Phishing emails are one of the most common cyber threats that an organization may face. Phishing attacks can be used to accomplish a variety of goals for an attacker including stealing user credentials, data, and money, as well as delivering malware to a recipient’s computer.
Phishing attacks are popular with cybercriminals because they are simple to perform yet can be highly effective and profitable. Detecting and blocking phishing emails before they achieve these goals is an essential component of an enterprise email security strategy.
How Phishing Attacks Work
Phishing emails have various goals, and these goals often define how a phishing email will work. In some cases, the goal is credential theft, so a phishing email may masquerade as an email from a legitimate company that points the user to a fake login page. In others, the phishing email may be designed to deliver malware, which is attached to the email.
In all cases, phishing emails use a combination of psychology and trickery to convince the recipient to do something that the attacker wants. Some common pretexts include issues with online accounts, package delivery errors, unpaid invoices, and more.
How To Spot Phishing Emails
Some of the common techniques that phishers use to accomplish this and warning signs of a phishing email include:
Lookalike Email Addresses: Phishers will often use an email address that looks like but is not quite the same as a legitimate, trusted one such as firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com. Verify that an email address is correct before trusting an email.
Misleading Links: In an email, the display text for a link does not have to be the same as the target of the link. Hover over a link with the mouse and verify that it goes to the right place before clicking it.
Suspicious Attachments: Phishers will use email attachments to deliver malware to their targets. If an attachment is unnecessary, the wrong file type (like a ZIP file claiming to be an invoice), or a Microsoft Office document that requires macros, then it’s probably malware .
Spelling and Grammar: Phishing emails commonly contain spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. If an email sounds wrong or doesn’t match the alleged sender’s voice, then it’s probably a scam.
Phishing emails are designed to use trickery and to convince the recipient to do something. As a general rule, If the request in an email seems odd or potentially dangerous, then be cautious of it.
Ways to Stop Phishing Emails
Phishing attacks pose a significant threat to enterprise cybersecurity because they are designed to exploit an organization’s employees, rather than vulnerabilities in its software or cybersecurity infrastructure. The prevalence of phishing attacks and the risk that they pose to an organization makes it critical for an organization to take steps targeted specifically toward protecting against phishing attacks , including:
Security Awareness Training : Phishing emails are designed to trick employees into taking a certain action. Training employees to recognize and correctly respond to attempted phishing attacks is essential for mitigating the phishing threat.
Email Filtering: Many of the common phishing techniques, such as malicious links and lookalike email addresses can be detected by the software. An email filtering solution can identify phishing emails based on these warning signs and block them from reaching the intended recipient’s inbox.
Scan for Malicious Attachments: Malicious attachments are a common means of delivering malware via email. Scanning for malicious attachments and evaluating them in a sandboxed environment enables an organization to detect and prevent this malware delivery.
DLP Solution : Some phishing attacks are designed to steal sensitive information from an organization via email. A data loss prevention (DLP) solution can help to detect and block this attempted exfiltration.
Anti-Phishing Solution : An anti-phishing solution will integrate many of these technological protections as well as other anti-phishing features. Deploying one provides an organization with comprehensive protection against phishing threats.
Stop Phishing with Avanan
Phishing emails take advantage of the fact that busy employees lack the time and knowledge to inspect each of their emails for signs of phishing content. If a phishing email reaches an employee’s inbox, there is a good chance that at least one recipient will click on the malicious link or open the attachment.
Check Point and Avanan’s anti-phishing solution focuses on preventing phishing from reaching the inbox in the first place. Learn more about how artificial intelligence (AI) can help to mitigate the phishing threat in this whitepaper . You’re also welcome to sign up for a free demo to see how we can help to protect your organization and employees against phishing attacks.