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Avoiding Spear Phishing Attacks

Avoiding Spear Phishing Attacks

Thursday, December 15, 2022/Categories: Your Security

Spear phishing is a more targeted approach that focuses on an individual instead of a large group of people. Cybercriminals often gather personal information through social media platforms or a company website. These emails are often designed to trick an unsuspecting person into giving out confidential login information by impersonating a legitimate organization. These phishing scams can often lead to a stolen identity or a data breach. Understanding how to avoid these spear phishing attacks is essential to not becoming the next victim of these schemes.

Here are a few tips on how to stay safe against spear phishing. 

Understand the Basics

The first step in staying proactive against spear phishing attacks is to understand how these scams operate. These attacks often try to imitate a legitimate email address, but the spelling is usually off by one or two letters. You may even notice spelling errors throughout the message. Hovering over the links in a message will also let you see the true location of the website, as finding a suspicious address is almost always a guarantee that the link will infect your computer with malware.

Protect Your Personal Information

Most spear phishing attacks are successful due to a cybercriminal taking the extra time to gather your personal information online. One simple way to keep your accounts secure is to set all of your social media accounts to private and choose to only add people that you know personally. Turning on multi-factor authentication is another effective method of keeping your accounts secure by making it much more challenging for any hacker to steal your account.

Invest in IT Security

Enabling spam filtering with your email service provider can play a key role in limiting the number of phishing emails you receive in your inbox. Investing in IT security controls is also vital in giving you an additional level of protection. Working with managed IT services is also a great option for many small or mid-size businesses. Network monitoring, cybersecurity awareness training, and real-time data backups are just a few examples of the different services available from a managed IT support company.

Keep Everything Up to Date

Sometimes spear phishing attacks attempt to take advantage of software vulnerabilities. These different vulnerabilities are often weak against malware while also increasing the chance of suffering a data breach. Making sure all of your software remains up to date with the most recent patches is important in avoiding these issues. Enabling automatic updates is always a convenient option, and you don't have to worry about manually checking for updates each day.

Closing Thoughts

Spear phishing attacks will continue to pose numerous problems for individuals and businesses of any size. Taking additional precautions against these scams is critical, whether it's training employees on how to recognize them, keeping your personal information private on social media, investing in IT security, or downloading the latest patches. These cybercriminals will only continue to find innovative ways to target individuals, as staying aware of these evolving threats is a necessity in today's work environment. As always, Andover Bank will keep you up-to-date on the latest financial security news on our website.