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Unfortunately, awareness alone won’t do it: Successful phishing defense requires a layered approach

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Phishing: The most popular brands used to target your data
Just got an email warning that you are locked out of an important account? It might be cyber criminals trying to trick you.

Forrester thought leader Chase Cunningham discusses in a complimentary webinar how to implement and maintain Zero Trust with the Zero Trust eXtended Framework.

Despite being one of the oldest tricks in the book, phishing remains one of the primary methods attackers use to target end-users and infiltrate enterprises. Security and risk programs, however, don’t always prioritize phishing prevention enough. Phishing exploits still work in 2019 because hackers are studying their targets and employing new techniques to get past email content security filters.

Once a malicious email lands in front of an employee, even your most security-conscious employees can be tricked by clever social engineering. Phishers often use psychological tricks to get users to take action that they might not usually take, preying on an employee’s desire to be helpful or their instinct to do what an authority figure tells them to do.

Training alone can’t protect you from phishing. Phishing prevention requires a layered approach that combines technical controls and user education. Each layer in this strategy acts as a safety net in case the layer on top of it fails. These layers are:

  • Implementing technical controls to protect end-users. Reduce the likelihood of malicious emails ending in your users’ inboxes with email security solutions as your first line of defense. These technologies include email content filtering, email authentication, and threat intelligence.
  • Educating your workforce to recognize phishing attempts. Educating your users is your last line of defense for things that fall through technical controls. To keep your employees sharp at detecting phishing attempts, ensure that you implement ongoing training, have mechanisms for reporting phishing, and test and measure performance. Be careful not to shame users who fall victim to these attacks. Shaming makes users less likely to report phishing attempts and less likely to complete their training.
  • Planning for technical and human failure. Despite your best technical and educational efforts, your users will be successfully phished. If all else fails, you need to be ready to respond to incidents to limit the impact of a successful phishing attack. Technologies such as browser isolation and multifactor authentication can help limit the impact. Having an incident response plan ready ahead of time helps the quality and speed of your recovery.

This post was written by VP, Research Director Joseph Blankenship, and originally appeared here.

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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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