If you oversee the information security services and administration of the networks in your organization, then it is your responsibility to safeguard the users in your system from phishing and other attacks that can disrupt the services. There is no need for complacency in the digital age, and you can never feel 100% protected as hackers keep inventing new techniques and innovative ways to exploit vulnerabilities of user’s information systems. So if you plan to combat one threat and are successful in protecting yourself, they will find another way to invade your security periphery. Hence, phishing protection is an ongoing job as you always need to keep an eye on your defense strategies and be on a lookout for any system vulnerabilities- human or technical.
Best Practices for Phishing Protection by Organizations
Always Stay Away from Suspicious Emails, Links and Attachments
Almost 80-90% of attacks from cybercriminals start from a phishing email. Yes, if you are not sure about the sender of an email or if you are suspicious of an email, it is always good to not open that email or better still, delete the email. Attackers know precisely how to lure you into opening an infected email by using an attractive email subject.
Most of these emails say that you have won some prize or you have a discount coupon waiting for some ‘X’ amount of dollars etc. If you get hooked to the subject and by any chance, open the email and click the links in the email, you are inviting yourself to an imminent phishing attack. Sometimes you never know that your computer is infected and it may even start acting as a bot to carry out espionage or cyber warfare activities hidden beneath the surface.
Use a Trusted Antivirus
The importance of an efficient Anti-virus cannot be under-estimated when it comes to protecting your company from cyber espionage. The anti-virus must be a trusted one like Kaspersky, MacAfee, etc. and should have e-mail scanning feature. Also, don’t go for free ones. A small investment in a good anti-virus will go a long way in protecting you from phishing attacks.
Employ SPF protection
SPF (Senders Policy Framework) is an email authentication methodology that helps in detecting forged email addresses and block spoofed emails. Through the implementations of SPF policies, enterprises can ensure that phishing is contained to some extent.
Every email is filtered and only if it received from an authorized list of domain names, is it allowed into the system. An SPF system is employed in two parts:
SPF Checking: Allows the organizations to determine the legitimacy of an e-mail.
SPF Publishing: Assists in determining the optimum e-mail server for sending enterprise e-mails.
Report Suspicious Activities
Whenever you spot a suspicious email or an attachment, it is vital to report it to the concerned authorities so that immediate action is taken. The quicker you inform, the quicker will be the preventive measure taken to contain the attack and prevent those emails from infecting your organization’s computers.
Frequent Update of Company Security Policies
It is imperative to have all your policies and procedures related to the security and protection of confidential data, maintained properly in your organization. Ensure you follow stringent backup policies so that you can quickly recover any data lost due to a phishing attack. It is also essential to follow dual-control techniques when it comes to protecting critical data assets of your organization.
Avoid the use of Removable Media
You are free to use all kinds of removable media like SD cards and USB drives for your personal use, but when it comes to enterprise security, network administrators must prevent the use of such removable media. Because these media are highly prone to malware attacks and if you are in an urgent situation to use it, better have them completely scanned before using and after using them.
Prevention is better than cure, and hence, every organization should implement some corporate training to increase the awareness of phishing attacks amongst their employees. Even though it is not the best phishing protection as all it takes is a single click of an infected link from one employee, and your whole network gets busted. But still, training helps in making the employees aware of the threats posed by these cybercriminals and how to safeguard yourself from these phishing attacks.
The global information-age brings with itself, many advantages. Increasing use of digital media by businesses is in vogue these days. However, it also poses a few risks where cybercriminals are always trying to invade your systems and steal your private information. Use the safeguards mentioned above to prevent these attacks from affecting your business operations.
Today, merely knowing how to stop phishing emails cannot guarantee cybersecurity. Besides the traditional threats such as phishing and malware, new forms such as supply chain attacks also continue to target large, medium, and small businesses daily. A 2020 report by ID Agent states that supply chain attacks have increased by 78%. It further says that around 58% of all breach victims are small/new businesses. Such attacks are the most dangerous ones because the vulnerability isn’t necessarily with the business’s systems, and yet it suffers. While large corporations can afford to use various solutions and hire cybersecurity experts, small or new businesses often fail to recover from a cyber attack. Hence, a new business owner must ensure that the third-party software and service providers do not expose their critical data to cyber threats.
Not a day goes by without phishing scams occurring somewhere in the world. The internet brings with it many conveniences but can also be dangerous at times, especially if the users do not observe due diligence.
Cyberspace provides many avenues for malicious actors to attack, exploit and cause damage to individuals and organizations. Global internet penetration has grown 7.3% percent since 2020, which means that cyberspace is getting larger. SIM Swap fraud prevention, along with anti-phishing solutions, anti-ransomware solutions, and anti-malware tools, can protect users from being exploited in this age of rising internet use.
Data breaches have become a part of people’s daily lives. Every day, there is news about network infiltrations and data stealing. So far, almost 3.5 billion people have their data stolen only from the two most significant data breaches in history in the current century. Data is the most valuable asset any entity holds, be it a giant corporate or an individual. The frequency at which these mishaps keep occurring is an indication of the criticalness of adopting robust cybersecurity measures. Numerous tools available in the market promise complete network and hardware security, and it is wise that they are given adequate importance.
The post-pandemic digital age presents several new and exciting opportunities for organizations. However, rising digitization has also led to an unprecedented rise in cybercrime. Sophisticated, rapidly evolving phishing attacks have become a part of the “new normal.” A research shows that 75% of all enterprises faced a phishing attack in 2020. Another research reported a 667% rise in COVID-related spear phishing attacks from February to March 2020. The trends show that phishing is here to stay, but enterprises can take several anti-phishing measures to keep their assets safe.
