Resources Hub - What Helps Protect from Spear Phishing: 21 Ways of Protecting Businesses from Spear Phishing

Ninety-five percent of successful enterprise network and server attacks resulted from spear phishing emails. This type of phishing attack has become a growing concern in the cybersecurity world due to how believable the emails can be and how easily workers can become victims.

Therefore, security professionals encourage companies to improve their security posture to protect their business from such attack attempts. This article will discuss spear phishing campaigns, how they compare to typical phishing, and how you can prepare your staff and protect your servers from spear phishing emails in the future.

Spear Phishing FAQs

What Is Spear Phishing? How Does It Work?

Cybercriminals use spear phishing to target victims with a stealthier phishing attack. Spear phishing focuses on obtaining unauthorized access to sensitive information. Hackers could edit email addresses with spoofing to appear like a CEO or leader within their target organization. They can contact employees who will trust the email based on the name and send over sensitive files or open up message links, allowing hackers to gain information they should not have.

Spear Phishing vs Phishing: What’s the Difference?

There are a few distinctions that can help you understand the difference between phishing and spear phishing:

  • Spear phishing campaigns generally target an individual or smaller group, while phishing focuses on extensive outreach.
  • Messages from spear phishing hackers will have the victim’s name and personal information, but phishing emails have more generic, personality-less formatting.
  • Threat actors will ensure their spear phishing email address looks legitimate, and typical phishing emails come from spoofed emails that are easier to identify.
  • Spear phishing email attacks have more personalized headings, so victims are more intrigued by the content, and phishing usually employs more generic subject lines.
  • Emails from spear phishers are grammatically correct and well-written, and phishing messages tend to have more typos and errors.

Spear phishing poses as more challenging to identify since they blend in with surroundings better than a standard phishing attack.

What Helps Protect From Spear Phishing Attacks?

How Can I Prepare My Employees?

Your employees must understand the possible company email security risks they could encounter while using your servers. Here are some of the best ways to ensure your employees keep all online interactions safe and protected:

  1. Develop a comprehensive email security awareness training program for employees to know what social engineering attacks are, how to detect spear phishing email attacks, and what to do if they suspect an attempt in the business. This type of training can be incredibly helpful in being the first step towards forming a more robust front against possible data loss and cloud security breaches due to attacks.
  2. Tighten and enforce robust password policies as needed so hackers have more difficulty breaking into an employee’s server.
  3. Implement a comprehensive incident response plan to avoid missing indicators of compromise until it is too late and attackers gain access to your system and applications.
  4. Monitor how your employees utilize the Internet on company-issued devices with email protection software that permits you to flag suspicious behavior, including sending and receiving sensitive information through emails that could be spear phishing.

These tips can improve your security posture to protect your employees from internal and external spear phishing emails that could lead to compromise and other harmful email security issues.

How Should I Protect Servers From Compromise?

You must ensure that your employees know what to do in the event of an attack, but preventing phishing requires that you implement safety measures and tools into your email security server to avoid any issues in the first place. Here are a few options to prioritize:

  1. Deploy email security technologies that combat data loss, oversee the data employees share externally via email, and block spear phishing attempts from inboxes through spam filters, email filters, and anti-phishing software.
  2. Update your software and endpoint threat protection services to the latest and most up-to-date versions, minimizing vulnerabilities that could lead to an attack and permitting you to monitor suspicious hostnames and avoid malware downloads on company devices.
  3. Monitor endpoint protection logs for malware indicators that could take action on devices once downloaded, update definitions, block IP addresses, and domains, and successfully execute spear phishing email attacks. During attempts, look at DNS logs to see what traffic had suspicious hostnames.
  4. Utilize patching on Operating Systems and standard software programs, including Adobe Reader and Flash. Patching will keep your company from having weaknesses that attacks could surpass throughout the server.
  5. Set up and leverage Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for sensitive, advanced systems and applications, and only give permissions to trusted identity providers and employees who need the data. To increase security even more, enforce security policies to ensure employees do not download sensitive files.
  6. Configure servers to block and quarantine suspicious emails so employees’ inboxes do not clog with spam. Deploy firewalls and monitoring software to handle malicious traffic by flagging emails from unknown senders.
  7. Implement whitelisting tools into your network to prohibit the execution of known destructive files, limit unknown and potentially malicious code from being executed, and prevent file installation without an IT professional’s consent.
  8. Ensure remote access connections use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Secure Shell (SSH), and encrypted local area networks to keep all protocols safe.

Protecting your servers will make it much more difficult for spear phishing campaigns to get past your company’s barriers and severely harm your network. Following these best practices for email security will guarantee that your company has the phishing protection it needs.

Keep Learning About Spear Phishing Emails

Threat actors have severely improved their methods for compromise, and spear phishing emails are proof. If successful, spear phishing attacks can be devastating due to their stealthily developed, difficult-to-detect software. Having a fully managed cloud email security software solution, like that from Guardian Digital, is essential to protecting your company from any cloud security breaches or data loss risks you might face. Guardian Digital is an email security company that keeps emails safe for businesses using various methods, including an email security assessment tool that provides on-demand vulnerability scanning. Consider our services when finding the best software for your business efforts in combating spear phishing emails.

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