Fans of the jam band Phish might think Phishing is the process of enjoying their beloved musicians in the form of an eponymous verb. Unfortunately for them—and the rest of us—that’s not the case.
Phishing has been around for a long time relative to the Internet and its various iterations of fraud. Its origins are in the 1990s, when the web—and the threats associated with it—were still in infancy. While the sophistication and scale of phishing have changed over time, the cybercrime still operates on the same modus operandi.
The danger of phishing is that it takes something quite dangerous and tries to make it appear benign. Email is the vehicle of choice for the vast majority of phishing scams, where targets can be tempted into providing critical information to seemingly procedural queries. For instance, an HR worker might receive an email that they think is their boss asking for employee payroll information. But in reality, the message is coming from a scammer attempting to commit financial or identity crimes against innocent people.
Clearly, there are very real risks associated with phishing, even in today’s world where many people are familiar with the practice. Here are four ways to minimize the threat of a phishing attack.
Train Yourself and Your Employees
Training is one of the most critical elements for limiting the viability of phishing attempts. Not everyone is on the same page when it comes to IT and data security. It’s the job of executives and managers to get all employees up to speed when it comes to this.
Training should be comprehensive in both scope and necessity. This means you need to educate yourself and others on the most dangerous and prominent types of phishing scams. But doing this alone doesn’t go far enough. Understanding the importance of protecting against phishing is paramount to getting compliance. Ensure everyone learns about the dangers of phishing, and why organizations need to work to prevent it.
Adopt Advanced Threat Protection
Advanced threat protection should be considered a necessity for enterprises in today’s world. Now that we’ve seen the treacherous nature of data breaches, malware, and other hacking threats, it’s an organization’s responsibility to respond to these with the utmost care and focus.
The most effective advanced threat protection services will provide organizations with a variety of tools for phishing mitigation. Service providers like Open Systems offer secure email and web gateways, along with dashboards that offer real-time threat intelligence. In today’s age, threat protection requires its own dedicated solutions.
Keep Evolving with Threats
In some disciplines, there comes a point when it’s okay to be satisfied with the status quo. This isn’t the case when it comes to phishing. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the fact phishing has been around for years. These threats are relentless and are constantly becoming more dangerous and nuanced.
Studies have shown that about 90 percent of malware comes through email. There’s simply no denying that this form of attack is relentless and insidious in nature. And due to the relatively straightforward nature of these threats, it’s possible for scammers to phish ad nauseum.
Do Whatever It Takes
It should be clear by now that phishing threats are here to stay. This means the impetus falls on enterprises to do whatever it takes to keep themselves and their customers safe from these intrusions.
There’s nothing that can be done retroactively to get information back once it has been stolen through a phishing attack. The appropriate time, training, and resources must be apportioned to preventing these threats. Without these measures in place, it’s only a matter of time before scammers expose those vulnerabilities.