Do you want to better protect your organization from cyber attacks? Then you need to make sure your employees recognize and prevent phishing. The examples and tips below will help you take a step forward in this process.
Phishing is one of the oldest and most common forms of cyber attacks, in which malicious actors pose as trusted entities to steal sensitive information from unwitting victims. From personal identities to financial data, the risks are enormous. It is therefore critical that both individuals and businesses learn how to recognize and prevent phishing.
Types of Phishing Attacks
There are several types of phishing attacks, each with their own unique methods and audiences. E-mail phishing is the most well-known, in which the attacker sends e-mails that resemble official communications from banks, social media or other services. Vishing uses phone calls, while smishing targets text messages. Spear phishing and whaling are more targeted attacks that specifically target individual victims or high-level individuals within an organization.
How to recognize phishing?
Recognizing phishing is becoming increasingly complicated as attackers get better and better. Fakes are becoming harder to distinguish from the real thing by the day, and vice versa. This is partly due to the use of Artificial Intelligence, which criminals use to execute credible attacks. In addition, there are services under development such as ransomware as a service, which uses ransomware as a business model. Obviously, these types of services are highly professional and sophisticated.
Phishing attacks have certain common characteristics. Common indicators include misspellings, strange URLs, generic greetings such as “Dear Customer,” and urgent language encouraging the recipient to act quickly. It is also common for these emails to ask for personal or financial information, something legitimate businesses would never do. The characteristics by which you can recognize phishing:
- Language errors
- Malicious attachments
- Malicious links
- Incorrect sender
Want to learn more about recognizing mail phishing in particular? Then read our article: recognizing phishing mail. It is important to emphasize that it is becoming increasingly difficult to recognize phishing based on misspellings and impersonal greetings. Preventing a successful phishing attempt is all about security awareness. Therefore, let’s look at how best to prevent phishing with this.
How to prevent phishing?
It is important to understand that one cannot do a tremendous amount to prevent phishing attacks. For example, data can be captured in a third-party data breach. However, there are actions that can be performed to reduce the likelihood of a successful phishing attack. Several measures you can take to prevent phishing and protect yourself are:
Be alert and aware
Develop a healthy dose of vigilance and awareness about the dangers of phishing. Take the time to carefully check messages and links before taking action. Don’t simply enter your information on websites.
Don’t just click on links
Be careful when clicking on links in emails, messages or on social media, especially if they come from unknown senders or appear suspicious. Check the URL before clicking on it. The URL is displayed in a small bar at the bottom of the browser. On a mobile device, you can hold your finger on the link after which it appears as a pop-up.
Make use of email filters
While software can help secure e-mail servers, it is recommended that spam filters be installed. Employees should be encouraged to flag spam emails that arrive in their inboxes so that the filters can perform their tasks more efficiently.
Training and education
Invest in education and training programs to make yourself and your employees aware of phishing attacks. Learn how to recognize suspicious messages and links.