By George Mack, Content Marketing Manager, Check Point.

Phishing threats have been making waves in the threat landscape, as they are responsible for more than 80% of security incidents.

However, with all the cyber terminology thrown around, such as malware, hacks, and data loss – how do we classify phishing threats?

Phishing attacks are social engineering attacks. Thus, the emphasis isn’t only on the technical aspect, but also on the human element.

Hacking vs. social engineering

Hacking and social engineering are two terms that have distinct and specific meanings. Nonetheless, both refer to ways of obtaining access to information or systems. So how do they differ?

Hacking is the process of breaking into a computer system or network to gain access to information or resources. It involves a variety of techniques, including exploiting vulnerabilities in software or hardware, using malware, and manipulating computer networks.

Social engineering, on the other hand, is the process of manipulating people into performing certain actions or divulging confidential information. It uses psychological manipulation techniques such as phishing, pretexting, and baiting to gain access to sensitive information.

While hacking is done through technical means, social engineering relies heavily on human interaction.

What is phishing?

Phishing threats are malicious attempts to gain access to sensitive information like usernames, passwords, and credit card details. Threat actors carry out these attacks by sending emails or text messages that appear to be from legitimate sources. However, the emails often contain links or attachments that, when clicked, lead to a fake login page that steals the target’s account credentials. Once stolen, the threat actor can access accounts in order to steal data or to install malware.

Phishing trends in 2023

In 2023, phishing trends are expected to continue to evolve as cyber criminals become more sophisticated in their methods.

Here is a summary of the latest phishing trends, as described by the Anti-Phishing Working Group:

  • In the third quarter of 2022, the APWG recorded 1,270,883 phishing attacks, making it the worst quarter for phishing that the organization has ever observed.
  • Fewer companies are becoming victims of ransomware.
  • The financial sector accounted for 23.2% of all phishing attacks.
  • Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are here to stay, with the number of wire transfer BEC attacks increasing by 59%.
  • Advance fee fraud email scams increased by 1,000%.

Furthermore, as more organizations move to the cloud, cloud-based phishing attacks are becoming more common. As a result, organizations need to be vigilant in implementing security measures to protect their data and systems from these ever-evolving threats.

Best practices

Phishing is one of the largest threats to your company’s cyber security. Therefore, it is important to take preventative steps.

Implement a Security Awareness Training Program to ensure that all your employees are up to speed on the red flags signaling a phishing scam. The most common signs of phishing scams are misspellings, generic greetings, and suspicious links. It is also important to never click on links or attachments in emails from unknown sources. Additionally, it is a good idea to use two-factor authentication for any accounts that offer it, as this adds an extra layer of security.

Finally, be sure to keep all your software and operating systems up to date, as this can help detect malicious pages or software that could steal your information. By following these best practices, you can help protect yourself from phishing and other online threats.

What email security solution should you use?

Check Point’s Harmony Email & Collaboration security solution is an invaluable tool for businesses of all sizes. It provides comprehensive protection against the latest email threats, such as phishing, malware, and ransomware. It also includes advanced analytics to detect and respond to suspicious activity. In addition, Harmony helps businesses comply with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR and HIPAA. With its advanced security features, Harmony Email & Collaboration can help businesses protect their data and ensure compliance with regulations.

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