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What is an Anti-Phishing Filter?

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What is an Anti-Phishing Filter?

Phishing messages typically contain indicators of malicious intent, such as links to spoof landing pages; these links have a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that points to the landing page used to steal login credentials and other data. An anti-phishing filter detects malicious URIs by comparing them to a database of known phishing URIs. Advanced anti-phishing filters use AI-enabled measures to detect and filter malicious emails, using multiple techniques to look for signals of phishing. Some anti-phishing filters rewrite all link URLs and use “time-of-click” analysis to protect against links to websites that appear to be safe but are later weaponized.

PhishTitan is an advanced phishing protection solution for companies using M365, powered by AI technology. Sign up for our Free Demo to learn more.

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Anti-Phishing Filter

Phishing is a successful way to initiate a cyber-attack such as ransomware or malware infection, Business Email Compromise, or data theft. Phishing emails use malicious links that take employees to spoof websites or emails containing infected attachments to carry out these cyber-attacks. Conventional phishing filters, such as an in-built email security gateway (SEG), are no match for complex phishing attacks. This is because cybercriminals overcome the simple preventative techniques used by an SEG, such as malware signature detection, using sophisticated evasive tactics. These tactics include using polymorphic malware or fileless attacks and zero-minute phishing exploits. Advanced anti-phishing filters utilize AI-enabled technologies, such as machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP), to counter complex multi-part evasive phishing. Anti-phishing filters deploy multiple layers of protection that are often integrated into common productivity platforms such as M365. By engaging a multi-layered approach powered by AI, modern anti-phishing filters can identify and prevent even the most sophisticated and multi-part phishing attempt. This use of anti-phishing technology based on multiple layers of protection is part of a broader defense-in-depth approach to email security. With over 90% of cyber-attacks initiated by phishing, a business is left unprotected if they do not deploy an advanced anti-phishing filter.
 

Phishing Filter

In Q1 2023, the Anti-phishing Working Group (APWG) identified 1,624,144 phishing attacks, a record high and the "worst quarter for phishing that APWG has ever observed." Phishing filters have been designed to tackle the complex nature of modern phishing attacks and the vast amount of phishing. Phishing filters must deal with an increasingly broad variety of phishing tactics. Cybercriminals have developed this wide to enable a multitude of cyber-attack types. Scams and attacks include complex social engineering attacks such as Business Email Compromise (BEC). BEC requires the attacker to apply gathered intelligence on a target to create believable spear phishing and Whaling emails. The level of attention to detail to ensure an attack is successful has also made it difficult for conventional phishing filters to identify these cloaked and targeted phishing attacks. Complex and multi-part phishing attacks need sophisticated, AI-enabled technologies to detect and prevent attacks. Advanced phishing filters must use techniques such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) to distinguish authentic emails from cleverly composed targeted phishing emails. Phishing filters identify and stop phishing emails. 

Advanced Phishing filters, like PhishTitan, also have specialized capabilities that prevent an attack even if a phishing email somehow enters an employee's inbox. PhishTitan provides Time-of-Click protection that stops an employee from navigating to a harmful website; URL analysis is performed using curated feeds to detect malicious destinations, and another layer of protection rewrites URLs and protects against phishing links using a unique 'Link Lock' service.


Phishing Filter Meaning

What is the meaning of a phishing filter? Phishing filters stop spam and phishing emails from entering the corporate network and employee's inboxes. Phishing filters are an essential part of an organization's cybersecurity strategy, as phishing is the most common vector behind data breaches and attacks such as Business Email Compromise (BEC). Ransomware often enters the corporate network via phishing emails. Having the correct type of phishing filter means that your organization has a robust protection method against many types of cyber-attacks. Conventional phishing filters provide static protection, typically using known signatures identifying malware or phishing email tactics. However, cybercriminals understand how conventional phishing filters work, so they have changed their tactics to find ways around these older phishing filters. These evasive tactics have led to the development of phishing filters that use advanced technologies such as AI. Advanced phishing filters use tactical methods like on-the-fly URL analysis to identify and block suspicious websites. Today, the meaning of phishing filters includes both in-built conventional phishing filters, such as secure email gateways (SEG), and the more advanced AI-enabled phishing filters that capture the most evasive phishing attempts.

