No matter how “bomb-proof” we make your network, you and your employees can still invite a hacker in if you click on a link or open an attachment in an email sent by a cybercriminal. Some spam is obvious (can you say, “Viagra at a discount”?) but others are VERY cleverly designed to sneak past all the filters and trick the recipient into opening the door. Known as a “phishing” email, this still is the #1 way hackers circumvent firewalls, filters and antivirus, so it’s critical that you and your employees know how to spot a threatening email. Here are four types of e-mail ploys you should be on high alert for.
The Authority Email
The most common phishing emails are ones impersonating your bank, the IRS or some authority figure. The rule of thumb is this: ANY email that comes in where 1) you don’t PERSONALLY know the sender, including e-mails from the IRS, Microsoft or your “bank,” and 2) asks you to “verify” your account should be deleted. Remember, ANY important notification will be sent via old-fashioned snail mail. If it’s important, they can call you.
The “Account Verification” Email
Any email that asks you to verify your password, bank information or login credentials, OR to update your account information, should be ignored. No legitimate vendor sends e-mails asking for this; they will simply ask you upon logging in to update or verify your information if that’s necessary.
The Typo Email
Another big warning sign is typos. Emails coming from overseas (which is where many of these attacks come from) are written by people who do not speak or write English well. Therefore, if there are obvious typos or grammar mistakes, delete it.
The Zip File, PDF Or Invoice Attachment
Unless you specifically KNOW the sender of an email, never, ever open an attachment. That includes PDFs, zip files, music and video files and anything referencing an unpaid invoice or accounting file (many hackers use this to get people in accounting departments to open emails). Of course, ANY file can carry a virus, so it would be better to delete it than be sorry.
If you have more questions about email security or any other network security concerns, please contact our IT professionals today. Appsonnet is experienced in providing clients with onsite and remote support and is dedicated to determining your technological needs.