Less than a month ago, Microsoft exposed a well-organized operation that provides a one-of-a-kind, DIY phishing-as-a-service (PhaaS) product to malicious actors. This product includes phishing kits, hosting services, and templates to create and develop customized phishing campaigns. This ‘BulletProofLink’ (also referred to as BulletProftLink) operation was first discovered in 2020, yet it continues today.
Machine learning is one of the critical mechanisms working in tandem with Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is based on algorithms focused on understanding and recognizing patterns from enormous piles of data to create a system that can predict unusual behavior and anomalies. It evolves with time while learning patterns of normal behavior. These characteristics make it helpful in identifying phishing emails, spam, and malware.
With threats such as ransomware, phishing emails, and malware constantly lurking in the dark, cybersecurity experts are always at war against those waiting to exploit uneducated victims. Since the first phishing attack in the mid-1990s, it has evolved into a highly sophisticated and most frequent attack vector leading to fraud activity. Enterprises need to fundamentally change their approach to cybersecurity and align their budgets with the newly defined reality. As per a report, cybersecurity expenditure will touch approximately $6 trillion by 2021 globally.
Today’s cyber adversaries don’t merely rely on computer viruses and worms to target an individual digitally but make use of sophisticated social engineering (phishing) techniques to rob the end-users of their PII (Personally Identifiable Information) and other confidential information. And businesses are no different, especially online businesses such as e-commerce; they are more lucrative targets for them. Their modus operandi includes masquerading themselves as authorized entities, sending out fraudulent emails, text messages, or even making phone calls to lure customers and clients and mislead them into divulging sensitive information. Here’s how these threat actors target e-commerce businesses.Continue reading “The Relevance of Phishing Protection for Ecommerce Businesses” »
With the fast pace of digital transformation today, businesses don’t have much choice other than doing all their transaction processing online, including the creation, storage, and retrieval of documents and records. According to a study conducted by Berkeley’s School of Information Management, University of California, organizations create more than 93 percent of their corporate data electronically. In such a scenario, the need for protecting your electronic records against social engineering attacks like phishing, vishing, spear phishing, SMiShing, etc. is of the utmost importance for any organization. This is the reason all the organizations today are now trying hard to implement a Cybersecurity framework that also encompasses anti-phishing techniques and deploy phishing protection control measures to safeguard their information assets.
The Need For Protecting Your Electronic Records
With increasing digitalization in the technology space, the way we work with our documents and electronic records have changed. We no longer use a typewriter to create paper documents which we then store in file cabinets and shelves; instead, we create electronic documents using word processing software on our computers and other information processing systems and store them on our information system, external drives, or on cloud storage facilities. Such electronic records may take the forms of word-processed documents, email messages, digital spreadsheets, or images.
It is often said that electronic records are more secure than paper documents stored in a physical location. While this is true to a great extent, the downside to electronic records is that phishers can attempt to access them from virtually anywhere in the world, employing such means as email phishing and vishing attacks. The growing sophistication and advancement of hackers and their technology mean that the protection of your documents in cyberspace is becoming more challenging. Besides, though your records are no longer in physical storage, you still have to protect the devices that you use to access them. Findings of the study mentioned above say that of all security breaches and data tampering of electronic records, more than 80 percent happens in the enterprise’s location.
How To Protect Your Online Electronic Documents
Develop an information management system based on the sensitivity and threat levels of your documents. When you create your documents and organize them for storage, identify those that pose a severe threat to your organization by their loss or breach of security. The risks may be physical, financial, operational, safety, or reputation-related. For instance, categorize documents into different sensitivity-levels like “top secret” (breach of security or disclosure of these documents severely impedes or damages business), “confidential” (breach of these is likely to harm your business), and “unclassified” (not expected to cause harm even if breached). Use these categories as your base for building security and authorization protocols for all your data and their storage.
