Chris Swagler | December 15th, 2021

Phishing Attack

Phishing scams continue to top the list of common attack vectors for cybercrimes. It’s likely that this trend will persist in 2022 as these social engineering attacks become more sophisticated. More than 80% of reported security incidents are from phishing scam attacks and 74% of U.S. organizations have experienced successful phishing attacks. Companies need a defense plan in place so they can remain vigilant and proactive against phishing attempts. With 2022 quickly approaching, cybercriminals will continue to utilize phishing as their preferred method of attack and could use phishing to compromise infrastructure. Companies should anticipate spending more funds on preventative measures and budget accordingly.

Phishing Attacks are Becoming Creative

Companies should be on the lookout for several techniques as cybercriminals are becoming more cunning with phishing attempts. One technique is spoof emails in which cybercriminals use clever subjects to alarm email users, including “Changes to your health benefits” or “Unusual login detected”. Such imitations are becoming more difficult to differentiate from authentic ones. Declined memberships, fake calls-to-action regarding subscriptions, and billing and payments alerts are other popular forms of attack.

Cybercriminals use deceptive links to trick unsuspecting users into clicking links that send them to malicious websites. Another tactic that will become more common is using artificial intelligence (AI), including cloning someone’s voice, to deceive users into revealing sensitive information. These social engineering attacks are making phishing scams more challenging to detect.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Using artificial intelligence, email security and cybersecurity training can help companies protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks. Investing in AI-based prevention tools that monitor and scrutinize email communications can be a company’s best line of defense. An effective AI solution can help companies analyze behaviors, including the devices’ external senders, employees’ usage, who they message, what time of day they communicated, and from where they communicated. Profiles of trusted email senders are generated based on the information and then compared to incoming emails to authenticate the sender and detect and prevent sophisticated phishing attempts. Using AI-based monitoring software to scan images can help companies detect false login pages, recognize altered signatures, and quarantine malicious emails automatically so end users will never interact with harmful messages.

Another preventative measure is email security utilizing technologies that offer warning banners and mark emails as suspicious, allowing users to quarantine or mark the message safe with one click. Compromised passwords can serve as a conduit for threat actors. One integrated solution is to combine an identity and access management (IAM) tool with single sign-on (SSO), multifactor authentication (MFA), and password management. Another solution to reduce security risks involving passwords is passwordless authentication, which verifies a user’s identity via other forms of authentication, including biometrics, such as fingerprints, and one-time passwords requiring users to enter a code through email, text message, or an authenticator app.

Cybersecurity training is also important to implement because a company is only as strong as its employees, who are often the first line of defense against an attack. A company can reduce its chances of having a cybersecurity incident by 70% by increasing its security awareness. Companies should include security awareness training in their onboarding process and run phishing simulation campaigns on a monthly basis. According to research, trained employees begin to forget what they learned at four to six months after each session. About 55% of remote workers use email as their primary form of communication, and with remote work becoming more commonplace, an emphasis should be placed on security awareness training.

 Avoid Becoming Bait

Last year, U.S. companies lost more than $1.8 billion as a result of business email compromise (BEC) or spear phishing. Over $54 million in adjusted losses was attributed to phishing emails, which continues to be the preferred intrusion method and will only increase. Costs associated with business disruption, lost productivity, and remediation efforts are damages companies need to account for when it comes to data breaches following successful phishing attacks. Companies can protect their business-critical data from being compromised by taking advantage of the full functionality of AI to build a powerful security platform to identify threats along with increased email security measures and employee training.

Phishing email attacks are becoming more sophisticated and are a common attack vector for cyber security incidents. That’s why it’s important for companies to stay current with the threat landscape and keep their security awareness training for employees updated. At SpearTip, we have one of the fastest response times in the industry meaning companies can trust our ability to respond quickly, reclaim their network, and restore operations so their business can run as it should. Our 24/7 Security Operations Centers, staffed by our certified engineers, continuously monitor your networks for any potential threats like those that come from phishing attacks.

If your company is experiencing a breach, call our Security Operations Centers at 833.997.7327 to speak directly with an engineer.