Microsoft 365 Phishing Protection

Microsoft 365 phishing attacks have been increasing and the techniques now being employed by cyber threat actors can even defeat multifactor authentication (MFA). As attacks targeting Microsoft 365 accounts are increasing in sophistication, it has never been more important to ensure you have the right solutions in place that are capable of protecting against these attacks. In this article, we introduce three solutions from TitanHQ that work seamlessly together to improve protection against Microsoft 365 phishing attacks.

Why Microsoft 365 Phishing Protection Needs to be Improved

Cybercriminals and nation-state threat actors are constantly attempting to access the networks of businesses for financial gain and espionage to steal intellectual property. There are many ways that access can be gained to business networks, but phishing is one of the most common. Phishing is used to steal credentials to gain access to Microsoft 365 accounts, which can contain a wealth of sensitive information, and that information can be easily monetized. Compromised credentials can be sold on the black market to other cybercriminal operations, and ransomware gangs often start their attacks with phishing emails. According to Coveware, the ransomware remediation firm, phishing is the most common method used by ransomware gangs to gain initial access to business networks. Business email compromise attacks are the costliest type of cybercrime according to the FBI, and the number of attacks being conducted continues to increase. The credentials stolen in Microsoft 365 phishing attacks are used to access accounts to conduct BEC attacks.

The reason why Microsoft 365 credentials are so sought after is because they provide access to emails, cloud storage, and other solutions, all of which are extremely valuable. The number of Microsoft 365 users continues to grow, with Microsoft now reporting that it now has more than 1 million business customers and over 345 million users worldwide. If malicious actors can develop techniques that allow them to successfully attack Microsoft 365 accounts, they have huge numbers of individuals and businesses to target.

Microsoft provides some protection against phishing emails as standard through its Exchange Online Protection (EOP) solution, which is included with all licenses. While EOP does do a reasonable job and will block most spam emails, known malware, and a good percentage of phishing attempts, it lacks the sophistication to detect and block more advanced phishing attacks and will not block zero-day malware – malware that has not previously been identified. The latter is a major problem, as most malware variants are only used for a very limited amount of time before a new version is released. Phishing attacks are also getting more sophisticated, and detecting those attacks requires more advanced protection.

Three Cybersecurity Solutions to Improve Protection Against Microsoft 365 Phishing Attempts

Protecting against Microsoft 365 phishing attacks requires a defense-in-depth approach, with multiple overlapping layers of protection. EOP provides one of those layers, but it is strongly recommended to implement several more. Here we present three cybersecurity solutions that you should consider.

Advanced Email Protection – SpamTitan Cloud

One of the most important solutions is an advanced anti-phishing solution that is capable of detecting previously unseen phishing attempts. That requires machine learning technology, advanced heuristics, and Bayesian analysis to score emails on the likelihood of them being phishing emails. Signature-based antivirus protection is important, and that is provided by EOP, but behavioral-based detection methods are required for detecting zero-day malware threats. Emails that pass the AV inspection are sent to the sandbox where their behavior is analyzed. These advanced threat detection techniques are provided through SpamTitan Cloud, which will greatly improve protection against more advanced Microsoft 365 phishing attacks.

DNS-Based Web Filter – WebTitan Cloud

Microsoft 365 phishing attacks usually have a web-based component, with links to websites provided in the emails that direct users to malicious URLs where credentials are harvested or malware is downloaded. These URLs can be difficult for email security solutions to identify as malicious. To improve protection against malicious URLs, either those sent in phishing emails or encountered through web browsing, a web filtering solution should be used. WebTitan Cloud is a DNS-based web filtering solution that is fed threat intelligence from a network of more than 500 million endpoints worldwide. Any attempt to visit a known malicious website will be blocked, with the solution providing time-of-click protection against malicious links in emails. WebTitan Cloud blocks malicious websites and can be used to prevent access to risky categories of websites, in addition to allowing businesses to carefully control the types of content their users can access, whether they are on the network or working remotely.

Security Awareness Training and Phishing Simulations – SafeTitan

Technical defenses are important, but you should not underestimate the value of security awareness training for the workforce. Businesses should teach their employees cybersecurity best practices to eliminate risky behaviors and train employees how to identify Microsoft 365 phishing attempts. Training should also include phishing simulations to identify employees that need further training, to provide intervention training when risks are taken, and to give employees practice at identifying email threats.

SafeTitan is a comprehensive security awareness training platform with hundreds of topics on all aspects of security, including phishing identification. The training material is interactive, enjoyable, and gamified, and the platform includes a phishing simulator with extensive phishing templates, from simple to highly sophisticated phishing attack simulations. SafeTitan is the only behavior-driven security awareness training platform that provides intervention training in real-time in response to risky employee behaviors.

With these three solutions, businesses will add many more layers of protection against Microsoft 365 phishing attempts. For more information, to book product demonstrations, or to arrange a free trial, contact TitanHQ today.