One of the most likely ways for your business to become the victim of a cyberattack, especially one that ends in a data breach, is phishing. Phishing risk has been constantly rising since March 2020, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, phishing risk was up almost 300% over 2020’s record-breaking numbers in May and June 2021. That means that phishing is on track to notch record-breaking growth numbers again in 2021, and that’s bad news for every business. More than 80% of reported cyberattacks are phishing.
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The Bad Guys Are Out for Blood
Phishing is a catch-all category that encompasses many varieties of cyberattack threats and they’re all potentially devastating. It’s a terrible monster that businesses battle daily. At the core of phishing, the goal of cybercriminals is to gain the trust of their victims in order to entice them into doing something that gives the bad guys their desired result. Does that sound like the motivation of anything else you may be familiar with?
If you said “vampire” give yourself an extra piece of candy. Just like Dracula, cybercriminals who practice phishing want to suck the life out of you or in this case, your business. One way that they can do that is by stealing your data. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2021 (DBIR) dubbed phishing the top data breach threat that organizations face for the third year in a row beating out insider acts, malware, and even human error. In fact, phishing risk in relation to data breaches actually increased by 10%, which tracks with the tremendous increase in email volume and record-breaking cybercrime rates that started in March 2020.
That makes building a strong defense against phishing vital for every organization and choosing the right email security solution is a key component of that defense. When looking at your options, consider the impact that three common techniques used by phishing vampires could have on your security.
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Phishing Vampires Gain Their Victim’s Trust Through Social Engineering
Social engineering is the X factor that makes phishing so effective. This is the term for whatever psychological tricks bad actors use to elicit emotions from the recipients of their malicious messages. They may use it to create a sense of urgency in the message’s recipient to convince them that they must take action to avoid an unpleasant consequence. Sometimes, lulling victims into a false sense of security in order to defraud them is the goal.
Savvy cybercriminals will put time and effort into social engineering in order to perpetrate believable frauds that lure targets into doing what they want. Here are some examples of this phishing vampire’s handiwork:
- Preying on the target’s emotions by stoking fear or anxiety
- Exploiting natural disasters or emergencies like the global pandemic
- Evoking a false sense of security through nostalgia or brand reputation
- Creating boring, routine emails that don’t raise suspicion like a password reset request
- Simulating things employees deal with every day like system notifications
- Mimicking internally facing corporate emails that staffers will feel compelled to read
- Raising excitement or greed by promising the target a reward for following directions
- Imitating a business partner to persuade a victim to disclose proprietary information
- Posing as tech support to gain access to passwords
- Sending believable fake invoices and demanding payment from the target
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Phishing Vampires Convince You That They’re Friends
In a business email compromise (BEC) scheme, bad actors use fraudulent email to trick a business into sending cybercriminals money or credentials. These schemes often utilize spoofed messages from major brands, familiar services and government entities, especially when the goal is to steal money. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI C3), business email compromise is 64 times as dangerous to a company as any other threat, including ransomware.
The tricky part of spotting BEC attacks is that they’re carefully crafted to be so believable that they fly right under the radar. They’re often designed to ensnare people within an organization who handle matters of payment or can access funds quickly, like:
- Administrative assistants who routinely process payments for small expenses.
- Executives who can order bills to be paid without oversight.
- Clerks who make vendor payments.
- Budget controllers that pay for recurring services.
- Accounting personnel who regularly renew licenses or pay government fees.
- Associates who regularly wire money to other companies
- Any employee who has leeway to spend or transfer funds.
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Phishing Vampires Use Flattery to Get an Invitation Inside Your Company
Through angler phishing, bad actors prefer to concentrate their efforts on luring in employees through FOMO and flattery in order to capture legitimate and privileged credentials. They’re especially interested in captivating the major players in an organization like executives and folks with other decision-making power. However, any employee is at risk of angler phishing, because legitimate credentials of any level are good enough to get the bad guys a foot in the door.
One common method of angler phishing is through social media. Enticing the target to interact with a fake or spoofed login page for the requisite social media site that they can then use to capture the victim’s passwords. The cybercriminals can then perform an account takeover and use the victim’s account for fraud like BEC or snoop for information on the victim’s connections to power spear phishing attacks. LinkedIn messages are the most effective for cybercriminals with a 47% open rate. Some examples include:
- Recruiters are looking at your profile!
- You appeared in new searches this week!
- Please add me to your LinkedIn network.
- A new photo of you has been tagged on Facebook.
- Someone sent you a direct message on Twitter.
- See who is looking at your profile!
- Join my network on LinkedIn!
These three techniques used by phishing vampires are shockingly effective, giving them an advantage that empowers them to attack your business at any time, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. But you can take action now to ward off danger and protect your company from harm with Graphus.
What’s next in phishing? Find out in the 2021 State of Email Security Report! GET IT NOW>>
Stop phishing with Graphus – the most simple, automated & affordable phishing defense available.
Why should you choose Graphus? Because you’ll get cutting-edge protection from cybercrime at an excellent price. Using AI-powered, automated email security with an award-winning solution is a smart move for businesses of every size.
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- Plus, automated security is up to 40% more effective at spotting and stopping malicious messages like phishing email than a SEG or conventional security.
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Don’t wait until cybercriminals are dangling tempting lures in front of your employees to take action and provide your business with best-in-class email security. Let us show you how the triple-layered protection that your business gets from Graphus is exactly what you need to keep your organization safe from phishing.
Addressing the dangers of phishing is a smart way for businesses to reduce their risk of a damaging data breach. One of the best ways to do that is to prevent the inevitable mistakes that employees will make by keeping them out of the picture with Graphus. Schedule a demo today=>