 

Why Do you Need an Email Phishing Filter?

Companies and the public have seen a 4.3% increase in emails sent and received, totaling 347.3 billion daily. Additionally, in January 2023, the USA had 8 billion spam emails daily. These levels are backed by research from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) showing a 7% increase in credential phishing targeting enterprise users; because 90% of data breaches begin with a phishing email, phishing filters are an important way to manage threats within the vast volumes of emails. Email phishing filters help with both Inbound Email Filtering to prevent cyber-attacks and Outbound Email Filtering to ensure an organization maintains a positive reputation by stopping any inadvertent spam or malicious content being sent in a company’s name.

 

What is Email Phishing Protection?

Malicious emails are becoming more sophisticated and require a multi-layered approach to prevent attacks. Email phishing uses emails and social engineering to initiate a longer attack chain leading to lost credentials, ransomware infection, and scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC). It is, therefore, essential to stop this entry point into the corporate network. Effective email phishing protection involves using an advanced, AI-enabled email filtering solution, predictive analysis to prevent zero-minute attacks, DNS filtering, and other human-centric measures such as employee phishing training and security awareness training. By applying layers of protection, even evolving threats, such as zero-minute and zero-day attacks, can be prevented.

PhishTitan is an advanced phishing protection solution for companies using M365, powered by AI technology. Sign up for our Free Demo to learn more.

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Traditional vs. Advanced Anti-Phishing Filters

Traditional anti-phishing filters scan the source code of email content and landing pages to detect known malicious signatures. However, attackers who have evolved tactics to evade traditional phishing detection have circumvented this static detection method. For example, polymorphic malware and content can generate undetectable dynamic signatures that fool conventional anti-phishing filters. This ability to rapidly change malware signatures has led to the development of advanced anti-phishing tools. These advanced email security solutions are dynamic, using AI-driven techniques such as deep learning, machine learning, and visual learning. These techniques provide a modern method to detect dynamically evolving security threats as attackers adjust their approaches.

 

An Example of an Advanced Email Phishing Filter

PhishTitan is an example of an advanced email phishing filter. To detect phishing emails, PhishTitan uses several techniques:

  • Real-Time Blacklists (RBLs): identify and block spam from recognized spam-supporting ISPs.
  • Bayesian Analysis: self-learning that improves as it learns.
  • Auto Learning: AI-enable to pre-empt cyberthreats and thought pattern detection in real-time.
  • Heuristics: examines emails for suspicious elements such as malware.

 

What is an Anti-Phishing Filter?

Phishing messages typically contain indicators of malicious intent, such as links to spoof landing pages; these links have a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that points to the landing page used to steal login credentials and other data. An anti-phishing filter detects malicious URIs by comparing them to a database of known phishing URIs. Advanced anti-phishing filters use AI-enabled measures to detect and filter malicious emails, using multiple techniques to look for signals of phishing. Some anti-phishing filters rewrite all link URLs and use “time-of-click” analysis to protect against links to websites that appear to be safe but are later weaponized.

 

Comprehensive Anti-Phishing

Successful anti-phishing requires a comprehensive set of tools to detect and prevent insidious and sophisticated attacks. These tools include the following:

Phishing filter: a first line of defense anti-phishing tool. Detects and prevents phishing emails from landing in an employee’s inbox.

DNS Filter: this specialist filter blocks access to a malicious landing page by checking a URL in an email link against a ‘blocklist’ of URLs. Advanced  DNS filters, such as WebTitan DNS Filter, use AI to update the threat list continuously..

