The emergence of digital transformation has disrupted the Internet domain quite significantly with an increased number of sophisticated phishing-based scams.
Nearly 2.5 decades back, in 1996, phishing attacks involved tricking people through messages that seemed to be authenticated sources.
People today often fall into such scams by sharing their account details along with other payment-related information. These strategies might have become outdated, but phishing continues to be the ‘popular’ method of getting fooled easily.
Phishing attacks have now evolved from simpler messaging baits and tricks to more threatening emails. There are no halts or techniques for preventing the rise of phishing scams through the means of email containing fake and malicious IDs.
Hackers continuously look to penetrate into email conversations with the past and attack compromised email accounts. Hackers also reply to such mail threads containing malicious links or attachments with the dark intent of gaining access to a company’s confidential information.
Over time, these cyberattackers have become more precise while targeting their potential victims. Spear phishing attacks are directed at individuals to target them, observe their online activities, and also imitate the websites that individual visits. Talking about the whaling attack is more precise, as the targets for any whaling attacks are top-management executives of a company.
Both the methods- spear-phishing and whaling attacks involve an extensive amount of research on their targets. Logically, there exists a very fine line of difference between these two attack methods.
Spear phishing attacks are targeted more towards individuals, whereas whaling attacks target the top executives of any company. Scammers deploy whaling attacks to gain access to a company’s critical information ranging from trade secrets to admin account details of the company.
Today’s digital age demands using advanced technologies such as IoT, AI, and Cloud; security continues to be a major concern. In the current situation, when most of us are working remotely and no one wishes to fall victim to phishing scams.
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Preventive Measures for Protection Against Phishing Scams
After understanding the basics of phishing attacks and their type, the following are different ways in which an organization can secure its digital presence –
1. Creating Awareness Training Program:
Any organization’s cybersecurity is a necessary measure as its employees hold the weakest link for any cyberattack to take place. A security breach can arise due to simple human negligence, rather than an external cyberattack. Companies must compulsorily invest in cybersecurity awareness programs and carry out regular training.
The employees need to be well-educated about the current phishing trends and approaches to follow in case a phishing attack has been identified in the company. These training sessions should also make sure that employees are using software and other extensions only from trusted sources.
Besides training against cyberattacks, companies should also emphasize creating strong password policies in their organization. Cybersecurity strategies must be implemented along with multi-factor authentication to protect crucial business data against the OWASP Top-10 Vulnerabilities.
2. Installing Anti-Phishing Toolbars:
The domain experts reveal that a huge portion of the Internet consumers in an organization often fail to detect sophisticated phishing mail. Using an anti-phishing tool can be an extremely comprehensive solution that gives detailed information about the website that a user surfs on the Internet.
Such a toolbar can secure crucial business information by performing timely checks of the visited websites and comparing them with the most commonly identified phishing sites existing in their databases. When browsing the Internet, if the user visits a malicious website, then such a toolbar can alert the user with a warning alert.
Usually, such toolbars are provided by common web browsers at no additional cost. In order to secure an organization’s essentials, the key decision-makers in these organizations must mandatorily install such an anti-phishing toolbar for keeping track of website security.
Besides alerting the user, such anti-phishing toolbars also verify the content of emails being exchanged, attachment files, along with other essential information for securing the digital presence from any web spoofing or phishing attack.
Also, using vulnerability scanning tools like VTMScan regularly notifies the user about any security breach and secures user websites and other digital assets from all forms of security breaches.
3. Use Web Application Firewalls:
Whenever a user leverages web application firewalls, it serves as a barrier to preventing all phishing-related scams. Business organizations use WAFs as a defence mechanism between their websites and the Internet traffic, by protecting their digital presence against malicious intruders.
The internet traffic comprises malicious requests that include spoofed emails, messages, and even offers coming from malicious websites. Therefore, deploying a WAF helps in safeguarding an organization’s digital presence from cybersecurity attacks and malicious cyber attackers.
The inevitable component of web application security includes identifying the patches in the vulnerabilities of applications and servers and restricting malicious actors from exploiting such security loopholes. Leading WAF providers like eNlight WAF are designed as smart and Cloud-hosted WAF that help in protecting web applications from such online threats and attacks.
4. Detect Possible Threats Using AI and ML:
Cyber threats are getting more sophisticated every day and also growing at a much faster rate. AI, along with ML, can be used for analyzing user behaviour and proactive detection of threats. Leveraging the combined benefits of AI and ML can aid an organization in combating various cyberattacks.
Such technologies help in finding anomalies along with warning indicators for phishing in emails. AI can scan the email content based on its context and then compare it with past phishing scams.
The rise of the modern digital era has disrupted the Internet, with more users getting connected to it. The growth of the Internet has offered new approaches for hackers to enter the mail conversations and get away with critical data. Lastly, if one wants to secure their organization’s digital presence, the steps mentioned above can be beneficial.
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Guest author: Rishabh Sinha is passionate about writing articles on the latest technological trends such as Business, Big Data, IoT, Cloud, AI, ML, Cyber Security. In his leisure time, he loves to read about technology and the latest trends that are changing human and technology ecosystems.