Does Phising Actually Work?

Fish and hook
Do online phishing tactics actually work?

Almost every cybersecurity lecture involves at least a few slides on phishing. The concept seems basic enough that even a child should be able to avoid it, yet it’s still covered in-depth by professionals at all levels. It’s natural to wonder whether phishing is a real problem in an increasingly sophisticated online world, and whether the tactics described by concerned lecturers actually work on anyone. The truth is a bit more frightening than you might think, and taking the time to analyze why phishing tactics work can give you a great deal of insight into the need for greater security education.

Is it Real?

If you’re wondering if phishing is real, you’ll just need to look at the raw numbers. According to at least one study, around eight percent of all American internet users had their antivirus software and/or e-mail filters triggered by a phishing attempt. Phishing is easy, sometimes quite unsophisticated, and often relatively difficult to detect. The fact that eight percent of users reported encountering an attempt only tells you the number of attempts that were actually caught. This puts phishing in a unique category of being incredibly prolific, while still almost certainly incredibly under-reported.

Do Phishing Tactics Work?

The short answer is a definitive yes. If they didn’t work, there wouldn’t be conversations about phishing. While it may seem that phishing is an attractive topic to bring up because it is so technologically simple, the reality is that phishing is a type of malicious activity that users are both likely to encounter and that a fair number are likely to fall for. Phishing attempts may not make up all – or even the bulk – of the causes of data breaches in company around the world, but attempts are successful enough that they certainly cause problems for businesses and individuals.

Why Does Phishing Work?

Phishing works because an increasing number of people are using online applications who have absolutely no experience dealing with cybersecurity issues. Phishing has been a problem as long as there have been official accounts to spoof, of course, but as more users turn aspects of their lives to online services, more attempts can be made. Phishing services have become increasingly sophisticated, and even the most basic attempts can still defraud users who are simply uneducated about the tactics used. It’s easier to get caught by a scam than you might think, especially if you aren’t usually careful with your online security.

Does phishing work? Of course. It’s an attractive, low-tech way for those with low moral fiber to get access to data and funds. While it might seem like only an idiot could fall for these scams, remember that most people don’t have the background knowledge to detect the attempts in the first place. If you are willing to put yourself in the shoes of an unskilled user, you can begin to see how phishing is not only effective, but also quite frightening. Phishing rightfully deserves its place in the pantheon of major cybersecurity threats.

Is Your Business Adapting?: Mobile and Security

Technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and this is changing the way that digital advertising needs to be conducted. Part of this change is caused by changes in the devices that are used by potential customers. There are other changes that are underway, due to the increased need for cyber security nowadays.

Mobile Device Use:

As little as a few years ago, it was quite uncommon for people to search for businesses using mobile devices. However, this has changed dramatically. It is estimated that around fifty percent of internet traffic comes from mobile devices.

Certain types of mobile devices are especially common, but it is important for advertisers to cater their advertising to a wide range of mobile devices.

Business websites also have to be mobile friendly for the sake of search rankings. Google and other search engines tend to rank non-mobile friendly webpages significantly lower than those that are mobile optimized, at least in mobile search results.

It is essential to seek to minimize the amount of space that is taken up by text on websites. Mobile devices have small screens. This has often meant that advertisers have to make their sales pitches more brief and to the point.  This is the driving force behind the explosion in popularity of responsive websites that have the ability to automatically fit any device’s screen.

There are other parts of making sure a website is mobile friendly. It’s important for businesses to make sure that online advertisements with video are designed to show on mobile devices. Many common video codes, such as Java, will not play on mobile devices. Therefore, it is exceedingly common for businesses to need to change the type of video player they use.

There are many businesses that are unsure of how to advertise successfully to mobile device users, and they are seeking out the services of search engine optimization professionals. In addition, some online services that help small businesses to design their page are now ensuring that all websites created through them are mobile friendly. For instance, Godaddy.com ensures that all websites designed through their hosting service are mobile friendly. It is likely that in the future more hosting providers for businesses will begin to take mobile devices into account.

Increased Concern About Cyber Attacks:

Hacker made of code
Will the increased threat of cyber security breaches turn brands off of certain forms of digital advertising?

The recent politically motivated cyber attacks has caused concern amongst some business owners. Some even have made plans of how to continue to advertise successfully, if they aren’t able to advertise online. In the event of this a serious cyber attack, many businesses plan to turn back to advertising on television, radio, and newspapers. Unfortunately, not advertising online would take away a major piece of the puzzle.  This conservative and defensive approach seems shortsighted and it’s more likely that the increased national coverage of this issue will lead to an uptick is digital security, rather than reactionary advertising strategies.

If you search online, you will notice that there are more advertisements for website security. There are now many services that assist business owners in ensuring that their most important online advertisement, their website, will remain safe during a cyber attack.

Just a few of the features and potential pitfalls of our rapidly changing digital world…