We rely on emails whether it’s for business or personal use, which is why phishing email scams are so popular amongst cyber criminals. While email security is important, it is often forgotten about with the high volume of emails that are received daily. In this article we are going to look into what you can do to reduce a potential phishing attack from happening.
How to improve your email security
Email security is something that you should never take lightly, and you should review it regularly with your employees. To help here are our top ten tips on what to look out for.
Tip 1: Don’t trust the display name
Take the time to read the display name. The appearance of a display name may make an email look legitimate. But on closer inspection all may not be what is seems. If you don’t recognise a domain name then do an internet search. If it is fraudulent, there is good chance that there are already reports on the internet.
Tip 2: Think before you click
Cyber criminals are experts at hiding malicious coding in links and catching us unawares. They will use legitimate sounding language to pull you into reading their content and click on a link without thinking. Get into the habit of checking links – if it doesn’t look right then it probably isn’t. If you are unsure don’t click on it and send it to your IT support team to check.
Tip 3: Check the spelling
Sure, spelling mistakes can happen, however for big brands this is definite no, no. If an email is legitimate it is unlikely to contain any major spelling mistakes or poor grammar. Phishers know this which is why some to opt make subtle letter changes; for example, an ‘r’ and ‘n’ can easily look like an ‘m’, especially if the font size is small. So, in addition to reading your emails thoroughly, you may want to increase the font size to help spot these so called errors.
Tip 4: Read the salutation
Think about how the email addresses you the reader; is it personalised or vague like ‘dear customer’. An email is more likely to be genuine if it has been personalised with the details you provided the sender with.
Tip 5: Don’t give information away
If the email requests personal or confidential company data then you should definitely ignore the email. Most companies will not ask for this kind of information from you via an email – especially banks. If you don’t know about the request then seek confirmation from a line manager before proceeding.
Tip 6: Threatening language
Phishers use threatening language invoke a sense of urgency and fear in their targets in order to make them react in haste. In fact, due to readers going into panic mode more often than not phishing emails don’t get read properly and malicious links get clicked on. Don’t let threatening language distract you. Read your emails thoroughly before taking any action.
Tip 7: Get to know your customers
Review the signatures of your customers and suppliers and get to know what they look like. If you don’t recognise a company, check it out, speak to a colleague or someone in authority. A legitimate company will always provide their contact details. If a signature doesn’t have any, query it.
Tip 8: Don’t click on attachments
Malicious attachments are a common phishing tactic. An attachment is an easy way for cyber criminals to get malicious viruses and malware onto your computer. Once in, they can damage files, steal passwords or spy on you without your knowledge. We recommend that you don’t open an attachment until you are sure the source is legitimate.
Tip 9: Beware of spoof branding
Phishers will spoof brands to get to your data. From the display name to the header on your email address to the domain name, they have perfected spoofing. A senders email could look real, but it may not be what is seems. Don’t believe everything you see and read!
Tip 10: It can’t be real
If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t! Phishers wouldn’t be phishers if they weren’t good at what they do. A phishing email will contain brand logos, language and a supposedly valid email address to pull you in hook, line and sinker. Remain vigilant at all times.
Strengthen your email security
We hope our ten tips will help you improve your email security. If you do fall prey to a phishing email then do not hesitate to contact our support team, who will be happy to help. We can also help you keep your business safe with our cyber and website security solutions.