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Protect Yourself From Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks remain a major concern for businesses worldwide, they are the main delivery method for all types of cyberattacks. In 2020, 75% of companies experienced at least one phishing attack. 

These attacks can have devastating consequences for a business, ranging from data breaches to ransomware attacks. Businesses must remain vigilant in their efforts to protect themselves from any kind of Cyber Attack. 

Phishing is an attack that uses fraudulent emails and usually websites to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or infecting their devices with malware.

Mobile threats have increased dramatically in recent years, with a 161% increase in 2021 alone.

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from this type of attack:

  • Use email filtering to screen out suspicious messages.
  • Use DNS filtering to block malicious websites.
  • Use next-generation antivirus and anti-malware software.
  • Stay up to date on cybersecurity trends and educate yourself on how to spot phishing attempts.

PHISHING VIA TEXT MESSAGE

A greater number of people are less suspicious of text messages than emails.

Although smishing attacks are increasing, cybercrime entities are still taking advantage of the easy availability of phone numbers. By using text messages to deploy phishing attacks, they are able to target a larger audience.

A popular phishing campaign in 2022 is via text messages. More people are now used to receiving text messages than in the past, especially from retailers and service businesses. They push text updates for sales and delivery notices, which has enabled people’s guard to be lowered. 

The goal of the attack is to capture personal data, when a user clicks on a link included within a text message.  The link within the message will redirect the user to a genuine looking website.

The website you’re redirected to will look official and contain a contact form. Once you submit your personal details to the contact form. The hackers have your credentials. 

EMAIL COMPROMISE IS ON THE RISE

Ransomware has become a bigger threat in recent years because it’s a lucrative source of income for criminal groups that launch cyberattacks. A new, up-and-coming form of attack is also becoming quite profitable, and so is growing in popularity.

(Business email compromise – BEC) scams are also on the rise and costing businesses millions each year. These scams typically involve attackers posing as staff members in an attempt to trick employees into making Bank Transfer requests or gift card purchases.

The danger of BEC is when criminals gain access to email accounts, they have the ability to send phishing messages that appear very convincing to employees, customers, and vendors. 

Potential victims in most cases will automatically trust the known email address, making these emails highly effective tools for cybercriminals.

SMALL BUSINESSES ARE BECOMING MORE FREQUENT TARGETS OF SPEAR PHISHING

No business is too small to be targeted by hackers. Many small businesses are targeted because they often have less sophisticated IT security systems than larger companies.

Spear phishing is a more dangerous form of attack because it’s targeted. A spear phishing attack using BEC is tailored to the specific individual or organization being targeted.

Spear-phishing used to be more commonly used against larger companies, as it takes considerably longer to set up a targeted and tailored attack. However, large criminal groups and government-assisted hackers have made their attacks more efficient, they are now able to target most businesses with ease. 

Small businesses are becoming targeted more frequently by these types of attacks that are more difficult for their users to identify as scams.

MORE BUSINESSES ARE BEING IMPERSONATED RECENTLY

Attackers have become increasingly skilful at impersonating businesses in order to dupe users into clicking on malicious links or attachments. The most popular method is, sending emails that appear to come from legitimate companies that the user may be familiar with.

Amazon is a common target for business spoofing, but it also happens to smaller companies. There have been examples of website hosting companies having client lists breached, and the cybercriminals have then sent emails impersonating the hosting company. 

The emails asked users to log in to an account to fix an urgent problem.

IS YOUR COMPANY’S DATA PROTECTED FROM THIS STYLE OF ATTACK?

When it comes to protecting your business, it’s important to use a multi-layered approach. Start with a cybersecurity audit to review your current security measures and identify ways to improve.

We’ve done this for numerous companies within Staffordshire, please get in touch with us today to find out how we can help. 

Call us today on 01543 889 444 to see how we can protect your business.


Cyber Security Staffordshire

The 3 Cyber Security Vulnerabilities You Need to Ensure Your Business Doesn’t Have

You need to take cyber security seriously, regardless of the size of your business. Criminals are targeting both small and large businesses, and you need to check for any weaknesses in your security regularly. Here are 3 Cyber Security Vulnerabilities you need to ensure your business doesn’t have.

Summary

  • Check your Antivirus software regularly and keep it up to date
  • Do you have Weak Login Credentials / have any of your accounts been compromised
  • Lack of Ransomware Protection

VULNERABILITY #1 – LACK OF ENDPOINT SECURITY

Many businesses don’t have or regularly check their endpoint security solutions such as antivirus programs. This leaves their business susceptible to cyber attacks such as ransomware and malware.

