5 Signs of a Phishing Attack
August 17, 2022
“Phishing Attacks” one of the biggest cyber threats most organizations are facing these days. Over 80% of organizations were attacked by phishing last year, according to Proofpoint’s 2021 State of the Phish Report, and per analysis by Checkpoint, “email phishing” accounts for 44% of all phishing assaults, with “web phishing” coming in at a close second.
It never ceases to amaze, that despite knowing what phishing is and how it operates, how many of us continue to fall for it. That’s because cyber criminals are getting savvier each day at how to entice us to click where, ultimately, we do know we shouldn’t.
What is phishing?
Phishing is a form of social engineering assault that is frequently employed to obtain user information, such as login passwords and credit card details. It happens when an attacker deceives a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message by disguising themselves as a reliable source. Next, the recipient is deceived into clicking on a dangerous link. This can cause malware to be installed on the recipient’s computer (sometimes without them even knowing right away), a ransomware assault to lock it down, or the disclosure of private data to take place.
Common indicators of a phishing attacks
- Misspelled domain name and email address – Look carefully for differences in email addresses, URLs, and domain names to spot probable phishing attacks. The sender’s address can be a fake of a real company. By changing or removing a few characters, cybercriminals frequently use an email address that nearly resembles one from a trustworthy organization to get you to trust that it is legitimate.
- Suspicious attachments – Attachments in emails are used by cyber thieves to infect a user’s device with malware and steal personal data. Extensions in the attachment such as .zip, .exe, .scr, and so on are frequently connected with malware downloads. It is recommended that recipients confirm the file as virus-free before opening it, especially if it is coming from someone you do not know.
- Emails with poor writing – A frequent indicator of a phishing email is improper spelling or grammar. An email from a reliable organization should be carefully crafted. A little-known fact is that incorrect grammar actually serves a function to hackers. They aren’t foolish, in general, so they prey more gullible people because they believe they are less attentive and hence easier targets. Additionally, the poor spelling often helped these cybercriminals get through most email spam filters to ensure their email ended up in inboxes.
- Sense of urgency – The attackers’ strategy is often to instill a sense of urgency that demands a swift response. The fraudster anticipates that hasty reading of the email will prevent a careful, comprehensive examination of the content, allowing other phishing campaign tip-offs to go unnoticed.
- Asks for sensitive information – Credit card details, social security numbers, or passwords will never be requested via email by a legitimate company. If you receive an email that does, it’s most likely a hoax. This sort of email should always be viewed with a cautious eye. Spear phishers (see below for more information on this type of phishing) can create phony login sites that very closely resemble the genuine site and then send an email with a link that takes the receiver to the false page. If you receive a link to a login page or are informed that a payment is required immediately, it is advisable not to enter any information until you can validate that the mail is authentic.