Phish me tender, phish me true

Issue 1 2022 Commercial (Industry)

Phishing remains the most successful threat action when it comes to data breaches, successful hacks and social engineering. The Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report found that phishing was linked to 36% of breaches and that 85% of breaches connected to social engineering saw cybercriminals walk off with critical login credentials.

Anna Collard.

The past two years have seen cybercriminals not just gain traction and speed as they have ramped up their attacks, but smart ways of manipulating users. It is clever subject lines, personalised messages and emotive approaches that are currently dominating phishing attacks, explains Anna Collard, SVP content strategy and evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa.

“Many phishing attempts succeed because they rely on people to react on their emotions,” she adds. “People react to an official-looking banking email telling them that they have been hacked; or to give out important information over the phone because they think they are talking to a professional organisation; and to click on links and images because they think they have been sent by a trusted source, such as someone from inside their company or someone they know.”

There are multiple threat vectors being used by cybercriminals to get users to slip up so they can slip right on in. In South Africa, the most common phishing and social engineering tactics are:

1. Mobile phishing: These attacks can be anything from using a virus that has been preloaded onto a mobile app, to recreating a corporate login page and using a SMS or WhatsApp message (smishing) to direct the user to that page. Once the person enters their credentials, they are snapped up by the cybercriminals. As the KnowBe4 Phishing by Industry Benchmarking Report found, 67% of respondents use their mobile devices for financial transactions and mobile banking, making this a scary place to make a security mistake. Smishing has become very popular in South Africa and is also being used to disseminate fake news and dis-information.

2. Intelligent subject lines. This may not sound dangerous at first glance, but actually, the subject lines used by hackers in phishing emails are increasingly personalised so that users are encouraged to click on the content. These subject lines are curated to fit the person’s life and everyday tasks so they do not think twice before they open the attachment, enter their credentials, letting the hackers in. A form of this type of highly personalised and targeted attack is known as spear phishing, it is laser focused on one victim or company because the information they hold is of the most value to the attackers.

3. Clever content. There may still be phishing emails out there that are badly spelled, poorly worded and just plain daft, but most are very well written nowadays. In fact, many come across as being written by a trusted colleague or friend and include information that makes it look like the email is every bit as urgent and legitimate as it claims. Always check the URLs, always be wary of attachments and think before you click.

Perhaps the biggest security risk is people. The employees who click on the email or hand out information over the phone. The remote workers who enter their login credentials to a fake website. The person who opens an attachment from their friend Dave. Each of these moments can be prevented or minimised if people understand the risks and are given the tools they need to recognise them.

“It is really important for people to realise that cybercriminals are learning,” concludes Collard. “They are learning and evolving so that their attacks can bypass expensive and complicated security systems and catch people unaware. Check every email, text, SMS, message and phone call and stay alert to make sure that you are not another victim in 2022.”


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Integrated, mobile access control
SA Technologies Entry Pro Technews Publishing Access Control & Identity Management
SMART Security Solutions spoke to SA Technologies to learn more about what is happening in the estate access world and what the company offers the residential estate market.

New ransomware using BitLocker to encrypt data
Technews Publishing Information Security Residential Estate (Industry)
Kaspersky has identified ransomware attacks using Microsoft’s BitLocker to attempt encryption of corporate files. It can detect specific Windows versions and enable BitLocker according to those versions.

SMART Estate Security returns to KZN
Nemtek Electric Fencing Products Technews Publishing Axis Communications SA OneSpace Editor's Choice News & Events Integrated Solutions IoT & Automation
The second SMART Estate Security Conference of 2024 was held in May in KwaZulu-Natal at the Mount Edgecombe Estate Conference Centre, which is located on the Estate’s pristine golf course.

Creating employment through entrepreneurship
Technews Publishing Marathon Consulting Editor's Choice Integrated Solutions Residential Estate (Industry)
Eduardo Takacs’s journey is a testament to bona fide entrepreneurial resilience, making him stand out in a country desperate for resilient businesses in the small and medium enterprise space that can create employment opportunities.

From the editor's desk: Just gooi a cable
Technews Publishing News & Events
      Welcome to the 2024 edition of the SMART Estate Security Handbook. We focus on a host of topics, and this year’s issue also has a larger-than-normal Product Showcase section. Perhaps the vendors are ...

Kaspersky finds 24 vulnerabilities in biometric access systems
Technews Publishing Information Security
Customers urged to update firmware. Kaspersky has identified numerous flaws in the hybrid biometric terminal produced by international manufacturer ZKTeco, allowing a nefarious actor to bypass the verification process and gain unauthorised access.

From the editor's desk: AI and events
Technews Publishing News & Events
      Welcome to the 2024 edition of the SMART Surveillance Handbook. Reading through this issue will demonstrate that AI has undoubtedly made its mark on the surveillance industry. Like ‘traditional’ video ...

The TCO of cloud surveillance
DeepAlert Verifier Technews Publishing Surveillance Infrastructure
SMART Security Solutions asked two successful, home-grown cloud surveillance operators for their take on the benefits of cloud surveillance to the local market. Does cloud do everything, or are there areas where onsite solutions are preferable?

Surveillance on the edge
Axis Communications SA Guardian Eye Technews Publishing Surveillance
Edge processing, a practical solution that has been available for some time, has proven its utility in various scenarios, tailored to the unique requirements of each user.

AI developments in surveillance
DeepAlert Secutel Technologies Technews Publishing Surveillance
When AI-powered video analytics first emerged in the surveillance market, it was heralded as a game-changer, promising near-magical object recognition and identification. As always, it was oversold, but times have changed and we are close to seeing the ‘magic’ at work.