Phishing attacks are campaigns to acquire confidential credentials to access a company’s data after a successful target is identified. Organizations having confidential information should be aware of this cybercrime.
A phishing-related incident happened in 2015. Over 78.8 million health care records were breached out without prior permission from Anthem healthcare. The company was a victim of a major phishing attack. And there are lots of cases like this one. Learn more about recent Phishing Attacks on Researchgate. Raising alerts among employees and applying anti-counterfeiting measures can be considered for preventing phishing attacks best practices.
8 Essential Moves That You Need to Take Now to Preventing Phishing Attacks
Almost 370,000 phishing attempts were detected by the end of 2017. And the number rose to 500,000 within the first half of 2018. Day by day the situation can get worse if there is no approach to completely eliminate this criminal activity. We believe organizations can use these 8 best practices to prevent phishing attacks.
1. Raise awareness to your people
Just like employees attend training to grow their skills, there should be training on raising awareness of phishing. Employees should be properly trained to detect potential fraudsters. And this type of training should be continued as scammers continuously hone their behaviors to manipulate general people to click on phishing traps. These traps can be – promotional emails, letters, quizzes, etc. According to a report from McAfee, 97% of respondents can’t identify phishing emails correctly. That is why it is very important to raise awareness among the employees of an organization. They should know about various types of online frauds that people usually encounter. And they should be properly educated and developed to prevent phishing attacks.
2. Convince your people to take verification
Educate your people to trust. But they should not forget about the verification part. It is important when your employees start to realize legitimate emails can be a part of phishing emails. Because people tend to generously give away useful information when they find something that is trustworthy and legit. And that is exactly why it is important to include ‘Trust’ in the ‘Verification’ training. So, when an email comes to you from a trusted source while trying to deviate you from the normal possess, then you should verify the authentication again before taking any action.
3. Multifactor authentication and strong passwords are appreciated
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is becoming an important part of the security infrastructure of any organization. It is very useful when your company works with transactions or provides financial services. Consider Multi-Factor Authentication as a moat to enter a kingdom. Using multiple authentications, MFA filters the transmission of information. These technical measurements can make a big difference in the overall security. There can be many forms of Multi-Factor Authentication such as – One-Time Passwords (OTPs) that are sent via SMS, verification using biometric IDs rather than username and password, or a physical token for authentication.
4. Ensure real-time defense for your environment
Using tools and services, you can ensure real-time defense for your environment. Only training is not enough. Your emails will not stay in your company 24/7, especially at the end of the year when there are plenty of holidays. Also, scammers can take your employees by surprise when there are plenty of emails in their inboxes. If a security tool is properly implemented in his mailbox, these surprise attacks can be prevented. Absolute security tools will instantly flag alerts when someone tries to spam you. These tools can even block malicious emails before they reach your employees. What is most effective is to identify the trusted and suspicious emails coming from external accounts. Flag emails directly as toxic with advanced abilities.
5. A feedback loop is necessary for security progress
Improving the security infrastructure with a feedback loop is a great way to reduce phishing incidents. To establish a feedback loop, you can make a time schedule for connecting the end users to your IT/security department. This can also strengthen the relationship between you and your customer. The feedback loop should be integrated with a response cycle. This will notify the IT members and end-users about phishing and other security incidents through reports and gathering their opinions. A feedback loop can benefit an organization in every way while improving the branches of a business to make it standstill.
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6. Avoid luring offers that are too good to be true
Sometimes you may receive emails that seem too good to be true. Don’t get excited to see something like this and do what they ask you to do. If so, you will be doing great harm to yourself. Emails like these promise recipients with attractive offers. But it actually wants you to click on unauthorized links or open files to gain access to your personal details or authentic files. You should have adequate security protocols to flag such emails and links as suspicious.
7. Become an expert in detecting suspicious attachments
There are many online cloud storages like Mega, Dropbox, SharePoint, or OneDrive. People are used to these cloud platforms rather than physical hard disks as they can access files anytime from anywhere. But scammers can use them for their evil motives. A scammer can send you an email with a suspicious attachment in disguise of your friend or employee. At a glance, it may seem pretty normal and you may open it as soon as you receive it. You should double-check the authorization before opening such files. And you should never accept emails from an unknown source that contains suspicious attachments. It can be a reason to distribute malware or to scam you.
8. Best practices for email security
Last but not least, get accustomed to the best practices to enhance email security. Phishing emails are also known as socially engineered phishing emails. They are not like spoofing emails and their perspective is higher. These mails can evade detection when the email filter runs tests for verification. Phishing emails are highly sophisticated, containing the SMTP controls and the right Sender Policy Frameworks. They are able to pass RBL checks as they are usually not sent from a blacklisted IP address. A company should have the necessary security protocols for marking such emails and blocking them.
Scamming and phishing is becoming common criminal activity against cyber security. It is reported that – more than 75% of businesses are victims of phishing currently. And you don’t want to be a part of this. Phishing can be avoided only if your team is concerned about it. So, make them vigilant by teaching them the best industry practices. This is the most effective way to mitigate this problem.