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How to Avoid Email Phishing: The Importance of Email Security


How to Avoid Email Phishing and Why Email Security Matters

Scammers will try anything to dupe you into giving away personal and financial information. While the notorious Nigerian phishing scam is by now so well-known it has become an Internet meme, cyber-criminals are becoming savvier. Every day they get more subtle in their attack and the way they reach out to people through email phishing, to the point it can be quite hard to recognize whether an email is true or just a fake.

The effects of phishing can be devastating. For individuals, it can lead to financial loss, credit damage, or identity theft. For organizations, the consequences can include data breaches, financial loss, security threats, legal repercussions, and reputational damage.

Whatever the scam, Corporate Technologies wants to make sure that you and the rest of your organization are alert and ready to handle this threat successfully.

Toward that goal, we’ve compiled the top 5 tips to combat email phishing:

How to Avoid Email Phishing Attacks

Phishing scams are so widespread that you and your employees need security awareness training to avoid the risk of phishing and keep your eyes peeled against scammers.

Who sent it?

Look at the email address the message was sent from. Is anything misspelled or full of jumbled letters? If yes, don’t click the link to open it. Avoid phishing scams by observing inconsistencies in email addresses, account information, links, and domain names — suspicious phishing sites tell-tale signs that something is awry.

Check the links

Prevent phishing attacks by using link hovering to verify the final destination of any links. You can do this by simply hovering your mouse over the link and reading the URL (web address) at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.

Most scammers in the United States use unreliable servers with very long URLs. For example, if they are pretending to be from a bank, the link should include the name of the bank, but in most email phishing attempts this is not the case.

Don’t open attachments

Never open an attachment or click on a suspicious email or text message unless you’ve verified that they appear to come from a trusted source. You don’t want to install malware into your organization’s internal network. If you receive a mail in which you don’t recognize the sender, do not open it until you make sure it’s safe. If it’s possible, contact the company directly to verify the sender.

Is it really urgent?

Scammers often use a false sense of urgency to make you act in haste. Avoid phishing attacks by not responding to supposedly time-sensitive emails that ask you to act urgently.

Change your password

If you have already clicked on a malicious link or attachment, change your password immediately. You can then stop cybercriminals from gaining access to your social media accounts and personal information accounts such as access to your social security number or your bank account numbers.

Train

Train yourself and your team on identifying phishing emails with mock anti-phishing scenarios. With the help of Corporate Technologies, we can make very believable scenarios to show how easy it is to be fooled.

Types of Email Phishing

Most types of phishing are suspicious emails that aim at tricking individuals into revealing sensitive data, information on a bank account or other online accounts, and credit card details, or taking an action that compromises their security. It’s a form of social engineering, where attackers masquerade as a trustworthy entity that looks like a bank or an organization in electronic communication.

Here’s a breakdown of how phishing works, its goals, and its impact:

Deceptive Presentation

In a phishing attempt, cybercriminals send emails that appear to be from legitimate companies, organizations, their official website, or individuals. These emails often mimic the format, logo, and tone of real communications to seem authentic. They might claim to be from a bank, a company, a service provider, an employer, or even a friend.

Fear works

Phishing emails are often designed to steal your money. Toward that goal, they create a sense of urgency or fear. For example, they might warn that your account will be closed, you’ll be charged a fee, or you’re at risk of a security breach unless you act quickly. This urgency is intended to prompt a hasty response, reducing the time you might spend scrutinizing the email’s legitimacy. They rely on your panic to take action without checking the source or veracity of the email.

Malicious Links or Attachments

These emails often contain links that lead to fake websites designed to collect your sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, credit card information, or social security numbers.

Alternatively, they might include attachments that, when opened, install malware on your computer. This malware can spy on your activities, steal data, or lock your files until a ransom is paid.

Information Theft

The ultimate goal of phishing is usually to steal sensitive information. This could be login credentials, financial information, corporate data, or personal identification details. This information can be used for various purposes, including identity theft, unauthorized transactions, or further cyber-attacks.

Evolution of Phishing

Phishing has evolved over time and can take various forms, including:

Spear Phishing

This targets specific individuals or organizations with personalized messages. In a sense, this is the worst kind of phishing as it suggests you have been personally targeted. You should be extra vigilant and watch out for any further phishing attempts.

Whaling

A variation of spear phishing, whaling targets high-level executives or important individuals within an organization. These people are usually granted deeper access within their organization. If a cybercriminal can pierce through their account, they gain access to a wide range of sensitive information.

Clone Phishing

Clone phishing creates a nearly identical replica of a legitimate message that the recipient has previously received, but with malicious content. You have to be very observant to notice the differences and realize that it’s a clone.

Email Security Training

An organization can take specific measures to cultivate awareness of phishing signs in emails among its employees. The first step is the implementation of security awareness training to ensure employees have a keen eye for recognizing common phishing signs in emails. This way, they’ll be able to promptly report phishing attempts or suspicious emails.

Email security training is thus the best way to protect your business and move forward in the digital world. Through rigorous training, your employees will develop security awareness and keep your company safe.

Test Regularly

Here at Corporate Technologies, we use and offer a service that allows you to test and train your users to minimize the dangerous risks of social engineering, phishing, and ransomware attacks. This service provides thousands of phishing templates that you can send to your users to test their attentiveness.

Your organization will be provided with security awareness test reports that show each user’s clicking, replying, data entering, reporting, and attachment opening activity. This information is used to generate a phishing-prone percentage which informs you on their phishing detection and consciousness.

Our simulated phishing attacks provide practical experience to identify phishing emails. These simulations are as realistic as possible and cover various scenarios. Afterward, we provide feedback on the simulation’s results, highlighting what was missed or successfully identified.

Encourage Reporting

Create an easy and straightforward process for reporting suspected phishing attempts. Make sure that employees feel comfortable reporting potential threats without fear of retribution, even if they clicked on something they shouldn’t have.

Response Training for Protection

Teach your staff how to respond if someone suspects they’ve received a phishing email or has fallen for one. This includes immediately reporting the incident, not interacting with the email, and, if necessary, changing passwords or taking other security measures.

Stay Updated

The phishing attack methods employed by phishers evolve along with your software updates, so it’s crucial to get regular updates on new phishing techniques and trends. Consider newsletters, emails, brief meetings, or text messages to keep everyone informed. Our team at Corporate Technologies always stays one step ahead of cyber-criminals, which is how we can help every customer protect their organization.

Promote a Security Culture

Encourage a workplace culture that prioritizes cybersecurity. When security is a shared value and employees start to learn its importance, they are more likely to take it seriously and be vigilant in ensuring a secure environment.

Involve Management

Leadership should actively participate in training sessions to underscore the importance of the issue. When employees see that management takes it seriously, they’re more likely to do the same.

Continuous Learning

Phishing training should be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Regularly schedule refresher courses, updates on new threats, and additional simulations to keep everyone sharp, with the help of Corporate Technologies.

Let Corporate Technologies Help

Some common yet critical security best practices to safeguard credit and information from phishing attacks include the implementation of antivirus software and checking regularly your financial statements. You should also exercise caution with email links, verify phone calls, regularly update social media accounts (Twitter, Linked, etc.), and keep security patches updated.

Ensure a secure digital environment for your organization and protect against ransomware by implementing robust security controls. To protect your customers and business from all kinds of malicious phishing, you need by your side a company with state-of-the-art technology and excellent customer services.

Contact us today to see how Corporate Technologies can help your business stay safe and become more resilient to email phishing attempts.

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