Phishing is one of the most common and popular cyber crimes. No matter how much we secure our systems and give cybersecurity awareness to the employees, they still fall victim to phishing.
According to Mimecast’s Email Security 2021, 58% of organizations experienced an increase in phishing scams in the last twelve months. Meanwhile, Action Fraud receives more than 4,00,000 reports of phishing scams every year.
According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, more than two-thirds of data breaches included social engineering attacks like Phishing.
Therefore, it is essential to identify clues of phishing emails and prevent cyber attacks. Let’s dig deeper.
1. The email is sent from the public email domain.
No established organization will send emails from addresses that end with gmail.com. Most organizations will have their company accounts and email domains except for some small operations.
If the domain name matches the sender of an email, the email message is valid. One of the best and easiest ways to check an organization’s domain address is to type the email address into the Google search engine.
However, most people will not look at email addresses from where they have received messages. You can see the sender when you open the email and jump straight into the email content.
When cyber attackers create fraud email addresses, they have the option of displaying their names which don’t have to match with their email addresses. This is why they can send emails and display their name as Google.
2. The email domain name is misspelled.
This is a big clue that is a strong indication of a phishing scam. The issue is that anyone can purchase a new domain from the registrar. And because every domain should be different and unique, there are numerous ways to create email addresses that are not identical to the one that is already spammed.
Therefore, there are numerous ways cyber attackers can win even if you have identified their first attempt.
In simple words, indecisiveness to spot phishing scams gives an indication to spammers about the strengths and weaknesses of your organization which further can lead to cyber-attacks.
3. The email is written poorly.
Anyone can tell that the email is spam if it contains poor grammar and spelling. Many people believe that in this strategy the cybercriminals attack only naive people. However, the reality is if someone ignores the first clues of a phishing email, cybercriminals are more likely to target them because by then cybercriminals are already aware of the user behavior, and users by then have fallen victim to scammer’s endgame.
In phishing, there is no need for cyber attackers to evaluate email inboxes and send personalized messages. They simply send thousands of emails randomly to unsuspected people. As a result, there is no requirement of filtering potential respondents. This minimizes the number of potential victims and helps those who did not fall victim to this type of attack.
But the question is why phishing emails are poorly written. The answer to this question is most scammers are not very good at writing. In most cases, they will be from non-English countries and they will have limited opportunities to learn the language.
As a result, while crafting emails, they will make use of a translation machine that may give them the right words but not the right context.
4. Emails include suspicious links or attachments.
Phishing emails either come with an infected attachment that you are asked to download or link to some spoofed website.
The ultimate goal of these emails is to steal sensitive information like credit card details, login credentials, phone numbers, bank account numbers, and so on.
You should never open the attachment unless you are confident that the email is from a valid organization or person.
Similarly, you can spot suspicious links if the destination address does not match the email context. However, most scam emails conceal the destination address in a button, therefore, it is not immediately obvious where the link goes. To prevent yourself from falling into these cyberattacks, ensure you always check destination links before opening them.
5. There is always some sense of urgency.
Phishing emails will always have some sense of urgency in their messages because spammers know that we all procrastinate. We receive an email giving some important news or deals and then we decide that we will come to it later.
However, the reality is that the longer we think about something, the more likely we are to notice things that are not right. This is why many phishing emails will request you to act now otherwise it will be very late.
Organizations that understand the importance of cybersecurity will always accept the fact that is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
To avoid phishing scams in your organization, ensure you provide regular cybersecurity awareness training to your employees. It is only by strengthening policies on avoiding scams so that your workforce can develop habits and knowledge of detecting malicious emails.
With our Cybersecurity Training Program, you will learn comprehensive approaches to safeguard your network including securing data, information, preventing malicious scams like phishing, breaching, and so on. Our course will explain everything you need to know about cyberattacks and how to prevent them. You will gain skills by working on real-time projects that will help your organization stay ahead of the competition. You can register for our free course here.