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Managed IT Services in Miami: A Look at Spear Phishing and Email Spoofing

Online spear phishing attacks have to potential to put a massive dent in your company’s productivity and profit— they could even damage your business’s brand. This style of attack does not require any sort of complex hack; rather, it collects information posted about you or an employee of your company and sends an official-looking email. The email seems legitimate as it contains information about you or your company that was actually gleaned from online profiles. Even information on your company’s blog can be re-purposed for a spear phishing attack. The worst case scenario is the wiring of money and the transmission of credentials and/or W2s to the wrongdoers. It happens more than most assume as spear phishing attacks are highly personalized and prove convincing enough to fool the recipient. Don’t let it happen to your company— managed IT services company in Miami can help!

An Example of Spear Phishing

Consider an email message sent by a wrongdoer that mimics the CEO of your company— it is sent to one of your managers in the same writing style as your CEO uses. This seemingly legitimate email provokes a response from the manager even though the content of the message is fairly simple. The purpose of this initial message is to build a rapport with the target employee. Once he lets his guard down, the information thief makes his request. Yet, the email does not come from the address of the company’s CEO. Furthermore, the sender asks the employee for a favor. These are both red flags that every employee should recognize as characteristic of spear phishing.

An Example of Spoofing a Company’s Domain Name

Consider an instance in which the wrongdoer is more direct with the target, explicitly requesting sensitive data such as financial information. Yet, the attacker’s email address is actually a spoof of the business’s domain. The reply-to address is not the same as the one that transmitted the message. The wrongdoer is hopeful the target will fall prey to the scam and send the requested financial information that will be subsequently used to steal funds.

How to Combat Spear Phishing and Spoofing

Employee awareness is key to thwarting these attacks. Make sure your employees are on the lookout for the red flags of spear phishing and spoofing as outlined above. No one should simply assume a colleague or superior will use email to request sensitive information. Furthermore, employees must analyze email address for legitimacy.

DMARC authentication improves visibility for domain fraud. This tool helps prevent the theft of your brand and the spoofing of your domain. managed IT services company in Miami can help with the implementation of DMARC authentication. Keep in mind the miscreants running these scams are sending out a plethora of emails. This is a numbers game to them. All they need is for a couple to work to make thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars or even more.

If you aren’t satisfied with your current IT services, make a change. For the best managed IT services in Miami, contact us at Michell Consulting Group. Let our team handle your tech challenges and you will find your operations prove much more efficient. Our proactive approach to preventing IT problems will prevent problems from developing into crises that affect your bottom line.

How to Avoid VoIP Phishing Scams with IT Support in Miami

The use of VoIP phishing scams is on the rise, and companies that use IT support in Miami are able to prevent these attacks through the use of a managed service provider. Many businesses rely on VoIP technology, which enables employees to use voice, chat, and video technology in an all in one device. Unfortunately, many cyber criminals are using VoIP technology to create fake numbers and scam people. These cyber criminals can easily hide their real identity and use multiple numbers to reach a wide variety of businesses with minimal risk of detection.

Method of Operation

These scammers typically pretend to be a government or bank representative calling about confidential information, which can range from employee files, bank details, or specific company information. They can also change their number to imitate an official bank to further the deception. They can either make personal or automated phone calls on a non-stop basis to increase the chances of successfully deceiving an individual or company.

Easy Set-up Process

VoIP is very easy to set up, and it does not require an extensive amount of technical knowledge. Criminals that understand the basics of VoIP technology can have it all setup within a matter of minutes. The hardware to run this scheme has also become much more affordable, which makes it even easier for criminals to setup this deceptive practice. These criminals can also change their numbers often to avoid being caught and leaving behind a trail of evidence.

Caller ID Manipulation

Tampering with caller ID can make numbers appear to be from legitimate companies. They can appear to a bank employee or financial institution that your business uses on a daily basis. Fortunately, the use of IT support in Miami can help you avoid becoming the next victim of this vicious scam. The use of a managed service provider will enable you to identify potential scams and avoid losing valuable data to these cyber criminals.

