Spear Phishing — what sounds like an oceanic documentary about terrible peril for sea creatures is actually a different kind of danger involving fraudulent email attacks against friends, family and employees.
Fortunately, there are email security packages with advanced threat features designed to stave off these attacks.
Common phishing is a kind of cyber crime where bulk emails are sent in order to extract account numbers, passwords, social security numbers, and other sensitive information from unsuspecting victims. As spam filters have improved at apprehending these fraudulent bulk mailings, cyber criminals have devised new ways to pinpoint their victims directly without the need for bulk mailings; hence the name, Spear Phishing.
What is Spear Phishing?
This more focused form of phishing identifies victims through business affiliations, social media, and other data profiling tactics, hoping to go undetected through spam filters due to their lower mailing numbers. Once these fraudulent emails, posing as familiar mail messages from banks and other official organizations are received, the recipient is more inclined to respond to requests for pertinent information.
A spear phishing hacker will:
• Select a target and learn about individuals or companies related to that person by gathering information from websites or hacking a server
• Develop a similar looking email to one of the user’s organizations or even the recipient’s friend
• Address the email to you personally, instead of a generic greeting
• Link to a fake website which looks genuine, where it will ask for personal information in order to steal your identity, money, or both
Criminal Cyber Climate
The current online atmosphere, which fosters these highly sophisticated security threats, continues to become more dangerous. That’s why the most advanced security protection available is becoming essential. This kind of spear phishing scheme and other Internet-related fraud or theft translates into billions of dollars in annual losses.
Don’t Wait For an Attack
The time to beef up your security system is before these kinds of cyber crimes occur. Businesses that want to protect the security of their email system can become overwhelmed with the many choices of threat management solutions. Here are some features to look for to ensure your company’s email protection:
• Transport layer security (TLS)
• Data loss prevention (DLP)
• Global threat intelligence
• Domain keys identified mail (DKIM)
• Deep content analysis
• Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
Unfortunately, not all systems include these advanced-threat security measures. However, these options should be cost effective and included in the comprehensive threat management package you choose.
The right system can isolate incidents of fraud which would normally be undetectable. Then you are alerted to spear phishing or other fraudulent schemes aimed directly at your organization and can prevent losses.