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All I want for Phishmas is…next-generation inline phishing protection (ICES)

Posted by Selina Coen on Thu, Dec 7th, 2023

It's that time of year again; the baubles are glistening on the tree, children are excited about presents, and cybercriminals are casting off their phishing line, ready to catch the unaware. Cybercriminals love this time of year; as companies prepare for downtime and the party season begins, we all let our hair and guard down. Staff are often side-tracked by many things this time of year, like winding things down and getting ready for time with family and friends: this is when cybercriminals like to strike - when our defenses are down. Research bears this out, showing that almost half of all employees don't follow good security hygiene if distracted. 

In the spirit of a cyber-safe holiday season, TitanHQ offers some festive ideas for a happy, phishing-free festive season:

Ready to experience the power of PhishTitan firsthand? Schedule your personalized PhishTitan demo today and elevate your defenses against holiday phishing threats!

Book Demo Now

Phismas Hits and Misses

Using the tradition of the Christmas song, here are some ways cybercriminals “hack into Christmas, hack in together, take the Christmas spirit and run, run, run.”

Last Christmas, I Gave You my Login Credentials 

(and the very next day, they ended up on a dark web marketplace)

If a hacker can steal genuine login credentials, they have the keys to the enterprise castle. This is why many phishing attacks focus on credential theft. There were over 24 billion (yes billion) username and password combos for sale on the Dark Web in 2022; 6.7 billion were unique pairings. This is not a surprise if you consider that the Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report found that login credentials were compromised in 63% of successful phishing attacks

Bad Santa, aka hackers, will attempt to phish you this Christmas, so "you better watch out, you better beware, cybercriminals are coming to town." Fortunately, technology to prevent Bad Santa from stealing credentials has come to the rescue. Next-generation inline phishing protection is at the vanguard of advanced phishing detection and prevention. Known as Integrated Cloud Email Security (ICES), this intelligent approach to phishing can replace the older native security in productivity suites like M365 but also integrates directly into M365 to augment and enhance an M365 or Google email security gateway. Using ICES will kick Bad Santa back up the digital chimney.

Do they know it’s Christmas? Phishers do

Hackers love any big calendar event. For example, take Black Friday; Kaspersky researchers detected 92,259 spam emails in the first two weeks of November 2023 containing the words "Black Friday." Those spam emails contain malicious content, malware-infected attachments, and attempts to extort money. Phishing attacks that take advantage of events like Black Friday and Holiday season events like Christmas often use the emotional response tactic; that is, the hackers apply social engineering to manipulate human behaviors that entice email recipients to click malicious links or download malware-infected attachments.

Next-generation ICES phishing protection, security awareness training, and phishing simulations provide the ability to focus on significant calendar events to help mitigate these phishing attacks. Phishing simulation platforms, like SafeTitan, provide thousands of fake email templates to create realistic-looking event-simulated phishing emails. Hackers are no match for PhishTitan, a vanguard inline phishing ICES solution, which has been shown to detect 99.9% of spam emails. 

Have Yourself a (not so) Merry BEC scam, and Make the Yuletide (not so) Bright

Hackers are like the business Grinch; they might not steal Christmas, but they steal $43 billion from companies worldwide, according to the FBI. Business Email Compromise (BEC) is on the rise, and hackers think of nothing when going after the hard-earned revenue of a company, spoiling everyone's Christmas. BEC scams are complicated. They often include multiple phishing emails that build up relationships with employees. The scams may also involve compromising an executive's email account. 

BEC scams are the Grinch of cyber-attacks, but they are very hard to detect and prevent—AI-driven phishing detection offered by ICES inline phishing protection. ICES is sophisticated enough to identify contextual anomalies and unusual communications to spot BEC scams as they occur.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Ransomware 

Ransomware puts fear into the hearts of companies the world over. This most insidious of cyber-threats is like the European folklore baddie, Krampus, the demonic half-goat monster with horns. Krampus punishes children by putting them in a sack and taking them to the Devil (a gruesome story for kids). Just like Krampus, ransomware places files and documents into a 'virtual sack' by encrypting them. The costs of ransomware are staggering, with average expenses (not including the ransom) coming in at around $4.62 million, according to IBM. Ransomware is renowned for being initiated by phishing emails, particularly spear phishing, which is used to steal credentials that are then used to enter networks. Once inside the network, the cybercriminal will lurk, placing ransomware and other malware in situ, ready to strike.

The Krampus-esque cybercriminals behind ransomware can be stopped using a combination of ICES inline phishing protection and security awareness training with phishing simulations. This multi-layered approach to phishing protection is necessary as phishing becomes increasingly sophisticated, elusive, and challenging to detect. ICES could be used to supplement the native security in M365. The new year should begin with a strategy to transition to ICES protection augmented by security awareness training.

Integrated Cloud Email Security in 2024

ICES inline phishing protection is not just for Phismas. Cybercrime will continue to wreak havoc all year round. Phishers do not respect special times; they use busy times, significant calendar events, and national holidays as inspiration for phishing and scamming activities. Don't let hackers spoil your festive time. Let PhishTitan apply AI and behavioral analytics based on inline phishing protection to detect emerging threats that could kill your Christmas cheer.

We are entering an era of ever-more sophisticated phishing attacks, where generative AI gives cybercriminals opportunities to create convincing phishing emails. Fortunately, organizations can turn to next-generation AI-driven email protection through Integrated Cloud Email Security (ICES). Just add a sprinkle of simulated phishing and general security awareness training and watch as your wish for a secure festive season and a phishing-free new year is granted.

TitanHQ wishes you a happy and secure festive season and a phishing-free new year.

Talk to TitanHQ about our ICES solution, PhishTitan, and our security awareness training with simulated phishing.

Ready to experience the power of PhishTitan firsthand? Schedule your personalized PhishTitan demo today and elevate your defenses against holiday phishing threats!

Book Demo Now

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