Spot a Phishing Email with These 4 Questions

March 8, 2023
Unite IT

What is a Phishing Attack

A phishing attack is a type of cyber-attack where a malicious actor sends a fraudulent message or website that appears to be from a trustworthy source, such as a bank, social media platform, or government agency, with the intention of tricking the recipient into revealing sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card details, or personal data. Phishing attacks can be carried out through various methods, including email, text message, phone calls, or social engineering tactics, and can be highly effective in stealing personal or corporate information or distributing malware.

Consequences of a Phishing Attack

A successful phishing attack can have serious consequences for both individuals and businesses. If a user falls for a phishing scam and divulges their personal or corporate information, it can lead to identity theft, financial fraud, or even data breaches. In addition, phishing attacks can be used to distribute malware or ransomware, which can compromise an entire system or network. The business impact of a phishing attack can include financial loss, damage to the organization's reputation, legal liability, and loss of customer trust. In addition, it can lead to costly investigations, security upgrades, and employee training programs to prevent future attacks.

Educating Your Employees to Prevent Attacks

Employee education is crucial to prevent phishing attacks and protect company assets. One effective way to educate employees is to provide training programs that teach them how to recognize and avoid phishing scams. This can include examples of common phishing tactics and how to identify suspicious emails, such as checking the sender's email address, examining the message for errors or inconsistencies, and avoiding clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. In addition, it's important to encourage employees to report suspicious activity to their IT department or security team. By making employee education a priority, businesses can reduce the risk of successful phishing attacks and protect their sensitive information and assets.

Four Questions to Ask Yourself:

  1. Is it Urgent?

Phishing emails are typically urgent asking you to:

  • Do this immediately, Respond within the next few hours, Don’t wait any longer

This type of language should be a red flag

  1. Is it Grammatically Correct?

Phishing attacks may come from another country.

If this is the case, the phrases may look weird and the grammar might not be 100% correct.

  1. Is the Sender’s Email Address Correct?

If it’s a Spear Phishing Attack – which is more targeted – the email might come from a source you know. Or it could come from a company you do business with.

Because of this, it’s important to pay attention to the email address – to review it carefully and ensure its accuracy.

  • Is the name spelled wrong?
  • Does it come from a weird domain?
  • Are there numbers that aren’t normally there?
  1. Is the Call to Action Normal?

Most phishing emails will ask you to do something – download an attachment, give up login information, provide personal or financial information.

If this is the case, ask yourself if it’s normal. Is it traditionally the way this type of thing is handled?

If not, you should think twice about carrying out any call to action.

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