Defending Email Phishing attacks in a Nutshell

Cybercriminals do not need rocket science to entice targeted users with email scams. Even old baits like lucky draws are enough to lure targeted users into clicking on malicious links or giving away their details. This is how phishing attacks work.For those who are new to this term, a phishing attack is the most infamous form of cyberattack. It is deployed using fear tactics or social engineering strategies. Cybercriminals usually target email accounts of victims to infiltrate their personal information for malicious purposes.

These cybercriminals disguise themselves as legitimate sources to dupe email recipients. They use enticing email subject lines or message content to trick recipients into responding by either clicking a malicious link or opening attachments. Or just simply provide their sensitive information to these cyber threat actors.

The most common types of phishing emails are Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, spear phishing, whaling, pharming, etc. To prevent falling victim to such phishing attacks, it is important to implement cybersecurity solutions.

How a successful phishing attack can hurt your organization - TechRepublic

Cybersecurity Practices to Mitigate Email Phishing Attacks

Employee Education

The first and the foremost step to stay secure against email phishing attacks is user awareness. Employees play a major role in the cybersecurity chain of an organization. Also, they are the most vulnerable link in cybersecurity and hold access to confidential information of your organization.

Therefore, turn your employees into the strongest link by educating and training them with security awareness training. Use the best in class security awareness training tools that offer phishing simulation to give your employees a real-life cyber attack experience. This would not only help them in recognizing email-based attacks but would also help in analyzing their vulnerability level.

The Dos and Don’ts

Beware of unsolicited or suspicious emails landing in your inbox. Often unexpected emails grab the attention of users by creating a sense of urgency to respond. It is better to pay attention to such emails and take precautionary measures while opening them.

For instance, if you receive an unexpected email from a known sender address, ask them personally via a different mode of communication regarding the received email. Do not click on links or attachments before verification.


Report Phishing Emails

Phishing emails mainly contain grammatical errors and spelling mistakes that can be hard to detect. They either come from odd sender addresses or manipulated legitimate email addresses. Even some phishing emails can claim to be from your bank or government organization, asking for your financial details.

It is essential to have a phishing incident response tool to learn whether the suspicious-looking email received is authentic or not. You can also get to know about the subtle manipulations done in the email by cyber threat actors by reporting on the tool.


Email Encryption 

Make sure to keep your email content secured by encrypting sensitive information. Cyber threat actors are upgrading their techniques to launch phishing attacks with evolution in technology.

There are various hacking strategies that can let these cyber threat actors sniff your email content for sensitive information or message alteration. To avoid any information leak, it is better to encrypt the confidential information in the email content.


Email Domain Security

What are DMARC, SPF and DKIM? How to master email security with these  protocols | CSO Online

Did you know that outbound emails can be manipulated by adding malicious attachments during the email delivery process? In fact, cybercriminals can spoof your email address to send malware-laden emails on your behalf to your clients or business associates.

Therefore, it is highly crucial to ensure that all your emails are being delivered securely and your email reputation is maintained. To do so, secure your email domains with vital email authentication protocols. Implementation of DMARC record, DKIM record, and SPF record in the DNS safeguards your email domain against email spoofing and BEC attacks.


Multi-factor Authentication

Enable multi-factor authentication to protect your account against unauthorized access. If someone else gets hold of your passwords, this authentication standard notifies you of unauthorized login or suspicious activities happening from a device other than yours.

It sends a security code to your email account, phone, or other authenticator apps whenever your email account is accessed from unknown devices.


Stay Up-to-date

Phishing attacks are deployed using social engineering tactics. Cybercrooks and cybercriminals trick users into revealing their confidential information through various manipulative ways.

These malicious practices involve scareware, baiting, pretexting and much more. Keep yourself updated with what cybercriminals are up to and about their new social engineering attacks.

With these preventive cybersecurity measures, you can stay secure from phishing attacks. Experience a cyber-resilient working environment in your organization by implementing and putting into practice these cybersecurity solutions.


Ultimate guide to prevent Email Spoofing

With technology making revolutionary advancements, the rate of cybercrime has subsequently increased in the last decade. With hackers coming up with new ways and means to trick company employees, to find a digital route into the company assets, basic knowledge on spoofing is not enough anymore.Base-level education on email spoofing includes impersonation of an organization or executive by cyber attackers to get employees to disclose their confidential information like corporate ID or password. This information thus provided enables hackers to gain easy access into the company’s databases and accounts, draining their finances, and leaking valuable data.

What is email spoofing?

