Away from the relative security of an internal network, and often away from colleagues too, some people can fall victim to the various types of scams around – ‘phishing’ scams in particular are on the rise. Over the coming few weeks, we’ll be looking at the methods scammers use to target their victims (phishing in particular), and also how to protect yourself, your family, friends and colleagues – and what to do if you think you might have been a victim of a scam.
The term ‘Phishing’ actually originated around 1996, after a spate of attacks on AOL users in the USA. It is so-called because it involves the scammer or hacker sending out many thousands of scam emails, messages, text messages or other communications (the ‘bait’ or ‘hook’) off into the ‘sea’ of the internet, with the expectation that there will be some users who fall for the scam (the ‘fish’). It might sound a little silly, but it’s quite an accurate metaphorical description for the methods that scammers use to steal information and personal data.
Phishing scams are, unfortunately, very common. (As the writer of this article, I can tell you that I have received at least four in the past 24 hours – that’s no small amount!) In fact, according to Symantec, one in every 3,722 emails in the UK is a phishing scam (1 in 3,231 in the USA). When you consider that around 269 billion emails are sent per day, worldwide – that amounts to an awful lot of scam emails.
50% of UK cyberattacks involve phishing in some manner – and 22% of UK organisations don’t provide any regular awareness training for their employees – with these figures, you can start to see why phishing scams are such an issue, especially for business.
Next week, we’ll have a look at some of the underhanded methods that scammers use on their victims – helping you to spot phishing scams and stop them in their tracks. Stay safe!