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Cofense: Bolstering the Corporate Defences against Phishing

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It was an ordinary workday for a healthcare company until the employees received an email from their CEO. The email was not a typical meeting invite or query. Rather, the email simply asked them to read and agree to company policy. When they clicked on the agree button, it took them to a login page, where it requested them to enter their employee credentials. While the email sounded quite authentic, some well-trained employees looked at the message carefully. Fortunately, the company had already conditioned its workforce to spot phishing attacks using Cofense PhishMe. The employees reported the suspicious email through the Cofense Reporter plug-in embedded in their email. The analysts at Cofense identified the email to be malicious and quickly alerted the healthcare company, thus thwarting the attempt of the threat actor to harvest employee credentials.

“Threat actors today are upgrading their tactics at a very rapid pace, and vendors of perimeter controls and security gateways can barely keep up with this change,” says David Janson, Vice President of International Sales at Cofense. To help organisations bolster their cybersecurity defences and counter phishing attacks, Cofense offers an end-to-end portfolio of robust cybersecurity solutions, spanning threat awareness to detection, analysis and mitigation. To this extent, Cofense PhishMe leverages experiential learning— simulations of real phishing threats that have slipped past secure email gateways—to bolster employee awareness about the latest phishing campaigns and tactics used by attackers, thus empowering end users to proactively spot suspicious emails.

However, defence against phishing does not stop at mere awareness of a threat. Cofense Reporter, therefore, allows users to notify security teams of suspicious messages with a single click. These user reported emails are then analysed by the Cofense Triage platform, accelerating phishing investigation and response by surfacing real threats so security analysts can quickly cut through the noise of hundreds to thousands of daily reported emails and prioritise where they focus their energy. The malicious emails, including those that went unreported, are then automatically quarantined by Cofense Vision in minutes, facilitating a robust phishing defence across the organisation.

Cofense brings a unique approach in its fight against phishing.
Artificial intelligence and automation are insufficient in detecting and thwarting phishing campaigns. Cofense, therefore, adds a layer of human intelligence to accelerate email analysis at scale and fill the gap left by ineffective secure email gateways. Leveraging the intuitive solutions provided by Cofense, organisations can empower their employees to be an integral part of their cyber defence. As a result, even if the perimeter solutions fail to detect such malicious emails, users can identify suspicious messages, transforming vulnerable targets into an essential layer of defence. “Our end-to-end phishing defence solutions combine cutting-edge technology with human vetting to provide intuition and insights that machines or technology alone can’t deliver,” underscores Janson.

Our end-to-end phishing defence solutions combine cutting-edge technology with human vetting providing intuition and insights that machines or technology alone can’t deliver

As Janson also highlights, modern phishing attacks are increasingly polymorphic with each passing day. He explains, “If 100 phishing emails are delivered to 100 different users, each of the emails might have several unique elements to it.” It is therefore challenging to identify a phishing email quickly, especially when time is of great importance and seconds count. To enhance the response capability of clients, Cofense designed a robust solution, Cofense Intelligence, which underpins Cofense’s portfolio. Cofense Intelligence equips organisations with relevant information and insights about emerging threats detected in the wild, enabling security teams to defend their organisations against the attacks before they hit.

The most prevalent motive of phishers is credential harvesting, allowing threat actors to steal valuable log-in details to access the corporate network. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and a newly remote workforce, threat actors are extensively exploiting the uncertainty, confusion and fears shared by many across the globe. An analysis by Cofense’s Phishing Defence Centre (PDC) shows there has been a significant uptick in phishing attacks. The rate of COVID-19 related phishing attacks, notably, has increased from just one percent to more than seven percent in less than a month. In such a precarious landscape, Cofense has established a Coronavirus phishing info centre microsite to deliver accurate information and help protect organisations from threat actors. Every day, Cofense posts the latest COVID-19 phishing emails and tactics that successfully evaded detection by email gateways as well necessary rules that will help organisations proactively identify signs of any exploits to defend against intrusion,. The resources are not only free but are also updated regularly to continue identification of new threats.

Driven by such user-centric approaches, Cofense is fast expanding its presence in the cybersecurity space. “Cofense is all about empowering organisations to quickly detect, analyse, and quarantine the phishing attacks before they can cause significant damage to their business and workflow,” concludes Janson.
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Leesburg, VA

Rohyt Belani, Co-Founder & CEO and Aaron Higbee, Co-Founder & CTO

Cofense®, the leading provider of intelligent phishing defence solutions worldwide, is uniting humanity against phishing. The Cofense suite of products combines timely attack intelligence on phishing threats that have evaded perimeter controls and were reported by employees, with best-in-class security operations technologies to stop attacks faster and stay ahead of breaches. Cofense customers include Global 1000 organizations in defence, energy, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing sectors that understand how changing user behaviour will improve security, aid incident response and reduce the risk of compromise