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The Answer to Spear Phishing Attacks: Enhanced security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities

Few tools in a cybercriminals’ arsenal have been as productive as phishing. According to one recent analysis, between May 2021 and April 2022, phishing attacks grew by more than 61% over the prior year. The analysis is based on studying more than 3-million reports of cybercrime, representing 1.1 unique phishing attacks. Clearly, cybercriminals find spear phishing attacks are an easy strategy to deploy.   But there are also better tools and strategies that Information Security (IS) professionals now have at their disposal. It’s time to fully unleash the power of those tools.

What is a Spear Phishing Attack?

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) 2021 Internet Crime Report, Phishing (and allied cybercrime tactics) cost businesses more than $44-million. These losses were the result of 323,972 attacks – the highest volume of the crime type among a list of 32 types of crime the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) monitors.

So, what is a spear phishing attack? It is a tactic that cybercriminals employ to dupe victims into divulging personal, financial, access-control, or authentication details. The source, often unsolicited emails, text messages, SMS communications, or phone calls, of phishing requests mimic legitime senders, disarming recipients into believing they are dealing with a known (trusted) entity.  The result is the often unintended and non-malicious sharing of deeply compromising data and information with cybercriminals, who use it to wreak havoc on a company’s information systems.

Threat Prevention Recipe Worth Emulating

That brief primer, about what is a spear phishing attack, should alert anyone interested that these attacks result in tremendous financial and operational losses to victim businesses. And, according to FBI sources, phishing incidents have been growing significantly year-over-year since 2017.

While these attacks are potentially dangerous, cyberthreat protection platforms now provide enhanced security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) capabilities to deal with them. The recipe, used by these tools is simple: Prevention is better than dealing with the aftermath.

These new breed of tools use highly sophisticated strategies, such as Link Analysis, Anomaly Detection, Behavioral Analysis, and Natural Language Processing, to make it easier for IS teams to detect and respond to spear phishing incidents. Given how sophisticated cybercriminals are, in creating new flavors of tried and tested cyberattack tools, it’s only prudent that businesses respond by adding their own new recipes to their SOAR capability menus!

Beyond Proactive Patch Strategies

It’s important to always be up-to-date with the latest patches and updates, for every piece of hardware, software, and middle-ware across your cyber network. But effective deterrence against spear phishing attacks demand broader consideration than just that. It’s vital to equip your cybersecurity teams with a Security Operations Platform (SOP) that’s powered by AI to detect anomalies. One that recognizes impersonation attempts. And one that quickly identifies malicious patterns that facilitate spear phishing incidents.

QuoLab’s security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) platform delivers those capabilities, and more. Using the power of pattern recognition, and by tapping into databases containing billions of datapoints, the Platform helps IS teams quickly detect and thwart malicious spear phishing attempts.

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