Social engineering, by far, is the greatest component in nasty hacking operations. So how do we stop these malevolent cyber activities? Phishing emails is how!
Virtually every effective email cyberattack needs the potential victim to click on a link or open an attachment.
To compromise systems and software, a small portion of incidents depend on exploit kits and well-known vulnerabilities. But human intervention is needed for several campaigns to be successful. Such interactions can also activate macros to run some type of nasty code meant to infect, propagate, and harm your enterprise.
Sophisticated Phishing Emails
Playing the blame game on users is no longer acceptable, nor has it ever, but especially nowadays. Even tech-savvy users and IT professionals are becoming prey to these cyber predators.
Attacks are more creative and planned than ever before. It has become very difficult to identify a nefarious email from a legit one. These online attackers go to great extents to make the email look as if it is from a familiar and reliable source. They will often imitate companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. They may even imitate coworkers and people you know through their research online and social engineering.
Social Engineering in Phishing Attacks
A very key element in cyberattacks is social engineering. Cyber villains will research online social networking profiles of employees, like Facebook and Twitter profiles, posts, and contacts. They will also look for patterns in the business operations and daily routines so they can exploit the lapses in operational security.
An email at 1 AM from a team member may receive a squinted eye from a cyber-savvy user. However, emails during the normal working hours from a team member are rarely scrutinized.
Example: Your company sends out an email at the same time every morning with the cafeteria menu or company updates. If this is discovered by the cyber devils, they may look to imitate the source of these emails using spoofed names, addresses, etc.
We all hear about phishing emails. Users are educated regularly, through company training and awareness from the day to day horror stories in the news. So why do we keep hearing about them? It is because phishing continues to work. This attack vector is easy and cheap for attackers to use.
Phishing is a very effective, easy to deploy, and profitable for the cyber ass hats. Sending phishing emails, then stealing credentials and using them to upload those nasty infected attachments on-premise or in the cloud just continues to work well. It is much more utilized because of expensive, time-consuming exploits that have the odds stacked against it and a large chance of failing.
Users Are Your Final Protective Line
To mitigate risk, organizations need to think beyond layered defenses and security toolsets and appliances. The enterprise will require a holistic attitude toward cybersecurity. They need to make everyone in the organization understand, that as users, they are the final protective measure. Of course, this includes realistic and worthwhile cyber awareness training that is targeted for specific groups of users.
While many phishing attacks are designed to look highly legitimate, there are ways to identify what could potentially be a malicious attack. We talk about those and offer up more tips in 6 Expedient Ways to Ensure Your Business Stays Safe in another one of our posts. Give it a look for some more information and training ideas.
Do you have different suggestions and comments regarding phishing emails? If that is the case, I kindly request that you share them. You may leave your comments, ideas, and queries below, or Contact Us.
Would you like to start receiving articles like this and other related to ITSM, IT Policy, IT Consulting, and other IT service management related information today? – START HERE!