As per a survey conducted by Forbes magazine on email spoofing statistics, cybercriminals send out around 1.3 Billion spoofing emails every single day. Cybersecurity analysts conducted detailed studies worldwide to disclose chilling statistics on email spoofing:

  1. 22% of all data breaches in 2019 were due to email spoofing.
  2. 88% of all organizations from 2019-2020 experienced phishing attacks due to spoofed email domains.
  3. 96% of all phishing attacks are carried out via email spoofing. 
  4. 56% of all hackers rely more on stolen corporate credentials from employees tricked via spoofed email domains, than malware attacks.

Hackers are moderating methods to trick users, which goes beyond just impersonating the company’s executive email domain. Sometimes, employees may even receive an email from their own email address as cybercriminals try imitating the victim itself.

This has increased the chances of falling prey to phishing attacks, dispersing confidential information, and hampering security at your workplace.

How does Email Spoofing Take Place? 

Email Spoofing: What is Email Spoofing and Phishing

Hackers and cyber attackers take a corporate email ID and create a forged email address using that ID, to give the impression that the email has been sent the exact same email domain. Cybercriminals generally make use of weak links and vulnerabilities such as poor email domain authentication protocols in the company to forge emails.

Statistics disclose that around 40% of all leading organizations lack proper email domain authentication.  Email domains generally operate via SMTP, which is the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, a communication protocol that enables the transfer of mail via digital platforms.

However, SMTP is not programmed with an automated email authentication mechanism. Cybercriminals exploit this vulnerability in order to create spoofed emails by making minor changes in the IP addresses that are very difficult to track by inexperienced people.

Scanning the operating system for viruses and malware and changing the password for your email address is a temporary solution and not an effective preventive measure.

Therefore, it becomes imperative to implement certain programs and mechanisms to ensure a well-rounded protocol for email domain authentication and nullify the chances of falling prey to a phishing attack.

Solutions for Protection Against Email Spoofing

SPF ( Sender Policy Framework)

SPF or sender policy framework is a coherent system for email authentication. SPF functions by confirming and checking the sender addresses before the email is redirected into the receiver’s inbox.

This way the authenticity of the email is confirmed by checking whether the domain that the email is being delivered from has a valid IP address.

How does it work?

The IP address is matched with the DNS records of all the email domains that the organization uses for transferring mails to their respective employees.

The DNS record contains a detailed list of all the valid IP addresses for a specific email domain used by the company for the exchange of official information and communication. While the SPF record enlists all the functional email domains used by the same. If the sent email fails to match the data present in the SPF record, it is automatically classified as a forged or spoofed email.

DKIM (Domain Key Identified Mail)

Domain Key Identified Mail is a unique authentication mechanism used to check email authenticity and reduce the chances of receiving spoofed emails. DKIM functions by using a cryptographic or signature-based tool to implement efficient email domain authorization.

This, in turn, ensures that during the entire route taken by the email, from the sender to the receiver, the features of the particular email have remained unaltered. It helps the recipient confirm whether the email has been sent from the valid source or has it been impersonating the mentioned source to conduct a phishing attack. This guarantees that the data is authentic, and it comes from an authorized source.

How does it work?

DKIM has access to the DNS TXT records of the email domains of the company. When an email enters the system it is assigned a unique identification key by this mechanism, which is verified against the public key in the DNS TXT records, after which a DKIM signature is included in the email header.

The records are updated from time to time on the basis of new senders, and an unlimited amount of data can be stored. When this email enters the receiver’s server, instantly, the DKIM signature is drawn out from the email header.

The header of the mail now contains the domain name as well as a selector that incorporates the signature ( public key) of that particular email in the DNS TXT record. The public key will then be used to validate whether the data in the email has remained unaltered, and hence check for authentication.

DMARC (Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance) 

What are the benefits of DMARC? | Check DMARC - DMARC360

One of the most advanced methods implemented for email authentication is DMARC, which allows the receiver to know whether the received email is verified against the SPF and DKIM records. DMARC is a 21st-century tool which enables employees at organizations to detect spoofed emails going from their domain, independently.

DMARC is a comprehensive email authentication protocol, which keeps email domains secured by a step by step procedure for running a thorough scan on every aspect of the sender ID before the email lands in the receiver’s inbox.

How does it work?

After the email leaves the sender’s server, the SPF is verified via detailed checks run on the DNS records to match the sender’s email domain against all valid sources that the company can legally send emails via.

Furthermore, the assigned DKIM signature is also verified against the DNS records. Finally, the fate of the email depends upon the DMARC policy which can be set to “none”, “quarantine” and “ reject”.

In case of a none policy, the spoofed email lands in the inbox of the employee, in case of a quarantine policy the same is lodged into the spam box. If the DMARC policy is set to “reject”, the spoofed email is redirected into the trash bin.

