We have all been there! You receive an email from a reputable company, acquaintance, or friend containing a link to a phishing website or some suspicious attachments. It could also be an email from an internet company like COX! asking you to click on the said link for Cox customer support access to bill pay online. If you end up sharing the information or clicking a link without confirming anything from the sender, you have landed in hot water, my friend!
Phishing emails usually come from trusted contacts but these email addresses look or sound bizarre. Hackers are getting smarter in their craft. If you click on the link, you will become the victim.
The good news is with some vigilance, you can catch scams like these earlier and stay away:
How to Spot Phishing Messages?
There are certain signs to spot a phishing message. Your best defense against phishing attacks is awareness. Watch out for these signs:
A Threat or Request to Take Immediate Action
Be wary of the emails that ask you to open an attachment or click a link immediately. Examples of urgency include “Claim your reward now” or click here to avoid penalties. Don’t complete any action. verify it first.
Did you receive an email from a first-time sender asking you to perform an action? If this person is outside your organization, you have to be extra careful. Whenever there is an email from somebody new, generally, email providers ask you to be cautious before proceeding. Here again, you must verify
Look For Typos and Bad Grammar
If the sender is a legitimate company/business, the email’s content will be professionally written with very minimal chances of typos. If the email you have received is from an unusual sender and it’s full of grammatical errors, it is clearly a phishing email. Read More
Suspicious Links or Attachments
Rest your mouse on the check the real web address of the link attached in the email. It shouldn’t be a string of numbers. If the link looks suspicious, it probably is. Similar is the case with attachments. Don’t open or download attachments from a suspicious sender. You never know if it contains malware.
Mismatched Email Domains
Sometimes, the sender impersonates to be coming from a reputable company but their email domain is suspicious. For instance, instead of Microsoft.com, it would say microsft.com. This is a huge red flag. All such emails deserve to land in your spam folder.
Tips to Protect Your Inbox from Phishing Attacks
Check out these tips to keep away from phishing attacks and manage your inbox:
Use Email Filtering
Email gateways can help you filter out malicious and suspicious emails. Phishing emails won’t even land in your inbox! They are 99.99 percent effective in blocking spam emails and removing suspicious links and attachments from the email.
Proofpoint is a highly useful email getaway. It notifies you when your account is compromised. This tool is best for organizations that want to prevent business emails from compromising and keeping phishing emails at bay.
Verify a Site Before Visiting
Ideally, you shouldn’t be clicking on suspicious links attached to an email. But if you do end up clicking, make sure the website’s URL begins with https. There must be a lock icon on the address bar.
Install a Firewall
Firewalls protect your computer from external threats by acting as a barrier between it and the attacker. Desktop and network firewalls together can improve your security and at the same time reduce the possibility of a scammer hacking into your network and attempting to send phishing emails.
Use Anti-Phishing Add-Ons
Most modern browsers allow you to install add-ons that detect harmful websites and warn you about common phishing sites. The best part is such add-ons are usually free, so there’s no excuse to not install them on your personal and company computer!
Don’t Ignore the Browser Updates
Just like Windows, our browsers receive regular updates too. It’s easy to become frustrated when you receive a lot of update messages. It is tempting to ignore them as well but this is dangerous!
Patches and updates are released for a purpose. They normally are an updated version of the product you are using. If you don’t upgrade your browser, you may be vulnerable to phishing attacks since you are using an older version that wasn’t as secure as the latest one. Hence, the lesson is to install updates as soon as they are available.
Be Mindful of The Pop-Ups
The random pop-ups that appear when browsing a website are filled with phishing links and malicious software.
Most browsers now have free ad-blockers that will automatically prevent such harmful pop-ups. However, it’s best to install an ad-blocker to get rid of these unwanted pop-ups. Also, be careful when you are about to “Close” button on the popup. You may end up downloading something malicious by clicking on the wrong button.