Security, Technology

Ways to Identify And Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a victim is duped into divulging private information, including banking information, credit card numbers, passwords, and...

avatar Written by Aynun Nipa · 5 min read >
Ways to Identify And Protect Yourself from Phishing Attacks

Phishing is a cybercrime in which a victim is duped into divulging private information, including banking information, credit card numbers, passwords, and personally identifying data. If they have enough information on the victims, criminals who pose as respectable organizations may contact their targets through phone, text message, email, or a combination of all three. The victims are then tricked into opening a malicious link, which infects their machine with malware, ransomware, or spyware.

Other phishing techniques use fake websites or documents that superficially resemble reliable sources. You may submit your profile information, payment information, or personal information on a page that looks like the online banking website for your bank, for instance. Sure, a fast email address search may reveal if the sender is authentic, but few people are aware of this security tactic, and you need all of your employees to be informed of it to avoid phishing emails. People may use your stolen information to access essential accounts, sell it to a third party, or otherwise be sold, resulting in identity theft, account takeover, and financial loss.

What a typical phishing email looks like?

A prime example of a phishing scam is receiving an urgent email from a reputable bank or credit card business warning that there has been a data breach and that you must safeguard your account or they will freeze it.

The attackers are counting on the possibility that you have a bank or credit card account with that specific institution. Most people get panicked when they receive an urgent email, so they follow the instructions and click the link or download the attachment and that’s the beginning of the end. The victims are unaware that they are installing malware onto their computers or putting their login information onto a bogus website run by the attacker.

Steps to take to guard against phishing attacks on your company

The earlier you adopt the essential security measures to guard against phishing attempts, the better. Your company is potentially vulnerable to malicious assaults if the following actions are still not taken. However, since phishing assaults typically circumvent security best practices, your IT specialists must keep current and continually tighten and enhance your safety. Below are some phishing protection strategies you can and should use in your company.

1. Establish a safe connection

When working remotely or in public, use a VPN. This VPN will guard against information leaks and shield you from intruders with bad intentions. VPN service providers enable you to change your IP address dynamically. For those who desire the highest internet safety and protection level, fast and safe VPNs are necessary. Sadly, stealing the data you send over the Internet is simple. A VPN is helpful in this situation. End-to-end encryption is a feature of a VPN, especially Symlex VPN, which protects your data from outside access. When utilizing a public wifi network, all of your information is probably available to anybody who wants to use it against you. You may operate the public network safely by using a VPN to change your IP address to something people can’t read.

There is no throttling, buffering, or bandwidth restriction while using a VPN. You may take all the necessary steps to achieve your VPN-related goals. Since you shouldn’t have to sacrifice one to assure the other, we guarantee security and speedier performance. Additionally, all of your data is kept safe and secure behind a facility for next-generation encryption. Additionally, a VPN hides your identity from anybody who is not you.

2. Email phishing detection

Every person in your company has to be able to spot a phishing email. There are techniques for analyzing an email to determine if the sender is trustworthy or not. If the website differs from the name on the text, you may be sure it’s a phishing effort. For example, an email address search can track an email back to its source. Phishing emails sometimes begin with a generic salutation like “Dear Valued Customer,” which is a dead giveaway that the email is from a scammer. They also don’t use the target’s name to address them. To deceive the victim into believing the email is authentic, phishing emails also employ spoof or false domains that hide the natural environment or use one that seems identical to the original (Google, Microsoft).

3. Regular cybersecurity training for employees

Your staff may not be aware of these hazards’ existence online or how to respond in case of a phishing attempt. Ensure that everyone on your team gets fundamental internet safety and hygiene training to teach them how to engage with ALL emails, regardless of origin (don’t click on links or download attachments). You must strictly adhere to security regulations since even a little error might result in a substantial financial loss. Additionally, it would be beneficial to conduct regular cybersecurity exercises focused on phishing assaults to prepare your employees for any eventuality.

Continually raise people’s knowledge of cybersecurity:

Sextortion is one of the often-used strategies. It differs in that a person’s emotions prompt the sending of the ransom fear or panic as one example. Cofense identified a sector botnet. It included 200 million email addresses as of June this year. They soon grew by 330 million in number. Therefore, raising people’s awareness is crucial. Pay attention to educating and training personnel if you want to safeguard your company.

No technology can take the place of skilled workers:

A phishing attempt was directed against a significant medical firm. However, the security department was able to respond promptly as a result of tips from persons who had received suspicious letters. In 19 minutes, they halted the onslaught.

4. Maintain software and operating system updates

Malware that depends on old or unpatched operating systems is still used in specific phishing campaigns. Please ensure that ALL software is patched and current and that ALL corporate devices run the most recent versions of their respective OSs. Since hackers often target them, update your media players, PDF readers, and video conferencing software.

5. Audit your passwords

Do an office-wide password audit to evaluate and eliminate weak and redundant passwords. Enforce sound password practices, such as creating unique, strong passwords for each account and never using the same one again. Ensure everyone uses a strong password produced by the software or a combination of three to four random words in a string by investing in a password manager. One password would be all the attacker would need to gain in and start havoc.

6. All accounts must use multi-factor authentication

Ensure that multi-factor authentication is set by default for each online account to provide additional protection that attackers cannot breach without the device containing the authorized code. You may use a physical authentication device or smartphone authentication applications.

7. Backup and isolate critical components

Don’t depend on HTTPS since SSL is no longer a security assurance. A secure connection is intended to be provided by this protocol. People can now discriminate between HTTP and HTTPS, only visiting websites with the proper certificate. However, today’s scammers also employ the encryption protocol. By the end of the year, TLS or SSL was used by 74% of phishing websites. Not everyone requires access to essential parts of your company’s infrastructure. It would be beneficial to isolate the critical components of your infrastructure as much as you can, for example, by limiting access to particular servers and turning down whole systems. Having several backups will also make restoring your designs easier in case of a ransomware attack.

8. Create a PCI-compliant resource

It is crucial to be confident of this in every detail. This precaution may deter many scammers, but it is not a 100% guarantee of the site’s security.

Phishing damages have an impact on your company’s bottom line.

There is no doubt that phishing hurts your bottom line. If your security system is inadequate or nonexistent, you’ll undoubtedly become a victim of online fraud and other crimes that may cost you a lot of money. How much harm should you anticipate experiencing? You must respond to this to evaluate the steps you take to protect yourself from this heinous felony. The de facto faces of cybercrime are viruses and trojans, but phishing schemes are the actual issue to be on the lookout for.

The fact that anybody can perpetrate phishing makes it far scarier than typical malware. For cybercriminals to start a phishing campaign, they don’t need to create complex code or utilize specialist tools. They can also execute them quickly and are almost hard to track. Windows has typically been more targeted than other operating systems like Linux or macOS since most companies depend on machines that run this operating system. As a result, Windows is thought to be particularly vulnerable to malware.

Conclusion

The attack surface of a modest organization need not be smaller or less enticing than that of a large corporation. Never assume that you or anybody else in your business won’t be the victim of a phishing attack; they may happen to anyone.

Due to the epidemic that is now sweeping the globe, innumerable con artists are now able to operate, and phishing attempts have increased by a staggering 350%, impacting both organizations and people with equal intensity. Implementing a proactive security plan that involves spending money on cybersecurity and theft prevention solutions and educating staff members in security procedures for dealing with phishing and other cyberattacks would be beneficial. Active security measures may aid in thwarting assaults and reducing the dangers of a breach. You can protect your cash and reputation in the long run by investing a little bit more in security now.

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Written by Aynun Nipa
I am a digital marketing specialist, having 6+ years of extensive experience in different digital marketing channels.
       
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