Encrypt your electronic documents. By encrypting your records, you convert them into formats that cannot be read by others without authorization even if they have access to them. Select the files to be encrypted based on the threat levels they have. When you have to transfer your documents physically to external drives, you can encrypt the entire device. Proper data organization combined with encryption will make sure that your information is secure in most cases. You can also use the in-built encryption tools in word-processing platforms like Microsoft Word and PDF to secure individual files in this way.
When you have to share your documents online, verify beforehand the credibility and security of the website to which you are connecting. The ‘HTTP prefix to the address and a padlock icon before it denote secure sites. You can also see the details of security certificates and encryption levels to verify their authenticity.
Lay down strict policies for the retention of files. Your plan should include documentation of the destruction of critical records if any. Remember that the destruction of documents doesn’t mean the same as their deletion. Also, be aware of any government policies on document retention.
Make it a habit, and implement a system, to save your electronic records on cloud storage or secure network drives, and avoid storing sensitive information on your PC hard drives. Have an automatic organizing system in place that will file documents according to their threat-level categorization discussed above.
Use reputed software with the ability to create audit trails. This software will generate a record of who has accessed, viewed, transferred, or edited any information on your documents.
Have a secure backup plan in place at all times. Don’t assume that you can back up your documents when you smell something fishy. Have a proper backup system for your data including the recovery of files deleted by accident or by design, access to your data offline, etc. Have a backup arrangement that saves files in another location in case of any natural disaster. Many big companies these days have a central database and copies of databases located in different parts of the world.
Give as much thought to your hardware security as you do to that your electronic records. A common mistake is to be very wary of digital security while neglecting the safety of hardware or paper documents. For example, most people would never tell their account passwords to strangers, but few will think twice before handing over their credit cards to waiters, who are strangers nonetheless.
Conduct tests and false attacks on your system to see whether hackers may or may not find you a soft target and also to ensure that you have adequate countermeasures to any possible breaching attempt. These tests will reveal vulnerabilities of which you may not be aware.
Use a well-known Electronic Data Management System (EDMS). There are Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS) that cater to enterprises with a comprehensive solution for data management, including creation, storage, indexing, recovery, and disposal of electronic records of the organization. Stringent security requirements protect the data stored in these systems.
Direct a part of your focus on security within your organization. We’ve already mentioned that most of the security breaches and tampering of electronic data occur inside your premises. Implement a need-to-know policy for sharing information even with your employees.
Other Tips For The Protection Of Electronic Records
Destroy all traces of personal info on the hardware you get rid of or sell, such as old mobile phones, tablets, PCs, Laptops, etc.
Make it a habit to protect your documents with strong passwords.
Use digital signatures like AdobeSign and DocuSign for efficient processing of your electronic documents as well as for added security.
Update OS and security software frequently, including browser updates.
There are multiple steps you have to take to protect your electronic records from people with malicious intentions. You should understand that protecting your electronic documents and other information assets is not a one-time or a one-step process, but rather the continuous implementation of the precautionary measures discussed above, constant improvement, and being aware of the recent happenings in the cyber world.
A study by Forbes concluded that there could be up to 3.1 billion domain spoofing emails being sent daily. The most common understanding of spoofing is associated with email spoofing. However, domain spoofing is a more significant threat to organizations. Furthermore, many organizations are unaware of how it can hurt business and how anti-phishing solutions and anti-ransomware solutions can protect them from spoofing.
In the highly digitized world, phishing attacks continue to jeopardize global organizations, targeting their employees. Considering humans to be an easily accessible line of defense when it comes to cybersecurity, awareness among staff is the need of the hour. When one finds one of the machines or systems vulnerable, one proactively fixes the issue. The same applies to employees who are humans. Besides deploying innovative anti-phishing solutions, one needs to deploy a good cybersecurity awareness program to prepare employees to mitigate attacks.
It is a well-known fact that most of us in this digital era leaves behind our track or digital footprint online. While we don’t often get into troubles for doing so, our digital trails may be all that is needed by savvy scammers to get the better of us. There’s a scam operation called spear phishing that relies on information that is available online about a person or an organization to take advantage of them and to obtain illegal gains from them.
