Online spear phishing attacks have to potential to put a massive dent in your company’s productivity and profit— they could even damage your business’s brand. This style of attack does not require any sort of complex hack; rather, it collects information posted about you or an employee of your company and sends an official-looking email. The email seems legitimate as it contains information about you or your company that was actually gleaned from online profiles. Even information on your company’s blog can be re-purposed for a spear phishing attack. The worst case scenario is the wiring of money and the transmission of credentials and/or W2s to the wrongdoers. It happens more than most assume as spear phishing attacks are highly personalized and prove convincing enough to fool the recipient. Don’t let it happen to your company— IT consulting companies in Bay Area can help!
An Example of Spear Phishing
Consider an email message sent by a wrongdoer that mimics the CEO of your company— it is sent to one of your managers in the same writing style as your CEO uses. This seemingly legitimate email provokes a response from the manager even though the content of the message is fairly simple. The purpose of this initial message is to build a rapport with the target employee. Once he lets his guard down, the information thief makes his request. Yet, the email does not come from the address of the company’s CEO. Furthermore, the sender asks the employee for a favor. These are both red flags that every employee should recognize as characteristic of spear phishing.
An Example of Spoofing a Company’s Domain Name
Consider an instance in which the wrongdoer is more direct with the target, explicitly requesting sensitive data such as financial information. Yet, the attacker’s email address is actually a spoof of the business’s domain. The reply-to address is not the same as the one that transmitted the message. The wrongdoer is hopeful the target will fall prey to the scam and send the requested financial information that will be subsequently used to steal funds.
How to Combat Spear Phishing and Spoofing
Employee awareness is key to thwarting these attacks. Make sure your employees are on the lookout for the red flags of spear phishing and spoofing as outlined above. No one should simply assume a colleague or superior will use email to request sensitive information. Furthermore, employees must analyze email address for legitimacy.
DMARC authentication improves visibility for domain fraud. This tool helps prevent the theft of your brand and the spoofing of your domain. IT consulting companies in Bay Area can help with the implementation of DMARC authentication. Keep in mind the miscreants running these scams are sending out a plethora of emails. This is a numbers game to them. All they need is for a couple to work to make thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars or even more.
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