When targeting government agencies, malicious actors will use the same social engineering strategies that work in the private sector. This is because government entities can be just as susceptible to attacks that leverage information to gain an employee’s trust or exploit team members that aren’t expecting to be the target of a cyberattack. With the right training and security tools, government employees can be better prepared to respond to suspicious communication requests, and a reliable IT consultant can help the government have the resources needed to resolve potential threats as soon as they arrive.
Hackers often try to implement some form of social engineering into their phishing emails because it increases the likelihood that a user will click before they think. While hackers try to impersonate CEOs or business executives in the private sector, for government agencies malicious actors can attempt to impersonate someone of a higher rank than who they think will receive the emails. This can add a sense of urgency to the attack without drawing much suspicion, if it’s done correctly. Every employee should have the ability to report potential phishing emails with just the click of a button, and these potential threats should be addressed quickly by an IT consultant or IT team to prevent operations from slowing down.
Leveraging Trust in Contractors
Malicious actors won’t always go after a government agency directly. Sometimes, a known contractor will have an exploitable vulnerability or a more relaxed cybersecurity posture, which makes them an easier target. Once a contractor account is compromised, it can be impossible to tell a legitimate email apart from a malicious one. This is why government agencies should have recovery plans in place that allow for a quick response to compromised accounts and devices. Outsourced IT also allows this response to be fast and available around the clock, so your agency has the support it needs to immediately mitigate the effects of a successful attack.
Spear Phishing Known Staff Members
One more attack malicious actors will use to target a government agency is spear phishing, and a spear phishing email can include a wide variety of social engineering tactics that are tailored to the target. Spear phishing attacks often take much longer to prepare than common phishing campaigns, so it isn’t uncommon for attackers to become familiar with the people a target regularly corresponds with and services they use that may offer a reliable attack vector. With the right training, even spear phishing attacks can be noticed, but the right training also needs reliable security services, such as DNS-layer security and email filtering that can help stop attacks before they have a chance to do damage.
Government agencies must contend with malicious actors that will tailor their social engineering strategies to have the highest chance of success, but they don’t have to do it alone. A trustworthy IT consultant can both offer practical advice and training to improve your network’s security posture and provide security services that backup that training to reduce the chances of a successful attack. By working with an IT consultant like Robinett Consulting, a government agency can acquire the training and resources it needs to keep its network safe and improve the chances that employees won’t be caught off guard by tricky social engineering tactics!
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