Protecting against phishing is a multi-layered approach, one that combines technology, processes and people. Here we discuss what phishing is and what can be done about it.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a type of communication used by hackers to obtain information. It is in effect fishing, but metaphorically speaking. Hackers can phish for information by telephone or social media, but the most common route is by email.
A lot of phishing emails can be seen as spam and is correctly labelled. However, some phishing emails can be difficult to distinguish. Phishing emails are attempting to get a reply from the recipient, entice you to click on a link that takes you to a dodgy website, or download an attachment that can have malware inside.
Some phishing emails are part of a mass email marketing scam designed by hackers send to hundreds or thousands of email addresses obtained across the internet. Other phishing emails are more targeted to penetrate a particular company, in which case personal information could be used in the email to make it appear more legitimate.
What can you do to stop phishing?
Organisations need to take a multi-layered approach when it comes to receiving phishing emails. As part of our service we offer our software which filters for known phishing emails along with spam and does not permit them to reach your email inbox. Secondly, we have a help desk for customers who can forward on emails if they think are suspect. Thirdly, staff need to be aware of the risk of phishing emails and to watch out for the key signs.
Other technical amendments can be made such as implementing DMARC, SPF and DKIM which we do for clients to help recipient organisations know that you are really you when sending emails. We encourage all organisations to implement this correctly.
Defence Approach to Phishing Emails
Below is a diagram showing a multi-layered approach to phishing emails
Whilst there are measures to put in place to protect against Phishing Emails, it is important to stress that new phishing attacks take place everyday and identifying them is up to software and humans so mistakes can be made. It’s vitally important that staff are told to not open emails if they suspect anything and reprimanding staff when they have made a mistake by opening one is a bad idea. Staff should be invited to notify senior members of staff quickly to avoid delay in resolving any security breaches.
What to do if you do succumb to Phishing?
Don’t panic but act quickly.
It’s important that patching has been carried out to make sure there are no vulnerabilities within your system. Again, we provide this service.
Secondly, organisations need to make sure passwords are correctly managed and stored. This service we also provide.
Thirdly, it’s essential that the correct anti-virus systems have been put in place across all the company’s digital assets.
And lastly, if devices are infected, the device/digital asset needs to be isolated, removed and cleaned.