Which Employees Are Most Vulnerable to Phishing Scams?

Which Employees Are Most Vulnerable to Phishing Scams?

While phishing scams have been around for a long time, the last few years has seen them become an almost everyday occurrence in the workplace. Ironically, this is largely due to recent technological developments, which have seen most businesses adopt cutting-edge cybersecurity systems that are practically impossible for hackers to break into.

As such, hackers tend to go straight to the end user rather than seek out and exploit system vulnerabilities that might not even be there in the first place. This is where social engineering scams come in.

Phishing scams, as they are also known, rely on duping victims into taking a desired action, such as giving away password or payment details or downloading malicious software.

The disturbing trend that is social engineering means that businesses can no longer rely on technology to protect their data as much as they once could. Instead, employees are very much on the front line when it comes to preventing potentially devastating data breaches, and that’s why they can also be the weakest link in your cybersecurity strategy. It’s your job to train them to become the first and strongest line of defense.

Whom Do Scammers Prefer to Target?

An abundance of real-life examples of phishing scams proves that although some attackers choose their targets based on vulnerability and reward, absolutely anyone in any position or industry can be targeted.

In fact, most targeting is completely random, particularly in the case of scams designed to conduct initial research to seek out more valuable targets. Nobody in an organization should ever feel they can’t possibly be fooled by a social engineering scam.

For those who consider themselves highly informed about the current cyber-threat landscape, it’s easy (and fatal) to get into a false sense of security. After all, most phishing scams, especially those that arrive by email, are blatantly obvious to almost any veteran internet user. However, there are also plenty of exceptions, and these tend to be the scams that are targeted towards specific individuals.

What Does a Scam Look Like

As we’ve already discussed, initial attacks may take the form of a random and far-reaching attack designed to seek out basic information about would-be targets, such as names, phone numbers, employment positions and contacts. From a criminal’s perspective, this information can be vital for using as bait in so-called targeted spear-phishing scams. Scammers may also rely on social media profiles for conducting this initial research.

Armed with a person’s name, contact details and a broad overview of their job position and responsibilities, spear-phishing attacks can be personalized to the individual rather than relying on numbers alone to find the most gullible victims. These are the scams favored by smarter cybercriminals and, as such, they’re also by far the most dangerous.

Unsurprisingly, spear-phishing targets are usually carefully chosen. However, it’s not just high-profile personnel, such as company executives, that are common targets. Many scammers will go for a lower risk-to-reward ratio in hope of a higher success rate.

For example, common targets include people working in sales, since they’re most likely to have access to payment information. Other common targets are employees working in human resources, who are likely to have access to information about even more valuable targets. Nonetheless, it cannot be stressed enough that no one is completely safe from these attacks, and anyone can be a victim.

Knowing that your apps and data are safe is paramount to running a successful organization. That’s why Qoverage offers the full range of IT products and services needed to take your business into a new era of performance, cybersecurity and sustainability. Call us today to learn more.