October 2, 2023

Preventing data breaches: How smishing and vishing attacks can compromise your business

Preventing data breaches: How smishing and vishing attacks can compromise your business

Driven by an unwavering desire to make a quick buck, cybercriminals' adaptability makes fighting them feel like an endless game of whack-a-mole. Just as you defend your organization from one attack, these attackers flex their creativity, leveraging new tools to find new ways to threaten your business. Vishing and smishing attacks, for example, take advantage of the increasing use of mobile devices to reach employees through unexpected and unfamiliar methods.

Fortunately, with the right knowledge, preparation, and tools, your organization can protect itself from such breaches. With the right guidance, your team will be able to accurately identify and stop these attacks in their tracks.

What you need to know about smishing and vishing

A play on the word “phishing,” smishing and vishing refer to two different scamming methods intended to acquire personal information or device access. Each its own type of phishing scam, smishing refers to an attack executed through SMS (text) message, while vishing leverages voice messages to convince the victim to take action.

Without the proper background knowledge, both smishing and vishing attacks can be difficult to detect, and are becoming increasingly trickier to spot as attackers continue adapting their tech. Additionally, both of these breaches aim to exploit an individual’s desire to help, support an authority figure, or act with urgency. By posing as a financial institution, government agency, or healthcare representative, for example, the cybercriminal gains easy access to relevant confidential or sensitive information.

and vishing messaging could include:

  • “To finish setting up your profile, please visit the link and enter your account information.”
  • “Your account has been compromised. Click the link to reset your password and prevent further fraudulent activity.”
  • “You’ve been selected to win a free gift card! Click here to claim your credit.”
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The impact of smishing and vishing attacks on businesses

From economic to emotional, the consequences of phishing on the individual victim are relatively obvious. Taking it a step further, attackers often make the additional effort to target businesses, which could potentially mean a company-wide catastrophe.

Apart from significant financial losses caused by fraudulent transactions or payments, businesses risk facing the following implications should they fall victim to a smishing or vishing attack:

  • Network or data compromises that can lead to exposure of sensitive company or customer information.
  • Reputational damage and considerable loss of customer trust.
  • Potential legal and regulatory consequences in the wake of security or privacy breaches.

Preventative measures

Despite the ever-more-nimble attempts by phishing experts, organizations can certainly take a few precautionary actions to minimize the risk of a breach via smishing or vishing.

Employee education and training

Perhaps the most important step when trying to avoid falling victim to these scams is educating employees on recognizing suspicious messages or calls. Every staff member needs to know how to verify the authenticity of requests, with an established system for identifying and responding to questionable prompts for information. Specific training protocols will vary widely between organizations, but regular simulated phishing exercises usually work to enhance and reinforce employee awareness about these types of attacks.

Technical controls

Companies can employ leading call filtering software, which uses advanced algorithms to identify and block potential smishing and vishing calls in real time, preventing them from reaching users' devices. These sophisticated security systems are supported by robust databases of known spam and scam numbers, allowing tools such as Robokiller Enterprise to proactively identify and block new smishing and vishing attempts based on proven patterns and historical data.

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Protect your business against smishing and vishing attacks

Preparation through education is a company’s best defense against smishing and vishing attacks. The most productive way to minimize these breaches is by taking a multifaceted and proactive approach to attack prevention. This detailed plan of action should include:

  • A comprehensive understanding of the serious impacts that smishing and vishing attacks can have on businesses.
  • A consistent schedule of progressive training on anti-phishing security measures that includes simulation scenarios.
  • A trusted, shared program in place for recognizing attempts and decreasing the chances of data infiltration.

Your mobile device is an unquestionably huge asset in the digital age, but every piece of technology comes with a downside. Although the threat of a smishing or vishing attack is always looming, that doesn’t mean your business has to suffer. With the right tools—such as our comprehensive Checklist for mobile device safety—and a bit of vigilance, your business can remain safe from the harms of smishing and vishing.

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