Did you know that phishing was one of the most commonly reported cybercrime in 2020. The FBI reported that the number of phishing attacks has almost doubled. This is one of the major reasons why several businesses are looking for effective ways and techniques to protect from phishing attacks.
Most of you would probably be aware that phishing attacks mostly happen through emails. That said, nearly 1 percent of phishing attacks are through the phone, while three percent of such attacks happen through malicious websites. To protect email services from phishing attempts, you need to know about common phishing attacks executed against businesses.
Company impersonation is a common type of phishing, where cyber attackers or hackers impersonate your brand. This type of phishing attack is usually done by using an email connected to a domain that will be very similar to that of the target company.
Company impersonation attacks can be very hard to spot or identify for most companies. This is because they will have no clue on the occurrence of such an attack until someone alerts or falls for it.
Another common type of phishing attack launched by cybercriminals is called spear phishing. It can be described as an email scam targeted towards a certain business, organization, or individual. Spear phishing is commonly used to steal data for illegal or malicious activities.
That said, cybercriminals often use spear-phishing to install malware on the computer of a user. Hackers use clever tactics to get the attention of users. For instance, spear-phishing scam emails have appeared to be coming from the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children. The FBI had warned internet users and businesses regarding the same.
Management and executive members are highly vulnerable to this type of phishing attack. If a cybercriminal manages to get hold of the email credentials of someone, who belongs to the high-profile leadership, they will use that email address to target others.
In most cases, potential targets of email takeover include team members, customers, and colleagues. Fortunately, you will be able to stay away from phishing attempts through the following techniques.
How Can Businesses Avoid Phishing Emails
Businesses that implement proper security measures and use accurate tools will spot and prevent phishing attacks before they can become a concern for customers, employees, and the organization itself.
Install A Security Software System
One of the first things that businesses should do is install a reliable and efficient security software solution, your first line of defense against cyberattacks. Firewall programs, spam filters, and antivirus programs can help you prevent phishing attacks.
Regularly Update Software
Another important thing businesses need to do is ensure that they use the updated version of all software systems. The security patches in new software updates will considerably reduce the chance of falling prey to phishing scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends updating the following.
- Apps and internet browsers
- Operating system software
- Security software
Educating employees about different types of phishing attacks and training them on identifying such attacks is another simple tactic that can prevent phishing attacks. Unfortunately, several phishing attacks have happened because employees were tricked into opening and clicking malicious links on emails.
Install SSL Certificates
Businesses that want to secure the traffic to and from their site should consider installing SSL certificates. SSL certificates will protect the data transferred between the customers’ browsers and the webserver. That said, if you want to protect your business from phishing attacks, then it is best to opt for a S/MIME certificate.
A Beginner’s Guide To S/MIME Certificates
S/MIME (Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension) can be described as an email security protocol. S/MIME certificates are indeed called personal authentication certificates and email signing certificates. However, they serve two different purposes.
The first one is that S/MIME Certificates prevent unauthorized individuals from compromising, reading, or intercepting email contents when sitting on the email server and when in transit.
The second purpose of S/MIME Certificates is to ensure that email recipients can confirm the sender’s identity ( who they claim to be). It is crucial to remember that S/MIME Certificates achieve the things mentioned above through end-to-end encryption and a digital signature.
Here are a few more reasons to explain why it is best to buy and install S/MIME Certificates.
- They will protect your business against phishing scams
- Eliminate the chance of falling prey to man-in-the-middle attacks
- Prevents data exposure during data leaks and breaches
- Protects data of employees, clients, customers, and others who are sending emails to you or your business
- Enables your business to stay compliant with HIPAA, GDPR, and other industry regulations
Another important thing to note is that S/MIME Certificates are supported by most major email clients such as Gmail, Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, iPhone iOS Mail, and more.
How Can Employees Prevent Themselves From Phishing Emails
As mentioned earlier, businesses should give proper training to employees about phishing attacks and how dangerous they can be. Here are a few simple tips that will help employees and staff to avoid phishing scams or emails.
Beware of Emails From Unknown Senders
If employees in your organization receive emails from customers and the public for customer service or queries, then avoiding emails from unknown senders can be quite challenging. That said, spam filters can help you identify and avoid malicious emails.
If you receive a suspicious email, you can call the sender or forward it back to the sender instead of responding to the email to check its authenticity.
There are several other ways through which employees will be able to stay away from phishing attacks, and here are some of them.
- Beware of spoofing scams
- Avoid sharing personal information
- Pay attention to the content in emails
Properly educating your employees about the risk of phishing attacks and how to prevent them and ensuring your business has adequate security measures in place will help your business reduce the chance of phishing attacks.