In today’s fast-changing digital landscape, cybersecurity is a topmost priority, especially for businesses. Scammers use emails or text messages to trick internet users into giving them your personal information. They try to steal your passwords, account numbers, and even Social Security numbers. Once they get that information, they could gain access to your email, bank, or other accounts. These scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day.
But what exactly is phishing? As defined by phishing.org, phishing is a cybercrime in which a target or targets are contacted by email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking, and credit card details, and passwords. The information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss.
Phishing attacks can trick you into giving up your passwords or trick you into installing malware. As a business, what measures di you take to protect your organization from phishing attacks? How do you make sure your valued business and personal data are protected from online attackers?
Read along this guide to help you to identify phishing attacks when you see them and outline some practical ways to defend your business against them.
1. Double-check your emails’ senders.
A surefire way to determine if an email is a phishing attack is to recheck through a different channel with the person or organization who supposedly sent it. If the email was deliberately sent from your bank, don’t click on links in the email body immediately. Instead, call your bank or open your browser and type in the URL of your bank’s website. Banks do not require typing in your personal credentials online.
2. Keep your software updated.
Phishing attacks brought by malware depend on software bugs to get the malware onto your machine. Once a bug is detected, a software manufacturer will release an update to fix it. This means that older software has more publicly-known bugs that could be used to help install malware. Keeping your software up to date reduces the possibility of phishing attacks and malware risks.
3. Use two-factor authentication keys when logging in.
To avoid phishing attempts, some websites allow you to use a special hardware token with advanced capabilities. This is called Universal 2nd Factor or “U2F,” as it is a standard way to require a second authentication method, in addition to your password at login -providing an extra layer of security.
If you are on a phishing site, the browser will know not to log you in with credentials established on the legitimate site. Entering two-factor authentication keys means that even if phishers trick you and steal your password, they would not be capable of compromising your account.
4. Be cautious with emailed instructions.
Some phishing emails claim to be from a technical support representative or a technology company and ask you to reply with your passwords, allow them to have remote access to your computer, or to disable some security features on your device. The email may claim that your mailbox is full or that your computer has been hacked. If someone sends you a suspicious email or link, don’t think twice. Don’t open or click on it until you’ve assessed the situation with heightened precautionary measures.
5. Install an anti-phishing software to detect phishing emails and websites.
There is no better way to recognize and prevent phishing attacks than by installing antivirus software with anti-phishing features, the best of which is provided by Microsoft Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). Microsoft 365 ATP builds user awareness with attack simulations, warns users before they click on unknown links, and helps users report suspicious content.
In addition, Microsoft 365 ATP has actionable insights to help identify, prioritize, and provide recommendations for addressing potential threats such as phishing and malware, and proactively securing your business from malicious cyberattacks.
Protect your business against cybersecurity threats such as phishing and malware. Partner with Uniserve today to ensure the safety of your organization’s IT network, and guarantee your business continuity.