Some endpoint solutions rely on virus definitions or signatures to detect an attack. Some out of date software is often inadequate.

Many cyber criminals can bypass definitions quickly and undetected. Some solutions don’t monitor for unexpected and unusual behaviour that typically happens during a cyber attack.

The best way to combat these issues is to invest in an endpoint solution that involves next-generation antivirus, response and behavioral analysis.

What is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint security Is when you secure the endpoints and / or entry points of devices such as desktops, Laptops and mobile devices etc. It has evolved a lot since the more traditional anti virus solutions of the past. It provides a more sophisticated approach when it comes to malware and ransomware.

As virus threats get more sophisticated, it’s good practice to implement this level of protection. The new systems are designed to detect, analyse and block suspicious activity while they are in progress.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more or have any questions about Endpoint Security.

VULNERABILITY #2 – COMPROMISED OR WEAK CREDENTIALS

Cyber Security Staffordshire

Cyber criminals can easily compromise your Username and Password if you haven’t got the right protection in place. For instance, an unsuspecting team member may fall victim to a phishing email and enter their login information into a fake website.

With these compromised credentials, an attacker can gain access to your business data.

There are a number of ways to combat this, such as by enabling MFA (Multi Factor Authentication) on your systems. MFA provides an extra layer of security.

It ensures that users are who they say they are by requiring two pieces of information in order to sign in. This is usually their password and an additional verification, such as a one time access code, in order to login.

Even if the password is compromised, the chances of the additional verification factor also being compromised is very low.

What is Multi Factor Authentication?

When you sign into any account online, you usually go through a process called authentication. Effectively proving your identity to the website you’re logging into. For many years this has been achieved by using a username and a password.

This is however a very insecure method of authentication. That’s why now almost every bank, some social media websites and online stores use additional authentication.

You may hear Multi Factor Authentication called Two-Step verification or Multifactor authentication. They all work the same way. You still login using your username and password but there is an additional layer of security. This can be a pin number text to your mobile phone or a unique code generated by a separate application.

VULNERABILITY #3 – LACK OF RANSOMWARE PROTECTION

Ransomware is the name given to a cyber attack, where the cyber criminals attack your system and network and encrypt your files making them inaccessible.

This can cause chaos for small and large businesses. In 2017 a notorious ransomware attack called “WannaCry Outbreak” cost the UK £92 million and global costs in the region of 6 billion. This also affected the NHS and all of their computer systems were brought to a standstill.

Even though victims paid the ransom all of the data was virtually unrecoverable. So it’s not just ransomware protection you need. It’s a redundancy plan to make sure all of the data is backed up elsewhere and is accessible in the event of a cyber attack.

The majority of victims in these types of attacks are told to pay the ransom using a crypto currency such as bitcoin. They will then send a passcode, allowing you to get back into your system and files.

Make sure you have software and processes in place to prevent these kinds of attacks. Ensure your systems are up to date with the latest updates installed, ensure you are using a modern endpoint security solution and a working backup solution to ensure you’ve got something to fall back to if the worst should happen.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of Malware that adds encryption to a victims files and information. Any data on your computer or network can be compromised. This then stops the IT admin or users from being able to access any critical data.

You wouldn’t be able to access any files, databases or programmes on your devices. It does this by using asymmetric encryption. This is a type of cryptography that generates a pair of keys allowing you to encrypt and decrypt files. The hacker generates a unique key which is given to the victim when the ransom has been paid.

Most ransware is distributed via emails or more targeted attacks. In most cases, once your computer has been compromised. It will give you between 24/48hrs to pay the ransom allowing you to gain access to your data.

HERE TO HELP

Anyone running a successful company should have the steps above in place. To ensure your business isn’t a sitting duck for cyber criminals, by implementing reliable defense strategies and keep. So if you’re looking for assistance with your Cyber Security and based in Staffordshire. Reach out to us for a quick, no obligation chat to see how we can protect your business from cyber attacks. Call us on 01543 889 444


Don’t Get Hooked by Spear Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks have been around for a long time in IT. Designed to steal your credentials or trick you into installing malicious software, they have persisted in the IT world precisely because they have been so devastatingly simple and effective. Today, a more modern and more effective version of the same attack is commonly used.