A spoofed email is much more dangerous and harder to detect than a phished email since the email address in the former looks identical to the original email address. It is not possible for an employee to understand whether the received email is authentic or forged.

Therefore to gain protection from email spoofing and tackle phishing attacks, a well-rounded email authentication tool should be a part of your organization’s workplace security policy, to prevent emails from forged addresses from entering into your employees’ inboxes.


Phishing and Pharming: All of it You Must Know

Today, the ever-evolving technology has taken society to the next level of evolution. However, it has also paved a path for malicious actors to misuse it and exploit unwary users. Day after day, cyber criminals are growing more sophisticated and smart. They have been honing their skills in order to bypass the latest security standards and obtain money and data illegally.

Phishing and pharming are two major types of cyber attacks that involve tricking others into providing their personal information. Although cyber criminals use both these tactics to obtain sensitive information, they work differently.

A Brief Guide on Phishing and Pharming - anteelo

What is Phishing?

Email Phishing, Vishing & Other Types of Attacks | Webroot

Phishing is basically a social engineering attack that uses emails as a disguised weapon. In short, the cyber criminals impersonate a legitimate source to trick the target into clicking on a malicious link or attachment to acquire their personal information.


The scary part is, cyber criminals are not only limited to using emails for launching phishing attacks. They can also phish over a website and sometimes go with SMS (smishing) or voice call/messages (vishing) to trick users. According to a report from Security Boulevard, 97% of the users are unable to recognize a sophisticated phishing email.


In another report from The National News, 94% of UAE businesses experienced phishing attacks in a year. The same report also highlighted that 77% of email spoofing attack victims had money and valuable data stolen in the UAE, as compared to the global average of 73%.


Example of a Common Phishing Scam Attempt


  1. A spoofed email impersonating to distribute it to as many taxpayers as possible.
  2. The email claims that the taxpayers are qualified to obtain a refund and prompts them to submit the tax refund request within 3 days.

Several things can happen if the users click on the link to submit the request. The users might be redirected to a bogus page, where they may be asked to submit their personal information.


The hackers can harness the information and use it for other malicious activities such as identity theft. This can often lead to more disastrous and grievous consequences. Furthermore, on clicking on the link, the users might end up downloading malware infections like ransomware.


What is Pharming?

What is Pharming and How to Prevent a Pharming Attack

Pharming is the combination of two words “phishing” and “farming”. Pharming refers to the redirection of the users to a fraudulent website without their consent.


For example, an employee routinely logging into a payroll account may be redirected to a forged website instead. And, if the fraudulent website looks legitimate enough, the victim may end up getting tricked.


The motive behind phishing and pharming attacks remains the same, however, the techniques used to carry out these attacks are different. In pharming, cyber criminals carry out a two-step procedure in order to succeed.


First, the malicious actors push a malicious code on the victim’s computer or server. Second, the code redirects the victim to a fraudulent website where they are asked to enter their personal information.


To completely understand how pharming works, one must understand how Domain Name System (DNS) servers work. Whenever a user enters a domain name, the DNS servers translate that domain name into an IP address. It is the IP address that indicates the actual location of the website.


So, once a user visits a certain website, a DNS cache forms to prevent the need for visiting the server each time the user returns to that site. However, cyber criminals can corrupt both the DNS cache and the DNS servers through pharming. As a result, the users assume the bogus website to be legitimate and end up submitting their personal information.


How to Prevent Phishing and Pharming?

Several enterprises are implementing security protocols and taking steps to protect customers from phishers and pharmers. For example, in April 2020, the UAE Banks Federation launched a fraud awareness campaign to prevent digital banking service users from falling for scams. However, all it takes is one click for someone to fall for a scam.


Though as harmful as these attacks are and as easy as it is to fall for these attacks, they can be easily prevented. Taking the basic precautions listed below can help you and your organization in mitigating the risk of these kinds of attacks:


  • Look Out for URLs

Make sure your employees pay attention to the URL of the website when browsing on the internet. Legitimate websites always have the upper domain or TLDs (Top Level Domains) such as  .org, .com, .edu, .net, etc. For example,


However, if on visiting the site, it is or – even a minor mistake in the website URL is a hint that the DNS cache has been compromised.


  • Brand Monitoring

As an organization, promoting your brand is essential to foster the identity of your company. If cyber criminals impersonate your brand for malicious purposes, it can bring down everything you have worked for. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep track of how your brand is being represented online.


  • Avoid Clicking on Links

Make sure that your employees pay extra attention whenever they click on a link embedded in an email, especially one from an unknown source. It is advisable to make a habit of hovering over the link to check its destination before clicking on it.


