You’ve probably heard the term ‘phishing’, but what does it actually mean?

Internet hacking and cybercrime is big news at the moment with large companies like TalkTalk being targeting. Due to this, you and your business are inundated with security warnings and advice about how to keep your business data safe and know the signs of a scam.

You’ll probably have had someone say ‘beware of phishing attempts’ and ‘make sure you know how to spot a phishing email’, but do people know what it actually means, never mind how to spot the signs?

Well if you don’t, we’ll tell you.

Phishing emails are scams. They appear in your inbox, pretending to be a well-know and reputable brand, such as your bank or someone like TalkTalk. They often copy many of the brand guidelines and on first glance look pretty official. They will redirect you to, again, a good-looking site where they ask you to update bank or account details, gaining access to all your business data. Using phishing techniques, scammers are able to swindle big sums of money off unsuspecting internet users.

It can be pretty easy to be fooled when you receive an email, that look like it’s from your bank, telling you that you URGENTLY need to update your bank details. So, many people do it. Despite constantly being warned that we should be vigilant, we’re all capable of being fooled by phishers.

In the past retail giants like eBay and Amazon have been victims of high profile phishing attempts, leading customers to surrender their personal detail and credit card information.

So what can you do to avoid phishing?

Well, the best advice is just be incredibly vigilant.  Check for unusual email addresses and make sure you’re being led to well-known, reputable URLs. Investigate anyone who is asking for your personal information: ring your bank and check with them if they need you to update details, using a number off their official site, not one they give you on the email. Yes this is a bit of extra hassle, but it’s better to be safe then to be sorry.

Getting your IT support team to ensure there is spam filters on your email addresses and up to date antivirus and security software in place, is another big step in preventing a phishing attack on your business. When your business data is at stake and other people’s information is on the line, there is no point in taking any chances. Make sure your business is well-equipped to deal with phishing before sit does any damage.