3 Crucial Tips to Avoid a Cyber Whaling Attack


When you hear the term “Cyber Whaling Attack,” maybe your mind goes to Captain Ahab and his dogged pursuit of the giant white whale in the classic novel, Moby Dick.

And you would be right… Except, in this case, you – the manager or executive – are the whale that’s hunted.

Why? Because you have high-level access to your company’s IT environment, personnel records, client files, financial information, and proprietary data.

You are the whale that the cybercriminals want to land — because you have unprecedented access.

Cyber Whaling attacks are a specialized area of the more common phishing attacks seen every day in nearly every company across the globe. Usually, the common phishing attacks come by email and are filtered out of your employee’s inboxes by your email security software, but when more sophisticated attacks are made, its important to have the right procedures in place to keep your organization protected.

Cyber Whaling is Different than Common Phishing Attacks

Phishing can be broken up into three categories.

  • Phishing – Emails with malicious links, attachments and social engineering ploys sent out en-masse to hundreds of thousands of email boxes
  • Spear Phishing – Targeted mails with malicious links, attachments and social engineering ploys sent out to one individual to gain a specific result.
  • Whale Phishing (Cyber Whaling) – Top-level company execs or managers with admin access are targeted individually (usually via email) for the purpose of gaining access to their system credentials and company data.

Is Cyber Whaling Damaging for a Company?

Yes. Anytime a cybercriminal has access to a high-level manager’s credentials or an executive’s laptop, it’s time to worry. Some of the damage that has been done via Cyber Whaling attacks include:

  • Deployment of ransomware and demand of money
  • Theft of proprietary data
  • Theft and criminal use of financial information (company and clients)
  • Theft of personal information and use of such for embarrassment/blackmail
  • Damage to company IT systems using stolen admin credentials

What 3 Steps Should You Take to Combat the Potential of Cyber Whaling Attacks?

  1. Protocols and Policies
    Company CEOs, CIOs, and CFOs have to be on guard and realize that despite their position, they cannot allow themselves to be immune from IT security best practices. Partnering with a professional cybersecurity management team like ours gives you the IT protocols and policies that must be followed by everyone within the company – but especially those in the C-suite. Because of their wide-ranging IT system and company data access, executives and high-level management must take extreme care to follow established and proven policies and protocols.
  1. Endpoint Security and Next-Gen Antivirus
    Today’s criminals are finding ways around firewalls and traditional antivirus software. To combat this emerging threat, your IT and data need to be protected with security measures that lock down endpoints such as laptops, workstations, mobile devices, and IoT devices. Anything connected to the internet needs to be individually secured. Umbrella security is a thing of the past. Next-Gen plays a role in this cutting-edge endpoint security protocol.
  1. Cybersecurity Education for Managers and Executives
    While learning about how cybercriminals are targeting you and how to avoid falling into their traps is the last thing you want to add to your bucket list, it’s a critical step to avoid becoming an IT security liability in your company. Our team works with managers and executives from companies like yours every day to help them be aware of the tactics of cybercriminals. We do this through email educational updates, online trainings, and in-person cybersecurity consultations.

Want to find out whether your cybersecurity precautions are up to industry standard?
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