How to train employees against phishing

Vikrant Shetty

July 17, 2023

1:13 pm

A few years back, phishing was only an issue for the consumer market, and malware was the biggest challenge in this sector. However, phishing has become the largest social attack on every business vertical and is responsible for around 75% of security breaches. Therefore, it is important for you to train your employees on phishing, as no cybersecurity solutions can keep you 100% safe from such attacks.

Although there are various phishing techniques by which hackers can cheat your company, there are still some common hacking techniques that most hackers follow.

Below are eight popular phishing techniques which your employee should know:

Directing to a malicious website

Phishing comes under fraudulent activity in which hackers try to fetch personal information or company credentials by directing the user to a malicious website. A common example of phishing is Microsoft 365 phishing attack:

In this, a hacker sends an email to the employee, which looks like it is coming from Microsoft. The user is supposed to login into his Microsoft 365 account. By clicking on the link, the user is directed to the fake Microsoft 365 login page, where all the important information of employees is harvested. Looking at the Microsoft logo on the branding page and in email, an untrained employee can never identify such a phishing activity.

Spoofing of the email address

Never believe in the purported sender. It is a trick of hackers in which a user is made to think that the sender is legitimate while the mail comes from a malicious source.

In most email spoofing techniques, the sender uses a company name in the email, like Microsoftsupport@microsoft.com, but underneath that, you can find a random email address such as xyz@yahoo.com.

Email spoofing is much more efficient when a user opens an email with a mobile device, as the sender’s email address is hidden. Phishers know that most mobile users will never expand the sender’s name to see the email address.

A cousin domain, or a fake domain, looks similar to a legitimate email address. But they are slightly altered. For instance, to spoof the apple.com domain, hackers may use the domain apple. Co. They can also use some extensions to trick the users. For example apple-support.org, apple-securities.com, apple-logins.net

Subject lines can be threatening or attractive

Cybercriminals can come up with any enticing subject line like “free iPhones to 100 users” or can scare you with “your credit card will get blocked.” Through such subject lines, they try to create a feeling of urgency, panic, or curiosity among users. Many users respond quickly to financial loss or gain statements.

An email with an aggressive tone that requires immediate action should be considered a scam. Such techniques are used to scare people and take confidential information from them. You might get an email saying your account is blocked or an invoice is pending, which you must pay; otherwise, the account will be suspended. Giving such examples during phishing training will help employees understand the psychological tricks.

Attacks are often targeted and personalised

Earlier many phishing messages were sent in bulk, and thus they were impersonal. Such emails address the users with generic terms like ‘customers,’ ‘team,’ or ‘employee.’ Employees know that official emails are addressed by ‘first names.’ But sometimes, even personalized emails are not legitimate emails.

Today phishers send targeted messages comprising the victim’s name. Through automation, they can fill in the victim’s email address and include the company’s logo and Microsoft 365 pages.

Phishing emails are now much more sophisticated

Employees need to read the emails carefully since most of the times, phishing emails come from outside the country. Hence in phishing training, employees should be instructed to check the grammar and stylistic issues in the mail.

Hackers are more sophisticated today. They send clean emails in the targeted language, as they have a network of hackers who help them in attacks, and they commit very few mistakes. However, employees should read the email carefully and look for grammatical errors that may indicate the sender is not authentic.

Conclusion

With proper phishing awareness training, it is possible to reduce the number of phishing activities. If any employee clicks on a phishing link, he should get immediate feedback and training from the company. It will help him to avoid such emails in the future.

Vikrant Shetty

July 17, 2023

1:13 pm

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