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Did you know that just a short two years ago 76% of businesses reported being the victim of a phishing attack?
As a result of this, the average cost to a mid-sized company after a phishing attack is estimated at $1.6 million.
There is so much information being shared back and forth online, that it’s not always easy to notice phishing emails when they arrive in your inbox. So how do you identify phishing emails for the dangerous scam that they are?
What Are Phishing Emails?
Phishing can be best described as ‘fishing’. Yes, you read that right.
A phishing scam is one where cybercriminals are fishing for confidential and valuable information. The idea is that a phishing email will replicate a service provider’s identity, and use this to get you to insert your login information or credentials in order to gain access to your information.
Nowadays, a phishing email will look legitimate to a scanning eye. They’ll have proper grammar and seem authentic on the surface. The email will always ask for you to perform an action, this may to be click on a link, confirm user credentials, or even open an attachment.
1. Bad Grammar And Terrible Spelling
Generally speaking, phishing emails are written and sent out to a large, broad audience. If you read through emails carefully, you’ll be able to spot the use of bad grammar and very apparent spelling errors.
Usually, a large brand or business will have professional copywriters and marketers screening emails that are sent out to their users, so it’s highly unlikely that they will have these errors.
2. URLs And Email Addresses Look Dodgy
At a quick glance, an email address may seem genuine. For example, you may regularly receive emails from firstname.lastname@example.org, which you’re accustomed to receiving. A phishing email trying to replicate this address may use email@example.com, so if you’re not looking properly, you may miss this.
Phishing emails can also contain dodgy links made in the same way, there may be similarities, but ensure that the link is completely legitimate before clicking on anything.
You need to ensure that you understand the difference between genuine addresses and fake ones.
3. Inciting Panic And Asking For Personal Information
Usually, a phishing attack will have two very tell-tale signs:
- The phishing email will generally stress the urgency of a situation by issuing threats against the continuation of your service and attempt to cause you to panic by saying you have a deadline for action
- A phishing email will almost always ask you to validate your user credentials or sensitive login information in order to perform said action
The combination of the two is dangerous, you’ll seem panicked into taking action without carefully analyzing the email you’ve received.
Dealing With Phishing Emails
Being able to identify phishing emails is crucial to the stand against cyber criminals, malware attacks, and phishing attacks.
Paramount to your success in thwarting a phishing attack is ensuring that your workforce is educated and prepared to deal with a phishing attempt.
Cybercrime is on the rise, so stay attentive and keep up to date with the types of attacks you should be prepared for.