How many times have you gotten an email that had a strange looking link in it? We are all taught not to click on these. However, sometimes they seem legitimate and from what you would consider a trusted source.

With so much happening in the cloud, of course there is a link you need to click on to access a document or sign into a portal. Should you trust it? How do you know if it is okay or not?

Trusting something you shouldn’t have has happened to several employees at The Onion (American news satire organization) and it led to a compromise of the firm’s social media accounts. A handful of employees at The Onion received an email claiming to be from a coworker (but from an outside domain) directing them to a webpage which was designed to look like a Google Docs page. One user entered credentials as requested.

The hackers then used these credentials to send emails to more employees from The Onion’s email domain. This email also contained a link and was trusted because it came from a coworkers email address. The link in the email was again to a malicious page where hackers were able to get access to more credentials and eventually access to the company’s social media accounts (more info here).

With spear phishing attacks like this one, hackers are going after a specific target. It is very difficult for spam filters to catch these emails. That puts even more pressure on web security solutions to keep people off sites that can be potentially harmful.

If a company is using a high quality web security solution that will evaluate the threat level of every site visited, it can drastically reduce the odds of an end user inadvertently visiting a malicious site. Web security solutions are designed to inspect both the URL of the webpage being visited – and in some cases the content. These solutions can tell if a website is legitimate or a phishing website even when the end user cannot. Solutions like this can help protect users from themselves and their tendency to be trusting.

CDW partners with the top players in the web security space like Websense, Cisco, and Blue Coat. CDW has the expertise to design and implement the right solution for your business. Having the right web security solution, in addition to a high quality email security solution, can help protect your business from spear phishing attacks and malicious websites trying to get your data or compromise your network.

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