Cybercrime is increasing at an alarming rate. Here are some statistics that will surely give you a wake-up call.

  • across the planet, 30,000 websites are hacked each and every day
  • 64% of businesses in the world have experienced at least one form of cyberattack
  • in March 2021 alone, 20 million records were breached
  • in 2020, ransomware attacks were up 150% on the previous year
  • every 39 seconds, there is a new form of cyberattack on the web
  • it is estimated that it will cost businesses $6 trillion to cover from cyberattacks in 2021
  • email is responsible for 94% of all malware

And what causes most of these cyberattacks? A clue is in the statement showing the relationship between malware and email. It’s phishing. Statistics show that phishing accounts for more than 80% of IT security incidents. And as we enter the third week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, take a look at what phishing is and the steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of this ever-present danger.


I’m always one for simplicity, so let’s briefly develop a mutual understanding of what phishing is. Phishing is a form of cybercrime in which hackers use social engineering to gain access to data, paralyze IT systems, or commit identity theft. Typically, users receive a fraudulent message in the form of an email, text message or a chat box designed to trick the human victim into disclosing sensitive information. When the user opens the email, clicks on a malicious link or downloads a suspicious attachment, that’s when the trouble begins – and doesn’t stop. Clicking or downloading usually means that venomous software is installed on a computer or a network, rendering it inactive via ransomware or enabling the cybercrook to steal and share private information.


From 2017 to 2020, incidents of phishing in global business increased almost exponentially, from 75% to 86%, with cybercriminals making more than $1.5 trillion every year. That in itself should provide the answer as to why this illicit type of social engineering is the top dog when it comes to cybercrime. Email and clone phishing, along with domain spoofing, will have a far-reaching and potentially long-term negative impact on any business, sometimes with irreparable repercussions. Consequences of the cyberattack, particularly if the threat persists for an extended period, include loss of money, loss of intellectual property, damage to reputation, and disruption of operational activities. Remember that in 2020, 63% of all data breaches were financially motivated.


The good news is that you don’t need to fall prey to a phisher. To prevent becoming a victim, all you need to do is apply some common sense and caution. Here are some anti-phishing rules for you to adhere to:

  • identify a scam by checking the email address of the sender, the website domain, or the extension of any email attachments – .zip and .jar are the most popular
  • don’t click on any suspicious links or download a malicious email attachment – those actions will potentially release ransomware and your computer or network will be rendered useless
  • change your password and check that your passwords are strong
  • get free anti-phishing toolbars
  • remember that your bank or e-commerce sites such as eBay or Amazon will never ever ask for sensitive information, particularly via email
  • only reveal sensitive data on sites that you trust completely and limit the amount of information that you expose


If you have any concerns about your IT or cybersecurity, then come phishing with me. I have over 20 years of experience in professional business IT, cybersecurity, and risk mitigation. Together, we will find a solution to all your cybersecurity needs, including ongoing training and support. Contact me today and let’s show the phishers exactly where to get off.

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