smishing scams in BostonYou may have heard about phishing or even had experience with spear phishing, but did you know about SMS phishing attacks to mobile devices that are known as “smishing” scams? Phishing attacks have been around for a long time and rely on things like user error or lack of knowledge to help cybercriminals gain access to sensitive data. Why do they do it? They utilize this essential data, such as a person’s log-in credentials or customer information, to steal money, hold data hostage, or for other types of financial gain. When this happens in the business world, due to a lack of employee education in Boston or a simple human error mistake, it can have devastating consequences on the future of a business.

What is Smishing?

Emails are typically used to contact individuals for phishing and spear-phishing targeted attacks. In recent years these emails have become very sophisticated and have even fooled users who are more experienced and educated about how they operate. Boston network security services should include a wide range of software, firewalls, preventive measures, back-up and recovery programs, and of course, education. Studies reveal that by far, employee education in Boston is the most valuable tool to thwart these attacks. Back in the day, phishing attacks were easier to identify, but today, they are much more legitimate-looking, even posing as popular companies and fine-tuning them into spear-phishing attacks based on the recipient.

To identify smishing scams, the individual needs to understand that these SMS phishing attacks work in much the same way. However, because they target mobile devices, which are being increasingly used to conduct business, this is a serious threat. Smishing involves the use of fake SMS mobile phone texting messages to gain the individual’s personal information. Employee education in Boston is once again the best defense against these types of attacks, which is why we recommend including it with our network security services to our Greater Boston clients. We can set up all of the safeguards, protections, and preventive measures in the world, but if your employees are providing cybercriminals with the means of accessing your essential company data, contacts, and other information, another approach is necessary.

How Do Smishing Attacks Work?

While most people can easily identify an email scam or spam, they are less suspect when it comes to SMS messages. Many people will automatically reply to a text message, thinking that it is coming from a client, customer, colleague, family member, or friend and that they just don’t recognize the number. It’s kind of like calling back a hang-up call on the phone; we just don’t see text messages as having the ability to be as devious and malicious as an email with a viral attachment. This is why employee education in Boston is so essential. It helps to keep you and your team aware of the latest attempts by cybercriminals to access your important company data.

Similar to other types of phishing attacks, SMS phishing attacks rely on the individual’s reaction to the message that they send. This could be something urgent, such as a warning or alert message of some type; or something more personal that might get you to act before you have time to think. One example might be a message from the bank telling you that they need an immediate response due to a charge or potential hack of your account. You might not stop and think that your bank would not have access to text you via your work device; you just panic and respond right away. You might not even realize that a legitimate organization would not contact you in that way, because in your moment of panic, you aren’t thinking about fraudulent messages.

How to Identify Smishing Scams

There are a couple of ways that cybercriminals work to send SMS phishing attacks to individuals via mobile devices. The first is to send a fake message from a bunch of fake numbers, much like a spam phone call might be received. Another way is to use the name of the business or individual instead of a phone number, trying to trick the recipient into thinking it comes from that entity. One smishing scam that made headlines recently appeared to come from the postal service, while another claimed to represent a major financial institution. Still, another method used for sending SMS phishing attacks is to use a shortcode to send out the text messages that are similar to what other businesses do as well. Pretty much, the advice is to be suspicious of any text that you receive, just as you would with email contacts.

Create unique passwords for different accounts – never use the same password on multiple accounts. Make sure that you are using excellent antivirus software on your mobile devices, which can help to identify a phishing website and prevent you from making a dangerous mistake. Be cautious of any numbers, names, or contacts out of the blue that you don’t recognize – even if it appears to be legitimate. Avoid any messages that try to urgently get you to click on or provide information for anything. Working with Synivate can help to provide employee education in Boston that will help to prevent these types of attacks from negatively impacting your business. Our Greater Boston network security services and managed service opportunities can help defend your business against all cybercriminals, opportunists, and employee errors. Give us a call at 617-517-0704 to speak with a consultant about our comprehensive array of innovative technology solutions at Synivate.