November 1, 2023

Stay alert, stay secure: Recognizing and avoiding smishing and vishing threats in your business

Stay alert, stay secure: Recognizing and avoiding smishing and vishing threats in your business

It seems that today’s businesses have to face a continual game of cybersecurity whack-a-mole: When one threat is thwarted or mitigated, cybercriminals use new tools and techniques to devise new plans in hopes of a big payday at your expense.

One area that continues to threaten businesses is social engineering.

Just as businesses implement the necessary controls to block one method, criminals lean into new approaches. Today, vishing and smishing are some of the biggest threats to a business’s reputation, security, and finances.

How can your business be prepared and put the necessary controls in place to mitigate these threats once and for all?

Read on to find out.

Free 15 day trial
Start your free 15-day trial of Robokiller Enterprise
You’re one step away from a spam-free phones.
Get Started

The vishing and phishing threat: What businesses need to know

Vishing, a portmanteau of "voice phishing," is when criminals use phone calls to impersonate trusted people or organizations, such as banks, executives, or government agencies, in order to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information.

A similar technique, smishing, is a form of phishing that uses text messages designed to trick recipients into clicking malicious links or sharing information. In both cases, criminals are hoping to collect information such as credit card or bank account numbers, passwords, and other data that can be used to escalate their attacks.

While one spam call or text may seem innocuous enough, it just takes one distracted or manipulated employee to share this type of information with a criminal. Use of the sensitive information can lead to:

  • Data breaches: Successful attacks can provide the information cybercriminals need to obtain unauthorized access to business systems, databases, and confidential information, resulting in data breaches.
  • Financial fraud: Information gathered can lead to fraudulent financial transactions, with attackers coercing employees into transferring funds to unauthorized accounts.
  • Business disruption: Attackers might gather enough information through smishing and vishing to disrupt business operations, causing downtime and financial losses.

Common smishing and vishing threats and tactics

Below are some of the more common types of smishing and vishing tactics, all of which share one key element: A psychological trick.

Use this list to become familiar with the common techniques that criminals use so you can spot them early:

  • Spoofed identities: Attackers manipulate their phone numbers to appear as legitimate sources, such as well-known companies or financial institutions.
  • Urgent alerts: Messages claim an urgent issue requires immediate attention, pressuring recipients to act quickly so they don’t have time to think through the request or the source of the message.
  • Fake offers: Tempting offers, discounts, or prizes are used to entice recipients into clicking on malicious links or sharing personal information.
  • Malicious links: Messages contain shortened URLs or links leading to counterfeit websites that mimic legitimate ones, tricking users into sharing login details.
  • Fear-based messages: Threats of negative consequences, such as account suspension, are used to provoke recipients into revealing sensitive data.
  • Fake authority: Criminals impersonate authority figures, creating a sense of trust used to extract information.
  • Emotional manipulation: Callers exploit emotions like fear, concern, or empathy to manipulate victims into revealing sensitive information.

5 best practices for avoiding smishing and vishing threats

Fortunately, just as criminals have evolved their tactics, cybersecurity experts have evolved the tools and training that businesses can use to fight back.

Here are five best practices businesses can employ to stop scammers in their tracks:

1. Perform independent verification of requests

Train employees to verify any urgent requests for information or action via a separate, independently researched communication channel.

2. Raise awareness of caller ID spoofing

Educate employees on the ability of criminals to spoof their caller ID, and implement technical solutions into your enterprise phone system to flag suspicious calls.

3. Leverage AI-powered spam blockers

Stop vishing and smishing attacks before they even reach your employees by implementing AI-powered solutions such as Robokiller Enterprise. This industry-leading solution identifies and blocks fraudulent calls and messages in real time using a database and algorithm that constantly evolves to stay ahead of criminals.

4. Perform link inspection

Enable email servers and clients to automatically scan attachments and links and to flag potentially suspicious messages. Take the extra step and implement phishing training and simulators to reinforce your security awareness training with real-life scenarios.

5. Emphasize the protection of sensitive information

Highlight the need to safeguard sensitive business and personal information, especially by phone calls and text messages. Provide alternative methods to verify and send the requested information through secure channels.

Learn about Robokiller Enterprise's pricing options
Learn more

Learn more about avoiding smishing and vishing threats

Want to learn more about how your business can get (and stay) ahead of the techniques that cybercriminals will be using tomorrow to threaten your bottom line and your hard-earned reputation?

Then make sure to pair these five best practices with the steps you need to take to secure your employees’ mobile devices, found in our comprehensive eBook, Why mobile devices

represent an emerging security risk for businesses, available here: Download the Mobile Security Security eBook

Free 15 day trial
Fight back against spam and reclaim your phone.
You’re one step away from a spam-free phone (and a little poetic justice, thanks to Answer Bots).
Sign up for a 15-day free trial
STIR/SHAKEN: What the FCC’s New Standard Means For Your Business
August 27, 2021
STIR/SHAKEN: What the FCC’s New Standard Means For Your Business
Read more
arrow right
STIR/SHAKEN 101: Your Quick & Easy Guide to FCC Compliance
August 20, 2021
STIR/SHAKEN 101: Your Quick & Easy Guide to FCC Compliance
Read more
arrow right
What is a Robocall Mitigation Program?
November 12, 2021
What is a Robocall Mitigation Program?
Read more
arrow right