“It will never happen to us.”
Famous last words! When it comes to phishing, a line like this may fall loosely from an IT executive’s lips. However, the fact is that many have already been phished—the bait just wasn’t taken. But luck runs out, and it’s just a matter of time before a phishing incident disrupts the business, or worse, costs it thousands or even millions of dollars.
Today, with over 75% of organizations reporting having experienced an email phishing attack, and nearly half believing the rate of attacks is increasing, employing phishing prevention tactics is critical.
3 Phishing Prevention Best Practices
Hold Regular Awareness Training Sessions
They say “knowledge is power,” and it’s true. Educating employees about the various tactics of phishers is a great first step in phishing prevention. Phishing is often nothing more than phony emails or websites created with the intent to dupe someone out of money or sensitive information, making them easy to avoid when they’re properly identified.
It’s important not to make training a one-off session. While people may remain on high-alert immediately following training, over time their vigilance may wane, making them susceptible to phishing attacks once again. Regular training will keep email phishing top of mind. In addition, phishing tactics are constantly evolving, becoming more sophisticated to catch people off guard. New phishing tactics can be addressed as they come up with regular training.
A portion of your phishing training sessions should be used to promote and reinforce feedback loops. While feedback loops can improve organizations as a whole, they are particularly useful in reducing phishing attacks. Feedback loops essentially open the lines of communication with IT, making employees feel comfortable notifying the tech team about potentially malicious emails. Not only does this help prevent phishing, it gives your IT team a view into employee concerns and the potential threats they may have not known about otherwise.
Deploy Phishing Simulations
If you’re holding regular training sessions and sending out email phishing reminders to keep phishing top-of-mind among employees, you may start to wonder if the message is getting through. One way to determine whether employees are at the top of their anti-phishing game is to send out occasional simulated phishing emails.
These emails can be designed to look like they’re coming from an outside stranger, an internal employee, or someone else the employee knows, requesting that they click on a link or an attachment. If an employee takes the bait, they should be notified that they were “phony phished” and then provided with anti-phishing instructional material to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Phishing simulations can be very effective, but they also need to be carried out very carefully. When done without much thought, companies have been known to find themselves embroiled in a legal battle, which is what happened to manufacturer Schletter, Inc.
As part of their email phishing simulation strategy, Schletter’s IT team sent out bogus emails disguised as their own company’s CEO, asking for employee social security numbers. Employees made good on the request, sending this sensitive information back to internal employees who should not have had access to it in the first place. A lawsuit came about, and Schletter has since filed for bankruptcy.
Employ Anti-Phishing Email Solutions
While training and simulations are known as “passive defense” phishing prevention best practices, anti-phishing email solutions are an “active defense” tactic that no organization should be without. Anti-phishing solutions don’t leave companies at the mercy of a fallible “human firewall.” Instead, smart anti-phishing email security tools use the concept of a social graph to learn about employee email interactions.
The software works in the background and, over time, it begins to identify what internal and external emails can be trusted—and which are suspect. Potential phishing emails are red-flagged and locked before a recipient has a chance to interact with them to ensure no malicious link is clicked and no malicious attachment is opened. By identifying trusted emails, these solutions also ensure that if sensitive information is being passed along, it’s staying within trusted circles.
According to computer security company McAfee, 97% of people around the world are unable to identify sophisticated email phishing. And with the FBI reporting that phishing and phishing-related emails are the third most common type of scam reported companies regardless of size, industry, or location, this is serious cause for concern.
Thankfully, through phishing prevention best practices, phishers can be stopped dead in their tracks. If you’d like to learn more about anti-phishing email solutions or are wondering, “how does anti-phishing software work?”, contact the experts at Clearedin today. Clearedin offers easy email security solutions that protect from email phishing scams, catching them before they hook your employees!