Phishing emails are cyber attacks that are “fishing” for potential victims. They try to trick recipients into taking the bait and unwittingly putting themselves, employees and businesses at risk. The bait can be anything from a fake attachment that contains malware, like a resume, to a link to a fake website.

Phishing attacks are largely based on volume. Even if only 10% of the recipients take the bait, that’s a lot victims and damage if a million phishing emails were sent out. Phishing emails have been around for decades and continue to evolve and rise in volume. In fact, according to a recent study, phishing emails increased by 40.9%, which means your Jacksonville business has never been at greater risk.


The most common type of phishing email, deceptive attacks impersonate a legitimate company in an attempt to steal someone’s personal data or login credentials. Typically the emails will create a fake problem to create a sense of urgency and scare you into doing what the attackers want. Oftentimes, the email will pretend to be from a legitimate bank that has millions of customers, and contains a link to a fake bank website in an effort to steal your username and password.


Unlike most phishing attacks, hackers can target individuals and add personalization to the email, like your name, company, phone number and more. The goal of spear phishing is the same as deceptive phishing: trick you into thinking the email is coming from a legitimate source. Hackers can use your LinkenIn info to pretend to be an old colleague or someone applying for a job. These types of cyber attacks are particularly dangerous for small businesses.

Whaling attacks go after big fish, like CEOs and business owners. This type of phishing email relies on social engineering to gleam personal information about their would-be victims. Whaling emails will try to trick executives into giving out sensitive information and corporate data, which they can use to create chaos in your organization and extort money.


If you’re a Jacksonville business owner, these types of phishing attacks can target your employees by impersonating you or another executive. CEO fraud emails, also known as business email compromise (BEC), are usually sent out to employees in the accounting or financial department, in an effort to steal funds or sensitive information. Cyber criminals are counting on busy employees not wanting to question the higher-ups, especially if it’s coming from an executive who doesn’t work in the office.


One of the sneakiest of all phishing emails, clone attacks recreate real messages you may have already received. Hackers will send a clone of the email message from a near-replica of a real email address you’re probably familiar with. The hacker will often include a note in the clone email saying that they’re re-sending the email because of a problem with the previous link or attachment. The new link or attachment will have been swapped out with malicious ones.


Now that you know how deceptive and dangerous phishing emails can be for you and your Jacksonville business, it’s important to protect your hard work and investments with the trusted experts at Workforce IT of Jacksonville. We offer both remote and on-site IT services to remove Jacksonville malware and protect you from future attacks. Call today 904.638.8406.