Phishing is dangerous for you, your data and your business. Phishing is a global problem which can only be solved by uniting the efforts of both anti-phishing companies and specialists.
Let’s take a look at some facts:
- In the first quarter of 2018, almost 264,000 phishing websites were detected. It is 180,000 more than in the last quarter of 2017.
- In 2017, 1,579 data breaches were detected.
- Cybercrime costs exceeded $600,000 billion.
- It is estimated that the cost of a single successful phishing attack is $300,000.
As you can see, a simple message may cause a massive data breach and financial losses. Gigabytes of confidential data may get stolen just because of the indifference and lack of knowledge.
The more you know about phishing attacks, the easier it is for you to avoid the danger. We prepared this informative guide on how to avoid phishing attack ahead to increase your awareness and help you keep your company safe.
Identifying a Phishing Attack
How to keep safe from phishing? You need to follow two prevention principles:
- The potential phishing attack must be recognized immediately;
- It is vital to prevent the attack rather than dealing with the consequences.
Fast identification, along with security system improvements and attack prevention measures are your key to protecting your sensitive data. It is much easier to follow several simple rules than to deal with enormous troubles and financial losses from the attack.
Let’s start at the very beginning. There is a variety of definitions for describing phishing, but we would like to provide you with the most common and understandable one.
Phishing is a type of social engineering aimed at stealing private information using emails, malicious websites, or phone calls. Usually, a phishing attack looks like a message from your friend, colleague or organization you cooperate with. It contains a suspicious call to action, a request for help, a field where the recipient should enter some sensitive personal data.
Emails are the most commonly used means of communication for phishing, and according to stats, they are the most efficient. They may come from companies, institutions, stores, or people you used to communicate with don’t look suspicious at first glance. So, it is necessary to develop a strong skill in identifying such attacks for prevention purposes.
A fraudulent message will not harm your safety unless you take action described there. For example, you may be asked to provide your bank account details, ID, physical address, etc. If you enter this information, you let the attackers in and lose control over your data.
Let’s take one typical example. You get a letter from your bank. It says that there may be a potential data breach, so you must update your personal data. The link to the website is provided. You click on it, enter your name, surname, required credentials, and password. A popup saying “Thank you!” appears and it still seems like nothing went wrong. Later, when you try to pay with the card at a local mall, you discover that your bank account is empty. This is when you finally realize you got scammed.
Types of Phishing
To know how to detect phishing attacks, you should also be aware of what attacks you may face. The table below includes information on regular phishing we have briefly described above and spear phishing. Let’s see what they have in common and how they differ from each other.
|Typical Phishing||Spear Phishing|
|Shared goal: manipulating the person to get access to sensitive information|
|Contains general information;||Targeted attack;|
|Doesn’t mention the recipient’s name, friends or relatives, a field of occupation, company, etc.;||Personalized message; contains publicly available information about the recipient;|
|Easier to identify.||Harder to identify.|
Spear phishing is more dangerous than a typical scam. It uses a personal approach and seems more natural and more trustworthy to the recipient. In many cases, spear phishing is the first step towards damaging the whole organization, no matter how big it is, so its prevention is a matter of survival.
For instance, an Austrian company called FACC lost almost $47 million because of phishing! Its employees were asked to transfer money to a particular project which never existed. What is interesting, the scam letter looked precisely like the general corporate correspondence and impersonated the company’s CFO.
Fraudulent messages can take various forms from a few lines from your “mom” asking to send her a few hundreds of dollars to an official letter from the company’s CEO instructing to transfer a few million to an unknown bank account. You should make sure your employees can recognize attacks in both cases and more and guide them on how to act in every possible scenario – these are the vital anti-phishing measures.
How to Identify Phishing Attack
So, how can you identify a phishing attack? A few tips will help you to reveal the scam and with its prevention:
A Person You Know Is Asking for Help
A friend of yours sends a message saying he or she is in trouble in a foreign country and asks you to send some money. You may feel compassionate and transfer the money. However, would your friend write you in case of an emergency? Phone calls are a far more reliable way to let you know something happened.
Links from Organizations You Don’t Know
It may be a letter containing either some news or advertising and asking you to check some suspicious link. Just mark it as spam and never click on the provided link to the malicious website.
