How to avoid phishing attacks

How to Avoid Phishing Attacks

Phishing is primarily about a goal rather than a process. Somebody carrying out an attack is trying to trick a user into handing over sensitive data such as login or account details. This usually uses a combination of messaging such as emails and bogus websites where the user thinks they are logging in. Phishing is a form of social engineering, a technique that manipulates human behavior, for example by exploiting trust. This article will go over how to avoid phishing attacks.

Training

Because phishing aims to exploit human rather than technical flaws, staff training is paramount. Employees need to know about the risk of phishing and learn to think twice before handing over details and exercise skepticism. You’ll need to make sure they know exactly when your company and clients would ask for important details and what situations should arouse suspicion.

Email Filtering

Many email services offer anti-phishing protection. These usually involve filters that block or quarantine messages that either come from addresses known to be operated by phishing scammers or contain suspicious content. This is a great first line of defense, but don’t rely solely on such tools as more skilled scammers can beat them.

Suspicion

You and your staff should look out for signs something is amiss. This can include spelling mistakes, unusual wording, and lookalike logos. (Sometimes it can seem hard to understand why a phishing email is so “obviously” fake. The idea here is to weed out all but the most gullible potential victims at the first stage, making the follow-up steps more likely to succeed.)

Mitigation

For both phishing attacks and security in general, it’s a smart idea to restrict the access your employees have to your system. A common setup is to differentiate between an administrator account, which can make changes and access data widely, and a user account, which only allows the access an employee actually needs. That way if an employee’s account is compromised, the potential damage is limited.

Two-Factor Authentication

This security defense, available with many services that require logins, involves combining two different types of proof, for example, a password and either a mobile phone number or a location. With this set-up, somebody in your office who enters the correct password can get into their account. Somebody in another location would have to type in the password and then receive a code via SMS text message. This means a phishing scammer who gets the password could not easily exploit it.

Reporting

Ask staff to report any suspicious emails rather than simply delete them: this can help you refine company-wide security defenses. Make clear that if an employee is tricked by a phishing attempt, you won’t punish them as long as they tell you right away.

If your business could use help in avoiding phishing attacks and other scams, contact us today to talk through our services.

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