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4 Obvious Signs of a Phishing Attack

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The online world is full of threats that are waiting for you to let your system’s guard down. Thanks to powerful security measures, you might not be worried enough to consider that hackers have found ways to get around your defenses. If you’ve grown complacent, you might be in for a rude awakening when a hacker’s phishing scam works on you.

When a hacker attempts a phishing scam, they’re trying to lure their victims into a trap, be it handing over personal information directly to them, or getting them to click a link which leads to a website infected with malware. In fact, spear phishing and other extremely personalized methods of hacking are growing more common, and your team should know how to identify and deal with them. Here are four common signs you might be dealing with a phishing scam.

  • Investigate who’s sending you the message. Instead of trusting any old email you receive, you should always exercise caution; especially when dealing with personal or corporate information. Hover over the sender’s name to see where the email is coming from. For instance, they might try to pose as your bank, but the domain the email came from is something entirely different. It’s always a good idea to cross-reference this information with the credentials and names you have on file.
  • The email demands immediate action or displays a sense of urgency. Many phishing attacks try to entice users into clicking on links by offering some sort of incentive, often urging them to take immediate action before the opportunity is gone forever. Besides the fact that most of these offers are obviously fake, you should get in the mindset that if it’s too good to be true, it probably is; and if something is really, truly urgent, nobody will use an email to contact you.
  • Hover over URLs to ensure they are legitimate. Hackers will often include fake URLs that go to phony websites. If you have any sort of suspicion (and you should), you can check to see where URLs go before you click them by hovering over the link body. If they direct you anywhere other than a secure website (look for https:// in the link), you should pass on clicking it. Instead, try to locate it on the official site in a new browser window.
  • Supposedly professional messages are nothing but plain text. Most legitimate organizations tend to use a combination of images and text, usually formatted in HTML, to communicate with their clients or users. If a message is nothing but plain text and lacks official logos, it’s safe to say that you shouldn’t trust anything the message says. Also, check to see if the entire message is just one big image that links you to somewhere nasty upon clicking it. Don’t click anything that looks sketchy.

As always, the best way to prevent phishing attacks is to prevent them from reaching your inbox in the first place. A comprehensive spam blocking solution is the trick to minimizing the chances of encountering phishing attacks. To secure your network properly, a Unified Threat Management solution (UTM) for any business. The UTM comes equipped with the powerful spam solution you need, along with several other great security features. Give us a call at (416) 256-9928 to learn more.

Date: June 26th, 2015, Author: Jorge Rojas

Toronto IT Support  /  Tektonic Blog  /  Security  /  4 Obvious Signs of a Phishing Attack