What is phishing? How to detect and prevent an email phishing attack.

what is phishing

Phishing emails are designed to trick and lure you into entering and sharing your personal information. Learn how to detect and protect yourself from phishing emails.

What is a Phishing Attack?

Phishing attacks are emails in disguise. They are designed to trick the victim and lure them into entering personal information. Phishing emails are also used to distribute malicious links or attachments. These attempts involve invoking a sense of urgency, fear, confusion or promise of financial gain.

The most common form of Phishing is aimed at many users. Other attacks are more targeted to a specific individual or someone of high authority within an organisation.

While some phishing attacks are easier to spot, others are increasingly sophisticated and can be much more difficult to identify.

How to detect a Phishing Email?

  1. Beware of emails that require the recipient’s immediate response – usually a mouse click on a link or attachment;
  2. Be cautious with emails that start with a generic greeting such as ‘Dear Customer’
  3. Watch out for any urgent subject lines or emails that claim:
    • “Your storage space if full” (Mailbox, iCloud, OneDrive, SharePoint etc.)
    • “Your purchase order has been approved”
    • “You could win a $50 gift card to a restaurant”
    • “Your account has been suspended”
    • “Please update your address”
  4. Check for any spelling mistakes, poor grammar or inaccuracy in the email itself and look for anything that may seem suspicious.
  5. Hover your mouse over the links you are being asked to click Without Clicking – It will show you where the link really goes – to the attacker’s website.
  6. Review the signature. Legitimate organisations always provide contact information. Lack of contact details imply the email may be a phishing attempt.

Below are some examples of phishing sites and emails:

detecting phishing email
preventing email phishing attack
what is email phishing

How to protect yourself and your organisation from Phishing Schemes?

  1. Know exactly who is contacting you: The most common form of phishing involves contacting users by email. The email will ask you to verify an account by providing information to a false website that looks legitimate. Always go to the original website on a new tab rather than clicking on the link from an email.
  2. Verify a sender’s identity: It is important to always verify a sender’s identity before replying to any emails requesting personal information. If you are not sure, it is best to start a new email thread to the person who supposedly sent you the email to confirm.
  3. Be very careful when emailing confidential & personal information: Banks and most other trusted organisations won’t ask you for confidential or personal information via an email message – DO NOT enter any information.
  4. Do not click on any attachments you weren’t expecting: These attachments contain viruses and can install Malware that can perform a variety of functions. These include the extraction of login credentials or account information from victims, spy on you without your knowledge, or infect an organisation’s network with a crypto locker virus.

What to do if you believe your computer is infected with a virus?

Do you believe your computer is infected with a virus? Have you unfortunately clicked on a link or attachment that you suspect is malware or ransom ware? If you think your system has been compromised, disconnect the PC/laptop from the network both wired and wireless and shut it down immediately.

If you require assistance contact Techstream Solutions.  Our Systems Engineers are highly experienced.  They will assess your system, remove the malware and ensure the most up to date anti-virus software is installed. Most importantly, they will implement the necessary requirements to help protect and safeguard your systems and information to prevent future cyber attacks occurring.

Email security problems? Speak to our Northern Beaches IT support team for assistance. 


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