Business impersonation attacks are rampant around the world. They are easier to build and execute, even for intermediate hackers. Sophisticated hackers often duplicate the target website or send lots of legitimate-looking emails.
The biggest question for most businesses is how to prevent impersonation attacks to ensure the protection of brand integrity and reputation. To prevent these attacks, you must thoroughly understand the business impersonation attacks. This includes what they are, what causes them, the common types, and how to prevent these attacks.
What are business impersonation attacks?
In most cases, business impersonation attacks happen when a hacker poses as a legitimate person and steals confidential information from the company or the customers. Instances of attackers accessing payment details through emails have risen recently, and businesses need to adhere to practices that will lead to effective email protection.
There are different ways impersonation attacks can happen. Hackers can impersonate top-level managers of the company to convince low-level or new employees in the company to adhere to their instructions. The new employee will just adhere to the instructions given because they are orders from the above. Otherwise, very few employees will dare question orders that appear legitimate and from the executive members.
Attackers can also impersonate popular brands and reach out to the target customers. The target customers will be willing to share their confidential data with the company because they have built their trust over time.
The other way impersonation attacks can happen is when attackers pretend to be suppliers or third-party vendors. Eventually, they will trick the company employees into paying fake overdue invoices into their accounts.
Common types of business impersonation attacks
Most business impersonation attacks target the low-level employees in the company or the customers. As a business owner, there is a need to ensure that you communicate effectively about security practices to be followed. Adopt secure practices for the management system for your business, or else these common types of business impersonation attacks will befall your business.
Hackers will often target the login credentials of the business. With the account takeovers, the attackers steal the login credentials of the top executive members of the business and use the login details to control the business account.
Whenever they need access to the business account, they will impersonate the top-level executives and gain access to sensitive information by emailing low-level employees.
Fake website impersonations are commonly referred to as website cloning or domain impersonation. This happens when the hackers create a similar-forged version of the business website to lure the customers and trick them into buying the services offered.
If you are an active user of various platforms on the internet, you probably have received a fake email. About 3.4 billion phishing emails are sent out daily across the world. This shows how the extent of email spoofing can be extreme.
Hackers create fake legitimate-looking email addresses that confuse employees and customers to follow the orders given. Attackers change a few or single characters in the email address and then alter the display name to make it look like the email is from a legitimate source.
Fake social media accounts
There are very many fake social media accounts on different platforms. The attackers create fake social media accounts of the business or the employees by copying personal data or account details of the original business account. Then, they reach out to the customers or the employees of the business to steal their data or money that is meant for other business purposes.
Ways to prevent business impersonation attacks
There is no single way to get rid of business impersonation attacks. It’s a combination of several practices that will help prevent these threats. Below are different ways to prevent business impersonation attacks.
Train the employees
Knowledge is power, and when the employees are well-versed with effective security practices, they will likely make better decisions and thwart impersonation attacks. Most security breaches often happen due to human error.
And the best way to improve these errors is through effective training of the employees. Ensure that your business adopts a well-dedicated cybersecurity manual and regular seminars to educate the employees about security practices.
How often do you advise your customers about impersonation attacks? You need to tell your customers clearly about the information that the business asks for and how the business will use it.
Educating your customers about the brand and its business practices will prevent them from falling prey to any business impersonation attacks. Ensure that you share your official social media accounts and website links with the customers through direct communications.
Actively monitor your social media accounts
You must ensure you regularly monitor your social media accounts to prevent social media impersonation on the internet. Look for branded keyboards and any other broad keyboards that are related to the business, not limited to misspelling and other alphanumeric combinations. This will ensure that no one on the internet is using your brand name to destroy your reputation or trick your customers.
Monitor your app store
Similar fake apps can be created to look like the businesses’ legitimate apps and even get advertised by attackers to lure your customers into using them. The results of these fake mobile apps can be drastic and may even damage your brand’s reputation and decrease customer loyalty.
Safeguard your business domain
Cloning a website is one of the easiest things attackers can accomplish within a short time as long as they have the domain. So, if you don’t take active steps against domain spoofing, you will fall victim to business impersonation. Adopt a domain management tool that can automatically detect registered domains similar to the business domain across different platforms and recover them.
Final thoughts – What’s next
Business impersonation attacks are growing rapidly, and you must adopt better security practices to safeguard your business. Otherwise, you will fall victim to these attacks and lose revenue, brand trust, and customer loyalty. Ensure that you take proactive measures that will help protect your business against these attacks.