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Currently, phishing represents the top cybersecurity threat from hackers wreaking havoc on your company’s carefully designed information systems. A single slipup from one employee can easily cost companies hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments, lost revenue and reputational damage.

Over the last year, with so many companies switching to remote work, hackers have pioneered new methods to target our email security with phishing. The stakes are high, and the payouts for bad actors are getting higher every day. This makes an offensive approach against phishing attacks essential. Do you have the right training plan to help your employees?

Today, we’ll discuss the latest phishing trends and what you can do to build better, more secure IT solutions with a managed service provider like Amnet.

Going on the Offensive with Better IT Solutions

In the past, standard IT management solutions like basic email security were enough to stop most phishing emails. Now, with bad actors changing their techniques regularly, it

can be hard to know what you’re fighting against.

It’s estimated that 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent out every single day. That’s more than a trillion in a calendar year. These emails are sent all over the world, but the majority originate from the United States. This high volume of creatively malicious spam is getting more sophisticated by the day, which is why it’s responsible for 90% of data breaches and 91% of cyberattacks.

Many people who have never been the victim of a phishing attack don’t understand how they could be so damaging to our network security. Let’s delve into phishing trends we’ve seen in the last year, so we can understand just how compelling and sophisticated these attacks have become.

Phishing Trends You Need to Understand in 2021

One of the most troubling aspects of phishing is how quickly it changes. Here are some key points you need to understand to keep up with the scope and speed of phishing in 2021.

Headlines have become very specific

Analysis of real-world phishing emails revealed these to be the most common subject lines in Q4 2020:

  • Zoom: Scheduled Meeting Error
  • Changes to your health benefits
  • Amazon: Action Required | Your Amazon Prime Membership has been declined
  • Google Pay: Payment sent
  • Stimulus Cancellation Request Approved
  • Microsoft 365: Action needed: update the address for your Xbox Game Pass for Console subscription

Wouldn’t you open one of those emails? Of course you would! Since these subject lines are designed to create a sense of trust and urgency, your company must have the network security necessary to repel whatever comes next.

The problem has become chronic

For bad actors, a phishing scam is usually a very successful investment. That’s why they’ll just keep coming. Overall,

  • 60% of organizations lost data
  • 52% had credentials or accounts compromised
  • 47% were infected with ransomware
  • 29% were infected with malware
  • 18% experienced financial losses

Why does this work?

Phishing is often successful because it preys on the way our brains are wired. We want to make fast decisions, and so when a phishing email subject line asks us to take action, we’re predisposed to comply.

Today’s phishing attacks are also designed to fit in well with our existing workflows, since they look so real. It’s not uncommon for bad actors to find company data through sources like LinkedIn, then sprinkle these truthful details throughout their email to make it look more legitimate. They may also be able to find actual emails from key company figures and replicate the format, signature line and all other identifying features exactly.

With all this work put into making these emails look real, it’s no surprise they often succeed.

Protect Your Network Security from the Latest Phishing Scams

There are many different types of phishing attacks out there, and all of them require their own form of defense. Here are a few of the most common.

Deceptive

Deceptive phishing attacks are the most common type of phishing practiced today. They mimic a normal email from trusted businesses like PayPal or Amazon and are designed to use as many real details as possible to gain the recipient’s trust.

Spear

This is similar to a deceptive phishing attack, but instead of using legitimate-looking information from a business, they customize the email based on the recipient. This can include anything from the recipient’s own name to the sender’s email address, name, title and more.

CEO Fraud

CEO fraud, also called whaling, is a spear-phishing attack that targets an executive’s email account. Once they have access to the email credentials, the attacker will authorize illicit wire transfers or steal employee information.

Vishing

Any type of telephonic phishing scam is known as vishing. Recently, bad actors posed as healthcare workers from Spectrum Health to solicit personal data from people all over Michigan.

Smishing

This occurs when phishing is conducted over text messages or SMS. The goal is typically to get the recipient to click on a malicious link or download a data-stealing app.  

Farming

Farming, or pharming, occurs when a cybercriminal sends emails with malicious code that’s designed to attack the DNS server, allowing the bad actor to reroute all internet searchers to domains of their choosing. This makes safety measures like intrusion detection critical.

Amnet’s IT Management Experts Can Help You Go on the Offensive

The number of potential threats out there is growing. With expert IT consultants like Amnet on your side, we can help you build a layered approach to cybersecurity, using IT solutions that are custom built to your needs.

One of the key aspects of building a strategy to repel phishing attacks is empowering your staff with knowledge and policies that keep them safe. Make it OK for them to question emails, especially when they contain requests to transfer money, data or credentials. Start a conversation about phishing, then follow up with detailed and ongoing training sessions that cover areas of concern. You can even conduct phishing simulations to give them a taste of what a real attack might look like.

Let us help you build safeguards like multifactor authentication and password lockers and collaborate on more updated IT policies and procedures. We can even conduct a Dark Web scan to see whether there’s already stolen company data out there.

Together, we can create a more robust security plan that will keep your company, staff and data safe from hackers. Get in touch today to get the process started.

When It Comes To Your Business IT Systems, Don't Blindly Trust The First IT Guy You Meet.

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