Emails have long been the go-to communication channel, but it’s no surprise that approximately 1.2% of all emails sent are malicious. With about 3.4 billion malicious emails sent daily, it’s crucial to focus on enhancing your security strategy and measures. Unfortunately, AI’s involvement has made phishing attacks more sophisticated, making it harder to differentiate between legitimate and AI-generated phishing emails.
What are AI-generated Phishing Emails?
Phishing involves impersonating businesses or individuals to extract personal and sensitive information. AI-generated phishing scams can appear as private messages or posts carrying malicious links. Clicking on these links grants scammers access to your personal identifying information (PII), which they can sell to other malicious parties. AI can also be used to create sophisticated business email compromises (BECs), where scammers pose as managers to gain access to banking details or valuable company resources.
How to Identify Them
To avoid falling victim to AI-generated phishing emails, it’s essential to be able to identify them. Here are key features to look out for:
1. Use of Contextually Relevant Information: Phishing emails might reference recent industry events or news related to your interests to appear credible. Exercise caution and verify the information before clicking on any links.
2. Improved Language: In the past, errors in content were tell-tale signs of phishing emails. However, AI now enables scammers to create grammatically correct and professional-sounding copy, making it difficult to spot the scam.
3. Highly Sophisticated and Targeted Content: AI can analyze an individual’s likes, dislikes, habits, and preferences, allowing scammers to create highly personalized messages. Be cautious, especially with seemingly legitimate emails from familiar online stores, and cross-verify any orders before clicking on links.
4. Deep Faking Audio and Video: Cybercriminals may use deep fake audio and video alongside phishing emails. Deep fakes use AI to create realistic audio or video clips impersonating individuals. Stay vigilant and be wary of suspicious audio and video content.
3 Ways to Prevent AI-Generated Phishing Emails
Now that you understand AI-generated phishing emails and how to identify them, let’s explore primary prevention strategies:
1. Regular and Frequent Clean Up: Perform periodic inbox cleanups to eliminate suspicious emails. Whether on personal or business accounts, regularly clear out your inbox to minimize potential damage from phishing attacks.
2. Simplify Reporting Phishing: Establish an advanced alert system to track and analyze AI campaigns. Enable employees to report phishing emails easily by automating the reporting process and capturing essential metadata for investigation.
3. Have a Multi-Layered Security Approach: Implement a multi-layered security strategy that includes a human firewall, AI-based security technology, strong authentication measures, AI policies, and consistent employee training for security awareness. Employing a combination of these safeguards will strengthen your defense against phishing attacks.
As AI continues to evolve, phishing attacks become more sophisticated. To protect yourself and your business, it’s crucial to implement comprehensive and sophisticated security measures. By identifying AI-generated phishing emails and following prevention strategies, you can stay one step ahead and safeguard your inbox.