This year’s Cyber Security Awareness month focuses on two highly impactful cyber security threats: Phishing and Social Engineering. The techniques that frequently act as gateway tactics for more nefarious cyber-attacks.
The evolving face of Phishing
Cybercriminals are perpetually devising new methods to access personal data and disrupt digital ecosystems.
This holds especially true for phishing attacks, which have seen a marked evolution in their sophistication and efficacy over recent years. Gone are the days of blatant, typo-laden emails urging you to download an attachment. Today, you might encounter a user on social media who seems to share your interests and hashtags, only to disseminate a malicious link. Or perhaps you'll receive a seemingly legitimate message from a high-ranking executive in your company, requesting an unusual money transfer to an unfamiliar bank account.
The landscape of phishing is not static; it's continuously mutating, making it increasingly challenging to thwart. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) via tools such as ChatGPT have armed threat actors with the capabilities to orchestrate extensive campaigns that boast high rates of success.
Phishing isn’t confined to just emails. Cybercriminals also exploit various communication channels like text messages (Smishing) and even voice calls (Vishing) to dupe unsuspecting victims. This multi-dimensional approach not only enhances the likelihood of an attack’s success but also necessitates comprehensive, cross-channel training and awareness programmes.
Integrity360 offers various solutions and services that can help with the detection and reduction of Phishing threats. These include –
- Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform
- Managed Detection and Response (MDR)
- Cyber Security Risk Assessments
- Managed SOC
- Managed Digital Risk Protection
- Incident Response
Social engineering is a major focus of this year’s Cyber Security Awareness month as it is one of the most common tactics threat actors employ.
Studies indicate that a staggering 98% of cyber-attacks are dependent on social engineering techniques, with phishing attacks being the most prevalent form. Unfortunately, the majority of organisations are inadequately equipped to tackle the threat.
Regardless of how advanced cyber security technology becomes, human vulnerabilities remain a constant, often making it the Achilles' heel of any cyber security effort.
As phishing and social engineering capitalise on human weaknesses, awareness initiatives need to be oriented towards understanding human behaviour and psychology. This is not merely about identifying a phishing email but about fostering a culture of scepticism and due diligence that serves as a first line of defence.
The sphere of influence of social engineering extends even to physical security. Methods like 'tailgating' show that attackers can exploit human psychology to gain physical access to restricted areas, rendering even the most robust technological security systems irrelevant if employees aren't trained to be vigilant.
Understanding Social Engineering Risks
Given the prevalence and potential danger of social engineering schemes, organisations must be more proactive in cultivating employee awareness, especially in the era of hybrid work settings.
Training staff on how to recognise phishing efforts is essential for minimising the likelihood of security breaches and preventing unauthorised access to sensitive data assets. Employee morale is also a key factor; a content workforce is generally less susceptible to bribery or collusion with cybercriminals.
Cyber Security Awareness Month 2023 compels us to consider that, as we progress into an increasingly interconnected digital age, our foundational vulnerabilities have sadly remained consistent. Phishing and social engineering persist not due to technological failings but because of the exploitation of human fallibility.
Interested in learning how our Cyber Security Risk Testing services can safeguard your organisation from internal threats? Get in touch with us today.