spear phishing

Barracuda Uses AI to Defend Against Spear Phishing and Cyber Fraud

There is something to be said for having the right knowledge to avoid a cyber threat. In spite of using relatively little security tools, security professionals are generally less likely to become compromised. On the other hand, many average or novice users manage to infect their machines in spite of using various security software to defend themselves. It often comes down to being able to see the signs and recognize a threat before it becomes an attack. Barracuda has developed a new solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to emulate having a security professional make those decisions and guard against real-time spear phishing and cyber fraud attacks.

Spear phishing is a particularly insidious threat. Users who have the training and skills to avoid most cyber threats still fall prey to a well-executed spear phishing attack. Something that appears to come from a source inside the company leads people to let their guard down.

A press release from Barracuda announcing the new Barracuda Sentinel solution, explains, “According to Osterman Research, while CEO Fraud/BEC attacks are less common than phishing or ransomware, 27 percent of organizations have encountered such an attack during the past 12 months. The FBI reports that organizations have already lost $5 billion due to BEC (business email compromise). Beyond the financial impact, these attacks can cause irreparable damage to an organization’s reputation and brand. Because the attacks are highly personalized—and typically contain no malicious attachments or links—existing security solutions fail to detect them.”

“Spear phishing is rampant. It’s no longer just the large enterprises or C-suite that need to be on high alert—everyone is a target,” said Asaf Cidon, vice president of content security services at Barracuda Networks. “We see novel combinations of highly personalized tactics—spoofing your domain, impersonating your CEO, engaging in convincing conversations with your employees. In today’s dynamic threat environment, the best defense includes a combination of people and technology. Barracuda Sentinel leverages artificial intelligence to give customers—people—a comprehensive way to stop spear phishing and cyber fraud attacks in real time.”

According to Barracuda, the new Barracuda Sentinel uses a multi-layer AI engine to effectively detect and block spear phishing attacks in real time. Sentinel uses machine learning to identify high-risk individuals likely to be targeted by spear phishing, and provides specific tools and training to simulate spear phishing attacks and raise the awareness of those individuals.

Barracuda states that Sentinel also defends against domain fraud—preventing attackers from sending emails to employees that appear to come from the official company domain. “Barracuda Sentinel gives companies visibility into domain fraud and protects against spoofing by setting up DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication Reporting & Conformance). DMARC allows companies to monitor emails sent from their domain, ensures deliverability for legitimate email traffic, and prevents unauthorized messages from being sent from company domains. Barracuda Sentinel delivers visibility and analysis of DMARC reports, which prevents spoofing-based spear phishing and brand hijacking.”

There is no appliance or other hardware to install to use Barracuda Sentinel. It is a purely cloud-based service that can work in harmony with other email security solutions. Barracuda states that the new Barracuda Sentinel solution is available starting today for Office 365 users.

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