Although it’s common for data breaches to come from inside the company, it’s not that most employees want to compromise your network. It’s easy for outsiders to target trusted employees inside of your company, tricking them to giving up sensitive information. One way to do that is with a type of attack called spear-phishing. It’s important to be aware of spear-phishing tactics and how you can guard against them.
What is Spear-Phishing?
Spear-phishing attacks look and read like emails from a coworker or colleague.
If you’re internet-savvy, you may be familiar with phishing techniques. In a phishing attack, you might receive an email that looks at a casual glance like it’s from a trusted source – your bank, for example. Clicking on a link in the email may take you to a dummy page that’s set up to look like the login page for the same source. But when you fill in your username and password on the fake page, the phisher is able to collect those details and can use them to access your account.
Spear-phishing is similar, but more sophisticated and more narrowly targeted. Phishing attacks are often sent to a wide variety of people – all of your bank’s checking customers, for example – and can be detected by some email filters or just by close inspection.
A spear-phishing attack, on the other hand, might be an email sent to only one person and made to look like it comes from a source that’s both trusted and personal, like a business partner or a colleague. The email will often contain convincing personal information that helps convince the target that the email is legitimate. The target will be asked to click a URL, open an attachment, or provide sensitive information.
How Much Damage Can Spear-Phishing Do?
Spear-phishing attacks take more time and attention to detail than normal phishing attacks. Spear-phishers take time to gather information on their target and on the person they’re impersonating, often by scouring social media. They put the time and effort into creating a very convincing attack because they’re after valuable things, like trade secrets or a particularly large financial gain.
A skilled spear-phisher can do untold damage to your business. And because spear-phishing attacks can be so convincing, the losses can go on for some time before they’re noticed.
How to Protect Your Business
Employee monitoring software adds another layer of protection to your business.
In order to protect your business from spear-phishing attacks, you’ll need to be prepared for them. Employees should be trained to be aware of spear-phishing, and to practice preventative measures, like typing URLs into their own browser rather than clicking on links and avoiding divulging sensitive information via email.
But spear-phishing works because it’s effective at convincing targets to bypass such security measures, so it’s also important to keep an eye on what your employees are doing and what kinds of emails they’re receiving. Employee monitoring software can give you an extra layer of protection and security.
To find out more about how employee monitoring software can make your business more secure, start your free 7-day trial.