Commercial networks are vulnerable to numerous threats from unscrupulous people. Therefore, you must consider and choose multiple solutions for your clients when implementing an ideal MSP security strategy. In general, there are various tools and measures which can be set up for commercial networks. These include web filters, antivirus, general anti-malware, intrusion detection systems and firewalls. However, these are not sufficient for some cyber threats, particularly phishing.
Phishing can be defined as the form of scam or fraud where an attacker masquerades as a trustworthy entity in order to acquire sensitive information. The attempt is normally executed through electronic communication or instant messages and the goals of the attackers are malicious. In the past, the technology used in phishing was not advanced, so it was relatively easy to detect a scam. Recently, the attackers have become more sophisticated and refined.
Understanding the Phishing Advances
Phishing attacks used to comprise of poorly written emails from suspicious addresses and linked to clearly fake sites. With the advances in general technology, most employees in reputable companies cannot recognize the fraud in phishing messages. Currently, this type of attack is designed to provide maximum authenticity and may be carried out over a long period. Some of the modern phishing attacks being used by criminals include:
Generic emails sent to multiple people are no longer effective because internet users have learned caution. Unfortunately, this has led to the emergence of an attack known as spear phishing. As implied, this attempt targets a specific company or employee. Basically, an attacker will find crucial information about their target. Therefore, when they compose an email, it will be specific and authentic-looking. This technique works against numerous employees.
Most people are aware of the existence of ‘fake’ emails and messages. Therefore, it is difficult for an attacker to hoodwink a target with clumsy and basic communication. To ensure maximum authenticity, malicious people will use cloning phishing. In this technique, the attacker will use a legitimate email to create a clone or almost identical copy. In addition, they will spoof the address to ensure that it looks like it comes from the legitimate sender.
When phishing attacks are directed towards company executives, the term ‘whaling’ is commonly used. Whaling is more serious than standard phishing because of the greater power of the target. If successful, the repercussions for the business can be dire. Whaling attacks will often be in form of executive company concerns, legal subpoenas, and high-level customer complaints.
Phishing as a Social Engineering Attack
You must understand the significance of phishing as a social engineering attack so that you can provide the best MSP security to your commercial clients. Unlike hacking, this threat does not exploit machines or code. They target the natural vulnerability of human beings. Phishing will trick an employee into providing information that they would not knowingly divulge. Often, the fraudulent messages will make use of the fact that employees want to be productive and avoid trouble. Other individuals fall for phishing scams because they want to take the right action.
Mitigating Phishing Attacks
There are different forms of technology designed to mitigate phishing scams. However, end-user education is the most effective tool against this form of attack. For the best results:
- Assess – Evaluate your client’s network and the employees and identify the vulnerable points in their environment. Some companies lack the most basic protection against common risks and malicious threats, including phishing attacks.
- Install – You should install multiple countermeasures such as web filters, firewalls, and anti-malware. Avoid all-in-one solutions which claim to protect against all threats. Instead, consider layering the different security measures for optimal success.
- Train – Develop a solid training program for the people employed by your commercial clients. If the workers are aware, they will avoid most threats, mitigating the damage. Awareness campaigns and clear communication can go a long way.
Phishing attacks will most likely increase in complexity in the future. Therefore, you should be committed to building a safe cyber environment and educating your employees and clients as part of your MSP security measures.