‘Spoofing’ attacks, in which a hacker impersonates a trusted source, are an increasingly common phishing method. These attacks rose by 61% in the latter half of 2022, enabled by increasingly sophisticated spoofing techniques.

Spoofing represents a big threat to businesses. Through spoofing, attackers can gain access to all kinds of sensitive data, including employee credentials, which can be used to access and sabotage vital systems. So, it’s essential that organizations understand how to identify and prevent this.

Authentication measures and implementation

The only surefire way to prevent spoofing attacks is to be exhaustive and rigorous with authentication measures and implementation. This may include:

  • Educating employees on phishing and social engineering tactics
  • Applying all available authentication protocols to your email and messaging systems
  • Having dual or even triple-factor verification protocols to log into secure systems
  • Looking into ‘un-spoofable’ factors, such as biometric identification
  • Checking all URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. thoroughly

Of these, employee education is probably the most important.

Employee education on phishing and social engineering tactics

Phishing and spoofing attacks are specifically designed to exploit basic human weaknesses and vulnerabilities. So, the best way to stop spoofers and phishers in their tracks is to educate your employees on what these criminals are looking for. For example:

  • A lack of thoroughness — A lot of spoofers rely on people not thoroughly inspecting the email address, phone number, or URL. By scrutinizing these things every single time, a lot of spoofing attacks can be spotted immediately.
  • Panic — Spoofers will often try to create a sense of urgency to prevent people from thinking too hard about what they’re doing. They may say they’re in an emergency situation and need X information and/or money RIGHT NOW. By keeping a cool head and not acting out of panic, employees can spot the telltale signs of a spoofer.
  • Kindness —​​​​​​​ Spoofers may come up with a story that encourages us to act out of basic human goodness. For example, a hacker may use a spoofed employee email to say something like “Hey, I know this is unorthodox, but I lost X data and will get in real trouble if I turn up to the next meeting without it. Could you do me a solid and send it to me?” 

To educate your employees, consider running phishing simulations on common phishing tactics and give them the tools they need to avoid these.

Three strategies to prevent email spoofing

Email spoofing is a particularly common phishing tactic. Email spoofers can be incredibly convincing, but there are ways to prevent them from gaining access to your systems. Here are three strategies that can help:

  1. Authentication protocols —​​​​​​​ There are several email authentication protocols (SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and BIMI). Get them all in order to make your emails as un-spoofable as possible.
  2. Security awareness training —​​​​​​​ Deliver as much of it as your staff can stand and as often as possible. R-Security can provide Phishing Testing & Training via uSecure to ensure end users know how to identify and report potential threats. In addition, our phishing simulation tool can be configured to automatically send realistic-looking phishing emails to employees to test their responses.
  3. Anti-spoofing software —​​​​​​​ This is designed to detect and block suspicious emails that attempt to impersonate trusted senders or manipulate email headers. By analyzing email content, headers, and sender information, anti-spoofing software can identify and quarantine potentially malicious emails, preventing them from reaching the recipient's inbox.

Continuous employee training

Anti-spoofing training should begin right at the start of an employee’s tenure (perhaps even before then). All new hires need to be well-versed in cybersecurity and anti-spoofing protocols right from the beginning.

A digital recruiting system can help here. Through digital recruiting software, you can set up a tailored onboarding that stresses the risk of spoofing attacks and keeps track of who has had what training on an ongoing basis.

All employees should be regularly reminded of the need to stay safe during communications. You should also make time for regular anti-spoofing and cybersecurity training at intervals throughout the year.

Similarly, whenever your security systems or protocols update, all employees should be walked through these changes and given a refresher on how to keep systems safe.

Final thoughts

Because it plays on human vulnerabilities, spoofing is a particularly insidious form of phishing. That said, with the right knowledge, training, software, and protocols, you can protect your business from attacks and recover quickly if a cybercriminal ever does get through. 

River Run offers the latest in tools and AI software that teaches you and your teammates to identify suspicious activity, normal activity, and train on how to avoid being spoofed and phished. If you are not using our latest R-Security Phishing Testing & Training and would like a demo, please let us know as our Account Executives are actively demonstrating these new tools every day.



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