The technology industry is no stranger to high-profile failures. Most recently, Silicon Valley Bank, a financial institution known for providing banking and financial services to technology startups and venture capital firms, experienced significant losses that ultimately resulted in its demise.

The failure of Silicon Valley Bank has had a ripple effect, creating an environment that is ripe for online phishing scams. Cybercriminals can take advantage of the situation by launching phishing attacks that target vulnerable businesses and individuals. In this article, we will explain what phishing attacks are, why they are likely to occur, and the steps insureds can take to protect their assets.

What Is a Phishing Attack?

Phishing scams are a type of cybercrime in which hackers send fraudulent emails, messages, or websites in an attempt to trick people into sharing sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial data. The cost of falling victim to a phishing scam can be significant, including loss of data, financial loss, and reputational damage.

Why Phishing Attacks May Increase

Hackers often seek to capitalize on moments of tragedy, as the public is often more susceptible during those times. According to Ashely Allocca, intelligence analyst at Flashpoint, “financially motivated actors are always going to be opportunistically acting on targeting whatever that newsworthy event is, so there’s a blueprint that’s already in place.”

With the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, there are a few variables at play:

  • Large sums of money
  • Great urgency
  • High uncertainty

As the first US bank failure to occur in recent years, there are few precedents in place. Affected parties looking to resolve any monetary concerns might not know what to expect, thus creating an environment in which fraudulent links are more likely to be clicked.

It has been documented that hackers have suddenly registered domain names that appear to resemble the brand of Silicon Valley Bank. The reality is that these websites are fraudulent attempts to exploit the bank’s collapse for personal gain. Further, cybersecurity experts anticipate that hackers will likely attempt to defraud Silicon Valley Bank victims through Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams in which cyber criminals impersonate a trustworthy individual to persuade the victim to transfer funds.

How to Prevent Phishing Scams

These threats serve as a crucial reminder of what can happen when email and operational security are overlooked. Luckily, your insureds don’t have to become victims. Here are some ways organizations can prevent a phishing attack or business email compromise (BEC) scam:

1. Verify account changes using multiple channels. Before making any changes related to payments accounts, businesses should confirm the legitimacy of the request through a separate channel, such as a phone call or in-person conversation. If possible, it is best to communicate through channels in which there has been previous dialogue, as this will reduce the likelihood of any fraudulent activity.

2. Instruct colleagues to not click on links in unverified emails. Instead, teach them to recognize and report suspicious emails or messages. Regular training and updates can help keep employees informed and vigilant.

3. Add Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on all company accounts. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to user accounts, making it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain unauthorized access. Importantly, not having Multi-Factor Authentication can cause your insured’s cyber application to get rejected.

Not sure where to start? Check out Limit’s Cyber Marketplace for the gold standard in Multi-Factor Authentication solutions.

4. Flag dodgy emails. It is important to verify the sender's identity and to only open emails or messages from trusted sources. Businesses should proceed with caution when they receive emails from unknown domains, especially if they in any way resemble the brand of Silicon Valley Bank.

5. Implement email filtering solutions. Email filtering solutions can help prevent malicious emails from reaching employees' mailboxes. Email filtering solutions available can range from basic systems such as spam filters to more advanced remedies involving the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Final Thoughts

The Silicon Valley Bank failure serves as a cautionary refresher of why it’s important to have strong cybersecurity measures in place. As the fallout continues to make waves in the media, we anticipate that insurers may be dealing with an above-average number of claims. By staying one step ahead of the common cyber criminal, your insureds can stay out of the mess and protect themselves against the next big phishing scam.

The Limit Perspective

Limit is a digitally-native wholesale insurance broker working on behalf of retailers in multiple lines of insurance and across the United States. Our platform allows clients to:

  • Obtain instant quotes from top cyber insurers
  • Find up to $3M in Insurance coverage automatically
  • Receive a policy with customizable and comprehensive coverage
  • 24/7 support

Limit is building a lean, tech-enabled business that can efficiently deliver insurance policies which are tailored to the needs of individual clients. We have taken some of the first steps to revolutionizing the industry and welcome you to learn more on our website: www.limit.com

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