The 5 Best Technologies Businesses can use to Fight Email Phishing Attacks
With the increasing popularity of remote working arrangements, coupled with the surge in overall internet use these past months, it is no surprise that cybersecurity attacks have been on the rise. In fact, according to Fintech News, cyberattacks targeting people who are working from home have increased by at least five times since the lockdown.
One of the most alarming statistics the article reports is how phishing attacks have risen by 600 percent since the end of February. This staggering number is even more significant because these attacks have been shown to have an extremely high success rate.
Email phishing, for example, has been found to be particularly effective. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 94 percent of malware was delivered using email.
Thankfully, there are several innovative technologies which have proven to be exceptionally good at thwarting email phishing attacks, when used in conjunction with cyber security best practices. In this article we cover the 5 best of these technologies.
Secure Email Gateways
A secure email gateway is a type of email filtering technology. Email filtering works by identifying harmful emails and separating them from the rest of the inbox. Most email providers have some sort of email filtering to sift through incoming messages. These filters are usually more effective against spam messages rather than phishing emails.
A secure email gateway on the other hand is especially effective against phishing emails. It works by filtering all incoming emails and quarantining potential threats away from the inbox. It also detects and quarantines outgoing emails that may contain malicious attachments or links. Most cyber security professionals recommend using this technology as the first line of defense against email phishing.
Web Filtering Systems
Web filtering is also an effective way of preventing phishing emails from causing harm. If a user clicks on a link from a malicious email and they’re taken to a website, web filtering will use anti-virus systems to scan the pages thoroughly to ensure no threats are present, and warn the user of a potential threat if one is found.
Web filtering systems also sort websites into different categories. This enables a business organization to decide whether their network will allow access to certain categories and block access to the others.
Simulated Phishing Testing
As the name implies, a simulated phishing test simulates a phishing attack against the employees of an organization. If company staff have previously had phishing training, this is a good way to gauge the effectiveness of the training.
On the other hand, if employees have not been trained, a phishing simulation can help in pinpointing the exact vulnerabilities the organization may have, or alert management about behaviors that can put the company at risk. The information obtained here can trigger further training courses or educational programs for employees.
Phishing simulation campaigns are typically done sporadically, over a determined period of time. A one-time test will not provide all the data required to gauge the need for further improvement of processes and tools.
Web Browser Isolation Solutions
Web browser isolation is another way of preventing users from accessing malicious websites, programs, links, and emails while browsing the web.
It allows users to freely browse the web by isolating the browsing activity away from the user’s device and instead onto a remote server. This server may or may not be on the company’s premises, however it is not connected to the normal IT infrastructure of the organization. This degree of separation keeps any malicious entity from accessing the company’s data and devices directly.
Clicking links from phishing emails may lead to the installation of harmful malware, which in turn can perform a wide range of tasks that can cause damage to a company:
Give criminals access to company computers, allowing access to company data (trojans)
Access sensitive information like credit card numbers or customer information (data breach)
Log keystrokes and online activity to get passwords and gain deeper access to the network (spyware)
Encrypt company files and threaten to delete them unless payment is sent (ransomware)
Replicate themselves and spread throughout the network, slowing it down or preventing it from functioning entirely (worms and viruses)
To prevent malware from causing harm, anti-malware software is essential. Anti-malware software protects the system by detecting and deleting malware. Some malware can adapt to this tactic by embedding themselves in essential system files, making deletion difficult. In these cases, the anti-malware may quarantine the file instead, preventing spread or additional damage. Anti-malware also cleans up any damage the malware may have caused.
Some anti-malware software solutions even provide advanced web filtering features that block harmful websites which are designed to trick users into downloading malware.
Best Practices for Fighting Email Phishing
Although the technologies described above are excellent at fighting email phishing, they are best used in conjunction with email best practices such as requiring that all employees use only private networks while accessing the company servers remotely. In addition, implementing and enforcing cyber security training for all employees is a must.
Outsource IT utilizes the top cyber security technologies and best practices to fight email phishing and protect our clients from cyberattacks. We also offer employee cyber security awareness training, as well as simulated phishing testing. Contact your Outsource IT account manager to learn how we can help protect your organization.