VoIP Scamming is Cost-Efficient

The use of VoIP technology enables cyber criminals to target a global audience at a fraction of the cost of using a traditional phone system. Instead of paying for each call, they only have to pay a low-set fee per month and are able to reach a much wider audience through automation calls.

How to Protect Yourself

One of the best ways to prevent your employees from VoIP scams is through stringent information sharing policies and continual employee training. Employees that are restricted in sharing valuable information over the phone are much more likely to avoid becoming the next victim of these cyber criminals. Offering ongoing training will help employees differentiate between legitimate businesses and scams.

The use of VoIP technology has many benefits, but it can also be very dangerous. Cyber criminals can easily manipulate the system to steal valuable data from companies of all sizes. The use of IT support in Miami can help you avoid becoming the next victim while utilizing the latest technology. Michell Consulting Group is a managed service provider that provides protection from a wide variety of security threats. Our technicians are specially trained to answer any questions and help assist you with cyber security. Contact us today and let us begin working together through the use of technology.

IT Support in Miami: A Look at the Latest APWG Phishing Attacks Report

The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) is a global coalition comprised of nearly 2,000 institutions that unite to thwart cyberattacks. APWG releases a quarterly report to increase awareness of cybercrime threats. IT support providers in Miami pay close attention to this report as it provides important insight into phishing attacks and other digital threats. Here’s a look at the most important findings from the latest APWG report:

Digital Attacks are at the Highest Level Ever

APWG’s report states the number of digital attacks has soared since the report was first released in 2004. Attacks have jumped nearly 6,000 percent in the past 12 years. China is receiving more attacks than any other nation. Nearly 50 percent of Chinese machines are infected. Turkey and Taiwan are the second and third most affected nations.

APWG’s Data Shows Phishing Attacks are on the Rise

The report states that phishing attacks have increased 65 percent since 2016. The most phishing attacks occurred in April while the least occurred in December. In particular, spear-phishing attacks are spiking. These attacks on employee email accounts put companies square in the cross-hairs for data theft. Phishing is also becoming more advanced. The digital attackers behind these schemes are zeroing in on specific employees and organizations that are particularly vulnerable.

The bottom line is no company or employee is exempt from the wrath of phishers and hackers. If you are not properly equipped to handle phishing attacks, you need an IT support provider in Miami that can help you thwart attacks and keep your operations hitting on all cylinders without interruption.

Phishing No Longer Requires Specific Domain Names

Phishers typically provide similar domain names to fool victims. Such a tactic is referred to as spoofing. The APWG analysis shows fewer digital attackers are resorting to spoof brands in domain names. This indicates deception is no longer necessary to confuse web users. Phishers are resorting to additional tricks like placing brand names elsewhere in URLs, shortening URLs to create the destination domain and letting the user move his mouse over the hyperlink and see a phony destination domain.

The Retail and Service Industries are Being Targeted at High Rates

Retail has been a prime target of phishing attacks for several years; yet in the fourth quarter of 2016, the retail and service sectors received a whopping 42 percent of reported phishing attacks. The financial sector was the second most targeted sector with nearly 20 percent of phishing attacks. ISP came in third at nearly 13 percent. The APWG reports also state targeted brands averaged an incredible 400 attacks per month across the initial three-quarters. This figure decreased to 264 in the fourth quarter of 2016. This data lends credence to the idea that phishing tailed off a bit when the holiday season arrived.

Conclusion

You need a reliable IT support provider in Miami to protect your company and prevent phishing and other forms of cybercrime. At Michell Consulting Group, our mission is to custom-tailor IT solutions to your unique tech challenges. Ally with our team and you won’t have to worry about network, hardware and software problems stifling your organization’s productivity and efficiency. Contact us today!

How to Protect Against Phishing Scams with IT Services in Miami

Technology continuously changes, and phishing scams have become increasingly sophisticated over the last few years. As a business owner, you should look for an IT services provider in Miami that specializes in combating against phishing attacks of all kinds. Here are a few ways that your employees can identify a phishing attack:

Phishing 101

To begin, what exactly is a phishing scam? Phishing scams have been around since the mid-90s, and it is a type of fraud that tries to steal login information under the pretense of an official site. Usually, it is in the form of an e-mail, but it can also happen through instant message applications and other forms of communication. According to recent research, 85% of companies were under a phishing attack in 2016, and it is critical for your business to take the necessary steps to prevent becoming a victim of these malicious attacks.

