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How to Thwart Targeted Phishing Attacks

How to Thwart Targeted Phishing Attacks

Modern businesses rely on email as a central part of their communications infrastructure, but this comes with its own set of threats and issues that can derail operations. Spam in particular is troublesome for organizations to deal with, as it wastes time and exposes your users to danger. While spam can be blocked, more dangerous types of messages can make their way past your defenses. These types of threats are known as phishing scams, and they present a considerable threat to your organization.

Phishing attacks are targeted attempts by hackers and scammers to steal information from your users, whether they know it or not. These messages are personalized to look like legitimate requests for information in a way that makes them difficult to see as threats. Spam can be sent in large quantities to hit as many targets as possible, but phishing attacks are designed to penetrate defenses in a decisive way that spam can only hope to achieve. Keeping this in mind, it should come as no surprise that many cyberattacks start off as simple phishing scams. According to DarkReading, the results of a survey showcased that 91% of cyberattacks start off as a phishing email.

These results come from PhishMe, which identified the reasons why phishing attacks work as well as they do:

  • Curiosity: 13.7%
  • Fear: 13.4%
  • Urgency: 13.2%

These numbers make quite a lot of sense, considering how much stress the average employee is placed under just by going about their day-to-day duties. Some might think their performance isn’t up to snuff, or they might feel pressured to click on attachments depending on who the message is from. This puts your organization in a precarious position, as they might not think twice before downloading a suspicious attachment because it doesn’t actually look suspicious to them at that particular moment. Therefore, you need to take measures to make sure your employees know how to identify phishing scams.

Ways to Mitigate Phishing Scams
If you can’t convince your employees that identifying phishing scams is important, consider the following tips:

  • Undergo regular phishing scam training: Training your employees to identify phishing scams might help them avoid these types of attacks in the future.
  • Double-check any suspicious messages: You should always report suspicious messages to your IT department, even if you think it might not be worth looking into.
  • Never respond to urgent requests before following up: If you receive a message that demands your immediate attention, or requests a wire transfer of funds, check in with whoever supposedly sent the message before doing so.
  • Review best practices and workflows: If you think something about an email is out of place, follow best practices as dictated by your industry.

To learn more about how your organization can stay safe from phishing scams, reach out to us at 216-397-4080.

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