The phishing attack is a kind of social engineering attack mostly used to steal important data that including credit card numbers and login credentials. It happens when an attacker, masked as a trusted entity, deceives the victim into opening an email, text message or instant message. The recipient is then planned into clicking a spiteful link which can later lead to the freezing of the system or installation of malware as part of the Ransomware attack or the exposing of sensitive information.
An attack can have different overwhelming outcomes. For individuals, the stealing of funds, unauthorized purchases or identity theft is included.
Additionally, phishing is normally used to increase a foothold in corporate or governmental networks as an element of a bigger attack like an advanced persistent threat (APT) event. In this concluding scenario, workers are compromised to bypass security parameters, gain privileged access to protected data and distribute malware inside a closed environment.
A company gives way to attack normally consistent worst financial losses in totalling to decreasing reputation, market share and consumer trust. Based on the scope, a phishing attack attempt may rise into a security incident from which the suffering part goes to business
Examples Of Phishing Attacks
The following demonstrates a widespread phishing scam attempt:
A spoofed email apparently from myacedemy.edu is largely distributed to as many faculty members as possible to get a response.
The email says that the user’s password is going to expire. Directions/guidelines are given to go to myacademy.edu/renewal to renew their password within 24 hours.
Numerous things can occur by clicking the link. Such as:
The user is conveyed to myacademy.edu renewal.com, a false page appearing the same as the real renewal page, where either new or current passwords are requested. Looking at the page, the attacker takes control of the original password to increase access to protected areas on the university network.
The user is redirected to the real password renewal page. Therefore, while being sent, a malicious script switches on in the background to hijack the user session cookie. These outcomes resulted in a reflected XSS attack, providing the perpetrator with authentic access to the academy network.
Phishing Attack Techniques
Email Phishing Scams
Email phishing attacks are all about the game of numbers. An attacker redirecting thousands of fraudulent messages can net important information and additions of money, even if only a little percentage of recipients fall for the scamming attack. As discussed above, three are a few techniques attackers use to enhance their success rates.
For individuals, attackers will go to amazing lengths in designing phishing messages to present actual emails from a spoofed company. Using the same typefaces, phrasing, signatures and logos make the message appear genuine.
Additionally, attackers will normally try to push users into action by making the urgency sense. For instance, as a shown priority, an email could harm account expiration and place the recipient on the timer. Executing such pressure allows the user to be less hardworking and prone to error.
Last but not least, links are available inside messages just like their genuine counterparts, but usually have a misspelt domain name or extra subdomains. In the already mentioned example, the myacademy.edu/renewal URL was changed to myacademy.edurenewal.com. Similar points between these couple of addresses provide the impression of the protected link, enabling the recipient less aware that an attack is happening
Spear Phishing Attack
Spear phishing attacks target a particular enterprise or person, as opposed to random application users. It is a deeper version of phishing that needs special information about a company including its power structure.
An attack may play out as follows:
Performer research to know the names of the employees working in an organization’s marketing department and enhance access to the new project invoices.
Behaving like the marketing director, the attacker emails a departmental project manager by adding the subject line that says updated invoice for Q3 campaigns.
The style, text and added logo duplicate the company’s classic email template that matches the standard style of the company.
A link appears in the email sent to the password-protected internet document that is the reality of a spoofed version of a stolen invoice.
The Project manager is requested to sign in to see the document. The attacker steals his credentials, increasing complete access to important areas within the network or organization.
By offering an attacker authentic login credentials, spear phishing is an effective method for implementing the initial stage of an APT.
How To Avoid Phishing
Phishing attack security needs steps to be taken by both enterprises and users.
For users, alertness is the solution. A spoofed message usually contains different mistakes that discuss its real identity. These can involve changes to domain names or spelling errors, as appeared in the prior URL example. Users should also avoid and think about why they are even getting such an email.
For companies, some steps can be taken to decrease both spear-phishing and phishing attacks:
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is the most successful way of dealing with phishing attacks, as it enhances an additional verification layer at the time of the layer when logging in to a vital application. 2FA depends on users having a couple of things: something they are aware of like a password and username and something they have like their smartphones. Even when workers are compromised, 2FA avoids the use of their compromised credentials as these sole are insufficient to increase entry.
Moreover, with using 2FA, companies should enforce server password management policies. For instance, employees should be needed to usually update their passwords and not be enabled to reuse a password for different applications.
The other way is through educational campaigns that are considered helpful to decrease the threat of phishing attacks by enforcing protected practices like not clicking the third party email links.
Phishing Protection From Securityx
SecurityX provides a mixture of access management and web application security solution to treat phishing attempts:
SecurityX login protection allows you to arrange 2FA protection for URL addresses in your web application or website. SecurityX offers a combination of access management and web application security solutions to counter phishing attempts: it includes those addresses which have URL parameters or AJAX pages, where 2FA security is usually difficult to execute. The solution can be arranged in seconds with just some clicks of a role and privileges straight from the securityX dashboard.
Indulge in working within the cloud, securityX web application firewall (WAF) restricts malicious requests at the edge of your network. It includes avoiding malware infection attempts by negotiating insiders in accumulation to reflect XSS attacks coming from the phishing episode.
How To Lessen Phishing Attacks
Execute Relevant Technical Measures
Use vigorous cybersecurity practices to avoid as various phishing attacks as possible from getting through your defenses and certain that, if they are successful, they do not get much additional.
Construct A Positive Security Culture
Identify that social engineering is effective because its perpetrators are well at manipulation. Do not punish employees for the falling victim, but motivate them to report incidents. If there is a culture of blame, your workers will not accept what is considered an error, putting your company at far bigger risk.
Know The Psychological Triggers
Every social engineering attacks make use of human psychology to get previous victims’ natural suspicion, such as:
- Making a fake sense of urgency and heightened sentiment to confuse their victims;
- Making the use of the human tendency for reciprocation by making a sense of indebtedness; or
- Depending on trained responses to authority by seeming to subject orders from the superior figures
Train Your Staff
It is important to train your staff as any member of your staff may succumb to a phishing attack, so all workers are required to be aware of the threat they may face.
Standard staff awareness training will facilitate everyone to know the signs of the phishing attack and its possible consequences. They will then be able to report possible phishing emails as per company policy.
Test The Success Of The Training
Replicated phishing attacks will assist you to find the success of the staff awareness training and which employees may require additional education.
Other Types Of Phishing Attacks
Phishing attack has changed into more than clear credentials and data theft. The way an attacker depends out a campaign relies on the kind of phishing. Kinds of phishing include:
Spear phishing: such email messages are redirected to particular people within a company, normally high privilege account holders
Link manipulation: emails comprise a connection to the malicious website that seems like the official business.
CEO fraud: these messages are redirected primarily to financial people to scam them into believing that the senior management is asking them to transfer money.
Content injection: An attacker who can insert cruel content into an official site will deceive users into entering the website to illustrate a malicious popup or send them to a phishing website.
Malware: users scammed into clicking a link or viewing an attachment may download malware onto their gadgets.
Smashing: with using SMS messages, attackers enable users into determining malicious websites from their smartphones
Vishing: attackers consider voice changing applications to send messages sharing to targeted victims that they must call a number where they can be the victim of a scam.
“Evil Twin” Wi-Fi: spoofing free Wi-Fi, attackers ruse users into linking to a nasty hotspot so that they can execute man-in-the-middle development.
Looking for more articles? Give a read How CISO’s Security Team Had Dealt with the Major Issue