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Threat Actor Trends – Pivoting from Robocall Campaigns to Smishing to Compromise Employee Directories
Threat actors are continually adapting their tactics, and a new alarming trend is the shift from robocall campaigns to smishing attacks — such as a new and dangerous campaign that targets employee directories.
In this blog, we will discuss:
- The Evolution from Robocalls to Smishing
- The Anatomy of a Smishing Attack
- 7 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Company from Smishing Attacks
The Evolution From Robocalling To Smishing
Robocalls were once the primary method used by scammers to target individuals and organizations. However, advancements in robocall mitigation technologies have made these attacks less effective. Smishing attacks have increased 69% globally in the last year alone. This shift signifies that threat actors are pivoting to more covert methods like smishing to bypass existing security measures.
What is smishing, you might ask? It comes from combining SMS (texting) and phishing (fraudulent messages purported to be from reputable companies, sent to induce individuals to reveal information). So scammers send text messages with the goal of extracting sensitive information that can be used to break into a computer, harvest financial data, or worse.
A 2023 survey by YouMailPS suggests that SMS impersonation scams are ubiquitous. A full 78% of respondents saying they have been targeted, 45% said they are getting 10 or more scam calls or texts each month, and 47% suggesting that they are less likely to accept calls or texts from brands that are being impersonated.
The Anatomy Of A Smishing Attack
Smishing attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They often involve sending text messages that appear to come from trusted sources, such as a company's IT department or a financial institution, and often there is a real human replying to the recipient, with some data about them — making it all seem very, very real.
These messages sometimes contain malicious links that can compromise sensitive information. What happens in some instances is the scammer targets one person in order to get access to the company directory. With access to the directory, they can launch a mass attack. If just 1 in 100 people falls for the scam, then a large company will be almost instantly breached.
Consider a Cloudflare blog, which detailed a smishing attack that targeted 76 employees in less than a minute. While they’re not sure if their directory was breached or not in this case, it’s easy to see how this could have developed into a major breach. The rapidity with which these attacks can occur makes it crucial for companies to employ advanced security measures, like those offered by YouMailPS, to protect their data, such as employee directories.
7 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Company From Smishing Attacks
When it comes to protecting your company from smishing attacks, proactive measures are essential. Here are seven things you can do:
- Educate Employees: Make sure your employees are aware of the risks associated with smishing, how to identify suspicious messages, and to always avoid replying to unknown numbers requesting information without thorough external verification.
- Implement Two-Factor Authentication: While it won’t help with smishing, adding 2FA to call critical systems can make it more difficult for attackers to gain unauthorized access.
- Regularly Update Security Protocols: Keep your security measures up-to-date to adapt to evolving threats.
- Secure Employee Directories: Regularly check and update security protocols for data which may not have seemed sensitive in the past — such as an employee directory — but which clearly is in the era of smishing.
- Collaborate with Security Providers: Partner with companies like YouMailPS that offer robust security solutions.
- Use Content-Based Analytics: Find a third-party vendor with vast data points, which uses advanced analytics tools to detect and eliminate imposter traffic.
- Regular Audits: Conduct regular security audits to identify vulnerabilities and take corrective actions.
By implementing these measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to smishing attacks and protect your employee directories.
The shift from robocalls to smishing attacks poses a significant risk, and employee directories within large organizations can open the door to dangerous, broad attacks on an organization. Understanding this evolving threat landscape is crucial for management to take proactive steps in safeguarding their organizational assets.
Companies like YouMailPS offer advanced solutions that can be a cornerstone in your cybersecurity strategy. To better understand how you can protect your organization from the evolving threat of smishing attacks, reach out to YouMailPS for a comprehensive consultation today.