Did you know that majority of cyber attacks on enterprise networks start with spear phishing emails? According to a research by security software firm Trend Micro, 91% of cyber attacks that result in data breaches begin with a spear phishing email. Cyber criminals send fraudulent emails where they portray themselves as a friend, bank, financial institution or business, and trick users into sharing their sensitive information with them.
In this article, you will learn about seven effective ways to protect your business from recent spear phishing attacks.
7 Ways To Protect Against Spear Phishing Attacks
Here are some of the steps you should take for spear phishing prevention.
- Make cyber security a priority
- Update security patches
- Encrypt your sensitive information
- Educate your employees
- Implement two factor authentication
- Keep an eye on suspicious email activity
- Take advantage of DMARC technology
Make Cyber Security a Priority
Does your business take cyber security seriously? If no, then it will be impossible for you to protect your business from spear phishing attacks. You will have to make cyber security a priority and change your thinking and approach about cyber security. Start off by establishing internal security procedures and convey them to employees. Next, create a cyber security policy and a response plan. Keep an eye on the latest techniques that cyber criminals use to attack enterprises. Identify the loopholes in your system that hackers can exploit. Review employee roles and manage access smartly to prevent misuse.
Update Security Patches
Make sure to keep security patches up to date and install new security patches as soon as they are released by software providers. This will help you fix bugs and vulnerabilities in the older versions and alleviate the risk of cyber attacks. Software providers frequently release new patches to ensure that their users stay safe from the latest cyber security threats.
Encrypt Your Sensitive Information
Your data is stored and scattered across multiple storage devices. It can be hard drives, cheap dedicated servers, cloud storage, USB drives, external hard drive etc. You can protect all your data stored in these devices by encrypting it. This makes it difficult for intruders to get access to your data.
Educate Your Employees
Your employees are those weak links in your chain and are an easy target for hackers. This is why it is important to educate your employees and train them to spot phishing emails and other cyber security attacks. By building cyber security awareness among your employees, you can easily protect them from becoming unwilling victim of cyber-attacks. Constantly test their preparedness by launching a fake attack and see which employees fall prey and which don’t. Invest in cyber security training programs and dedicate time to educate your employees. Provide them with reading material and take quizzes to judge their understanding.
Implement Two Factor Authentication
Apart from having a strict password policy which can force employees to use strong passwords, you should also implement two-factor authentication. This will ensure that hackers find it tough to get access to your account even if they somehow manage to get access to your passwords. Multi-factor authentication adds extra layers of security. Ask your employees to change their passwords frequently. Yes, multi factor authentication will make it tough for your employees to log in to their accounts but it will also make it more secure.
Keep an Eye on Suspicious Email Activity
Always double check emails that you receive before interacting with it. Go to their website, copy their phone number and give them a call to confirm whether they have sent the email or not. Closely monitor email activity and raise the red flag as soon as you smell something fishy. Follow the best practices to ensure safety of your email account. Don’t click on any links send to you via email until you are sure that they point to the right source.
Take Advantage of DMARC Technology
DMARC stands for Domain based Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance. It uses Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) to match incoming emails with its database. If the email does not match with the sender, DMARC rejects it, creates a report and sends it to security admin.
Patrick Peterson summed it up brilliantly when he said, “A very important aspect in email security is making sure your email provider uses technology like DMARC. It’s the only email authentication protocol that ensures spoofed emails do not reach consumers and helps maintain company reputation. Top tier providers like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL all use it to stop phishing.”
How do you safeguard your business from spear phishing attacks? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.