What can I do to save myself from phishing scams? Every IT administrator in every company worldwide must ask themselves this question regularly. Phishing is one of the numerous common, effective, and harmful ways for hackers to obtain access to accounts, steal data, and defraud your company.
There has been an increase in phishing seizures in recent years. Phishing attacks have increased dramatically due to Covid-19, which has prompted many businesses to convert to remote working.
According to statistics from email security firm Barracuda, email phishing attacks have surged by a staggering 667 per cent. Attackers have impersonated the US government, the World Health Organization, and even hand sanitiser companies to confuse people.
On the other hand, stopping phishing attacks may be made simple for your organization – and it doesn’t have to be costly. There are several keys available to protect your users and data against phishing attacks, improve your security, save time for IT managers, and save your firm money in the long run.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is one of the most straightforward forms of cyberattack for thieves and one of the most straightforward for victims to fall for. It can also provide hackers with everything they need to access their targets’ personal and corporate accounts.
A basic phishing attack aims to trick the receiver into doing what the fraudster wants. The scam is usually carried out by email, but it has lately expanded to include phone calls (so-called Vishing), social media, messaging systems (aka ‘ fishing’), and apps.
Passwords are given out to make it simpler to attack a company, and bank data is changed so that payments flow to fraudsters rather than the correct account.
Phishing is another common way for cyber attackers to spread malware. It encourages victims to download a document or click on a link that will discreetly install the malicious load in attacks that could be distributing trojan malware, ransomware, or any other harmful and disruptive attack.
The purpose and mechanics of the scams vary: for example, victims may be led to a fake web page to induce them to submit personal information; an estimated 1.4 million of these websites are created each month.
More complex phishing operations can entail a long game, with hackers using phony social media identities, emails, and more to build up a connection with the victim over months or even years when specific individuals are targeted for data they would only ever send over to someone they trust.
Personal or corporate email addresses and passwords, financial information such as credit card numbers or online banking credentials, and even personal information such as date of birth, address, and social security number can all be included in this data.
In the hands of criminals, all of this information might be used to commit crimes such as identity theft, using stolen data to purchase things, or even selling people’s personal information on the dark web. It’s done in certain circumstances to blackmail or disgrace the victim.
In other issues, phishing is one of the methods used by espionage organizations or state-sponsored hacking groups to spy on opponents and targets.
Anyone may be a victim, from the Democratic National Committee in the run-up to the 2016 US Presidential Election to critical infrastructure, commercial enterprises, and even individuals.
Phishing includes criminals duping people into providing personal information or granting access to systems under the false idea that they are communicating with someone they know or trust.
Types Of Phishing Attacks
Phishing is a general term that guides a range of strategies employed by hackers to trick your employees.
The most well-known sort of phishing effort is the phishing email. Almost everyone has received one at some point in their lives.
A ‘call to action’ will almost probably be included. This might be a call for you to click on a link or open a file that contains malware or a virus. It may also request you finish an invoice, make a fraudulent payment, or log in to an account. Because these emails do not come from connections your user’s trust, most knowledgeable users will disregard them. They can, however, be convincing and cause significant damage.
Phishing attacks typically use spoof domains like ‘apple.iphone.com,’ which looks legitimate but is a fake. Unfortunately, this will be sufficient to persuade some users to input their password or pay an attacker.
Phishing attacks aren’t just confined to email. Smishing and Vishing, which are phishing tactics that use phone calls and text messages, are becoming more common. Because we do not consider text messages with the same skepticism that we do email, these types of attacks are frequently successful. Only around 25% of emails are ever opened, even though 98 percent of people open every text message they get (superoffice.com).
Spear phishing and Business email compromise
Spear-phishing is a more advanced kind of phishing. Hackers impersonate a trustworthy sender in spear-phishing, such as a business contact. They will then approach people, pretending to be someone they know, and ask for account information or money.
This strategy might be highly effective because you may not suspect a trusted contact or a corporation you’ve previously dealt with to be an attacker in disguise. As a result, attackers usually succeed with these types of assaults.
