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Cybercriminals know that the easiest way to infiltrate your digital defenses is by assuming the identity of a trusted brand. These established companies have built their reputations through years of marketing, top-notch customer service, branding, and unwavering consistency – qualities that hackers exploit to target you.

The most prevalent method cybercriminals employ is phishing attacks. They craft URLs that closely mimic a legitimate company’s website, making subtle changes that often escape casual scrutiny:

  • Substituting a zero for the letter “O” or a capital “I” for a lowercase “L” can make an email appear legitimate at a glance.
  • Adding words that seem like subdomains of the real company (e.g., “info@googleservice.com”).
  • Employing different domain extensions, such as “info@google.io.”

Some malicious actors take it a step further by replicating web pages that are virtually indistinguishable from the genuine ones. Clicking on the link through email, SMS, or social media can lead to various perilous outcomes.

Firstly, malware may be silently installed on your device. Clicking on a compromised link can trigger automatic downloads of malicious files capable of harvesting personally identifiable information, including usernames, credit card or bank account details, and more.

Secondly, the fraudulent website often features forms designed to collect personal information, including login credentials and passwords. In certain cases, even sensitive financial data may be at risk.

Thirdly, open redirects are another common tactic, wherein seemingly legitimate links redirect you to malicious websites to steal your information.

While all brands are potential targets for impersonation, according to Check Point’s latest Brand Phishing Report for Q2 2023, the following ten companies are most frequently impersonated in phishing attempts:

  • Microsoft (29%)
  • Google (19.5%)
  • Apple (5.2%)
  • Wells Fargo (4.2%)
  • Amazon (4%)
  • Walmart (3.9%)
  • Roblox (3.8%)
  • LinkedIn (3%)
  • Home Depot (2.5%)
  • Facebook (2.1%)

Consider how many of these companies routinely send you email communications. Even one can put you at risk.

Cybercriminals invest considerable effort into crafting convincing scams tailored to each company’s messaging style to capture your attention. Here are three common phishing attacks they employ under these well-known brands:

  • Unusual Activity: These emails suggest unauthorized access to your account, urging you to change your password hastily. They exploit fear, enticing recipients to click buttons like “Review Recent Activity” or “Click Here to Change Your Password.” Some even simulate real messages by displaying fictitious login details, including region, IP address, and sign-in time.
  • Fake Gift Cards: Emails claim someone has sent you an e-gift card, redirecting you to a website to “claim your gift card” or offering a “redeem now” button.
  • Account Verification Required: These emails allege that your account has been suspended, requesting verification of your information. When you enter your login credentials, the attacker gains access.

These scams unfold daily, targeting you and unsuspecting employees within your organization. Without proper training, they may not recognize the signs, panic, and attempt to address these “issues” discreetly, exacerbating the problem.

Securing your network involves multiple steps, including email monitoring, to reduce the likelihood of phishing emails infiltrating your inbox. Equally important is ensuring that your employees know what to watch out for. If a phishing email bypasses detection systems, your employees can serve as an additional layer of defense.

Conduct a FREE Cybersecurity Risk Assessment to evaluate your network’s vulnerabilities. You’ll receive a comprehensive report detailing areas of concern and recommended actions to enhance security. There’s no obligation, but understanding your risk is crucial. Schedule your assessment now.