 

Email Phishing Attacks

A typical phishing attack involves an attacker sending out a malicious email to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of users. The attacker’s email is designed to look like it comes from a bank, financial service, or even the tax office. Often aiming to trick you into logging in to a fake online service, a phishing attack captures the login details you enter so an attacker may use them to enter the genuine service later.

By sending out tens of thousands of emails at a time, attackers can guarantee that even if only one half of one percent of people fall for it, there is a lot of profit to be made by draining accounts. Spear phishing is a more modern, more sophisticated, and far more dangerous form of the attack. It’s typically targeted at businesses and their staff.

A Convincing, Dangerous Attack

While a traditional phishing attack throws out a broad net in the hope of capturing as many credentials as possible, spear phishing is targeted and precise. The attack is aimed towards convincing a single business, department, or individual that a fraudulent email or website is genuine.

The attacker focuses on building a relationship and establishing trust with the target. By building trust and convincing the target that they are who they are pretending to be, the user is more likely to open attachments, follow links, or provide sensitive details.

Consider how many times you have followed a link or opened an attachment just because it has come from a contact you have trusted before.

A Trusted E-mail

The malicious email can appear to come from a vendor you deal with regularly. It may even look like an invoice you are expecting to receive. Often attackers can simply substitute the vendors’ banking details for their own, hoping the target will not notice the difference.

Such an attack is very difficult to detect. It takes a keen eye, strong working knowledge, and constant awareness to keep your company protected. Even a single small mistake by an unaware member of staff can compromise your business accounts.

Defending Your Business

The key to stopping a spear phishing attack is education. Learning attack techniques, and how to protect against them is the single biggest thing you can do to enhance business security.

Whenever you deal with a vendor in a business transaction, you should always consider important questions before proceeding. Are you expecting this email? Is the vendor attempting to rush you into a quick decision or transaction? Have you checked all the details are correct and as you expected? Sometimes a simple query to the vendor can protect you against worst-case scenarios.

In many cases, a phishing attack can be halted in its tracks with a strong IT security package. Web filtering prevents malicious emails and links from entering the network, shutting attacks down before any damage can be done.

Good Security Practice

As with many types of IT threat, good security practices help mitigate damage. Locking down security to ensure employees only access the systems they need helps to prevent damage spreading across the network.

Enforcing unique and strong passwords prevents leaked credentials from affecting systems related to the one that has been compromised. Getting employees set up with a password manager and good security policies can do the world of good to boost your security to the level it needs to be.

Give us a call at 01543 889 444 to audit your security practices. It could be the difference that secures your business against sophisticated spear phishing attacks.


5 Red Flags of Phishing Emails: Think Before You Click

A single click can be the difference between maintaining data security and suffering massive financial losses. From the moment just one employee takes the bait in a phishing email, your business is vulnerable to data breaches and extensive downtime.

Quickly spot the red flags and put phishing emails where they belong:

1. Poor spelling and grammar While occasional typos happen to even the best of us, an email filled with errors is a clear warning sign. Most companies push their campaigns through multiple review stages where errors are blitzed and language is refined. Unlikely errors throughout the entire message indicate that the same level of care was not taken, and therefore the message is likely fraudulent.

2. An offer too good to be true Free items or a lottery win sure sound great, but when the offer comes out of nowhere and with no catch? There’s definitely cause for concern. Take care not to get carried away and click without investigating deeper.

3. Random sender who knows too much Phishing has advanced in recent years to include ‘spear phishing’, which is an email or offer designed especially for your business. Culprits take details from your public channels, such as a recent function or award, and then use it against you. The only clues? The sender is unknown – they weren’t at the event or involved in any way. Take a moment to see if their story checks out.

4. The URL or email address is not quite right One of the most effective techniques used in phishing emails is to use domains which sound almost right. For example, [microsoft.info.com] or [pay-pal.com] Hover over the link with your mouse and review where it will take you. If it doesn’t look right, or is completely different from the link text, send that email to the bin.

5. It asks for personal, financial or business details Alarm bells should ring when a message contains a request for personal, business or financial information. If you believe there may be a genuine issue, you can initiate a check using established, trusted channels.

While education is the best way to ensure phishing emails are unsuccessful, a robust spam filter and solid anti-virus system provide peace of mind that your business has the best protection available.

Give us a call to discuss how we can secure your system against costly phishing attacks 01543 899 444 or fill in the form below

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