In today’s time, every internet user must know how to spot a phishing email. If you are working in an organization or are running one, consider yourself a target for cybercrimes. Hackers have advanced techniques and technologies to scam you and hack into your organization’s network.
People in top management positions and other important roles in society are prime targets for these hackers. Anyone who handles sensitive information and confidential data must take preventive measures. There are a few ways of protecting your identity and your information. For example, you can use a VPN and set up a proxy server to mask your IP address.
But what if the hacker can track your information and send you phishing emails? And most importantly, if you do not use a VPN or other ways to protect your network, how do you know when hackers are targetting you. Thus, this blog post will go over the few things that one must know to identify a phishing email.
Spot A Phishing Email: Identifying Fake Email Addresses
To identify fake email addresses, end-users need to pay attention to what comes after the @ sign. A legitimate email domain will match the Url for the organization’s website. Moreover, hackers cannot replicate an organization’s domain without going through a registration process.
However, they can create a similar domain and add whatever they want to the sender’s name. Many users also say that it is possible to replicate an organization’s domain through spoofing. And then send whatever they want.
Besides, if you receive an email that makes you second guess, contact the sender immediately and verify. Do not trust anyone on the web blindly.
Spot A Phishing Email: Identifying Fake URLs
As we rely more on backlinking, cookies, and search engines to reach websites, as end-users, we tend to pay less attention to the Url. However, for safe browsing, make sure your connection is secure, that you are using a secure browser and the Url address makes sense.
Pro Tip: To identify fake domains, create and spoof a few email addresses. Do this on free email clients and your own email domain. If your customers email you from Gmail accounts, you can use that free service to make a few.
Create a few fake but harmless websites and send them to your own employees. Furthermore, tag those emails to a tool that tracks open rates and clicks.
Moreover, check the activity to see who accessed the link. Anyone who clicks on it is the one you can train to not click a link from a suspicious email.
What Does A Phishing Email Look Like?
Not only do we have to pay attention to domains and email addresses, but we also have to scan the body of the email. Furthermore, check if there is anything strange and suspicious. The objective of a phishing attempt can either be ransomware or malware, or possibly both.
To reduce security risks, allow your end-users to think critically about their questions and take action.
Also Read: Do I Need A VPN At Home?
Characteristics Of Phishing Emails
- Urgency: When you feel that an email is pursuing you to take action immediately, know that it’s a Red flag. For instance, if an email tells you to login immediately, click here now or action required, know it’s bogus.
- Transfer Of Payment: Any email asking for a wire transfer or checking upon payment receipt, or asking for verification, it’s a phishing email.
- Edited file names
- Uncharacteristic language, spelling, and grammar error
- Multiple links in an email
- Asking to forward something
As an IT professional of your organization, here’s an exercise you can do to help other employees be aware and safe. Draft emails containing one or all of the features I discussed above. Moreover, send them out from your domain and a fake domain. You have to create a dummy account for this training.
Furthermore, check for the number of responses on both your original account and your dummy account. Mix up various of these factors and check if anyone falls for it. If not, then congratulations; all your employees are aware and have a critical mind. However, if not, spend some hours on training them as I helped you here.