Boston Data Protection: How to Identify a Phishing E-mail Scam

How to Spot Phishing E-Mail ScamsOne of the most common online threats affecting businesses and individuals is the phishing e-mail scam. Anti-virus monitoring in Boston can only do so much to prevent attacks that come through fake e-mails that are designed to appear as though they come from an authentic source. Employees or individuals get tricked into opening the e-mail or clicking on a link, which opens up a malicious attachment that will infect the computer and network with a virus or malware. The more you can learn about identifying phishing e-mail scam threats, the easier it will be to protect your system when you encounter them. Take steps to establish a disaster recovery service for the best possible Greater Boston data protection in the event of an attack or another related incident.

Step One: Personal Information Confirmation

Many phishing e-mail scam threats will start by asking you to confirm personal information. The e-mail will often look authentic, as though it comes from your bank, a co-worker, a business colleague, or another trusted source. However, hackers are known to go to great lengths to make sure that their e-mails look just like the regular contacts that you get from these sources. However, the thing that you should notice right away is the action that the malicious e-mail asks you to take. It is usually something that these trusted sources would never ask you to do, such as confirming personal information, login credentials, banking details, or to click on links to perform another type of action.

If you suspect that an e-mail is not genuine, contact the sender directly. DO NOT use any communication methods provided in the e-mail, such as telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, or company contact links. Open up a new browser window, type in the real company information and use those contact details to reach someone about your concerns.

Step Two: Inspect the Web and E-mail Addresses

In most cases, something will look a little “off” when you receive a phishing e-mail from a malicious source. While the e-mail will use the same logo and colors associated with the brand or business, the e-mail address and web address for the company will be different. Instead of @thebusinessname.com, it might say @thebusinessname.anotheraddress.com. You will also see malicious links that claim to be taking you to one address, but when you mouseover the link instead of clicking on it, it becomes apparent that it would take you somewhere else.

Step Three: Bad Spelling and Grammar

For some reason, the people who send out these phishing e-mail scam contacts just can’t seem to use proper spelling and grammar. One reason is that they might be coming from an individual outside the US that does not speak English as a first language. Read over the e-mail to check for spelling and grammatical issues, as well as other strange word combinations and language that does not make sense. Legitimate companies hire professional writers and take time to proof-read their messages, eliminating spelling, grammar, and other errors before sending to customers or colleagues.

Step Four: Suspicious Attachments

If your financial institution or IT department head has never sent you an attachment before that they have asked you to download, it might be a phishing e-mail scam. One of the best tips from Boston data protection services is to avoid clicking on, downloading, or doing anything with attachments that come from a source that has never sent you an attachment in the past. The attachment could contain a trojan or link to a malicious URL that installs a virus or malware onto your PC or company network. Anti-virus monitoring in Boston often includes options to scan e-mails and attachments before opening with anti-virus software for an extra layer of protection even from trusted sources that you believe to be genuine.

Step Five: A Sense of Urgency

Another hallmark of a phishing e-mail scam is to create a sense of urgency that makes you panic and perform the requested tasks without really thinking about it first. The e-mail might say that your data or account information has been compromised and the only way to recover it is to enter your login details immediately. Stop. Think about what you are doing. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed into doing something that you know you should not.

When it comes to cyber attacks, the best way to defend yourself and your company is through education. Synivate provides a wide variety of services for Greater Boston data protection, including employee education and support. The education methods provided offer strategic defenses against the techniques employed by cybercriminals. We can help you and your staff spot attacks before you become a victim and provide you with the tools necessary for data backup and recovery as well as anti-virus monitoring in Boston and the surrounding area. Give us a call at 617-517-0704 to speak with a representative about our disaster recovery service options and training services.