Phishing is a type of social engineering technique and one of the most common forms of cyberattacks. Phishing is spread via emails, scam websites, and text messages where the perpetrator poses as a trusted entity. The fraudulent message lures the victim into clicking a link through which the attacker requests login credentials or confidential information.
In email phishing, the email content of a trusted entity is replicated to display a fraudulent message. Attackers use a lot of techniques to increase their success rate, such as using the same jargon, typefaces, logos and even signatures to make the email look legitimate. Additionally, phishing emails elicit a sense of urgency from the victim, pressuring them to make quick decisions that are more prone to error. The email may notify the user of a malware attack and demand that they download an application to recover their system.
However, when the user clicks the download link, the attacker tries to get access to their confidential information. When email phishing is used as part of a ransomware attack, the attacker sends out thousands of emails. Even a small percentage of clicks or downloads could gain the attacker a substantial amount of money.
In spear phishing, the attacker, does thorough research into the targeted individual or entity. This type of phishing requires in-depth knowledge of the organisation and its structure for penetrating the network. For instance, the attacker could impersonate an employee of the organisation and send an email to other employees to gain access to the organisation’s confidential data.
This type of phishing attack is carried out on a fake website that mimics a real one. Despite the user typing in the correct URL for the real site, the attacker redirects the user to the fraudulent site. These bogus sites are created to retrieve personally identifiable information, such as the login credentials of users.
Generally, phishing attackers make subtle mistakes that can be identified if the user is vigilant. Following the best practices below can also help you thwart these attacks or mitigate the damage.
Incorporate strict password policies
Organisations must require employees to follow strict password management policies to keep their systems and user accounts secure. It is good practice to change passwords regularly and not use the same password for multiple applications.
Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication prevents perpetrators from gaining access to an account by prompting another method of verification in addition to the username and password. This acts as an additional layer of security.
Conduct training sessions
Conducting regular training sessions for employees on phishing attacks and other cyberattacks helps them better identify fraudulent communications and report them.
Implement the right technology
As phishing is one of the most common forms of cyberattacks, all organisations need to equip themselves against it. Powerful IT management software can defend against the broad range of phishing attacks that target organisations. ManageEngine‘s comprehensive suite of IT management solutions, including Exchange Reporter Plus and Browser Security Plus, helps identify suspicious emails and prevents users from landing on infected pages, even if they click a malicious link.