Phishing Tactics Targeting the Financial Sector

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Phishing is a form of social engineering that seeks to accomplish malicious online attacks. This can be anything from the theft of private information to the installation of malware on a home or private network. The financial sector has been hit harder than ever by cyber crime. Phishing is a common tool in the attacker’s arsenal. Read more to learn what phishing tactics are being used in order to target the finance industry in particular, and how to defend your organization.

Financial Sector Phishing Tactics – Tips to Protect Your Institution

The end goal of phishing is often to steal the credentials of a network user. Within the financial sector, this can be devastating. If a hacker gains access to a firm’s internal network, they may be able to steal information and target other employees, customers, and even vendors and partners from within.

It is also important to be aware of, and remain vigilant against malware, such as ransomware. In a ransomware attack, the victim’s data is often copied externally and “locked up,” with the attacker demanding a ransom to release the data (and, hopefully, delete any copies before they are sold).

Common forms of phishing

Commonly, phishing takes the form of emails or other types of communication with the intent of tricking victims by posing as a legitimate source. If an employee were to interact with a link or attachment within the email, there is a good chance that those links could lead to the infection of a device with malware. It could also load a counterfeit web page that harvests login credentials.

Often presented with an urgent tone, phishing emails can appear as important communications from a governmental service such as the IRS, an important client or vendor such as a bank, or upper levels of management within a firm. These emails target employees who may not know any better, or who may simply want to respond with urgency. Advancements in both technology and the language used for phishing emails have also made these fraudulent emails harder to spot.

Perform Due Diligence

From 2020 through 2022, phishing URLs have reportedly increased by orders of magnitude greater than in previous years. Due to this increase in phishing and other cyber attacks, firms everywhere should perform due diligence throughout their online networks and cement strong cybersecurity protocols that can better equip them to respond to breaches.

Cyber Training for Employees

Training employees at every level of business to spot phishing attacks is another worthwhile investment that can help reduce the prevalence of phishing-based breaches reduced. Often, phishing attacks use improper grammar in their targeted emails. Not only this but so-called “urgent” links and download attachments should be vetted or ignored entirely. Rather than clicking a link in an unexpected email, navigate directly to the sender’s website or call a known contact at the sender’s organization to confirm the legitimacy of the message.

As with most forms of cyber attacks, Phishing is on the rise. All firms should watch out for its usage by malicious parties. Keeping employees knowledgeable, as well as employing the use of monitoring software can not only keep employees safe, but customers as well. 

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