Emails from Banks or Insurance Companies
So, you have got a message like we described a few lines above. Someone asks for your bank account details or insurance number claiming to be your banking or insurance service provider. Make a short call to your bank or visit the office to find out what is the matter. You’ve likely faced scam, and your complaint will save other clients.
“Send $1,000,000 to this bank account. Otherwise, we will cause you trouble and harm your family”. This is an apparent fraud. The sender knows nothing about you or your family but tries to scare you and manipulate your feelings.
Confirmation of an Action
The text asks to confirm the action you’ve recently made on the web. You click on a link, download a suspicious file, or enter sensitive data, thus providing the offenders with your data. We highly recommend never doing that.
“You are the winner today!” “Open this link and get your $100,000”, “Your award is waiting for you” etc. are not your once-in-a-lifetime chances to win a grand prize. This is a typical scam. Never believe such letters and mark them as spam immediately.
Urgent Response Request
This type of scam may be confusing. Most eCommerce platforms use similar CTAs for their offers to sell more on Black Friday, for example. You need to make sure that the link provided leads to the reputable website you visited in the past, not to a fake one.
Phishing Attack Prevention
How to avoid phishing attack? When it seems like the message you have got may be potentially dangerous for you or your business, use this checklist to reach the right conclusion:
1. Check the Text, then Check Once More
The typical user doesn’t wait for a scam to hit him or her any minute. Casually checking your inbox, you don’t expect something to go wrong. So, every time you open an email from an unknown address, you should read it several times to make sure there is nothing risky. For prevention purposes, make sure there aren’t any malicious links hidden in the text; check every URL before opening it.
2. Get in Touch with the Sender
Nowadays, you can reach out to the person using multiple communication channels. How to prevent phishing attacks knowing this? If you get a suspicious message from people you know, invest some time in prevention measures – contact them, and make sure they sent it.
3. Keep the Confidential Information Safe
Never send your bank account details, passwords, or any other confidential information via email. Keep in mind that the offenders may not target you personally but your whole company instead.
4. Don’t Reveal Too Much on Facebook
This is an excellent answer to how to prevent attacks question. When creating spear-phishing messages, hackers use the information you publish on Facebook or Twitter and use your photos from Instagram or Skype status. So, don’t post too much information online. If you like sharing your thoughts and experience, provide only general information to avoid the attack.
Your sharp eye and detailed instructions for the employees may be life-saving. Quick anti-phishing tips and extra attention would be good ways to avoid phishing scams. However, how to build a “good to great” approach towards prevention? Anti-phishing services would be beneficial helpful here.
Anti-phishing service is a set of techniques used for phishing attack prevention. Over the years, those anti-phishing techniques have been changing to address new types of attacks. We have tried a lot of them, defined their advantages and disadvantages, compared them, and helped dozens of our clients secure their confidential data. Nowadays, most superb anti-phishing companies offer the following services:
This anti-phishing service uses the blacklist of malicious websites. Every time you receive a suspicious email, the software filters it, compares it to the existing data and decides whether it is worth your trust.
Multi-factor authentication belongs to the top anti-phishing tips. The user should take several steps have to confirm their identity for phishing prevention purposes. This anti-phishing security method is essential for banks and financial institutions.
Browser-Integrated Anti-Phishing Solutions
According to this anti-phishing method, a particular app or extension is installed on the users’ PC. The software tools protect both the device and the sensitive information stored in its memory.
The anti-phishing tools have access to the header and content. The software scans and analyzes them to determine whether it is phishing or not.
Your business website is bound to the number of similar sites. Every time you try to visit an unfamiliar website, the anti-phishing system warns you about it.
How much does anti-phishing cost? The anti-phishing price may vary depending on several factors:
- your business size,
- methods required to protect you from phishing,
- your anti-phishing services provider.
Phishing protection is a tricky multidimensional task. Nevertheless, the desired results and complete protection are obtainable. Your full attention, specific guides on how to prevent phishing for staff, and a reliable anti-phishing service provider is all you need to keep your business above the water.
Security is above anything else. So, keep moving towards the goal and let us know how our tips work for you.