How to Prevent Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a more targeted form of a phishing attack, where individuals of a particular organization are deceived into divulging credential information. In spear phishing, a message is designed to look as if it came from a trustworthy source within the organization. The message then prompts the employee/member to respond in a certain way, or it contains a link that directs them to an authentic-looking page where they are deceived into divulging information.

More businesses and organizations are being deceived into divulging details on credit cards, accounts, passwords and other sensitive information. This article will give you several tips as to how your organization can avoid spear phishing attacks.

Employee and Member Education
Take the time to make your employees/members of your organization aware of the threat of phishing attacks. Keep them informed about the specific procedures through which sensitive information is handled within the organization, and ensure they always report if they encounter something suspicious.

You can also design dummy phishing messages that will increase your employees’ sensitivity towards such messages. This allows them to be cognizant of any requests for information made via emails and social media posts, and to take specific precautions before divulging such information.

Establish Specific Procedures for Handling Sensitive Information
One of the best ways to prevent your organization from falling prey to spear phishing is to establish a specific protocol through which you handle important information. Such a protocol should be detailed and well understood by everyone. It should avoid having employees divulge sensitive information through emails and other communication channels that are liable to be infiltrated by phishing messages.

Employees should also avoid using personal email accounts to communicate such information, because they may be hosted on non-secure sites. Your procedures should emphasize a culture of double-checking requests for information by using another communication channel such as a phone call in order to ensure authenticity.

Analyze and Inspect your Web Traffic
Implement a solution that closely monitors your web traffic and analyze the content in real time. This allows you to protect your corporate system against threats from other incoming sites that may contain phishing messages. For example, employees going back and forth between Facebook and the corporate system can expose the system to suspicious links and messages. With a security solution that is adaptive and continuously analyses incoming content, you can prevent phishing messages from penetrating your systems.

Encrypt Sensitive Information
Sensitive company information should always be encrypted so that it is not easily accessed by malicious sources. Communication of such information should also be done through encrypted channels.

Encryption will also reduce the likelihood of unauthorized persons within your organization having access to such information, which eliminates the risk of them divulging it to malicious sources.

Avoid HTML email
Emails containing HTML links expose your company’s system to the risk of malicious messages. A way to reduce this risk is to convert HTML email into text only messages.

This reduces the chances of your employees clicking on malicious links that will take them to phishing websites. In addition, text only messages allow you to double check the content and the links contained in them.

Protect yourself from Spear Phishing with a UTM Solution
Unified Threat Management can be defined as the consolidation of essential security functions (including next-generation firewall devices) into a single device. By utilizing unified threat management, companies can now centralize their network security under one common umbrella where they can obtain more control, improve visibility and responsiveness to incoming threats, and make the system easier to operate.

A consolidated security system contains multiple security technologies that are designed towards preventing ransomware. The UTM is constantly updated, ensuring your security system is current, powerful and well equipped. Centralized control also allows you to simultaneously detect and monitor multiple threats affecting different components of your system. This is the perfect solution against ransomware attacks that may have been targeted for multiple areas of your network, which would otherwise leave your system paralyzed.

Contact the experts at ABC Services for a Free Security Assessment.