Social engineering scams are among the biggest threats facing modern businesses. Most of the time, they start with a suspicious email, but they can also take the form of an SMS or even a phone call.
What makes these scams so dangerous is the fact that they generally don’t rely on malicious software that antivirus systems can identify and quarantine. Instead, they dupe unsuspecting people into taking a desired action, such as surrendering confidential information or downloading a malicious file. To make matters worse, many scams target specific individuals, relying on building trust by demonstrating knowledge about the victim.
Why Every Cybersecurity Strategy Must Start with Education
The weakest link in any organization isn’t old technology or a lack of a robust antivirus system. Neither is it all about intrusion detection systems and firewalls. While all these systems are still essential components of any security strategy, they’re only as effective at stopping threats as the people using them. In other words, everything cybersecurity-related starts with training.
The sad reality is most people simply don’t have a clue about digital security and the threats that face modern businesses. That’s exactly why phishing scams are the root of most successful attacks. Despite the ubiquity of these scams (you only need to check your spam folder to see just how common they are), most employees are far more vulnerable than they think.
Social engineering scams are becoming increasingly targeted. Scammers may, for example, demonstrate personal knowledge of a potential victim while masquerading as someone they know, such as a fellow employee, supervisor, or manager. Starting with a pretext, these scammers will strive to build trust long before they go for the motherlode, which is to encourage victims into doing what they want.
That’s why the best line of defense is a healthy dose of skepticism created by regular security training sessions.
How to Create a Culture of Accountability
Staff training is the first and most important step in transforming your workforce from the weakest link into a human firewall. However, it doesn’t stop there. To make sure people are following the rules, you’ll need acceptable use and security policies that align the threats facing your business with the obligations of your employees. While it’s unreasonable to block all web traffic unrelated to work, you must clarify the roles they have in safeguarding your corporate data. For instance, access to corporate data should be reserved only for top-level executives, not front-of-house staff.
When it comes to exchanging confidential information, your security protocols should also make the proper procedures clear. This might include never providing password or payment information over the phone or by email or to people who can’t verify their identity for that matter. Social engineers can be highly convincing, so you should never believe someone based only on what he or she says over an email or phone conversation. In other words, if employees receive any query that’s the slightest bit unusual or suspicious, they should be obligated by your acceptable use policies to report it immediately so that everyone else on your team can be alerted.
Verifying Identities with Multifactor Authentication
One of the most common goals of a phishing scam is to obtain login information for a system that holds confidential data, which is why relying on passwords alone for accessing corporate apps and data is a bad idea. All it takes is for a scammer to trick victims into giving up their login information to hack into a system. However, if you factor in an additional level of security in the form of multifactor authentication, the scammer will be unable to do that.
Authentication should always consist of at least two of the following factors:
- Something you know, like a password or PIN code
- Something you have, like a mobile authenticator app
- A personal characteristic, like a fingerprint or facial recognition
By combining two or even three of the above factors, a system will be far safer from social engineers, who will need to have access to every authentication method to successfully gain access to the system.
Cybersecurity should be at the forefront of any technology strategy, regardless of the size and scope of your business. That’s because everyone’s a target. With Zeta Sky at your disposal, your systems will be locked down by multiple layers of protection. If you’re ready to start safeguarding your organization for a better future, call us today.