Phishing and ransomware attacks are two of the most common cyber threats faced by businesses and individuals today. In 2020, nearly 2,474 ransomware attacks were reported, leading to losses of more than $29 million. In the same year, 22 percent of all data breaches involved phishing attacks.
While both threats can have devastating consequences, there are ways to identify and prevent them.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals pose as a reputable company or individual in order to trick victims into providing personal information or financial data. The scammers will typically use fake websites or e-mails that look identical to the real thing, making it difficult for even the most tech-savvy individuals to spot the difference. About 611,877 unique phishing websites were detected in the first quarter of 2021.
Once the victim has entered their information, the scammer can then use it to commit identity theft or fraud. Phishing is a serious problem that is constantly evolving, so it is important to be aware of the latest scams and take steps to protect yourself online.
What Are Ransomware Attacks?
Ransomware attacks are another type of cyber threat that can be just as damaging as phishing attacks. Ransomware attacks are a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom payment in order to decrypt the files. Ransomware attacks can be devastating for businesses, as they can result in the loss of important data and downtime.
Once a ransomware attack has encrypted a victim’s files, it will often display a message demanding a ransom payment in order to decrypt the files. In some cases, businesses have even had to shut down their operations due to ransomware attacks. Fortinet, a company invested in preventing such attacks from happening, documented recent cases of ransomware payments from a number of businesses. By learning from these companies’ attacks and by investing in cyber security solutions, you can safeguard your business and avoid paying ransomware settlements to cybercriminals.
3 Ways to Identify Phishing & Ransomware Attacks
- Hover over links to check them. Another way to spot phishing e-mails is to hover over links without clicking on them. If the link takes you to a different website than what is displayed, it is likely a phishing e-mail.
- Look for typos and grammatical errors. Phishing e-mails often contain typos and grammatical errors. This is because they are typically created in a hurry and scammers do not have time to proofread their e-mails.
- Be suspicious of unexpected e-mails If you receive an e-mail from a company or individual that you do not know, be suspicious. Do not open any attachments or click on any links in the e-mail. If the e-mail is legitimate, you can usually find contact information for the company or individual online.
3 Ways To Prevent Phishing & Ransomware Attacks
- Be aware of the latest scams. Phishing and ransomware attacks are constantly evolving, so it is important to stay up to date on the latest scams. There are a number of ways to do this, including subscribing to newsletters from security companies or following reliable sources on social media.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication. One of the best ways to protect yourself from phishing attacks is to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires you to enter a code from your phone or another device in addition to your password. This makes it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your accounts.
- Keep your software and operating system up to date: One of the best ways to protect your computer from ransomware attacks is to keep your software and operating system up to date. Hackers often target outdated software with known vulnerabilities. By keeping your software and operating system current, you can help protect your computer from these attacks.
Taking a Safety-First Approach
Phishing and ransomware attacks are serious cyber threats that can have devastating consequences. However, there are a number of ways to protect yourself from these attacks. By being aware of the latest scams, using strong passwords and two-factor authentication, and keeping your software and operating system up to date, you can help reduce the risk of becoming a victim of these attacks.