Were you aware that a cyber-attack happens every 36 seconds¹ or that global cybercrime costs are predicted to hit $10,5 trillion annually by 2025²? I certainly wasn’t! 95% of security breaches³ are due to human errors. This underscores the current significance of cyber security awareness. As October marks Cyber Security Awareness Month, let’s explore the advancements in security and awareness over the years and pinpoint the essential steps for enhancement.
In the early days of the internet, cyber security often took a back seat. Both individuals and organisations were somewhat oblivious to potential hazards, making the digital realm akin to the wild west regarding vulnerabilities. However, as technology evolved, the imperative for cyber security consciousness grew. Through the years, we’ve seen considerable strides in security education.
Cyber security awareness initiatives have multiplied, enlightening people and businesses on the necessity of safeguarding their digital assets. The public is now better versed in the perils of cyber threats, realising the value of strong passwords, timely software updates, and prudent online habits. But let’s delve deeper into a particular facet of cyber security: phishing, with a special focus on its underlying psychology.
A basic example: “Dear customer, Bank of America is closing your bank account. Please enter your PIN at Bankofamerica.com/XCJBM4S5 to keep your account active.” Recognise this format? Chances are, you’ve encountered such a message before. What makes these messages so potent as phishing tactics? The frequency of phishing attacks is increasing, with half of all emails dispatched in 2021 identified as phishing emails4.
Phishing attacks trick people by appearing as trusted messages or websites. They exploit our trust and sometimes scare us into taking action quickly. Let’s look at why these scams are so effective.
To spot phishing attacks, it’s crucial to recognise the language cues that drive recipients to respond hastily. Keep an eye out for the following:
As awareness of phishing attacks grows, scammers use increasingly plausible scenarios to deceive recipients. Gone are the days of foreign princes in desperate need of money. Today, phishing emails may claim your parcel can’t be delivered, offer discounts on energy bills, or claim to be your relative with a new number.
Typical phishing attempts often include the following features:
Spear phishing attacks, which are targeted at specific individuals, businesses, or charities, often mimic regular business emails from customers or co-workers. They may request the completion of a form or seek assistance with a task. These attacks are designed to appear as mundane as possible, making them a potent threat to anyone within an organisation.
In conclusion, understanding the urgent language and tactics used in phishing attacks is essential for staying safe in our digitally connected world. By recognising these signs, we can better protect ourselves from falling victim to scams. Remember, vigilance and a cautious approach to online messages are your best defences against phishing attempts.
As we commemorate Cyber Security Awareness Month, it’s a prime opportunity to reflect on the importance of cyber security education. The month serves as a reminder that, while technology and threats evolve, so too must our knowledge and strategies for safeguarding our digital lives. It underscores our collective responsibility in ensuring a safer digital community for everyone.
Are you interested in more information about cyber security? Read our blog about minimising cyber risks for remote workers.