How to Spot Phishing Emails

As a part of any firm’s cybersecurity plan, defenses against phishing attacks are a necessity. Phishing is a common tactic used by cybercriminals in attempts to steal the private information of businesses or individuals. Over the years, phishing scams have not only increased in numbers but in complexity as well. The difference between upholding your firm’s network security and a catastrophic breach may be in your entire team’s ability to spot phishing scams before they can become a problem.

How to Spot Phishing Emails and Scams

Any firm can be targeted by phishing attacks. However, defense from these attacks can be effective if knowledge of phishing is prevalent throughout your workforce. Employee education has become a prominent method to defend from phishing and other acts of cyber crime. But what exactly are the signs of a phishing email?

Phishing typically appears in the form of an email designed to scam or steal information from the recipient. Utilizing techniques that can make an email appear genuine, such as masked or otherwise faked sender information, or templates that appear to be from a legitimate sender. These phishing emails cause unknowing victims to give up private, and oftentimes important information. Such as passwords, account numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII).

Phishing emails commonly include fraudulent links that may lead to malware (such as spyware) being installed on a company or private device. While to some it may seem like a given not to click on unknown links, it is important to consider the level of social engineering that goes into a successful phishing scam.

Socially engineered phishing emails are typically meant to appear as genuine emails. At the very least, a phishing email will attempt to seem relevant to its target. This often causes those who do not understand the signs of a fraudulent email to comply with what is requested of them. The problems that can arise from trusting a phishing email are numerous and may lead to the theft of private information or network access for a given firm.

Be on the lookout for:

  • Emails with bad grammar
  • Unrecognizable email origins
  • Suspicious attachments
  • Emails requesting a form of payment
  • Emails inviting you to urgently log into your account

It is also important for employees to report to in-house IT and security teams whenever a phishing email has been received in order to prevent future potential breaches. Even if an email appears legitimate, it is often advisable to navigate directly to the apparent sender’s website, rather than clicking on any links in the email, to take any suggested action. This will ensure that you visit and engage with the intended business, rather than a spoofed landing page designed to steal your vital information.

Drawbridge understands the importance of employee education, as well as the need for future-proofed cybersecurity plans. While phishing will continue to increase in frequency, with the right tactics, phishing scams can be dealt with effectively.