How to Stop Phishing Attacks

Written by Zach DeMeyer on September 24, 2020

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Many IT administrators and managed service providers (MSPs) are curious how to stop phishing attacks — and for good reason. Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation Report cites phishing as the number one source of compromised identities in the enterprise. After years of being frustrated with the number of attacks, compromises, and lack of solutions, many are just throwing their hands up in the air. What can they do to stop this insidious activity?

Why is Phishing So Popular?

One of the main reasons that hackers love phishing attacks is because they work really, really well. With one carefully constructed email, a bad actor can affect countless unsuspecting people. All they need to do is press send, sit back, and wait to see who clicks on their emails.

Phishers constantly improve their techniques, iterating on successful ploys and re-engineering ones that fail. Some attackers go so far as to reap personal information like employment history and location from sources like social media to fool unsuspecting people into engaging with their emails. These so-called spear phishing attempts prove highly effective at luring unsuspecting readers into a false sense of security before taking them for their data and information.

The Effects of Phishing on an Organization

The challenge for IT organizations is that their team can get everything right and not fall victim to the vast majority of these attacks, but with one lapse in judgement the organization can be compromised. In this unfortunate scenario, an organization not only loses the data and other information that might be stolen during a breach, but they may also be infected with malware or ransomware, too. Successful phishing attempts also tarnish an organization’s reputation — both that of their individual employees and their brand as a whole.

Stopping Phishing Attacks

Historically, anti-phishing solutions have focused on training and software tools that check your emails. Unfortunately, both of these are imperfect solutions, but are better than nothing. In the wake of the increase in phishing attempts, these approaches are simply not good enough for modern organizations. After all, a decent spear phishing attempt can convince even the most well-trained end user. They need a better way to stop phishing attacks.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution to stop phishing: Don’t have your users access applications from emails or change their passwords on a website. This concept is very much easier said than done, given that almost all of today’s services and IT resources rely on the web to operate.

But, by putting in some core identity management infrastructure, you can force your users to manage their passwords without accessing a web browser or email client. Instead of changing their passwords via an email link — phishy or not — end users should be able to modify their core identity and its password on their device. Through a native, OS-level tool, end users preclude phishing attempts altogether.

Using Device-level Password Management to Stop Phishing

Anyone can change their device password from their desktop, but when it comes to the hundreds of other resources at play, managing identities for them might be a bit trickier. That’s why IT admins and MSPs should invest in a core cloud directory platform.

With a cloud directory platform like JumpCloud®, all of an end user’s accounts and resources are centralized under a single, secure identity. Users authenticate with that identity to access their devices, G Suite™, Microsoft 365™, and networks, then use it to log into a safe, trusted web portal that will single sign-on into their applications. Through SAML and LDAP, they have passwordless access to resources, meaning no need to click into phishing emails asking them to change their passwords.

What’s more, using the JumpCloud Windows® and Mac® apps, end users can make changes to their single JumpCloud password directly from their desktop. Any changes made are then written back to the core JumpCloud directory and propagated to their other resources — all while simply avoiding phishing attempts that would normally come through email or web browsers. 

Give JumpCloud a Try for Free

You can use JumpCloud for 10 users and systems absolutely free to see how the platform will save you time and money and keep your end users safe from phishing attacks. You can also reach out to us to set up a demo, or attend an upcoming live Office Hours event to field any questions to our team of experts.

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