What Is Phishing? Everything You Need to Know

cyber security and local IT support

Each year in the United States, entrepreneurs start over 600,000 new businesses. Many of these companies, though, do not have staying power in their industries. A significant factor that contributes to this is a lack of business security measures.

More specifically, many business owners are unaware of how to deal with phishing attacks.

Let’s explore everything you need to know about this process and the relevant cybersecurity protections and terms.

So, What Is Phishing?

In short, phishing is a type of cyber attack that involves tricking someone into giving up sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. Phishing attacks can come in many forms, but they all have one goal in mind: to steal your data.

Phishing attacks are also becoming more common, so it’s important to be aware of what they are and how to protect yourself from them.

What Are Common Ways Phishing Attacks Occur?

Phishing attacks can take many different forms, but there are common methods that attackers use. Understanding these will help you protect your company in the future.

It’s essential to keep these in mind so here are a few of the most notable ways that phishing attacks occur so to protect your business IT services and security.

Email Phishing

This is the most common type of phishing attack.

Attackers will send out mass emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a well-known company or organization. The email will often contain a sense of urgency or a threat, such as “Your account will be suspended unless you take action now.”

The goal of the attacker is to trick the recipient into clicking on a link or attachment in the email that will install malware on their computer or redirect them to a fake website designed to steal their login credentials.

Clicking on links or opening attachments in emails from unknown senders is one of the easiest ways to fall victim to a phishing attack, so it’s important to be vigilant about what you click on in your inbox. If an email looks suspicious, even if it appears to be from a legitimate source, don’t click on any links or open any attachments.

Instead, delete the email and report it as spam. This will help prevent problems from arising.

Spear Phishing

This is a more targeted form of phishing in which the attacker specifically targets an individual or organization. The attacker will often do their research to gather information about their target before launching the attack.

For example, an attacker might send an email that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a company the victim does business with. The email might contain specific information about the victim, such as their name or account number, which makes it seem more legitimate.

Spear phishing attacks can be more difficult to spot than regular phishing attacks, but there are still some telltale signs. Be wary of any emails that contain personal information or come from an unfamiliar sender.

As with regular phishing attacks, never click on any links or open any attachments in these emails.


This type of phishing attack uses text messages instead of emails to try and trick victims into giving up sensitive information.

The text message will often contain a sense of urgency or a threat, much like an email phishing attack. For example, the text might say that your account has been suspended and you need to click on a link to reactivate it.

Clicking on links in text messages can be dangerous, as attackers can use them to install malware on your phone or redirect you to a fake website.

Once again, the best defense against smishing attacks is to be vigilant about what you click on. If you receive a suspicious text message, do not click on any links. Instead, delete the message and report it as spam.

How Can My Business Protect Itself Against Phishing?

There are a few steps you can take to help protect your business from phishing attacks.

One of the most important is to educate your employees about phishing attacks and how to spot them. Make sure they know never to click on links or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. You should also install anti-phishing software that can help detect and block phishing emails.

This software is not foolproof, but it can be a helpful line of defense. Finally, you should have a plan in place for what to do if your business does fall victim to a phishing attack.

This plan should include steps on how to contain the damage and restore any lost data.

Local companies concerned about phishing or any cyber attack can also partner with a Los Angeles IT services company that can help install cyber protection strategies against these potentially harmful attacks.

What Should I Do if I’m a Victim of a Phishing Attack?

If you think you may have been the victim of a phishing attack, there are a few steps you should take. First, change your passwords for any accounts that may have been compromised. Then, run a malware scan on your computer to check for any malicious software that may have been installed.

Report the incident to the proper authorities, such as the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

These Security Terms Don’t Have to Be Complicated

Although understanding the security terms might seem complex, it’s easier than you might expect it to be.

Keep the above guidelines in mind so you can avoid problems you may have otherwise dealt with. Looking to learn more about how Be Structured can help? Feel free to reach out to us today to see what we can do.