The world has quickly adapted to the digital age, and so have criminals. Thieves have always been around, but now stealing or holding information for ransom is a rising threat. Cybercriminals use emails as a tool to lure the recipient into their trap in order to steal sensitive information or deploy malware.
Phishing emails can be targeted and difficult to spot, and are one of the most common ways for cyberattackers to first approach a target. It's paramount that an organization implements cybersecurity measures to counter phishing attempts and combine secure email services with great training in order to guard sensitive data.
What Are Phishing Emails?
Phishing emails are scams or ploys to get the recipient to perform a desired task. Socially engineered phishing emails are the most dangerous, and are often disguised as being from a familiar sender, such as a coworker or even a company's CEO.
These scams usually include an attachment, link, or a request for login credentials and may add a form of intimidation to make the recipient feel obligated to act. Hackers can easily gain basic information on their target from social platforms, professional networking sites, and other online platforms to identify vulnerability in their target.
5 Tips for Spotting Phishing Emails
Socially engineered phishing emails can be personalized and individually crafted. Due to their sophistication, these emails can be undetected by advanced email filters.
Many phishing emails have similarities and tend to play on one's emotions, whether they attempt to instill fear, sympathy, or curiosity. Here are five red flags to look for that may indicate an email is a phishing scam:
1. Emails Demanding Urgent Attention
One common way of demanding the attention of the hacker's target is by requesting immediate action and threatening consequences if not completed.
2. Emails Formatted with Unusual Greetings or Awkward Phrases
Emails that begin with generic greetings such as "Dear valued customer," or contain unusual phrases, spelling mistakes, or poor grammar should be considered as a red flag.
3. Emails with Suspicious Links or Attachments
A common form of cyberattack through phishing emails is to attach a link to deploy vicious malware. If the email seems suspicious, never open the link or attachment.
4. Emails Requesting Personal Information, Payments, or Login Credentials
Phishing emails can look legitimate, but if an email is received from an unknown domain demanding sensitive information, steer clear. Most websites won't request that you confirm personal identifying information or login information via email. Instead, go directly to the website on your browser and log in there.
5. Emails Promising Opportunities and Rewards
Employees may be enticed with high-paying salary opportunities or emails promising rewards. If the recipient didn't initiate the conversation, it is most likely too good to be true.
Secure Email Practices Can Protect Against Phishing Emails
Phishing emails can be highly sophisticated, so it's crucial to train employees on how to spot these cyber scams. When suspected scams are spotted, they can be routed to an enterprise's IT team for confirmation.
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Original Source: Mimecast: 5 Tips to Catch a Phishing Email Before Clicking