Phishing remains one of the oldest and the most commonly used modus operandi by cyber adversaries to access network systems globally. Though phishing attacks can be of many types, BEC or Business Email Compromise causes the most significant threat to businesses. Verizon’s 2020 DBIR (Data Breach Investigations Report) states that 22% of data breaches in 2019 involved phishing. ESET’s Threat Report highlights that malicious email detections rose by 9% between the second and third quarters in 2020.
Tax season is often punctuated with a mad rush for closures and submissions. Both individuals and organizations fight against time to fill in their tax receipts and submit them. Tax season is also the time when phishing agents look forward to a whole lot of good catches. Phishing baits are sent out as emails to many recipients, many of whom fall for it, leading to a catastrophe. Malicious actors use the information to defraud the victim or even steal their identity. Malicious actors are successful at creating enough panic in the ranks of IT Security by using impersonations. Phishing has been an age-old exercise, and with advanced technology, it has only got more sophisticated, becoming a more formidable threat.
Technology has made tremendous strides in the recent past. While it has proven beneficial to society, malicious actors have also benefited from the same. They have invented novel ways to access enterprise network systems worldwide. Phishing remains a favorite mode of launching cyberattacks over the years. Though phishing attacks do not distinguish between businesses in the industry, the financial sector is one of the most vulnerable as the rewards are noticeably better. Thus, we get to witness that a significant proportion of phishing attacks take place to obtain financial information. The recent example of the PayPal fraud is a new incident of the kind.
Before we look at ways of protection against malware, let us do a quick recap on what malware is and the extent of damage it can cause. Malware is malicious software that can harm your computer systems considerably if the system is left unprotected (without any anti-malware software program installed). Hackers use malware to gain access to an organization’s computer networks or user’s personal computers. Every phishing attempt made by cyber adversaries is accompanied by introducing malware into your computer systems so that they can exploit it at some later time.
Ransomware is a form of malware that takes control of the victim’s system and threatens to block access or delete files if the victim ignores it. Hackers and adversaries are continually upgrading ransomware to elude even the sophisticated anti-malware software.
Hence, every individual needs to learn the basics behind ransomware attacks. Be knowledgeable enough so that you will no longer be of those who keep asking ‘How do I get ransomware on my computer,’ ‘How does ransomware get installed in a system,’ etc.
An email marketer puts efforts into creating a quality prospective consumer list, designing a great email, and focusing on the campaign’s success. But, for reaching the potential customer, one surely needs to avoid spam filters. Many factors help in successful email deliverability. What are these factors? Below is a discussion of various critical considerations that will determine whether a marketing email will reach the customer’s inbox or not.
Cybercrime is one of the primary forms of menace in the online world. Threats like phishing and ransomware attacks have been around for a long time now. Despite the best effort of agencies, both public and private, it does not seem to slow down. From breaking into information system networks to stealing data to impersonations, cybercrime has covered it all. With time, it has grown exponentially. And government departments are highly vulnerable to such attacks due to various reasons.
Various industries have fallen victim to phishing globally, and the manufacturing sector is no exception due to decentralized IT infrastructure and fragmented controls, besides many other reasons. Since the beginning of 2020, cyber intruders have exploited several manufacturing units’ vulnerabilities and used them for financial benefits and brand impersonation. Moreover, the lower degree of cybersecurity, policy enforcement, and lack of centralized visibility makes the task easier for malicious actors.
Insurers deal with enormous risks every day. Risk management is an inherent part of the insurance business. However, the sector has lagged behind other financial services sectors, such as banking, cyber focus, investment, and capabilities when it comes to the cybersecurity front. The banking sector’s increased cyber resilience has been due to the rising number of phishing and other cyber-attacks, which have compelled them to act quickly to protect their customers and reputations. However, the anti-phishing cyberwar has been quieter in the insurance sector.
With the Pandemic raging across the length and breadth of the world, there has been a lot of chaos and confusion amongst organizations’ workforce. Industries of every hue have suffered, and the end to it is yet to be seen. However, that has not stopped malicious actors from continuing their nefarious activities. 2020 has seen no let-up in phishing attempts, and IT Security specialists have been sleepless at work trying to overcome the relentless menace. Such threats are likely to spill over to the new year. Here is an account of the phishing trends unearthed in 2020 that will likely continue in 2021.
The medical world has been one of the domains that have seen unprecedented advancement. Medical science has advanced over the years, and life expectancy has improved vastly. However, all is not well with the healthcare sector. Phishing and cyber-attacks on its systems have been relentless and mostly successful.
Numerous instances of system disruption and loss of records have been reported from around the world. For example, one victim from last year was Montana-based Kalispell Regional Healthcare, which stated that the breached data has led to the disclosure of 140,000 patients’ information. The phishing attacks happened over three months.
In times of the Coronavirus Pandemic, when people are too apprehensive of walking to the local stores and malls, the internet and online shopping come as a relief to shoppers. Almost every day, package tracking, order confirmation, or cancellation messages from FedEx, Amazon, UPS, DHL, and other organizations pop up in the inbox. Hence, receiving fake package delivery messages look neither unusual nor suspicious.
All organizations providing financial services such as banking, investment, and insurance constitute financial institutions. Financial frauds and identity thefts in such institutions have increased significantly with the digitalization of the sector. Today, financial institutions are among the top targets of phishing and other cyber threats.
As online education has become more prevalent than ever, schools and colleges face tremendous challenges due to COVID-19. There is growing uncertainty on the revival of regular classes for students. Many educational institutions have resorted to online education as an alternative. However, online education comes with its disadvantages. Cyber adversaries now have one more sector to target. By the looks of it, schools and colleges have become easy targets for these malicious actors. Let us discuss why it is so and how to avoid the threat.