logo

Preventing Phishing Attacks Best Practices

Home  /  SafeTitan Security Awareness Training  /  Preventing Phishing Attacks Best Practices

Preventing Phishing Attacks Best Practices

Introduction

In the last few years, phishing attacks have had a significant impact on businesses across different industries. The fact of the matter is that phishing attacks continue to increase and more organizations now want to focus on the best strategies and practices to avoid phishing attacks.

Today, it has become common practice for MSPs and IT managers to conduct internal phishing training. This, in turn, allows organizations to improve overall phishing security awareness. Still, when it comes to preventing phishing attacks, organizations have to keep an eye on changing dynamics of the cybersecurity and IT space.

In the last few years, phishing attacks have had a significant impact on businesses across different industries. The fact of the matter is that phishing attacks continue to increase and more organizations now want to focus on the best strategies and practices to avoid phishing attacks.

Today, it has become common practice for MSPs and IT managers to conduct internal phishing training. This, in turn, allows organizations to improve overall phishing security awareness. Still, when it comes to preventing phishing attacks, organizations have to keep an eye on changing dynamics of the cybersecurity and IT space.

 

Tech Innovations, Cybersecurity Solutions, and Anti-Phishing Practices

In the digital era, there is a rise in advanced tech innovations. But with the advent of tech innovations and advanced cybersecurity solutions, there is also a rise in cybersecurity challenges for companies. Anti-phishing practices have become essential for organizations that want to maintain optimized operations throughout the year.

It has also become integral for IT managers to roll out effective and regular workforce training to spot phishing emails. In 2022, email accounts have become the most vulnerable spots that attract more cybercriminals. Ideally, organizations adopt a mitigation strategy to prevent phishing attacks and limit the impact of a potential phishing email.

Now, let’s take a look at the fundamentals, types, and best practices to prevent phishing attacks:

 

What Exactly Is a Phishing Attack?

Phishing refers to a technique that cybercriminals use to extract sensitive information like details of credit cards, bank account information, and employees details. Instead of influencing direct user action, cybercriminals use phishing to spread minor to severe malware. In short, you can view phishing as a deception technique to pass on malware and steal personal and sensitive information.

In phishing cybercrime, criminals use mobile, social media channels, or email to send a communicative message designed to extract personal, sensitive, and corporate information. After stealing the information, cybercriminals use the data to commit fraudulent activities like crippling computer systems, obtaining funds, and identity theft.

When the phishing attack works out, it gives third-parties access to collect private information. It makes it all the more important to look at phishing through the lens of cybersecurity. Mostly, attackers create a faux perception and come across as reliable and trustworthy entities. Attackers essentially trick the staff of the company to reveal sensitive and confidential information.

 

The Frequency of Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are more common than organizations realize. For most IT managers and teams, identifying and preventing potential phishing attacks has become a routine. On average, IT experts estimate that cybercriminals launch a new phishing attack after every 39 seconds.

What’s startling is that during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, many IT managers and MSPs had to deal with the rising number of cyberattacks. Google confirmed that they recorded an increase of 667% in phishing attacks in March 2022. In June 2020, IT researchers saw over 25,000 phishing attacks a day. And by the end of 2022, the number of phishing attacks has gone from 35,000 to 50,000 a day.

Sign up for a FREE demo of SafeTitan and learn how TitanHQ can protect your organisation in preventing phishing attacks.

Book Free Demo

 

There is More than One Type of Phishing Attack

The last thing an IT manager should do is generalize different kinds of phishing attacks. Once employees are able to detect different kinds of phishing attacks, it becomes easier for the IT managers to deal with different types of phishing attacks.

The most common and frequent types of phishing attacks revolve around:

  • Email phishing
  • Angler phishing
  • Spear phishing
  • Watering hole phishing
  • Smishing
  • Vishing
  • CEO fraud 

 

Phishing Attacks: Key Stats and Figures

An FBI online crime report affirms that phishing was one of the most common cybercrimes in 2020. The FBI report also highlights that the number of phishing incidents almost doubled in 2020.

A Verizon data breach report claims that most of the phishing attacks are executed through email. The same report also highlights that websites have become the driving force for malicious phishing campaigns.

An extensive report on Internet Security Threat highlights that over 65% of cyber criminals prefer spear phishing to carry out attacks. A report by Proofpoint on Phishing State mentions that over 70% of organizations became victims of different types of phishing attacks in 2021 across the United States.

 

Mechanics of a Phishing Attack

Phishing threats or attacks target and steal personal information through deception. Once cybercriminals gain access to corporate credentials, they can breach the system and steal information. The truth is that cybercriminals have become smart and use psychology and social engineering to influence individuals to take specific actions.

Due to the onslaught of phishing, there are millions of records of companies are accessible on the dark web. Technically, cybercriminals don’t necessarily need advanced tech skills to carry out a phishing attack. In fact, most cybercriminals either outsource freelance operators or buy phishing kits to launch attacks.

Sign up for a FREE demo of SafeTitan and learn how TitanHQ can protect your organisation in preventing phishing attacks.

Book Free Demo

 

7 Best Practices to Prevent Phishing Attacks

Improve Email Security

It is no secret that a good chunk of phishing threats stem from email. In fact, one of the best practices for any organization is to improve email security to maintain secure digital communications. Of course, famous email services like MS Outlook and Google come with a protective layer against potential integrated malicious messages.

But IT managers don’t entirely depend on this protection layer to prevent phishing attacks. Instead, you will have to opt for a solid spam filter to prevent common phishing threats and ward off advanced cyber attacks. Most IT managers opt for a malware protection solution to secure digital communications.

Provide Training to Boost Security Awareness

When it comes to enterprise-scale cybersecurity, human errors serve as one of the major hurdles. As cybercriminals become more tactful and launch new kinds of cyberattacks, it is crucial to provide extensive training to your staff to raise cybersecurity awareness.