Phishing training for employees: phishing simulation platforms provide a centralized mechanism to generate, track, and tailor simulated phishing emails to teach employees how to spot phishing messages.

Security awareness: training employees in security usually goes together with phishing training to extend their understanding of their role in keeping safe email use.

 

How are Anti-Phishing Tools Implemented and Managed?

Anti-phishing tools are typically implemented and managed by an in-house IT department, a vendor as a SaaS service, or a managed service provider (MSP). Advanced and modern anti-phishing tools are cloud-based and centrally implemented and managed. Anti-phishing and email filters, for example, should be deployed using a Software as a Service (SaaS) model to provide fast delivery and centrally managed updates. An SMB has access to enterprise-grade anti-phishing solutions through an MSP.


 

Where can I get Anti-Phishing Support?

Access to efficient and reliable support when using anti-phishing software is essential. TitanHQ provides world-class levels of support for our anti-phishing tools. We also ensure that MSPs delivering anti-phishing tools to clients are fully supported.

 

PhishTitan is an advanced phishing protection solution for companies using M365, powered by AI technology. Sign up for our Free Demo to learn more.

Free Demo

Anti-Phishing Tools

Anti-phishing tools are a type of software solution. The phishing protection is often cloud-based or integrated into a productivity suite that detects and prevents phishing attacks. Many anti-phishing tools are on the market, so it can be challenging to evaluate them. However, there are specific capabilities of an anti-phishing tool that you should watch out for:

Is the anti-phishing tool AI-enabled? Using intelligent technologies is an integral part of modern anti-phishing capability. Phishing emails are becoming increasingly sophisticated. A proactive method of phishing detection is needed to identify evasive and multi-part phishing campaigns. AI-enabled anti-phishing tools like PhishTitan are trained using a vast threat corpora that allows the technology to identify emerging and unknown phishing threats.

Can the anti-phishing tool use multiple layers of protection? Phishing threats use various evasive tactics to trick anti-phishing solutions. However, if the anti-phishing tool uses numerous layers of detection, including AI-enabled technologies, it is much more likely to catch the threat.

Is the anti-phishing tool cloud-based? Deploying an anti-phishing solution from a central console simplifies implementation, management, and updates. Cloud-based anti-phishing tools can be deployed by an MSP or in-house.

Is the anti-phishing tool integrated into M365? M365 and similar apps have built-in anti-phishing technology. However, the approach of these conventional anti-phishing tools is static and, therefore, unable to deal with sophisticated modern phishing attacks. An anti-phishing tool integrated with M365 will enhance and augment the existing anti-phishing capability to detect and stop evasive and multi-part phishing attacks.


Anti-Phishing Software

Phishing tricks employees and other non-employees into performing actions that benefit the scammer. This is achieved by manipulating employee behavior. Cybercriminals are experts in creating phishing messages, such as emails and SMS texts, that play on behaviors such as a sense of urgency and trust. The success of the phishing attack depends on avoiding detection by anti-phishing software.

Anti-phishing software is usually integrated into an existing productivity suite like M365 or deployed using a SaaS model. Delivery may be via an MSP or other cloud-hosted service. The deployment of anti-phishing software may also be done in-house if preferred. Conventional anti-phishing software such as M365 integrated solutions typically offers essential, static phishing detection that relies on malware signatures or pre-existing signals of phishing messages. The static approach often lets up to 20% of phishing emails through the defenses. Advanced anti-phishing software is used to augment or replace the security in these native static email security solutions. Anti-phishing software that uses AI-driven threat intelligence uses algorithms trained using data from a vast threat corpus. These AI-driven anti-phishing tool systems learn to identify patterns, adjusting tactics to capture emerging threats. Some advanced anti-phishing software, like PhishTitan, performs real-time threat analysis based on AI-driven anti-phishing. PhishTitan can identify malicious email URLs by checking the associated website on the fly. If the website is legitimate, the email is released to the employee.


