Reply Chain Phishing Attacks: Protect Your Business

Reply Chain Phishing Attacks

Did you know that phishing is still the primary method for cyber attacks? Protecting yourself and your business from threats like reply chain phishing attacks is important to the health and viability of your business. For remote workers, cyber security is particularly critical in their day-to-day work. 

With hackers getting more sophisticated, it can be difficult to combat these cyber threats when you don’t know what to look for. Here’s what you need to know about guarding your business against reply chain phishing.

Reply Chain Phishing Attacks Explained

So what exactly does “reply chain phishing” mean, and how can it hurt your business? Simply put, it’s when a phishing email is hiding in a reply chain email. This clever tactic catches so many people off guard since it works with an existing reply chain, rather than a new message like typical attacks. 

When you have a chain of email replies from coworkers or other vendors, you may not always be on the lookout for phishing. With this phishing method, it’s important to know how hackers gather your information from these attacks and what to do to protect yourself.

How Hackers Gain Access Through Reply Chain Phishing

Now that we know what reply chain phishing attacks are, it’s vital to know how cyberattacks happen through this approach and how hackers can gain access to your most secure and private information. 

When someone already on the email reply chain has been hacked, that creates an opening for phishing. By using a recognizable email within the chain, hackers can gain trust and then send along a link that leads to a malicious phishing site.

Why Reply Chain Phishing Attacks Are Increasing

Reply chain phishing attacks are on the rise because they’re incredibly effective. By gaining access to the reply chain, hackers can provide a seamless segue into the conversation and have established trust by posing as someone within the organization. 

They may look at the emails and see the conversation has been focused around a new product or software, then add their link into the reply chain for their phishing attack. Because of its convincing nature, it’s very easy for many to fall victim.

Why do hackers tend to go after business emails, though? Let’s take a closer look at where the vulnerabilities are.

Why Your Business Email Is at Risk

Business emails especially are prone to hacking due to weak or unsecured passwords, or data breaches. Credential theft is one reason why cyber criminals target businesses and their staff’s accounts since this sensitive information can be used or sold for their gain. 

Now that you know a bit more about reply chain phishing, you may be asking, “How can I protect myself and my business email from this happening?” Thankfully, there are some simple but effective ways to combat reply chain phishing attacks. 

How to Combat Reply Chain Phishing

Though hackers are trying even more cunning ways to gather your information, it’s important to be just as clever in return. Fortunately, you won’t need to entirely overhaul your processes and can easily integrate these practices into your existing safety protocols. 

Here are some ways to protect yourself from reply chain phishing and keep your business email secure:

Train Your Staff on Awareness

Make sure your employees know what to look out for, such as simple errors or language that may be “off” in an email chain. Train them on what reply chain phishing is and how to be aware of the potential signs that one of their coworkers, or perhaps even their email, has been hacked. Have a training program or set aside time for a security expert to speak with everyone and repeat the training as often as necessary.

Routinely Update Your Systems

When your office computer network is working off an old system, it becomes more vulnerable. By regularly scheduling updates, you’re helping to prevent hackers from taking advantage of whatever vulnerabilities may have been present in your existing system. New updates ensure better security, meaning you’re less likely to fall victim to a cyberattack.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

Even if a hacker has your login credentials, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is beneficial in keeping them out. Whether you utilize two- or three-step factors, such as a verification code or security question, MFA keeps your emails and systems more secure. Implement multi-factor authentication wherever it’s provided to mitigate security risks.

Be Cautious With Email Attachments

Be wary of any email attachment before opening, even if it appears to be from a trusted source. While most email systems will flag content that seems malicious, email chains are harder to detect when it comes from a familiar email address. Take extra precautions with links by scanning them for viruses first.

Use Secure Password Managers

By having a business password manager, you’re offering a secure place for your employees to safely keep track of their passwords. Passwords that are weak or reused make accounts especially susceptible to cyber attacks. Plus, the tool can help generate strong passwords, further increasing security for emails and other necessary business software.

Set Up Sign-In Alerts

Getting an alert on your phone, desktop or another device any time there’s a login is best practice. This way, when there’s a notification about an unknown device or unauthorized login, you can quickly take the necessary precautions and safety protocols. Any of these instances immediately gives you an advanced warning so that your account isn’t lost or compromised.

Protect Your Business With Robust Cyber Security

Implementing the right security measures at your business doesn’t have to be daunting. So long as you and your staff are aware of the signs of reply chain phishing attacks and are prepared for them, you should be protected.

Partner with cyber security experts to maximize protection for your business. Book a consultation with Intrust IT to safeguard your operations against cyber attacks.

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