Our emails happen to receive most spam messages online. They are usually harmless, and you can tell something’s up from a mile away. Hacking attempts, on the other hand, are challenging to detect and are potentially dangerous for your business. The difficulty is that they both appear to be (see this) identical.
While you may not know it, a malicious hacking attempt is made for every hundred messages sent. That may not seem like a prominent figure. Still, when thousands of messages are sent every day, the total adds up — especially when it only takes a one-click to an innocent-looking message in your email, and your private information can be hacked.
In fact, most significant cyberattacks and data breaches occur through emails, which are rotted in one specific phishing tactic: spear phishing. Check out networkassured.com to learn more on the common cybersecurity threats.
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What Is Spear Phishing?
In general, phishing is the deceptive practice of social engineering attacks. It is often used by sending masquerade emails from reputable companies or a trusted entity (like family members, financial institutions, or businesses) to get your personal information, such as login credentials and credit card numbers.
Both spear-phishing attacks and phishing emails both follow the same pattern, but the similarities end with the fraudulent strategy that they do to get your sensitive information. Regular phishing attacks are pretty common. They trawl the waters with a large net, hoping to catch anyone who falls for their trick (link: https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/spear-phishing).
On the other hand, spear phishing emails are carefully crafted to appear, sound, and feel legitimate in every way. They are sent explicitly to those with access to information that the hackers want to gain access to. It frequently happens to account employees, executives, lawyers, and a lot more.
This means it may use highly personal, detailed information for you. This could be your family, patient, client, financial institution, co-workers, etc. In fact, most spear-phishing scams are considered sophisticated these days.
When you receive one of these messages, you can expect it to contain a request for confidential information, such as a link to click on to change your password, an attachment to download, or a dupe request for sensitive employee data. Once you fall into their scam, they will have immediate access to your computer, and your organization will be compromised.
Steps To Prevent Falling Into Spear-Phishing Scams
1. Train Cybersecurity With Your Employees
Security breaches occur almost entirely as a result of a solitary click on a phishing email attachment. While no cybersecurity solution can guarantee 100 percent prevention, your employees must be trained to identify and avoid phishing scams. The majority of phishing attacks are carried out through email, voicemail, and text messages. And your employees are the first ones to be exposed to them.
It is worth noting that maintaining your cybersecurity system is a never-ending task. Monthly, or if not daily, a barrage of cyberattacks must be countered, and your approach to defending yourself against them must go beyond annual training sessions.
2. Install A Surveillance Software
You will never know when your system is hacked until it is compromised. So, keeping track of computer systems is what helps protect from spear phishing, after all. Let’s start with the first apparent reason: security.
Installing software that inspects all the employees’ logs and activities will be an excellent way to prevent phishing attacks. At the same time, the protection it provides wards off the viruses and malware, making the programs in your system run quickly and smoothly. You can clearly inspect what is happening – both good and bad – within and around your systems.
3. Keep All Your Systems Updated
The cyber-world is constantly shifting into several developments, all of which your IT infrastructure should be able to handle. While it may seem great for most businesses, not keeping up will make your systems more vulnerable to hacking attempts.
One of the most important reasons to update your software is to fix any security issues that may have arisen. The existence of vulnerabilities in particular software, which are sometimes caused by bugs, can alert hackers. In turn, it can be exploited to cause damage to your computer system and steal personal data.
Hence, you should install a filter to detect viruses, blank senders, and other malicious content to address this. If your system happens to catch one, of course, you will have the first line of defense for prevention (read here).
4. Always Check The Sender’s Email
Real businesses begin with real emails – and using email validation to ensure authenticity and quality is still the most effective way to ensure authenticity and quality. Especially when you’re flooded with emails, it’s critical to be selective about which ones you open and which ones you discard. Before you click, check the email of the sender.
The vast majority of cyber criminals pose as a company, and they are well-versed in a variety of deception techniques. Remember that you should never rely solely on the sender’s identity because phishing scams will make you believe they are legitimate. Most of the time, they change their display name to appear like an authentic source, but they use a different email address in reality.
For example, you may see email@example.com, but the sender uses a random email address, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, to entice you to open the message. The fact that most mobile users do not click on the sender’s name in its entirety makes it easier for hackers to scam you.
5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Real users won’t hesitate to give you their credentials during a transaction. By using multi-factor authentication, cybercriminals are prevented from accessing your system because they will be required to provide additional information about you that they don’t have access to.
For example, you have clicked the link they have sent. In a similar vein, a brute force or reverse brute force attack may successfully obtain a valid username and password. Still, the attacker is unaware of the additional authentication factors required by the MFA system, such as fingerprint or the answer to a personal security question.
You should also put in place additional procedures before confirming any monetary requests that come in via the internet.