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The Many Faces of Phishing

With the increasing number of cyberattacks being carried out on several different organizations ranging from government entities to manufacturing companies at an all-time high, most, if not all organizations find themselves searching for cybersecurity solutions catered to their industry. One of the forms of such attacks that threaten the security and integrity of your data is phishing. 

WHAT IS PHISHING? 

Phishing can be defined as an attempt to steal personal or sensitive information through malicious email, website, or any such channel by posing as a trustworthy organization, brand, or company. Many phishers use fake websites contained within legitimate looking emails to obtain sensitive information or data, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. These seemingly legitimate looking websites tend to disguise themselves as banking portals, online payment sites, or social media sites in order to lure people to their fake websites, which feel and look strikingly normal and official. This very convincing approach is what makes phishing so effective and falling into the trap so easy for even the most suspecting.   

According to survey data 38% of respondents said their coworker were victim to a phishing attack within the last year.  53% of people surveyed said that since the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase of phishing activity has been observed.  

Such exploitation of weak web security is driving people towards looking into cybersecurity solutions using which they can protect the integrity of their data and personal information.  

Therefore, you should always remain wary of any such attacks. The following is a list of the most common types of phishing attacks and below each heading we provide guidance on how you can identify and defend yourself against each type. 

TYPES OF PHISHING AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST THEM 

Deceptive Phishing 

This type of phishing consists of attackers posing as an actual website or brand and asking for personal details and credentials by taking you to their fake URL which is a carbon copy of the original.  

Such can be avoided by detecting any unprofessional language or grammar mistakes in the email or anything suspicious in the URL of the site you are taken to. 

Spear Phishing 

Over 91% of the phishing attacks carried out on the internet are spear attacks and are often quite successful. By collecting personal information on the victim including their name, location, position at the company, address, phone number etc., it creates a sense of trust, which increases the chances the victim will be convinced into clicking the malicious URL.

There now exist many services that can offer you solutions for this problem in the form of phishing analyzers that scan out suspicious mail. Employee training is also an effective way organizations can defend themselves from this effective method of bypassing your security controls.

Search Engine Phishing 

With the popularity of ecommerce and online shopping on the rise, it is understandable that attackers are also modifying their approach to avail their chances. Phishers would set up online shopping and service sites, utilizing effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, which one in-turn land them on a search engine index. As a result, many more people are tricked into giving these sites their sensitive information such as banking information or credit card details.   

In order to avoid falling for this tactic, look out for suspiciously cheap offers and avoid signing up on unfamiliar websites or registering for free offers.  

HOW AN EFFECTIVE E-MAIL GATEWAY CAN HELP YOU

Email gateways can help you achieve the kind of impenetrable security that will protect you from all kinds of phishing attempts and make your accounts fully secure. You can ensure that your email accounts are as safe as they should be and that your information and conversations remain at low risk.  

Protect Your Network from Ransomware Attacks

In 2016, there were more than 638 million ransomware attacks. Ransomware software is one of the most dangerous malware attacking software that has surfaced in recent years. It has crippled networks in public healthcare, banks, universities, defence installations and what not. Millions of systems have been affected around the globe. The use of this particular virus is widespread because you don’t require any coding or programming experience to launch attacks through it. It is openly available for download and reuse in hacking circles prevalent on the dark web. There are even basic hacking teams offering their services of Ransomware attacks and charge a certain amount to you. Since payment is made via cryptocurrency, there is even lesser chances of the authorities catching the hacker.  

So, the basic question arises is; how can you stop these attacks from happening? 

Most organizations don’t have a dedicated budget for stopping such attacks so what can they do? All of their data and day-to-day workings are on their networks and they just cannot go offline. Ransomware corrupts the system and as a result, whole databases can be lost. The recent attacks on the medial healthcare system in US and UK show that patient histories and other critical data was wiped away from the system and there was no backup available at all. It was an extremely dangerous situation for patients and became a new cause of concern for the insurers and the healthcare industry.  

To prevent from future attacks from ransomware and other malware, organizations including the health industry need to take at least some precautionary measures as the PR alone can do everlasting damage to an organization being held for ransom. If you pay the attackers, the customers and clients won’t trust in your ability to protect their data in the future. 

Here are some remedial measures to prevent a ransomware attack: 

BACK UP YOUR CRUCIAL DATA

Most of the organizations do not have a credible backup database in place. Not only your backup system should be in place, you need to document everything. The process must be centered around the Recover Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). It is essential that you set both of these according to your customers’ requirements. If your recovery is fast enough, you can reset the whole system easily and not be laid hostage to a ransomware attack. 

HOLD RANSOMWARE DRILLS AND TEST YOUR BACKUP PERFORMANCE

Testing the strength of your system is paramount to knowing how long can your system be back up if you take it down. Once you know how long it will take, you can take appropriate actions. Never place your backup drive on the same VLAN. It will compromise the entire system in case of a ransomware attack. 

EMPLOYEE TRAINING

The mock ransomware attacks are a great way to introduce your employees to deal with such a situation. You can groom them to make appropriate decisions about the network. You should educate them about the primary way of ransomware attack initiation- Phishing. The more your employees know better, they better they will be equipped in case of such an attack. 

USE ANTIVIRUS ON SYSTEM’S END POINTS

Antivirus should be updated and installed at your end points in a network. While ransomware is specifically designed to avoid being detected by regular anti-viral software, the you can still use different tools to detect suspicious behavior. Also use a simple web filter to prevent drive-by infections that result in a system being compromised just by the clicking of a website.  

DEVELOP SOP’S FOR THE RANSOMWARE ATTACKS

All of the steps needed in case of a ransomware attack should be documented in a step-wise manner and your employees should know them by heart. It should also include a plan to contact the authorities without letting the hackers know about it. It will give them time to figure out who is conducting the attacks and from where.  

CONCLUSION

An organization needs to mitigate the heavy risks associated with a ransomware attack. These steps ensure that your data remains secure even after the ransomware attack and they help you contain its advancement too. Remember that it is better to be safe and not risk your patients’ lives or customers! 

Dark Analytics Announces Strategic Partnership with Gartner

[Tampa, Florida]: Dark Analytics, a leading and innovative provider of solutions in the Healthcare Cybersecurity market, today announced that Dark Analytics has been positioned by Gartner as an Emerging Technology for Healthcare Cybersecurity.

Dark Analytics’ product offering, (M-MDR) Medical Managed Detection & Response is one of its unique product offerings within cybersecurity healthcare and the emerging IoMT market.

With the advent of 5G-enabled healthcare devices and the unique challenges of cybersecurity within the healthcare environment, Dark Analytics is poised to become the leader within the healthcare cybersecurity industry.  

Dark Analytics is the nation’s first Cyber Security product and services company exclusively serving the healthcare industry. To learn more about Dark Analytics, click here https://darkanalytics.com.

Additional resources

  • Download our Ransomware Defense Playbook here: https://darkanalytics.com
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Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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