Many phishing campaigns involve indiscriminate emails that are sent in high volume in the hope that some recipients will respond. These campaigns tend to involve lures that are likely to be opened by as many users as possible such as missed deliveries, security warnings about unauthorized account access, and payments that will soon be applied to accounts. This spray-and-pray tactic is not nearly as effective as more tailored campaigns targeting specific types of users, and to make up for this, the campaigns involve huge volumes of messages. These campaigns are relatively easy for email security solutions to detect.

Phishing campaigns that target employees in a single organization can be much harder to identify. The threat actor tailors the message to the organization being targeted, and even to specific employees in the organization. These campaigns often use compromised vendor email accounts, with the emails being sent from trusted domains. There is a much greater chance of these emails landing in inboxes and the emails being opened by employees. Campaigns such as this can be highly effective and often result in many email accounts in the organization being compromised.

A recent example of this type of attack and the impact it can have comes from California. ​The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, an integrated health system that operates public hospitals and clinics in L.A. County, was targeted in a phishing campaign between February 19, 2024, and February 20, 2024. The emails appeared to have been sent by a trusted sender, landed in inboxes, and were opened by many employees. The emails contained a hyperlink that directed users to a website where they were told they needed to enter their login credentials. 23 employees fell for the scam and entered their credentials.

The credentials were captured, and the threat actor was able to access the employees’ email accounts, which contained sensitive patient data such as names, dates of birth, contact information, medical record numbers, dates of service, medical information, and health plan information. While the information exposed in the attack could not be used for identity theft – Social Security numbers were not compromised – the attacker gained access to information that could be used for medical identity theft. The patients affected could also be targeted in very convincing phishing campaigns to obtain further information such as Social Security numbers. Similar attacks have been reported by other healthcare organizations where the email accounts contained vast amounts of data, including tens of thousands of Social Security numbers and sensitive financial information.

After attacks such as this, additional security awareness training is provided to the workforce to raise awareness of the threat from phishing; however, the provision of comprehensive training regularly throughout the year will go a long way toward ensuring that attacks such as this do not succeed and that if they do, the resultant data breach is far less severe.

TitanHQ’s SafeTitan security awareness training platform allows organizations to conduct comprehensive training continuously, and since each training module is a maximum of 10 minutes, it is easy to fit the training into busy workflows. The training platform has a huge range of content, covering a broad range of threats, and when programs are run continuously and employees complete a few training modules a month, susceptibility to phishing drops considerably, especially when the SafeTitan phishing simulator is also used. The simulator includes templates taken from recent real-world phishing campaigns. If a user responds to one of these simulations, they are immediately told where they went wrong and are required to complete a training module relevant to that threat.

End-user security awareness training is an important part of your cybersecurity arsenal, but it is also vital to block as many phishing emails as possible. TitanHQ’s SpamTitan email security is an advanced, AI and machine learning-driven anti-spam solution that blocks more than 99.9% of spam email and phishing threats. The solution includes twin antivirus engines for blocking known malware, and sandboxing for blocking zero-day threats, and is a highly effective spam filter for Office 365. With SafeTitan security awareness training and an advanced Microsoft 365 spam filter from TitanHQ, businesses will be well protected from phishing threats.

All TitanHQ solutions are intuitive, easy to use, and can be set up in just a few minutes and are available on a free trial to allow you to test them out for yourself before making a purchase decision. Independent reviews from genuine users of TitanHQ solutions show SpamTitan is much loved by users. On G2 reviews, SpamTitan is consistently given 5-star reviews by end users, who rate it the best spam filter for Outlook due to its effectiveness, low cost, ease of use, and the excellent customer service from the TitanHQ team.

SafeTitan and SpamTitan are available on a free trial to allow you to test them out for yourself before making a purchase decision. Give the TitanHQ team a call today to take the first step toward improving your phishing defenses.