Few security problems are more dangerous than a network breach. Considering how much you could lose from an unexpected bout with a hacker, it’s no surprise that businesses are concerned. Yet, even some of the most troublesome threats like phishing attacks are often ignored. A new study introduces the groundbreaking thought that phishing attacks should be at the forefront of a business owner’s mind regarding network security.
A year-long partnership between Google and UC Berkeley yielded a study of how online accounts are cracked. They found that businesses are much more vulnerable to phishing attacks than actual legitimate data breaches.
Google found that keyloggers were one of the primary contributors to this trend, capturing an estimated 788,000 compromised credentials. Phishing, on the other hand, had exposed 12 million credentials. Data breaches contributed 3.3 million credentials to the total. This information led Google to the conclusion that phishing attacks were a much greater threat to businesses, backed up by research showing that up to 25 percent of the passwords that were still in use were stolen in phishing attacks. Data breaches provided credentials currently used by individuals only seven percent of the time.
Phishing is known to do much more than just allow unauthorized users to enter a network or infrastructure. In some cases, phishing can help malicious entities spread viruses or install malware on unsuspecting victims. There are usually signs of such a breach, though, even if they aren’t obvious at first glance. The problem is that it’s not always apparent when such a breach occurs, with the worst-case scenario being a complete and sudden halt to operations.
Either way, the point stands that the first step toward a data breach could very well be a phishing attack. While phishing attacks are more common than data breaches, a data breach has the opportunity to cause more damage than you can possibly imagine. Take your worst-case scenario and double it--that’s probably a good estimate for how much trouble a data breach could cause for your organization. A phishing attack steals specific data, but a data breach can expose so much more, including the data of your staff, customers, and vendors.
Besides the obvious data security problems associated with phishing attacks, it’s just downright embarrassing to have been had by hackers. It can leave a scar on your business that’s difficult to recover from. To learn more about how you can protect your business from security threats, reach out to us at (206) 340-1616.