Debit/credit cards hooked with a fishing hook. Keyboard in the background.

Casey State Bank


Don’t Take The Bait: Protecting Your Business from Phishing Attacks

Have you ever been fishing and used an artificial lure? There’s an art to getting a fish to accept bait. Unfortunately, fishing is often a metaphor for hacking– so much so that one of the most common types of cyberattack is called phishing. Phishing is a form of social engineering, meaning the bad actor relies on your behavior to get the information they need, instead of brute-forcing through software. Here’s how it works.

Go Phish

Imagine that you get an email that claims to be from us. Maybe it says that a recent computer glitch requires you to verify some information, and it asks you for your account number, SSN, online password, and ATM PIN. The email looks serious– but is it legitimate? 

Simply put, no! A financial institution would never contact you by email to get this sensitive information, but phishing attacks bank on you not knowing that. 

In a phishing scam, hackers send emails or design websites that look real, but are actually set up to fraudulently acquire usernames, passwords, and credit card details. These scams can also be carried out by phone, text, and regular mail. The focus is always on getting personal information to access online accounts, and it’s a major cybersecurity threat for businesses. 

Casting Their Net

Originally, phishing was a broad attack– think of it like casting a wide net, hoping to catch whoever they could. But today’s phishing attacks are more targeted, often called spear phishing. Cybercriminals go after a specific group or individual, and hackers use what they know about them to access their personal information. Many people believe that it won’t happen to them– after all, wouldn’t criminals go after the super-wealthy? But phishing is partially a numbers game, and it can happen to anybody. By some estimates, 156 million phishing emails are sent out daily; by other estimates, this number might be as much as 3.4 billion. Thousands of people fall for these scams and share their personal information every day. Experiments have shown success rates of over 70% for phishing scams on social networks, and in a spear phishing experiment with West Point cadets– smart, young people trained in security– 80% were tricked into revealing personal information.

And while some phishers rely on you inputting your information into an email, others are even more sophisticated. One scam infected peoples’ devices with malware through a scam email but didn’t collect any information at that point. Then, when the victims navigated to a banking website, the malware instantly created a fake screen that told them the site was having problems, and that they should call a phone number. If they called, they spoke to an operator who sounded legitimate… and collected their account data, and started a wire transfer to steal money from their accounts. 

So how can you protect yourself and your business from phishing?

Don’t Get Caught!

Phishing attacks are a significant threat to businesses, and protecting your organization from these attacks requires a multi-layered approach. To protect your business from phishing attacks, start by educating your employees through regular training sessions to help them recognize suspicious emails, links, and attachments. You want to create a culture of vigilance where employees feel comfortable reporting potential threats. Implement robust email filtering solutions to block phishing emails before they reach inboxes. 

Enforce strong password policies and utilize multi-factor authentication for an added layer of security. Regularly update and patch all systems and software to protect against vulnerabilities that phishing attempts may exploit. Access control is also important. You want to make sure that only authorized employees are logging in, so everybody should have their own account on your business’s computers. Don’t just have everyone log in as “Admin” or “Guest.” 

Your employees should also know how to put their awareness into practice. Conduct simulated phishing exercises to test your employees’ readiness and improve their response to real threats. Monitor network traffic for unusual activity to detect potential breaches early. Finally, establish a clear incident response plan so your team knows the exact steps to take if a phishing attack is suspected. 

By combining employee education, technological defenses, and proactive monitoring, you can significantly reduce the risk of phishing attacks and protect your business’s sensitive information. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true here; once your accounts are compromised, it can be very hard to make them safe again. And when you’re a business, you can’t afford the loss of customer trust that comes with a data breach from phishing. Hackers are smart, but so are your employees. When they know what to look for and know what to do, they can help you protect your business from phishing attacks.

At Casey State Bank, we value your trust and security. That’s why we have safety features like multi-factor authentication on your accounts. We also have a library of SAFE security topics that can help you protect yourself and your business from cyberattacks.  We are continually monitoring potential threats and ways to keep your information secure.