Spear Phishing Techniques Tricking Employees Into Clicking on Malicious Downloads

Author James Mash 15.4.2015. | 13:35

Spear phishing has been very active in the news lately. Target, Jewel-Osco and Home Depot are just a few of the large organizations that have been hacked by this method, putting their customer’s information at risk. It is a very lucrative way to trick employees into clicking on links located within emails that look official, when in fact are malicious. The moment that the employee clicks on the link, thinking they are doing appropriate business for the company, malware is installed on the computer and customer’s private data becomes breached. Because this method of hacking into a company’s infrastructures is running rampant, it is vital that you add an advanced application to protect your company as well as your customers against malware. In addition, it is vital that you train your employees what to watch for as these attacks are very selective on who they target, preying on those that are the most vulnerable and most likely to let the perpetrators into the system.

Spear Phishing

Look for Obvious Clues

Among the task of making sure to add reliable application against threats is the need to train your employees. Educated employees will really scrutinize each email that comes through their account rather than haphazardly clicking on every link that they are sent. A few of the obvious clues to watch for include: obvious misspelled words, omission of an obvious word, links that were not expected, or any other extraordinary emails that employees receive. There is nothing wrong with allowing employees to ask a supervisor about a specific email before they do anything about it – two sets of eyes are better than one!

Use More than an Anti-Virus

Anti-virus programs are a great tool to have, but they can be fooled with spear phishing techniques. The malware links that are sent in these emails can easily be hidden from your standard anti-virus programs. This means even if you keep your anti-virus up to date and regularly scan for viruses, these attacks can still be missed. Instead, you need to add an advanced and effective protection against threats to protect your organizations. You should utilize anti-malware programs that scan emails before they even hit your inbox. In fact, having several different types of anti-malware programs is the only way to make sure that you catch every threat as there are almost 500,000 new threats that come about on a daily basis.

Switch the Attachment Type

If your employee deems an attachment necessary to open, they should take one more step to safeguard themselves and the company; switching the attachment type to one other than the type that was sent. For example, if the sender attached a PDF file, your employee should switch it over to a doc and if a doc was sent, it should be transferred into a PDF file. This way any malware that is coded into the attachment will be removed as it was meant specifically for the type of file that was originally sent.

Love Your Data – Protect it

Your customer data is of utmost importance when it comes to malware. Even after you add an extra layer of defense against malware, you should still isolate your customer’s information. This can be done by encrypting every piece of information that your company stores as well as isolating it from any other information. With customer information on its own server, any attachments and possible threats that enter the system via an employee will not affect the customer data. This reduces the risk of breaching private customer information and putting the reputation of your company at risk.

Customer data that is stolen can not only hurt your customers, but your company as well. Even large companies like Target, Jewel-Osco, and Home Depot are threatened by these simple spear phishing emails; it can take many months or even years to recoup their reputation and for customers to trust their security again. Target was one of the companies hit the hardest as they were hit multiple times within a short time period, making customers very leery about using any type of credit or debit card at their establishment. If this type of activity occurs for a week or so, most companies can recover, but when it goes on for long periods of time, coming back can be hard for even the largest of companies. It is vital that you take the important steps to protect your data by enlisting the help of employees while also ensuring the security of your infrastructure. Never make the mistake of getting comfortable with your traditional anti-virus. You always need to add a virus protection that provides extra bells & whistles to your PC protection and to stay one step ahead of the perpetrators.

 

Author Bio– Sandra is a computer networking and security specialist. She is a CISCO certified professional having a flair and expertise in writing about varied topics related to computer security. Sandra has written several actionable contents that are extremely handy in addressing cyber security-related concerns.

Author James Mash 15.4.2015. | 13:35
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