There are dozens of techniques hackers can use to try to infiltrate your company’s sensitive data, though some are more sophisticated than others. IP spoofing attacks are growing in popularity and frequency, and they have the potential to wreak all kinds of havoc on your organization. Simply being aware of these types of attacks is an important step in preventing them, which is why we created this handy guide about IP spoofing/phishing attacks.

What Are IP Spoofing/Phishing Attacks?

IP spoofing attacks involve hackers impersonating a legitimate entity by changing their IP (Internet Protocol) address to make the receiving computer system believe the data is coming from a trusted source. When data is transferred over the internet, it gets broken up into packets, which are exchanged on their own before being reassembled upon arrival.  Each and every packet comes with various IP information, including the IP address of the sender and receiver.

When hackers can change their IP address to appear as a trusted entity on a company’s network, it allows them to bypass numerous security measures, such as authentication that is based on IP addresses. These attacks are used to obtain sensitive data, such as credit card information or social security numbers, or to take over devices to flood or completely shut down websites and servers. When these attacks are successful, they leave no trace on the network that anyone has tampered with data or taken control of devices, and fake IP addresses conceal the identity of the attacker.

Back in 2018, GitHub suffered a flooding IP spoofing attack that spiked their traffic 50 times higher than normal, according to TechCrunch. This proved to be too much for GitHub’s servers, and the site was shutdown for around 10 minutes.

Why Has There Been an Increase in IP Spoofing Attacks Lately?

With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses shifted to an online or hybrid model. Computers, and the internet, became imperative to everyday life more than ever before. With an increased online presence by more companies, as well as an increased dependence on the internet for various business tasks, many hackers saw the opportunity to capitalize on potential vulnerabilities that came about as employees struggled with the transition from working in the office to working at home.

Many organizations employ cybersecurity measures in physical offices, but a sudden shift to employees working at home on their own networks with fewer in-person security measures, ultimately led to an increase in all types of cybersecurity attacks. Some employees, annoyed by remote security measures, removed or disabled them completely. Cyber attacks are also highly profitable for those who conduct them, and increased economic pressure due to the pandemic led many to take drastic measures to earn money.

How Can My Organization Prevent IP Spoofing?

Although there are many things to worry about in the world of cyber security, there are also many ways to keep yourself and your organization safe from attacks like these. The main method is by educating staff at all levels of the company about what phishing is, how you can spot it, and what to do if you suspect you have become the victim of a phishing attack.

It’s hard for non-tech employees to keep their eyes out for spoofed IP address phishing attacks in particular, since they are conducted in the background, but they should receive training about the importance of only logging onto secured networks and avoiding websites without the HTTPS padlock in their URL. Many employees’ eyes glaze over at the first mention of cybersecurity, which is why it’s important to make these trainings and discussions as engaging and personal as possible.

Many prominent companies have also found security success by using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs encrypt your Internet connection, which ultimately keeps private data that is sent and received on that connection safe. Having a VPN should be one of the first steps you take if your company doesn’t already use one, especially if you employees sometimes work from home or use public, unsecured Wi-Fi. Not all VPNs are built equally, so carefully research your options and choose a VPN provider that doesn’t cut corners and truly prioritizes your company’s security.

How Can My Organization Recover From an IP Phishing Attack?

If your organization has been the victim of an IP phishing attack, you know how jarring it is to discover that your network has been infiltrated by a hacker. Recovery from an IP spoofing attack is much like recovering from any kind of phishing attack. If you or one of your employees notice an attack, the first step to take is disconnecting from the network as soon as possible. This can prevent the spread of the attack and give you a chance to perform data backups if they aren’t done automatically in the cloud.

Next, everyone should change their login credentials and avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Having all different passwords makes credential collecting much more difficult for hackers. At this stage, you should have your cybersecurity team scan your system for viruses or malware, or reach out to a professional cybersecurity agency that can help you with the process.

Finally, run an audit and see where the vulnerabilities were that allowed a hacker to gain access to your network or data. Once you know how the attacker got in, you can change your cybersecurity policies and procedures to prevent attacks like this from happening ever again.

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