Phishing attacks are an enduring threat that have been reinforcing themselves technologically over the years. The IT managers are the people in charge of the online safety of any organization and its employees. Hence, they should take adequate steps for phishing prevention to protect the valuable assets of the organization from phishing attacks.
Phishing attacks are the most common technique employed by attackers to steal sensitive personal information and bank or credit card details of users and to infect systems with malware. To avoid this kind of threats, we recommend to use Malwarebytes which is an anti-malware software for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS that finds and removes malware. These attacks have been existent for over two decades now, and though there are ways of ensuring phishing prevention, these attacks are unavoidable. The adversaries are always on the lookout for some unsuspecting and vulnerable users who could fall into their carefully laid phishing traps.
Why Is Email Phishing Protection A Growing Concern?
A phishing attack type that is commonly and widely used is the phishing email. Email phishing attacks account for 71% of all cyber-attacks, and hence adopting email phishing protection measures is a dire necessity. All enterprises should anticipate that they could be the next target of the adversaries and should take phishing prevention measures accordingly. The most significant responsibility of ensuring phishing protection lies upon the shoulders of the IT managers of an enterprise.
Why Does Every IT Manager Need To Know about Phishing and Phishing Prevention?
As technology managers, all IT Managers must be on the vigil all the time and keep themselves updated about recent phishing trends. The following reasons will surely convince you to keep yourself updated about phishing and phishing prevention:
- Phishing attacks have marked a rise of 40.9% in 2018 alone.
- 1,263 different brands belonging to 773 parent institutions were targeted by phishing attacks in 2018.
- Attackers target email and online services in 24.1% of their attacks.
- 84% of all phishing attacks are targeted at organizations based in the U.S. So if you are operating in the US, it must be considered a real concern.
- 182,465 unique phishing sites were detected in the second quarter of 2019, a rise from the previous quarter's 180,768.
How Is Phishing Affecting/Impacting IT Managers Across The Globe?
IT managers across the globe have been engaged in finding the best phishing prevention software for their enterprises, but doing so becomes difficult when the attackers have such sophisticated means of conning people. Research by the Global IT Security Risks Survey of 2014 suggests that the cost of enduring a phishing attack (including costs of hiring professional services, increased downtime, and lost business opportunities) was $35,000 for small-to-mid-sized business and $690,000 for large enterprises.
The IT managers of particularly the small and mid-sized businesses struggle to ensure phishing prevention. They can impart user education and train their employees to be alert and wise, but humans are bound to err. A reliable phishing prevention back-up plan is what every firm needs to ensure protection in such dire situations.
Some Recent Phishing Attacks On IT Managers /Personnel
Traditional phishing attacks use a generalized message that is sent out in bulk to a large number of recipients hoping for a maximum number of victims. However, many attackers nowadays target a specific group of people, but who hold higher positions in an organization. These attacks are very well planned with credible content and relevant context. The customized phishing attacks on the giants of an institution or sphere of activity are known as spear-phishing attacks or whaling.
Analyzing phishing attack examples helps significantly to protect yourself from phishing. So here are a few examples of phishing attacks that have caused a menace to IT Managers/Personnel in the recent past:
- The attack on Wipro in April 2019: This was an advanced phishing attack on IT firm Wipro where the account details of its employees and customers were compromised.
- The attack on Sony in 2014: A significant phishing email attack was launched on Sony back in 2014, where several executives of Sony Pictures and the CEO himself received fake Apple ID verification emails containing a link to ‘ioscareteam.net.’ This domain asked them to enter their Apple ID information. This was done with hopes of getting into the Sony network by using the employee’s Apple ID and password, in case they had used the same password for both.
How, As An IT Manager, Can You Protect Yourself From Phishing?
Almost anyone can be the target of the next phishing attack. But as an IT manager, what can you do to protect yourself from phishing? A wise phishing prevention measure taken well in advance is worth much more than a thousand dollars spent on devising new phishing prevention techniques every day. The following steps can be taken to protect from phishing your valuable information systems:
- Be wise and calm: Do not be in a rush. Read emails from suspicious sources with a vigilant eye. Look out for grammatical and spelling mistakes. Analyze the email address properly and think twice before clicking on any attached file.
- Avoid opening links and files attached: When you receive an email from someone you weren't expecting, try and avoid opening the links and files attached. They may contain Trojan viruses, and the links may lead to fraudulent websites created by the attacker.
- Mark suspicious users as spam: The next step after receiving an email from a dubious source is to mark it as spam to avoid receiving emails from that source in the future.
- Beware of Pop-ups: When you are browsing through different websites, make sure to close pop-ups the second they show up. They can take you to fraudulent sites.
- Two-factor authentication: Use two-factor authentication to create an extra layer of protection for your accounts online. Even if an attacker gets access to your details, this phishing prevention feature shall restrict their entry to your profile.
What Are The Best Phishing Prevention Tips For Every IT Manager?
Apart from the measures mentioned above, adopting these tips too can prove beneficial to protect from phishing your sensitive digital information:
- Subscribe to a good phishing prevention software: No matter what phishing prevention measures you take, your shield to protect your valuable information systems from phishing attacks remains powerless without a subscription to a robust phishing prevention software.
- Update antivirus: This is another essential control measure and should be the very first one to be adopted. Always remember to purchase a good antivirus and to timely update it to ensure phishing prevention at all times.
- Employee education: The most important preventive measure to protect the valuable assets of the organization from phishing attacks remains user awareness and education. If you train all your employees adequately in dealing with phishing emails, then there are high chances that you can save yourself from reaching an advanced stage of an attack wherein your organization suffers financially or otherwise.
Phishing attacks can be quite challenging and stressful for IT Managers as technology heads are answerable for the well-being of any organization. However, the right phishing prevention measures can help protect you and your firm from the vicious intentions of the adversaries. After all, staying vigilant and spending on the right resources at the right time is an excellent safeguard to protect valuable information systems of your organization.