Saturday, 19 Jun 2021

Spear phishing 101: Top things businesses need to know!

More businesses are constantly taking cybersecurity-related threats and risks on priority. After all, some of the high-profile security breaches involve top companies and brands. There are a wide range of digital security concerns, which must be addressed, including phishing. Spear phishing, also spelled as spear-phishing, is a type of targeted attack on a user or business. The hacker usually does a considerable amount of research on the target and sends a phishing email that almost looks valid and authentic, prompting the user to act. Spear phishing often has a high success rate, because the emails often override all the red flags that are typically seen in a phishing email. 

How to spot spear phishing emails?

Since spear phishing emails are often customized to a large extent, it can be hard to find some of the common things that indicate a scam. Here are some quick tips to find a spear phishing- 

  1. Check the ‘From’. Who is sending the email? And why?
  2. Check if there is a request to download a file. 
  3. Check if the sender is asking for information that’s not typically shared on email. 
  4. Check if the email format is slightly different, especially if it claims to come from a particular company. 
  5. Check if there are too many shortened links. 
  6. Check if there is a request for payment by clicking a link. 

Emails that seem to be asking for information or money should be read in depth – period. 

Is it possible to avoid spear phishing attacks?

Yes, absolutely. Businesses need to understand that these spear phishing emails have been created after research, and therefore, chances are high that the hacker wants some sort of extremely crucial information. Steps that can be considered include –

  • Use an email spam filter. There are quite a few options for businesses, so consider paying for one. 
  • Train your people. Mostly, naïve employees fall prey to these spear phishing emails, so make sure that they know of the threats they are dealing with. 
  • Anti-malware and anti-spam software can be useful for overall protection against phishing emails.

More than anything else, employees are on the frontline of cybersecurity measures and they need to know what must be done to avoid such emails. Also, when employees receive spear phishing emails, encourage them to report the same, as soon as they can. A proactive approach is all it takes to avoid hackers and their attempts.