Anti-Phishing Technology

Written by Brandon White on October 21, 2020

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Phishing has been top of mind for IT teams for the last decade, and 2020 was no exception. Phishing is now the number one threat to the cybersecurity landscape.

Attackers figured out the fastest way to get access to important digital resources was to just steal a person’s identity. They can avoid the hard work of trying to hack into systems by simply duping an unsuspecting user to give them their digital keys. Once they have a user’s credentials, they’re able to access data, other accounts, and even finances.

While prevention efforts have advanced in the last few years, so have hackers. As teams plan for 2021, anti-phishing efforts must remain a top priority for organizational success.

How Phishing Works

To truly be able to prevent phishing, we must first understand how and why it works so well. 

The challenge is that phishing isn’t just a simple technology issue, but rather a matter of social engineering. Hackers have gotten highly skilled at using human psychology to get users to click on links and give up their credentials.

Hackers send emails to end users that look like communications from providers they know, enticing them to click and take an action. A decade ago, these were pretty easy to spot. However, phishers have become highly advanced in their approach, replicating trusted sites and fooling even trained eyes. When the emails look legitimate, the users often don’t realize they are being duped until the compromise has already happened. 

Not to mention, the bad actors have an infinite number of opportunities to adjust their message and approach with virtually no cost to them. To stay secure and prevent compromise, end users and IT organizations need to do the right thing with every single one of those attempts. Frankly, the odds are stacked against users, even the most diligent ones. 

Where Technology Can Help

Perhaps unsurprisingly, IT professionals have made the familiar turn to technology to try to solve the issue. In fact, IT admins and MSPs have been searching for the right anti-phishing technology to solve this problem nearly as long as phishing has been a standard practice. Yet, the technology that’s most often used isn’t effective enough to ensure organizational security.

The initial software providers that emerged were built on features like reviewing emails to detect potential phishing attempts. More advanced features were added in time, like techniques such as natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning techniques to help find the malicious needles in the haystack.

Many organizations also use automated training techniques as well to help their end users become well versed in detecting and stopping phishing attempts. Smart humans that are paying attention to the tell-tale signs of phishing can be far more effective than any technology in this stage of the anti-phishing lifecycle.

But this combination of human and point-tool prevention is not foolproof. A phishing attempt that slips by the email filters and into the inbox of a busy user who doesn’t double or triple check the email could easily put the entire organization at risk.

How to Remove the Risk

Fortunately, there is an emerging technique that is changing the game against phishing and eliminating the need for the lackluster solution we’ve described so far. While the point tools that scan emails aren’t fully effective, this new technology rewrites the ways we work to leave hackers out of the loop, everytime.

Instead of treating the symptom—compromised identities—let’s get to the root problem—risking identities whenever you reset a password.

With a cloud directory service, password changes aren’t done via email links or even on the web—they are done on a user’s machine in a native, OS-based application. If IT organizations are able to limit how users click on links, they can stop phishing before it even happens. 

Access to web applications occurs through a trusted portal that leverages password-less techniques such as SAML to gain access. By simply sidestepping the need to click on links or react to emails, IT admins and MSPs can protect their users from even the most advanced hacking attempts. Users can ignore links to reset that passwords and never risk being compromised through a convincing phishing attempt.

If you want to try a cloud directory service to see what phishing prevention can look like, try it for free. You can add 10 users and systems with all the features of a full account. Anti-phishing technology, done right. Experience it for yourself today.

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