Additionally,  implement a phishing incident response tool like TAB to enable the employees to report any malicious links or attachments getting delivered through an email.


Cyber Security Awareness Program

Cyber Security Awareness Programs

Even if your organization has implemented all the best cyber security tools, it all comes down to how cyber aware and vigilant its employees are. So, organizations should conduct regular cyber security awareness training programs to raise awareness amongst the employees.


For instance, an employee working in the accounts department is more likely to open an email or click on the link embedded in it if it is related to the organization’s financial statements. Simulating phishing attacks on the employees can help them understand how to spot phishing attempts and react to them in real life.


No matter how strong an organization’s IT security infrastructure is, addressing the employees is a must for every organization. Remember, all it takes is one simple click for an employee to jeopardize the whole organization.


Phishing Attacks Preventative medicine for 2021

Phishing attacks use deceptive emails to trick users. They have become one of the foremost attack vectors to deliver malicious content into computer systems.

There are two ways to carry out a phishing attack. The first uses website spoofing, in which the perpetrators create an almost perfect double of a legitimate website and then ask the victim to log in with their credentials there. The attacker then gets hold of these credentials. The second one uses a malicious attachment and tricks the victim into downloading it.

The Anatomy of a Spear Phishing Attack: How Hackers Build Targeted Attacks (and why they're so effective)Webinar.

Overall, the objective of phishing attacks can vary. It may be launched to-

  • gain access to the sensitive information of the victim
  • block the services from the legitimate user for ransom or other reasons
  • make undetectable changes to the crucial information held by the organization


Moreover, threat actors use phishing emails during crisis situations to create panic among users and lead them to spoofed websites. For example, the rise of phishing incidents during the recent coronavirus pandemic.


Phishing affects organizations in a major way. Additionally, it affects individuals and their cyber security negatively. For organizations, phishing attacks can also lead to a leak of organizational secrets. Consequently, this can cause a major loss to the reputation of the brand. An article published by CSO Online in March 2020 revealed that 94% of malware is delivered via mail.


Phishing Attacks: More Complex Than Ever

With each passing day, threat actors have evolved their phishing methods and taken their game up a notch. Presently, they are coming up with more sophisticated phishing email templates every day. As a result, these phishing emails are now almost impossible to differentiate from legitimate emails. Phishing can take various forms like-


  1. Spear Phishing – In spear phishing, the emails are targeted at a specific group of victims and the phishing email template is designed according to the targeted group. It is made to look like it’s coming from a trusted source.A phishing email may use the domain of an organization and a person sitting at a position of authority in that organization as the sender. For example, the sender ID in a phishing email meant to trap employees of an organization named ‘company’ may look like ceo@companny[.]com.
  2. Clone Phishing – Attackers may get hold of previously sent legitimate emails and design similar-looking emails. These phishing emails usually contain a malicious attachment or link to trap the victim after they download the attachment or click on the link.
  3. Whaling – Whaling is a type of phishing attack that targets high-profile executives of an organization. Attackers can fetch high returns through such attacks.


All things considered, defense against phishing includes everything from awareness and training to automated cyber security solutions. With the rise in the trend of emails being used as a medium to deliver malicious content, defense against phishing has become all the more important.


Measures to Prevent Phishing

Phishing Protection Checklist - How To Protect Yourself From Phishing

  1. Generate Awareness – Awareness training tools can help in generating cyber security awareness among employees. It uses cyber attack simulation to launch dummy attacks on employees of an organization. Moreover, after an attack campaign, it also imparts awareness and training to educate employees about how they should react in such situations.
  2. Be wary of offers too good to be true –  Employees should be on the lookout for emails that contain offers that are too good to be true. It is a common practice among cyber attackers to use such lucrative offers to prompt the victim to click on the link in the email.
  3. Encrypting Email Content – Attackers can get hold of legitimate email content in the inbox. They can then design their phishing attack templates accordingly. To avoid this, encryption can be a very effective method.
  4. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – MFA is important to minimize chances of data theft if a threat actor gets hold of account credentials. Therefore, it provides an extra layer of protection in case someone loses their credentials in a phishing attack. In a way, it delays losses arising from human error.
  5. Keep Up With The Trend – Keeping up with the ongoing cyber trend is equally important. If your employees are aware of the cyber attack trends of the time, it is easier for them to tell a legitimate email apart from a phishing email. Consequently, they will not click on any suspicious links or attachments the phishing email contains.
  6. Use Phishing Incident Response Tools – Using phishing incident response tools like Threat Alert Button can help in removing malicious emails from the inbox of the users. Moreover, it also empowers the employees to report suspicious emails immediately.
  7. Secure Your Organization’s Email Domain – It is advised that organizations secure their email domain using tools like KDMARC to minimize the chances of spear-phishing attacks on their employees. Furthermore, this can also help in the maintenance of brand reputation and the prevention of domain misuse.



