Cybersecurity Spear Phishing and How to Protect Your Atlanta Company

by | Mar 29, 2023 | "How To" Articles, Cybersecurity, INSI Articles

Cybersecurity Spear Phishing is a significant issue causing small and medium-sized businesses in Atlanta, GA, billions of dollars in fraud. Find out what it is and how you can protect yourself from it.

Example of Cyberscurity Spear Phishing

Pam is the Director of Marketing for an international software firm. Recently, she received an email from the CEO asking her to purchase ten $100 Walmart gift cards for her team doing well on a recent project. Pam was thrilled the CEO recruited her for such an important task.

Quickly, Pam ran down to Walmart and purchased ten gift cards. Shen then followed the instructions and emailed the gift card and PINs. Unfortunately, the expense was flagged, and Pam found out she was a victim of a Spear Phishing attack.

What is Spear Phishing?

Spear phishing is when someone uses a false identity to target an individual. Subsequently, the sender  appears to be a well-known and trusted source, like the target’s executive, boss, or trusted business partner. It always involves money or clicking a link. The most common examples include the following:

  1. Brand Impersonation – When a hacker impersonates a well-known company. One famous example of this is an email from a financial institute claiming there is an issue with your account.  These emails look very legitimate. The most common are emails from Microsoft or Apple stating an issue with your account.
  2. Business Email Compromise, AKA CEO Fraud – This is when someone impersonates a C-level executive and requests the sender to wire money, transfer funds, or buy something like gift cards.
  3. Blackmail Scams – When someone claims to have compromising information on you and threatens to expose you if you do not pay them.

How Do These Cybersecurity Spear Phishing Scams Work?

Cybercriminals are smart. For instance, with Brand Impersonation or Business Email Compromise: they research the business, their employees, types of transactions, and those in authority. Next, they establish an email address similar to one of the authority figures. Finally, they email an employee with access to funds or company credit cards and request something that would not be suspicious or questioned by that employee. On the other hand, Blackmail Scams cast out a wide net in hopes of catching more prey.

7 Technologies That Can Protect Your Company

Clearly, hackers understand the general user’s weaknesses and how to exploit them. Therefore, implementing some basic technology tools is the first step to eliminating this threat. After all, if the end-user never receives the email, there is no way they can click on a bad link or respond to it.

  1. Artificial Intelligence Tools – Machine learning tools can analyze abnormalities and filter those emails.
  2. Spam Filtering – Spam filtering will help detect any malware embedded in the email, filter suspicious emails, and identify the origin country of the email.
  3. Antivirus – Antivirus will help detect and filter any viruses.
  4. DMark Authenticating – This technology authenticates the phishing email and puts it into the spam folder or rejects it.
  5. Email Encryption – Email encryption lets you to send and receive sensitive information online.
  6. Multi-Factor Authentication – This technology requires two pieces of identification to access company data.
  7. Desktop Monitoring – Desktop monitoring will keep your patches and updates current to keep hackers from accessing your email accounts.

5 Employee Training Tips on Spear Phishing

No matter what you do, some emails will still get through, and your greatest defense is to train your end users. To do this, ensure your employees follow the directions below before acting on anything that requests some form of sensitive information:

  1. The most important advice you can give to an employee is study the sender’s email address. Often, it is a single letter added or missing to the person’s name or domain. Do not click or act on anything until verified.
  2. Make sure the employee verifies the domain name of the sender. Do not click or act on anything until confirmed.
  3. Ensure all employees know that any request to spend money will come from company email addresses, not a personal email address. Do not click or act on anything until verified.
  4. Train employees to report any suspicious phishing emails, texts, or voicemails to your IT department.
  5. Tell the employees, “When in doubt: ask.” Ensure they are not apprehensive about verifying an email from anyone in your company – including the CEO.

INSI is Here to Protect You!

This post is part of the INSI Awareness Campaign designed to protect and inform our clients. In addition, you can click here to learn more about our security offerings.

To learn more about Cybersecurity Spear Phishing Contact INSI:  770-387-2424, option 2. Please do not hesitate to contact our helpdesk before opening a questionable email. Our engineers are happy to check it and ensure it is safe. After all, we are here to serve you! 

About INSI: The Best MSP in Atlanta!

Innovative Network Systems, Inc. has a unique approach to integrating IT support and cybersecurity. Our month-to-month programs range from basic support to proactive support, managed support, and customized support. Each program is tailored to the client’s needs and internal IT strengths.  

For more information about cybersecurity dangers and the preventative measures for your company, connect with the top MSP in Atlanta; Contact INSI: 770-387-2424, option 2 or click the link below. In addition, we offer 16 different cybersecurity programs to protect you and your data.

About the Author

Deborah Frazier is the author of IT Outsourcing Secrets – A Small Business Guide to Compare IT Support Companies. With nearly 20 years of experience consulting small and medium-sized businesses on their IT support needs, she brings a wealth of knowledge to INSI as Head of Marketing and Sales. If you like this article and want to get notified when a new article is posted, click here.

To make an appointment for more information about INSI and our Marietta and Atlanta metro IT Support services, click here.