Anti-Phishing Software Isn’t Enough Anymore

Why You Need More Than Anti-Phishing Software


Your Anti-Phishing Software Just Isn’t Enough Anymore

Technology and cyber security defenses have never been smarter and more capable, so why is your email gateway under attack like never before? The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered more threat activity than before, with a cyberattack every 39 seconds and phishing emails up 600% since February 2020.

Today your organization needs a comprehensive anti-phishing solution to protect your network, your employees, and your valuable corporate data.

What is Anti-Phishing?

Anti-phishing includes any method used to keep phishing scams from causing harm. It helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information and attempts to identify and block phishing content in websites, emails, or other content.  

While it’s nearly impossible to prevent all phishing attacks, there are several ways to detect and respond to them to minimize the risk of a data breach. Standard methods include software-based options, such as web browsers with built-in protection and applications to prevent phishing emails from ending up in your inbox in the first place. There are also anti-phishing training courses that teach employees how to recognize and report phishing scams.

Are SEGs or Anti-Phishing Software the Best Answer?

There are two main software tools to combat phishing: Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) and anti-phishing software.

A SEG is built into an email delivery system, where it attempts to use domain authentication and sender reputation to identify and block phishing emails. It may also validate the email’s content using threat intelligence, antivirus, and content analysis tools before the email hits the user’s inbox.

SEGs will catch some threats, but SEGs have some shortcomings as well.

  • Businesses value the speed of email delivery. A SEG tuned to catch more threats can slow down delivery, delaying email traffic and hampering business operations. Companies therefore must choose between email speed and security.
  • Attackers are constantly changing their tactics, making it difficult—if not impossible—for SEGs to identify current and emerging threats. In addition, phishing emails may not contain the URLs, attachments, or other clues that SEGs are programmed to look for, instead relying on social engineering and mimicry to appear as a legitimate message.
  • SEG vendors are reactive, responding to existing threats that may no longer be in use, instead of proactively analyzing for potential new threats.

Anti-phishing software provides additional protection by scanning the content in emails and webpages and identifying spoofed domains, those which have been created to try and fool users. Your organization’s information is more secure with this additional layer of protection.

However, these anti-phishing tools are not the final layer of defense. Even with a top-notch SEG and the best software, some malicious emails will still make it to your employees’ inboxes. To get a complete solution for your organization, you need to add an additional layer to your anti-phishing strategy.

The Human Factor: Anti-Phishing Training & Analysis

No matter what type of anti-phishing security you’re using, some malicious emails will eventually sneak through. The best protection against these attacks includes your employees as part of the phishing defense team.

It’s vital to train your employees to recognize and report phishing attempts. A combination of anti-phishing solutions, employee education, and threat analysis is needed to protect your network sufficiently. Analyzing threats with the aid of an attack intelligence database supports your IT security team, helps identify actual attacks faster, and reduces false positives, which can waste precious time and resources.

8 Anti-Phishing Best Practices for Enterprise Organizations

Cyberattacks aren’t just increasing; they’re becoming more sophisticated as well. Socially engineered phishing emails are designed to get past even the best anti-phishing software and fool most users. But while threats may evolve, they continue to exhibit some common traits. Every organization’s anti-phishing best practices should include scrutiny of these details:

1.  Emails Asking for Urgent Action

An email that requests urgent action or implies a negative consequence if action isn’t taken can fluster the recipient, getting them to act quickly without studying the email for other signs that it’s not real.

2. Spelling Mistakes in Emails

Most email clients used in the business environment today are spell-checked. Emails that seem to have a professional origin but contain multiple errors should be viewed as suspicious.

3. Unfamiliar Greetings

An email with an unusual or overly formal greeting from a colleague or friend or one that contains unusual language can indicate it came from a malicious source, rather than from someone you know.

4. Inconsistencies with the Email Address

The sender’s email address should match that of previous emails.

5. Inconsistencies in Links and Domain Names

Links may be spoofed to look like legitimate sites instead of malicious ones. Hovering your cursor over them allows you to verify the actual link destination.

6. Suspicious Attachments

Now that many organizations use collaboration tools, most colleagues and vendors won’t send an attachment through email. Any attached file should be viewed with suspicion, especially if it’s one that is often used for malware (such as .zip, .exe, .scr) or has an unfamiliar extension.

7. Emails That Seem Too Good to be True

Emails that promise some benefit when you click a link are suspicious—especially if you didn’t initiate the conversation—and should be considered suspect.

8. Emails Requesting Login Credentials, Payment Information, or Other Sensitive Information

This is a classic phishing technique. Any email asking for sensitive information should be approached with caution until you can verify it’s from a trusted source.

A phishing attack doesn’t target a single employee. Most likely, several people have received it. Organizations should reinforce the practice of “If you see something, say something” to all employees and provide a simple method to report possible threats.


Cofense’s Comprehensive Anti-Phishing Solutions

Attackers are constantly changing and evolving threats to get through your defenses. There’s no single product that can catch all phishing attempts. The only way to keep on top of phishing attacks is to use a comprehensive anti-phishing suite.

Cofense provides intelligent phishing defense by combining human awareness and intelligence with detection and response. Our bundled anti-phishing services give your team the tools they need to neutralize threats and keep the network safe.

Remember that it’s not a matter of if you’ll be attacked, but when. Download your copy of 5 Uncomfortable Truths About Phishing Defense today and take the next step in shoring up your defense against phishing attacks.