Anti-Phishing

There are many types of phishing forms, each with a unique chain of attack that leads to malware infection, credential theft, etc. In an era where phishing attacks are complex, multi-part, and evasive, anti-phishing is an essential feature of a company’s cybersecurity strategy. Without anti-phishing capability, an organization is left unprotected against this most common of cyber threats. Cybercriminals are adept at generating phishing campaigns that work; over 90% of cyber attacks start with a phishing email. Anti-phishing uses human-centered awareness training and anti-phishing tools to detect and prevent attacks. Anti-phishing tools must handle the complex nature of modern phishing attacks. This requires an intelligent approach that utilizes AI and natural language processing (NLP). Anti-phishing technologies must also take a layered approach to prevent all types of phishing. Companies that use advanced and behavior-driven anti-phishing can expect significant improvements in phishing prevention. For example, SafeTitan's simulated phishing platform reduces phishing susceptibility by 92%. PhishTitan has also been shown to prevent spam emails that may link to some forms of phishing by 99.99%. Anti-phishing solutions are typically cloud-based and can be deployed in-house or by an MSP. 

PhishTitan is an advanced phishing protection solution for companies using M365, powered by AI technology. Sign up for our Free Demo to learn more.

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Anti-Phishing Service Providers

MSPs are ideally suited to deliver cost-effective, advanced anti-phishing solutions to clients. An MSP can provide the advanced anti-phishing capability to tackle the modern threat landscape. Anti-phishing service providers can deploy cloud-based anti-phishing solutions at a cost-effective price. However, these anti-phishing solutions must be designed to meet the needs of the service provider (MSP) and the client. Additional features must be part of an AI-enabled anti-phishing solution that uses multiple layers of email protection. Anti-phishing service providers that offer cloud-based email security solutions have essential MSP-centric options to help MSPs deliver exceptional security. These options include the following: 

  • Centralized management of anti-phishing capabilities: A central console module manages email security. Updates are automatically rolled out to client endpoints. MSPs offering anti-phishing capabilities benefit clients with little or no IT support or in-house security skills. A centralized control console also allows an MSP to capture and generate reports from metrics. 
  • Easy to deploy phishing filter to client endpoint using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment model. 
  • A low-maintenance email filter helps reduce the workload of an MSP while servicing multiple clients.


Zero-Minute Phishing Protection

Zero-minute phishing is a highly challenging form of phishing to detect and prevent. The name zero-minute describes emails that use various tactics to evade detection by conventional anti-phishing tools. Zero-Minute phishing attacks use polymorphic and metamorphic malware to detect if anti-phishing software is being used and adjust behavior to avoid detection. Polymorphic malware changes the signature of files, meaning that conventional anti-malware tools cannot detect this malware. Polymorphic malware also uses obfuscation and encryption to evade detection. Hacking gangs often exploit zero-minute vulnerabilities in software, using phishing to enter a network. Ransomware, such as CLOP, may be delivered using a combination of phishing tactics and zero-minute exploits. A zero-minute attack uses exploitable software flaws coupled with evasion tactics to avoid detection by conventional email security tools. The result of zero-minute phishing attacks is that anti-phishing technology must respond by using AI-enabled technologies. An AI-enabled anti-phishing tool can identify zero-minute phishing attacks. These advanced capability anti-phishing tools have multiple layers of sophisticated techniques to detect complex phishing scams using polymorphic malware. 


