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Phishing Scams Are on the Rise

September 15, 2022 No Comments

Featured article by Jeff Broth


Phishing scams are one of the most common forms of cybercrime, with over 300,000 attacks being recorded in Q4 of 2021 alone. 2021 was a record for the number of phishing scams recorded, with the continual rise of this particular online crime becoming a point of worry about businesses around the globe.

Yet, although the number of phishing cases are increasing, they are one of the easiest forms of attacks to prevent against, with a human response being necessary for attackers to gain the information that they need. Due to this, teaching employees about what phishing attacks look like and how they can avoid them is by far the most important element of securing your business against this specific cybercrime.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best ways to avoid phishing scams when online, helping to keep your business safe.

Why are Phishing Attacks on the Rise?

Every year, Condense releases an annual cyber report that documents some of the most pressing developments in the world of cybersecurity. One of the areas that they focus on is the number of phishing attacks, with 2020 onwards demonstrating a continual increase in the number of scams.

The connection between COVID-19 and the increase of cybercrime can be traced back to the global movement online. While 2019 and before was contextualized by people commuting to work each day and then completing any tasks for the day within their office, the 2020 pandemic and onwards has resulted in more people than ever before working online.

While working remotely has increased the efficiency of businesses by up to 47%, as well as improving the work-life balance of employees from around the globe, it has also opened up businesses to the potential impacts of cybercrime. As companies must rely on online networks to hold their data, connect their employees, and disseminate information, employees are spending more time online than ever before. Due to this, the chance that a phishing email could slip through the cracks of a phishing email blocker and land in their inbox has increased.

Equally, the technology that hackers use to create their phishing emails has increased significantly. While phishing emails were once very easy to spot, they have become much more sophisticated over recent years. Attackers can now clone entire websites to give their data collection fake websites even more of a realistic feel.

Equally, with over 315 billion emails being sent daily in 2021, hackers have refined their emailing strategy to closely mirror real emails, hoping to trick individuals by how similar they seem.

Three Tips for Avoiding Common Phishing Scams

Although more developed than it once was, phishing is still a very formulaic cybercrime practice, with the vast majority of scam emails following a very similar format. By learning more about what phishing is and the core markers that suggest you’re dealing with a scam, then you’ll be in a much better position to keep your business and yourself safe while online.

When you’re navigating online, there are four key tips that you should remember if you’re wanting to avoid phishing scams:

– Think before you click
– Site security verification
– Use firewalls

Think before you click

This is fairly obvious advice, but one that is routinely overlooked when it comes to internet security. Due to how quick navigating the internet is, people never stop to check the validity of an account or email before just clicking on the links they include. Considering how realistic these false emails can be, you’re unlikely to spot the difference between a legitimate email and a fake email unless you stop and think.

When examining an email, there are a few areas that you should double-check:

– The email address – The close resemblance between capital ‘I’ and lowercase ‘l’ are a common trick that attackers will use to claim addresses that seem legitimate but are actually not.

– The marketing materials – Are the surrounding photos and other aspects of the email legitimate? Are they related to the company, or is the email just text?

– Spelling, punctuation, and grammar – If there are absolutely any spelling mistakes or grammar issues on an email from your bank or a reputable organization, then alarm bells should be ringing.

Always spend a few seconds examining an email before you click on absolutely anything.

Site security validation

When accessing a URL that starts with “HTTPS”, you should be able to see a small lock icon in the search site bar. This typically stands for safety, with a closed lock signifying that the website is secure. Alongside this, you can check n the site’s security certificate to make sure that it is completely valid, and therefore you are not accidentally visiting an unsecure site.


While attackers have improved their technology, security networks have equally advanced over recent years. Nowadays, you can download powerful firewalls that will monitor your email and check for phishing.

Although these will never be able to keep 100% of spam emails out, they should be able to prevent the large bulk of phishing emails from ever reaching your account.

Final Thoughts

While incredibly common, most phishing attacks can be stopped after a little critical thinking. Although many look real, there are almost always signs that point to the illicit nature of an email or text that arrives to your accounts. When taking those few extra seconds to check the validity of a correspondence before clicking on any links or filling out any fields with information. You can also use spam protection software to keep you safe from phishing scams.

When on the internet, it’s always better to air on the side of caution. Take that extra minute to type out a website instead of just navigating onto it from a link; take a second to check the extract email account that’s messaged you – small practices like these can save you a lot of hassle down the line. While initially frustrating and time-consuming, these small checks can prevent you from spending hours of time battling to regain entry to your phished accounts.

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