How to Identify a Phishing Scam

Whenever you receive an e-mail, it is essential to ask yourself a few questions before replying or opening any attachments. Do I recognize the sender? Does the e-mail have any attachments? If it has an attachment, is there a “.exe” file located within that attachment? Are any links found throughout the e-mail? These are all important questions that can help you determine if the e-mail is legitimate. If you feel that you are not qualified to answer all of these questions, there is no reason to panic. If you believe that you may be a victim of a phishing attack, consider hiring an IT services provider in Miami.

Pharming vs. Phishing Attacks

While phishing is targeted against an individual, pharming modifies DNS entries of an actual website. In other words, it redirects each visitor to a website that is specifically set up for you to enter personal information. This fraudulent site appears legit and you can lose your identity in a matter of seconds if you enter any forms of personal information.

Examples of Phishing Webpages & How to Report Them

Phishing websites can be created through a wide range of websites. For example, it can be any site that requires you to register and enter personal data. That can range from a social media website, news web page, or even a sports site. Fortunately, the most common ways to report phishing scams is through Google, Symantec, or US-CERT. These websites keep a record a reported phishing scams and will enable other users to avoid becoming the next victim.

Phishing cyberattacks are a growing epidemic and it is important to be aware of that latest security threats. Being able to identify a phishing attack can save you much needed time and money. If you believe that you or your company has been a target of these malicious attacks, contact us at Michell Consulting Group. We provide secure and top-tier IT services for Miami businesses. Don’t delay any longer— let our trained technicians help you recover from a phishing attack. Contact us today!

How a Reliable IT Services Provider in Miami Can Help Prevent Homograph Phishing Attacks

Hackers are continually developing new online security threats, and as an IT services company in Miami, we provide the latest solutions that will keep you and your business fully protected. Recently, there has been a rise in homograph phishing attacks, and it is critical to be fully aware of the scheme before it is too late. A homograph phishing scam disguises a malicious hyperlink into appearing to be a legitimate link to a reputable website. Once the user clicks on the link, they are usually asked to fill out a form that will reveal personal information. If this information is filled out, your identity can be stolen, and you risk losing thousands of dollars. Here are a few tips to help avoid becoming a victim of a homograph phishing scam:

1. Always Be Cautious Opening E-mails

Never download any attachment within an e-mail that is from an unknown source. If an email has a hyperlink, manually type in the web address to avoid becoming a victim of a homograph scheme. The majority of web browsers have built-in mechanisms to protect against homographs, but recently, a leading computer expert has revealed significant security vulnerability in the most popular web browsers. Currently, manually typing a web address is the only safe option. If you believe that you have already opened a malicious hyperlink inside an e-mail, our IT services professionals in Miami can analyze the e-mail and provide the latest solutions for your company.

2. Download the Latest Anti-Virus Protection

Besides phishing attacks, computers can easily be targeted by viruses and malware. Downloading the newest anti-virus protection is a significant step in protecting yourself from malicious e-mails or websites. Being aware of the latest cyberattacks is an excellent way to protect your company’s personal data. It is also a good idea to run weekly scans that can detect any issues before they become a major problem. Preventative maintenance is critical in the ever-changing world of cyber security.

3. Use a Good Password Manager

A password manager stores all of your login information for each website that you use and will automatically save your password through encryption with a master password. In other words, if you click on a phishing link, it will automatically notify you that the website is not legitimate. Besides the convenience of managing all of your passwords, password managers provide excellent protection against homograph phishing attacks.

As you can see, homograph phishing scams can be very complex and dangerous for individuals and companies. Until each browser updates their security settings, manually typing the address of a link is the only sure way to avoid opening a disguised hyperlink. If you believe that your business may already be at risk, it is critical to contact us at Michell Consulting Group. Our IT services experts in Miami will assess and repair any technical issues that you may encounter while offering the best customer support for your company.