About Us

Phishing Scams and Social Engineering: How to Protect Yourself

Phishing scams have become more common in recent years, with cybercriminals using a variety of tactics to trick people into disclosing sensitive information. Cybercriminals use a variety of phishing techniques to trick victims into disclosing sensitive information such as login credentials or financial information. These scams are most commonly carried out through emails, texts, or social media posts that appear to be from a trustworthy source, such as a bank or a government agency.

In this blog post, we’ll look more closely at phishing scams, particularly as they relate to social engineering, and we’ll also go over how to defend yourself against these types of attacks.

How do phishing scams work?

Phishing scams work by duping people into doing things like clicking on a link or providing personal information. This is typically accomplished through the use of social engineering techniques such as instilling fear or urgency. For example, an attacker may send an email purporting to be from a legitimate source, informing the victim that their account has been compromised and that they must click on a link to reset their password. When the victim clicks on the link, they are taken to a bogus website that appears to be legitimate and asked to enter their login information. This information can then be used by the attacker to gain access to the victim’s bank account.

The practice of psychologically manipulating others to achieve a desired outcome is known as social engineering. It typically entails creating a sense of urgency or fear, or rapport. Phishing scams frequently employ the tactic of social engineering to convince victims to provide personal information or carry out other tasks.

Social engineering tactics used in phishing scams

Creating a sense of urgency or fear: A sense of urgency or fear may be evoked by the language used by scammers, such as warnings that an account will be closed or that the victim will face consequences if they do not act right away.

Building trust: Scammers may employ language and branding intended to inspire confidence and give the target the impression that the message is genuine.

Asking for personal information: Scammers may request personal information such as login credentials or financial information under the guise of resetting a password or resolving an issue.

Use of authority: Scammers may impersonate a government official or a representative of a well-known organization to make the victim believe they are legitimate.

Urging to click on a link: Scammers may ask the victim to click on a link in order to resolve an issue or access an account, but the link in reality leads to a phishing website.

Identifying Phishing Scams

A. Signs of a phishing email

There are several signs that an email may be a phishing scam. These include:

  • The sender’s email address does not match the organization or person that the email claims to be from.
  • The email includes spelling or grammar errors.
  • The email includes a sense of urgency or fear.
  • The email asks for personal information.
  • The email includes a suspicious attachment or link.

B. How to spot phishing scams on social media and other platforms

Phishing scams can also occur on social media and other platforms. To spot a phishing scam on social media, look out for:

  • Suspicious links or messages from unknown senders
  • Posts that create a sense of urgency or fear
  • Posts that ask for personal information
  • Posts that include suspicious attachments or links

C. Tools and resources for identifying phishing scams

There are several tools and resources available to help identify phishing scams. These include:

  • Email filtering software
  • Anti-phishing browser extensions
  • Security awareness training programs
  • Phishing reporting websites

Protecting Yourself from Phishing Scams

A. Tips for avoiding phishing scams

  • Be skeptical of unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls
  • Do not click on links or open attachments from unknown senders
  • Do not provide personal information or login credentials
  • Keep your computer and other devices updated with the latest security software
  • Be wary of emails that create a sense of urgency or fear

B. Best practices for staying safe online

  • Use a strong, unique password for each of your accounts
  • Use two-factor authentication when available
  • Keep your personal information private
  • Use anti-virus and anti-malware software
  • Use a firewall to protect your computer
  • Be cautious of opening email attachments or clicking on links

C. How to recover from a phishing scam

  • Change your login credentials immediately
  • Check your financial accounts for any unauthorized transactions
  • Contact the organization that the scammer impersonated
  • Report the scam to the appropriate authorities such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

Stay Safe and Aware

To protect yourself from phishing scams, it’s important to be able to identify phishing attempts, be cautious of unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls, and don’t provide personal information or login credentials. Additionally, it’s important to stay vigilant and follow best practices for staying safe online, such as using strong and unique passwords and two-factor authentication. If you do fall victim to a phishing scam, it’s important to take immediate action to change login credentials, check financial accounts, contact the appropriate organization and report the scam to the authorities.

It is also important to be aware of the ever-evolving phishing tactics and stay informed about the latest methods used by scammers. Regularly educate yourself and your colleagues about new phishing attempts and keep your security software updated to protect your devices. Additionally, it’s important for businesses to have a comprehensive security plan in place to protect against phishing scams, and to provide regular training for employees on how to spot and avoid phishing scams.

For businesses, it’s important to have a comprehensive security plan in place to protect against phishing scams. This includes providing regular training for employees on how to spot and avoid phishing scams, implementing security software and firewalls, and having a plan in place for dealing with phishing attempts that do occur.

Cofense Validator Detects Security Overlaps In Email.

