Are you a target for spear phishing? If you have received this email, chances are that you are. It is worth noting that over 70% of the recipients of the “Be Cyber Safe Newsletter” are individuals in positions of authority, such as elected officials, senior managers, directors, or middle-level managers, who are the primary targets of spear phishing attacks.
Quick spear phishing vocabulary refresher
Phishing: A type of cybercrime where someone poses as a legitimate institution to trick people into revealing sensitive information.
Spear Phishing: A type of phishing attack that targets specific individuals.
Employees across various industries have been trained in how to identify and avoid phishing attempts, thanks to security awareness training. You might have also received training in avoiding them yourself. However, do you possess adequate knowledge about one of its malicious subcategories: Spear phishing?
Spear phishing is an email scam that specifically targets you, your organization, or your job. Unlike regular phishing messages that may not mention your name or use scare tactics, spear phishing is tailored to exploit your weaknesses and gain access to your computer. Be cautious and vigilant when receiving emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, as they may be attempting to trick you into giving away sensitive information.
Spear phishing is a form of social engineering attack in which the hacker selects you as the most accessible target, as you have access to the files they require. They create a message that is tailored to lure you into their trap.
Three Examples of Spear Phishing
A spear phisher may create a well-crafted phishing email containing a link to a fake version of a popular website. The spoofed website is designed to resemble the authentic site, with the intention of deceiving the target into sharing their login information.
A common approach used by spear phishers is to gain control of an employee’s email address that is familiar to them, like their CEO, HR Manager, or IT admin. The attacker then impersonates this person to instruct the employee to take immediate action, such as transferring funds, updating personal information, or installing a new application.
These types of phishing attacks involve an attacker attempting to deceive an employee into opening a harmful email attachment. Such attacks usually use fraudulent invoices or delivery notifications to achieve their goal.
Spear Phishing Example
Google yourself or your organization and see how much publicly available information is out there. It’s scary! A quick look at your website, social media, and news clipping can offer a spear phisher a treasure trove of information to construct an effective spear phishing attack.
How would you feel if you got this email?
How to Prevent Spear Phishing
Provide your employees with reliable security awareness training and phishing simulation tools to ensure they stay vigilant against the risks of spear phishing and social engineering. By creating a team of internal cybersecurity champions, your organization can prioritize online safety and protect against potential cyber threats. Provide frequent communication and campaigns to your employees regarding cyber security, spear phishing, and social engineering. This should include guidance on creating robust passwords and reminding them of the dangers of clicking on URL links and attachments.
Create network access rules
Create network access rules that control the usage of personal gadgets and limit the sharing of data beyond your company’s network.
Ensure your environment is up-to-date
To maintain the security of your devices and network, it is essential to keep all applications, operating systems, network tools, and internal software up-to-date and secure. This includes the installation of reliable anti-malware and anti-spam software.
At Commonwealth Sentinel, we can help you with training and well as establish policies and procedures to reduce your organization’s risk. We can also train your team to follow the best practices to keep everyone Cyber Safe.
Contact us today at (502) 320-9885 to learn more about how we can help.