Anti-Phishing Service Provider

An MSP that delivers anti-phishing solutions is an anti-phishing service provider. Small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) use an MSP as an anti-phishing service provider, allowing them to access exceptional security services at an affordable price. An anti-phishing service provider can deliver advanced anti-phishing solutions designed especially for delivery by an MSP. These advanced anti-phishing tools offer the same exceptional AI-enabled capability that enterprise customers use. For example, the anti-phishing service provider can protect clients against multi-part phishing threats such as Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams targeting; BEC scams are used against an SMB more often than their larger enterprise counterparts. AI-enabled anti-phishing solutions also provide protection against ransomware and credential theft that leads to data loss. An anti-phishing service provider will use cloud-based anti-phishing tools to deploy the email protection from a central console. The deployment and delivery are fast and robust, protecting all endpoints in an organization, often in minutes, as with PhishTitan. An MSP delivering anti-phishing capability will help an SMB meet stringent data protection compliance needs, helping to demonstrate compliance by generating reports from a central console on behalf of a client. An anti-phishing service provider can offer related services such as creating anti-phishing policies and setting up and ensuring they are enforced by the anti-phishing tool.


Anti-Phishing Email Software

Anti-phishing email software must be able to tackle the most complex of phishing tactics and techniques. As cyber criminals continue to develop complex and evasive phishing campaigns, this leads to a need for sophisticated methods to detect and prevent these phishing attacks. An advanced anti-phishing email software solution, like PhishTitan, must offer integrated layers of email protection. These layers are described below and include the following:

  • Harvesting/dictionary attack protection
  • Collaborative spam fingerprint checks
  • RBL tests (real-time blackhole list) 
  • AI-driven threat intelligence, with rule-based spam scoring trained using a massive threat corpus.
  • Allow and block list filters.
  • Real-time threat analysis driven by AI
  • Time of click protection that rewrites URLs, checking the associated website. 
  • Link Lock service to ensure that the company remains protected even if a recipient clicks a URL in a malicious email.
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) to protect outbound emails from sending malicious or sensitive content outside the corporate network.

Each layer builds increasingly granular protection to capture even the most complex, multi-part phishing attack.

Additional features of phishing protection software include the following: 

  • Cloud-based, via an MSP or in-house for easy deployment and management.
  • Excellent detection rates (>99%) of spam, viruses, malware, and other email threats. Low false positive rates to ensure employee productivity is unaffected.
  • Automation of phishing protection reduces accidents and human error.
  • Automated and comprehensive reporting.
  • Centralized web console with privileged access control for administrators.
  • Support for local language.
  • No hardware or endpoint software is required, and the operating system is agnostic.
     

PhishTitan is an advanced phishing protection solution for companies using M365, powered by AI technology. Sign up for our Free Demo to learn more.

Free Demo

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Phishing messages typically contain indicators of malicious intent, such as links to spoof landing pages; these links have a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that points to the landing page used to steal login credentials and other data. An anti-phishing filter detects malicious URIs by comparing them to a database of known phishing URIs. Advanced anti-phishing filters use AI-enabled measures to detect and filter malicious emails, using multiple techniques to look for signals of phishing.

Email phishing filters help with both Inbound Email Filtering to prevent cyber-attacks and Outbound Email Filtering to ensure an organization maintains a positive reputation by stopping any inadvertent spam or malicious content being sent in a company’s name.

Effective email phishing protection involves using an advanced, AI-enabled email filtering solution, predictive analysis to prevent zero-minute attacks, DNS filtering, and other human-centric measures such as employee phishing training and security awareness training. By applying layers of protection, even evolving threats, such as zero-minute and zero-day attacks, can be prevented.

Traditional anti-phishing filters scan the source code of email content and landing pages to detect known malicious signatures. However, attackers who have evolved tactics to evade traditional phishing detection have circumvented this static detection method. For example, polymorphic malware and content can generate undetectable dynamic signatures that fool conventional anti-phishing filters. This ability to rapidly change malware signatures has led to the development of advanced anti-phishing.

PhishTitan is an example of an advanced email phishing filter. To detect phishing emails, PhishTitan uses several techniques: Real-Time Blacklists (RBLs): identify and block spam from recognized spam-supporting ISPs. Bayesian Analysis: self-learning that improves as it learns. Auto Learning: AI-enable to pre-empt cyberthreats and thought pattern detection in real-time. Heuristics: examines emails for suspicious elements such as malware.

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