A more advanced sort of phishing attack is the Business Email Compromise. Assailants utilize spear-phishing to access senior executive and CEO accounts, which they then use to request many fake invoices from other employees.
Then there’s the issue of phishing websites to consider. When exploring the web, users may come across pages that look accurate but are phishing pages that scrape your personal information. Each month, roughly 1.5 million new phishing sites are created, according to Webroot.
Users are typically lured to these pages via links in phishing emails. Still, if an attacker is skilled enough to build a phishing page and hide it within a legitimate site, it can also be detected through typical web browsing.
A hacker team recently used only 22 lines to reroute a part of British Airways’ website visitors to a phishing website that asked users to login and submit credit card information.
The group collected data on half a million of BA’s customers, and the airline was recently fined more than £183 million for failing to safeguard this data under GDPR appropriately.
How can you safeguard yourself from phishing attacks?
Phishing attacks are commonly successful because they are difficult to detect by users and security software. So, what can you do to put a stop to it?
Your first line of defense against phishing is a Secure Email Gateway.
Email gateways automatically filter out potentially harmful and dangerous emails and keep them out of users’ inboxes. A good email gateway will filter out 99.99 percent of spam emails and any emails with malicious links or attachments. As a result, they recreate a critical role in protecting customers against phishing emails.
Email gateways, such as Proofpoint, also disclose when accounts have been hacked, helping you to avoid business email breaches within your company and preventing your funds from being used to send spam or phishing emails to companies with which you do business.
An email gateway should be in place for each firm, regardless of size. Several companies offer cost-effective, easy-to-use, and highly secure email gateways to help you avoid phishing attacks.
Phishing protection inside the email inbox
One of the issues with phishing is that it can be challenging for administrators to get into user inboxes and remove the threat if a phishing email is in their inbox or if an account has been hijacked and sent out internal phishing emails. Cloud-based email security systems that interface with email networks through API provide a complete solution to this issue and better phishing protection.
Cloud email security solutions protect users’ email inboxes. They usually use machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that are programmed to look for standard phishing email features. They use these characteristics to emails sent and received by your users and anti-virus engine analysis to identify suspicious emails. Depending on admin constraints, the best cloud email security services will either display warning banners on these emails, advising users that they may be dangerous, or they will entirely delete the emails from your network.
Cloud email security is essential for businesses that handle high-value or sensitive data and must be protected from phishing attacks.
The secure email gateway is used in combination with these platforms. When you connect the two, you have a multi-tiered security system that lets you prevent most phishing attempts before they reach your email network and remove sophisticated attacks that get past the spam filter.
One of the most crucial methods for stopping your visitors from visiting phishing websites is web filtering. Web filtering can be done in various ways, such as using a web proxy or DNS filtering. These filters classify web pages without too many technical specifics and use anti-virus software to check them for threats.
Organizations can therefore ban users from browsing phishing URLs by enacting rules that prevent them from doing so. This is crucial for deterring consumers from visiting seemingly legitimate phishing websites and downloading malware or inputting their account or financial information.
Even if a webpage does not contain anything hazardous, advanced web filtering systems will use machine learning algorithms to look for signs of phishing.
Web and Email isolation
Isolation differs from the phishing solutions we’ve already explored in security. Isolation aims to guarantee absolute protection against assaults by moving online data away from the user’s desktop and into safe containers while preserving the user experience.
The benefit is that any web-based information is sanitized before being distributed to customers, removing the risk of infection or compromise. Isolation will protect a user from any dangers from visiting a phishing website or opening a virus attachment in an email.
This is important because if a user comes across a phishing page that looks like a bank, they will be unable to input their account information. The same may be said about paperwork such as bills.
Isolation is a more advanced anti-phishing solution designed for businesses looking for the most effective way to eliminate phishing as a threat. When paired with email security, isolation is one of the most comprehensive anti-phishing methods for businesses.
I hope this helps you avoid phishing scams and reduce the chance of your employees accidentally sending money or revealing credentials to hackers. Although social engineering may be incredibly damaging, the most efficient way to minimize phishing attacks against your people and your firm is to combine security awareness training with solid technological defenses. Stay safe!
Also Read: Learn To Detect Your Cyber Threats