Phishing attacks can affect individuals and organizations by compromising their information security. In addition, threat actors have become more advanced in their methodology and this should be reason enough to become more watchful. They pose a threat to our privacy, our finances, and almost every other well-functioning system in the world. To sum up, phishing attacks exploit human negligence. Therefore, every internet user, irrespective of the value of the information they possess, should be alert and proactive in securing their cyber space.

Phishing: An Overview

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where cyber criminals trick users to give away their personal information. These cyber criminals use this attack to steal data like login credentials, financial details, confidential information, and much more.

It is infamous as one of the top cyber attack vectors for distributing malware. Cyber threat actors impersonate legitimate entities to dupe victims into clicking open emails that are used as baits. Victims fall for the bait and are tricked to click on malicious links or email attachments.

The malicious attachments lead to the installation of malware that locks the system and turns into a ransomware attack. Whereas, malicious links redirect victims to a fraud web page that asks for sensitive information, which is further exploited by cyber criminals.

Email cyber attacks: 4 lessons about phishing - OZON Cybersecurity Blog

The History:

The first phishing attempt was conducted back in the 90s. Phishers would conduct attacks by stealing passwords of users. They used algorithms to create randomized credit card numbers. Later, this phishing practice was brought to an end by the AOL (America Online) in 1995.

After this, phishers came up with another common but successful duping set of phishing techniques. They used AOL’s instant messenger and email system. They impersonated AOL employees to send messages to users regarding account verification for billing information.

This technique turned more sophisticated, ultimately leading AOL officials to enforce warnings in their emails and instant messages to their clients. The organization requested them to avoid providing their sensitive information to such phishing messages or emails.


What are Phishing Techniques?

The Ultimate Guide To Phishing Techniques: Things You Need To Know About  Phishing |

Cyber criminals use various types of phishing techniques ranging from highly sophisticated to simple methods. These techniques are highly deceiving and can bypass endpoint security and secure email gateways.

The most common but ever-evolving phishing techniques are:


Pharming is a malicious practice of altering IP addresses to redirect targeted users to forged websites. These fake websites target users to submit their sensitive information like login usernames and passwords. The submitted information is later accessed by hackers for a data breach or other malicious use. Today pharming and phishing are serious cyber threats to every organization.


Spear Phishing

A formulated professional phishing attack by cyber criminals, Spear phishing is a classic phishing campaign where emails are sent in bulk to targeted individuals. Hackers do in-depth research on their targets before launching a campaign on specific individuals or organizations. The purpose of this is to send legitimate-looking emails to get valuable information out of victims.


SMS-phishing or smishing involves cyber scammers sending text messages to targets users while making themselves appear to be from reputable or authentic sources. These text messages contain malicious links that redirect message receivers to phishing landing pages. In some cases, these messages directly urge receivers to reply with sensitive information.



Vishing is a voice phishing method wherein the scammer, calls users in an attempt to gain their personal information. These phishers use the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) servers to sound like someone from credible organizations.

Vishing is currently one of the most leveraged forms of social engineering attacks in the cyber world. Vishers majorly impersonate banks or government agencies to lure users into giving away their sensitive details over the phone call.


Website Counterfeiting

Hackers design and develop forged websites that are look-alikes of legitimate ones. Their malicious purpose behind the website counterfeiting is to divert users from the legitimate website to the forged one.

These hackers defraud victim by obtaining their personal information or by luring them into downloading malware to launch ransomware attacks.

Domain Spoofing

Phishers have evolved their techniques by using highly sophisticated tricks to mislead targeted users. They use spoofed domain names to make the malicious email look as if coming from legitimate sources.

The most infamous examples of such email-based attacks are CEO fraud and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. Phisher sends the victim an email that looks like to be from a higher authority in the organization. It lures the email receiver to wire transfer funds or some confidential information.



The most dangerous attack technique wherein the victim is denied access to the system or files unless the ransom is paid to the cyber criminal. In this technique, targeted users are tricked into clicking on a malicious email attachment or link or on a malware-laden pop-up. As soon as any user clicks on one of these, the system gets corrupted by ransomware.


How to Prevent Phishing Attacks with Security Awareness?

Phishing Protection Checklist - How To Protect Yourself From Phishing

Today, most of the organizations across the world are either running their businesses remotely or have adopted the new normal of the post-pandemic. However, cyber criminals are taking this as a newfound opportunity to launch phishing campaigns on every industry vertical.


