Defending Salesforce from Phishing Attacks

Millions of users access Salesforce daily to manage company data and information. Unfortunately, this popularity comes with the cost of making the platform an attractive target for malicious actors, including cyber criminals who use phishing attacks to acquire sensitive data.

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack that is growing in popularity. It involves social engineering techniques to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and personal data. Phishing attack vectors include deceptive emails, text messages, or websites designed to look like legitimate or trusted sources.

The damage resulting from phishing attacks can be severe, leading to financial losses, identity theft, and reputational damage for the company affected. Alongside the implementation of specialised cyber security software such as WithSecureTM Cloud Protection for Salesforce, training staff to be vigilant and aware of how these attacks can happen is a critical step to preventing the damage phishing causes.

The Dangers of Salesforce Phishing Attacks

Salesforce is one of the world’s most popular Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and is used by clients to store valuable data such as contact information, financial data or contracts. A breach of a Salesforce account through phishing could be even more catastrophic than a breach of corporate email because of the breadth of sensitive data that could potentially be exposed, leading to severe consequences such as financial losses, reputational damage, and loss of customer trust.

Since Salesforce is a cloud-based system accessible from anywhere worldwide, a successful phishing attack has the potential to quickly spread through an organisation and compromise data across international borders. Additionally, given its integration with other business systems, a phishing attack on Salesforce could extend beyond the platform itself.

In contrast to a breach of corporate email, a successful phishing attack on Salesforce could have long-term consequences. Once attackers have access to a Salesforce account, they can potentially continue to access it and exploit the sensitive data over an extended period.

Generally speaking, the following two aspects of Salesforce are the main weak spots when it comes to phishing attacks:

User credentials

Phishing attacks often steal user credentials, which can then be used to access Salesforce. Once attackers acquire user credentials, they potentially have access to all the data on the company’s Salesforce cloud.

Third-party integrations

Third-party integrations with Salesforce can potentially introduce additional security vulnerabilities. Attackers can use phishing attacks to compromise third-party systems and gain access to Salesforce through those integrations. Due to a lack of training or cyber security literacy, human error is the most common cause of successful phishing attacks. All it takes is one careless click to cause a serious data breach. As such, employees must be fully trained to identify phishing techniques and implement security measures to mitigate the risks and prevent these cybersecurity threats.

How to Avoid Salesforce Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks, while they can lead to severe catastrophes, are one of the most preventable cybersecurity threats. From implementing secure email filtering services to increasing employee cybersecurity know-how, there are several methods to avoid phishing threats.

Implement multi-factor authentication from day one (MFA)

Salesforce provides several MFA options, such as authenticator apps, SMS codes, and hardware security keys. Enabling them can help prevent unauthorised access to your accounts, even if an attacker has your login credentials.

Conduct cyber security education and training

One of the most effective ways to avoid phishing attacks is to educate and train employees on recognising and avoiding phishing emails. This training should cover topics such as identifying suspicious emails, avoiding clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources, and reporting suspicious activity.

Monitor login activities

Regularly check login activities and set real-time alerts for any suspicious login activities. Since numerous logins will happen across the organisation every hour, identifying where a breach originated can be difficult. By looking for suspicious login activities, such as non-business hour logins, excessive login re-attempts, and logins from unknown IPs, you’d spot an attack before it spreads.

Audit employee accounts

Employees who’ve been victims of phishing attacks in the past should be actively monitored and their logins routinely audited. Routine monitoring will prevent any similar future attacks from happening and diagnose potential security threats at the onset.

Use spam filters

Most email clients offer built-in spam filters that can help detect and block phishing emails. Ensure your spam filters are turned on and properly configured to help reduce the risk of falling victim to phishing attacks.

Enhance Salesforce security with a cybersecurity software

Despite all the preparations and risk mitigation measures, it’s still possible for a random phishing attack to breach through existing security defences. An unsuspecting user may have a lapse of judgment and click a malicious link that introduces malware. Using dedicated cybersecurity software will prevent any malware from wreaking havoc on your Salesforce data through early detection and real-time protection.  

Achieve Salesforce Data Security through WithSecure™

Salesforce is a robust and essential information management system that fuels how most organisations operate their day-to-day business. However, it’s not immune to cyberattacks, especially ones caused by human error such as phishing. While user education is the best defence, implementing cloud security software to detect and respond to attacks will further enhance your organisation’s Salesforce data security.

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