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Phishing is not a new concept. For a while now, it’s been hailed as one of the most effective attack vectors for cybercriminals, and these attacks are continuing to come off as more formidable in their delivery. Knowing how to spot a phishing email is important for protecting the infrastructure of your business. Everyone is a target, but there are ways to spot the signs of a potential threat. As IT consultants, RHYNO Networks is committed to helping our consumers build their defenses, in order to ward off any unnecessary attacks. Here are 7 ways to identify phishing emails.

What Is A Phishing Email?

Before we deep dive into the ways to spot a phishing email, it’s important to understand what it is. A phishing email is an email that is sent to a recipient with the intention of making this person perform a specific task. The attacker can get crafty with how they present the message, but what all phishing emails have in common is their similarity to a conventional email. It will contain a CTA that tries to entice you to click a link, open an attachment, or provide any other deliverables as a way to extract your personal information. 

Many times, attackers will use social engineering techniques so that the emails appear relevant and unique to the targets. The results of falling victim to a phishing email can be devastating. If a user follows these links, it gives their hackers the opportunity to access secure networks, undetected. According to recent findings, IRONSCALES states 81% of organizations have experienced an increase in email based phishing attacks since Spring 2020. Thankfully, since these attacks have happened so often, it’s made consumers more privy to the potential threats, especially when IT consultants come into the fold to educate consumers on what to keep a close eye on. 

How to Identify Phishing Emails

Emails That Demand Urgent Action

One way to identify phishing emails is if you receive something that is asking you to take urgent action and if you don’t, you may suffer from the consequences. Attackers will use this approach in order to push the recipients to take quick action. Since it’s presented as an urgent task, it’s very easy for the recipients to not give the email a second glance in order to check for flaws and inconsistencies. 

Emails That Are Riddled With Grammar And Spelling Mistakes

Bad grammar and spelling mistakes are also common with phishing emails. In this day and age, spell-checking tools are built into many of our internal systems. Whether we’re receiving or sending emails, grammar and spelling need to exude professionalism at all times. If you receive an email that doesn’t adhere to these standards, stay far away. It can help to think of it this way too; If you took the time to craft an email that was nearly devoid of grammatical and spelling errors, shouldn’t the same standards apply to others who are trying to interact with you? Attackers aren’t in it to be proper and professional, they want to upend your career or the business you represent.

Unfamiliar Greetings Or Salutations

Email exchanges amongst work colleagues are usually informal in nature. Phrases like “dear” or “to whom it may concern”, aren’t phrases that work peers will use with each other. These kinds of email salutations are another characteristic of phishing emails. By using a formal delivery, attackers are trying to hook the reader, in hopes that they buy into to whatever it is that they’re promoting. 

Inconsistences in email addresses, links, and domain names, are another way to identify phishing threats. Consider the following when spotting these inadequacies. Does the email originate from an organization that you’ve frequently corresponded with? If the answer is yes, verify that you’ve received correspondence from the same organization in the past. Get into the habit of hovering over links to see what comes up. Should the email originate from one source but the domain shows something else, report it as a phishing attack immediately.

Unusual Attachments

Much of the file-sharing that is used at work will take place with tools like SharePoint, Onedrive, or Dropbox. Since these sharing tools have already established what it’s like to deal with a secure delivery system, you should always treat internal emails with attachments as suspicious. This is especially true if the email has unfamiliar extensions or those that are commonly affiliated with malware like .zip, .exe., scr, etc.

Emails That Request Login & Payment Information

As previously mentioned, attackers aren’t afraid to get creative with the ways in which they obtain our personal information. Emails that are directly asking for login credentials or payment information to private accounts are a big no-no. These “spear phishers” can create login pages that mimic the real thing. They will even create links that will redirect you to these fake pages. When you’re prompted to enter this sensitive information into a system, refrain from doing so unless you can determine with absolute certainty that the email is legitimate. 

Emails That Promise You The World

Last but certainly not least, phishing emails that promise to incentivize their recipients are becoming more and more commonplace. While we are sure there are ways to receive nice incentives from online initiatives, it doesn’t happen just because you received an inbound email that was enticing you. If the sender looks unfamiliar and if you as the recipient didn’t previously contact this person, it’s likely a phishing email. 

Working Alongside IT Consultants To Learn More About Identify Phishing Emails

RHYNO Networks has all of the resources to educate you and your associates on the threats imposed by phishing emails. To learn more about how our solutions can help you, contact us today!