Phishing is a huge problem for organisations and consumers alike. For organisations, it can lead to breaches which can have serious financial and reputational damage. The average financial cost of a data breach through phishing for mid-size companies is £1.3 million. For Consumers, fraudulent activity as a result of phishing can lead to identity theft, where criminals gain access to your online accounts and banking information leaving you vulnerable to cyber crime.
What is Phishing?
Typically, cyber criminals will send out unsolicited emails in large volumes, purporting to be banks, online shops and other trusted organisations. They usually try to trick you into going to a dodgy website, where they may try to capture your personal information, usernames and passwords, or infect your computer with malware in an attempt to steal your personal information and use it for criminal activity.
Who’s most at risk?
A quick survey on the streets of London found that most people assume that older generations are more likely to fall victim to cyber crime of this nature. Many people take on this assumption, however they would be wrong!
GetSafeOnline, an organisation that provides practical advice on how to protect yourself online, ran an experiment called the Scammer Nana Academy.
Research from GetSafeOnline found that one in 10 18-24 years olds have fallen victim to phishing, compared with just one in 20 55+ year olds. Youngsters also lose far more money in these attacks, averaging £613.22 compared to £214.70 for the older generation.
Scammer Nanas Academy
Back in later 2017, the team got together six Nanas (aged between 66 and 76) that have all experienced or been victim to cyber crime. Their mission was simple: to get internet savvy and put their new skills to the test by reeling in one of their own grandchildren with an everyday scam.
The nanas all setup dummy email addresses and were guided to create a typical scam email, adding a link to a page on the GetSafeOnline website which would let their grandchildren know they had been scammed by their Nana!
2 out of 5 nanas were successful in luring their grandchildren into the scams within an hour. As you can imagine, these youngsters were rather embarrassed about being scammed by their elders. This study highlights the need for better awareness of phishing and general cyber crime awareness across all age groups.
Get up to speed
Phishing is a criminal activity that is widespread in today’s world where technology is everywhere. It’s more important than ever to stay vigiilant online, know what to look out for in phishing emails and read through your emails carefully before clicking any links.
IIn a future post, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of phishing so that our readers can get a better understanding of the tactics used by cyberciminals and protect themselves.
Below are some tips for staying safe online so you, or your organisation don’t fall foul of this sneaky crime.
- For Consumers: https://www.getsafeonline.org/protecting-yourself/spam-and-scam-email/
- For Organisations: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/phishing