Phishing attacks can be devastating for businesses, resulting in significant financial losses, reputational damage, and even legal liability. To protect your company from phishing attacks, you need to take a multi-faceted approach that includes both technology and education.
What Are Phishing Attacks?
Phishing is a type of cyberattack in which the attacker poses as a reputable entity or person, using diverse ways of online communication to distribute malicious links or attachments that can perform a variety of functions, but to one single end: stealing the victim’s data and money.
This form of online fraud uses subtle and cunning social engineering tricks that enable cybercriminals who push just the right psychological button to steal the victim’s sensitive data, which is far easier than breaking through a computer’s or a network’s security system.
Sometimes, phishers can access public sources of information to gather background data about the victim’s personal and professional history, interests, and activities, topically through social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
All the information gathered can help craft a believable email, increasing the likelihood of the attack succeeding.
Other times, the attack isn’t specifically directed at someone or a specific organization. It is sent in bulk, and it only takes the unfortunate combination of unlucky and unprepared for you to become a victim.
Typically, the victim receives a message that seems to have been sent by a known contact or organization. The attack is then launched either via a malicious file attachment or through a link directing to a malicious website. Either way, the goal is to install malware on the targetted device or direct the victim to an illicit website, usually a fake login page asking for credentials and financial data.
Although some cybercriminals might get lazy occasionally and send out poorly written phishing emails that scream “scam” in your face, you shouldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet. The phishing trickery is getting increasingly sophisticated, leveraging the same techniques professional marketers use to identify the most effective types of messages and their respective recipients.
Our Top 7 Tips To Protect Your Company From Phishing Attacks
Implement Email Filters and Anti-Phishing Tools
One of the most effective ways to protect your company from phishing attacks is to use email filters and anti-phishing tools. These tools can detect and block phishing emails before they reach your employees’ inboxes. They can also scan incoming emails for suspicious links and attachments and prevent users from accessing them.
Enforce Strong Password Policies
Phishing attacks often involve stealing login credentials, which can be used to access sensitive information or to spread malware. Therefore, it’s essential to enforce strong password policies that require employees to use complex passwords and to change them regularly. Additionally, multi-factor authentication can be implemented to provide an extra layer of security.
Keep Software and Operating Systems Up-to-Date
Outdated software and operating systems can contain security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Therefore, keeping all software and operating systems up-to-date with the latest security patches and updates is essential. This includes the operating system, anti-virus software, and other software such as web browsers and office applications.
Limit Access to Sensitive Information
Another way to protect your company from phishing attacks is to limit access to sensitive information. This can include implementing role-based access controls that restrict access to sensitive information based on an employee’s job responsibilities. Additionally, sensitive information should be encrypted and stored securely to prevent unauthorized access.
Use Encryption and Secure Communications
Phishing attacks can also involve intercepting sensitive information as it’s transmitted over the internet. Therefore, it’s important to use encryption and secure communications protocols to protect data in transit. This includes using secure email protocols such as TLS and implementing a virtual private network (VPN) for remote employees.
Regularly Backup Data
It’s important to regularly back up your company’s data to protect against data loss in case of a successful phishing attack or other security breaches. Backups should be stored securely and tested regularly to ensure that they can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster.
Train Your Employees to Recognize Phishing Emails
Phishing attacks are often successful because they trick employees into revealing sensitive information or downloading malware. Therefore, training your employees to recognize phishing emails and other suspicious messages is essential. This can include simulated phishing attacks, in which employees receive fake phishing emails and are trained to identify and report them.
We know that your employees are your company’s first line of defense, which is why we believe equipping them with the best anti-phishing practices is crucial in building up a complete and reliable defense against online threats.
Our solid Security Awareness Training program features realistic phishing simulations that will expose your employees to life-like, hands-on fake phishing attacks.
ATTACK Simulator’s Security Awareness Training program will help you equip your employees with the necessary security knowledge and up-to-date security practices to boost your company’s resilience to all sorts of cyberattacks and avoid potentially irreparable damage.