One day, it happens: an unauthorized email shows up, followed by a surge of sale offers, and then an uncontrollable rush of bank transaction requests into your inbox. Right at that moment, the fight for your sanity starts!
Cybercriminals are sharpening their abilities ceaselessly to tap into your inbox and make you click on a malicious link. As most of the email spams seem harmless, people tend to see them from a mile away and respond carelessly on taking precautions against any future threats. However, about 95% of business security breaches happening today are the result of successful spear-phishing attacks. That means your business is also susceptive to such attacks. Here are a few ways to avoid your business from falling prey to a phishing scam.
What is Spear-Phishing?
Just like the phishing attack, where cybercriminals endeavor to trick their victims into sharing private credentials, spear-phishing is after the same information, even though it goes about it in a more personal way.
Let’s see the way it works: An email arrives evidently from a trustworthy source, but it directs the recipient to a fake website that is full of malware. These emails usually use clever tacts to grab the victims’ attention. You might have noticed the warning made by FBI on spear-phishing scams where the emails seemed to be from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Spear-phishing attempts work because they seem to be genuine. According to survey estimates, people open 70% of spear-phishing emails. Around 50% of those people who open the spear-phishing emails click on the links included in that. What’s more interesting is that the majority of them click on those links within an hour of receiving!
Keeping their focus on a specific person, cyber attackers can gain access to confidential data – including computer passwords, bank account details, and security clearances. What most people are unaware of, is spear-phishing is a precursor to a far more advanced attack.
What are the Best Practices to Avoid Spear-Phishing?
- Confirm suspicious email before communicating with it
If you receive a suspicious email from a trustworthy source, however, you are not sure if it exactly came from them, take two minutes to stop by their office, or reach out to them on the phone, or email.
Also, before you click on a link, examine the target address well. Ensure the spelling of terms in the link equals almost to what you assume. For example, if the email seems to be from a bank, however, you see the URL as just a vague series of numbers, don’t open the link. No matter the outcome, that short time you take to establish the validity of an email is worth it.
- Make the Most of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Use Machine Learning tools to identify and block the spear-phishing breach. Complex AI algorithms can be implemented to analyze communication patterns in an organization and spot any anomalies that may be signs of an attack. Here’s how you can use the power of AI to put a full stop to spear-phishing attacks:
- Create a SOCIAL GRAPH of your company by scrutinizing the weighting connections between the employees of the company. You can then observe connections used by each of the emails received by the company. When comparing these emails with the original model, Machine Learning algorithms can help detect spear-phishing emails.
- With the help of Machine Learning, perform a STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS of emails that your organization is receiving.
- Encrypt all sensitive information in the company
Encryption is one of the best ways to protect sensitive data of your company from cybercriminals. With the help of the right tool for encryption, you can make it difficult for any outside parties to decrypt your data, thereby protecting the files you send to cloud environments and remote locations.
- Let cybersecurity be your organization’s prime focus!
Has your company given cybersecurity the required importance? It should always be. If cybersecurity is the forefront in your mind, more precautions should be taken to prevent spear-phishing attacks before they become a concern. Here are a couple of ideas for you to get started:
- Create a cybersecurity policy with the help of an expert cybersecurity provider for your company, and make your employees aware of that.
- Schedule regular meetings with the key players of your organization and brief them on the steps they should follow in case of receiving a questionable email.
- Regularly review employee access, including partners and third-party vendors.
- Implement DMARC authentication to prevent brand hijacking and domain spoofing, which are the most common impersonation attacks.
- Using multi-factor authentication to include an additional security layer over a simple username and password is an effective security measure.
Spear-phishing attacks may happen often. But though these attacks are a security concern, they don’t have to be a problem if you plan accordingly, educate your employees properly, and prepare your organization for attacks with the help of a cybersecurity company. Get in touch with experts at Cybernetic and discuss how you can protect your company from data breaches and avoid security risks.