Effective Strategies for Phishing Protection: A Practical Guide for Businesses
We’re living in a century where fishing isn’t just about casting a line and waiting for a nibble. Ever got that email claiming you won the lottery in a country you’ve never been to? Or maybe that urgent message from your bank asking for all your sensitive info? Yeah, we’ve all been there.
And let’s face it, scammers are getting pretty good at it. We mean, the cyber security statistics are screaming it out loud! According to the Anti-phishing Working Group, 2021 hit a record high, and it’s not slowing down. We’re talking triple the trouble since 2020.
But hey, don’t hit panic mode just yet. There’s a way to armor up against scammers, and it’s called phishing prevention. So, in the article, we’re examining the cyber equivalent of keeping your doors locked and windows shut.
Recognizing Common Phishing Tricks
Alright, let’s talk about the dirty tricks phishers use to mess with our digital lives. The most common ones are:
- Email Phishing;
- Spear Phishing;
Of course, we will share some straight-up info on the scams you might run into.
What’s email phishing? Scammers send you messages pretending to be your bank, your boss, or maybe even your long-lost relative. Click a dodgy link or open a sketchy file, and your info is in the wrong hands. To counteract such efforts and verify the authenticity of an email sender, employing a reverse email lookup tool can prove to be a highly effective measure.
“If the sender looks legitimate but something still seems off, don’t open any attachments and mouse or hover over any hyperlinks in the body of the email and look at the URL the link points to … If it doesn’t seem like a legitimate destination, do not click on it.” – Jess Burn, senior analyst at Forrester Research
Ever got an email that feels way too personal? That’s spear phishing.
These scammers do some homework, find out stuff about you (your pet’s name, your favorite pizza topping, etc.), and then hit you with a tailored attack. So get ready for an attack that makes you wonder if your whole life’s an open book.
Whaling goes after the big shots, CEOs, and top dogs. They’re not interested in your regular bait; they want the big whales, the ones with the keys to the company vault.
5 Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks in Your Business
Of course, we’ve prepared top tips on what to implement first to keep your business and team safe online.
Arm Your Team
Equip your team with the know-how to thwart phishing attacks. Here’s the crash course:
- Know the Enemy. Educate on various phishing forms – emails, texts, calls;
- Spot the Red Flags. Train them to spot urgency, suspicious sender addresses, and info requests – the classic signs of a phishing email;
- Click Smart. Instill a “think before you click” mindset;
- Popup Defense. Teach how to block popups and ads – they can be gateways for cyber threats;
- Guard Secrets. Emphasize no info giveaways without verification;
- Email Hygiene. Treat emails like suspicious packages: don’t blindly open attachments and verify sender authenticity;
- Report Suspicions ASAP. Encourage reporting.
End-to-end encryption turns your data into a secret code. Only those who are meant to understand it can, and everyone else sees gibberish. Why does it matter? E2EE makes it hard for others to access your private details like passwords or credit card info.
Here are a few examples of End-to-End encrypted tools you might find useful:
- What it is: Email service with automatic encryption;
- Why it’s useful: Messages are encrypted automatically.
- What it is: Messenger with E2EE for text messages and calls;
- Why it’s useful: It ensures the privacy of your conversations.
DMARC is all about protecting your organization from phishing and email spoofing. It lets you decide which mail servers can send emails to your domain. Basically, DMARC isn’t just blocking phishing attacks, but it definitely helps you with email security.
DMARC doesn’t work alone. It teams up with SPF and DKIM to make sure the sender’s domain is real and valid. What happens if a message fails the DMARC check? Well, that’s up to you. You can label it as spam, reject it, or quarantine it.
To get DMARC in your corner, create a DMARC record in your domain’s DNS. Set your email policy (maybe reject all unauthenticated messages?) and tell receiving servers to shoot DMARC reports your way.
Ever heard of simulated phishing attack tests? You send out fake phishing emails to your crew, see who spots the scam, and who takes the bait. No pointing fingers, just figuring out where you need to tighten things up.
It’s not just about the team or virtual assistant, though. In this way, you’re also checking if your security tools (email filters and anti-phishing setups) are up to snuff. So, running these drills makes your team sharper, more aware, and ready to deal with phishing head-on.
Phishing-Resistant Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Phishing-Resistant Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a real helper too. It’s changing the way we keep our digital stuff safe. Well, it was designed specifically to tackle phishing attacks.
MFA sets a new standard by making sure every login requires deliberate action. So, it wipes out risks tied to passwords or shared secrets, going beyond what regulations demand.
Take the FIDO authenticator, for example. It combines strong protection with a user-friendly experience.
So you probably think that it is just about locking down systems. But in fact, it’s about making sure people are who they say they are. By fitting smoothly with Single Sign-On solutions, Phishing-Resistant MFA finds that nice spot between security and making things easy for users.
Essentials and Upgrades: Navigating Email Security
Every organization needs the basics – antivirus and anti-malware tools. And it’s a must to keep them updated.
Cloud email security solutions take it up a notch. Platforms like Microsoft 365 Defender and Cisco Secure Email are solid examples of cloud email marketing software. They can spot threats smartly and keep an eye on things in real time. So, it helps guard against today’s cyber attacks. These added features are critical if you want to keep your online space safe. Isn’t it your main goal? Essentials and upgrades in email security are paramount for safeguarding sensitive information. Implementing robust measures includes encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular user training. Cloud management software enhances these defenses by providing centralized control and real-time monitoring, ensuring a proactive approach to identifying and mitigating potential threats in the evolving landscape of email security.
In the table, you will find a few more cloud email security solutions that may be of use here:
|Cloud Email Security Solutions
|Microsoft 365 Defender
|Advanced threat detection and response, Real-time monitoring, Integration with Microsoft 365 services
|Cisco Secure Email
|Intelligent threat detection, Real-time threat analytics, Integration with Cisco’s broader security ecosystem
|Email filtering and protection against phishing attacks, Advanced threat intelligence, Cloud-based secure email gateway
|Symantec Email Security
|Multi-layered threat protection, Behavioral analytics for anomaly detection, Integration with broader Symantec security solutions
|Barracuda Email Security
|AI-driven protection against spear-phishing and cyber fraud, Real-time threat intelligence, Cloud-based email filtering and encryption
|Sophos Email Security
|Anti-phishing and anti-spam features, Advanced threat protection, Cloud-based email security with data loss prevention
So, we’ve covered the basics, from recognizing phishing tricks to boosting defenses with encryption, DMARC, and simulated tests. All of this is just the tip of the iceberg in tackling this issue. However, the actions described will already be enough to protect yourself and your business from the majority of attacks.
Ideally, business owners should collaborate actively with their development team. They know the enemy inside out and are aware of what to expect. So, tasking them with ensuring real data security is a must for all business owners.
Don’t have an in-house team? From the very first days of running your business, consider reaching out to a contractor team that will help you implement all the solutions mentioned – that’s our advice.