Home

About Us

IT Services

Understanding IT

News & Events

Blog

Support

Contact Us

Blog
  • Register

Alternative IT Solutions Blog

Think Before You Click: Spotting a Phishing Attempt

Think Before You Click: Spotting a Phishing Attempt

We’ve all caught the obvious spam email, like the message that is clearly bogus, or the offer that is definitely too good to be true.

We’re going to confidently assume none of our readers are getting tricked by Nigerian Princes or getting roped into order virility drugs from an unsolicited email. The real threat comes from the more clever phishing attacks. Let’s take a look.

Give Me the Short Answer - What’s Phishing?

Phishing is where you get an email that looks like an actual legit email. The goal that a cybercriminal has is to trick you into giving them a password or access to an account (like to PayPal, Facebook, or your bank) or to get you to download malware.

The problem with phishing emails is how real they can seem. A phishing attempt for your PayPal information can look just like an everyday email from PayPal.

Even worse, often phishing emails try to sound urgent. They make you feel like you have to take action quickly, or that a bill is overdue, or that your password has been stolen. This can lower the user’s guard, and force them into a sticky situation.

How to Spot a Phishing Attack

Like I said, it’s not always going to be obvious when you get phished. Even careful, security-minded, technical people can fall victim because phishing is just as much of a psychological attack as it is a technical one.

Still, there are some practices you and your staff should use:

Always Use Strong, Unique Passwords

This can solve a lot of problems from the get-go. If your PayPal account gets hacked, and it uses the same password as your email or your bank account, then you may as well assume that your email and bank account are infiltrated too. Never use the same password across multiple sites.

Check the From Email Address in the Header

You’d expect emails from Facebook to come from [email protected], right? Well, if you get an email about your password or telling you to log into your account and it’s from [email protected], you’ll know something is up.

Cybercriminals will try to make it subtle. Amazon emails might come from [email protected] or emails from PayPal might come from [email protected] It’s going to pay off to be skeptical, especially if the email is trying to get you to go somewhere and sign in, or submit sensitive information.

Don’t Just Open Attachments

This is nothing new, but most malware found on business networks still comes from email attachments, so it’s still a huge problem. If you didn’t request or expect an email attachment, don’t click on it. Scrutinize the email, or even reach out to the recipient to confirm that it is safe. I know it sounds silly, but being security-minded might build security-mindfulness habits in others too, so you could inadvertently save them from an issue if they follow your lead!

Look Before You Click

If the email has a link in it, hover your mouse over it to see where it is leading. Don’t click on it right away.

For example, if the email is about your PayPal account, check the domain for any obvious signs of danger. Here are some examples:

  • Paypal.com - This is safe. That’s PayPal’s domain name.
  • Paypal.com/activatecard - This is safe. It’s just a subpage on PayPal’s site.
  • Business.paypal.com - This is safe. A website can put letters and numbers before a dot in their domain name to lead to a specific area of their site. This is called a subdomain.
  • Business.paypal.com/retail - This is safe. This is a subpage on PayPal’s subdomain.
  • Paypal.com.activecard.net - Uh oh, this is sketchy. Notice the dot after the .com in PayPal’s domain? That means this domain is actually activecard.net, and it has the subdomain paypal.com. They are trying to trick you.
  • Paypal.com.activecardsecure.net/secure - This is still sketchy. The domain name is activecardsecure.net, and like the above example, they are trying to trick you because they made a subdomain called paypal.com. They are just driving you to a subpage that they called secure. This is pretty suspicious.
  • Paypal.com/activatecard.tinyurl.com/retail - This is really tricky! The hacker is using a URL shortening service called TinyURL. Notice how there is a .com later in the URL after PayPal’s domain? That means it’s not PayPal. Tread carefully!

Keep in mind, everyone handles their domains a little differently, but you can use this as a general rule of thumb. Don’t trust dots after the domain that you expect the link to be.

Training and Testing Go a Long Way!

Want help teaching your staff how to spot phishing emails? Be sure to reach out to the IT security experts at Alternative IT Solutions. We can help equip your company with solutions to mitigate and decrease phishing attempts, and help educate and test your employees to prepare them for when they are threatened by cybercriminals.

