Phishing is a common attack vector used by today’s threat operators against enterprises of all sizes. From small to medium businesses to multinational corporations, targets selected vary greatly, leaving no company free from threat.

While some phishing messages simply waste time, others can be far more dangerous. When expertly designed, they have the capacity to con recipients into parting with sensitive information about a company or themselves or to fool them into revealing important credentials that allow access to private accounts. In the worst-case scenario, phishing attacks deploy harmful software onto company devices, causing a wide range of negative impacts.

Malicious payloads can steal or encrypt a company’s key data files or spy on staff processes, logging online activity before reporting it to cybercriminals. They can even allow attackers to assume control of company devices and networks, locking executives and even admins out of all areas they were previously granted access to.

Read on as we examine some signs of phishing you and your workforce can look out for to increase your awareness of these insidious attacks.

Emails originating from public domains

Always check the sender of a suspicious message – no authentic organisation will contact your company by using public email domains to send communications. If your message purports to be from the World Health Organisation, but the person contacting you is using a Gmail account, this is likely a phishing attack. Never just use the subject line in your inbox to identify emails – examine the address and domain name before any interaction instead.

Additionally, make sure that the domain name is spelt correctly. A common phishing tactic is to use spellings that are similar to authentic emails addresses and domains, in the hope that they slip past unguarded recipients.

Poorly penned content

Phishing campaigns are often crafted in countries where English isn’t the first language. While a spellcheck function on the software they use can help them avoid obvious mistakes, it can’t always fix grammar issues. With this in mind, instead of looking for misspelt words, check the grammar of messages instead, as this can be a strong indication a phishing operation is at work.

Urgent action required!

Phishing messages will often demand that their targets take immediate action. They will try to create urgency and a sense of panic to fool recipients into following an undesirable course of action without thinking clearly of the potential risks involved. This can easily result in clicking on a link to resolve an unpaid fine or downloading an important attachment from someone pretending to be from their accounts department. If you receive an urgent request, validate if it is authentic before responding.

Specialists in cybersecurity

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