There are not many security problems that are more dangerous than a network breach. Considering how much you could lose from an unexpected run-in with a hacker, it’s not a surprise that companies are worried. Somehow, even some of the most troubling threats like phishing attacks are often overlooked. A new study introduces the groundbreaking thought that phishing attacks should be at the front of a business owner’s mind regarding network security.
A year-long partnership between Google and UC Berkeley resulted in a study of how online accounts are cracked. They found that companies are more vulnerable to phishing attacks than actual legitimate data breaches.
Google found that keyloggers were one of the main 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 companies, 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 can result in much more than just allowing unauthorized users to enter a network or infrastructure. Sometimes phishing can assist malicious entities in spreading viruses or installing malware on unknowing 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 obvious when such a breach occurs, with the worst-case scenario being a complete and sudden halt to operations.
The point is that the first step toward a data breach could 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 probably think. 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 business. A phishing attack steals specific data, but a data breach can expose so much more, including the data of your employees, clients, and vendors.
Aside from the obvious data security problems involved with phishing attacks, it’s just downright embarrassing to have been duped by hackers. It can leave a scar on your organization that’s difficult to recover from. To learn more about how you can protect your business from security threats, reach out to us at 703-359-9211.