Therefore, it is essential to implement cyber security solutions and practice security measures in the organization to mitigate emerging phishing attacks. Here are some of the best practices to follow:


  1. Educate employees with the best in class phishing security awareness training. Every employee should be aware of the evolving phishing techniques, ways to recognize them and how to combat them.
  2. CISOs must implement email domain security standards such as DMARC, SPF and DKIM in their organizations. It prevents outbound emails from email domain spoofing and other email-based cyber attacks.
  3. Use an SSL Certificate to secure your website traffic and prevent information from being leaked.
  4. Secure your brand online from website forgery with stringent online brand monitoring. Institute an anti-phishing and fraud monitoring tool to live track fraudulent activities online against the organization’s websites, mobile apps, and domains.
  5. Install all the latest security patches to remove vulnerabilities and mitigate the risk of cyber threats.
  6. Use a VPN to work in a secure network environment and avoid using public networks for any sensitive data transaction.
  7. Do not reuse old passwords and avoid using the same passwords for other accounts.
  8. Beware of pop-ups, unsolicited emails, unsecured websites and never respond to unexpected emails with sensitive information.

Spear Phishing vs Phishing

What is Spear Phishing?

Along with the evolution in technology, a rapid and dramatic shift has been experienced in the occurrence of cyber attacks. The new targeted email-based phishing attacks have replaced the old extensive spam attacks. These phishing campaigns are causing major financial, brand, and operational harm to organizations across the world. The most notorious crime that is affecting major banks, corporates, media companies, and even security firms is a spear phishing email attack.

Spear phishing is an email scam that is targeted towards a particular individual, an organization, or a business. Attackers install malware on the targeted user’s computer system besides stealing user’s data.

Follow the image to understand how a spear phishing attack works:

What is Spear Phishing? {examples} How To Prevent Attacks

Spear phishing attack example:

Spear phishing and phishing attacks are deployed with similar forms of email attack which includes a typical malicious link or an attachment. The primary difference between them is the way of targeting individuals.

For instance, you have posted a social media update about traveling to a different state or country. You might receive an email from a colleague saying, “Hey, while you are in New York, make sure to try the famous Joe’s Pizza. Click Here, *link* to check out their menu list!” While you click on the link to browse their menu, a malware is quickly installed in your system.

Such emails are sent to target individuals by tricking them with a spoofed email address of someone they know or are well acquainted with.

How Can We Define a Phishing Attack?

While spear phishing emails are sent to target a single recipient, phishing emails are sent to a large number of recipients. It is an unethical use of electronic communication to deceive users by taking advantage of their vulnerability in cyber security.

These attacks are carried out to obtain sensitive and confidential information like the credentials of users. Cybercriminals use social engineering to trick victims into performing certain actions such as clicking on a malicious link or opening an attached file.

Phishing attacks are wide-spreading cyber threats every year. If you are not yet aware of this ever-growing cyber scam then one wrong click can easily flip your world upside down.

Phishing Attacks Not Going Away Soon – Channel Futures

Phishing attack example:

Here is a real-life phishing attack example of Facebook and Google. Both the companies were together scammed out of $100 million+ between the years 2013 and 2015 through a fake invoice scam. A Lithuanian hacker accomplished this feat by sending a series of fake invoices to each company. It impersonated as a large Asian-based manufacturer that they used as their vendor. Source: The Dirty Dozen

Such phishing attacks have been exploiting the data of various organizations and have led to a huge loss in revenue for many organizations. Be it phishing or a spear-phishing attack, it is vital to take preventive measures to decrease the occurrences of these cyber attacks.

How to prevent spear phishing attacks?

Just like phishing, spear attack prevention can be done in the following ways:

Spelling & Grammatical Errors:

Usually, genuine emails are error-free because of the professionalism and image reputation they hold. On the other hand, spear phishing emails have spelling and grammatical errors that are oblivious to the recipient’s eyes.

General Greeting:

If you are in contact with any individual or an organization, they would certainly use your name in the email greeting. But if an email says anything unusual like “Hello email user or attn: user”, then it’s a red alert.

URLs & Attachments:

Cyber crooks make sure to convince users into clicking on the link or on the attachment that comes along with the email. Never click any of the attachment that comes with suspicious-looking email.

Cyber Security Awareness for employees:

Every employee and individual in an organization should be provided with proper cyber security awareness training. A simulation spear phishing attack can be performed on the employees in order to make them proactive towards the latest attack vectors.

How Does a Cyber Security Awareness Program work?

