Spear-phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common, and businesses of all sizes are at risk. In this blog post, we will explore the facts about spear-phishing attacks and how you can protect your business from them. From understanding the anatomy of a spear-phishing attack to implementing best practices for detecting and thwarting them, read on to learn everything you need to know about this growing threat.
What is Spear-phishing?
Spear-phishing is a type of cyber attack where hackers use specially crafted emails, typically with links to malicious websites or attachments, to attempt to steal user credentials or infect computers with viruses. According to Kaspersky Lab, spear-phishing attacks are carried out by sophisticated criminals who are well aware of the latest security threats and know how to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems. In 2016, Kaspersky Lab researchers found that spear-phishing was the leading type of cyber attack targeting organizations around the world.
Every day, according to a study published by ThreatConnect, spear-phishing attacks are launched against businesses representing a broad range of sectors including technology, finance, healthcare and government. The study found that 76% of all victims were targeted more than once during the course of an attack. In addition, 63% of all victims reported that their organization’s email system was compromised as part of a spear-phishing campaign.
The Different Types of Spear-phishing Attacks
There are a variety of spear-phishing attacks that cybercriminals use to exploit businesses. The three most common are email spoofing, where the sender’s email address and content is different from the original; domain spoofing, where attackers pretend to be from a trusted organization, such as your bank or Amazon; and social engineering, which is the art of manipulating people into revealing confidential information.
In 2015, Juniper Networks found that nearly half (48 percent) of all cybercrime attacks targeted business executives specifically. Spear-phishing attacks are particularly effective at gaining access to corporate networks and data because they often use fake emails or links posing as legitimate communications from company employees.
To protect your business from spear-phishing attacks, be sure to regularly update your antivirus software, install anti-spam filters on your email servers, and train your employees about how to identify suspicious emails and avoid clicking on links in them.
How to Protect Against Spear-phishing Attacks?
Spear-phishing attacks are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to steal personal information from unsuspecting users. In a spear-phishing attack, criminals send unsolicited emails that appear to be from well-known organizations (like your bank or email provider) but actually contain malicious content designed to steal your login credentials or other sensitive information.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself against spear-phishing attacks:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited emails. If you don’t know the sender, don’t open the message.
- Don’t give away your login credentials or other sensitive information without proper authorization.
- Use strong passwords and keep them updated, especially if you use online accounts for important tasks such as banking or shopping.
- Be careful about what you click on in emails and web pages – even if the link looks legitimate. Always verify the source of any information before clicking on anything!
How businesses are targeted by spear-phishing attacks?
Spear-phishing attacks are carried out by criminals who use email addresses and other personal information of employees to fool people into opening malicious emails. These attacks are most common against businesses that are likely to have valuable information or resources that could be exploited. In 2016, the Ponemon Institute study found that nearly one in five business users (18%) had been targeted by a spear-phishing attack in the past year. This means that there is a high risk that your business is vulnerable to this type of attack.
Here are some tips for protecting your business from spear-phishing attacks:
- Keep an up-to-date anti-virus solution installed and updated on all devices used by employees. This will help prevent infection from any incoming malware.
- Educate employees about the dangers of opening unsolicited emails and how to identify if an email is legitimate or not. Teach them how to properly report suspicious emails if they happen to receive one in the course of their work duties.
- Implement a secure password management system which allows employees to create unique passwords for all of their accounts, including their personal accounts. Require employees to change their passwords regularly and make sure they encrypt them with a strong password manager solution like 1Password.
- Monitor activity on your company’s network for signs of unauthorized activity such as unusual traffic patterns or changes to security measures implemented recently by third-party vendors who may have been compromised by attackers targeting businesses.
What to do if you’re targeted by a spear-phishing attack?
If you’re targeted by a spear-phishing attack, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. First, be aware that spear-phishing is one of the most common types of cyberattacks. And it’s not just sophisticated criminals who are targeting businesses: even relatively inexperienced hackers can launch successful spear-phishing campaigns.
Second, be sure to keep up-to-date on the latest security advice. This includes installing antivirus software and keeping all your systems patched and secure. And remember: if something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in emails from unfamiliar sources.
Finally, always remember that you’re not alone when it comes to protecting yourself against spear-phishing attacks. Your company’s IT department should also be on high alert for malicious activity, and they can help you put safeguards in place.
According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, each day in 2018, businesses worldwide were targeted by spear-phishing attacks that resulted in data breaches. In total, the study estimates that 1.2 million individuals had their personal information stolen as a result of these attacks. While this number may not seem particularly alarming, it is important to remember that phishing attacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and targeted at specific businesses. If you are ever unsure about an email or attachment from a friend or acquaintance, be sure to take the time to Google the sender before opening anything!