Five top ways to prevent phishing attacks
Cyber attacks are on the increase, and it is vital to protect yourself and your business against the rising security threats. For most companies, the employees are the weakest security link, leaving the company open to potential attacks and breaches. Over 90% of cyber attacks start with a phishing email, and recent studies suggest that the fastest growing security threat to businesses is no longer malware but impersonation email attacks.
The reason employees are often the weakest link in your security is due to human error, and cyber attackers have learnt it is easier to trick someone into revealing secure information such as logins and passwords, rather than trying to exploit a secure system. The number of impersonation email attacks sent has increased by 50% quarter-over-quarter compared with malware and harmful files being sent rising by 15%. This means your business is seven times more likely to be subject to an impersonation email attack than a malware attack.
The figures are staggering, and even still there are thousands of companies out there who are not doing everything they can to protect themselves against phishing emails. The most common type of phishing emails is spear phishing; a highly targeted scam email that is sent to a business or individual. If the cybercriminal does enough research into an individual or business, spear phishing can be very effective, and research has shown that 97% of individuals can be tricked by a spear phishing email attack. Here are some of the top 5 ways to avoid phishing emails and protect your business.
Invest In Your Systems
One of the best ways to protect your business from phishing emails is to prevent them from getting through to your employees in the first place. There are many technological approaches to avoid phishing attacks, such as powerful filters and protection systems. Implementing a smart security system can help to identify phishing emails and block them from being received by your employees.
This is a great place to start when it comes to avoiding phishing emails, but even the best technology can’t detect every single phishing email. There will always be some that slip through the filters, so it is vital to have other precautions in place as well.
Educate Your Employees
As personnel are often the biggest downfall for a company’s security, it is essential that they are provided with appropriate training and knowledge to protect themselves against phishing emails. While many phishing emails are poorly written and easy to detect, there are often highly sophisticated attacks that are much more difficult to spot.
To properly protect your business against phishing emails you should develop an effective security education programme to raise awareness among staff of the growing cyber threats.
One very effective method to identify the weak links in your security and determine where further training is required is to send phishing emails to your employees. Craft an email based on the kind of ones that your employees do receive and then measure for these main four metrics: clicking on the link, opening attachments, reporting the email and response time.
After the ‘attack’, discuss the results of the tests with your employees; it is usually best to keep results anonymous or break them down by department or team to avoid employees feeling like they are being individually called out. Your goal with this exercise should be to raise awareness and educate your employees, not to embarrass them.
Develop A Strict Protocol
Ensure you have a strict and well thought out protocol in place for phishing attacks. Encourage all employees to report all attacks or potential attacks immediately so that they can be dealt with effectively and quickly.
Make it clear that every employee can ask for help if they think they might have been a victim of a phishing email attack and be sure never to punish staff if they do get caught out; it will only discourage your employees from reporting the attacks in future. Once an attack has been reported, take steps to scan the affected devices for malware and change all passwords as soon as possible.
Review Your Digital Footprint
Cybercriminals will use information that is publicly available about your business and employees to make phishing emails more convincing. This information can be found on your website and social media accounts and is known as your digital footprint. Carefully consider what information is necessary for your website visitors and what could be used by potential attackers.
It is also vital to offer support and training to your employees on how to best manage their digital footprint; you should not expect them to remove themselves from the internet entirely but help them understand what information isn’t necessary to share.
Increase your phishing protection with Cyan Solutions
At Cyan Solutions we can develop robust IT security to reduce the risk and prevent cyber attacks. If you would like friendly advice on how to increase your IT security, talk to our experts now.