How to Spot Phising in 2021 [3 Red Flags]
Posted By: Ryan Richardson - 2/10/2021 12:00:00 AM

Today we will look at how to spot phishing in 2021, unpacking some of what makes this year unique. 

In the year ahead, we are expecting to see a significant increase in a specific type of phishing, called Spear Phishing. They call it spear phishing because these attacks are highly targeted, and typically include wildly specific information or details about different individuals in an organization. 

The reason this is such a threat this year is because of advancements in the ability to automate these kinds of attacks. In the past, it took a lot of time and effort on the hackers’ part to pull something like this off, but now they have programs that can scan social media and company websites to pull together the information they need to be convincing. 

Side note: It is best practice to keep the amount of public information about your staff to a minimum on social media and websites. Do not publish email addressesand also evaluate how necessary it is to publish staff photos and job titles.This may vary by organization.

While the ability to automate spear phishing campaigns will cause a large rise in the number of attacks that will be circulating, it does come with one unexpected upside.The attackers are sacrificing some degree of quality for the sake of quantity. This means they should be easier to spot, despite how much they might know about your boss’s dog. 

So, let us review 3 of the most important things to look for to detect a phishing email:

  1. Check out the email domain name. Even if the name appears to be from someone familiar, go a step further and check the actual email address the message came from to make sure it checks out. Often there will be clues in the form of subtle misspellings or extra letters and numbers. 

  2. Sense of urgencyPhishing emails bait the hook with our emotions to get in the way of our common sense. Be leery of anything that targets a fear/panic response (like warnings of stolen information), tickles your curiosity, or sounds a little too exciting.

  3. Suspicious attachments or links: Phishing emails will always try to get you to go somewhere or do something. That might look like a page asking fologin information, or a malicious attachment they want you to download. Always check the URL of any website asking for your credentials. It might appear to be a Microsoft 365 login page, but the domain name might show something entirely different. Also avoid downloading anything you are not already expecting to receive from someone. If there is any doubt, call the person it appears to be from to ensure that it truly is from them.

 

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