More people are working from home now than ever before, often times with less security. Chat services and email have become the primary means for communications among organizations, so threat actors attempt to exploit them. Phishing attacks have always been a common attack vector among threat actors and have become more prevalent over the last year. Threat actors continue to use popular brands to launch phishing campaigns in an attempt to steal login credentials. Cybersecurity researchers found that 43% of phishing emails sent over the last three months were attempting to act as if they were Microsoft. Criminals use Microsoft because of its widespread use among corporations. Threat actors hope to gain access to these organizations’ networks. Users will be asked to enter login credentials to verify their identity, when in reality they are being stolen by a threat actor. The second most common imitated company was DHL, followed by other well-known brands like LinkedIn, Amazon, Google, PayPal and Yahoo.
Phishing attacks are expected to continue to rise during 2021. The best way to protect against phishing campaigns is training and awareness. Teaching employees how to spot a phishing email can be a great defense. Identifying suspicious URLs or email addresses or knowing when an attachment may be malicious can prevent an attack brought on by a phishing email. Spelling and grammar errors are also common in phishing scams as are suspicious links and mismatched domain names. If an email claims to be from a reputable company but the email came from a separate domain, it is likely a scam. Multi-factor authentication also provides a strong barrier against phishing attacks because it requires an extra step for cyber criminals to overcome in order to conduct a successful attack. According to Microsoft, using multi-factor authentication blocks 99.9% of attempted account hacks. Companies should also utilize a service such as Binary Defense’s Managed Detection and Response service to monitor endpoints for any abnormal activity and identify attacks early before they can cause damage.