By now, we’ve all heard and even experienced phishing attempts — those odd emails from small countries wanting to send millions of dollars or more complex duplicates of emails from companies we actually do business with. We’re more educated than we were 10-15 years ago, and we’re feeling pretty confident we could spot a phishing attack, and so could most of our employees.
However, we often forget that as we’ve become more keen on spotting these risks, the attackers are also getting more keen on how to use systems, domains, and accesses that we are not looking at in order to find new ways into our businesses, finances, and sensitive data. Some of the old clues we had to risky emails, are being bypassed completely. In this post, we’ll draw your attention to the newer ways that hackers are finding ways into even the keenest users’ systems.
Email from the boss or a coworker?
Email attacks that people recognize are those from foreign nations or strange people you have never spoken to. Today, a phishing attack can happen from an email you easily recognize. Hackers can now find ways to send emails from people you know. Even trickier, they often don’t send an attachment or a link right away. It might be something like, “Are you still in the office?” Then after an exchange or two for you to feel like you are truly conversing with your boss, they’ll send an attachment or a link.
Ensure you are truly talking with a coworker. If they send a document format you aren’t familiar with, give them a call and ensure they sent it. Many email spam protection services will pick up a malicious link, but they won’t flag a professional document service link DropBox. If your company doesn’t use DropBox and you get a link for it, talk to the person first.
Is it really a safe link?
Another way we used to be able to tell if it were phishing would be if the link we not secured (http:// versus a https:// which gives you the little lockbox in the URL). While not all valid sites seem to have the SSL certificate, there are now tons of sites that have an SSL that are used by attackers. SSL certificates can be easy to obtain, so don’t trust the site just because it is locked down.
Is that really your account URL?
The emails that come from attackers can look just like the ones our bank, business vendors, or anyone else would send. Because they look so similar, our best advice is to not use the link in the email sent to you. Go to the account the same way you normally would and check in there. If it’s financial, it will almost always have the bulk of the information in your account messages. If you don’t see a message or alert there, chances are it’s a phishing email.
Pop-ups from your bank, Apple or PayPal?
Nope. They don’t usually happen like that. When these come up, just exit out from where you are. Like above, you can go to your account the usual way you would and see if anything comes up. Whatever you do, don’t click on the pop-up. Shut it down if you need to.
URL look like it might be real?
Again, there are hackers that are good at opening accounts and making them look like real institution log-ins. Your bank will always have the latest information on their site. Always log in through the original site to ensure you are not being led to a malicious attack.
If you have questions, or think something is suspicious, contact the company to check. Big companies want to know when they are being used for a phishing attack and are accustomed to verifying information or emails they may have sent you. Always check first.
Attackers are getting smarter and smarter. We have the tools and knowledge to help you stay safe and prevent attacks. We offer security support, email protection and more. Contact us to find out how we can help your business prevent a data disaster.