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Do Spam Filters Stop All Phishing Attacks?

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Do Spam Filters Stop All Phishing Attacks?

If you think of the cybersecurity landscape from several years ago, you know that what worked years ago doesn’t work now. Anti-malware developers and security researchers continually create new defenses against the latest threats, but malware creators design new ones to bypass business security.

Phishing threats and their authors are the same as any other malware creator. When anti-phishing filters catch up to the latest phishing threats, authors create new ones with new domains to bypass defenses. The entire process is a cat-and-mouse game, and some zero-day threats are effective until anti-spam and anti-phishing security catches up to them.

Don't rely on outdated filters—Integrated with Microsoft 365, PhishTitan provides advanced protection against 2024's evolving threats.

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New Phishing Projections for 2024

It’s only a few weeks into 2024, but cybersecurity heuristics can help with projects year-to-year to help prepare businesses for new threats. Zero-day threats are difficult to detect, but machine learning incorporated into anti-phishing security can catch them. Spam filters can’t stop all threats, but knowing the future of threats helps security researchers prepare for the worst.

Last year was the introduction of generative artificial intelligence, but AI is also available to the bad guys. Researchers believe that artificial intelligence will be used to create new phishing messages. With AI, phishing authors eliminate awkward phrasing and bad spelling, common with low-level attacks.  Authors can use AI with massive data sets of phishing information to analyze what works best.

Instead of targeting desktop users, phishing authors now target mobile devices. Cybersecurity isn’t as thorough on mobile devices yet as it is on desktops, so phishing in a text message (called smishing) tricks users into accessing a malicious site and submitting financial information or credentials. Without filters, a mobile device is much less protected than a desktop.

Social media is another concern. Employees using social media can post too much information, giving attackers a vector outside corporate control. Cyber-criminals often review social media for good targets and use the information to target employees with well-crafted phishing messages. LinkedIn gives attackers information about the corporation’s organizational chart and who a high-privileged user is. High-privileged users are good targets for the sensitive information they have access to.

Similar to previous years, researchers believe that small businesses are a significant target for phishing. These businesses usually have little protection from ransomware and other malware common with phishing attacks. Because phishing often has monetary rewards, it usually comes with attachments carrying ransomware. Ransomware takes over a small business network, forcing owners to pay the fee.

Challenges in Phishing Detection

Every phishing filter aims for 100% accuracy, but the truth is that no vendor can claim that its anti-spam solution throws no false negatives. Once one phishing scam is no longer effective, malware authors create another to bypass filters.

Security researchers need time to detect recent threats, but artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are used to detect zero-day threats. Heuristic data fed to good AI and ML algorithms can allow security systems to detect zero-day threats even though they haven’t been researched and identified yet. Any anti-spam or anti-malware filtering solution should have advanced technology to detect sophisticated email-based attacks.

Another challenge in phishing detection is the people aspect. Human error is standard in most successful data breaches, so attackers might integrate social engineering with a phishing email to make the scam look more legitimate. Corporations can train employees to detect phishing, but human error is still an issue if employees fall for the false sense of urgency pushed onto them during a coordinated phishing attack.

Threat intelligence collaborators collect threats and research their technology, strategies, bypass abilities, and code. Businesses and anti-spam vendors can use threat intelligence to integrate better defenses against common malware and zero-day threats. TitanHQ works with threat intelligence agencies to improve their PhishTitan and SpamTitan products. Both these products are continually updated as new threats are reported, and artificial intelligence helps detect zero-day threats that haven’t been seen in the wild yet.

Don't rely on outdated filters—Integrated with Microsoft 365, PhishTitan provides advanced protection against 2024's evolving threats.

Book Demo Now

Ransomware Payloads

A ransomware payload can put many small organizations out of business. Ransomware encrypts all critical files, including production data and files. When a small business suffers from a ransomware attack, its only remediation option is to pay the ransom or recover from backups. Many of these businesses don’t have adequate backups, so they pay the ransom. 

Even after paying the ransom, attackers may try to extort more money from victims by threatening to post sensitive data publicly. A small business's public relations nightmare can also critically harm revenue, brand trust, and company growth, and bad press can lead to bankruptcy.

Ransomware is especially difficult for organizations to eradicate as more authors change how they interact with potential targets in email and trick them into installing it. Malware from sophisticated authors is built to bypass filters and avoid detection, which makes it difficult for anti-malware vendors to keep up. Cloud-based anti-malware vendors keep their applications continually updated without interfering with day-to-day operations. The automatic updates also remove the responsibility of updates to operations staff, reducing overhead for your employees responsible for protecting the network environment.

Email Filters are Necessary to Stop Phishing and Malware

Although no email filtering solution is 100% accurate, increasing phishing and spam protection is critical to your business data. Phishing is the number one problem to solve in the email security community. Enterprise businesses working with Office 365 often rely on native Microsoft security, but it’s insufficient to stop most malicious messages. Over 71% of MS business users suffer at least one compromised account monthly. These threats pose the most significant threat since Microsoft’s email security defenses miss them and are difficult for employees to identify. 

PhishTitan integrates directly with Microsoft 365, catching and remediating sophisticated phishing attacks Microsoft misses. These sophisticated, zero-day attacks are currently being missed and are where the real damage occurs.

To sign up for a PhishTitan demo and find out how it can protect your data, contact us today and get started.

Don't rely on outdated filters—Integrated with Microsoft 365, PhishTitan provides advanced protection against 2024's evolving threats.

Book Demo Now

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