If the Internet is the information highway, the easiest way to lose your way on it is through following a phishing hook. Whether you have faced an attack in personal or professional capacity or not, if you are connected to the Internet, you have to assume that you are under the attack radar at all times.
Phishing can essentially be defined as an attempt to trick or defraud users of sensitive information (particularly personal or professional credentials, passwords, credit card, medical records etc.) Although phishing attacks are generally large scale and target millions of users at any given time and the practice proves lucrative simply due to the sheer volume of accounts being compromised, phishing attacks can also be fine-tuned to specifically attack businesses or individuals possessing high value information about a business. This is called spear phishing.
According to the Symanetc Internet Security Threat Report 2019, spear-phishing emails are used by 65 percent of all known perpetrators involved in targeted cyber attacks.
The attacks can take the form of spoofed mail addresses and websites that look EXACTLY like a trusted source unless one pays very close attention or/ and getting users to unwittingly download malware on their system through spurious links.
While phishing attacks are only growing in volume and enhanced strategies used with each passing year and there is no foolproof protection; their very commonplace nature also makes them easy to guarded against – provided you have the right information and tool to prevent phishing attacks from happening or recurring.
How to avoid falling victim to phishing attacks
1. Educate your employees and conduct training sessions with mock phishing scenario
Perhaps the most common measure of protection, building awareness and educating your employees about phishing is also easily messed up. Management often ends up ‘talking at’ employees with few measures in place to gauge if they actually understand what’s involved or if they care. The easiest workaround around this is to conduct mock phishing sessions (with the help of qualified and experienced IT Security Services) that simulate actual work situations, strategies in place during and after the attack and even repercussions (for the organization and not individuals) that engage and prepare employees for real-world threats.
2. Enable spam filters that automate much of the spam detection and alerting users to suspicious sources.
The idea behind effective spa filtration is simple. If it’s not in your inbox, you can’t open suspicious mails. Fortunately for us, algorithms are getting smarter at recognizing spurious IDs and messages and are much less prone to distractions than human beings.
3. Keep all your personal and professional systems current with the latest security patches and updates.
Seems like common sense to prevent phishing attacks, right? And yet, most businesses and people get so caught up in their day-to-day flurry of activities that they hardly pay attention to this simple, but crucial step in protecting all your endpoints. The solution? Get an effective Managed IT Services provider like NCT on board to manage the endless cycles of updates and patches for all your software. That way, even if your employees are distracted, your systems stay protected.
4. Get quality antivirus protection and schedule signature updates. Monitor antivirus status actively.
Sometimes paying a little to get a quality product really helps safeguard against dangers much larger in scope. Nowhere is this truer than in ensuring quality antivirus protection. Please don’t ‘free’ software that will likely sell your data to keep profit margins, or worse, be completely ineffective at protecting you against most attacks.
5. Build a comprehensive security policy that includes password expiration and complexity and even goes beyond.
Effective password management is key to ensuring good safety hygiene practices. Make sure your policies remain user-friendly, yet effective. Your policy should ideally extend beyond just guiding users on ideal password complexity and expiration and play into the larger security framework of the organization. Your Managed IT Security Services provider should be able to help you build a future proof policy that safeguards against potential vulnerabilities.
6. Deploy a web filter to block malicious websites.
Net nanny? Given the barrage of attacks in 2020, a net nanny is well warranted especially for junior employees of the organization, although it can be equally as effective in the higher echelons!
7. Encrypt all sensitive company information.
This should go without saying. Whether your data is at rest or in motion, there is no reason to risk its privacy by keeping it open. Encrypt your data at all times and follow tiered access to relevant information policies to provide higher degrees of security for sensitive data.
8. Convert HTML to text only email messages or disable HTML email messages.
HTMLs provide unnecessary leeway to potential attackers and text-only email messaging is much easier for users to parse through for any anomalies or suspicious activities.
9. Require encryption for employees that are telecommuting.
With remote work and anywhere operations likely to stay in vogue till the flag end of 2021, businesses need to enable employees to work from anywhere and at any time. This also means securing lines of communication through encryption and more so sensitive business information stays secure no matter where it’s accessed.
10. Enforce multi-factor authentication to build in multiple layers of defences against penetration attempts
As a business in the US, you are likely to experience hundreds, if not thousands of daily ‘probes’ on your digital assets. The best way to secure access for employees and partners to those assets lie in enforcing multi-factor authentication, so your system remains secured even if attackers manage to penetrate a single layer of defence, say through a stolen password.
How NCT can help you win the war against phishing attacks
Phishing attacks are an everyday reality for businesses and one you should never take lightly – even if the attack appears to have ‘failed’. It means your business is targeted and can be attacked on a much larger/ using more advanced strategies very soon. Get the digital security help you need today.
NCT is the most reputed name in IT Security Services across USA. We have been actively involved in preventing some of the large scale and highly advanced attacks against businesses throughout the country.
Give us a call today to prevent phishing attacks and safeguard your business, data, employees, partners and of course, customers.