Anti-Phishing Approaches

Written by Brandon White on September 30, 2020

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Phishing is a very difficult problem to solve. Many IT administrators, managed service providers (MSPs), and software vendors have tried for quite a long time. Yet, the Microsoft® Security Intelligence Report indicates that phishing attacks are the number one cyber security threat.

Phishing preys on human nature, which can be hard to counteract. Hackers design attacks that are based on our everyday routines, like checking email or attending calendar events via a link. Because of how common and successful phishing can be, many admins are actively trying to find the best anti-phishing approaches.

How Does Phishing Work?

In order to implement the best anti-phishing approaches, we need to step back and deeply understand how phishing works.

Phishing is the process of enticing a user to willingly give up their credentials to a malicious actor.

This usually occurs when an email is sent to an end user that contains a link. The sender asks the user to click on the link in order to access a site or update their passwords. When the user clicks, they are taken to a deceptive site that looks like something legitimate. The user enters their credentials not realizing that they are being duped.

Once this happens, the hackers can then use the credentials to compromise the account and subsequently take whatever they need and use it to further their malicious interests.

Typical Phishing Prevention

By understanding the mechanics behind phishing, we can start to understand what solutions have been developed to address the security risk.

1. Email Scanning

Many software solutions focus on analyzing the email for malicious characteristics. This can work, but leaves room for error. The user still needs to actively scrutinize their emails, which can often lapse in the busy course of the day. Additionally, many sophisticated phishing emails ensure that their links look legitimate by creating more familiar URLs and even including personalized content.

2. Using AI to Flag Suspicious Emails

Still other solutions use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques to process emails for patterns. These are flagged across a community, and by seeing a wide range of email attacks, the system can better detect threats or flag ones that cut across the entire customer base. 

3. Training Users

The above methods are also usually paired with simple user training. Because automated solutions still aren’t completely foolproof, training end users to spot phishing attempts is still perhaps the best current anti-phishing technique.

The Fourth Option

Most organizations stitch some combination of the above methods to prevent phishing. Yet, they all leave room for error, because not one of the options is completely effective. Think of a water balloon that’s bursting, but has been taped with three pieces of duct tape. Chances are, things are going to go badly.

We saved the best option for last. There is one other approach that is completely orthogonal and that could be the answer to the phishing problem. 

It is simply to not change passwords on websites as well as access them through a single sign-on solution

This simply side-steps the issue of going to a malicious website doctored to look like a legitimate one. End users instead change their password directly on their machines, rather than on a website. Access to other web applications is provided through a trusted user portal rather than clicking on a link. These changes to how end users handle their IT access and security can completely change the game on anti-phishing efforts. And, it’s exactly what JumpCloud® is built to do.

With JumpCloud’s password management, admins can prevent phishing before it even starts. With JumpCloud, IT admins can even disable password updates on G Suite™, for example, and force changes within a secure environment. 

You don’t have to worry about how phishing attacks could threaten your organization. Create a JumpCloud Free account, with 10 users and 10 systems with all of our premium functionality. You’ll also get 10 days of premium 24×7 in-app chat support to answer any questions. Don’t give phishers another chance to attack your organization.

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