Fighting phishing 101

Phishing emails continue to be a strong threat against unsuspecting organizations. As a result, MSPs and VARs must join the fight and take precautions to help keep end users secure.

According to SMB-focused network security vendor Calyptix Security’s Email Phishing for IT Providers, the first step channel partners should do is ensure customers know how to identify such a fraudulent email.

“Most of your clients do not have the skills to deploy anti-spam and anti-phishing technology,” the report says. “They rely on you to take steps…to help keep them safe. Users are the biggest challenge and the best solution to email phishing. Without proper training, it’s only a matter of time before one clicks the wrong link or opens the wrong attachment.”

The vendor recommends things like handouts, regular training, attack simulations and presenting customers with examples of hacks.

Ending email attachments would put a barrier to a common method of hacking, however, the technology has become imperative in today’s corporate world.

As such, Calyptix underscores the importance of secure file sync and share.

“If they are open to the idea, solutions exist that make it easy for clients to share files without the use of attachments,” Calyptix explains.

“Instead, the file is loaded onto a secure server and a link to download is pasted into the email. Organizations that are willing to adopt a sync-and-share system can eliminate the use of attachments and thereby disregard a large portion of inbound phishing emails. Unfortunately, this requires a major change in a well-entrenched user behavior.”

And while antivirus is still a “good”, albeit “less reliable” tool, according to Calyptix, it seems MSPs and VARs should also focus on keeping everything from applications to browsers to firmware up to date.

“Most exploits are for known vulnerabilities for which vendors have issued a patch, and many have been known for a year or longer,” Calyptix points out. “This is why patching can prevent many common infections.

Technology like spam filtering is also helpful through leverage of capabilities like email quarantines, geography-based filtering, blacklists and whitelists, it says.

Ultimately, however, channel partners must take their approach “beyond email”, according to the vendor, and go into areas like network segmentation, website filtering, backing up files, strong authentication methods and more.

“A user will be tricked by a phishing email. It’s inevitable. Rather than hope the day never comes, a better approach is to prepare for it,” the report says.


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