Cofense released Cofense Validator, a technology that allows businesses to validate the effectiveness of their secure email gateways (SEGs) with active, live phishing threats on their own.

Secure Email Gateways consume a large percentage of an organization’s budget to prevent phishing attempts. Cofense Validator allows you to compare your spending to that of your colleagues using real-time phishing data.

Cofense CTO and co-founder, Aaron Higbee said, “There are numerous options out there when it comes to selecting a secure email gateway, and they often promise to block 99% of bad emails, some at a much higher cost than others. Until now, customers had to rely on ridiculously contrived bake-offs conducted by the SEG vendors using self-serving datasets. Of course, they are going to pass their test. They know how difficult it is for customers to curate live phishing data to perform their independent testing. Cofense’s 24×7 visibility into threats such as BEC, ransomware, credential harvesting, and malicious attachments that have bypassed major SEGs allows Cofense Validator to be the only objective analyzer of SEG performance.”

The Cofense Validator tests a customer’s SEG by transmitting real, in-the-wild phishing threats recognized by Cofense to see how effective it is at stopping those active threats. Customers see an immediate return on investment thanks to reports that provide quickly actionable data.

Cofense Validator applies what we know about advanced phishing strategies from Cofense Intelligence to evaluate SEG efficacy against the current, verified, live phishing threats – not older threats already found on popular access deny lists or threats cherry-picked to make an SEG review look good.

OMNICOMMANDER introduced a Solution to Assist Credit Unions Defend Against Cyber Threats and Ransomware Attacks

OMNICOMMANDER, the industry leader in credit union marketing services with over 400 clients in 47 states, is introducing a free cybersecurity information session and live training program to assist credit unions in protecting their assets and members from hackers.

The NCUA released a press statement on April 22, 2021, alerting federally insured credit unions and financial services of rising cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Ransomware, malware, and phishing cyberattacks, denial of service, ATM skimming, identity theft, pandemic-themed attacks, and supply chain attacks are among the most common dangers to credit unions.

Eric Isham, Founder & CEO of OMNICOMMANDER said, “It was at the beginning of the pandemic that I really started to take notice of all the ransomware, security breaches, and cybersecurity issues happening in the world. As a partner to over 400 credit unions, I wanted to help our clients protect themselves from cyber-attacks, so I decided to invest into building a smart cybersecurity solution that small, mid-sized, and even larger credit unions could implement throughout their organizations.”

Human error is said to be the cause of 95% of cybersecurity breaches, according to industry research. Credit union executives will learn critical checkpoints to properly protect their assets and members from cyber threats caused by human mistakes during OMNICOMMANDER’s one-hour cybersecurity training.

Elliott Franklin, OMNICOMMANDER’s Chief Information Security Officer, will host the live training and convey the information in a straightforward manner. Franklin has designed and maintained international, multi-million-dollar security program for firms ranging from 250 to over 20,000 people for over 20 years.

“I’m excited to offer this cybersecurity training to credit unions. Not only does it fulfill the National Credit Union Administration requirements for the Rules and Regulations of Part 748, but it could help protect the assets of thousands of credit union members. After the live training, each attendee will receive a digital certificate of completion that is good for one year,” said Franklin.

On July 16, 2021, at 11 a.m. (CT), the first cybersecurity information session and live training will be delivered through Zoom. The program is intended to assist credit union staff in identifying and evaluating risks to their IT infrastructure, as well as developing plans to reduce such risks so that member data and information is protected.

Paubox Launched Zero Trust Email Security

Paubox, the leader in HIPAA-compliant email, has announced Zero Trust Email, a new addition to the Paubox Email Suite. Zero Trust Email is the first and only solution of its type, designed to help healthcare institutions protect sensitive data and Protected Health Information (PHI) against cyber-attacks.

Because more than 93 percent of healthcare businesses have had at least one security breach in the last three years, a solution to counteract phishing assaults that infiltrate email security systems was critical. Attackers are creating accounts on GoDaddy, AWS, and Mailgun servers, which are all controlled by American infrastructure corporations. This enables these thieves to bypass spam and malware detection software used by the sector. Paubox responded by launching Zero Trust Email.

Hoala Greevy, Founder CEO of Paubox said “A core tenet of Zero Trust security is multi-factor authentication (MFA). While most of us associate MFA with text messages or authenticator apps, there is a broader definition. MFA simply means more than one piece of evidence is required to authenticate a user. As it relates to Zero Trust Email, we built a system whereby an additional piece of evidence from the sender’s mail server is required before it passes our Inbound Security checks. The additional evidence is determined by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm we created. In effect, we are incorporating email AI into the core of Paubox. Healthcare continues to be a primary target for cybersecurity attacks. This extra layer of verification is critical to keeping bad actors at bay.”