Phishing is a kind of cyber-attack that is increasingly growing in popularity among hackers due to its simplicity of use and high potential rewards should the attacks prove to be successful. Phishing is usually done via email, popup ads, or even calls and involves deceptively fooling users into taking some action that ends up compromising them.
Though phishing has its origins in the mid-1990s, it has gained tremendous relevance today. The entire business world relies on email as its prime communication channel. As email traffic has increased over the years, so have phishing attempts. Hence, it becomes essential for IT and Email admins to be constantly on their toes and keep employing innovative strategies to keep phishing at bay. The following Email Security and Phishing Safety Guide endeavors to touch upon these aspects.
Cybercriminals invade into your enterprise’s information systems and figure out new ways and new vulnerabilities to execute more sophisticated phishing attacks. Human, time and again have proved to be the weakest link in the security chain before organizations take some preventive measures to stop phishing.
‘Anti Phishing Services’ are used to prevent phishing attacks against the individuals, systems or organizations.
Cybercriminals use malicious social engineering techniques to extract information from unsuspecting users, to launch phishing breaches. Website email scams and phishing email scams are the two most common methods used by attackers. A 2020 phishing attack survey by Greathorn reveals that IT leaders were remediating 1,185 phishing attacks each month, that’s an average of 40 each day! To help business leaders get a peek into the havoc these phishing attacks can cause, we have compiled a list of the five deadliest phishing attacks of the 21st century.
A Microsoft report points out that there has been a 35% rise in phishing attacks. And that was not even the holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have shown around a 28% rise in online sales year after year. As promotions fill people’s inboxes, phishing agents also find it an opportunity. It gives IT security specialists a hard time. They would begin to lure the individual with enticing emails and spoofed offers. It causes the unsuspecting user to click on spurious links and share their financial credentials.
Hackers use social engineering in text messages and emails to launch phishing attacks on unsuspecting users and persuade them to share private information such as their login credentials or bank account details. Phishing schemes are becoming more advanced, and targeted attacks like spear-phishing are posing a threat to many organizations. While they deploy spam filters to counter malicious emails, the sophisticated ones quickly pass through these filters.
Ecash, the brainchild of Chaum and one of the first forms of cryptocurrency, was launched as an alternative to paper money in 1983. Such was the popularity of this “non-corporeal” currency that Digicash, the firm which was regulating this new monetary asset, was able to raise over $10 million in a decade. It was so because the general public liked the idea of getting rid of traditional money. In the year 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin, which was considered the first decentralized digital currency. Then, there was no stopping the rising popularity of cryptocurrency.
It’s that time of the year. Time for a special brand of phishing emails: holiday-themed emails.
Who doesn’t like receiving a discount code from their favourite retailer in an email promotion around the holidays? Or, a holiday e-card from a co-worker? Or, a shipping notification from UPS saying that a package is on the way? Everyone loves getting these types of emails around the holidays and hackers know it. Which is why they use these types of emails to phish you. And by all accounts, they’re planning on doing it even more this holiday season. So, you better be ready.
Those days are long gone when thieves only targeted stealing physical assets such as physical money or expensive items. Today is the time of “cyber thieves” who know stealing confidential information of business entities, and impersonating them has far higher benefits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc not only in our real world but also in the virtual one. On the brighter side of things, it has encouraged a new work culture – working from home. This development has given a tremendous boost to Microsoft, with millions of employees working from home using one Microsoft product or the other.
Every day, we see phishing scams happening around us. We read in the newspapers and on the internet that people have lost their hard-earned money to cybercriminals. What are these phishing scams, and how do they play out? What is the general modus operandi of these hackers? How do we identify a phishing scam email? What precautions can we take to ensure that we do not become victims of such scams? All these questions require answering. Let us discuss phishing scams in detail.