Whether you are an online entrepreneur with a few employees under your bonnet, or you run a fully-fledged company, you need to ensure that your company data and secrets are well protected.
With these data now being stored online, it’s been easy for phishing software to get hold of them, holding your company at ransom. Cloud storage is a very important business tool that helps you to easily access your files anytime, from anywhere. However, this technology doesn’t come without risks.
Scammers can manipulate users in your organization into thinking that the emails they are receiving and the pages they are visiting are legitimate assets that belong to these storage companies, whether that is Google Suite or Office 365.
Luckily, cloud storage companies are huge giants and they have, over the years improved their technologies to ensure that you are well protected as a user. Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) comes in handy in handling phishing attacks.
You want to ensure that ATP is turned on either at a company level or domain level in your Office 365 environment.
Office 365 Phishing
Office 365 phishing is rampant majorly due to the fact that over 60 million users use office 365, majority being owners of profitable businesses.
Scammers know that any successful phishing attempts can have great payoffs. While other scam emails are very easy to tell apart, office 365 recent phishing emails have been hard to discern because of the lengths that the scammers make to ensure that emails come off as genuine.
They trick you into providing your credentials while thinking you are actually entering them in the genuine office 365 official login site.
For instance, one of the recent Office 365 phishing attacks is one that manipulates the Non-delivery emails. Here, you receive fake non-delivery emails that are quite convincing so you won’t be able to suspect it’s a phishing email.
The malware is hidden in the “SEND Again” link. On clicking this button, you are redirected to a fake login page which is a replica of the genuine Office login page. They even go ahead to auto-fill the login with your email, so all you need is to enter your password. On submission, this data is sent to the phishing site, while you are redirected back to the genuine Microsoft website.
Tip: You may want to check the address of the page on the address bar, before filling in your credentials to ensure that it is the actual site.
Benefits of Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
This critical service has several components that help you serve four key functions:
Detection and Prevention:
By filtering off phishing emails and unsafe links, you ensure that the users in your organization do not accidentally click on them, triggering the malware attacks.
Office 365 Defender comes with several functionalities that help administrators to protect their organizations from malicious attacks.
The Advanced Threat Protection system scans messages in transit for malicious links and blocks them so that the users won’t be able to click through to them. These functionalities are majorly Safe Links and URL Detonation.
Safe Links and Safe Attachments: Office 365 ATP system analyzes links in emails, office documents and attachments to find hidden potential malicious links. If a user clicks on a malicious link, safe links checks if the clicked link is malicious. Microsoft Defender accomplishes this by redirecting the link to a secure server in the Microsoft Office 365 Environment.
The server then checks the link against a list of known malicious websites. The browser will only be redirected to the original link if it’s deemed safe, otherwise it displays a warning page to the end-user.
Office 365 Anti phishing policies: Microsoft Defender also uses machine learning to identify whether incoming messages are phishing attempts or not. If they are, then some actions are prompted based on configured anti-phishing policies.
Due to its Advanced AI technology, Microsoft Office 365 ATP makes it easy to identify malicious and suspicious content and prevent them from causing imminent damage within the organization.
Threat analysis is a critical functionality built into the Microsoft Defender for Office 365. It helps you track attacks within the Office environment, identify patterns and then take necessary measures.
By doing thorough analysis, you can easily tell the following:
- Who is being targeted at the company
- Where majority of these threats are coming from
- Patterns involved
- Types of attacks being launched at the company
- How links are being added etc.
These advanced reports are essential in helping you as the administrator in addressing current and future threats. This way you can advise your team accordingly.
Response and Correction.
Office Defender has got great configurations that can help you respond to these attacks automatically on the environment. You can create policies and activate them for specific users in your organization.
Office 365 ATP now has Automated Investigation and Response (AIR) functionality that helps you cut off the time you take in analyzing and investigating potential threats in your company by nearly half.
Once an automated investigation has been done, the system will suggest recommended responses (actions) based on the findings. All you (or your security staff) have to do is to approve the responses to address the threats.
Safe Working Collaborative Environment.
With ATP activated, you can easily share links and documents across the Microsoft Apps such as SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Microsoft Teams and still be protected from all sorts of phishing attempts.
Once a malicious file has been flagged, users won’t be able to open, move, copy download or share it. This file can only be deleted.
While Microsoft team has done a great job in ensuring that you and your company data are protected from online scammers and all sorts of software, you are the only one responsible for the security of your assets.
Thus, you do still to be personally involved in fastening the security belt of your company. Make sure that your team know how to identify phishing email from a genuine email.
Excited to try out this tool? You can get advanced threat protection for Office 365 here