Phishing is a term used for gathering sensitive information, mostly via email, to be sold on the Dark Web. Phishing can also include links and attachments that contain malware or Ransomware which reeks havoc on your computer and network, compromising your data. Fear not, for we are going to provide you with five indicators that will assist in identifying phishing emails.
Red Flag 1: Intimidation or Rushing
If you receive an email unexpectedly that is requesting information, money, or other actions in an unusually short period of time, then you should always be suspicious. By rushing or intimidating you, hackers are hoping that you won’t take time to scrutinize the email for flaws. Be alert, aware and thorough as you look for phishing emails.
Red Flag 2: Small Mistakes
Emails with poor grammar or illogical sentence sequence should be evaluated. Vague headers or generic greetings, such as “Hello Customer,” could be an indicator. Additionally, the “From” email address could be very similar to the contact. Hackers use letters that appear similar, such as an ‘rn’ instead of an ‘m,’ to better fool you and have the opportunity to gain valuable information. Pay attention to sender information and the overall look and feel of emails you receive.
Red Flag 3: Requests for Private Information
If someone requests private or sensitive information, this should raise a red flag. These requests can be elaborate and seem valid, but you have to evaluate if the requested information should be sent at all. A common situation we encounter is a CEO asks for information that he should already possess or know. Phishing emails requesting sensitive data will probably be coupled with other red flags.
Red Flag 4: Requests to Open an Email Attachment
If you receive an email attachment that you weren’t expecting, has an odd file name, or appears to be coming from someone who doesn’t normally send you files, begin searching for other red flags to determine if the email is malicious. Do not open or download the attachment until you have verified with your IT or security resource that the email is not malicious. Opening or downloading email attachments allows hackers to run malicious software on your computer.
Red Flag 5: Spoofed URLs and Hyperlinks
Hackers are skilled at making email addresses and hyperlinks look like the real thing. If you have any suspicions, hover over the link – without clicking – to see if the web address matches what is listed. For spoofed email addresses, click to reply and check the email address in the “To” field to determine if it is correct.
By being vigilant and aware, you can help prevent irreversible damage to your business from malware, Ransomware and viruses delivered through Phishing emails. Nobody wants to catch a shark.
If you need help implementing more security elements to help protect you against malicious attacks, or you’re interested in participating in our security awareness training, contact our team.