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It is hard to imagine not conducting business via email at some point during our working day. For the most part, it is great; but unfortunately, there are people out there that are trying to use it for the wrong reasons.

Despite security products getting more and more adept at keeping us safe, and most email services also incorporating inbuilt spam protection, those that wish to cause harm are increasingly using sophisticated methods in order to try to trick us.

It’s not all bad news though! The good news is there are additional security products we can utilise, and best practices we can follow in order to mitigate the risks.

Many phishing attacks, particularly by email, often have some tell-tale signs that they are not all that they appear to be…

Warnings concerning whom the email is from:

Warning signYou receive an email from someone you do not ordinarily communicate with…

Warning signYou receive an email from someone outside of your organisation and is not related to the responsibilities of your job…

Warning signYou receive an email from someone within your organisation or from a customer, supplier or business partner and it is very unusual or out of character…

Warning signYou receive an email from a suspicious looking domain… (i.e. faceebook.com or rnicrosoft.com -the m is actually an r and an n.)

Warning signYou receive an email from someone you don’t know personally, and they haven’t been vouched for by anybody else…

Warning signYou receive an email from someone you don’t have a business relationship with, nor any past communications with…

Warning signYou receive an email from someone you haven’t communicated with recently that is unusual or unexpected and has an embedded hyperlink or an attachment…

Warnings concerning whom the email is sent to:

Warning signYou receive an email that you have been cc’d into, but you don’t personally know the others it was sent to…

Warning signYou receive an email that was sent to an unusual mix of people – for example, people at your organisation whose last names all start with the same letter…

Warnings concerning hyperlinks:

Warning signYou receive an email where the address that the hyperlink goes to is different from how it displays in the email… (Hover over the link to see it, do not click on it!)

Warning signYou receive an email that just contains long hyperlinks, with no other information as the rest of the email is blank…

Warning signYou receive an email with a hyperlink that is a misspelling of a known website. For example, www.rnicrosoft.com – the “m” is actually two characters – “r” and “n.”

Warnings concerning date and subject:

Warning signYou receive an email that you might usually get during business hours, but notice it was sent at an unusual time, 3am for example…

Warning signYou receive an email where the subject line seems irrelevant or does not match the message content…

Warning signYou receive an email message that is a reply to something you never sent or requested…

Warnings concerning attachments:

Warning signYou receive an email that includes an attachment that you were not expecting or that makes no sense in relation to the email message (The sender ordinarily doesn’t send me this type of attachment)…

Warning signYou receive an email which contains a potentially dangerous file type… (Only .txt files are safe to click on).

Warnings concerning content:

Warning signYou receive an email where the sender is asking you to click on a link or open an attachment to avoid a negative consequence or to gain something of value…

Warning signYou receive an email out of the ordinary, or that has bad grammar or obvious spelling errors…

Warning signYou receive an email where the sender is asking you to click a link or open up an attachment that seems odd…

Warning signYou receive an email where you have an uncomfortable gut feeling about being asked to open an attachment or clicking a link…

Warning signYou receive an email purporting to have compromising or embarrassing pictures of yourself, or someone you know…

If you would like to talk to us about adding extra security to your emails, please call 01905 758900, or email us via hello@integratech.co.uk.

Thanks to KnowBe4 for their help with some of the tips contained within this blog.