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3 steps to take to avoid a cyber whaling attack

Many of us when they hear the words ‘Cyber Whaling Attack’ often cast our minds back to Captain Ahab and his long pursuit of the giant white whale in the novel, Moby Dick. 

And in this situation, you are correct in your observation. 

However, to put this into context for the purposes of this article, you – the manager or executive are the whale that’s been pursued. 

Why is this the case? 

Largely due to the fact that you have high-level access to your company’s IT environment, sensitive data & files as well as financial information. 

This is the main reason you are the whale that hackers are looking to reel in as you have that unrestricted level of access. 

For those that didn’t know, cyber whaling attacks are a more sophisticated version of common phishing attacks which we see on a daily basis. With the common phishing attacks being normally sent through emails which if you have a high-quality email security software in place should block them from being delivered to your inbox. 

Important to note: Cyber Whaling differs from common phishing attacks 

To put this simply, phishing can be split into three different categories: 

  • Phishing – This is the most common type which consists of emails with malicious links, attachments scatter gunned out to hundreds of thousands of email inboxes. 
  • Spear Phishing – This consists of targeted mails with malicious links/attachments specific sent to one person in order to try and gain a specific outcome. 
  • Whale Phishing (Cyber Whaling) - This consists of targeting high level managers/directors individually via email to get access to their system credentials as well as sensitive company data. 

Can Cyber Whaling harm a business? 

This goes without saying but the answer is yes! If a cybercriminal gains access to a high-level manager’s credentials or their laptop, that’s when you start to worry. When this happens, it can be particularly damaging to your business whereby you could become a victim of the following damages: 

  • Deployment of ransomware which requires a money settlement to be made. 
  • Theft of data. 
  • Theft & criminal use of sensitive financial information to exploit your company and your customers. 
  • Stealing of personal information which could be used to blackmail your business. 
  • Significant damage to company IT systems as a result of stolen admin access. 

What steps can you take to avoid a cyber whaling attack? 

1) Protocols & Policies 

This applies to all employees of the business including CEOs, CFOs, managers who need to understand they need to follow IT security best practices just like every employee does. By working with a professional cybersecurity management team such as Advantage will provide you with all the IT specific protocols and policies that all employees in your business must follow even more so those in senior positions.  

2) Comprehensive Security & Next-Gen Antivirus Software 

Nowadays cyber criminals are continuing to find ways to navigate any potential firewalls or antivirus software protection. To ensure that you stay on top of this, your IT and data needs to be safeguarded with security measures that secure endpoints such as laptops, desktops & mobile devices. This means that anything that is connected to the web needs to be secured on an individual basis. Moreover, this helps to highlight the fact that umbrella security is something that is dated. Therefore, next-gen is key to ensuring that you have a leading endpoint security protocol in place. 

3) Educating Senior Management in CyberSecurity 

Even though you may feel that learning about how cybercriminals are targeting your business and how to avoid falling into their traps is hardly a priority for your business, it's a crucial move in becoming an IT security liability in your business. The team here at Advantage works with senior managers and board level executives from businesses like yours every day to make sure that have a firm understanding of how cybercriminals target them. We do this largely through our Cyber Awareness training courses as well as through one-to-one consultations around security. 

Next Steps? 

Are you looking to find out whether your cybersecurity measures in place are up to scratch and up to date to protect your business from cyber-attacks? Get in touch with us today to start a no-obligation conversation with our team of IT experts. 

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