We all know about email phishing, it’s relatively easy to spot. When the prince of Nigeria emails asking for help, we know not respond with our banking info, but when your I.T. provider “emails” with a link to click to login, this might be a little harder to recognize as an attack. Spear phishing is the next worst version of plain old phishing.
Spear phishing is a relatively cheap and effective way to gain access to someone’s personal information or computer system. With a little research and an email address, a hacker can pose as a trusted source. Posing as this official source, hackers can access aia a spoofed login link or an attachment.
This type of phishing has increased by 65% since last year, meaning your inbox may soon receive an email you weren’t expecting. Here are a few examples of what a spear phishing attack may look like:
Emails from higher-ups are always more likely to receive special attention, something hackers realize too. An American steel company was targeted with an email from the board of directors, which prompted employees to click a link. This link allowed for hackers to gain access to employee’s email database and all attachments.
Protect yourself from dubious links by double checking with the person who initiated the email. It is unlikely that there will be a login link attached in an email, but always double-check.
The Job Candidate
With team expansions come new hires, but not all job applicants are alike. This “potential” hire will typically send a short intro summary and an attachment of their resume, which is what holds this compromising malware.
Protect yourself from malicious attachments by having an intermediary defense system, like a web portal or file uploader to scan all attachments to verify a word document.
The IT Note
Who hasn’t run into IT troubles? When an email pops up from your provider, it doesn’t signal any red flags, but they link they provide might be anything but helpful.
Protect yourself from these malicious links by remaining vigilant online and refraining from providing personal information online.
Remaining Vigilant Online
There are many ways for a hacker to investigate a user’s personal interests, such as through their social media. With simple research, a personally crafted attack could be sent to an unexpecting inbox. Don’t be the one to fall for the attack:
- Remain very vigilant online
- Double check with the sender
- Have an intermediary defense system
- Avoid links that direct to a login page
- Keep up to date with cyber attacks