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In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, phishing is one of the most pervasive- and successful- attack vectors. This technique preys on human fallibilities rather than exploiting technical vulnerabilities, making it particularly challenging to defend against. According to IBM social engineering, the use of deceptive techniques to trick individuals into divulging sensitive information, accounts for 29% of breaches.   

Phishing attacks typically take the form of fraudulent emails, text messages, or recreations of legitimate websites that appear trustworthy. These traps often mimic reputable entities like banks, social media platforms, or government agencies, using familiar logos, language, and formatting to deceive recipients. Once a victim clicks on a malicious link or provides sensitive information, attackers gain unauthorized access, opening the door for more sophisticated malware like infostealers or remote access trojans to wreak havoc.  

Cybersecurity's Weak Point: Humans

One of the primary dangers of phishing lies in its ability to bypass traditional cybersecurity defenses. Despite the active use of email filters and firewalls, phishing continues to be a powerful entry tactic, especially as attackers continuously refine their techniques to evade detection. Even with the introduction of advanced protection solutions the IC3 reports that business email compromise (BEC) resulted in losses over $2.9 billion in the past year.


Phishing attacks exploit human psychology- triggering reactions like curiosity, urgency, or fear- to manipulate level-headed employees into unintentionally compromising security. When a foreign prince offers you the throne by his side in exchange for your bank account information, the average person knows this is a scam. Because greater quantities of sensitive information are at stake business emails attract more clever cybercriminals. Despite general suspicion towards unsolicited messages, almost half of all businesses suffer from BEC attacks. A recent trend has seen links lead to look-alike login pages that record information before inputting it into the actual program. It’s difficult to detect that something is amiss because the login process proceeds as normal, helping the unauthorized user avoid detection longer. 


Employee Cybersecurity Training

The phishing threat landscape is evolving fast so it’s important for companies to train employees to identify and report any email they receive that seems suspicious. Also companies need to train employees on real and relevant threats. Simulation and computer based training is a must. Some helpful tips for employees to keep in mind are to pay attention to:


Who is it from: Email addresses one character off from a trusted source can slip past human detection in a crowded inbox. Employees should save their known contacts so that any new email appears different from the rest. 


How is it written: If you’ve never received a hurried email from this contact before, it’s best to approach the situation with caution. Seek clarification from someone who is not included as a recipient to confirm if the claims are true. It’s also key to determine if this message is out of character for the sender or your relationship with them. Your CEO is never likely to send a messaging asking you to purchase gift cards for them.


When was it sent: Again, reference the context of your previous communication. Warning bells should go off when an unsolicited message from an unknown sender at 6am warns of doomsday. But if it’s common for your coworker to send messages in the evening, receiving an email from their address outside work hours is not the sole indicator that an attacker is attempting to compromise your email account.  


Cybersecurity Awareness: Best Practices

 Encourage employees to practice skepticism towards emails that seem out of the ordinary. Training programs that simulate phishing attacks can help employees recognize red flags and practice safe online practices. Encouraging the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) further enhances protection against unauthorized system access. 

As cybercriminals continue to innovate and diversify their tactics, organizations and individuals must remain vigilant and proactive in their efforts to combat phishing. By investing in robust security measures, fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, and implementing best practices, businesses can significantly reduce the risk posed by phishing attacks. 


Proactive, Active, and Reactive Defense 

Like most cybersecurity measures, the key to minimizing the likelihood of a hacker’s success is to continuously protect your organization against threats across the entire enterprise. Proactive defense includes updating employee training to model recent threats and making employees aware of how to report suspicious messages. But there is also technology that can help protect your organization through threat analysis. This type of technology can help an organization proactively before a breach happens, during an incident should a cyber crime occur and also reactively through threat re-engineering to determined what happened and how it happened to help the organization resolve and recover from the incident.


CodeHunter has built an analysis platform with that in mind. CodeHunter provides in-depth analysis, scanning files that have been flagged by your security technology stack and provides a comprehensive information about those files to your security team, enabling them to take fast effective action to stop threats from negatively impacting your enterprise. The security team can then use this intelligence in their active protection strategies. Warning the organization of specific message senders or content after detecting phishing attempts reminds employees to keep their guard up. Including relevant indicators from recent attacks on other organizations also strengthens company defenses. When a phishing attack is successful CodeHunter's automated threat hunting engine detects suspicious and malicious files at speed and at scale, reducing mean time to detect (MTTD), contain (MTTC) and respond (MTTR). When your system is compromised, you want CodeHunter on your side to provide the critical time and information needed to stop the attack and reduce any negative impact to your organization.


Find out how CodeHunter can equip your security team for active, proactive, and reactive success today.