Email is an efficient means of communication, but can also pose a risk to your business. Phishing is the most common way hackers gain personal data, and it can be easily used to install malware on your network. To avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, every employee must be trained to spot the signs of a suspicious email.
The Email Address
When you receive an email, you expect it to be legitimate – but it may not be. Phishing scams often use forged emails that look legitimate, pretending to be known third party businesses, personal contacts, or even someone within your own organization. It’s essential that you look for signs that the email may not be from who you think, such as:
- An email address that doesn’t match the organization it claims to be from. Look for an unusual domain name, excess number or punctuation, or a mismatch between the email address and sender’s name.
- A lack of a person’s address, or misuse of your name. Known contacts tend to use your name in the opening.
- Unsolicited emails from third-parties.
If an email has a link embedded within, you must be extremely cautious about clicking on it. These links can lead to malicious websites that look legitimate, fooling you into entering personal information. They may also cause malware to be downloaded, which can compromise your entire network.
It’s best to not click on these links whenever possible, but rather rely on trusted websites and bookmarks to navigate on the Internet. If you must click on it, first hover over it to understand where the link is taking you. It can also help to type the address in yourself, rather than clicking it, or search for it on Google.
Phishing scams rely on human nature, and urgency causes people to be less careful. If you receive an urgent email, you should regard it as suspicious and verify the request some other way before providing any information over email. If the company has a policy regarding verification, this will help increase security, potentially saving the company millions. You can also restrict urgent requests so they cannot be sent over email.
Phishing scams are easy for hackers to pull off and surprisingly effective. It’s important that every employee understand the risks that could be within their emails, so they proceed with caution to protect your company. Contact us today to learn more.