Phishing attacks and invoice management: How to protect your business
Written by The editorial team
In a time where digitalization and automation are taking over an increasingly larger part of businesses' daily operations, the security surrounding this has never been more important. Especially in invoice management, where sensitive financial data is handled daily, the consequences of security breaches can be immense.
Phishing, one of the most common forms of cybercrime, is when criminals send fake emails or messages trying to trick you into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment. This can give them access to your information or install harmful software on your device.
The attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and now this method is used across various mediums and channels, such as text messages, social media, email, phone calls, and the like.
Here are 5 tips on how you and your business can protect against phishing threats:
1. Awareness of Phishing Attacks
The first step in protecting against phishing attacks is understanding what they are. Phishing is a method where scammers try to trick the recipient into giving away sensitive information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, by pretending to be a trustworthy entity.
In invoice management, for example, this could happen by the scammer sending an email that looks like an invoice from a known supplier but with a changed account number. When the payment is made, the money goes straight to the scammer.
2. Employee Training
When it comes to phishing, the human factor is often the weakest link. Therefore, training employees in security procedures and recognizing scam attempts is crucial. Everyone handling invoices and sensitive data should be able to recognize signs of phishing, such as misspellings, unknown senders, suspicious attachments, or unrealistic demands.
3. Secure Systems
Technological solutions can also help protect businesses against phishing. Updating software and operating systems, using firewalls and antivirus programs are fundamental measures. Implementing two-factor authentication when logging into systems is also an effective measure against phishing.
For instance: You receive a fake email that looks like it's from a work system, with a link to a wrong login page. If you try to log in, the attacker can steal your password. Two-factor prevents the attacker from logging into the company's systems, even if they have your password, as it requires you to approve the login via an additional device or application.
4. Implementing Procedures
Tight procedures for invoice management can reduce the risk of mistakes and fraud. This might include procedures for double-checking payment information, or requirements for approval from more than one person for larger amounts. The use of automated invoice management can also be a crucial tool, as these systems may have built-in security mechanisms and be less vulnerable to human errors.
5. Quick Response
Despite preventative measures, it might happen that a company becomes the target of a phishing attack. When that occurs, it's essential to react swiftly to minimize damage. Inform employees about where they can report suspicious approaches and ensure there's an emergency plan in place.
Phishing attacks can be highly damaging, especially for businesses handling large volumes of sensitive data. By implementing these measures, a company can guard itself against threats and ensure safe and efficient invoice management.
What should you do if you suspect a "phish"?
Work: Some email platforms allow you to report phishing attempts. If you suspect an email is trying to "phish" information from you, it's best to report it promptly. If the phishing message came to your work email, you should inform your IT department about the situation as soon as possible.
Personal: Don't click on any links – not even the "unsubscribe" link – or reply to the email. Just use the delete button. You can also block the sender in most email systems.
What should you do if you get attacked by a "phish"?
Check with the IT responsible at your job to see what their policy is on this topic and seek training and information.
Here are some steps you can take if you've been attacked:
Disconnect the Device
Immediately upon suspicion, disconnect your device from the internet. This prevents malware from spreading and protects personal information.
Backup Your Files
Before proceeding, backup important files. Data can be lost after a phishing attack.
Scan the System for Malware
If you're not tech-savvy, take the device to a professional to check for malware. Otherwise, run a full scan with your antivirus software. It's also recommended to use another program like Malwarebytes for an additional check.
Change Your Login Information
Alter the username and passwords for all online accounts, especially if you suspect that your information might have been compromised.
Set Up a Fraud Alert
If you fear identity theft, contact a credit reporting agency to place a fraud alert on your report. This makes it more difficult for scammers to open new accounts in your name.