The Importance of Security Awareness Training

Top-down analysis of Phishing Simulator

The Importance of Phishing Simulator Tool

9 top anti-phishing tools and services | CSO Online

When it comes to the cybersecurity of any organization, phishing simulator should be considered as a top choice to train employees. A phishing simulation tool works as a proactive defense against phishing attacks for employees when it comes to the cybersecurity of an organization.

Phishing email test for employees is essential as they are the first choice of target of cyber attackers. Employees sit on the front lines of the ever-evolving email-based phishing threats, which makes them an easy target. In fact, phishing emails account for 94% of ransomware and have cost $132,000 per business in email compromise incidents.

In a report by a research lab, almost half of the emails are spam emails whereas, if there were 124 billion business emails exchanged every day in 2018, there is a wide scope of spoof emails to wade through and cause a potential for disaster.

Hackers have become more sophisticated and prevalent in their strategies in attempting phishing attacks. Users are required to be aware of the prevailing cyber threats and must be trained accordingly. Phishing email for employees helps them in making them proactive in recognizing malicious emails.

Reasons Why Employees Fall for Phishing Attacks

3 Reasons Employees Fall for Phishing Attacks - Protek Support

In the cybersecurity statistics of 2019, it was found that spear-phishing, under which cybercriminals choose specific targets, still seems to be the most preferred way that hackers choose to deploy cyber-attacks on organizations.

While employees are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain of an organization, they tend to easily fall victim to email-based phishing attacks. Here are the three reasons that state why employees easily become the target of phishing attacks:

  1. Lack of knowledge regarding the phishing threat
  2. They are less proactive and reactive when it comes to cybersecurity
  3. Insufficient backup office processes

Most often, phishing emails come in disguise of a legitimate source which makes it more easy for cybercriminals to target users who generally do not pay close attention to such emails. According to a survey conducted on employees, around 60% of the respondents agreed on promptly opening emails from their boss. Phishers, on the other hand, find this as an exploitable vulnerability in employees. Regardless of scale and size, organizations must implement some standards and provide phishing training to their employees to avoid the near future cyber risks.

What is the Best Tool for Phishing Training? 

As cyber-risks are increasing day by day, companies and organizations are battling hard to keep up with their defenses. It’s high time for the organizations to provide phishing training to their employees so that they become more vigilant and strong against phishing attacks.

Recognized as the “Top-10” most innovative product of the year in 2017 – DSCI NASSCOM, this tool has proven to be the best phishing simulator for its remarkable features. This product comes with the following six simulation attack vectors:

  1. Phishing
  2. Ransomware
  3. Risk of Removable Media
  4. Cyber Scam
  5. Vishing
  6. Smishing

It is a complete suite of cybersecurity solutions in one product and holds the best features such as unlimited security attack simulation cycles, automated training campaigns, email-based phishing simulation attacks, hack record of employees to reduce cyber risks in an organization. If it’s better to be safe than sorry, then why not invest in the right tool at the right time?

Phishing: Don’t Take the Bait!

What can be the cruelest but most effective way to test your employees if they are aware of the risks and preventions of a phishing attack? Godaddy, the world’s largest domain registrar and web-hosting company, simulated a phishing test for employees to increase alertness levels against phishing attacks.

On December 14, an email tucked underneath the snowflake banner with the words “GoDaddy HOLIDAY PARTY” from “” was sent to hundreds of Godaddy employees offering a holiday bonus. The message in the email said, “2020 has been a record for GoDaddy, thanks to you!

What Are the Latest Phishing Scams to Watch for in 2020? | Technology Visionaries LLC

Though we cannot celebrate together during our annual Holiday Party, we want to show our appreciation and share a $650 one-time Holiday bonus!” it further added.

To ensure that the recipients receive the bonus, they were asked to fill in the personal details by December 18. But instead of receiving the bonus, two days later, almost 500 employees received an email from the company’s Chief Security Officer, Demetrius Comes.

Though many criticized the bonus offer in GoDaddy’s test as insensitive, companies do organize phishing simulation tests to educate employees on cybersecurity.


GoDaddy is not the first company this year to provide phishing email awareness for employees. Earlier this year, Tribune Publishing, a giant newspaper company in America, sent out a similar phishing email to the employees.

The email circulated by several employees on Twitter said the company was providing targeted bonuses between $5,000 to $10,000. Only to find out later that it was a phishing test sent from the company.


Why Should Organizations Run ‘Employee Phishing Test’?

Imagine the consequences, if GoDaddy’s phishing test was not a test but a real phishing attack from a hacker! Roughly 500 employees failed the test, so, almost 500 of them would have submitted their personal information to hackers. This could have led to a complete disaster for the company.

