How to Detect and Stop Phishing Attacks

When it comes to business cyberthreats, phishing attacks are the third most common, right behind hacking and malware. With that said, it’s important we all learn what phishing attacks are, how to detect them, and to stop them from causing any potential damage. 

Many businesses in the past have fallen victim to phishing attacks which leads to many repercussions. Confidential data being leaked or files being stolen is detrimental to any business. It only takes one person to make the mistake of clicking on a link, so here are some helpful steps to avoid it where possible.

Check the Email Domain

First thing when you get an email that seems a little off, is to check the domain. Companies will not send emails from public email domains, so if it doesn’t come from their company name domain, be suspicious. You should also closely check the letters of the email name that they’re not using a combination of letters to assimilate the desired letter, such as an “rn” to look like an “m”. 

You might have regular emails come from certain staff or other companies, and this can often mean you forget to check who you’re responding to. However, that’s an easy way of getting you to click on something you weren’t meant to click on. Always be aware of the email domain when you receive an email from anyone.

Look for Grammatical Errors

With a lot of phishing emails, you’ll often find that there are quite a few grammatical errors that most professionals would have corrected before sending. Look for those grammatical errors or phrases that an English native wouldn’t typically use. 

Hackers are always looking for new and better ways of deceiving, so phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated, and are therefore harder to spot. Be wary of anything that doesn’t sound right or any type of spelling or phrasing that seems out of place.

Suspicious Attachments or Links

Companies you work with or will receive emails from won’t send you random links or attachments. If so, they’re likely to give context in the email or let you know beforehand to look out for a link they are sending. 

Any attachment or link received should be scrutinized closely. Some firewall protection can scan documents that you download, usually prior to actually downloading them to help filter through those with threats. 

The same can be said for clicking on links too. It’s worth finding out how to set this up on your work computers just so that it gives the user warning if something doesn’t seem right with the attachment or link. You also want to make sure that with links, the hover link is the same as the one shown on the email.

Sense of Urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is key for those designing phishing attacks. Their motive is to urge you into such a panic that you overlook flaws in the message and click on the bait without properly investigating. You can spare thirty more seconds on an emergency email to examine the details for those tell-tale signs. 

Fight the urge to respond fast, and know that urgency is a technique for getting you to click on the link without thinking. It’s surprising how quickly our brains can default to clicking on something because the message is urgent, and it’s easy to click. It’s these small mistakes that can cost your company’s information.

How to Stop Phishing Attacks

With all the relevant signs to look out for when it comes to a phishing attack, it’s worth knowing what you can do to prevent them. It mainly involves spending time with your staff and giving them the training they need to spot them. 

Not everyone is going to be able to spot a phishing email, and even those with more experience will likely fall victim to one by accident. The more you educate your staff on the signs, the better. 

You can also partner with expert providers for managed IT services to help make cybersecurity improvements where necessary. There is only so much you can do in-house, and outsourcing is often a more cost-effective and efficient way of handling your company’s online security.

Contact an IT company in San Diego to learn more about what a managed service provider can do to help support and enhance your business. With your business integrity on the line, you can never be too cautious when it comes to protecting your IT security and management.