Phishing has become one of the most dangerous cyber threats in the history of information security. In essence, phishing is a form of social engineering that consists of fooling someone into giving up sensitive information such as credit card numbers, username/password credential, or confidential business documents.
At SynchroNet, our information security specialists stay up to date on cybercrime trends and developments, and something they have noticed is that quite a few of the most damaging and spectacular ransomware attacks start out with phishing emails. In fact, this trend is not limited to ransomware; IT security researchers believe that scandalous information leaks such as the Panama Papers were facilitated by phishing.
The nexus between phishing and email is as follows: Hackers know that email messaging is still preferred in the business world. They also know that network intrusion is always easier when proper access credentials on hand. Stealing credentials will never be as easy as phishing, which is why business email has become favorite among hackers who prefer this simplified method of social engineering.
One of the most infamous cases of phishing attacks is believed to have played a part in the 2016 United States presidential election, which was influenced by leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee. Investigators determined that hackers had sent phishing emails to DNC principals and staffers who were tricked into believing that their work Gmail accounts were hacked.
You could not have blamed the DNC workers for taking the phishing bait in 2016; back then, we did not have as much public awareness about phishing. The messages that convinced DNC employees to unknowingly enter their Gmail username and password credentials looked like they came from Google, and they even included a link to a password reset website that appeared to be legitimate.
You may be thinking why the DNC phishing victims did not report the email to their IT security department. The answer is that some of those targeted in the attack did so, and this is why phishing campaigns cast a wide net instead of trying to go after a single target. They only needed one individual to fall for the phishing scam in order to access email folders and leak their sensitive content. By the time the IT department of the DNC learned about the phishing campaign, a couple of Gmail users had already followed the message instructions, and the hackers quickly moved to lock the accounts and obtain email records.
Email security is paramount for avoiding phishing attacks on your business organization. SynchroNet offers a number of solutions in this regard, and training your staff about phishing prevention is one of the most effective. Please contact our office today to learn more about our email security options.