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How to Catch a Phish

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Published On: April 6, 2019 by Blake Schwank

Phishing attacks represent a significant threat for businesses, as cybercriminals target front line employees who may not have sufficient awareness of these tactics. The FBI reports that phishing attempts designed to get tax information or money have increased 60 percent in 2018. The frequency of these attacks aren’t going down anytime soon, but you can prevent them from impacting your business by teaching employees how to catch a phish.

Phishing Email Red Flags

  • The email is sent at an unusual time of day, such as outside of normal business hours.
  • The email address is strange and not the domain that your company uses.
  • The email address does not match the name of the sender.
  • A simplistic email title or vague body are potential red flags.
  • The email uses a different signature than normal.
  • Any links included in the email lead to websites that have misspelled URLs and designs that attempt to emulate the legitimate site’s style.
  • Phishing attempts don’t necessarily have a link or attachment. The sender could ask for a task that could lead to the illegitimate use of company accounts. For example, the attacker may try to get an employee to buy gift cards on their company credit card. The cybercriminal resells the cards to gain access to the funds.
  • You receive a too good to be true offer.

What to Do in the Event of a Phishing Attempt

If you suspect that a phishing attempt occurred, reach out to the supposed sender via another communication channel to verify that the email is legitimate. Calling or asking in-person are two of your best options for this process.

Contact your company’s IT security team to let them know about the phishing attempts. The cyber criminals could be targeting any email address they could find at your organization, or they could be taking a targeted approach. The targeting may look for employees that have access to financial accounts or those likely to give them an opportunity to attack someone higher up in the company.

Phishing awareness training empowers employees with the knowledge they need to accurately identify phishing attempts and the proper way to react to them. Since your frontline employees spend the most time working on emails, it’s important to give them full awareness of the attacks they’ll encounter.

Phishing can create havoc in an organization, especially when they can leverage your financial accounts during their attacks. By understanding phishing and the way it looks, you can reduce the damage potential and risk of this type of attack.

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