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Impact of Mobile Phone Phishing on Businesses

Mobile phones have made a lasting impression on the workplace. Nearly 80 percent of business leaders in a 2018 survey believed their employees couldn’t work effectively without a mobile device. However, the increase of mobile phones in the workplace has brought a heightened risk for mobile phishing threats to businesses.

Phishers use a combination of text links, tweets, websites and more to get mobile users to click on malicious links. From there, confidential data stored on the phone is compromised — including any sensitive data related to your organization. Both employees and business owners should stay aware of these threats, even outside the office. Vigilance and education are essential in combatting the adverse effects of mobile phone phishing on businesses.

What Effects Do Mobile Phishing Attacks Have on Businesses?

Mobile phishing attacks are never an innocent crime. Businesses of any size can experience resounding mobile phishing effects after a scam that could follow them long into their future. These damages include:

  • Data Breaches: Once a hacker has your login information for one site or device, it’s much easier for them to breach other connected devices. Employees who bring mobile devices into the office are essentially walking the hacker into a more extensive network to breach.
  • Revenue Loss: Once phishers breach a network, they can gain access to sensitive customer data, industry research and costly formulas. For companies in industries like technology, pharmaceuticals and defense, this could represent millions of dollars in lost revenue. You might also face other financial consequences, like fines.
  • Damage to Brand Reputation: Customers expect brands to take special care of their sensitive information. If a company breaks this trust, many customers will take their business elsewhere. In fact, 19 percent of consumers said they would completely stop shopping at a retailer who experienced a sensitive data breach.
  • Loss of Business: Because consumers feel a loss of trust once a company leaks their information, 60 percent of small businesses fail after a data breach.

What Does Mobile Phone Phishing Look Like?

Protecting your business from mobile phone phishing is crucial to preventing confidential data breaches and maintaining your customers’ trust. But unfortunately, more mobile phishing threats than ever appear to be authentic and innocent. Here are three things to keep in mind if you and your staff use mobile devices in the workplace.

1. Mobile Phishing Threats Are Sophisticated

Phishers rely on their attacks looking as realistic as possible, which means even the most authentic-looking sources might not be as innocent as they seem. Criminals can shop around for tools to make their replica site or profile look completely authentic, including by using the same fonts, logos, color schemes and images as the original brands.

If you think that two-factor authentication can keep your company safe from these realistic-looking attacks, think again. Phishers can use a realistic fake log-in page to capture your credentials, then put them into the official site. This triggers an authentic text message verification code. Once you enter the code into the replica site, the hacker can copy it into the real site to gain access to the sensitive business information in your account.

2. Mobile Phishers Use Several Forms of Attack

Phishing is no longer limited to bothersome email messages. Modern hackers use several forms of mobile phishing to attack victims. Some of the most popular attack methods include:

  • SMS Phishing: Texting is one of the most popular kinds of communication — 83 percent of American adults have cell phones, and 73 percent of those use their phones to send and receive texts. Because of its popularity, phishers are increasingly targeting victims via text message. These texts contain a fraudulent URL disguised as a legitimate source that encourages readers to provide personal information or download an unsecure app.
  • Call Phishing: Call phishing is a common mobile phishing threat to many businesses. Phishers may pretend to be a tax agency, bank, credit card agency or another legitimate group to encourage you to provide sensitive information.
  • Social Media Phishing: If you’ve seen a Facebook or Twitter profile that appears almost too good to be true, it probably is. Facebook took down 583 million fake profiles from the network in the first quarter of 2018 alone. These profiles often trick users in the form of giveaways, romantic scams or phishing emails to send large amounts of money or provide personal information.
  • App Phishing: Phishing from legitimate apps is a growing trend among hackers. Many gaming apps and other personal apps feature advertisements, and phishers could potentially use the advertising tools to display malicious ads within the app.

3. Mobile Phishing Attacks Come From “Safe” Sources

Because mobile phone and web users are becoming more wary of phishing schemes, scammers have started to take more advanced measures to cover up their attacks. Today, many phishers use HTTPS verification to masquerade as an authentic site.

Most web users have been taught that HTTPS sites are more secure than sites with an HTTP domain name. Because of its added security, web leaders like Google and Firefox have promoted HTTPS sites as the most trustworthy sources of information. But this push for user safety has brought an influx of phishers eager to bend the rules. Through free verification sites, hackers are increasingly gaining SSL certification to make illegitimate sites look secure and authentic.

In November 2018, more than 76 percent of all web pages loaded by Firefox used HTTPS, according to Let’s Encrypt. That number is on the rise — and so is the number of phishing schemes hosted on these sites. Phishers are increasingly luring mobile phone victims to click on these sites — and because HTTPS sites encourage a false sense of security, many mobile phone users fall prey.

How Businesses Can Prevent Mobile Phishing

Because phishers use many forms of sophisticated attacks, you’ll need to consider several factors when trying to secure your network and keep your company safe. Fortunately, you and your employees can take several steps toward preventing various mobile phishing attacks. Here are some simple yet crucial things you can do to prepare your business’ protection against mobile phone phishing:

  • Only open links you’re sure are authentic. Check the URL for any spelling errors, hyphens, underscores and other uncharacteristic symbols or characters.
  • Turn on caller ID and any included mobile services designed to highlight spam calls. Don’t answer calls with unknown numbers.
  • Implement regular security awareness training sessions into your workplace to teach employees the effects of phishing and how they can keep themselves safe.
  • Stay vigilant. If a person or offer sounds too good to be true, or if a site tries to urge you to make a rash decision, it’s best to walk away.
  • Stay up to date with your company’s network security solutions, including firewalls and anti-virus software.

Find Your Proactive Network Security Solutions With Consolidated Technologies, Inc.

If you’re ready to implement phishing protection for your business’ mobile devices, then turn to Consolidated Technologies, Inc. We’ve helped more than 2000 customers with their network security concerns, and we’re here to help your business prevent mobile phishing attacks. Contact us today for your free consultation!

 


Sources:
https://insights.samsung.com/2018/06/06/the-state-of-enterprise-mobility-in-2018-five-key-trends/
https://assets.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/cn/pdf/en/2016/08/consumer-loss-barometer-v1.pdf
http://mastersinlaw.champlain.edu/internet-privacy-in-the-digital-age/

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