Common security threats – Phishing

The first key to any effective security game plan is knowing what you’re up against. We decided to share some of our knowledge and create for you a set of short, informative but simple blogs where you’ll learn all about ten of the most common threats your company is likely to face. While by no means comprehensive, these blogs can help you better understand some of the tactics being directed against you and your users, along with the specific reasons you’re potentially vulnerable to each.

From phishing to ransomware to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, the more you know about these threats, the better. They’re some of the leading causes of data breaches, downtime, and a severe lack of sleep 🙂

What is it?

Any attempt to compromise a system and steal information by tricking a user into responding to a malicious message. The most common phishing attacks involve emails armed with malware hidden in attachments or links to infected websites. However, phishing can be conducted via other methods such as voicemail, text messages, and social media, too.

What makes protection a challenge?

For one thing, employees are already in the habit of clicking things because that’s how you interact with modern computers. For another, phishing emails are much more sophisticated than they used to be. Scammers can take over legitimate email accounts or spoof their email addresses to make it look like messages are coming from someone employees’ trust. Once a victim is tricked and becomes compromised, the attacker now has their access credentials. They can reach all the same servers, log into the same web applications, and download the same files as if they were that employee. The challenge with protecting against this is you need to limit what servers employees can access or how they can access them. Some times may run counter to what they need to do their jobs. Additionally, even if you train employees to be on the lookout for suspicious emails, some phishing attacks can be extremely targeted and look just like any other email from a trusted source who is being impersonated. The most convincing examples of these “spear-phishing attacks” don’t provide any red flags until it’s too late.

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