We’re talking phishing here at Bluebell IT Solutions. Did you know that phishing accounted for 86% of all cyber breaches in 2020? Unlike other cyber security risks, this one relies on human error and let’s face it no one is perfect, anyone can fall victim to a phishing scam.

Protecting against phishing

What Is Phishing?

Phishing mainly refers to emails, but can include SMS, phone calls or social media posts. Cyber criminals will contact you hoping to convince you to click a malicious link, download a virus from an attachment or hand over sensitive information.

These scams are getting harder to spot. We’ve laid out a few helpful tips and questions to ask yourself before following any links or instructions from a potential phishing scam.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself When You Get A Potential Phishing Scam

1. Who is the email from?

Look at the domain name from the sender. Is it public (@gmail.com, @yahoo.com)? Is it spelled correctly (@netfilx.com, @amaazon.com)?

Official company emails will match that company’s domain name. If you are unsure use a search engine to find the company and check if their contact information is the same as the email

you received.

 

2. Is the spelling and grammar correct?

Make sure you are reading an email carefully before following any of the instructions. How does it read? Are there any spelling mistakes? Make sence does, not?

Companies should always have correct grammar and spelling in their emails. Whereas, for many scammers will use a translation tool which may put the words into English but not necessarily in the order.

3. Is there a link or attachment?

If any of the above has caused concern, do not open or download any attachments or click any links. To check and see if a link is safe on desktop hover over the link. For mobile, touch and hold the link and a popup will appear showing the web address. Does the link match the supposed company’s web address?

Clicking malicious attachments and links is exactly what the cybercriminal wants. Their aim is to release a virus onto your computer. From there they will be able to do many various things that could affect your business.

 

4. Does the email create a sense of urgency?

Is the email asking you to do something urgently? “This invoice is late, please pay at once” “This document needs your signature ASAP” “Your account has been hacked click here to recover it now or we will delete it in 12 hours”.

Stop.

Before following through with any action, go over the previous questions, does this email raise any suspicion?

Cyber criminals use this tactic because it causes you to panic and overlook any suspicious content in the email or in the domain name.

 

5. Are the pictures and branding good quality?

Are the images pixelated or blurry? Are the colours off? This is a cle

ar sign that the email is not official. No authentic company would use blurry images of their branding to send out to customers.

Companies have huge, high quality images of their branding and logos, whereas cyber criminals must find

their images online. These can vary in quality and colouring.

Cybercriminal stealing passwords

Tips To Avoid Phishing Scams

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when reading and responding to emails.

  • A company will never ask you to send over sensitive information over email.
  • Double check with colleagues if the email is truly from them if you are unsure.
  • If your contact information is publicly available, always be on the lookout for phishing scams.
  • Always report a suspected phishing email to your supervisor and IT support. You may have picked it up, but another employee may not.
  • Send any suspected phishing emails to report@phishing.gov.uk
  • Be mindful of what you, your friends and family put out publicly on social media. Cyber criminals use this information to find the best way to target you.

 

Hopefully, these tips, tricks and questions have helped you become more cyber aware and safer from potential phishing scams. At Bluebell IT Solutions we take cyber security seriously, if you would like to talk to one of our experts about how you can make your business safer contact us today.