What is a Phishing Attack?

Chances are by now you’ve at least heard the phrase “phishing attack” before. It’s the common name for what’s become one of the most prevalent methods of cybercrime today. But for those who know the name, few know the true nature of the threat and even fewer know how to mitigate it. Phishing attacks are easy to deploy because they can bypass typical detection methods, which means anyone or any business may be susceptible. Here, we’ll discuss this type of cyber attack in greater detail and come to understand how Okyo Garde is designed to help prevent falling victim to it and other digital threats.

The term “phishing” can be tracked back as far as 1987, but its modern-day popularity among cyber criminals can be attributed to the world’s exponential adoption of the internet. Not only is a constant pool of personal information available through social media channels today, countless businesses have migrated from brick and mortar operations to online networking and digital commerce. All of this makes for digital vulnerabilities that cyberthreats like phishing attacks target with ease. With our increasing digital dependence, both personal and professional, our digital vulnerability to cyberthreats, including phishing attacks, increases as well.

Phishing attacks are a type of social engineering that can come in various forms of everyday digital correspondence — emails, text messages, social media, etc. In short, they’re fake messages designed to lure you into a false sense of digital security. Imagine an email that appears to come from a familiar source, perhaps an organization you do business with, or even the school your child attends. And this email elicits a sense of urgency that requires some action on your part. This might include clicking on a link, opening an attachment, or providing sensitive information to alleviate the situation being presented in the communication.

Any of these otherwise simple actions is all it takes for the attack to begin. With just one click, the cybercriminal can gain immediate access to your sensitive information, your login information for any number of digital accounts, or is able to install malware to further infect your device and its operating systems.

These attacks are effective due to their ability to go largely undetected until it’s too late and because they offer little risk of capture or retribution. Which is why Okyo Garde is designed to automatically prevent phishing attacks and other cyberthreats before they get the chance to take place, right out of the box.

Phishing Attack Methods

No two phishing attacks are the same and they are often implemented based on our digital behavior. For instance, according to Verizon’s 2021 Mobile Security Index, mobile device users are 26 times more likely to click on a phishing link than they are to encounter malware, with 85% of mobile phishing happening outside of email apps, via SMS, apps, social media, and even games(1).

These are the following types of phishing attacks most prevalent in cybercrime today.

Low sophistication: 

These emails are deployed in bulk, casting a wide net in an effort to victimize at least one target. They contain several “tells” that indicate an attack, such as improper grammar or plain text, or they are sent from an unknown or improbable source.

Moderate sophistication: 

These emails are more believable because they often contain real branding from real websites or online entities. While they appear to have legitimate formatting and proper grammar, they usually remain impersonal on the whole.

Complex: 

These types of phishing attacks are the most difficult to identify. They are realistic and highly personal, coming from known or trusted sources. The ­attackers utilize specific, known details about the recipient gathered from internal and ­public sources to trick the recipient into taking the desired action, such as clicking a link.

Click only: 

Upon clicking this link, the cybercriminal gains immediate access to sensitive information, including login information and account credentials.

Data entry:

The email includes a link to a customized landing page that requires the user to enter sensitive information.

Attachment-based: 

The email contains a seemingly legitimate attachment that could be in varying formats (Word, Excel®, PDF, etc.), any of which might contain malware, spyware, or even ransomware.

Double barrel: 

This utilizes two emails. One is benign and doesn’t contain anything­ malicious nor does it require a response; the second is a follow-up that contains the malicious element in either of the above forms.

If the phishing attack has the appropriate level of complexity to make the recipient take the desired action, the attacker will gain access to personal information or will be able to penetrate the network and access other vital information. No matter the approach or level of sophistication, Okyo Garde makes phishing attacks a thing of the past for businesses that rely on a safe network to get the job done.

Prevention

In years past, this digital threat has called for a comprehensive security platform that addresses people, technology, and process alike to minimize the likelihood of a successful phishing attack. Given the continued evolution of phishing scams and the complexities of their threat, a modern security solution that aims to mitigate should have extreme simplicity at its core.

Okyo Garde™ is powerful protection delivered with the simplicity you deserve. It uses threat intelligence that's trusted by some of the world's leading enterprises, hospitals and even governments, and makes it accessible in a simple format. Right out of the box, it’s capable of stopping not just phishing attacks, but also viruses, ransomware and many other digital threats that target businesses of all sizes. It even filters malicious URLs and prevents your device from establishing connections to malicious sites.

 1: Verizon, Mobile Security Index, 2021, LINK

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