Industry Insights

How to Spot and Prevent Vendor Phishing

Vendor phishing has become a form of hacking most businesses encounter, and it poses a significant threat to cybersecurity. Let’s dive into the ins and outs of vendor phishing, how it works, what’s at stake, and what businesses can do to mitigate the risks.  


What Is Vendor Phishing?

Vendor phishing is a form of deception where cybercriminals try to trick employees at a business into handing over sensitive information through accessing their network. Often this is via an email posing as a vendor, sales team, internal employee, or someone they know outside the company. The goal of the hackers is gain login credentials, financial details, or even proprietary data. Some vendor phishing attacks can be sophisticated. It’s not only emails, but entire websites posing as fake companies all designed to get people to divulge sensitive company data.  


Spotting Vendor Phishing Attempts

Vendor phishing is unique among on the forms for hacking because it can affect anyone within a company network, which makes employee cybersecurity training super relevant to preventing it. Helping companies identify phishing emails is a great start along with verifying identities of vendors when an email comes through. Vendor phishing emails will look like their from a well known, legitimate vendor the company has worked with and received communication from in the past, so it can be a challenge to identify what’s real and what’s fake. Here are some ways you can spot them:

  1. Email Verification:
    • Ensure that vendor emails come from legitimate email addresses. Check for subtle misspellings or variations in the email domain that may indicate a phishing attempt. It’s very difficult for a company to create an email with another company’s domain, so usually the phishing email will have a domain that’s almost right but not the exact URL.
    • Be wary of generic greetings or urgent requests for sensitive information.
  2. Cross-Verify Requests:
    • If a vendor requests sensitive information or financial transactions, independently verify the request through a trusted and established communication channel. Avoid using contact details provided in the suspicious email.
  3. Check URL Authenticity:
    • Hover over any links in emails to preview the URL before clicking. Confirm that the URL matches the legitimate vendor’s website and does not redirect to a malicious site.
    • Look for secure connections (https://) and check for SSL certificates to ensure the website’s authenticity.
  4. Examine Email Content:
    • Analyze the language and tone of the email. Phishing emails may contain grammatical errors, unusual language, or inconsistencies that betray their fraudulent nature.
    • Pay attention to unexpected changes in vendors’ usual communication styles.


Preventing Vendor Phishing

  1. Employee Training Programs:
    • Regularly educate employees on the tactics used in vendor phishing attempts. Provide real-world examples and conduct simulated phishing exercises to enhance awareness.
    • Emphasize the importance of verifying vendor requests for sensitive information.
  2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):
    • Implement MFA for accessing sensitive systems or processing financial transactions. This adds an extra layer of security, even if login credentials are compromised.
    • Encourage vendors to adopt MFA as part of their authentication processes.
  3. Secure Communication Channels:
    • Establish secure communication channels with vendors, such as encrypted email or secure file transfer protocols, to safeguard sensitive information during transmissions.
    • Clearly communicate these secure channels to vendors and ensure they are used consistently.
  4. Regular Security Audits:
    • Conduct regular security audits to assess the vulnerability of your systems to phishing attacks. Identify and address potential weaknesses to fortify your organization’s defenses.
    • Collaborate with vendors to ensure they adhere to cybersecurity best practices.
  5. Advanced Email Filtering:
    • Invest in advanced email filtering solutions to automatically detect and quarantine phishing emails before they reach employees’ inboxes.
    • Stay updated on the latest phishing techniques and configure filters accordingly.


Get In Touch With BNC

At BNC, our commitment to providing robust IT support in Dallas, Denver, and Austin extends to safeguarding businesses against evolving cyber threats like vendor phishing. We understand the unique challenges faced by organizations, and our comprehensive approach includes proactive measures to fortify your cybersecurity posture.

As the threat landscape continues to evolve, defending against vendor phishing becomes paramount for businesses. By staying informed, implementing preventative measures, and leveraging the expertise of an IT support partner like BNC, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to vendor phishing attacks. Together, let’s fortify the gateway to your digital assets and ensure a secure and resilient IT environment. Contact BNC today to explore how our IT consulting services can enhance your cybersecurity defenses and empower your business for sustained success.



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