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.
Covid has been around for more than seven months now. And in that time, it has become the number one source of phishing attacks worldwide. We even detailed ten ways hackers use Covid to phish you in a recent post. It’s been so widespread, almost everyone is wary of Covid-related phishing emails by now. You might think that would put an end to them, but nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to fraudsters, Covid is the gift that keeps on giving.
How good are your employees at spotting phishing emails? There’s a really easy way to find out. Send each one of them a fake phishing email and see how many click. And that’s exactly what Tribune Publishing, publishers of the Chicago Tribune, did recently, and boy did it backfire.
According to The Big Lead, “The media giant has spent the last few years cutting staff at newspapers across the country, leaving workers underpaid and overworked. On Wednesday the company sent out emails to employees suggesting they would be getting raises for all their hard work. It turns out it was a test to see how susceptible they were to a phishing scam. Needless to say, the employees were furious.”
When it comes to preventing phishing attacks, companies are often torn between how to spend their security dollars. The choice they make is usually between two options: employee awareness training and email security hardware/software. The first choice assumes your employees can protect you from phishing attacks if only they can be taught to spot them. The second choice assumes there’s not enough training in the world for you employees to stop every phishing attack—it’s better to leave that to technology.
If it’s time for a big election, you can be sure the scammers will take advantage of that in the next round of phishing attacks. But, election-related phishing attacks may not target who you think. Rather than go after voters, who aren’t accustomed to having to provide credentials in response to an election-related email, the hackers “target political parties and campaigns, think tanks, civic organizations, and associated individuals,” according to CISA (Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency), a U.S. federal agency responsible for the nation’s cyber infrastructure and readiness, which issued the warning.