How to Protect Your Business Against Phishing

Extras admin_cyber todayDecember 28, 2021 30 5

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Phishing attacks are one of the most common security challenges that both individuals and businesses face when it comes to protecting their information. Hackers are using email, social media, phone calls, and any other form of communication they can to steal valuable data, whether it’s passwords, credit cards, or other sensitive information. Businesses, of course, are an especially valuable target.

What is Phishing and How Does it Work? 

Phishing convinces you to do something that grants a scammer access to your device, accounts, or personal information. They can infect you with malware or steal your credit card information more easily if they pose as a person or organization you trust.

To put it another way, these social engineering schemes “bait” you with trust in order to obtain your valuable information. This could range from a simple social media login to your entire identity via your social security number.

These scams may entice you to open an attachment, click a link, fill out a form, or respond with personal information. That logic requires you to be on guard at all times, which can be exhausting.

Phishing scams typically attempt to:

  • Infect your device with viruses or malware
  • Steal your personal information in order to obtain your money or identity
  • Take command of your online accounts
  • Persuade you to send money or valuables willingly

These threats do not always stop with you. If a hacker gains access to your email, contact list, or social media, they can send phishing messages that appear to be from you to people you know.

The combination of trust and urgency is what makes phishing so deceptive and dangerous. If the criminal can persuade you to trust them and act without thinking — you’re an easy target.

Popular Phishing Attacks Against Businesses or Organisations

  • Company Impersonation: One of the most common types of phishing is when attackers pretend to be your company. This is typically accomplished through the use of an email address linked to a domain that is very similar to the target company’s (e.g., “first.name@amazon-support”). It’s also a difficult attack for businesses to detect because you won’t know until someone falls for it or alerts you to it.
  • “Spear” Phishing: This type of scheme involves not only using a fictitious company name (impersonation), but also key information about the target. In sales, a representative finds the name, position, and other personalization and includes it in a pitch email. Attackers track down those same tokens and use them to lure more victims into their trap. It’s a particularly dangerous ruse.
  • Email Takeovers: Every member of your executive and management team is at risk. If a phishing scammer obtains the email credentials of a high-profile leader, it is likely that they will target anyone who can use that email address. Potential targets include coworkers, team members, and even customers (if they have already obtained this information through hacking).
  • Phone Phishing: Scammers impersonate businesses using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. In order to get a better picture of the overall scam, this technique also employs other types of phishing, such as using personal information about targets and impersonating company employees (e.g., the CEO).

How to Recognize and Avoid a Phishing Email

Identifying a phishing email is as simple as pointing out anything inconsistent or unusual.

It can be difficult to tell what is genuine and what is a phishing attempt. First and foremost, you should take your time before opening any links, attachments, or responding.

Here’s how you should respond if you receive a suspicious email:

You get an email politely asking for a donation for the victims of the most recent hurricane to make landfall. The sender’s domain is “help@ushurricanesurvivors.net,” and while the organization may be legitimate, you’ve never heard of it.

Normally, these types of emails are routed to your spam folder, but for some reason, this one has risen to the top of your inbox.

You are computer savvy, and you will not respond to any email from an organization requesting personal and financial information. This is especially true if you did not request it and have no way of verifying its identity.

You’ve taken an important step to protect yourself by pausing instead of acting immediately. However, you must still determine whether this is legitimate or a scam.

To make a decision, you must first understand what to look for in a phishing email.

How Businesses Can Protect Against Phishing

  • Educate your employees and hold mock phishing scenarios in training sessions.
  • Install a SPAM filter that detects viruses, blank senders, and so on.
  • Maintain all systems with the most recent security patches and updates.
  • Install an antivirus solution, schedule signature updates, and keep track of the antivirus status on all devices.
  • Create a security policy that addresses password expiration and complexity, among other things.
  • Install a web filter to prevent malicious websites from being accessed.
  • Encrypt all sensitive company data.
  • Convert HTML emails to text-only emails, or disable HTML emails entirely.
  • Employees who telecommute should be required to use encryption.

There are several steps a company can take to protect itself from phishing. They must stay current on phishing strategies and ensure that their security policies and solutions can eliminate threats as they evolve. It is also critical to ensure that their employees understand the types of attacks they may face, the risks they face, and how to deal with them. When it comes to protecting your company from phishing attacks, informed employees and properly secured systems are critical.

Written by: admin_cyber

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“This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program.”