Phishing Attack Prevention – How To Stop Phishing
Phishing is not a new phenomenon and has been around for decades. The awareness that phishing emails can pose a dangerous problem has grown over time. However, it is an alarming fact that phishing attacks still remain a major headache for enterprises. This problem has persisted despite the massive media coverage, various phishing awareness training programs, and anti-phishing solutions available.
Reports suggest that more than 93% of the data breaches that occurred in enterprises around the world were caused by phishing. The average cost of a phishing attack ranges from $1 to $1.6 million, and it isn’t a simple problem. So, the question arises, how to stop phishing?
To answer this question, we have to first understand why phishing attacks are so successful.
Why Are Phishing Attacks Still So Successful?
While traditional anti-phishing software and anti-spam solutions are equipped to stop phishing emails and malware, not all of these are prevented from entering your inbox. Many phishing emails bypass filters and make it through to the user’s mailbox. This situation leaves both the individual and the enterprise vulnerable to a phishing attack.
SE Labs, a UK research firm, released an email security test report recently. The findings of the report state that Microsoft Office 365 comes with an accuracy rating of a paltry 8%. The report also further adds that Microsoft Office 365 ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) too didn’t offer proper protection from phishing. It had only an average accuracy rating of 35%. So how do these emails bypass these filters and scam people?
Spear phishing emails and BEC (Business Email Compromise) emails are not sent to everyone out there. These mails are meticulously crafted and highly targeted towards only a few selected individuals, such as employees who work in the finance department of an organization.
The Emails Look Real
Phishers are improving their tactics every day, and the phishing emails they create look legitimate and real. Gone are the days where phishing emails had spelling and grammar errors. Now, the content of the emails looks highly professional. The sender’s address also looks similar to the original organization that is being mimicked.
Exploit Human Weaknesses
Phishers use sophisticated social engineering methods and know precisely how to exploit the weaknesses of the end users. For example, no one is ready to ignore an email from a superior, and this is what the scammers cleverly target. These emails come with such a sense of urgency that they don’t allow people to think before they act.
How To Stop Getting Phishing Emails?
Whether we like it or not, phishing is here to stay. This reason is why people must take the necessary precautions to stop phishing emails.
Following are the best ways to avoid the embarrassment and the monetary losses caused due to phishing attacks
Conduct Phishing Awareness & Training Programs
Enterprises need to conduct regular awareness and training programs about phishing, its consequences, and teach employees how to stop phishing. Proper training and education allow employees to think before they click on a link or download attachments in an email. It also helps them to identify phishing emails quickly. Administrators can also send test phishing emails regularly to see how employees react.
Have Endpoint Protection Using Software
Apart from phishing awareness and training programs, people also need to ensure that their endpoint protection is up to date. It is essential to keep their anti-malware and anti-phishing software updated regularly. All applications in the system, including the operating system, need to be updated to provide quality protection from phishing.
Have Proper Network Protection
IT administrators need to deploy secure email gateway systems and implement email authentication methods to prevent email spoofing. Implementing Sender Policy Framework (SPF) will prevent phishers from sending emails from the organization’s domain.
Employ Web Filtering
Web Filters and anti-phishing toolbars primarily help in blocking malicious domains and spoof websites.
Enable Two Factor Authentication
Two-factor Authentication (2FA) helps protect people from getting tricked into providing their user credentials and other sensitive information. It makes it tougher for phishers to gain access to the confidential data of organizations.
Use A Password Manager
Using a password manager helps effectively stop phishing emails. Phishers work by tricking people into entering their usernames and passwords in spoof websites. However, when a user uses password managers, the details will only get auto-filled if the URL is correct or else the details will not get auto-filled.
It is better to be safe than to face the harassment by losing your sensitive information to phishers. Remember, there is no single solution that offers best phishing protection. Hence, people must gain the required knowledge about phishing and become aware of the latest phishing techniques.
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- Stops business email compromise (BEC)
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- Protection against zero day vulnerabilities
- Complete situational awareness from web-based console
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