From ransomware to SolarWinds, the cybersecurity space has been as hectic as it has ever been over the last 12-24 months. However, for all the emerging threats and news that are cropping up on the horizon, phishing -- one of the oldest pain points in cybersecurity -- continues to wreak havoc quietly and is as big of a threat as it has ever been.
Despite often being overlooked in the hype, phishing has been a mainstay in the cybersecurity threat landscape for decades. Forty-three percent of cyberattacks in 2020 featured phishing or pre-texting, while 74 percent of US organizations experienced a successful phishing attack last year alone. That means that phishing is one of the most dangerous “action varieties” to an organization’s cybersecurity health. As a result, the need for proper anti-phishing hygiene and best practices is an absolute must.
With that in mind, here are a few quick best practices and tips for dealing with phishing threats.
Know the Red Flags
Phishes are masters of making their content and interactions appealing. However, from content design to language, it can be difficult to discern whether the content is genuine or a potential threat, which is why it is so important to know the red flags. Awkward and unusual formatting, overly explicit callouts to click a hyperlink or open an attachment and subject lines that create a sense of urgency are all hallmarks that the content you received could be potentially from bad actors and that it should be handled with caution.
Verify the Source
Phishing content comes in various ways; however, many phishers will try to impersonate someone you may already know -- such as a colleague, service provider, or friend -- to trick you into believing their malicious content is trustworthy. Please do not fall for it. If you sense any red flags that something may be out of place or unusual, reach out directly to the individual to confirm whether the content is authentic and safe. If not, break off communication immediately and flag the incident through the proper channels.
Be Aware of Vishing and Other Phishing Offshoots
As more digital natives have come online and greater awareness has spread about phishing, bad actors have begun to diversify their phishing efforts beyond traditional email. For example, voice phishing -- or vishing -- has become an alternative for bad actors looking to gain sensitive information from unsuspecting individuals. Like conventional phishing, individuals posing as a legitimate organization, such as a healthcare provider or insurer. The call from a native language individual seems perfectly legitimate and they ask for sensitive information. Simply put, individuals must be wary of any communication that asks for personal information, whether via email, phone, or chat -- especially if the communication is unexpected. If anything seems suspicious, break off the interaction immediately and contact the company directly to confirm the integrity of the communications.
Phishing may be “one of the oldest tricks in the book,” but it is still incredibly effective. And although it may be hard to spot when your busy at work it is important that you exercise caution and deploy these few fundamentals. Individuals and organizations can reduce the chances of falling victim to a phishing attack.
TCS can help train you staff on the red flags and what to look out for. If you are interested in our cybersecurity awareness training call us today, 336.804.8449 or fill out a form for a consultation.