My Business Suffered a Phishing Scam: How Do We Recover?

Written by Matt Adams on November 14, 2022

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Your computers were hacked and your customers’ info was compromised. What do you do?

Unfortunately, many companies are finding themselves in this position.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to mitigate the negative impacts of a catastrophe. Let’s examine what actions your business can take to recover from the damaging effects of a successful phishing scam.

Enact a Security Incident Response Plan To Respond To Phishing Scams.

If you already have one, implementing your incident response plan following a security breach can safeguard your systems and network. It will also help stop a phishing attack early before it does further damage. Such a plan outlines procedures for attack identification, containment and remediation.

Disconnect All Networks, Devices and Endpoints From the Internet.

This helps prevent malware from spreading through the network to other devices. It also prevents malicious actors from using compromised credentials to steal even more data or craft additional attacks at higher-value targets.

Notify All Relevant Parties/Authorities.

Once your business suffers a phishing scam, immediately notify law enforcement, as well as affected employees, customers, organizations and third-party vendors.

Check state and federal laws for specific requirements on what to do following a cybersecurity breach. State breach notification laws specify what information businesses must provide in the breach notice.

Due to the potential risk of identity theft, every jurisdiction has legislation that requires businesses to promptly notify authorities when personal data is stolen during a security breach.

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If your business handles electronic personal health records, check the FTC’s Health Breach Notification Rule and HIPAA Breach Notification Rule to know what to do and who to notify within what time frame.

Set Up Credit Freezes and Fraud Alerts.

Advise all employees and clients (whose personal data may have been stolen) to contact major credit bureaus such as TransUnion, Experian or Equifax and set up credit freezes and fraud alerts. This makes it difficult for malicious actors to steal their identities and open new accounts with their data.

Fix Vulnerabilities and Secure IT Systems and Digital Assets.

You can implement stronger passphrase protocols and deploy multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your business’s email accounts and IT infrastructure.

Deploy a Team.

Assemble a breach response team to take proactive measures to prevent additional data loss. Depending on the type of scam and the nature/scale of your business operation, the breach response team will include experts in the following areas:

  • Forensics;
  • Investor relations;
  • Communications;
  • Human resources;
  • Information technology;
  • Information security; and
  • Legal.

Hire Independent Legal Counsel With Data Security and Legal Expertise.

These experts can advise on state and federal laws that may be triggered by a breach. They can also help ensure that reports and notifications are sent out on time to insurance carriers to mitigate financial loss.

Work With A Computer Forensics Team.

Hiring an independent forensics team to help identify the scope and source of the cybersecurity breach is a smart move. Forensic investigators collect and analyze evidence and capture forensic images of affected systems to determine the cause and full extent of the data breach.

If you’ve fallen victim to a phishing scam, forensic experts can analyze backup/preserved data and review system logs to determine who had access to sensitive data during the breach.

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They will also verify the types of information compromised, identify the extent of the breach and the number of users affected, check who currently has access to the system and restrict access where necessary, and prepare detailed forensic reports with remedial measures.

Organize Phishing Awareness Training.

One of the best uses of time after a cyberattack is to bolster the education of employees.

Keep them informed about the latest phishing attack and the potential repercussions of sending sensitive personal, business or financial information through email without extensive verification.

Since most malicious actors leverage social engineering to perpetrate modern phishing scams, user education and phishing awareness training are the best defenses against multiple phishing attacks.

Organizing anti-phishing training for employees can help your workers stay up to date on phishing techniques, effective controls, governance procedures, industry trends and evolving tactics.

Install Anti-Phishing Tools.

If your business suffers a phishing scam, taking preemptive measures for future attacks must be a top priority.

One way to do this is by deploying anti-phishing tools with critical security mechanisms. Such solutions provide end-to-end control and real-time protection against advanced threats (such as phishing attack malware).

Some key functionalities and features of a robust cybersecurity system include:

  • Comprehensive management, monitoring and support services
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Heuristics-based spam and virus protection
  • Dynamic link and file analysis
  • Malware and ransomware protection
  • Spoofing and impersonation protection
  • Layered email authentication protocols
  • Malicious URL protection
  • Built-in cloud email protection

Although anti-phishing tools can help safeguard your business’s IT infrastructure and keep digital assets safe, human behavior is ultimately the biggest risk you have—and it is unpredictable. No single security software can detect and block every kind of cybercrime, especially the newer forms of phishing, such as smishing and vishing.

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To protect your users, employees, clients and key business assets from phishing scams and other dangerous cybercrimes, you can partner with a professional cybersecurity services provider to help address the following security concerns:

  • Breach remediation
  • Threat prevention
  • Computer network attack
  • DDoS attack
  • Malware
  • Phishing

Make Cybersecurity a Core Part of Your Operations.

Cybercrime continues to threaten the profitability and viability of businesses around the globe. On average, companies affected by a cyberattack suffer a 1.1% drop in value and a 3.2% drop in annual sales growth, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research report.

Any business can fall prey to a phishing scam. Modern phishing scams are so subtle, sophisticated and targeted that they bypass traditional cybersecurity measures and security-aware users. Whether malicious actors unleashed ransomware or stole data, funds or sensitive information, making cybersecurity a top priority can help businesses recover.

At Warren Averett Technology Group, we help companies design and structure security awareness training that is comprehensive and focused on simulating real-world scenarios.

We can also help you understand more about how to secure your IT environment. Schedule a cybersecurity consultation with us today to learn more.

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