PHISHING ATTACK AND PREVENTION

What is a Phishing Attack?

A phishing attack is a type of social engineering attack where a cybercriminal tries to trick a user or employee into imparting sensitive information such as their login credentials, corporate credentials, IDs and passwords.

Utilizing this information these hackers can gain access to the user’s operating system, steal financial information and leak valuable company data.

The scary part is, 90% of all data breaches between 2019-2020 are as a result of phishing campaigns conducted by cyber attackers.

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Global Statistics on Phishing Attacks

According to detailed analysis by cybersecurity professionals worldwide:

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93%of all cyber attacks between 2019-2020 were either directly or indirectly related to phishing

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83% of all leading companies in 2019 elucidated that they faced several phishing attacks in 2019

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90% of the employees in an organization face difficulties while identifying a phishing email.

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30% out of all the phishing emails that are sent to trick employees are clicked on and opened.

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66% of the total number of malware installations into the operating system of your company is as a result of phishing emails with fraudulent links sent to employees.

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In 2020, the healthcare industry is the most adversely affected industry due to phishing.

Did you know that phishing emails have shockingly increased by 667% since
the pandemic?

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Importance of Phishing Awareness
Among Employees

Cybersecurity solutions are of no importance unless the employees of a company are equally cyber-aware and informed about attack vectors. Cyber attackers send phishing email attachments to employees seeking vulnerabilities and manipulating them into giving up their corporate credentials.

Did you know that a global survey conducted by security analysts has revealed that 1 among every 99 emails sent to a user or employee is a phishing email?

For a CISO to transform the employees of an organization into a sturdy and unwavering barrier against impending cyber
threats, adequate knowledge imparting sessions on phishing attacks is the need of the hour.

Different types of Phishing Strategies

Cybercriminals implement various types of phishing strategies to weaken employees into disclosing login credentials
and passwords. The following are the most infamous types of phishing attacks launched in recent times:

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Email phishing

Your employee may receive an email from a malicious sender ID, impersonating some familiar company official or popular brand, including a call to action message enclosing a URL for a phished landing page. On the page, the concerned person would be asked to fill their corporate credential. This subsequently provides the hacker with a gateway into the company’s confidential databases, finances, and assets.

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Man-in-the-middle

Sometimes the cyber attacker might be present in between the original website and phishing system. This way during an ongoing transaction, the attacker extracts valuable information regarding the details of the transaction and the user’s personal details as the user communicates with the original website. This is by far one of the most sophisticated hacking techniques.

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Content manipulation

Sometimes cyber attackers may manipulate and alter a section of the content on an authentic website and then use it to trick employees to wander outside the website through fraudulent links and end up on phished landing pages.

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Phishing links

Cybercriminals use fraudulent links via email attachments to scam employees into getting redirected to fake pages where they can perpetrate the attack by asking them to fill up their personal or corporate credentials.

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Injection of Malware

Hackers perpetrate attacks by manipulating users to download malware into their operating systems via phishing activities. Malicious software starts automatically installing when clicked on phishing links.

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Differentiate between an authentic email address and a phished email address

If an employee is wary enough, it is possible to detect a phishing attack and prevent it from taking place via noticeable features in the sender ID and email content.

  • Always pay attention to the sender ID since attackers make very minor changes to trick employees.
  • Always confirm the domain name in the sender id.
  • Ensure that the mail has a validated subject.
  • Ensure that email has grammatically correct and relevant content within it.

Differentiate between an authentic webpage and a phished webpage

An employee has the power to differentiate between a fake landing page and an authentic one by keeping in mind certain attributes.

  • Hover on hyperlinks within the email to verify if the link is actually redirecting you to the mentioned URL.
  • Always make sure that the webpage is secure over HTTPS.
  • Please keep in mind that organizational ids and passwords must never be submitted on external platforms.
  • Try clicking on the hyperlinked sections within the webpage since most of the hyperlinks are either absent or do not work on phished webpages.
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How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

While certain sophisticated social engineering attacks are not perpetrated via human interaction, phishing attacks can
be prevented from taking place by keeping a few simple aspects in mind:

Usage of Strong Passwords

Hackers can make use of weak and easily predictable passwords in order to hack into your system and access valuable information. Hence making sure that passwords are complex, intricate, and not linked to any personal details such as name, date of birth, address, etc. is imperative.

  • Keeping operating systems and devices locked at all times, when away from your workstation can help ensure security at the workplace.
  • Employees should always steer clear of any email that sounds “too good to be true” or comes from an inauthentic source.
  • Devices should never be permitted to automatically join unfamiliar networks.
  • Maintain a robust workplace security policy.
  • Invest in solutions that would help prevent phishing attacks.
  • Encourage employees to keep software updated to the latest version.
  • Do not click on suspicious-looking URLs and links.
  • Consult with security analysts and experts.
  • Indulge in effective phishing awareness training programs to educate your employees and keep them alert and attentive regarding phishing websites and emails.
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Why avail a phishing awareness training program?

Employees in an organization are usually ill-informed about cyber attacks and security-related problems. They are unaware of the latest trends and techniques used by cybercriminals, and hence they easily fall prey to impending threats. Without spreading awareness among employees adequately, it is impossible for an organization to protect their assets and finances from hackers. Consulting with security analysts and experts so as to avail a well-rounded phishing awareness training program can help educate employees regarding phishing attacks and their preventive measures. The program includes 3 comprehensive steps for complete cybersecurity awareness and training:

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Simulation 1.0

To perpetrate the first round of dummy phishing attack on employees

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Knowledge imparting session

Imparting details knowledge on phishing attack and prevention via video advisories, presentations, and lectures.

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Evaluation and Assessment

Regular cumulative assessments are conducted to ensure that the employees are making improvements while handling phishing attacks.

Gain Deeper Insights into Phishing Attacks

Recent News on Phishing Attacks

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18th August 2020
Chinese companies’ gambling rackets meant for phishing attacks?

While China and India are suffering from internal feuds between them, gambling websites allegedly being run by Chinese companies are experiencing increased traffic on the web. These websites are being used to phish users into giving up personal credentials and gaining access to their operating systems and subsequently their financial assets.

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18th August 2020
Punjab Police issues alert on phishing attack linked to COVID-19

Punjab police have recently raised concerns regarding phishing attacks being perpetrated via malicious internet portals, luring users with free COVID-19 relief packages worth 2000 INR. The users are being asked their personal credentials to steal financial information from them.

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18th August 2020
Millions in India could be targeted by phishing attacks soon: Govt

In the garb of free COVID-19 tests, cybercriminals from China are trying to infiltrate operating systems and devices of Indian users by conducting phishing attacks via fraudulent login pages asking for confidential data. When the users are logging in with their personal credentials and passwords, these attackers are gaining easy access into the financial information of the vulnerable citizens.