If bulk email phishing attacks are like a shotgun approach, spear phishing is like a rifle shot. Unlike sending out bulk phishing emails, hackers target a specific person in spear phishing. The attackers might gather information about that target, using social engineering strategies, and combing through company and publicly available documents. They tailor the spear phishing email for that specific target.
In a typical scheme, the cybercriminals try to entice the recipient into revealing their login credentials. Once they have access to these credentials, they use them to log in to the company’s network. They can then install what they call a “persistence mechanism.” This Trojan allows them to have hidden ongoing access to the network.
The hacker can then look through the network at a future date. Dropping in bits of code or injecting other malware as they look around. Data is copied onto the cybercriminals’ servers where they examine it or try to break encryption without fear of being caught.
Once the hackers have what they want, they often go back in and eliminate any evidence that they were ever there. They clean up event logs and remove any trace of their incursion except for the back doors they set up, so they have continuing access to company networks in the future.
Hackers Can Go Undetected for Months
This scenario plays out regularly and can go on for months without detection. Even once data has been breached, it might go undiscovered for significant periods. The average time it takes for breaches to be discovered is 197 days. Once found, it still takes companies an average of two months to contain. That gives the hackers a head start of more than eight months with your data.
Have Your Networks Already Been Compromised?
Is your network already compromised and you just don’t know it yet? Most businesses would say they are fine, but it may just be they have uncovered the breach yet.
Breaches Are Costly
A study from the Ponemon Institute and IBM reports the average cost of a data breach for global companies is more than $38 million. It is getting more expensive as well. Costs are rising at 6.4% year-to-year. Companies in the United States are most at risk. Large companies face even bigger losses. Companies that were the target of what the study labels as mega-breaches lost between $40 and $250 million.
You may think of these cyber-attacks as a big worry just for big corporations. However, small and medium-sized businesses are just as likely to be attacked. Fifty percent of small businesses have already experienced an attack, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. When breaches occur at a small business, the results are disastrous. Two-thirds of the businesses are forced to shut down, and 60% go out of business completely within six months after a breach.
Almost All Attacks Start With Email Phishing
Phishing is the attack of choice for cybercriminals to gain entry to company assets. The latest figures show that as many as 93% of successful breaches began with an email.
In addition to spear phishing, here are some other common ways hackers are using phishing emails to attack:
Whaling attacks target C-level Executives and often use social engineering to scam employees into taking destructive actions like wired transfers.
CEO Fraud happens when CEOs and CFOs fall victim to phishing emails. Once hackers have credentials, they use the CEOs actual email account to do damage.
Brand Forgery attacks impersonate well-known brands, such as financial institutions or software companies that appear trustworthy.
Business Email Compromise might include what looks like an invoice from a trusted vendor with a request to process for payment.
Zero Day Attacks get past traditional anti-phishing software by exploiting vulnerabilities in software or firmware that’s previously unknown.
Domain Spoofing uses forged email addresses or fake domains to get people to take action, click on links, or launch malicious code.
Malware or Ransomware is embedded in emails, links, spoofed domains, and documents. Malware lets the bad guys into your network. Ransomware can literally hold your data network hostage unless you pay a ransom.
If you do not already have an anti-phishing solution, you are putting your entire organization at risk. Built-in solutions like ATP (Advanced Threat Protection) and Safelinks in Office 365 or Exchange, or anti-phishing software in Google Suite cannot stop many of these attacks.
Most anti-phishing software relies on lists of known threats. By the time these threats are known, criminals have already moved on to new hacking strategies.
Once phishing emails get through to your employees, your organization is at risk. Even with training, phishing emails today are sophisticated enough that the human eye can’t always detect signs of fraud.
INKY is the Solution
INKY goes above and beyond any other anti-phishing solution on the market. An affordable, cloud-based email security platform, INKY’s Computer Vision sees an email as a human would, but with a more discerning eye. INKY can uncover even the most minute differences in company logos down to the pixel level to detect brand impersonations. INKY is the only anti-phishing solution that can prevent phishing by catching almost anything the hackers can try.
Contact INKY for a personalized demo and let us show you how we can protect your business.