Sadly, but expectedly, on the heels of the European Union enacting their new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), hackers are now using this regulation as an opportunity to deceive people into providing the type of data that the GDPR is specifically designed to protect.
This problem is not contained strictly to EU. It affects people and organizations in North America as large companies that must comply with the regulation are delivering this effort to their world-wide audience. Think Microsoft. Think Netflix. Think Starwood Hotels. Companies that must comply with the regulation have been busy emailing customers with information about updated privacy policies, consent forms, and other GDPR topics. These companies are not the only ones sending GDPR-related emails, however. In May 2018, security researchers at RedScan discovered that hackers were distributing GDPR phishing emails designed to mislead people into willingly providing sensitive data.
Pretending to be from Airbnb, the hackers sent phishing emails, at the time, mainly to businesses’ email accounts. The hackers took care to make the emails appear to be from Airbnb, including its logo and standard format.
How to Protect Your Business
Phishing attacks like the Airbnb scam are not going away any time soon as hackers have successfully used them to steal money, obtain credentials, and spread malware. Businesses need strategies to protect from these attacks.
The First Line of Defense: Security on the Network
The first line of defense is everything on your network that is geared towards security. Keeping operating systems and applications up-to-date will deliver a strong layer of protection. Hackers often exploit known vulnerabilities in software to install malware. By making sure your software has the latest security patches, you might be able to stop a malicious program that was released by a successful phishing attack. Ensure that your security software is protecting every device on your network.
Whereas once upon a time having a firewall, antivirus and email security was enough, times are changing. Tools exist today that are purpose built to keep the attacks out and your data safe, i.e. url filtering, behavioral analytics, multi-factor authentication. Consider expanding your coverage.
The Second Line of Defense: Your Staff
Email filtering tools and security software, no matter how new and improved, may not catch every situation. The next, very important, layer of defense is your staff. Ensuring they are well versed in how to recognize scams, the dangers of clicking links and opening attachments in emails, becomes important. Some elements to look for include:
Where a staff member does fall for phishing scam, despite best efforts to prevent it, taking a few pre-emptive measures can help mitigate the effects of a successful attack:
What Is Your Strategy?
Although developing a strategy to protect your business from phishing attacks takes some effort, it is important to have one. Using variations of basic lines of defense, PC Corp can help you create and then implement your defense strategy. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org