Illustration of a marlin fish being speared

How to Protect Your Company from Spear Phishing

In a world of ever-evolving threats to cyber security, spear phishing is among the most dangerous of social engineering cyber crime tactics out there. A well-crafted spear phishing attempt can be very difficult to spot, so training and preparation are the best ways to protect your company against this threat. We will be answering your questions about spear phishing in this article and offering some strategies on how you can deal with it.

What Is Spear Phishing?

Spear phishing is a very simple but effective form of security breaching that has become more prevalent now than ever before. You can think of spear phishing as a well-researched, highly targeted form of phishing. Usually, it comes in the form of an email that is sent to one of your employees with very specific details. The email typically addresses the target employee by their full name, and it might mention things like their recent social media activity or even another company you do business with.

If the employee were to fall for the trick and reply to the email, the hacker will be able to weaponize any information the employee sends. And If the employee were to follow any links or open any attachments in these emails, the hacker would be able to deliver malware with the end goal of taking over your company’s computers. The employee clicks the link, and the danger is real for your company.

This could lead to many possible scenarios, such as client information being stolen alongside credit card and banking info. It could also be that the hacker chooses to use ransomware. In which case, all of your computers will be locked behind encryption which will delete all of the information unless you pay them.

So spearfishing can be very dangerous to your company and employees. But what can you do about it? Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to arm your employees and company against this threat.

How Do I Prevent Spear Phishing?

Spear phishing is a dangerous threat, but there a few different solutions help defend your company from it. The first of these is simply educating employees so that you don’t have to worry about their choices. Now, this is not a simple lecture that you can give in five minutes to your staff. Instead, you will have to give them examples.

Even better than if you give examples is if you can go over a full session covering these kinds of threats. The session could cover what the emails usually look like and how your employees can safely avoid them. The best way to stop these threats is education, and that is where you should focus your efforts.

At this point, you may be wondering if there is some kind of software that might help with this. The answer is that some software helps, but it is not a cure-all. Most email systems have a spam filter that helps eliminates some phishing emails, but most spear phishing attempts are so convincing that they fool even the software that major email providers use.

Even using security software won’t necessarily defend your company’s network from all of the viruses that are out there. It also won’t defend against your employees accidentally giving out information that the hacker might use. So it is a useful tool, but won’t solve all of your problems.

Should I Hire Outside Help?

This depends on the size of your company and the resources you already have. If you have an expansive cyber security division and a relatively few employees to train and manage, you may not need outside help. Your division can handle keeping things up to date and keeping your employees informed. Not all small to medium sized businesses have their own IT division, however, let alone a team of cybersecurity specialists. If you lack a dedicated team of your own, then hiring outside help may be in your best interest.

Spear phishing can be a very difficult cybercrime tactic to defend against, but you can be prepared to recognize and avoid this threat with the right employee training and management.

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