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The OED definition of phishing is “the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information”.
In order to be effective, phishers go to great lengths to look like a legitimate and trustworthy source in order to fool people into sharing passwords, their financial details or other damaging information about themselves. Human error is the phisher’s greatest weapon, and this is why we always have to remain alert and mindful about phishing mails.
If a phishing email looks legitimate, people who are not on their guard, or have a momentary lapse in concentration, will simply follow instructions – and the phishers will have gone to a lot of trouble to make themselves look authoritative, as users of Netflix have recently discovered.
It is sadly very easy to fall victim to a phishing attack
One of our clients recently received an email with a link that appeared to have been sent by a legitimate law firm. The staff member concerned opened the email but became suspicious about the content of it, and forwarded it to another member of staff to ask their advice. Unfortunately, the second staff member only saw that a colleague had forwarded an email, assumed it was from a trusted source and clicked on the link which took her to a logon page that looked like Office 365. She proceeded to enter her username and password which gave the phishers her credentials, which afforded them access to her mailbox and other services. What made things worse was that the hack occurred on a Friday afternoon and was not discovered until the following Monday, meaning the phishers had access to her account for the whole weekend.
Our client asked us why our security systems had not stopped the attack. Whilst every company has a list of blocked websites staff will be unable to access at work, no company, at a practical level, is willing to block all websites other than approved ones. It would not make commercial sense. Whilst our client wanted to put the phishing email address and website on its blocked list, it is like shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted – phishing attacks come from addresses that are generally only ever used once; by their very nature they have to be on the move all the time or risk discovery.
So this particular breach occurred because the member of staff clicked on the link and voluntarily entered her details; the human factor is not something IT can control.
How might such a phishing breach have been prevented?
The first thing our client then implemented was staff awareness training to make people aware of phishing and encourage them to look out for attack. In order to be effective, this kind of training needs to be mandatory and repeated on a regular basis, preferably every six months, or annually at most. It was only after this company was affected that it instigated this kind of training, which unfortunately is a typical response, even though the cost, potential reputational damage and inconvenience of putting things right can be very high.
With fraudulent emails being sent out every day, phishing affects every business and every individual. By making sure your staff training addresses the problem, you will be stacking the odds in your favour, rather than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. Hope is not a strategy!
If you would like advice about the prevention of phishing attacks or any aspect of cybersecurity, please contact us to book an appointment.
Lumina Technologies have taken the time to understand the requirements of our business and work as our strategic IT partner, enabling us to concentrate on delivering a high quality service to our clients and focus on our growth strategy. They have delivered a 100% cloud solution to our business with no underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance, which gives us scalability for our planned growth. It also means our business critical applications and data are securely accessible from virtually all our user devices. Lumina’s professional approach and strategic expertise is highly valued and their management of our IT – based on their in-depth knowledge, leaves us confident that our systems are available 24×7.
Luke Harrison, Keidan Harrison LLP
Lumina have supported us so well through the difficult circumstances of 2020. They worked extremely hard to ensure we were able to work remotely and continue to operate our business successfully.The support team are very friendly and knowledgeable, and have excellent response times.
The team have also enhanced our cyber security which is so important in the legal sector, and they continue to provide high quality advice to help us move forward with our IT goals.
Adams & Remers
The quality of IT Support provided by Lumina Technology is of the highest standard and is complemented by effective client liaison with impressive response times. Trap Oil Group plc has no hesitation in recommending Lumina as a dedicated and specialist group of IT professionals.
Technical Director, Trap Oil Group plc
Richard and his team are a real inspiration to anyone who meets them and I have watched Lumina’s growth over the last few years with interest and admiration. Richard has been an amazing supporter of the Hospice of St Francis, being a Gold member of the Corporate Partner Network for almost two years. He takes an active interest in the community and is passionate about his company and his town: nothing is too much trouble, he is always willing to help, to give up his time and to provide business advice when asked. Lumina is an inspiration to any company wanting to set up business in Hertfordshire.
