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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.

AI Phishing Defense Firm SlashNext Raised $26 Million Series B Funding

SlashNext, the SaaS leader in spear-phishing and human hacking defence stated it has raised $26 million in venture capital funding Series B. The round brings total SlashNext funding to $ 43 million, thanks to new investors Tom and Matt Gallo, Telia Group and the Ayala Group ACTIVE fund, as well as early investor participation by Norwest, Wing and Alter Ventures. 

Majority of cyber breaches are successful like ransomware and theft of data. SlashNext’s patented AI cloud and device protection extends over and across popular communication and collaboration applications to stop spear phishing, the social engineering industry and other targeted human threats. SlashNext protects companies from the malignant user threats from legitimate, trustful sites that easily escape current SEG, proxy, SASE and endpoint security tools, with its pinnacle accuracy and 48 hour detection time.

“When cybercriminals launch successful multi-channel phishing and social engineering attacks, the results are massively disruptive to people, organizations, and the economy. This is the number one cyber challenge that organizations face globally, and bad actors are only increasing their attacks in Linkedin, MS Teams, Messenger and Slack and becoming more sophisticated at taking advantage of the most vulnerable part of organizations – its people. This is why we saw considerable growth this past year with over 600% increase in customers and a 750% growth in ARR since the introduction of our multi-channel AI defense service,” said Patrick Harr, SlashNext CEO.”

SlashNext will scale-up its domestic and international acquisition and operations with new investments. Besides driving important distribution partnerships with MSSP, embedded OEMs and carriers, including their new strategic investors Telia Telecom and APAC Globe Telecom, representing over 40 million mobile subscribers in Europe. SlahNext will further lead the AI cloud and multi-channel, multi-language device detection of any type of phishing targeting — SMiShing, Vishing, BEC, fraudulent banking, scams, scam browsers, credential stealing, ransomware, social engineering or other malicious digital user attack from legally hosedt or trusted supply chain vendors.

SlashNext has the potential to prevent billions of dollars in damages to organizations by combatting the rise of spear phishing and other targeted attacks,” said Promod Haque, Senior Managing Partner at Norwest. “This funding will enable SlashNext to expand its footprint globally, making it the clear choice for organizations looking for protection against malicious digital attacks that current SEG, proxy, and endpoints solutions cannot defend.”

“The many recent headlines about ransomware attacks continue to confirm that no industry is immune to cybercriminal spear phishing attacks and the results of a successful attack are incredibly disruptive to operations. We consider these threats daily in all our operations – from transportation to production to growth. Our strategic investment in SlashNext strengthens our defenses, and we are excited to partner with them to grow and innovate to stop this multi-billion-dollar cybersecurity problem,” said Thomas Gallo.

“Unlike in the past, where cybersecurity breaches mainly focused on email through business devices, attacks now occur on different applications installed on endpoint devices like mobile phones and tablets, which can be personal and less protected. The ACTIVE Fund investment in SlashNext recognizes the evolving nature of communication for work and life – data-driven and digital, collaborative, and accessible anywhere any time and on any device. SlashNext’s superior technology will fortify enterprises’ defenses, allowing them to operate with speed, scale, and security, protecting both their customers and their shareholders. We’re keen to support SlashNext’s mission to stop this global problem,” said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart Ventures.

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.”