For an average employee, it is difficult to keep up with changing cybersecurity dynamics. But providing cybersecurity training on a consistent basis makes it possible for IT managers to boost cybersecurity awareness among employees. After all, an organization’s main defense against cyber threats is its staff. And well-trained employees can help companies prevent potential phishing attacks.

After training, employees should be able to spot different kinds of phishing attacks and differentiate between malicious and secure links. In addition, trained staff should be able to detect malicious attachments in emails and avoid pop-up activities.  Employees should also have a clear understanding of “when” and “how” to change account passwords.

Update All Browsers Regularly

One of the best ways to prevent phishing attacks is to ensure all browsers are up-to-date. Remember that cybercriminals find weak spots in outdated browsers and applications to breach data. In fact, most attackers use browsers as a weapon to breach organizational data.

The good news is that developers regularly roll out security patches for browsers. Despite the designation of the employee, train your staff to install security upgrades. Typically, IT managers use an automated software updater. It is a dedicated solution that allows IT managers to manage various vulnerabilities and apply software security patches without delay.

Sign up for a FREE demo of SafeTitan and learn how TitanHQ can protect your organisation in preventing phishing attacks.

Book Free Demo

Install and Use Robust Antivirus Program

Installing and using a robust antivirus software solution is arguably the most standard practice to prevent phishing attacks. You can count on an antivirus program to scan files and provide comprehensive protection against potential phishing attacks.

Unlike traditional and redundant antivirus programs, the next-gen antivirus software solutions can find traces of any malicious injection code. In order to detect phishing threats, make sure to use the scanning features and firewall integration of an antivirus solution.

Disable All Pop-Ups and Adapt a Reporting Policy

One of the best lines of defense for organizations to prevent phishing attacks is to disable all pop-ups along with macro attachments. In fact, most organizations significantly reduce the number of phishing attacks after disabling macro attachments and pop-ups.

For the sake of convenience, it is also crucial for enterprises to put in place a comprehensive reporting policy to prevent a plethora of phishing attacks. When it comes to reporting policy, focus on incidents and add parameters to understand the severity of each phishing attack.

Make sure to set up a clear chain of authority in the reporting policy. From the IT department to the system admin, make sure to communicate which staff is responsible for detecting suspicious activity and immediate reporting. After reporting the incident, clarify which department or person will be in charge to mitigate or altogether avoid the impact of a potential phishing attack.

Use a Filter Solution for DNS Traffic

If you want to improve the digital defenses of your organization, use a DNS traffic filter. Think of it as an added security solution that would complement your overall cybersecurity strategy. You can use a filtering tool to scan traffic, log traffic, and block malicious websites.

Through a DNS traffic filter, you can expand and improve your phishing prevention protocols. This is the best approach to get top-tier protection against malicious and infected links. The DNS traffic filter tool gives organizations a better chance to withstand cyber attacks that try to extract sensitive data.

 

Learn to Spot Phishing Attacks

There are various considerations trained employees have to take into account to detect different kinds of phishing attacks. For starters, the staff should look out for request messages that concern personal information. In fact, staff should be cautious of every message that requests to provide a username, account number, date of birth, or password.

Generally, employees should not click or respond to any messages that influence them to take a specific action right away. Most phishing attacks create a sense of immediacy and influence fear to extract information from end-users. In a practical sense, it could be a message from your bank threatening to freeze your bank account unless you share your account number.

IT managers now also train employees to not respond to emails that have unexpected document shares or attachments. The objective of all employees should be to stay away from shared documents or attachments that might be malicious. And that’s because when it comes to using cloud-based services, phishing attacks often show up in the form of shared documents or attachments. Each employee should be trained to verify and validate an independent piece of information attached or shared in an email.

 

When You Detect a Potential Phishing Attack

Your company’s staff should get the proper training to act widely in case they detect a potential phishing attack. In terms of response, you should not reply at all to an email message that might contain a malicious or hidden file.

If you do receive a malicious email, reach out to the individual who is posing as the sender. This would make it easier to verify the legitimacy of the message. But if the sender does not validate, report the message to the email provider without delay.

When you spot a potential phishing threat, one of the basic preventive measures is to not click on any attachment or link. In fact, take a closer look at the URL before you decide to click on a link. Just hover over the URL and hold it to find its real destination. One of the first responses of the user should also be to check out the email address of the sender.

Since fraudulent emails are on the rise, validate whether or not the name on the email matches the real person. In many phishing attacks, cybercriminals use complicated emails. If you find the email address to be suspicious – report its activity immediately. You can follow standard instructions from Gmail or Outlook to report phishing attacks.

 

Final Thoughts

It is vital for any organization to realize that phishing attacks can target their communications and impact their growth. The best course of action for companies is to rely on their competent IT managers to develop an effective phishing prevention strategy in place. Companies should also raise more awareness and train employees to detect different types of phishing threats or attacks.

 

Choose SafeTitan

SafeTitan makes it easier for IT managers and MSPs to improve security awareness. SafeTitan works as a behavior-based security awareness platform that allows IT managers to roll out real-time security training.

You can book a free training demonstration of SafeTitan Security Awareness with one of our experts. You can ask us any queries or questions related to phishing attacks and how they can impact your organization. If you want to transform and improve your company’s digital defenses, contact us now.

 

Sign up for a FREE demo of SafeTitan and learn how TitanHQ can protect your organisation in preventing phishing attacks.

Book Free Demo
phone

Start My Free Trial Now

No credit card required - simply enter your email address below and we'll do the rest

Sign Up
TitanHQ

Talk to Our Email and DNS Security Team

Call us on USA +1 813 304 2544 or IRL +353 91 545555

Contact Us