The scariest thing about that GoDaddy phishing test story - Domain Name Wire | Domain Name News

Providing this kind of real scenario phishing attacks helps employees understand what the falsified email might look like. And how it can trick them into falling for the scam by offering some incentive or creating a sense of urgency. The test helps the employees in recognizing phishing emails as well as to avoid and report it.


According to phishing statistics 2020,  97% of the users are unable to recognize a sophisticated phishing email. This is probably why phishing attacks, Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks and other email-based attacks are rapidly increasing every passing year. In fact, BEC attacks yielded the most profit for cybercriminals in 2020!


How to Detect Phishing Attacks?

Phishing attacks today have evolved and become more sophisticated than ever before. These attacks are becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between a legitimate email and a fake email. But here are a few ways that your organization can follow to detect phishing attacks and protect your organization and the employees against phishing attacks:


  • Email domain name

It is advisable to always check the name, email address and make sure no alterations (additional letters or numbers) have been made in the email domain or the email address. For example, a legitimate email address might be but an altered email address can be or If you are receiving an email from an unknown organization then you can also check the organization’s domain name by writing the company’s name in a search engine like google.


  • Sensitive information and sense of urgency

A legitimate company or any government agency would never ask you to send your sensitive information over email. So, if an organization is asking you to send your credentials or personal information like username or password through email, it is recommended to not send it and get the mail verified personally. Moreover, most of the time scammers create a sense of urgency. Just because if there is not much time left then you don’t have enough time to think or cross-check. But you do not want to be in a hurry when it comes to losing your personal information.


  • Poor spellings and grammatical errors

You can often spot a phishing email if it contains poor spelling and grammar errors in the message. Legitimate companies have qualified and trained employees to write emails and the emails are double-checked before the emails are sent out to their staff or clients. So, if a message has poor spelling or grammar errors, it’s always better to cross-check if the email is from a legitimate company.


  • Too good to be true or designed to make you panic

It is common for phishing emails to offer a coupon for free stuff or to instill panic. The email message will either be offering some rewards which you were not expecting or will create panic by claiming that your account is compromised. To receive the reward or to secure your compromised account, you will need to verify you are the legitimate person by either giving out your credentials or by entering your login details. The common goal of both messages is to get your credentials or personal information.


  • Suspicious links or attachments

Phishing emails come in many different forms but no matter how the email is delivered to you, it always comes with a gateway. It can either be a link to redirect you to a bogus website or an attachment that you are asked to download. No legit companies will randomly send you links or attachments and if they want you to download something then it will be from the official website.


How to Prevent Phishing Attacks?

Your email spam filters might help you keep away numbers of phishing emails from landing into your inox but malicious actors are constantly finding ways to outsmart spam filters. So, it is highly recommended to add extra layers of protection against phishing attacks. Here are some precautious steps your organization can implement:

10 Tips on How to Prevent Phishing Attacks on Your Personal Data

  1. Protect the devices by keeping the software up to date with the latest security updates and patches.
  2. Enforce strong password policy, passwords that are not easily guessed and avoid sharing passwords to elude the risks of password sharing at work.
  3. Add an extra layer of security for the password with multi-factor authentication.
  4. Encourage your employees to report suspicious emails with tools like Threat Alert Button.
  5. Routine backup the confidential or important data in an external hard drive or cloud storage and also encrypt all sensitive company information.


There are multiple steps your organization can take to prevent email phishing attacks, however, it is important that your employees recognize the phishing emails.


Your organization must get a regular VAPT service in order to identify cybersecurity vulnerabilities and threats. It is a must to implement tools like KDMARC to prevent your email domain against domain forgery and protect your brand.


These services and tools help your organization in safeguarding against cyberattacks and it is highly recommended that you continue. But all it takes is one untrained employee to be tricked by a phishing attack to give away all the information.


The most effective way to educate employees is to provide cybersecurity training with tools to make them aware of the latest cyberattacks including phishing. It will not only provide them with the knowledge of most of the common cyberattacks happening worldwide but will also help them to avoid them.


You can also provide security awareness email samples and phishing awareness emails to employees. It can be done regularly or periodically but to remind them of how it looks and what they should look out for.


Making sure your organization and the employees strictly follow the cybersecurity protocols is the best way. In fact, it is the best possible way out to protect your organization against cyber threats.


You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” – Abraham Lincoln


The malicious actors have succeeded in fooling the employees to give out personal information. They have even succeeded in jeopardizing an organization’s network and IT infrastructure. But it’s up to you if these threats shouldn’t harm your organization in the present or in the future by taking the right steps!

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