How To Identify And Neutralize Phishing Attacks In 2021

How organizations need to deploy effective anti-phishing strategies to combat the threat.

Phishing attacks continue to be one of the gravest security challenges in 2021. IT admins and global organizations continue to look for a viable solution to shield their privacy and information from such online threats in this digital age. Malicious actors deploy phishing tactics to access credit card information, passwords, and other critical data through phone calls, emails, and social media. Consequently, information theft continues to jeopardize the integrity of organizations’ information assets across the world.


phishing protection

Phishing Attacks Continue To Show An Uptrend

Phishing is a cyber-attack methodology wherein malicious actors deceive users into believing them to be genuine, trustworthy entities and sharing confidential and sensitive information with them. Often, malicious actors impersonate well-known and familiar brands or organizations and use email as the medium for the purpose.

The following statistics are adequate to prove the severity and magnitude of the threat:

  • 48.91% of all emails sent accounts for spam! That’s nearly half of all the dispatched emails.
  • Each month, around 1.5 million phishing websites come into existence.
  • Email serves as the channel for delivering 92% of all malware, including phishing links.
  • Spear phishing accounts for 95% of the security breaches in business networks.
  • As much as 94% of all ransomware is delivered through phishing emails.

Given that these statistics seem to be quite outrageous, it’s time to assess how enterprises can neutralize phishing attacks in 2021.


what is phishing


How Can You Stop Phishing Attacks?

The following are the best lines of defense against phishing attacks.

Email Filtering

A secure email gateway serves as the first shield against phishing attacks. One may opt for services such as Proofpoint or robust Proofpoint alternatives to get their email gateway secured. These gateways are effective in filtering malicious and risky links. In the filtering process, such links get auto-quarantined from the inboxes of users. The best email gateways are powerful enough to block the majority of spam emails. Therefore, installing a secure email gateway will prevent possible phishing links and malware from reaching the user.

Some of the reputed gateways also alert the users in case their accounts get compromised. It also prevents enterprise accounts from being used to dispatch malicious links or emails to other organizations.

Shielding Phishing Inside Inbox

Forward-thinking organizations opt for post-delivery protection as an additional security shield to combat phishing and malware attacks. This mechanism involves the deployment of algorithms backed by AI and Machine Learning (ML). These algorithms are familiar with the typical characteristics of phishing emails. Once an email arrives, the algorithms check for such attributes to detect suspicious ones.

Eventually, the user would receive warning banners to mark out the malicious emails. If the admin policies allow, they will eliminate the malicious emails from the network. Many organizations use reputed tools, including Mimecast alternatives, to defend themselves against phishing inside the email inbox.

Website Filtering

For enterprises, preventing their employees from accessing phishing websites serves as the most tactical approach to ward off phishing threats. To this end, they incorporate web filtering techniques using DNS or opt for a web proxy. These filters are capable of filtering out web pages based on their classification into multiple categories. Besides, they deploy antiviruses to identify possible threats by scanning the respective pages.

Organizations often enable policies to block specific categories. It prevents users from gaining access to malicious pages.

Email And Web Isolation

The concept of email and web isolation operates based on detaching malicious online content from reaching the user. The action does not have any adverse impact on the user experience, and the detached content remains in secure containers. It eliminates the chances of getting critical information or privacy compromised. All the incoming content gets stripped of adversaries before reaching the users. Eventually, this mechanism also prevents credential theft in organizations.

Email Encryption

The vulnerability of data present in the emails is at its peak during transit. The reason is that most enterprises transmit their data in open formats. In the process, attackers get the opportunity to intercept the messages and gain access to confidential data. Even when one uses email filters or antiviruses, this type of vulnerability persists as such protection only exists at the sending or receiving ends.

The best solution to address this issue is encrypting the data dispatched through emails. In this case, the malicious actors cannot access the information even when they manage to intercept the emails as the data is in encrypted form. Thus, it can ward off possible phishing attempts.


Final Words

Organizations worldwide are becoming increasingly aware of phishing attacks and other online adversaries. Most of these enterprises collaborate with network security providers to combat phishing. Many organizations currently use various popular tools such as Barracuda and Sophos to protect their systems from phishing. A comprehensive shield that can secure an enterprise against all sorts of online adversaries is highly recommended.

However, SMBs with a limited budget that do not want to compromise on phishing protection tools can go with Barracuda alternatives and Sophos alternatives that offer pay-as-you-go services instead of whole packages. In a nutshell, Organizations must choose from the best tools available to bolster their email security to stay secure from threats such as phishing.

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