It is believed that 91% of all cyber-attacks start with a spear-phishing email. The statistics is not surprising as people open 3% of their spam emails leading to a whopping 70% of spear-phishing attempts.
The аttеmрtѕ аrе nоt еxресtеd to dwindle, not with thе аdvаnсеmеntѕ in tесhnоlоgу whiсh соntinuаllу ѕhоw uѕ thе power оf dаtа. Thе оnlу wау tо соmbаt this mеnасе iѕ tо arm organizations with thе necessary knоwlеdgе and tооlѕ.
Imagine your customers’ medical or financial records leaked or manipulated or a malware introduced into your system and you don’t realize until too late the damage done, imagine the destruction and damage which will follow.
To avoid that reality, prevention is the only cure.
How it works
Few people would ignore an email, from a colleague or a boss, requiring immediate or important actions.
Fewer still, would think to check, for confirmation, with the sender before taking the required action. On these two premises is the criminal act of spear-phishing strengthened.
Spear-Phishing, unlike phishing which is a random move hoping to catch unsuspecting people, is targeted and personal.
There is no doubt that the mail was made for you by someone who knows you, so it conveniently removes the layer of distrust and suspicion. Not only is it targeted, it is also believable.
Spear-Phishing attackers put the work in; they do their ‘assignment’ and know what they are talking about. They sound familiar and intentional so you don’t have to second guess what you are expected to do.
The attacked is used as an entrance into the organization and access to private information is gotten or a malware is introduced.
While the attack comes with a familiar feel, the effect which is usually dangerous, is not familiar.
This is why extra precautions should be taken by organizations to avoid phishing attacks, and be trained to recognize spear-phishing attempts.
Many times, an email is received with some feeling of urgency from a colleague or a boss, requiring an action of filling in details or following a link or divulging information. Once this is done, the attackers are in and the targeted suspects nothing so the damage goes on until it is too late. That is the major way of operation.
What to do
Train users to recognize these attempts. They should also report suspected attempts as soon as possible.
Be wary of emails that need you to take action. It doesn’t hurt to do two-step verifications by calling the assumed sender and asking if the mail was from them.
Painstakingly crosscheck the email addresses or website; there are usually tweaks which won’t be recognized except they are searched for.
Be conscious of how much information you leave on social media as that is the major place to get enough information about people. This information is used to stage as people, and many people can’t notice a difference.
The rise of the digital age makes data gold. Protect your data and help protect your customers’ data by being vigilant.
Everyone in the organization should be alert and cautious. Crosschecking and confirming emails seem to be the only way to avoid being the doorway of the phishing criminals.
From cyberattacks, prevention is the cure.