There has been much discussion of phishing for a long time now, and most people are aware of what it is and the risks it poses if you are victimized. Yet, according to the IBM X-Force Intelligent Threat Report, In 2021, phishing is considered to be the top infection vector for ransomware attacks.
Phishing scams are one of the ways hackers can infiltrate your entire network. All it takes is for one of your employees to click on a link in an email to give a hacker access to your system. An ordinary email purporting to be from one of your trusted vendors can cause considerable financial loss to your company and ruin your company’s reputation.
The ability to block the initial access can help prevent a full-blown infiltration into your network. When it comes to phishing attacks, it's your employees who are the most vulnerable. It is very important that all employees are trained on how to recognize phishing emails and what to do when they receive one.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a method cybercriminals use to trick users into either disclosing personal information or allowing them to gain access to the network.
Stages of a Phishing Attack
Bait- Obtaining users' trust and having them believe the email comes from a reliable source, such as someone with a high position within the company or a vendor partner so they are inclined to open the email.
Hook- After the target opens the email, the goal is to get them to perform an action such as clicking on a link in the email and giving out sensitive or financial information or downloading an infected attachment.
Catch- As soon as hackers achieve their goal, all kinds of bad things begin to happen. Hackers can either gain access to the system and steal data or install ransomware, or they can obtain the financial information they need to steal significant amounts of money.
How do you protect your company from a devastating phishing attack? You can start by being proactive and catch it early before it has a chance to do too much damage. Educating every employee on cybersecurity is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this. Teach your staff what to look out for when they receive incoming emails.
Below are The 5 Warning Signs of Phishing Attempts to Train Your Staff:
Email addresses that don’t match the sender’s information- Threat actors are always trying to implement new techniques to achieve their goals. In one sophisticated method, they hijack emails to disguise the phishing attempt as a reply to appear legitimate. Even though it may be time-consuming, it is crucial to double-check each and every letter listed on the sender's domain information to ensure it is valid.
Emails requesting urgent action, especially those requesting sensitive information- When an email is asking for private or financial details or asking the recipient to purchase large purchases like gift cards, it’s usually a red flag. Make sure your staff verifies the validity of an email by confirming it with a phone call with the sender.
Emails containing suspicious attachments- One of the ways ransomware is transmitted is through email attachments. When you receive an email with unexpected attachments, it could be a warning sign. You should instruct your staff not to download any attachments until they have been verbally verified.
Watch out for links contained in an email- A link in an email is a lot easier to click on, but it's hard to know if it will bring you to a legitimate website or if it's a ploy to infect your system with ransomware. In order to be safe, enter the actual URL in the address bar.
Emails sent at odd times- Check the time stamp on an email. Genuine emails are usually sent during business hours. If the email is sent in the middle night, it could be a sign be a phishing attempt.