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Phishing Attacks: The Most Vulnerable Industries in 2022

Phishing attacks are one of the most well-known and well-publicized forms of cybercrime. Their aim is usually to steal user data, such as login credentials, credit card numbers and so on. You are probably already familiar with the common types of phishing emails sent by scammers. These are the ones that look legitimate in your inbox, but come from a bogus email address, and attempt to get you to click on a link to enter your login credentials.

If you’ve ever received one of those emails, or maybe severals, you might not be surprised when we say that phishing attacks are more and more common.

How can phishing attacks impact a business?

There are many risks associated with phishing: data breaches can result in serious damages, such as database corruption, intellectual property theft, or confidential information leakage. Besides, it could negatively affect your company’s reputation. Your clients’ perception of your company might change from reliable to untrustworthy.

The bad news? These types of attacks are growing increasingly common and they are being deployed against business email accounts. It is now estimated that over 75% of businesses around the world will face a phishing attack every year. And over one-third of data breaches involve phishing. This shows just how serious the problem is.

…and the good news? The good news is that, if you’re here you’re taking this seriously and you’re willing to educate yourself about the topic. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to protect your business from phishing risk.

In this article, we will take a look at the industries that are likely to be most vulnerable to phishing attacks in 2022, and what tools you can use to act on that threat. If you operate a business in any of these industries, it is vital that you take the necessary steps to protect your company against cybercrime.

Let’s jump right in.

Graphic Deisgn about phishing attacks

‘Agile’ businesses

Many agile businesses make use of project and work management solutions such as Jira. Using these types of software can make businesses extremely efficient; indeed, the average large organization tracks over 1.4 million issues through a single Jira instance. And that certainly sounds like a very impressive and beneficial way to work.

But, therein lies a significant problem. Businesses operating with agile working can be so efficient that it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals in the business to keep track of issues in their own mind – instead, they can simply rely on the software that they use on a daily basis.

However, when staff get confused this can be the worst possible thing in terms of vulnerability to phishing attacks. Most modern phishing attacks are sophisticated, and given that human error is the main cause in up to 95% of data breaches, it can be easy to understand why these organizations can be so open to phishing attacks.

SMEs

It is unfortunately true that the small and medium sized businesses are more likely to suffer phishing attacks than larger companies. This might be partly due to the fact that cybercriminals see SMEs as an easier target who are less likely to have powerful cybersecurity measures in place to mitigate the risk from phishing.

Of course, another issue for SMEs is the fact that if they suffer a phishing attack, it is likely to be more damaging. This functionally adds a second level of vulnerability. Part of this is down to the fact that SMEs may find it harder to recruit specialist cybersecurity staff to help them deal with the after effects of cybercrime.

A big reason for this challenge is the cybersecurity skills gap. The skills gap refers to the fact that there are currently more jobs in cybersecurity than there are people skilled enough to fill those roles. This pushes up the price of talented cybersecurity professionals and makes it almost impossible for smaller companies to recruit a cybersecurity team.

Higher education

There is good evidence to suggest that universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning are at major risk of phishing attacks in 2022. Part of the reason for this is that students will typically have their own login credentials for the institution’s IT system, and may not take the security of these accounts as seriously as is necessary.

But, perhaps more worrying is that many higher education providers do not seem to be taking their commitment to the security of their staff and students seriously enough. In fact, a recent report revealed that around 90% of universities and colleges don’t provide adequate protection against phishing attacks.

Property and real estate

Property and real estate businesses are some of the most vulnerable to cybercrime. This comes down to the fact that this industry is seen as an extremely high value target from the perspective of cybercriminals. Not only do property transactions typically involve vast sums of money being exchanged, but these companies also hold on to a significant amount of personal and private data.

If cybercriminals are able to successfully convince property professionals that they are their client, they just misdirect payments and steal valuable data.

Technology

It could be easy to assume that tech businesses are the most likely to have powerful cybersecurity that would allow them to defend against cybercrime such as phishing. But this is not necessarily the case. Indeed, there has been some criticism leveled at technology businesses to suggest that they aren’t doing enough to keep their staff secure.

As is the case with real estate, tech companies are considered to be high-value targets which can make them specifically vulnerable.

 

Conclusion

Phishing attacks can represent a serious threat. Don’t let this scare you, but use this information as a prompt to plan in advance and safeguard your company. There is a lot that businesses can do to minimize phishing risk. Much of it comes from providing staff with adequate training, which should be regularly updated to keep everyone aware of the latest risks. Additionally, issues like the cybersecurity skills gap can potentially be mitigated by working with outsourced cybersecurity professionals.

Fortunately, there are some safety measures that you can take to protect your business: that ranges from using adequate tools to training your employees and educating yourself. Preparing your company can minimize the potential danger from phishing risks.

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