Fraudsters are ramping up their nefarious activity and targeting brands of all sizes with brand impersonation tactics. Learn how to prevent employees and customers from falling victim to spoofing and phishing attacks carried out by brand impersonators.
According to Statista, some of the most impersonated brands in Q2 2020 include Google, Amazon, WhatsApp, Facebook, Microsoft, and Outlook. However, it’s not only household brands that fraudsters are after; they’re ramping up their nefarious activity and targeting brands of all sizes. In 2020, 75% of organizations experienced phishing attacks, with 96% arriving via email.
With the sudden widespread transition to remote work environments, cybercriminals are using the disruption as an opportunity to expose vulnerabilities in email security through brand impersonation attacks. However, a security breach and data loss are only the beginning of the problems companies face when cybercriminals are successful with their phishing campaigns.
Problems Companies Face When Their Identity Is Used to Trick Customers
Once fraudsters have your confidential data, they can use your email lists to contact your customers directly. Using look-alike domains, mirroring techniques, and email spoofing, attackers can convince the recipient that the email comes from you. And with brand impersonation tactics, they can create emails that look identical to your company emails, including logos, brand voice, and signatures.
Through brand hijacking or service impersonation, the attacker hopes your customers will provide sensitive data such as their login credentials, which may allow them access to accounts and financial data. The cybercriminal may also be trying to tarnish your company’s brand reputation.
Whatever the cybercriminal’s goal is, the impact it has on your brand can be devastating as consumers may feel violated or duped. Even if the customer has not been directly targeted, just hearing through the media about the phishing scams associated with your brand may be enough to drive them away. And according to 63% of consumers, all it takes is one “unsatisfactory shopping experience” to lose their loyalty and stop them from shopping from that brand again.
Solutions to Prevent and Reduce the Risk of Brand Impersonation
Here are some areas to focus on to prevent employees and customers from falling victim to spoofing and phishing attacks:
Regular Email Security Training
Most, if not all, companies had no pandemic-related preparedness plan. With an unprecedented number of employees working from home, organizations need to educate their workforce on the email spoofing and phishing tactics fraudsters use to trick them and steal their identities. Users need to recognize malicious links or attachments and know how to report them.
Educate Your Customers
Prove to your customers that their email security and privacy are important to you. Let them know how you will communicate with them, including the specific platforms you will use. Advise customers that you will never ask for their personal information or login credentials through email. Inform them about the spoofing and phishing tactics cybercriminals execute to gain access to their accounts. If you discover that fraudsters are impersonating you, let your customers know about the problem so they can be more cautious and protect themselves.
Improve Security and Control Protection
Cybercriminals can impersonate your brand without having your email list or login credentials. However, the damage is far greater when they have access to your sensitive data. Your customers are more likely to become victims of phishing and spoofing emails when the fraudster already has their private information. Therefore, staying ahead of email threats internally helps minimize successful brand impersonation campaigns. You need to be equipped with a robust email security system with anti-fraud, anti-spoofing, and anti-leakage mechanisms and technologies.