Know Your Tech: Virtual Machine
Microsoft is Constantly Improving Office 365
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Tip of the Week Security Technology Best Practices Business Computing Cloud Email Productivity Privacy Network Security Hosted Solutions User Tips Hackers Efficiency Google Data Backup Data Communications IT Support Innovation Internet Microsoft Malware Managed IT Services Workplace Tips Tech Term Mobile Devices Software Communication Cloud Computing Hardware Data Recovery VoIp Windows 10 Outsourced IT Smartphones Small Business Business IT Services Android Network Mobile Device Gadgets Smartphone Computer Managed IT Services Collaboration Internet of Things Business Management Backup Phishing Windows Chrome Browser Cybersecurity Router Server Business Continuity BDR Saving Money Artificial Intelligence Spam Users Alert Cybercrime Miscellaneous Ransomware Information How To Office 365 Remote Monitoring Money Applications Social Media Disaster Recovery Holiday Two-factor Authentication Word BYOD Data Protection Mobile Device Management Data Security Computers Windows 7 Managed Service Voice over Internet Protocol Data Storage Display Vulnerability Microsoft Office Identity Theft Operating System Social Engineering Staff Facebook Paperless Office Managed IT IT Management Business Intelligence Save Money Software as a Service Servers Private Cloud Telephone Systems Settings Connectivity Training Upgrade Encryption Wi-Fi Employer-Employee Relationship Avoiding Downtime Human Resources Sports Update App Infrastructure Access Control Virtual Assistant Processor CES Passwords Augmented Reality Meetings Mobile Computing Proactive IT Networking Digital Signage OneNote Apps Budget Bring Your Own Device Password Spam Blocking Telephone System Content Management Mobility Data Breach Value Cryptocurrency Telephony Work/Life Balance Credit Cards VPN Google Docs Firewall Blockchain Keyboard Automation Compliance Fraud Machine Learning Redundancy Document Management Botnet Quick Tips Education Website Workers Google Drive Comparison Help Desk Law Enforcement Scam IT Plan Unsupported Software Virtualization Government Criminal Addiction MSP Cryptomining Amazon Web Services Password Management Search Engine Information Technology Lifestyle Windows Server 2008 R2 Employee Remote Work HaaS Outlook Charger Printer Gmail Thought Leadership Start Menu Millennials The Internet of Things Software Tips Camera Remote Computing Cables Netflix OLED Recovery Database Online Shopping Smart Tech Patch Management Samsung NIST Bing Regulations Electronic Medical Records IT Consultant Frequently Asked Questions Mouse IT Infrastructure Recycling Security Cameras Tools Workforce SaaS Smart Office Black Market Hiring/Firing Biometric Security WiFi Bandwidth Virtual Reality Authentication IBM Hard Drive Cache Solid State Drive Remote Worker Evernote HVAC Flash Shortcuts Flexibility Windows 10s Google Search Mobile Entertainment Downtime Excel Cleaning Administrator Multi-Factor Security Investment eWaste Hacker Current Events Virtual Machine Digital Signature Physical Security Wireless Theft Cabling Password Manager Nanotechnology Supercomputer Wireless Internet Audit IT Support Wiring webinar Practices Data loss Safe Mode Net Neutrality Professional Services Accountants Root Cause Analysis Tip of the week Computer Care Microchip Trending ROI Risk Management Knowledge Hypervisor PDF Health 5G Cortana Default App Big Data Unified Threat Management HIPAA USB Data Warehousing Save Time GDPR Wireless Charging Conferencing Hosted Computing Screen Mirroring File Sharing Social Skype Legal Public Cloud ISP Amazon Office Tips Leadership YouTube Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Content Management Sync Content Filtering Smartwatch Travel Telecommuting Network Congestion FENG HBO Warranty Google Apps Business Mangement Devices Specifications Marketing Data Management Wire Computer Fan Manufacturing Inventory Cast Business Technology Vendor Consultation IoT Company Culture Procurement Strategy Healthcare Remote Maintenance RMM Thank You Managing Stress Instant Messaging Assessment Analysis Electronic Health Records Computer Accessories Streaming Media Smart Devices Printers Unified Communications Congratulations Bata Backup Rootkit Analytics Insurance Business Owner Proactive Television Bluetooth Content Filter Employer Employee Relationship Vendor Management Virtual Private Network Two Factor Authentication Personal Information Distribution eCommerce Storage VoIP Worker Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Public Computer Loyalty Office Regulation Employee/Employer Relationship Project Management Financial Logistics Safety Twitter Managed Service Provider Line of Business Utility Computing Managed Services Provider Windows 10 Saving Time Students Hacking Battery Proactive Maintenance Azure E-Commerce Fiber-Optic Automobile

Latest News & Events

Alternative IT Solutions is proud to announce the launch of our new website at https://www.alternative-IT.co.uk. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our ser...

Contact Us

Learn more about what Alternative IT Solutions can do for your business.

Call Us Today
Call us today
(0)20 8498 4300

Avocet House, Trinity Park, Trinity Way
London, England E4 8TD