As phishing gets smarter, what could businesses do for older clients?

Scammers are constantly devising new ways of persuading people to hand over sensitive personal data, so what can service providers do to protect you?


After the devastating series of ransomware attacks all across the world last year, one thing became crystal clear: anyone could become a target for hackers. From multinational corporations to government agencies to private individuals, hackers will not necessarily discriminate when picking victims. Yet there seem to be certain groups that are at greater risk of falling victim to sophisticated hacker attacks. Are businesses doing enough to protect them?

Why Companies Need to Know Who Their Clients Are

It is no secret that we live in an increasingly digital world: according to Statista, almost 70% of Americans, roughly 80% of Europeans, and 71% of users in the Asia Pacific region were connected to the internet, raising the total global number of internet users to 3.9 billion. This means that more and more businesses have an online presence and offer products and services on the Web. This necessarily entails gathering, storing and processing our personal data, which often includes sensitive data like personal health details or banking information. But since with great power comes great responsibility, companies are also obliged to take measures in order to protect the information they are privy to. This is especially true when it concerns a more vulnerable client demographic.

security and phishing scams

Older users are often not as familiar with cutting-edge tech solutions as the generation that grew up with iPhones are. And this could mean that they are less likely to spot the little details that can help a user distinguish between a legitimate request and a phishing scam, for example. In order to make sure that they provide a well-rounded cybersecurity system, businesses can first identify who uses their platform and for what purposes by employing comprehensive assessment solutions like behavior analytics. Using machine learning and automated algorithms, they can analyze client behavior patterns and data access behavior across users to spot suspicious moves and prevent data breaches. Furthermore, by paying closer attention to users, companies can know more about their key demographic and provide tailored protection to suit their needs. Processing all this information can offer a wealth of knowledge which IT security professionals can put to good use.

Phishing Scams Become More Complicated

As users become more aware of the dangers, hackers continue to become more inventive and original in their phishing scams. Phishing is one of the most popular attack methods, whereby hackers masquerade as a trusted source in order to dupe the potential victim into sharing information they wouldn’t otherwise disclose – ranging from account credentials to credit card information. In 2017 alone, over 25,000 Americans fell victim to phishing and its variants, while a further 17,636 were targeted by identity theft. According to research published on the Dashlane Blog, 95% of all hacker attacks on business networks are perpetrated through spear phishing, while the effects can be devastating for a business: 1 in 3 customers will take their business elsewhere if a company suffered a breach.

You will find more infographics at Statista

As the same source reports, some 97% of individuals cannot tell a well-thought-out phishing message apart, while roughly 1.5 million phishing websites are set up monthly. Scammers are constantly devising new ways of persuading people to hand over sensitive personal data. In December 2018, news broke that malicious third parties were sending emails where they posed as Netflix – down to imitating its logo. The email informed them of some alleged billing issue with their Netflix account and urged them to take action to resolve it by clicking on a malicious link. Unlike past crude attempts, like the infamous Nigerian prince that wants to leave you all his money, this hacking scam had a lot of the details ironed out to be more persuasive.

This is why businesses need to make sure they have implemented all appropriate technical measures in order to make sure that their customers’ emails do not fall into the wrong hands. Even though there are certain tips that could act as a rule of thumb to help avoid phishing scams, it seems that they have started to lose their head start. For instance, even though we are always told that a URL which starts with HTTPS and displays the padlock symbol is secure, hackers have managed to create HTTPS mirror phishing sites. That way, a potential victim will perceive the target site as legitimate and safe and won’t be as alert as usual. It is also important that companies immediately report any incident that could have affected the personal data of their clients. That way, both younger and older users will know that they need to take action to mitigate the consequences and will act accordingly.

Even though companies will be obliged to invest money, time, and resources into safeguarding their clients, the positive impact on their brand reputation and standing will be worth it.

Images: Pexels & iStock

Last modified: June 10, 2021

Written by 3:15 pm Finance

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