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Nine tips to protect your business against phishing attacks

April 20, 2021
As cybersecurity and IT GRC specialists, we always remind our customers that rely only on technological solutions will never be enough to establish an effective security posture at their companies.
Users are always the weakest link in any organization’s security. Companies consider that training team members against phishing attacks are a significant obstacle to managing their security posture. On the other hand, they know that the number of phishing attacks is exponentially growing.
Hackers constantly innovate their techniques,  and security platforms often don’t identify phishing attempts until the damage happens. It’s essential to cultivate security processes among every team member and continuously train them against these attempts.
These attacks require users to take some action, such as clicking on a malicious link or executing a malware-infected file, for the criminal to gain access. Hackers often use social engineering techniques to mislead people to send confidential information.
That’s why security platforms always need to be reinforced by a human firewall.

Phishing is the main threat to data breaches

According to new research from the United Kingdom’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS), phishing attacks have become the primary source of data breaches globally. Among companies analyzed in the research, 25% are targeted by cybercriminals at least once a week.
Phishing attacks appear at the top of the list as hackers’ most used strategy, followed by impersonation. Last year, the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the situation triggering a 400% increase in phishing attempts via fraudulent e-mails.
The report noted that only 20% of companies conduct phishing exercises for their employees, although respondents have a favorable risk assessment view.
Below, we’ve listed nine ways to protect your company from phishing attacks.

1.Perform phishing tests

Performing frequent phishing tests is an effective way to prepare employees, produce evidence, identify vulnerabilities and compromised users. Your team can use the information delivered to justify cybersecurity actions and investments and show trends over time.

2.Make security awareness tests without notice

Security awareness tests must be done without notice and involve professionals from all company areas. While employees may be aware that security tests will occur, you should not notify test specifications or when they will take place. In other words, don’t send alerts telling “be prepared for the phishing test this week!”.

3.Search for vulnerabilities

Phishing tests should not be one-dimensional. It’s not just about avoiding clicking on a link. It’s about understanding the environment’s security maturity as a whole. While testing, you should especially verify if your team is vulnerable to credential attacks, downloading malicious attachments, enabling macros, etc.

4.Develop a security awareness training

Every company should include highly elaborate spear-phishing attacks in their company training. Any agent that targets your organization will spend time doing the proper survey to build a powerful attack. Training should reflect real-world threats for prevention against social engineering to work.

5.Build a human firewall

Continuously instructing and testing users through a phishing awareness training program will turn your employees into a human firewall that filters questionable content. That is one of the most effective ways to prevent phishing attacks from occurring.

6.Invest in continuous monitoring and detection

With the monitoring of the environment, it is possible to identify users’ suspicious or unusual behavior. That will help to detect phishing attempts quickly and act fastly to end the attack. Simulation tools generate alerts based on relevant indicators, which can go as an effective way to prevent the spread of a possible infection.

7.Limit team member privileges

In general, employees do not need administrator-level permissions on their computers to work. It would be best to implement the zero privilege policy, limiting permissions to the minimum necessary for users to perform their tasks. Additionally, set up processes to handle exceptions. That will minimize the impact of a phishing infection.

8.Keep security awareness in focus

You must conduct security awareness training regularly to keep the organization’s policies in focus. During training, it is essential to provide employees the basics of cybersecurity and the know-how to identify and deal with phishing attacks.

9.Understand the users’ awareness

Perform simulations it’s a great way to measure the users’ level of awareness and decide what procedures you should strengthen. Run an initial phishing simulation campaign to establish the baseline for which users are prone to phishing. Randomize e-mail content, test different employees at different times. Then continue running phishing attacks at least once a month.


Phishing remains the most common and effective form of cyber attack. Around the world, companies are the target of dozens of phishing e-mails every day. Data hijacking happens very quickly, as hackers observe and research the best ways to attack, often taking advantage of unknown vulnerabilities.
In this context, the training of company employees plays a vital role in minimizing the danger. It doesn’t matter if your organization has good prevention policies. If you don’t prepare users properly, violations are inevitable.

Source: HiveCore Enterprise Solutions LLC

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