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How Phishing Attacks Are Targeting Remote Workers

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Phishing attacks are now the biggest cyber security threat to UK businesses. These fraudulent emails are getting increasingly sophisticated, with many recipients now easily fooled by their content and all too willing to share sensitive information such as bank details, usernames and passwords.

The rise of phishing attacks is no coincidence. Over the past year, this cybercrime explosion corresponds with another upward trend – remote working. Remote working has become a mainstay in companies big and small as they look to keep operations going during the Covid-19 pandemic. With employees now taking on work from the comfort of their own homes, they’re more vulnerable than ever to phishing scams and other email-based cyber threats.

How Phishing Attacks Are Targeting Remote Workers

We explore why cybercriminals are making a beeline for remote workers, and how phishing simulation and other techniques can be used to safeguard your staff and wider organisation.

What makes an effective phishing attack?

Phishing attacks are designed to trick those receiving them into revealing sensitive information, or fooling them into clicking a link or attachment that does this for them.

Most phishing campaigns promise the prospect of financial gains or more sinister ramifications if the recipient fails to take action. But with remote workers increasingly finding themselves targets, fraudsters are using the fractured work environment to their advantage.

Unpaid invoices, login issues, and problems that may cause work disruption are now common themes, and they’re getting high response rates. There’s even been phishing attacks that instruct remote workers to log into a new system that allocates their socially distanced workspaces upon their return to the office!

How can remote workers spot a phishing email?

The vast majority of phishing emails contain laughable, befuddling content and harbour tell-tale signs of their false intentions.

Poor spelling and grammar is a giveaway most people spot, whilst mismatched URLs, misleading domain names, requests for personal information, unrealistic threats, and too good to be true offers are other clues that you’re dealing with a phishing scam.

What should workers do if they receive a phishing email?

The greatest piece of advice we could give any remote worker or recipient of a potential phishing email is to think before they act. If they’re unsure in anyway about the email’s origins or content, then speaking directly to a manager and/or the company’s IT team will clear things up.

An increasing number of phishing emails claim to be from a known person. If this is the case, speaking to the person in question is another way to stop a phishing attack in its tracks.

How can I safeguard my remote workforce?

As an employer, it’s up to you to educate your workforce on the cyber threats that could pose a risk to your workers and wider business. Awareness training, delivered either virtually or in-person, should therefore be a part of your cyber security strategy.

Don’t train your staff without doing your homework beforehand. By requesting a phishing simulation from an experienced cyber security consultant, you can highlight areas of vulnerability and efficiently improve your organisation’s defences against phishing.

Phishing simulation involves the running of your own phishing email campaign. Phishing simulation effectively highlights who needs training and in which areas so you can achieve better cyber security, even in the face of surging phishing attacks.

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