Spear-phishing campaigns are a type of phishing attack that focuses on executives, business owners, and other key players at an organization rather than on just anyone who might fall for an email scam.
How Spear-Phishing Campaigns Work:
The hackers will research their target thoroughly to learn about their likes and dislikes, what they do in their spare time, their pet names, and any other tidbits of information that would allow them to better deceive the victim.
The hackers will then craft a personalized message with content that is relevant to the victim in hopes that they will be fooled into believing that the message is legitimate. In addition, the hackers will also use various tactics such as misspelling words or using poor grammar in an attempt to disguise the email as if it were sent from someone other than the actual sender.
All of this effort is undertaken so that the victims will be fooled into clicking on an infected link or opening an attachment that contains a virus. Once the victim clicks on the infected link or opens the virus-laden attachment, their computer will become infected with malware, which can steal sensitive data from their machine, send out more phishing emails to more victims, or do both of these things at once.
Spear-phishing campaigns are very effective at gaining access to sensitive information, and the hackers who use them carefully track their victims to gain access to more data later.
How to Protect Against Spear-Phishing Campaigns:
It is important to be vigilant of any emails that ask for personal information and to be suspicious of any unsolicited emails, especially those that appear to be from someone you know.
It is also a good idea to educate your employees about spear-phishing campaigns. For instance, to help them recognize them and avoid becoming a victim.
Here are ways on how you can protect yourself and your employees from spear-phishing campaigns:
Have training and information sessions on spear-phishing attacks. Make sure that employees are aware of the dangers of spear-phishing attacks, and ways to avoid them. One way to do this is to hold mock phishing drills where employees can practice recognizing phishing emails.
Use a Secure Email Gateway:
A secure email gateway is an email server that filters out phishing emails; and other spam before they reach your inbox. It can also block viruses and malicious links. Using a secure email gateway will greatly reduce the risk of you; or your employees becoming a victim of a spear-phishing attack.
Use Spam Filters:
Spam filters are a great way to reduce the amount of spam that enters your inbox. Which will help prevent you from clicking on a malicious link or opening an infected email attachment. Spam filters work by identifying words in spam emails and marking them as spam. So that you never even see them. More so, spam filters should be set up for both your business email address. As well as your private email address, to help protect yourself at all times.
Disconnect from Wireless Networks:
If you are working from a public wireless hotspot or other unsecured wireless networks, then it is best to avoid accessing any personal information. If you need to access sensitive data while using an unsecured wireless network, make sure that you have encrypted your connection with a virtual private network (VPN).