Phishing attempts have grown 65 percent in the last year, and the criminals behind the malicious malware are getting more sophisticated with their tactics. According to Webroot, phishing is the top cause of breaches in the world, with more than 46,000 new phishing sites created each day.

In May 2017, the FBI reported that phishing scams cost American businesses $500 million a year. A recent report by SANS Institute revealed that 95 percent of all attacks on enterprise networks are the result of successful spear fishing, a more targeted tactic used to impersonate a sender and trick the recipient into clicking on a malicious link or opening an infected document.

But knowledge is power, and that’s why Michael Cocanower, president and CEO of Phoenix-based itSynergy, will conduct a free, 15-minute “Latest Phishing Techniques” webinar on Thursday, February 8 at 11:30 a.m. Participants will see examples of recent phishing scams, learn how to spot fake emails, and receive tips for protecting valuable data. Interested participants should register at

“Spear phishing, in particular, is getting more sophisticated as more bad guys see this as a good way to invest their time,” Cocanower said. “We’ve been collecting samples and observing behavior of cyber criminals for several months, and we’ll share some of the latest tricks they are using.”

Ransomware is just one example of how a phishing email can cripple a company, and cybersecurity experts are expecting to see more businesses affected this year, no matter their size or industry.

“Ransomware as a service exists on the black market, and the bad guys can purchase a strain for just $10.50. All they need to do is send out the emails,” he said. “If one of your employees clicks on a bad link, your data and your clients’ data can be held hostage until you either pay the ransom or try to recover the data.”

Cocanower, who has been recognized nationally and locally for his IT expertise, said this time of the year also provides opportunities for sneaky cyber criminals to try to fool employees with topics that are top of mind. 

“The email may appear to come from human resources with the subject line about a revised vacation and sick time policy, or it may ask employees to update their healthcare and tax information,” he said. “In a spear phishing campaign, the email may use the supervisor’s name, and at first glance, seem legitimate.”

The “Hacking the Human” webinars take place at 11:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of each month. The webinars are geared towards non-technical end users in business at any level in the company. Each webinar provides useful tips to ward off cyberattacks and more complex social engineering schemes that result in theft and corporate espionage.

For more information, call itSynergy at (602) 297-2400 or visit