How instant messaging platforms became a venue for phishing attacks

by | Jun 22, 2022 | Technology

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Phishing is one of the most common forms of cyberattacks because the methods are simple and highly effective. As cybercriminals evolve, they look for other platforms to exploit where people may not yet have their guards raised. 

In recent years collaboration platforms have been increasingly targeted in the form of instant messaging. It’s no surprise; since the onset of the pandemic, the use of messaging tools, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, has skyrocketed. In 2021, nearly 80% of workers reported using collaboration tools for work, up 44% since the pandemic. Coupled with the general migration to the cloud, instant messaging software has since become the norm for the hybrid office, making them an attractive avenue for threat actors and phishing campaigns. 

Here is what users of tools such as Slack or Microsoft Teams need to know about phishing attacks on instant messaging platforms and steps to take to prevent a successful invasion. 

A weak security front and a false sense of trust

Despite its widespread use, the security of most instant messaging platforms is lacking. Organizations may have some form of basic security in place, but that protection is generally a generic layer of security supported by email providers. Even if some companies have a few extra layers of security, many have yet to deploy robust cybersecurity solutions to protect their messaging platforms. 

To make matters worse, most companies now rely on these instant messaging platforms for internal communications, instilling false confidence in trust and security in many end-users. Employees assume that since the communications are internal and controlled, they are less likely to be exposed to potential threats. Moreover, these platforms are often used for less formal and urgent messages. The combination of a false sense of trust and the desire to make the hybrid workplace successful can lead to people letting their guard down — creating the perfect opportunity for ha …

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