What is Phishing?

Phishing attacks are a form of social engineering whereby a cybercriminal attempts to collect personal or sensitive data using fraudulent emails and websites. They can then either use this confidential information either against you as ransomware or against others if they gain access to data like bank account numbers. Cybercriminals are growing more deceptive every day with emails and websites designed to imitate companies that you and your organization have come to trust. If they can lull you into a false sense of security, you’ll likely end up revealing personal information without even realizing you’re doing so.

Think your organization can’t fall prey to a phishing attack? In 2016, cybercriminals tricked John Podesta, the chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign at the time, into revealing his email password. Any and every organization is a potential target for phishing attempts. The key to stopping phishing campaigns in their tracks is education and awareness. Here are five steps you and your team can take today to stay protected from phishing messages.

5 Quick Tips

Here are five quick steps you can take right away to war off phishing attempts:

  1. Check the spelling of URLs in email links before you click them or enter sensitive information on a page.
  2. Keep an eye out for URL redirects that send you to a different website with an identical design without you realizing it.
  3. When you receive an email from a seemingly trustworthy source, but it seems suspicious, you should send a new email to the organization instead of just replying to the original email.
  4. Refrain from posting personal data like email addresses and birthdays on public websites or social media.
  5. Use tools like NameCheck or isitPhishing to confirm the legitimacy of links before you click them.

A Proactive Approach

Our team always recommends taking a proactive approach to IT concerns before they become critical problems that result in downtime or data loss. If you already have an in-house IT team, here are a few proactive steps they can take to reduce the risk that your organization will fall victim to a phishing attack.

  • “Sandbox” inbound emails in an isolated environment to check the safety of each link a user clicks
  • Inspect and analyze web traffic
  • Perform penetration testing to pinpoint weak spots in your system and use the results to inform your team
  • Reward employees if they catch phishing attempts
  • Send out simulated phishing attacks to see if any of your employees fall for it

Phishing attacks are not a problem that can be solved overnight. However, through ongoing security awareness training and proactive strategies, you can significantly reduce the risk that fraudulent emails or websites will harm your business.

If you want to learn more about how a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) like ANC can take your security to the next level, contact our team today.