An increasing number of targeted email attacks on New Zealand businesses means it has become even more important to ensure your IT security systems are up to date.

Email scams are nothing new but the growing levels of sophistication around them certainly are.

The latest scams to take place involve targeted email attacks, also known as spear phishing. These current attacks are noteworthy because they are aimed at the higher echelons of organisations. In fact, it’s not uncommon for CFO’s to be on the receiving end.

Be on guard

Spear phishing and whaling attacks (when scams specifically target employees higher up the food chain) are, unfortunately, on the rise here in New Zealand. We’re aware of them and will be working with each of our clients to ensure they are too.

While you may not be able to prevent your organisation from being targeted, one of the key things you can do to ensure such attacks are unsuccessful is to encourage your employees to think twice before opening any files. Instead, if you – or they – are in doubt, quickly phone our Technical Support Team on 07 957 2657 to describe the file. Our team will then be able to assess whether or not it’s safe to go ahead or if action needs to be taken. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Identify those at risk

These current scams are targeting the big fish within organisations, hence the name whaling attacks. While this brings with it greater risks, it also means you can identify those most likely to be targeted. High on the list are positions within finance, management and IT security.

We recommend establishing some internal policies and procedures which provide that extra layer of protection for your organisation. It could be something as simple as an additional check before any financial payments or transfers are made.

What is important to remember is that these attacks are incredibly savvy and sophisticated and do look legitimate.

Security first and foremost

At IT Partners, your IT security is of paramount importance. We have systems in place to ensure any upgrades to your security system happen automatically, but unfortunately scams can still get through the cracks. Quick thinking and a prompt response can reduce the impact of these scams on your organisation.

Other initiatives to implement into your organisation’s processes, which could reduce your chances of being on the receiving end of any such attack include:

  • Educating all employees about this risk to your business
  • Undergoing regular security checks in high risk areas of your organisation
  • Implementing a clear response process should your organisation be attacked

We are happy to work with you and provide expert advice on any of these initiatives.

Don’t be a victim

Remember, think twice before opening any files. If in doubt, quickly phone our Technical Support Team on 07 957 2657 to describe the file. It will only take a minute or two but that could be all the time that’s needed to ensure your ‘big fish’ is the one that got away.