Phishing attacks are a common security threat designed to steal sensitive information like login credentials and financial data. It’s the No. 1 cause of security breaches — but despite all the notoriety, phishing campaigns continue to fool even the most vigilant. Security measures are evolving beyond network-based tools to a dynamic, identity-based zero trust model.
Historically, phishing was often conducted by sending mass email campaigns designed to collect credentials. The logic is that if a hacker can reach enough people with a phishing campaign, statistically someone will take the bait. Today's phishing techniques are much more targeted, often incorporating social engineering campaigns in which attackers gather information about their targets through meticulous research and manipulative interactions.
Email phishing is conducted by sending mass email campaigns imitating a legitimate source to steal sensitive information from a broad group of people. The goal is to trick the recipient into giving away sensitive data or install malware on their system.
Spear phishing uses social engineering to collect personal information about a specific individual, such as a target organization’s employee. Attackers use this data to pose as legitimate users, then infiltrate networks and steal sensitive data, install malware, or steal credentials.
Whaling is a type of spear phishing attack that targets high-level executives. Attackers often use personalized emails to trick targets into providing sensitive data or making financial transactions. Whaling is concerning because executives have social leverage and direct access to valuable data and highly visible companies.
Most modern phishing attacks start with threat actors gathering information about their targets to gain initial unauthorized access into an organization’s networks, and then escalate privileges as they traverse the networks.
Phishing attacks are evolving and so should your defenses. This ebook teaches about new emerging threats, trends affecting attackers, and weaknesses that leave organizations vulnerable. It provides strategies to mitigate these weaknesses, emphasizing the importance of understanding phishing, and introduces Cisco Secure solutions for sophisticated defense.
Anti-phishing solutions utilize both security software and human practices to prevent and remediate phishing attacks.
You need software that provides advanced phishing protection, strong user authentication, granular device visibility, adaptive access policies, and login monitoring.
Employees are attackers’ favorite target, which also makes them your first line of defense. Educating them on how to recognize and avoid suspicious emails or links can help prevent phishing attacks.
Because it targets the unpredictable human element of security, phishing sounds scary — but it doesn’t have to be. With a few best practices and security tools in place, organizations can achieve phishing resistance, prevent unauthorized access, and avoid becoming a victim of phishing attacks.
To significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized data access, require multi-factor authentication (MFA). But not all authentication methods are equal. Using WebAuthn or FIDO2 security keys provides the highest level of assurance for secure access. Additionally, Verified Duo Push provides an extra layer of security by requiring users input a unique code from the login device in the Duo Mobile app.
Single sign-on serves as a unified visibility and enforcement point for application-specific policies, while also enabling seamless access to multiple applications with a single set of credentials. With fewer credentials to remember, users are less likely to reuse or create weak passwords that can easily be targeted by hackers.
It’s hard to prevent access from devices you don’t know about. Visibility into all the devices accessing your resources is a key step in ensuring every access attempt is legitimate.
With many different devices accessing company resources, it’s important to ensure they’re all healthy and up-to-date. Compliant devices are less likely to create gaps in security, making them more difficult for hackers to exploit.
Ensure that the right users, with the right devices, are accessing the right applications. By creating granular security policies, you can enforce a least-privilege access model and ensure that users and their devices meet rigorous standards before they can login to critical resources.
Utilize behavioral analytics to monitor the unique access patterns of your users. This practice helps you spot suspicious activity — and stop breaches before they happen.
Learn more about modern phishing attacks and what you can do to prevent credential theft.
Hackers can’t steal a password if there’s no password to steal. Passwordless authentication is becoming a viable and attractive way to reduce credential theft.
Phishing attacks depend on human behavior to be successful — so verifying user identities with strong MFA is the first step in preventing a breach.
Assigning access permissions by application ensures that your most critical resources are also your most protected.
Find out how targeted phishing attacks and breaches happen through one popular company's real-life experience, and see how the breach could have been prevented.