How to Detect Phishing Emails

How to Detect Phishing Emails

Cyber Security has become a major threat for many organisations in today’s world. Threats from cyber attackers have become more sophisticated, and there is a need for pre-emptive measures instead of the existing reactive techniques to secure organizations from imminent threats. Having an updated computer system, with latest drivers, security software’s, and system utilities helps in reducing an organization overall risk of being infected. Trained and attentive employees play a critical role in detecting and avoiding phishing emails. Globally, phishing emails are accountable for around 90% of cyber-attacks.

Few steps an employee can take to spot and handle a phishing email

  1. Avoid trusting the display name

Cybercriminals usually uses the display name of the person you already know or trust. Ensure to check the email address for confirming the true sender.

  1. Read but don’t click

Read at the body and links in the email, without clicking it. If the text looks weird and doesn’t match the link address, report the issue.

  1. Check for spelling errors

Read the emails carefully as official brands are very cautious while sending mails for errors and attackers tend to commit grammatical errors or misspell words to differentiate themselves from the famous brands

  1. Consider the salutation

Genuine businesses always use personal salutation with either the first name or last name, but if the salutation is vague for e.g. valued customer then scrutinize it.

  1. Don’t open attachments

Attachments can be malicious and may contain viruses and malware. Attacker tend to trick the target with attractive and long names for attached files.

  1. Is email asking for personal information?

Legitimate companies are unlikely to ask for any personal credentials via email. So, employee must avoid sharing any personal data in email.

  1. Beware of Urgency

Attackers by creating a sense of urgency or fear make an email to look authentic. Some examples of subject lines which can be used includes “your account is suspended”, “CFO needs $1 million wire transfer”, “unauthorized login attempt”.

  1. Review the email signature

Genuine senders always include a signature at bottom of their emails, if the signature is missing, then scrutinize if it’s an authentic sender.

  1. Don’t believe everything you see

An email may have valid email address, convincing language and brand logos, but it doesn’t mean its legitimate. If something looks suspicious (Font size, Font colour) or out of norm it’s better to report.

  1. Contact the SOC whenever in doubt

It’s better to report even a small issue to SOC (security operations centres), as it can save an organization from any financial damage.

Conclusion

Most of the time ransomware attacks are initiated through phishing emails, so it is very important for an organization to take proactive measures to protect themselves with these threats. AI can be used to fight against phishing email cyber threat, by identifying and analysing abnormal system behaviour and subsequently highlighting known and unknown security threats. Phishing emails is one of the most used techniques across several Advanced Persistent Threat attacks, and data breaches as most of the times it goes undetected. Several AI based software tools such as Log manager and analyser, IAM, and compliance are available to improve the management control and traditional security methods. Having the right tools in place and trained employees can protect the organizations against phishing.

– Sonam Chawla
ICT – Research Analyst
Infoholic Research