Corporate Fundraising Manager, The Hospice of St Francis
Lumina Technologies Prism Hosted Desktop has allowed our business to centralise our global corporate data, allowing much faster access for all our staff – regardless of their location. We have also been able to simplify and reduce our infrastructure and management overhead. With the new Prism Hosted Desktop solution all staff now have simple and secure access to corporate data using any device they choose. Prism Hosted Desktop has increased the productivity of our staff and given us a single, consistent and familiar experience for all users from any device, in any location, 24/7.
Chief Executive Officer, Wentworth Resources PLC
The commercially sensitive and regulated nature of Lambert Energy Advisory’s business requires an IT provider able to maintain the highest levels of integrity and confidentiality, Lumina Technologies has consistently been unimpeachable in this regard over the nine years we have employed them.
Lambert Energy Advisory
It has been a great pleasure working with Lumina Technologies over the past two years. They have fully committed to being involved in the local community with volunteering and with professional advice and commitment, helping many local charities along the way. As a growing company it proves that being involved in the local community is helping them attract and retain a talented workforce and I look forward to working with them well into the future.
Hawkstone Management Services Ltd is a small company for which IT Outsourcing is realistically the only viable option. Lumina Technologies have successfully performed this role for over fifteen years. They also provide innovative solutions to keep pace with technological progress. I would have no hesitation in recommending Lumina to similar sized businesses.
Hawkstone Management Services Ltd
Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP have been using Lumina Technologies for a number of years now and continue to be impressed by the technical know-how and contemporary knowledge of their senior management, who provide a timely, efficient and friendly service. Whether it is a small issue with one computer, or a strategic IT decision, they maintain a current knowledge of available technologies. Lumina are always at the other end of the phone to help resolve issues and minimise business interference. The technical knowledge of Richard and his senior team means that there has not been a problem that they can’t solve to date. I am sure we will continue to use them in the years to come.
Managing Partner, Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP
The team at Lumina Technologies have made the Amoun Travel & Tours office IT transition seamless and problem free. The office set-up has been vastly improved and the IT Support services are flawless. No issue goes unresolved, which is extremely reassuring.
Amoun Travel & Tours Ltd
Lumina Technologies has been Salamander Energy plc’s IT provider since start-up in 2005 and has supported us in London during our expansion across operational offices in SE Asia. Their professional approach, strategic advice and close co-operation have been essential in making this a success.
Group Technical Director, Salamander Energy plc
Richard and his team at Lumina have provided Perrett Laver Limited with high quality strategic and practical IT Services for over ten years. During this period, Perrett Laver has grown from 10+ colleagues based in London to nearly 100 colleagues located in six offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Richard and the Lumina team have not just been responsive to our ‘everyday’ IT needs, but have proactively sought to work with us on developing an infrastructure suitable for the type of operation we are today, and are planning to be months and years down the line. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard, especially for small to medium size business with growth in mind.
COO, Perrett Laver Limited
Society Limited has been supported by Lumina Technologies since our earliest start-up phase. From large logistical challenges like an office move, through to smaller fiddly issues like fixing a faulty e-template, we know we can count on their support and advice. They’ve also been able to engage with us strategically on the challenge of scaling-up our infrastructure as the firm continues to grow and evolve. We always feel confident going to Lumina with a problem, since we know they genuinely care about sorting things out and helping us to get on with our core business.
Managing Director, Society Limited
The Vita Group HQ staff have worked with Richard McBarnet and Lumina Technologies for over 9 years, with Lumina providing all our PC, server, phone, and software support. The services have included C-level executives based in London, Manchester, the US, as well as supporting home office IT as well. The service provided and intellectual capabilities are outstanding and we would highly recommend Richard and his Lumina team.
CEO, The Vita Group
We worked with Lumina on a GDPR Audit. Richard was knowledgeable and professional throughout, and did the best he could to bring a dry topic to life through lots of real life examples and analogies. We were so impressed with the service Lumina provided and the value we got from partnering with them on this project – we couldn’t recommend them enough.
Holly Cottingham, Vintec Laboratories