Phishing attacks are one of the most common cyber crime methods, but despite how much we think we know about scam emails, people still frequently fall victim. Phishing emails are designed to look like legitimate messages from actual banks, businesses, and other organizations. But in reality, scammers create the message usually to steal your money, identity, or both. They want you to click links that will take you to a website that looks authentic but is just there to capture your credit card or other personal information or perhaps to distribute malware.
Phishing attacks have changed drastically in the past year, as drastic changes have been made to our daily lives. Hackers have attempted to take advantage of the different working environments and new tools being used for work from home. In the last year, phishing attacks are increasing because they are no longer just in an email format. This problem has expanded to SMS/iMessage, social networks, collaboration platforms, videoconferencing, and gaming services. Mobile users are particularly vulnerable because of small screens. Users may not notice the phishy URL or the fake brand logo. It looks like cyber criminals will be ramping up their efforts in 2021, as businesses are anticipating an increase in COVID-19 related phishing emails. Remote work-related phishing emails are also on the rise. One method that scammers are taking advantage of working from home employees is through virtual meet-ups, like Zoom and Google calendar invites. This method can be very effective as there are many links being sent out daily to tens or hundreds of invitees.
There are many ways businesses can help with this growing threat. Here are a couple of efforts we can do to help with the increase of phishing attacks.
1. Multi-factor Authentication – Multi-factor authentication is used to ensure that digital users are who they say they are by requiring that they provide at least two pieces of evidence to prove their identity. If one of the factors has been compromised by a hacker or unauthorized user, the chances of another factor also being compromised are low, so requiring multiple authentication factors provides a higher level of assurance about the user’s identity. Multi-factor authentication should be used whenever possible because it immediately neutralizes the risks associated with compromised passwords by adding an additional security layer to protect highly sensitive personal information.
2. Restricting VPN Connections – A VPN, which stands for Virtual Private Network, is a private network that encrypts and transmits data while it travels from one place to another on the internet. Restricting VPN Connections can help prevent phishing attacks by blocking malicious websites and ads. It also can help encrypt your communications, so your email address is not leaked to hackers.
3. Employee Training – One of the most common denominators of phishing attacks is someone opening an email or clicking a link that downloads malware onto a device. Human error is by far the number one way that someone gets hacked, and that data is stolen. Hackers don’t try and bypass security technologies, instead, they rely on human mistakes, reusing passwords, and being too busy to check each email for signs of being a scam. Phishing attacks cost businesses billions of dollars a year. To protect your organization, cybersecurity training must get carried out to all staff from the highest executive to the lowest employee level.
4. Anti-Virus Software – It is the best way to safeguard your computer against viruses and other malware types such as ransomware, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, identity theft, and more. It can help detect a problem before it becomes too big to control. Protecting yourself from viruses and lost data is much easier than it used to be and doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. An anti-virus software is a must-have on any computer for business or personal use.
As email threats continue to evolve, it takes cyber security technology to stop phishing emails and prevent phishing attacks from damaging your organization. Hackers continue to devise new forms of email phishing scams designed to trick users into wiring money to fraudulent accounts or providing confidential information. Social engineering can be very damaging, but implementing security awareness training and combining it with strong technological defences is the best way to prevent phishing attacks against your users and your organization. SEGMENTECH is a CyberArk and Check Point partner in Canada. We strongly recommend implementing an Endpoints Security on-premises, hybrid, or in the cloud. Contact us if you would like to discuss how we can assist you.