Understanding Phishing Attack Definition To Help You Prevent Phishing Scams
In simple terms, a phishing attack is like picking your pocket. When a pickpocket steals your purse, he/she not only steals your money but also the debit and credit cards that you had in your wallet. You even lose your identity cards or documents such as your driving license. All phishing attacks are thus similar to pickpocketing in many ways. The only difference is that you hand over the wallet to the criminal voluntarily.
In a phishing attack, hackers entice you into parting with your confidential information without realizing that you are exposing yourself and your organization to a great deal of risk.
How Do Phishing Attacks Happen?
Cybercriminals use various ways to hack into your enterprise networks.
- An embedded link in an unsolicited email can be a dangerous thing. It can redirect employees to unsecure websites that could be seeking sensitive information.
- An attachment received by you through an email can contain a Trojan virus. On downloading such an attachment, the virus can attach to various files and wreak havoc with your data.
- Hackers send spoof emails that appear as genuine. Many employees fall into the trap and part with sensitive information.
The list can go on and on because hackers are intelligent people. Let us now see the steps we can take to prevent phishing.
- End-user awareness is the single major phishing prevention measure. Employees who operate the computers and attend to emails and other correspondence are the most vulnerable to such phishing attempts.
- Educating such employees by conducting mock training exercises that include actual phishing scenarios is one of the best anti-phishing solutions available today. Employees or end-users should know how to avoid phishing attacks. Unless they experience a real-life scenario, it will be a challenge to explain it theoretically.
- This training will teach employees not to open unsolicited emails and refrain from clicking on malicious links.
- Install spam filters to avoid viruses and other malicious software that can find their way into your enterprise networks.
- Technology is improving every day. Hence, hackers are also updating their hacking modus operandi. Therefore, updating your security patches is an integral aspect of phishing protection.
- The organization should have a robust IT security policy that is not limited to password expiry and renewal. One of the most common anti-phishing solutions is to restrict the inward email attachment capacity, especially of employees in the lower rungs of the hierarchy.
- Installing a web filter to block malicious websites is another excellent way of phishing attack prevention.
- Encryption of data is one of the ideal solutions to deal with phishing attacks.
- Disabling HTML email messages is also an efficient anti phishing security measure.
One should note that hackers are always on the prowl scouting for the weakest link in your security chain. Therefore, business entities should identify weak links and take steps to strengthen them.
Think Like A Hacker
There is an old adage, ‘Set a thief to catch a thief’. This logic holds good under these circumstances as well. To prevent phishing attacks, one has to learn to think like a hacker.
Thinking like a hacker can help to pre-empt phishing attacks to a considerable extent. Encourage employees to report any suspected phishing activities. Remember that many phishing attempts can bypass the most stringent anti-phishing security set-up. The employee at the end of the line is the final link of defense. Equipping this end-user to identify and deal with phishing attacks is the ideal solution.
As we have discussed, hackers entice people into parting with information during a phishing attack. Therefore, being alert and vigilant can help prevent phishing attacks and nip it in the bud. Every employee has to take it upon himself/herself to equip themselves to deal with the phishing menace which can only be possible if they know and understand the phishing attack definition in the first place.
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