber criminals.
Buy appropriate cyber risk insurance:
In this stage, it is recommended that you engage with a cyber risk insurance broker. The cyber risk insurance broker will assess your insurance needs thoroughly and will walk you through the various cyber insurance policies and their pros and cons.
He will answer all your questions professionally and recommend to you the most approporiate policy depending upon your needs and your budget.
A typical cyber risk insurance cover will protect your business in the following ways
If you are a business owner, then it is advisable to take a cyber risk insurance cover. By taking such a cover, you are protected against the following risks:
- Cyber attacks that involve ransonware
- Fines and investigation fees that you might have to pay upfront.
- Expenses that you have to pay, in the event of a cyber attack. This includes investigation fees, legal expenses, notification costs and other costs.
- Expenses incurred to protect the brand image and reputation of your business.
- Loss of income in the event of a cyber attack that stops your business systems.
Always remember that in cyber risk insurance, the amount of coverage depends on your policy. As there are different types of covers that are available in the market, and each has its own level, it is best to engage a cyber risk insurance broker to guide you through the process and to help you buy the right cyber insurance risk cover.