How hackers use phishing in ransomware attacks – News Couple

How hackers use phishing in ransomware attacks

Phishing attacks work because people like to click on things. Hackers carefully tailor attacks to suit their victims by gathering publicly available personal information about them and taking advantage of their sense of urgency to elicit a response. Attackers only need one person within your organization to click on a link or open an attachment. Oftentimes the goal of the attack is to obtain account credentials, allowing the hacker to move sideways through the company and ransom the entire organization.

Traditional ransomware exploited known vulnerabilities to infiltrate organizations. The problem with cybercriminals is that many of these vulnerabilities have been patched today and are not easy to exploit. This prompted hackers to combine phishing and ransomware into a perfect attack vector where hackers get a backdoor into organizations because people click on links from sources they think they trust.

Protect users from phishing attacks

Organizations looking to protect themselves from these new methods used to spread ransomware should focus first on protecting their credentials and access. This requires a two-pronged approach: first invest in detection and response tools and then focus on user training.

Email protection technology should not only focus on detecting malicious payloads delivered through links or attachments, but should also learn about when attacks use social engineering methods designed to bypass filtering technology and deceive users. It should look for malicious intent within an email, even when it doesn’t include a malicious payload. Email security that uses machine learning algorithms can detect social engineering attacks with a higher degree of accuracy, looking for the smallest deviations from normal communication patterns.

Users’ credentials cannot be protected without proper protection against account takeover. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) remains a best practice and is something every organization should adopt today. However, it is not a silver bullet, and it is not always enough. Hackers find ways to get around MFA by either tricking users into installing malware on their verification devices or giving fake apps access to their accounts. Organizations need account takeover protection that will quickly identify and alert malicious activity such as suspicious logins or attacks launched from compromised accounts.

As a last line of defense, it is essential to train your customers’ employees and end users to recognize and report attacks. Make security awareness training and phishing simulations part of your customers’ email security portfolio. Historically, phishing attacks were only related to email, but today’s cybercriminals use other channels such as SMS and voice. Use phishing simulations for emails, voicemails, and SMS messages to train end users to identify cyber attacks, test the effectiveness of your training, and identify those most vulnerable to attacks.

Photo: wk1003mike / Shutterstock

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