There’s a new phish on the block: a rising form of phishing scam that is tricking employees across the globe. In the scam, a malicious actor texts an unwitting employee, claiming to be the CEO of their company and asking for sensitive, lucrative information as a matter of urgency.
While we all like to think that we can spot a phishing attack by now, the rise of more targeted, spear-phishing scams means that we are all vulnerable to exploitation. These attacks have a much higher success rate than blanket phishing scams, so you and your employees need to be careful!
With that in mind, to help you and your people catch and report these scams, you need to up your knowledge. So, here’s everything you need to know about text-based spear phishing scams.
What is Spear Phishing and How Does It Work?
Spear phishing is a type of cyber attack in which an attacker targets a specific individual or organization with a personalized, often convincing, message. One variation of spear phishing is SMS spear phishing, which involves the use of text messages to trick the victim into revealing sensitive information or clicking on a malicious link, which appears to be the latest trend. In fact, mobile phishing attacks increased 50% during the last year, according to research.
SMS spear phishing can be particularly effective because people are often more trusting of text messages than of emails, especially if the message appears to come from a trusted source. The attacker may use personal information about the victim, obtained from social media or other sources, to make the message seem more believable and convincing.
Generally speaking, SMS spear phishing attacks go one of two ways. The attacker will either trick the victim into clicking on a phony link, where they are prompted to enter their login credentials. If the victim enters their login information, the attacker can use it to access the victim’s online accounts.
Another common tactic used in SMS spear phishing is the “smishing” attack, in which the attacker uses a text message to trick the victim into installing malware on their device. The text message will include a link that the victim is instructed to click on. If the victim clicks on the link, they may be taken to a website that prompts them to download and install a file, which is actually malware.
SMS spear phishing attacks can have serious consequences for both individuals and organizations. For individuals, the attacker may steal sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information, which can lead to identity theft or financial losses. For organizations, the attack may result in the theft of sensitive data, disruption of operations, or damage to the organization’s reputation.
How To Protect Against SMS Spear Phishing Attacks
To protect against SMS spear phishing attacks, it’s crucial for your employees to be cautious about clicking on links or downloading files from unknown sources, and to verify the authenticity of any message before taking action.
As well as this, make sure your people are careful about the information they share online, as attackers can use publicly available information to craft convincing spear phishing attacks. It’s a good idea to limit the amount of personal information that is shared on social media and to use strong, unique passwords for all accounts.
Of course, even with these protections in place, it’s likely that your employees will receive a phishing SMS text or email at one point or another. When this happens, your phishing education program will make all the difference. Consider implementing a regular training initiative to teach your employees about trending phishing scams, so that security-awareness is front of mind at all times.
It’s also a good idea to work with a managed IT and security provider like us. We can take care of the technical aspects of blocking and responding to phishing attacks, putting in place mobile security solutions that detect and block malicious links and malware, along with incident response capabilities to quarantine any successful attacks before they wreck havoc on your company. We can help you defend against phishing attacks across all possible touch points: email, SMS messages and even phone-based scams!
Invest In Phishing Protection Today!
Overall, SMS spear phishing is a serious threat to organizations that can have grave consequences. At the end of the day, no company wants to suffer a data breach, so being proactive about this threat is crucial.
By being aware of the risk and taking steps to protect your organization, you can keep your business and your employees safe from compromise. Want to find out more about how we can help you protect against phishing scams?
Contact our friendly team today.